In 1955, Billy Graham was on a visit to Cambridge University for an eight-day mission at the invitation of the Inter-Collegiate Christian Union. During his time at the University, he met privately with C.S. Lewis who was a professor at the school. Of Mr. Lewis, Billy Graham said, “I was afraid I would be intimidated by him because of his brilliance, but he immediately put me at ease. I found him to be not only intelligent and witty but also gentle and gracious.”
Just before Lewis’ death in 1963, Decision Magazine ran a series of interviews with him. A selection of the interview is below:
Do you feel, then, that modern culture is being de-Christianized?
“I cannot speak to the political aspects of the question, but I have some definite views about the de-Christianizing of the church. I believe that there are many accommodating preachers, and too many practitioners in the church who are not believers. Jesus Christ did not say, ‘Go into all the world and tell the world that it is quite right.’ The Gospel is something completely different. In fact, it is directly opposed to the world.
“The case against Christianity that is made out in the world is quite strong. Every war, every shipwreck, every cancer case, every calamity, contributes to making a prima facie case against Christianity. It is not easy to be a believer in the face of this surface evidence. It calls for a strong faith in Jesus Christ.”
Do you approve of men such as Bryan Green and Billy Graham asking people to come to a point of decision regarding the Christian life?
“I had the pleasure of meeting Billy Graham once. We had dinner together during his visit to Cambridge University in 1955, while he was conducting a mission to students. I thought he was a very modest and a very sensible man, and I liked him very much indeed.
“In a civilization like ours, I feel that everyone has to come to terms with the claims of Jesus Christ upon his life, or else be guilty of inattention or of evading the question. In the Soviet Union, it is different. Many people living in Russia today have never had to consider the claims of Christ because they have never heard of those claims. “In the same way we who live in English-speaking countries have never really been forced to consider the claims, let us say, of Hinduism. But in our Western civilization, we are obligated both morally and intellectually to come to grips with Jesus Christ; if we refuse to do so we are guilty of being bad philosophers and bad thinkers.”
What is your view of the daily discipline of the Christian life—the need for taking time to be alone with God?
“We have our New Testament regimental orders upon the subject. I would take it for granted that everyone who becomes a Christian would undertake this practice. It is enjoined upon us by our Lord; and since they are his commands, I believe in following them. It is always just possible that Jesus Christ meant what he said when he told us to seek the secret place and to close the door.”