William (Will) Franklin Graham IV is the grandson of Billy Graham and the son of Franklin Graham. CT contributing editor Christine A. Scheller interviewed him when he was in Red Bank, New Jersey, on March 25 preparing for the May 20-22 Jersey Shore Will Graham Celebration that will be held at the historic Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove. Graham is an associate evangelist at the evangelistic organization his grandfather founded and assistant director of The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove. He is a graduate of Liberty University and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He preached his first 3-day Celebration in Leduc, Alberta, Canada in 2006. Graham and his wife, Kendra, live near Asheville, North Carolina and have three young children.
Last year Harvard professor Robert D. Putman published a book called American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us. He and his co-author found that Americans' doctrinal commitments are weakening and they don't believe God is going to send "Aunt Joanie" to hell. How do you preach the gospel to a generation that questions the eternality of hell?
I always go back to the Bible. It's what the Bible says, and oftentimes as Americans— and this is not just in religion, it's in a lot of things—we try to design stuff, today we call it designer religion: "I'll take a little bit of this and take a little bit of that" and so on, and we kind of come up with our own little religion. We try to make our own God, our own idol in a sense. This is what our God is going to be: he's going to be more compassionate, no more hell. But always I go back to this is what the Bible says; not this is what Will Graham says, but this is what God is saying through his Word.