Who was Billy Graham? Many don’t really know. Here’s the foreword I wrote to a marvelous biography of the evangelist. I commend it to your attention as we remember the most influential Evangelical of our age.

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Feb 222018
 

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Almost a decade ago, I was asked to write the foreword to an absolutely marvelous biography titled, Billy Graham: His Life and Influence. Written by David Aikman, a former foreign correspondent for Time magazine, it is the best book about the evangelist of the many that I’ve read. In this week leading up to the March 2nd memorial service in Montreat, North Carolina, if you’re looking to learn more about this extraordinary servant of God — for yourself or for young people, many of who don’t really know who he was — let me commend this work to you, in print or audio. 

FOREWORD

Jesus Christ once said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these will he do; because I go to the Father.” (John 14:12)

Jesus also said, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end shall come.” (Matthew 24:14)

When I think of Billy Graham, I think of these two verses. For no single human being in the history of the world ever personally preached the gospel of Jesus Christ to more people face to face than Billy Graham – some 215 million in 185 countries.

No single Protestant Christian leader in human history ever personally befriended, counseled and shared the love of Christ and the truths of the Bible with more presidents, prime ministers, kings and queens than did Graham.

Few evangelists have employed radio, television, satellite technology, motion pictures, magazines, books, and the Internet more effectively than Graham to reach hundreds of millions of more souls with the life changing message of the cross, and to train tens of thousands of international evangelists to carry the message to the ends of the earth.

In the power of the Holy Spirit, Graham may have actually reached more people with the gospel than were on the planet when Jesus walked the earth, and did more than any other single human in the 20th century to fulfill the prophecy of Matthew 24:14 and set the stage for the Second Coming.

Why did the Lord choose an ordinary farm boy from North Carolina to accomplish such an historic mission? How did the Lord train and prepare this young man to reach the nations with the message of salvation? What were the geopolitical, social, religious and cultural contexts in which Billy Graham operated? What mistakes did Graham make, what mistakes was he wisely able to avoid, and what lessons can the next generation of Christ-followers and Christ-proclaimers draw from his life and ministry?

These are the questions that have fascinated me ever since I had the opportunity to see Billy Graham in person for the first time in September 1988 in my hometown of Rochester, New York, when he was leading a Crusade at Silver Stadium and my parents were on the platform committee.

My admiration for and curiosity about Graham only intensified the following year, in April 1989, when I had the opportunity to meet and interact with him. I was a senior at Syracuse University. Graham was bringing his Crusade to the Carrier Dome on our campus. But a few months before he arrived, Radical Islamic terrorists from Libya blew up Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing thirty-five fellow S.U. students. Knowing the local General Secretary of the Syracuse Crusade, I asked him if he would invite Graham to speak at a special student forum we would entitle, “Peace In A Troubled World.”

Graham’s staff informed us that due to his age and health, he had largely stopped doing such forums. But given the unique situation, the evangelist graciously agreed. We organized a private reception for him at the Chancellor’s home to meet the student leaders on campus and answer their questions. Then Graham spoke to the larger student body we helped organize and answered their many spiritual and personal questions. I watched the Lord use Billy Graham powerfully that night, touching the lives of young people devastated by an act of Middle Eastern terrorism with the message of a Savior from the Middle East, and I was forever moved.

The interaction of those days whetted my appetite to understand this man, his message, and his methods more deeply. In the last two decades, I have read many Billy Graham biographies, but this one is by far my favorite.

David Aikman’s masterful and incredibly insightful work, Billy Graham: His Life and Influence, is a must read for everyone trying to understand how God can raise up a teenager no one has ever heard of and transform him into the greatest evangelist in the history of the world. David poignantly captures the drama of Graham’s meteoric rise, his proximity to power, the challenges he faced, but most of all his enduring passion to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to anyone and everyone who would listen.

I first came across the book on audio tape and listened to it numerous times, intrigued by the insider details that David reports and the geopolitical and social context that he provides. As David vividly portrays, for half a century Billy Graham made such a gigantic mark on the religious life of both the U.S. and the world that in important ways he transformed the age in which he lived.

He turned evangelical Protestantism into the normative form of the Christian faith as practiced by Protestants.  He reached out in an extraordinary way to Roman Catholics, and in many ways was embraced by them as a “brother.” 

Christians of more liberal theological persuasion might gripe under their breath about “those Fundamentalists,” but they have never been able to challenge the dominance of evangelicals. Globally, Billy Graham accomplished something similar. 

