When I was a young preacher-in-the-forming I had two heroes – Billy Graham and his peer and friend Charles (Chuck) Templeton, who led Toronto Youth for Christ.
He and Billy were two of the first Youth for Christ pioneers to visit Europe and represent that youth ministry there.
Chuck was perhaps the most gifted speaker I had heard – eloquent, artistic, creative, able to speak in word pictures that came alive.
I was much younger, we were not friends, but he was always kind to me. I observed his career path when he eventually went to Princeton Seminary, then held large evangelism rallies across North America.
So you can imagine how disappointed I was when he announced he was leaving ministry, and wrote a book called Farewell to God.
In later years he became a national figure in Canada as radio and TV personality, newspaper editor, novelist, inventor and aspiring politician. Married three times, he finally succumbed to the ravages of Alzheimer’s.
I just recently learned that he became friends with a Salvation Army officer named Beverly Ivany, who read his book on leaving the faith and began a correspondence and ongoing telephone conversations with him.
Despite his loss of faith, she learned that every Good Friday he would meditate for three hours on Jesus – his goodness and selflessness. (“How many Christians do that for three hours?” Ivany wonders).
When he died, his third wife Madeleine invited Ivany to his wake. After Beverly expressed her sympathies his wife told her about his last words.
“Madeleine, do you see them? Do you hear them? The angels! They’re calling my name! I’m going home.”
What do we make of that? More important, what I wonder does God make of one who for so many years called others to come home?
Photo creds: patheos.com/templetons.com