Rev. Franklin Graham, CEO and president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association as well as of Samaritan’s Purse, delivered Liberty University’s 2023 commencement address on May 12, 2023, on the campus of the Lynchburg, Virginia, college.
As part of his keynote, he minced no words in advising graduating students on the next life steps they might take.
Rev. Graham challenged graduates to stand for the truth of God’s Word in a tough world today.
“What’s the next chapter for your life?” Graham asked students.
“My prayer is that this class, the class of ’23, will be known as the class that stood for truth in a world overflowing with wickedness, deception and lies. I pray this class will stand for truth,” he added.
Rev. Graham, who has traveled the globe preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and helping people of all walks of life through various trials and tribulations via his charitable organizations, told students it took him four schools and six years before he finally received his own undergraduate degree.
He said while many students graduate with honors, his own mother, Ruth Bell Graham, said her son “graduated with relief!”
After pausing for a moment of laughter, Rev. Graham told the graduates he didn’t know what God was going to do with his life after he left college.
“We live in a world that wants to portray that there is no such thing as absolute truth, that truth is relative … That’s a lie.”
But he said he made himself available to God and chose to do as God directed him — and he challenged the graduates of Liberty University to do the same.
Rev. Franklin Graham told graduates of Liberty University in Virginia, “I want you to stand up, to shout out, to lift up your voice, to lift up the truth, to live for Jesus Christ.” In this image, he’s shown during his God Loves You Tidewater Tour, which wrapped up recently. (The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association)
In the speech, Rev. Graham noted how quickly the world and the culture have changed, especially during the past several years — and how things continue to change each day, as his team shared with Fox News Digital.
He told students and their families, “We live in a world that wants to portray that there is no such thing as absolute truth, that truth is relative, that we can define our own truth —that’s a lie.”
Rev. Graham added, “I’ll tell you today there is absolute truth and it’s the Word of God.”
Rev. Franklin Graham (on the left) is a son of Billy Graham, the evangelical leader who passed away five years ago at age 99. (The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association)
Also in his message to students, Graham said, “You see, the world wants you to shut down and shut up. No, don’t you do that.”
“The world wants you to shut down and shut up. No, don’t you do that.”
Rather, he said, “I want you to stand up, to shout out, to lift up your voice, to lift up the truth, to live for Jesus Christ.“
He added, “Class of ’23, live your lives for Him!”
Liberty University is one of the largest Christian universities in the world.
And this year’s commencement — its 50th — was one of its largest in school history, the school said.
Throughout commencement weekend, Liberty has been welcoming a crowd of 60,000 people, including graduates, family members and friends, for events taking place on campus over three days.
Rev. Graham noted on Twitter afterward about the graduates, “May God bless and use them in a mighty way in the next chapter of their lives.”