What? Yeah, that’s what I read on somebody’s blog. And to be honest, I was a bit shocked. Dr. Graham is such an icon of the faith community, such a pillar of stability in what is often a nest of fallibility. We all have faulty feet of clay, but dear Billy has worked hard to maintain a ministry above the fray. And by and large he’s been successful. So just what did this writer have in mind?
Dr. Russell Moore, Dean of the School of Theology at Southern Baptist Seminary, was discouraged over the state of the church. He feared that there was no one “next in line” within the church ready to carry the baton that would soon be handed to him or her by the current leadership. He set this lament before Dr. Carl Henry, an evangelical theologian. Dr. Henry’s answer surprised.
“Why, you speak as though Christianity were genetic,” he said. “Of course, there is hope for the next generation of evangelicals. But the leaders of the next generation might not be coming from the current evangelical establishment. They are probably still pagans.”
“Who knew that Saul of Tarsus was to be the great apostle to the Gentiles?” he asked us. “Who knew that God would raise up a C.S. Lewis, a Charles Colson? They were unbelievers who, once saved by the grace of God, were mighty warriors for the faith.”
The idea resonated with Dr. Moore. He continued with the thought in his blog post.
“The next Jonathan Edwards might be the man driving in front of you with the Darwin Fish bumper decal. The next Charles Wesley might be a misogynist, profanity-spewing hip-hop artist right now. The next Billy Graham might be passed out drunk in a fraternity house right now.”
(If you’d like to read his entire piece on this topic, visit Moore to the Point.)
After my blood pressure returned to normal, I took a breath, and found there was immense comfort in these words. I hope you find it too. Your prodigal may currently be making choices that range from uncomfortable to shocking.
But the God of the universe looks down in love on your child and says, “I’m not done yet. I have plans for that one. And if they ever turn to Me, you’ll see something amazing. Something beautiful. Something that can change the world.”
What about you?
Do you look at your prodigal and sometimes feel disheartened by who they’ve become? Is it hard to keep your vision in line with your child’s potential in God’s eyes?