I Am the Captain of My Soul: Billy Graham
Graham’s focus on human experience vis-à-vis biblical authority and as an apologetic for the Christian faith provided the bands of attachment to him and his ministry from two directions—both moderates and conservatives found resonance in his emphases. Similar effects of affirmation arose from a third area of emphasis, the autonomy of the human will. The entire work of God for salvation finally was suspended on the capacity-to-decide resident within the human will. In a sermon on slothfulness, Graham closed, “Eternal life is within reach of everyone. The savior is as near as your yielded will, or He is as far away as you want Him to be. Your own stubborn, slothful spirit is your greatest hindrance to letting Him come into your heart.” [Seven Deadly Sins, 40] Anger also finds its cure in the power of the will. “The first step then in finding victory over unjustified anger is to want to get rid of it,” Graham rightly advised. The solution, therefore, already resides within. “The will comes to the fore and says, ‘I will do something about his unruly temper of mine.’” In Graham’s anthropology, like Finney and those that followed in his wake, the human will had been unaffected by the fall. Both the “stubborn, slothful spirit” and the “unruly temper” were in the control of the human will and would yield to the force of a person’s decision to throw them off.
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