The More Things Change, The More Things Stay the Same

Billy Graham
Billy Graham

I have been enjoying on Satellite Radio the preaching of Billy Graham. I have noticed several common denominators in Graham’s preaching. Regardless of his subject, he made, as some have said, “a straight line to the cross.” Whether his subject was heaven, hell, sin, or a topic like loneliness, Graham made his way to the cross as soon as possible.

Another thing that I have noticed is how Graham used contemporary events. Graham was truly a man like the ones spoken of in 1 Chronicles 12:32, who “understood the times and knew what Israel should do.”

One other thing I have noticed, that I knew already, but I have paid special attention to it, is that Billy Graham closed all of his messages in essentially the same way. He called people to a decision. Not only did he call people to a decision, but he used almost the exact same words every time. He called people to believe, and then he explained what Biblical belief is. And then, he called people to repentance, and he explained what repentance is. Repentance is a change in your view about God, in your view about yourself, and in your view about sin. He called people in repenting to make a change.

I remember reading years ago of Graham’s answer to a reporter’s question about the difference in preaching at the beginning of his ministry and the end of his public ministry. His answer is classic:

Nothing has really changed in terms of the needs of people. Whenever or whatever you preach, you must remind them of their sin, speak to them about Heaven and Hell, show them to the cross, and urge them to come to the Savior.

Truly, the more things have changed, the more things have stayed the same.

2 Replies to “The More Things Change, The More Things Stay the Same”

  1. You hit the nail on the head, Steve! The Gospel is simple and Billy Graham kept it that way. No “feel good” sermons that prevent examination of the heart and conviction of sin. A good sermon always ends with a question “Where will you spend eternity?”. Keep the Main Plain!