July-August 2015 – Will Graham recently shared with AFA Journal his insights on the church in today’s culture. He is director of the Billy Graham Training Center and an evangelist with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
AFA Journal: How would you describe today’s spiritual climate in our nation?
Will Graham: We’ve always talked about a post-Christian world. I think we’re now into an anti-Christian world. Anything dealing with God is now marked as being bad and wrong.
You’re going to see more and more Christians attacked for their faith. We do not have freedom of religion in this country. We have it on paper, but we do not practice it.
AFAJ: How did this happen?
WG: My great grandfather [L. Nelson Bell] wrote a book called While Men Slept. It focused on the biblical parable of the wheat and the tares when men slept while enemies came into their fields and planted weeds.
We have allowed two things to come into the church. One is that we got spiritually lazy and fell asleep on our watch as a church. Second, we allowed liberal theology to come in and plant seeds that have now grown and led us so far away from the gospel that we don’t want to evangelize. We don’t tell others about Christ.
AFAJ: When did the church begin to change?
WG: It hasn’t been just in my lifetime. It was in the whole 20th century. That’s why we see a lot of my generation getting away from organized church. We have lost some ground, but there’s still hope. There’s a remnant out there that God will use. I hope He’ll grab our attention and bring us to repentance, and maybe we’ll have another quick revival take place.
AFAJ: How can the church correct its course?
WG: The first thing we need to do is repent. And that comes by hearing the Word of God. If we want to see people repent, we need pastors and evangelists who preach the Bible, and let God’s Word do the work.
People are drawn to it. I go anywhere in the world and preach the gospel, and we see great things take place – not because of Will Graham but because God is honoring His Word.
We must have bold preachers now because it’s not going to be a fun time in this anti-Christian world. We need bold preachers to stand up and preach God’s word when it’s not fun, when it’s not politically correct, when it’s not sought after. Yet, I’m confident we’re going to see people come to Christ.
Even though it seems bleak out there, what a great time to preach the gospel. When it’s darkest outside, light shines brightest.
AFAJ: What is the goal for TNG?
WG: For me, I want to talk about evangelism. That’s where my heart is. I wish we had more evangelists in our world today.
I’m hoping we’ll strike a chord with people to recommit themselves to Christ, especially to the work of evangelism, so the next generation can hear the truth and know the truth and know what’s a lie. That’s what I’m praying for this event.
Truth for a New Generation
North Greenville University
Spartanburg, South Carolina
The event is coordinated by author/apologist Alex McFarland. With AFA’s Bert Harper, McFarland co-hosts Exploring the Word on AFRTalk radio (M-F, 3 p.m. CT).
Other featured TNG presenters include Dr. Alveda King, author Lee Strobel, and Fox News’ Todd Starnes.
For more information and registration, visit truthforanewgeneration.com.