By Tom Quiner
Billy Graham is 97 years old today.
This legendary Christian evangelist reached an estimated 2.2 billion souls thanks to the power of mass media. He was a spiritual advisor to presidents. His Billy Graham Crusades conveyed the passion of Christianity with fiery sermons that drew millions to the faith.
According to the Gallup Poll, he was voted one of the 10 most admired men in the world a record 58 times!
Graham was profound in his theology:
“The will of God will not take us where the grace of God cannot sustain us.”
He knew how to put materialism in perspective:
“There is nothing wrong with men possessing riches. The wrong comes when riches possess men.”
He could be funny:
“The only time my prayers are never answered is on the golf course.”
The Venerable Fulton Sheen would be 120 years old.
This legendary Catholic priest, archbishop, and future saint hosted a popular radio show for years before moving to the fledgling television industry in the early 1950s. He was born for the medium.
His ability to speak to the heart and the intellect made Christianity accessible to everyone. His was not a dumbed-down theology. He was profound and uncompromising in communicating the profundity and beauty of Christianity.
His show soon went prime time where some 30 million people PER WEEK tuned in to hear him talk with nothing but a blackboard as a prop.
Sheen was profound in his theology:
“It takes three to make love, not two: you, your spouse, and God. Without God people only succeed in bringing out the worst in one another. Lovers who have nothing else to do but love each other soon find there is nothing else. Without a central loyalty life is unfinished.”
He could be politically incorrect in an era before PC had even been defined:
“America, it is said, is suffering from intolerance — it is not. It is suffering from tolerance. Tolerance of right and wrong, truth and error, virtue and evil, Christ and chaos. Our country is not nearly so overrun with the bigoted as it is overrun with the broadminded.”
He could be funny:
“Hearing nuns’ confessions is like being stoned to death with popcorn.”
We live in an era of disgraced televangelists, Jim and Tammy Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart being the most notable.
Billy Graham and Fulton Sheen remind us of the good a good televangelist can accomplish.
These two men were the best ever.