In 1945 Billy Graham was a rising star. But not the brightest star. Chuck Templeton was also in his mid-twenties. One seminary president said that Templeton was, “the most gifted young man in America today for preaching.”
(photo public domain via Wikimedia Commons)
Most observers would have put their money on Templeton to become the next great evangelist.
The National Association of Evangelicals published an article in 1946 about the men who were “best used of God.” They highlighted the ministry of Chuck Templeton, and never mentioned Billy Graham.
But Chuck Templeton began to study at Princeton Seminary under professors who challenged the reliability of Scripture. He in turn challenged Billy Graham’s convictions about the trustworthiness of the Bible.
For Graham, the issue came to a head at Forest Home Camp in California, where he wrestled with God over the issue. Billy finally dropped to his knees and cried out to God that he would accept the Bible as the reliable Word of God.
That was the summer of 1949 and just afterwards came Graham’s breakout crusade in LA. It resulted in many salvations and drew national and worldwide attention. Graham’s ministry skyrocketed.
On the other hand, Chuck Templeton left the ministry within five years to pursue a career in media. He decided he was no longer a believer in the Bible or the Christian faith. Today, most have never heard of him.
Like Billy Graham, I love the Bible.
Here are 4 Reasons I love and trust the Bible:
1. Its remarkable pedigree.
The Bible was written by 40 authors, on 3 continents, in 3 languages and over a period of 1,500 years. Yet it has complete harmony on many very complex issues and timelines.
Get 40 Bible scholars (or any other group) in a room and you will have 40 opinions on all kinds of issues.
But the Bible is miraculously harmonious.
2. Its confirmation through archaeology
I wrote a blog post on this topic HERE.
There is much more information available through books like Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell.
3. Its guidance for life.
I love the Bible because it provides such a significant Owner’s Manual for our lives.
The Bible starts with, “In the beginning…” (Genesis 1:1a). And Scripture ends with the book of Revelation and what life is like after this earth, for all eternity.
Those who live without Biblical belief lack answers to vital questions such as
Who am I?
Where did I come from?
Where am I going?
What is my purpose?
What is the meaning of life?
The Bible provides a foundation for significance and meaning in life.
4. Its ability to transform lives of those who read it.
I love the fact that countless lives have been remarkably transformed by reading the Bible.
My friend Steve Goldberg is Jewish and grew up in a moderately Jewish home. On holidays Steve saw prisoner number tattoos on the arms of extended family members. The numbers came from the Nazi death camps of WWII.
Later in life he married Rhoda, a pastor’s daughter who had left her Christian faith, despite her upbringing and attending a Christian college. Steve and Rhoda explored different faiths and became New Age.
But at age 60, Steve’s business was failing. His business partner seemed to be dealing with the situation with more peace and Steve asked why. His partner gave him a Bible.
As Steve read the Bible, particularly the stories of Jesus Christ, he was impressed. He would share verses like John 3:16 with Rhoda, who knew them well from her abandoned upbringing.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 KJV)
One day he exclaimed to Rhoda, “You know, this stuff is true, I believe the Bible and its revelation of Jesus.”
She responded, “Do you know what that makes you?” Steve didn’t know. She said, “That makes you a Christian.” “You know, I guess you’re right” Steve responded.
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17 ESV)
Today Steve is a full-time missionary with Dynamic Church Planting International, the ministry I have served with since 1998!
That’s the power of the Bible. I hope you read it, believe its message and allow its Author to transform your life.