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Robert Templeton

Robert Templeton

This past February we said goodbye to Billy Graham. Reverend Graham was one of the most respected and influential "lights" of modern Christianity. He was very much the polar-opposite of the Benny Hinns, Joel Osteens and such. In listening to virtually any recording of his sermons, from the oldest to the most recent, Rev. Graham always ended his sermons at the place where true life begins. He preached the cross.

Romans 10:15 reads in part, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things." I've always felt that particular passage to be appropriate for Rev. Graham and the pastors whom that passage would aptly apply.

The beginning of Romans 10, verse 1 is the Apostle Paul's plea for the Roman church. It reads, "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved."

I'm of the opinion Rev. Graham's heart's desire and prayer to God was for all whom would respond to the call of salvation to be saved. He never really preached about too much of anything else. If you think about it, when we reach the end of our lives on this earth, the only thing that will really matter will be if we ever found ourselves at the foot of the cross, with the blood of Jesus Christ washing over us.

Most often today, it seems that mainstream gospel presentations revolve around one's pursuit of self-fulfillment, church consumerism, light shows and emotional musical "worship." We tend to be ever learning about the life of Jesus, His miracles, love, healing and gentleness, yet never being able to come to the knowledge of the truth. We have cultivated a seeker-friendly environment within our church walls, where one seemingly can tell God Himself what is acceptable for salvation. However, one cannot enter the kingdom of heaven without coming to terms with the cross.

I appreciate pastors who will stand boldly for the whole Word of God. I am thankful for those men who fill the pulpits across this world that set aside the popularity of easy believism. I am grateful for those who preach that in addition to heaven, that other place known as hell is no less real and many within the church walls are walking in its direction.

That's why Rev. Graham always ended up at the cross. He understood that our sin had to be acknowledged and repented from in order for salvation to be obtained. In our Bibles, when we look at our Lord's crucifixion, we won't read about alternative doors into heaven. We won't read about different beliefs being giving entry. No, all we will read about is the price paid for our souls, and the doorway was found there, at the foot of that cross.

The ministry that God has allowed me to participate in will probably never touch as many lives as Rev. Graham's. However, I would like to think that someone, somewhere, sometime in their lives would be able to look upon the day they answered the call of Jesus Christ. And perhaps they will remember that preacher's name who shared Jesus with them, who told them of the cross. That preacher may have been me.

Rev. Robert Templeton is former pastor of Cope Baptist Church.

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