A defining moment is when a decision is made, usually in a time of crisis, that is the determining factor in how the rest of your life plays out. It is a momentous moment that determines your destiny. The following is the true story of Billy Graham and his defining moment.

The Crisis

Billy Graham and Charles Templeton were leading young evangelists in the 1940s. They were friends and they traveled and preached together during the mid-1940s in the Youth for Christ movement. Both had defining moments that took them in opposite directions.

Templeton attended Princeton Theological Seminary where he was exposed to liberal theologians who questioned the authority of Scripture, the deity of Christ, and other orthodox doctrines of the Bible.

He told Graham their faith was flimsy and urged him to study at a top seminary. When Graham declined, Templeton accused him of “intellectual suicide.”

Although he outwardly rebuffed Templeton’s challenges to his faith, Billy was inwardly troubled and plagued with doubts. Also, his ministry was floundering, which added to his uncertainty and distress. 

His Defining Decision

He finally decided he had to get alone and have it out with God. He went to a Christian retreat center called Forest Home tucked away in southern California's San Bernardino Mountains. There, he wandered among the tall pines and prayed and wrestled with his misgivings.

He finally sat on a tree stump and opened his Bible on a big rock. He prayed and pondered. Then from the deepest depths of his being he made a defining decision. He decided he was going to believe the Bible come hell or highwater. He may not understand some parts and unable explain other parts, but from that day forth he would forever believe that the Bible is God’s word to mankind.

The Rest is History

Everything changed. He arose with a settled sense of peace and confidence in his heart. His very next meeting began September 25, 1949, under a tent in Los Angeles where he preached God’s word with a new sense of passion, urgency, and boldness.

The crowds, however, were small; but then the newspaper magnate, William Randolph Hearst, an ungodly man whom Graham never met, sent a telegram to his editors and reporters telling them to, “puff Graham.”

Suddenly his tent meeting was being covered by all the major newspapers in the area. The crowds came, multitudes came to Christ, and the ministry of Billy Graham as we know him was launched. In what was probably a shot at Templeton, Graham said in one of his sermons,

"When God gets ready to shake America, he may not take the Ph.D. and the D.D. -- God may choose a country boy. God may choose the man that no one knows, a little nobody, to shake America for Jesus Christ in this day, and I pray that he would!"

Graham went on to preach to millions and fill the largest stadiums in America and broadcast worldwide on TV and radio. He became a counselor to presidents and known as "America's pastor." And Charles Templeton? He moved to Canada and worked in the Canadian media and died an atheist. 

Each had their defining moments that determined their destinies. 
Have you had your defining moment with God?

I include this story on my latest book, Discovering the Real Jesus, that is available from Amazon and our website at http://eddiehyatt.com.

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