Billy Graham – Part 1

 

Billy Graham is widely honored as the greatest evangelist of the last 100 years. No individual has done more to spread the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. The 97-year-old Graham is such an influential and reverenced figure that some Christians go so far as to predict his death will usher in either great spiritual revival or great judgement.

But my experience with Graham was quite different. I left Roman Catholicism and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior in the early 1980s. What joy to have my sins forgiven and to walk in fellowship with the Lord! I had watched several of Graham’s crusades as a Catholic. Perhaps the televised crusades had softened my heart in my journey to the Lord, but I don’t recall them having made a personal impact. But as a new Christian, I was thrilled to be able to stand with such a famous and revered figure as Billy Graham in declaring the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Many months after accepting Christ, I came across some information that was critical of Graham. I learned that his crusades were planned in cooperation with local Roman Catholic clergy. When Catholics came forward at Graham’s invitation to accept Christ, they were referred to Catholic workers and eventually sent back to Catholic parishes. Catholics were told that coming forward at a Graham crusade was simply a recommitment to their sacramental baptism and confirmation. Catholicism talks about “faith” and “grace” but their bottom line is a gospel of sacramental grace and merit.

I was shocked by Graham’s betrayal of the Gospel. What was he thinking? I had “swam across the Tiber,” AWAY from Rome’s false gospel, to the Gospel of grace through faith only to find evangelicalism’s favorite son encouraging Catholics to remain in error and convincing other evangelicals to embrace Rome as a genuine Christian church. How could this have happened?

I’m currently reading a book titled, “Evangelicalism Divided,” by Iain Murray, a former associate of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, which offers some explanations for why Graham and other-like minded evangelicals accommodated and compromised with doctrinal error in the pursuit of “results” and popularity and how this eventually led to the betrayal of the Gospel. I’ll be reviewing that book as the second part of this post.

Graham is so highly esteemed by evangelicals that few will tolerate any kind of criticism of him. In our post-modern age of tolerance and niceness, any kind of negative appraisal is widely frowned upon, even if an individual is leading millions into gross doctrinal error. Consequently, I’m not going to expend a great amount of effort writing about Protestantism’s living “saint.” If you’ve hung with me this far, you may want to watch the attached video in which Dr. Graham was interviewed by positivist gospel preacher, Robert Schuller. In the interview, Graham states that people of all religions will be saved; a universalist belief. Since Graham stated that belief in Jesus Christ and the Gospel wasn’t important to salvation, it’s understandable why he had no qualms with Rome’s gospel of sacramental grace and merit.

Brothers and sisters, be careful who you follow. They may not be all they appear to be. If the world esteems them highly, that may be your first clue.

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” – Galatians 1:6-9

“For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” – Luke 16:15

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24 thoughts on “Billy Graham – Part 1

  1. Wow… just watched the video. So, I can turn to anyone (or anything) that I choose to call “The Light” and I will be saved because I turned to that Light??? Did I get it right? Is that what I just heard come out of Billy Graham’s mouth???

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Right, Hope. Most Christians would not believe it of Graham, but here it is right out of his own mouth. What he said is very similar to Rome’s teaching that people of all religions and even atheists will be saved if they “follow the light they have been given” and try to lead “good” lives.

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      1. You had tried to warn me of his teachings in the past, but I just didn’t comprehend the depth of his blatant, intentional false doctrine. Now, I see it clearly! Thank you!!! I am shocked by the separation of Catholics at his alter calls, too. I wonder if the thousands of Pastor’s that worked so hard to make his crusades successful knew about that. If so, they certainly kept a lid on it.

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      2. Thanks, Hope. It’s a very sad story and goes a long way in explaining the current state of evangelicalism. I imagine very few pastors knew of Graham’s compromise and betrayal. Much of the criticism of Graham came from the “conservative” (read fundamentalist) fringe of the church (e.g., Bob Jones, Ian Paisley, Peter Ruckman) and was quickly dismissed or never even encountered. Murray is someone who saw the whole thing from beginning to end and makes some great observations. Two-thirds of his book is about similar betrayal by evangelicals in England during the same time period so some Americans may lose interest.

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    1. Yes, hard to watch. Graham is such an iconic figure. My pastor of long ago constantly referred to him with great praise. But there was more going on with Graham than was readily apparent.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So, an individual in some isolated locale unreached by the gospel apprehends from nature and conscience that there is a God and submits as best he can to this God. He has not “reject[ed] the knowledge of God that is present in nature and in [his] own heart.” What do you believe is God’s attitude towards him, and what will be his eternal fate?

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      2. Caroline, I’ll stand by the information in the Got Questions article and “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” The Lord destroyed the entire population of the Earth with the Flood except for one single family. Was that right? Pagan Egypt was judged. The pagan inhabitants of Canaan were all judged. Was that right? Jesus and the apostles never indicated salvation could be found in paganism and unbelief. Not once. Never even inferred. The apostles all suffered martyrdom (except for John?) in the cause of spreading the Gospel. Why would they have bothered if everyone was on the path to salvation by “following the light” they were given? The belief that “good”/pious pagans will also somehow earn salvation is a relatively new notion in church history. “Good,” pious Jews could not merit heaven so how could pagans? Some (Molinists) suggest that God already knows who will accept Him and places them in space and time where they are able to choose Him. Could be an explanation but it’s strictly theory.

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  2. Reblogged this on A Mom Looking Up and commented:
    I’ve heard that Graham is actually a 33 degree Mason. If so, that explains entirely why he would say such things. I’ve also heard he may be one of those who have suffered a split personality, which is how he can worship Lucifer on Saturday and preach Jesus on Sunday and neither personality is aware of the other. I don’t know for sure, of course. Either way, his words to Schuller are very telling and dissettling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for eblogging, Marcia. Yes, Graham is a conundrum. He seems to know the Gospel and has obviously led many to Christ but, in contrast, has said and done things in opposition to the Gospel. As you say, very strange, disappointing, and unsettling.

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      1. “In other words, righteousness is ‘credited’ or given to those who have faith in God—Abraham, David, and we all share the same way of salvation.”
        So they were saved by faith in God…the God of the OT, the only one they knew…not in Jesus specifically. As God says to the Israelites in Isaiah 43:11 – ” I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior.”
        When I first asked about this in the first Bible study I ever went to, I was told they were saved by their belief in the coming Messiah. But I don’t know any OT passages that teach this. Do you? And there just doesn’t seem to be much teaching at all about the Messiah. Yes, he was foretold, but they needed to put their faith and trust in him? I just haven’t seen that.
        “Abraham believed God” and he was pronounced righteous. In what way and by what means did Abraham “ha[ve] the Son”?

        Liked by 1 person

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