In honor of Billy Graham, a hero of mine, I’m digitizing some of his sermons from long out-of-print records and making them available as MP3s. This sermon is found on an LP called Billy Graham Crusade in Miniature from 1969 (Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, BG-3345).
This sermon, from a Crusade he preached in New York City in 1969, is the third in this Billy Graham series on the Second Coming, each one essentially different from the others. Here he refers to the nuclear arms race, racial tensions, student unrest, and scientific pessimism, combined with the “almost frantic quest for pleasure and having a good time” as the “shadow of the possibility of the destruction of the human race. And so the human race stands at this moment on the brink, on the threshold. Many of our leaders don’t know the answer.”
Now there are three elements even in modern theology… there is pessimism. Harry Emerson Fosdick was a pastor in this city for many years. In his sunset years he said this: “If one’s thinking is dominated by the gigantic events of our generation, we cannot avoid despair.” So we have a theology of despair. We have a theology of activism. And we have a theology of hope. I belong to that group that has a theology of hope, because my hope is not centered in this world, or in what man is going to do or not going to do. My hope is centered in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, who the Bible says is going to come back some day and straighten the whole mess out. That’s our hope: in Christ!
Like Graham, I also belong to the group that has a theology of hope. I take no consolation in signs of “progress.” I’m not overly concerned with bleak headlines. The world will get worse before it gets better. But when it gets better, it will be unimaginably good.
Click here for the previous post in this series, which includes links to the other sermons.