Many Christian evangelists have worked within one Christian denomination or doctrinal system. However Billy Graham crossed lines and courageously worked together with Christians of various backgrounds, doctrines, races, and churches. (In the racially segregated South, he even broke local laws and made his crusades open for anyone to sit wherever they wanted.)
Billy Graham Crusades were an amazing thing to see: tens of thousands of people of various backgrounds and persuasions coming together to hear a humble and unassuming man talk about Jesus and His love for all people. Billy Graham cut through the sectarianism and divisions among Christians and brought them together to reach their city for Christ.
Billy Graham Crusades were amazing demonstrations of the power of unity in the body of Christ. Every one of them was a cooperative effort of many local Christians and churches (of various doctrines & denominations) who set aside their differences and worked together for many months to share the good news about the living Jesus. They were held in more than 250 cities around the world.
The results of Billy’s embracing all who loved Jesus was incredible. I attended 5 different Billy Graham Crusades in 4 cities. When I entered the stadium or venue, I could feel excitement and anticipation surging through the crowd. The massive choir (filled with Christians from many denominations and groups) stirred my soul. There was a sense of awe through out the whole event and a holy hush as Billy preached. When he gave the altar call, the Spirit moved hundreds and thousands to come forward and publicly surrender their lives to Christ.
So what was the secret to the power that flowed into those giant arenas? Billy Graham would tell people that it wasn’t him. I believe it was the risen Jesus Christ moving freely among Christians who put aside their divisions to stand together in unity.
Billy Graham put it this way: “Jesus prayed for unity among believers. God, who wills man’s unity in Christ, is a God of variety. So often we want everyone to be the same—to think and speak and believe as we do. Many Scripture passages could be called to witness that love is the real key to Christian unity.”
“Billy Graham’s influence on Christian unity is still felt. Graham’s legacy left a model of how to focus on unity over strife.” –Jeff Brumley
“Billy Graham was able to reach across denominational lines. He worked with Presbyterians, Catholics, Methodists, Episcopalians. He was very happy to work with them.” –Calvin Thielman
“The act of faith, which separates us from all men, unites us for the first time in real brotherhood; and they who, one by one, come to Jesus and meet Him alone, next find that they are come to the city of God and to an innumerable company.” –Alexander MacLaren
“To a true child of God, the invisible bond that unites all believers to Christ is far more tender, and lasting, and precious; and, as we come to recognize and realize that we are all dwelling in one sphere of life in Him, we learn to look on every believer as our brother, in a sense that is infinitely higher than all human relationships. This is the one and only way to bring disciples permanently together. All other plans for promoting the unity of the Church have failed.” –A.T. Pierson
Thank God for the way He used Billy Graham to bring believers together. Now that Billy has gone to be with Jesus, it’s a good time for the body of Christ to make a decision to love one another. ONE: Unfolding God’s Eternal Purpose From House To House is a powerful handbook on how to do that, click on this link.