Saturday, 1 February 2014

3 Evangelists (Billy Graham, Chuch Templeton, Bron Clifford)

I read this story about three evangelists:

Billy Graham wasn't' the only young preacher packing auditoriums in 1945. Chuck Templeton and Bron Clifford were accomplishing the same thing - and more. All three young men were in their mid-twenties. One seminary president, after hearing Templeton preach one evening to an audience of thousands called him "the most gifted and talented young man in America today for preaching."

Bron Clifford was another gifted 25 year old fireball. In 1945, many believed Clifford the most gifted and powerful preacher the church had seen in centuries. People lined up ten and twelve deep outside the auditorium trying to get in. Later in 1945, when Clifford was preaching in the chapel at Baylor University, the president ordered the class bells turned off so that the young man could minister without interruption to the student body.

Graham, Templeton and Clifford. In 1945, all three came shooting out of the starting blocks like rockets. You've heard of Billy Graham. So how come you've never heard of Templeton or Clifford?

Just five years later, Templeton left the ministry to pursue a career as a radio and television commentator and newspaper columnist. Templeton had decided he was no longer a believer in Christ in the orthodox sense of the term. By 1950, he wasn't even in the game and no longer believed in the validity of the claims of Jesus Christ.

What about Clifford? By 1954, Clifford had lost his family, his ministry, his health...and then his life. Alcohol and financial irresponsibility had done him in. He wound up leaving his wife and their two Down's Syndrome children. At just 35 years of age, this once-great preacher died from cirrhosis of the liver in a run down motel on the edge of Amarillo.

In the Christian life, it's not how you start that matters. It's how you finish.

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