Here is the second part of an interview the editors conducted last month with the evangelist. The first part appeared in the August 26 issue.

Question. What did you think of Anita Bryant’s campaign and how do you feel about the demands being made by homosexuals?

Answer. She is a very brave woman. Homosexuality is a sin. That is the teaching of Scripture. I think she was right in emphasizing that God loves the homosexual and we should love the homosexual and present Christ to the homosexual. Some things she and her associates said I would not have said in the same way.

I did not join in the local conflict in Dade County because I have become fearful of getting diverted from my primary role as proclaimer of the Gospel. I’m asked to lead drives against pornography, against liquor, and so on. I have learned to endorse what moral issues Christian ought to stand for. I don’t always take a leadership role because my primary job is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and I don’t want anything to divert me from that. I was also fearful that her campaign might galvanize and bring out into the open homosexuality throughout the country, so that homosexuals would end up in a stronger position. Whether that is going to materialize I do not know.

Q. What is the spiritual temperature of the human race? Have you noticed any changes over the last year or two?

A. I think a gigantic battle is going on between the forces of evil and the forces of God all over the world on a scale I have not known in my lifetime. I think there is a wide-open door in many parts of the world indicating a deep spiritual hunger. There is a spiritual vacuum. At the same time, the forces of evil are becoming more vicious, more hostile, more out in the open, as evidenced, for example, by so many new motion pictures on the devil—monster and horror pictures. Take the violence in the streets in many parts of the world, the kidnappings, the terrorism. The recent blackout in New York is a dramatic illustration. The veneer of civilization is very, very thin. Right underneath are the forces of evil just waiting for their moment to pounce, and maybe even to take over as much as they can of the world.

This brings us to a point Christians must wrestle with, namely, what does it mean to be separated from the world? People want to hear sermons about that. It doesn’t mean that we’re to get out of the world and forget the world’s spiritual or social needs. It does mean that we are to remain unspotted from the world and the forces of evil. Christians have grown permissive without knowing it. Although there is a growing interest in Bible study and in living a disciplined life for Christ, we haven’t made it clear that we’re to be separated from unclean things, situations, and people. Jesus mingled with the world; that’s one thing. But we must be separated from the evils of the world. There are things that have become acceptable to me over the years, primarily I suppose because of the influence of television. I have to be careful now because I find myself watching things that were not previously part of my life. Others, I’m sure, are similarly affected and that’s why we need more teaching on separation. All in all, I see the battle lines being drawn. Efforts are being made to destroy Christianity, whether through violence, which takes lives, or in classrooms where professors are undermining faith with sophistry.

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Q. Are you saying then that the spiritual situation has, over the last twenty-five or thirty years, deteriorated?

A. I couldn’t say that, because I don’t know. I don’t see the situation as deteriorating. I see evil as being more out in the open. On the other side, there is a greater receptivity to the Gospel than there was twenty years ago.

Q. How can you say that when communist influence and domination has been extended so much in recent years?

A. Well, I actually think that the evangelism of the future might come out of the Soviet Union. We’re hearing so many stories of young people being converted there and in all of Eastern Europe. This shows the spiritual hunger and the response to the Gospel.

Q. What’s your appraisal of the charismatic movement?

A. I think the charismatic movement has been used of God in many areas of the world—for example, Sweden. It has awakened some people. It has made an impact. Look at the Episcopal Church and the Roman Catholic Church, where people are longing for an experience and a personal relationship with Christ. I think in other areas of the world and in the church it has been divisive.

Q. What do you mean by divisive?

A. The charismatic movement itself has been very divided. The charismatic conference this past summer in Kansas City indicated that. There was a great sense of unity there, but at the same time there was a recognition of the diversity in interpreting various important passages of Scripture. By and large, however, it has been a movement that has opened many doors for the Gospel. Of course, every time something genuine comes along the devil has his counterfeits. We have a great deal of counterfeit evangelism. We have Elmer Gantrys beginning to rise in a way we have not seen in the last few years.

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Q. You are writing a book about the Holy Spirit. What has the work of this book done for you in your personal life?

