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Memory #3: America

When Billy Graham visited post war Britain in 1947, he wrote home with a request for prayer. Britain, darkened by war and moral decline, needed to hear the gospel. In his twilight years Billy Graham repeats his request, this time for America:

"Our society strives to avoid any possibility of offending anyone—except God. Yet the farther we get from God, the more the world spirals out of control. My heart aches for America and its deceived people. The wonderful news is that our Lord is a God of mercy, and He responds to repentance. In Jonah’s day, Nineveh was the lone world superpower—wealthy, unconcerned, and self-centered. When the Prophet Jonah finally traveled to Nineveh and proclaimed God’s warning, people heard and repented. I believe the same thing can happen once again, this time in our nation. It’s something I long for..." (read the full article here)

I must admit, I share the ache. And the longing. It is an odd thing - to be burdened with a country not of my own. Billy Graham must have felt the same when he came to Britain. When he did, he established British Youth For Christ, a movement of Christian young people who were prepared to preach the gospel come rain or shine.

Many believe that America is saturated in the gospel, that it is all too Christianized. They argue for less God and more neutrality. But neutrality is not a peaceful alternative. In fact, neutrality feeds a terrible dogmatism, an intolerance to exclusivism. What American people need is to hear the gospel. No amount of religiosity can communicate the simple, painful, liberating truth that the gospel brings.

What we need is another movement of people, especially the young, who are prepared to speak, to proclaim consistently, the good news that Jesus is the Lord, that he died to save sinners, and that there is hope only in him.