After Passing of Billy Graham, Capitol Hill Evangelist Pays Tribute to Ministerial Exemplar and Expresses Personal Regret
Contact: Melinda Ronn, 202-380-9713
WASHINGTON, Feb. 21, 2018 /Christian Newswire
/ -- The Reverend Rob Schenck, a more than 20-year missionary evangelist to top government officials in Washington, DC, paid tribute to Billy Graham today, by writing in his blog at www.revrobschenck.com
, "When I enrolled in Bible college to become a minister, Graham became my role model, the exemplar of everything it meant to be a preacher, evangelist, and ambassador for Christ. I would later emulate him in the pulpit and model my own organization after his.
"Billy Graham would remain the gold standard for me, and countless other young Christian leaders in my world. . . Many of us actually kept to 'the Billy Graham Rule,' which meant doing everything honestly, transparently, modestly, and, with a view toward answering the questions, 'Is this being done for my glory or the glory of God? Am I treating people the way Jesus would treat them?'"
Then, Schenck says, things changed. "By 2005, I had lost my spiritual bearings and could no longer tell where the true north of the gospel was located. In the process, I turned on my one-time mentor. In my highly politicized mind, Mr. Graham went from being the great gospel crusader to the weak political compromiser."
That led to decision Schenck says he now deeply regrets.
"When I was invited to his last public crusade in . . . Queens, New York, I sat in the front row. When I saw Bill and Hillary Clinton step out on the stage . . . I was livid. How could this great man parade two people that were anathema in my conservative universe in front of a sacred assembly? As Mr. Graham gave the mic to President Clinton, joking that the Democrat should be an evangelist and 'leave his wife to run the country,' I stood up and very publicly stormed out . . ."
"I am ashamed of my behavior on that day, but my greater regret . . . is that I am so sorry I never expressed my remorse to Mr. Graham. I would have liked to have begged his pardon, to repent for my obnoxious sanctimoniousness, and my impudent rejection of his tutelage in human diplomacy.
"I really wish I could have told Mr. Graham that. Maybe I'll still get the chance, when, in the not-too-distant future, I stand before the gracious throne of heaven with him and the millions of souls he won to the Savior. . . . Thank you, Billy Graham, for being God's gift to me and so very many others. Thank you for serving our Lord so faithfully, for proclaiming the gospel so clearly, for modeling ministry with such integrity, for treating everyone so fairly. I learned invaluable lessons from you—even when I rejected them."
The Reverend Dr. Rob Schenck is the author of a memoir, Costly Grace: An Evangelical Minister's Rediscovery of Faith, Hope and Love (HarperCollins), available for pre-order now and on sale June 5, in which he writes about his experiences with Billy Graham. Schenck his founder of Faith and Action in the Nation's Capital and president of The Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute, both in Washington, DC.