A. You’d have to ask my wife, Ruth. Seriously, it has caused me to be aware of the person and work of the Holy Spirit in a way I never was before. Also, it has caused me to be less sure of some of the positions I have held. I have read different sides of different questions that have led me to rethink some of my ideas. I was extremely interested in a recent issue of Christian Life, which listed the charismatic beliefs. I checked off those I agreed with, and found only one that I had some difficulty with.

Q. Which one was it?

A. The alleged lack of interest among charismatics in the authority of the Bible and in theology generally. Now if this list was an accurate summary of charismatic views, then I would say they certainly are part of the evangelical mainstream.

Q. What are you going to say in your book about the baptism or the filling of the Spirit, with speaking in tongues as its sign?

A. I think if I were to say now what I am going to say in the book it would take some interest away from the book. Many people may want to read the book just to see what I say about speaking in tongues and the baptism in the Spirit.

Q. There is now a difference of opinion in the evangelical camp as to whether the Bible is totally without error or whether its inerrancy is limited to matters of faith and practice. What do you think?

A. My view is that the Bible is without error in its totality. I can’t prove it. I base it on faith. I know some people will object to that. I would also like to say that this does not affect my Christian fellowship with people who hold differing views, providing they hold to the deity of Christ, the Virgin Birth, the Atonement, and the Resurrection—the cardinal doctrines of Christianity. As a matter of fact, some of my closest friends do not hold this high a view of Scripture. But in my judgment, the issue of biblical authority is a growing concern throughout the world-wide Church. It’s a very important issue. I have always believed and preached—since 1949—the infallibility of Scripture, including the first eleven chapters of Genesis, which are very crucial. I took this position by faith in the summer of 1949 when I was having some doubts. But it changed my ministry. I had a cutting edge to my ministry that I never had before, because I felt that when I was quoting Scripture I was quoting the very Word of God. Now there are questions that I don’t have answers to. There are certain figures and statistics that I don’t presently know what to do with, but I believe in the truthfulness and integrity of the Bible. In the original autographs, I mean. Obviously, I can’t defend every translation. But I believe that the only logical conclusion that I can come to is that we either have to accept all of it, or each one of us decides what the Bible is for himself. And that approach brings chaos.

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Q. You recently had a successful evangelistic crusade in Taiwan. There is speculation that the United States would like to break diplomatic relations with the Republic of China. What do you think of that?

A. There are a great deal of maneuverings going on behind the scenes throughout the world. I have learned that when I speak out on that type of a subject I speak out of ignorance. There are things going on that I don’t know about. Taiwan in just twenty-five years has made some of the greatest material progress probably in the history of the world. Its gross national product is greater than that of the People’s Republic of China, even though they have only 16 million people. Taiwan combines state ownership and private enterprise in a unique way. There is freedom to preach the Gospel, and that’s a big plus. I think judgments by Christians should be made on whether countries allow freedom of religion. There are so many forms of government in the world today. There are only twenty democracies out of 158 nations. I think Christians should rejoice that there is still freedom of religious faith and practice in most of the countries of the world. Doors to preach are opening to me now that I never dreamed possible in my lifetime. For example, it’s possible that I soon will be going to one or more countries of Eastern Europe to preach the Gospel. But as to what the U.S. government position on Taiwan should be, I don’t think I should get into that sensitive, political area right now. However, my general impression is that most Americans feel that they should not turn their backs on old friends. I only know that the people of Taiwan gave me one of the greatest receptions I’ve had anywhere in the world.

Q. Do you still hope to visit mainland China where your wife was raised as the daughter of a medical missionary?

A. We tried to go three years ago. Ruth wrote for permission and never heard back one way or another. We want to go, but we are not going to push the issue.

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Q. What socialistic countries other than those you have already visited do you think might be open to you?

A. As you know, we have already held a crusade in Yugoslavia. A great deal of consultation and communication is now taking place between me and my staff and religious leaders in Hungary, Romania, Poland, and the Soviet Union.

Q. What stipulations do you place in accepting invitations from socialistic countries?

A. I’ll go anywhere to proclaim the Gospel. If the Vatican would invite me to come and hold a crusade inside the Vatican I would go. But I’d accept no strings on the message that I preach concerning the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I would never compromise the Gospel, even if it meant my death.

