In the movie “A Few Good Men,” the character Kaffee (played by Tom Cruise) shouts, “I want the truth!” Col. Jessup (Jack Nicholson) shouts back, “You can’t handle the truth!”
It may be the same for much of the American church today as the death of Billy Graham allows us to reflect on where we’ve come and where we are going as a faith movement.
As Graham’s body lies in state in the nation’s capitol today and tomorrow, his daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, says that she believes her father’s death will serve as a “Heaven’s shot across the bow” to the Church today hoping it leads to a “revival of people who put their faith in Jesus and go out and share it with others.”
Her father had a similar message over his 70 year ministry. Lots says that in general the truth is the failure of churches is the reason why the United States is in a spiritual “mess.”
The 69-year-old author and evangelist sat down with WRAL-TV for an interview this week to talk about the impact of her legendary evangelist father, who passed away last week at the age of 99.
“I believe my father’s death is Heaven’s shot across the bow. It’s time for the Church to wake up,” Lotz said. “It’s time for the world to wake up because you’re not promised tomorrow. You need to decide now where you’re going to spend eternity.”
Lotz, who is well known for her national conferences and women’s events, asserted that she hopes her father’s death will “shake the Church.”
“You can’t leave it up to Billy Graham to share the Gospel anymore,” Lotz said. “That is our privilege. That is our responsibility and we need to be sharing the Gospel with others.”
Lotz is not a stranger to evangelism. Her father shared the truth of the Gospel in over 185 countries to some 215 million people and, growing up, she was often there with him.
Lotz’s message is a difficult one for many American churches, and particularly their pastors, to receive. Lotz says that too many churches have seemingly become just merely “religious institutions.”
“[The Church] is not encouraging people and showing them how to read their Bibles. It’s not teaching them how to pray. It’s not bringing them into a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ,” Lotz said. “In fact, some of them will even argue with you if that is necessary. They are arguing with what the Bible says.”
Lotz urges that churches need to be telling people how they can have “peace in their hearts,” “a purpose to live for,” and “a hope of a heavenly home.”
“There is hope for the future. There is hope that is found in this world and it is found in Jesus,” Lotz said.