Billy Graham’s 1988 Message on the Crisis of Moral Deterioration In America

Billy Graham (BGEA)
Billy Graham (BGEA)

The great need in America is not for a new organization. Our great need is not for more economic prosperity. Our great need is for a real spiritual awakening, a revival in which men and women will humble themselves and pray and turn from their wicked ways to the God of our fathers.

In my opinion we’ve had four major crisis periods in American history. The first was the Revolutionary War. We did not even know whether we could be born as a nation or not. It was my privilege to be at Valley Forge when President Eisenhower made this statement there: “This is where they got [our independence] for us.”

In the midst of that winter, General Washington was seen time and again on his knees out in the snow calling upon God for victory. Out of that winter of prayer, George Washington led that little, beaten, discouraged, tattered army to a great victory that brought about the independence of the United States from Great Britain. I believe God helped that little army as it marched all the way to Yorktown.

The next great crisis in American history came when a Constitutional Convention was called in Philadelphia to ratify a Constitution for the new country that was being born. The delegates got angry with each other; they couldn’t agree on a thing. Benjamin Franklin eloquently called on the Convention to pray for God’s assistance: [“We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that ‘except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel.”]

Out of that Convention came the Constitution of the United States.

The next great crisis came during the Civil War. Men on both sides were killing each other, brothers against brothers, and it seemed that our little country would be torn apart. It seemed that we would become two separate nations or that some European power would come and take us over because we had weakened each other. But, thank God, on both sides we had some men and women who believed in God.

A man came to Abraham Lincoln one day and said, “Mr. Lincoln, don’t you believe that God is with us?” Mr. Lincoln said, “I’m not interested as to whether God is with us; I’m interested as to whether we are on God’s side.” President Lincoln called the nation to a day of prayer, and in his call of prayer he recommended individual repentance. He called for a renewed faith in God. He said, “We are a nation of sinful people, and God has brought us to this point; let us pray to God.”

The day that General Lee surrendered, President Lincoln called the Cabinet to prayer, and at the suggestion of the president the whole Cabinet dropped to its knees and offered thanks to Almighty God for the victory that preserved the Union.

Down in the South many people had also been praying. Robert E. Lee had been asked one day, “Aren’t you praying for victory?” General Lee said, “No, I’m praying that the will of God be done.” We believe that God’s will was done. The shackles of slavery were thrown off. The Union was preserved and the nation reunited.

The fourth great crisis in American history was not World War I. We were never threatened in World War I. Nor was it World War II. We were really never threatened as a nation in World War II. The fourth great crisis in American history is the crisis of the present moment. Our nation at this moment is being threatened as it has not been threatened since the Civil War. We are being threatened by moral deterioration.

We have seen this country plunging deeper and deeper, at a rapidly gaining momentum, into moral deterioration. Honesty and truthfulness have been thrown out the window. The nation is on a mad pursuit of amusements, pleasure and immorality.

The same symptoms that were in Rome during its last days are now seen and felt in America. Walk down the streets of our cities and see the current names of today’s films. Many are either psychopathic or centered on sex.

What is this country coming to?

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Billy Graham

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