plan for holiness)
Perhaps no other leading church
figure of the past 50 years commands as much admiration and respect
from both the Christian and non-Christian world as does the Rev.
Billy Graham. While he has suffered some criticism over
the years, no scandals have rocked his ministry - and it has been
One of the major reasons Reverend
Graham and his associates have avoided pitfalls and scandal goes
back to November of 1948 and what took place in a hotel room in
Modesto, California. It was there The Modesto Manifesto
Graham and his associates, Bev Shea,
Grady Wilson, and Cliff Barrows, were just starting to get involved
in evangelistic meetings. At the time, many traveling evangelists
were crossing the country. And a number fell to scandals
- moral, ethical and financial. In a desire to see their
ministry remain above scandal, the men met to discuss the problems
evangelists faced. They came up with four problems to avoid
and ways to avoid them.
It was common practice among evangelists
to put a lot of emotion and flourish into taking love offerings.
This could bring unnecessary criticism - and temptation.
The men vowed not to emphasize the offering. To avoid criticism
they would always have the local campaign committees oversee the
offerings and disbursements of funds - they would accept a straight
salary regardless of how high the offerings were.
Religious leaders especially those
who traveled were regularly falling to this temptation.
The men agreed continually to pray for God to guard them from
it. They also set up some rules to follow. They would
never allow themselves to be alone with women - lunches, counseling
sessions, or rides to auditoriums or airports. And they
would always get their hotel rooms close together as another safeguard.
The phrase evangelistically speaking
has been coined to label exaggerated figures of the number attending
meetings or the number saved. The men vowed not to fall
to this practice. If numbers were mentioned they were the
ones generated by the local police, fire departments, or arena
Often evangelists would criticize
local pastors and churches from pulpits. The men vowed not
to do this, nor would they ever criticize pastors who openly criticized
Journal, Issue 84, Nov/Dec 1994, Page 45)