Are we honoring a defender or a compromiser of the pure Gospel of grace?

This morning while driving to work I was listening to “Joni and Friends” on a localCreated by Readiris, Copyright IRIS 2005 Christian radio station. Joni Eareckson Tada provides a five-minute daily message aimed at encouraging Christians who face disabilities and other challenges. Over a year ago, I posted a message about how I was surprised that Joni had recommended “First Things,” an ecumenical journal published by Catholics, to her audience. See here.

In today’s message, Joni invited her audience to celebrate Billy Graham’s 98th birthday. Graham is widely esteemed by evangelicals as the most important and influential Christian of the last 100 years. There’s no doubt multitudes accepted Jesus Christ as Savior through the evangelistic ministry of Billy Graham and yet perhaps no one individual is more responsible for blurring the Gospel of grace in our times.

Many readers at this point might respond with, “Sheesh! Who would criticize such a beloved and respected figure as Billy Graham?” Most evangelical Christians don’t realize that as far back as fifty years ago, Graham and his organization invited local Roman Catholic bishops and clergy to participate in his crusades. When Catholics came forward at his crusades’ closing “altar calls,” they were referred to Catholic workers and counseled that their decision to accept Christ was only a recommitment to their sacramental baptism and confirmation. Catholics who had attended Graham crusades were returned back to their churches on Sunday to hear that salvation was by sacramental grace and merit rather than by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Many would be shocked to learn that Graham also espoused religious universalism. See my earlier posts on Graham here and here for more details.

Continuing with her message, Joni repeated a regrettable myth I’ve heard many times over the years, that Graham was being kept alive by the Lord at his advanced age as a witness to the world and was a part of the Holy Spirit’s restraining of evil in these last days. Joni speculated, like many others have also done, that Graham’s death might actually trigger the moment when the Holy Spirit no longer restrains evil in the world.

We Christians are given to venerating our leaders rather than Jesus Christ. Billy Graham had his faults. Some of his faults were tragically significant in regards to the Gospel witness. Much of today’s spirit of ecumenism with religious unbelievers can be traced back to the influence of Billy Graham. I don’t idolize the man. I’m sorry his cooperation with unbelievers helped to foster today’s compromising, laissez-faire approach to the pure Gospel of grace. Rather than being a restraint against evil, I contend that the betrayal of the Gospel by Graham and other celebrated evangelical leaders was/is part of the rising tide of evil encompassing the world in these last days.

The Lord used Graham in a great way initially, but the temptations of success and popularity diverted him from the Narrow Way, which has influenced many others.

“And you know what is restraining (the man of lawlessness) now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way.” 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7


10 thoughts on “Are we honoring a defender or a compromiser of the pure Gospel of grace?

    1. Thanks, Jim. Yes, I’ve encountered this speculation about the end time tribulation possibly being ushered in by the death of the iconic Graham several times. I think it would make for a good article by a Christian sociologist.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Joni has committed apostasy HERSELF in her tributes to Billy Graham upon his death. I rebuked her SHARPLY both on her Facebook page and on her YouTube video idolizing Billy Graham. I shudder to think where Billy is now! “Therefore do not be partners with them,” we are commanded, yet Joni sings his praises? APPALLING!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Karen. Joni was not alone. Throughout most of evangelicalism last week, Christians were paying tribute to Graham. Perhaps more people accepted Jesus Christ as Savior through the BGEA than through any other “ministry” in the last hundred years, but at the same time no one else did more to muddy the Gospel of grace and open the doors to embracing false gospels (e.g., Roman Catholicism) than Billy Graham. Satan himself could not have devised a more clever scheme than raising up an evangelist, the most famous in the world, who compromised and betrayed the Gospel of grace and opened the floodgates to cooperation and ecumenism with error.

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  2. Yes, I left Scriptural rebukes on both Joni’s FB page and on her YouTube video — and she BLOCKED ME! I used to think Joni Eareckson Tada was the one genuine Christian among all the “Celebrity Christians,” and now I can’t imagine when she stands before the Lord.

    She credited Billy Graham for founding Joni and Friends, yet Jesus said, “Without ME you can do nothing” (John 15:5), and the apostle Paul also wrote, “Blessed is he who is not condemned by what (i.e., WHOM) he approves” (Romans 14:22).

    This is a VERY SERIOUS issue, and now I firmly believe Joni and Ken KNOW the truth about Graham, yet they want the approval of the BGEA rather than GOD’S approval (“Am I now seeking the approval of man? If I were seeking the approval of man, I wouldn’t BE a servant of Christ”! Galatians 1:10). I am SO disappointed in Joni.

    Also, last July she announced on her FB page that on the anniversary of the 50th anniversary of her diving accident, she would be making a “big announcement.” I went to her FB page on that date, and her “big announcement” was the the movie “Joni” was being re-released. She touted Billy Graham, and I knew it was because the BGEA had produced that movie!

    I waited…in hopes I would hear the words I longed to hear…that ALL PROCEEDS would go to her ministry “Wheels for the World”…but no such announcement came.

    You see, a few years ago I posted my testimony on a Christian book review site when I wrote a negative review of “Heaven is for Real.” My testimony includes a glorious, amazing dream in which Jesus came to me in 1973, after I suffered horrors at the hands of a mother who had become demon possessed following her use of the Ouija board when I was 11.

    I wrote it out, along with all the Scriptures which explained my dream to me, and was subsequently emailed for a year by two publishers to write a book about it. However, I have always had issues with people who “market Jesus.” I always told people if the Lord DID lead me to write a book about the gift He gave me, all proceeds would go to Joni’s Wheels for the World ministry.

    I wouldn’t take a DIME for the precious gift the Lord gave me–“Freely you have received; freely give,” the Lord commanded in Mt. 10:8. At any rate, no such announcement came from Joni, that all proceeds would go to “Wheels for the World” or another worthy ministiry, and I remain deeply and profoundly disappointed in her, and Ken as well.

    This is somewhat off topic, but it’s a classic example of the outcome of John MacArthur’s Strange Fire conference, in which Joni participated. I have the Strange Fire conference CD’s, and appreciated Joni’s testimony in it, however something interesting (and horrifying) happened to me as a consequence of that conference.

    I am a service-connected disabled veteran in a powerchair myself, and was actually KICKED OUT OF the car of the man who organized the Strange Fire conference (in which Joni participated), Travis Allen, after he invited me to dinner with his family on Easter Sunday, 2015, because I had a dream of Jesus in 1973.

    Iactually detailed it in this comment, but the computer malfunctioned and erased it apparently. I would rather not repeat it, however, because when I asked Travis why he even invited me to dinner, when his TRUE intent was to shame me before his wife and children, and impress his new church (which he is now pastoring, Grace church in Greeley, CO) with his “religiosity,” and he told me “Because I wanted WITNESSES, I gave him all the “witnesses” he could ask for!

    My testimony of the outcome of the Strange Fire conference is detailed in a review. If you’re interested in reading it, go to yelp and put “Grace church” near “Greeley CO.”

    Liked by 1 person

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