On February 21, 2018 the world lost a true man of God. William Franklin Graham Jr. was promoted to Glory to spend eternity with His Lord and Savior Jesus Christ whom he served so faithfully. He was 99 years old and would have turned 100 on November 7, 2018. I grew up during the years of the Billy Graham crusades. He held crusades all over the United States and around the world. He preached the gospel to millions of people and multitudes walked the long isles to accept Christ at his crusades. He was not one bit shy, hesitant, or ashamed to tell people about Christ and their need for salvation. He boldly proclaimed God’s Word. He said in a taped interview I listened to recently that there really is no such thing as mass evangelism. It starts out that way as we sit listening amongst a large audience of people but it all comes down to each one of us as an individual before God deciding what we will do with Jesus. His crusades were recorded and replayed. I attended live crusades, watched and listened to him preach on TV and radio. He was steadfast in his commitment to Christ and to preaching the powerful Word of God. Billy Graham was a true man of God. He was a model ambassador because he was a man of integrity and represented God well. Satan goes after men like Dr. Graham with extra vigor hoping to cause them to fall into moral sin and scandal and tarnish the name of Christ. That has happened to many evangelists but it did not happen to Dr. Graham. He purposed to be above reproach in all he did in his personal life and in his ministry.
In his autobiography, Just As I Am, Billy Graham describes the resolutions he, Cliff Barrows, George Beverly Shea and Grady Wilson made regarding four critical areas: financial integrity, sexual morality, publicity, and partnership with local churches. These resolutions came to be known as the Modesto Manifesto.
“In 1948, Billy Graham began a series of evangelistic meetings in Modesto, California, along with his ministry team comprised of Cliff Barrows, George Beverly Shea and Grady Wilson. Through a series of conversations about ministry life and its challenges, the group met together in Modesto and resolved to uphold the highest standard of Biblical morality and integrity. Many pastors, ministries, and parachurch organizations and individuals have been inspired over the decades to adopt these philosophies.” (The Modesto Manifesto: A Declaration of Biblical Integrity, By Billy Graham, October 24, 2016, https://billygraham.org/story/51705/
Regarding sexual morality, the four men pledged themselves to avoid any situation that would have even the appearance of compromise or suspicion. Dr. Graham determined from that day on, not to travel, meet or eat alone with a woman other than his wife.
This boundary regarding members of the opposite gender has safeguarded the integrity of Billy Graham and his team as well as many others through the years. Vice President Mike Pence holds to this boundary with women. There are those who would tell us that this is an outdated standard and such rigid boundaries are no longer necessary. It is argued that people with strong internal personal boundaries do not need external boundaries. Please believe me when I tell you that none of the Modesto Manifesto resolutions are outdated . . . least of all the one pertaining to sexual morality. We don’t need to “reinvent the wheel” on this. Just stick to what works.
We live in an ultra sexualized society that requires more physical boundaries not less. Current events broadcast the need for stricter external boundaries. Do not be deceived. No one is immune from sexual temptation. Now more than ever we need external boundaries. Additionally, with the onset of gender identity issues, we cannot instantly assume anyone is a safe person just because they are friendly or nice to us.
Sexual relationships in the work place are frequent. Cross gender professional relationships can easily become sexualized. Work place affairs happen. They can be accidental or deliberate and mutual. They can be predatory, initiated by someone who is skilled at using others for his/her own advantage. Predatory people are experienced at choosing unsuspecting victims.
Let’s make a conscious decision to maintain clean relationships that do not compromise our integrity or anyone else’s.
“We determined that the Apostle Paul’s mandate to the young pastor Timothy would be ours as well: “Flee … youthful lusts” (2 Timothy 1:22, KJV). (Billy Graham, Just As I Am)
For the joy of a heart totally surrendered to Jesus,