From the files of Dr. Henrietta Mears–called “Teacher” by many she has led to Christ and built in the faith–comes the following personal testimony of evangelist Billy Graham. In 1948, prior to a great crusade in Los Angeles, Dr. Mears invited a young virtually unknown minister to speak at Forest Home, the Christian conference grounds she was instrumental in founding. Here is his account of one of the most important weeks in his life. [Excerpt first published in Teach Magazine, Spring 1962, p44]
In 1967, Billy Graham returned to Forest Home as part of the dedication of the Rock of Witness commemorating this pivotal moment in his life and ministry. He also spoke at the dedication of the Sermon on the Mount Chapel at Forest Home where he again spoke of the significance of this event and the influence of Henrietta Mears. His message is at the bottom of this post.
Where Billy Graham Dueled His Doubts–And Won
I came early to Forest Home to plan for the coming week. Spiritual problems seemed to focus here and wrestling with the Spirit was inevitable. I was having my doubts concerning the Word of God. The authoritative note, so characteristic of great preachers of the past was lacking in my own ministry.
I prayed that the Spirit would have full sway in my heart. And as I walked down the paths, suddenly I came to grips with myself. I was caught in a spiritual cross-fire. I was having a duel with my doubts and there finally in desperation I went to my knees before God with my Bible and I began to pray:
“Dear Lord, there are thing that I cannot understand from They Word, but Thou has told me that the just shall live by faith. Everything I have received I have taken by faith. Here and now by faith I take the Word of God to be true. I take it all, I take it without reservation. And Lord, if it please Thee, give me great authority as I preach Thy Word.”
I have often said this experience at Forest Home transformed my entire ministry. I went to the Los Angeles Crusade and, instead of having fear, I found the burning fire of the Spirit within my soul. I stopped trying to prove that the Bible was true. I had settled it in my own mind by faith that it was. And this faith conveyed itself to the audience. Over and over again I found myself saying, “The Bible says.” It seemed as though i was not speaking, but I was only a voice through which the Holy Spirit was speaking.
A plaque in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London in memory of Sir Christopher Wren reads: “If you would see his memorial, look about you.” So I would say of Dr. Mears and Forest Home. If you would see anything that we could erect as a memorial to her faithful years of service, look about you and see the lives that she has helped to lead into the knowledge of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.