Throughout Christian history, God had His specially-chosen servants to lead the vanguard against the gates of Hades, “spiritual giants” such as Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, D.L. Moody, John Sung and many others. Dr Billy Graham was one of them. He was given a platform as wide as the world and an access as privileged as being a chaplain to several US presidents. Ministering at a time with new broadcasting technology, some 77 million saw him preach in person while nearly 215 million more watched his crusades on TV, satellite link-ups and the internet.
With the passing of Billy Graham – called home to be with the Lord on 21 February – I give thanks for how God had used Graham for His kingdom’s work. I was only 2 years old when 337,000 people turned up over 5 days at the old National Stadium for the Billy Graham crusade in 1978. Although I never had an opportunity to be at the crusade itself, its lasting impacts left an indelible mark on Christianity in Singapore during those years when I grew up in the 1980s and 90s. Not only did the crusade initiate an era of rapid growth of Christianity, it also sparked off inter-denominational collaborations and partnerships. Christian organisations such as Evangelical Fellowship of Singapore (EFOS) and Singapore Centre for Evangelism and Missions (SCEM) were formed.
Furthermore, Graham had also prophesied that Singapore would be the “Antioch of Asia” which inspired the Christian community to embark on mobilising and sending missionaries to Asia and beyond. As we look back, we give thanks that God has been using Singapore churches to fulfill this calling. This is especially timely today as we commission the Ceballos family for missionary service in Mongolia.
The Bible has described 40 years to mark 1 generation. The calling home of Billy Graham 40 years after his crusade in 1978 leaves subsequent generations of Christians with the challenge to rise up and continue the work of the Gospel. With thanksgiving for Billy Graham’s life and legacy, may our closing hymn today – “Find Us Faithful – move, stir and inspire us to live for God and His kingdom purposes. To God be the glory.
Rev Darryl Chan