He injected a self-confidence into multiple national Christian movements that helped propel them, in some cases, into positions of national power. Finally, internationally, Graham was at least a partial catalyst for some of the most important events of our era:  the collapse of Communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and the peaceful transition from apartheid to black African majority-rule in South Africa.

As you are about to see, David Aikman describes in gripping detail Graham’s painful parting of the ways with America’s leading Fundamentalists in the 1950’s, his complex, and sometimes tormented coping with the American Civil Rights movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s, and his intriguing, but not always smooth, relationships with eleven of America’s presidents.  In recounting the different stages – and sometimes lurches – of Graham’s life, I found that David fascinatingly, but always succinctly, sketched in just enough of the historical and political background to bring the entire story vividly to life.

The same is true of those parts of the book that deal with Billy Graham’s travels overseas. David Aikman was for 23 years a correspondent for TIME Magazine, and for much of that time was a foreign correspondent and assigned to TIME bureaus all over the world.  He became very familiar with the international settings of many of Graham’s most important foreign journeys and knew personally some of the personalities with whom Graham met.  His insights into the collapse of Communism, the rise of Christianity in China, and the peculiar nature of North Korean Communism are worth reading for their own sake. 

Billy Graham, of course, was first and foremost an American original. But in many ways he also belonged to the entire world, a world which to this day has been profoundly affected by his life. His deeply-held conviction that Jesus Christ is coming back soon – and his determination to give every man, woman and child on the planet an opportunity to hear the gospel and respond to it before that Day – is one of the most important stories of the past century.  May the Lord use this wonderful book to inspire and encourage you to receive Christ into your own heart, and then make His beautiful and powerful Name known to the nations while there is still time.

Joel Rosenberg, Washington, D.C., February 2010 

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BREAKING: Billy Graham has gone home to be with the Lord at age 99. He preached the Gospel to 200 million+ face-to-face, more than any man in history.

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Feb 212018
 

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(Jerusalem, Israel) — The Associated Press is reporting that the Rev. Billy Graham — a humble giant of the Christian faith — has been called home to be with the Lord.

He was 99.

Please keep his family and staff in prayer as they process his loss, and simultaneously set into motion long-prepared memorial service plans.

Let’s also thank our Father in heaven for using this farmer’s son from rural North Carolina to boldly proclaim the Gospel to more people face to face than any other person in human history. He preached in stadiums and arenas to more than 200 million people, as well as to tens of millions of more souls via radio, TV, film, books and other forms of media.

Rev. Graham had a profound impact on my own life and faith, as I known he had on many of you. I first had the honor to meet him in the spring of 1989 when I worked on the evangelistic campaign he was conducting at Syracuse University, and worked closely with him and his team organizing a special Q&A forum he conducted for S.U. students after the tragic downing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, which had 38 Syracuse students on board.

More recently, just a few years ago, Anne Graham Lotz invited me to come to Montreat, North Carolina, to teach the Scriptures at The Cove retreat center, and to meet with and pray for the aging servant of the Lord. It was a very special and deeply moving time.

I pray now that even in his passing, his memorial service will be used by the Lord to proclaim the good news of God’s amazing grace and love to hundreds of millions — maybe billions — more people in the U.S. and around the world. So many still need to hear the simple truth of the Jewish Messiah who came to teach and love and suffer and die on the cross, and yet to rise again on the third day, all in fulfillment of the Hebrew prophets. So many still need to know that the Messiah has come to give forgiveness and eternal and abundant life to anyone who will repent and call on the name of the Lord Jesus to be saved.

May he not only be remembered, but may his example be followed humbly and boldly. 

(photo: Rev. Graham with my pastor, Dr. T.E. Koshy, and myself at a reception for student leaders at Syracuse University in April 1989)


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Romans 13:9-10

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Feb 202018
 
“The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

Announcing 10-city U.S. book tour for “The Kremlin Conspiracy.” First event will be a keynote address at the NRB Convention in Nashville next week.

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Feb 202018
 

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Two weeks from today, The Kremlin Conspiracy will release in hardcover, e-book and audio formats. Today, I’m excited to announce a 10-city speaking and media tour.

You can learn all the details of each public event on the tour by clicking here. Please make plans to attend one of the events. I’d love the opportunity to meet you, sign your book and answer your questions.

I’m deeply honored to have been invited to deliver a keynote address to the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Nashville next week. In addition, I’ve been asked to speak at several other events during the convention. The NRB speech will mark the book tour’s kick-off, though most of the book interviews I do will actually begin the week of March 6th. Please follow me on Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates on media interviews, but we’ll also be posting some of the interviews on my website, on our “Epicenter Team” Facebook page, and on my Twitter account, if you miss them.

