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Evangelist Leighton Ford Meets Muhammad Ali

Leighton Ford, evangelist and brother-in-law of Billy Graham, once met the former boxing champion Muhammad Ali at a hotel in Sydney, Australia. Ford listened as Ali regaled a group of admiring onlookers before introducing himself as "Billy Graham's brother-in-law." Ali's face lit up as he said, "Oh Billy! Billy! I love Billy! I went up and saw him at the house at Montreat and he signed a book for me." Ford explained what happened next:

We got into a very interesting conversation. He was not only very articulate, he was also a very bright man. Of course earlier in his life Ali had become a Muslim, but he told me and the onlookers, "You know I have travelled all over the world. And I have seen all these different religions. It seems to me that they all have the same thing. It's kind of like you have a river, and you have a lake, and you have a pond, and you have a stream. But they all have water in them, so they are all the same, aren't they?"
I said, "Muhammad that is very interesting. But suppose you have all of them and suppose they are all polluted. Then you would need a purifier, don't you? You see that's who Jesus is. Jesus is the purifier." And he thought about that for a minute and he said, "That's good. I had never thought about it quite like that. Jesus, the purifier."
I know that Muslims don't refer to Jesus as "the Son of God" because they interpret that in some physical way that God had relations with Mary, which of course isn't true. So I told him, "Did you know that in the Bible Jesus is called the Second Adam?" And he said, "I didn't know that." I said, "Yes, you see there was the first Adam that God made in the first creation. Then the second Adam was Jesus, the new creation, in whom everyone can become new." And he said, "I've got to think about that."
Well it was 30 years ago and I haven't seen him since. I know that "The Greatest," as he called himself, has met the One who alone is really the Greatest, because all great ones pass away. But he has come face-to-face with the One great God. I wonder what Muhammad Ali had to say, or maybe he would say, "God what do you have to say?"

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