C.S. Lewis on Billy Graham

What would C.S. Lewis think of Billy Graham? That’s a question that can be answered in C.S. Lewis’s own words. They two met in 1955 and visited for over an hour. Lewis told Graham, “You know, you have many critics, but I have never met one of your critics who knows you personally.”

In his final interview before his death C.S. Lewis was asked by the journalist Sherwood Eliot Wirt what he thought of Graham. Here’s their exchange:

Wirt: 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?

Lewis: “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.”