“Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.” – 1 John 3:13

I said I wasn’t going to write anymore posts about Billy Graham, but this is what happens when you walk through a bookstore…

This past Saturday, I stopped in at our local Barnes and Noble bookstore and checked out the (c)hristian section. I rarely buy any of the books on display there because I would guess that around 80% are written by either TBN prosperity gospel types or by Roman Catholics. Anyway, I happened to spot the newly published, updated version of “A Prophet with Honor: The Billy Graham Story” by William Martin (Zondervan, February 20, 2018, 832 pages).

I have no desire to read this entire biography, but I did spend about fifteen minutes at the store reading about a pivotal situation in Graham’s ministry that’s described in the book.

Here’s a couple of thoughts I have on this book:

>It’s interesting to me that the title is, “A Prophet with Honor.” The genuine, God-ordained prophets of the Old Testament and apostles of the New Testament were despised by the general population and eventually murdered because they proclaimed God’s unwelcomed rebukes, admonitions, and Narrow Way of salvation.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!” – Luke 13:34

In contrast, Billy Graham was one of the most widely respected and honored men in the entire world; the friend of American Presidents and religious and political leaders across the globe. Why wasn’t Graham despised and rejected like the genuine prophets of the Bible? While Graham did preach the Gospel at his crusades, the bottom-line message of his ministry was one of ecumenism, which even eventually devolved into Universalism. Graham’s foundational philosophy of tolerance and inclusiveness was well received and offended no one.

>Pages 223-227 of “A Prophet with Honor: The Billy Graham Story” describe Graham’s split with Christian fundamentalism. Graham started his career as a separated believer and fundamentalist, but over time, he changed his philosophy. Graham’s organization began seeking and accepting support from liberal Protestant (i.e., affiliates of the National Council of Churches (NCC)) and Roman Catholic church leaders. Fundamentalist leaders, including such men as James Bennet, Bob Jones, Charles Woodbridge, Jack Wyrtzen, Robert Ketcham, and Carl McIntire, saw some of the warning signs of Graham’s compromise as early as 1954 and tried to dissuade him from his new course. Graham’s ministerial mentor, John R. Rice, met with him twice but was not able to change Graham’s mind. The last straw was Graham’s 1957 New York City crusade, which included 120 NCC clergymen on the organizing committee (Graham would enlist Roman Catholic clerics in organizing future crusades). All fundamentalist leaders subsequently withdrew their support from Graham. Graham’s compromise broke the heart of John R. Rice. Author Martin writes of Graham’s break with fundamentalism as a very positive development, but Graham’s compromise laid the groundwork for the full-scale ecumenism and betrayal of the Gospel that we see in the evangelical church today.

10 thoughts on ““Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.” – 1 John 3:13

  1. I remember before being saved reading someone that explained how Graham was loved by the world which meant he couldn’t be living Godly. I was so annoyed, especially because the person writing used scripture to back themselves up. I had never even listened to Graham, so it wasn’t an affection for the man that caused my annoyance. It was the idea that I would need to pick up the cross, to count the cost, as the Word says all those who live Godly lives will be persecuted. We’re blessed here in America that when we live Godly lives our persecution is usually very soft compared to the 10 40 window. I so appreciate the stand you’ve made in regards to Graham’s ministry, and his compromise. That article I read all those years ago planted a seed that someone else would water, that seed was a small whisper in the back of my mind that something was wrong with my view on salvation. Even those that have opposed what you say, they still have that seed planted. God bless you, dear brother!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks, sister! I am glad the Holy Spirit used someone’s unsettling comment about Graham as one of the things that would draw you to the Savior! As someone who had come out of Catholic error and trusted in Christ, I was so dismayed to see Graham leading searching souls BACK to the RCC. Evangelicalism has become so opposed to doctrinal teaching in many cases that people are not aware of the compromise that they’re in the middle of. Anyone who criticizes Graham is relegated to the fringes. We attended a high school play this past Saturday night with good friends, another evangelical Christian couple. The play was “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and the villain was a Catholic priest. On the drive home I half-jokingly commented that the moral of the story was to never trust a priest. The wife turned around and said, Yes, it’s a shame the reputations of “good priests” are sullied by the actions of the few bad apple child abusers. My wife answered back that priests and sacrifices are no longer needed. We have these kinds of exchanges with this couple often. They just don’t get it probably because their pastor is preaching an ecumenical message regularly. Thanks for the encouragement, sister, and God Bless you too!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Wow, I thank God that He has put you and your wife in their lives to help work some of those falsehoods out. If one family in each church, one family that’s genuinely apart of the church not just there to find fault, would confront their pastor in the dangers of ecumenicism perhaps souls could be saved. Could anything be more important then that? A leader teaching his flock that Catholicism is Christianity is essentially teaching his flock not to share the Gospel with Catholics.
        I was considering all this the other day, because before getting saved I had reached out to some Greek Orthodox women who had come to America fleeing persecution in Egypt. This was back in my political days, where I was basically learning to link arms with anyone who agreed with me in that arena. I think that the political fervor we’ve discussed before might be aiding ecumenicism. It certainly was repeated over and over again by Glenn Beck fans that Catholics, Mormons, and Christians didn’t have to agree on everything to be brothers and sisters. That mixed with weak compromising leaders are sort of like a perfect storm here in America. I wonder what the scene is like in other western cultures?

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Thank you! I agree with you on all counts. We can make a difference regarding the church’s slide into ecumenism. We can’t just give up. Yes, among politically oriented Christians, alliances with like-minded religious unbelievers becomes more important than witnessing to them. And then doctrinal differences are dismissed altogether. This conflation of faith and politics/patriotism runs so deep in this country that anyone who challenges it is viewed as a blasphemer.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. “Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.” – 1 John 3:13
    EXACTLY!!!
    Great post and I agree with Inhereford!
    I expect the persecution to get worse.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth!
      RE: I expect the persecution to get worse.

      Yes, we see the beginnings of it up in Canada. I expect there will be laws passed soon that will restrict all communications critical of any religious group as “hate speech.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep! But we that know the truth have been commanded to share the truth ~We are BLESSED to know God’s LOVE and we want others to know at any cost to “us” ❤ ❤ ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Very insightful especially the part you looked at and shared concerning his compromise and the response of fundamentalists who saw concern with his compromises. Good point about the troubling title.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks! Yup, Graham’s split from fundamentalism really interests me as we’ve discussed before. When Graham started working with the NCC, there were many nationally known mainline Protestant ministers. NCC churches have become totally irrelevant since those days. I can’t think of one single nationally known mainline Protestant minister. They’ve been replaced by Osteen, Warren, etc.

      Liked by 3 people

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