Q. How do you handle the down times in your life?

A. I have “downs.” Most of my Christian life I have read the Psalms daily. The writers of the Psalms constantly had their downs as well as their ups. This was true of some of God’s greatest servants, such as Elijah. But in the midst of downs, God is always present and there is an underlying joy that words cannot express. Sometimes downs are caused by physiological conditions. For example, I have high blood pressure. One of the side effects of my medication is the tendency toward depression. But I can face that and recognize where it’s coming from. It causes me to pray and ask for God’s grace. I don’t mind when I’m being criticized for the right things I am doing, because I have a clear conscience before God. It’s in those areas where I am not sure that criticism is troublesome. Particularly in the earlier part of my ministry criticism discouraged me. In the early fifties, for example, I was severely criticized by some of the extreme fundamentalists in America. They wrote article after article, and I couldn’t believe that Christians could write such articles, because they quoted me out of context, and so on. One paper came out and said that one of my closest advisors was Bishop Pike. I had only met Bishop Pike three times in my whole life and had never had a talk with him. It was that sort of thing. During that period I felt deeply hurt because these were my people, the people I had come from.

At the same time I was severely attacked by some of the more extreme liberals. I learned from both of them. When Reinhold Niebuhr wrote articles about me in the Christian Century I learned some things. I also learned from John R. Rice, whom I greatly love and respect. I think that because I was being attacked from both the left and the right God used it to help keep me balanced, more in the middle, and by the middle I mean right at the foot of the Cross. I wasn’t drawn off onto side issues.

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I had good advice in those days from people like my father-in-law, Nelson Bell, and from V. Raymond Edman and my close team associates. As it says in Proverbs 11:14, “in an abundance of counselors, there is safety.” I had people around me who supported me and gave me the right kind of counsel. God also gave me love for my critics. I don’t think you will find any letters in my private correspondence in which I answer any of them with any vitriolic spirit. I’ve had to accept criticism because of my friendships with certain political figures. Interestingly, all those friendships began before the people became president and continued afterward.

When I read biographies such as those of John Wesley and all the terrible things the people of God have had to endure, I realize how mild are the criticisms I have had to bear. And Wesley’s wife opposed him. Yet Wesley went on victoriously through it. I have a marvelous wife and family supporting me.

Moody suffered in ways that many people don’t realize. Campaigns had to be postponed until accusations were clarified. Things like that have not happened to me as yet. But I suspect that I will have that kind of suffering before my death. I would hate to miss it. Paul would have his scars and others of God’s servants would have theirs, and I wouldn’t want to be there without any scars. Scars are going to come—not necessarily physical ones. But I think I can say that there isn’t a person in the whole world that I don’t love, and I mean love sincerely. That in itself brings criticism, because I feel I can be friends with people with whom I disagree.

Q. Do problems upset your family?

A. No, because they’re so strong. My daughters are three of the strongest Christians I know. All are Bible teachers, steeped in the Scriptures. They are a great support to me. My oldest son is a senior at the university, and he is a tremendous source of strength. My youngest son is just entering college. All the members of my family are marvelous Christians, including my sons-in-law.

Q. If you had to live your life over again, what would you do differently?

A. One of my great regrets is that I have not studied enough. I wish I had studied more and preached less. People have pressured me into speaking to groups when I should have been studying and preparing. Donald Barn-house said that if he knew the Lord was coming in three years he would spend two of them studying and one preaching. I’m trying to make it up.

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Also, I did not spend enough time with my family when they were growing up. You cannot recapture those years. I might add here that through the years I have met many, many people. I feel terrible that I cannot keep up with all those friends and acquaintances.

I would not have encouraged the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and its affiliates to get so big. We have been trying to cut back here and there without affecting the ministry God has called us to.

Q. You’re a great baseball fan. Who is going to be in the World Series this year? (This was asked when the Chicago teams were leading their divisions.)

A. I have had crusades in most of the cities that have teams. I’m a fan of all of them. I like baseball no matter who is playing. But I think it would be a tremendous thing, and probably good for baseball, to see it in Chicago. That city would go wild to see an all-Chicago series. I think the country would go wild. You would see a revived interest in baseball such as we have not seen in a long time.

Paul D. Steeves is assistant professor of history and director of Russian studies at Stetson University in Deland, Florida. He has the Ph.D. from the University of Kansas and specializes in modern Russian history.

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