Guest / Limited Access /

This article originally appeared in the November 18, 1988 issue of Christianity Today.

Without question, the public thinks of Billy Graham as "Mr. Clean." Even those with ideology and lifestyle 180 degrees from his consider him untainted. How does he do it?

Like so many other subjects, integrity is more easily recognized than defined or analyzed. It is easy to identify a person of integrity, but it is not so easy to pinpoint what makes him so. Billy Graham is "Mr. Clean" because he and his associates have determined that he will live beyond reproach. It's not merely a creed, but a commitment. Graham lives privately what he preaches publicly. He is consistent. What he believes, says, and does are the same. There is only one Billy Graham, not a public one and the private one.

Moreover, Graham has held himself accountable to his associates. We all need strong friends who will lovingly slam doors in our faces. Some of the most visible breaches of integrity this past year have come from a lack of accountability; no one was there to say, "I won't let you do this, because I care."

But integrity is what we do more than what we don't do, what we are more than what we are not. Those close to Graham will tell you he is who he is because he practices the presence of God, and it is this, more than the fear of public criticism, that keeps him in line.

In July of 1984 my wife and I were observers at Mission England, the Billy Graham crusades in Great Britain. While in Liverpool, I needed to talk with Graham for an hour or two concerning some matters at Christianity Today. Because of time restraints, he graciously invited Arlie and me to ride with Ruth and him to the next crusade site. We would leave immediately after the closing crusade in ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedHow Do I Talk with Someone Whose Worldview Opposes My Own?
How Do I Talk with Someone Whose Worldview Opposes My Own?
This week on Thursday is for Thinkers, Dr. Toby Jennings explores the biblical ways to talk with someone with an opposing worldview.
TrendingFive Errors to Drop From Your Easter Sermon
Five Errors to Drop From Your Easter Sermon
If you want to help people see Holy Week with fresh eyes, start by dropping these familiar fallacies.
Editor's PickGod's Hot Pursuit of an Armed Bank Robber
God's Hot Pursuit of an Armed Bank Robber
After I surrendered to the FBI, I surrendered to the Holy Spirit.
Leave a Comment

Use your Christianity Today login to leave a comment on this article. Not part of the community? Subscribe now, or register for a free account.

hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

October 2008

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.