If you haven’t pre-ordered The Kremlin Conspiracy, please do so today!

Here are excerpts from the NRB press release:

Best-selling author and Middle East expert Joel C. Rosenberg is scheduled to speak during the Super Session on March 1, 2018, at Proclaim 18, the NRB International Christian Media Convention in Nashville, Tennessee.

Rosenberg has appeared on top national and religious radio and TV shows; met with religious and government leaders all across North America and around the world; and spoken to many audiences, including audiences at the White House, Pentagon, Congress, Canadian Parliament, and the European Union Parliament.

“Joel Rosenberg has unique insights about critical issues today, and we are thrilled to have him join us for Proclaim 18, NRB’s 75th annual Convention,” said NRB President & CEO Dr. Jerry A. Johnson. “Convention attendees will be blessed to hear what God has placed on Joel’s heart, and he is sure to challenge and inspire during the Super Session….

Proclaim 18 will take place February 27-March 2, 2018, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, while NRB’s award-winning Exposition – featuring around 200 exhibitors – will be open February 28-March 2.

Other NRB speakers include Vice President Mike Pence, Pastor Rick Warren, Pastor Greg Laurie, and actors Dennis Quaid and Jim Caviezel. Music will be provided by Mercy Me and Michael W. Smith, among others.

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Romans 8:38-39

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Feb 172018
 
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Former CIA Director and New York Times best-selling writers praise THE KREMLIN CONSPIRACY, forthcoming political thriller about a Russian Czar plotting to attack the US & NATO alliance. (Novel set for March 6 release.)

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Feb 152018
 

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As the countdown to the March 6th launch approaches, some early endorsements of The Kremlin Conspiracy are in, and they’re encouraging.

“Joel Rosenberg has an uncanny talent for focusing his story-telling on real world hot spots just as they are heating up. He has done it again in The Kremlin Conspiracy. Russia is back in the headlines above the fold as a macro-mischief maker and Joel’s new thriller presents a worst case scenario that must never come to pass. All Americans – especially the President, Members of Congress and our national security team – should be mindful of the threat an out-of-control Moscow poses to peace and freedom.” – Porter Goss, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency

“Marcus Ryker rocks! Breakneck action, political brinksmanship, authentic scenarios, and sharply defined characters make Joel C. Rosenberg’s Kremlin Conspiracy a full throttle and frightening ride through tomorrow’s headlines.” – U.S. Army Brigadier General (retired) A. J. Tata, national bestselling author of Direct Fire

“Joel C. Rosenberg writes taut, intelligent thrillers that are as timely as they are well-written. Pairing a fast-paced plot with an impressive understanding of the inner workings in the corridors of power of the Russian government, The Kremlin Conspiracy is a stellar novel of riveting action and political intrigue.” – Mark Greaney, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Agent in Place

The Kremlin Conspiracy is my first Joel C. Rosenberg novel, and I am absolutely blown away by how good this guy is. The story moves at a blistering pace, it’s crackling with tension, and you won’t put it down until you reach the end. Guaranteed. Simply masterful.” – Sean Parnell, New York Times bestselling author of Outlaw Platoon

What is THE KREMLIN CONSPIRACY all about?

SEPTEMBER 1999: A series of apartment bombings in Moscow shock the world. The Russian government immediately blames Chechen terrorists, and Oleg Kraskin―a sharp young lawyer in love with the president’s daughter―has no reason to doubt it. Yet when he joins the First Family of Russia, and the president’s personal staff, he has no idea how radically the bombings will one day alter the course of world events. Or what role he himself will play.

SEPTEMBER 2001­: Just after the Twin Towers and the Pentagon are attacked, Marcus Ryker enlists in the Marines and is sent to Afghanistan to defend his country. In time, he joins the United States Secret Service and works his way up to the elite Presidential Protection Detail. It’s his dream job, until a tragic accident causes him to rethink his priorities.

Neither Marcus nor Oleg is aware of just how much they themselves will change history when their paths cross.

Russia’s president is a rising czar determined to restore his country to her former greatness―and he will stop at nothing to do so. Even risk nuclear war.

Now Marcus has to make the most important decision of his life. Would it ever be right to assassinate a single leader if it could prevent a genocide? If it is, then everything he’s learned to protect our president, he’ll need to take out theirs.

Please pre-order your copy today in hardcover, e-book or audio formats today from Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Lifeway, or your favorite bookstore retailer!

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