Throwback Thursday: Billy Graham – Part 2

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on September 21, 2016 and has been revised.

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Evangelicalism Divided: A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950 to 2000
By Iain H. Murray
The Banner of Truth Trust, 2000, 342 pp.

5 Stars

For part one of this post, please see here.

German higher biblical criticism came to the U.S. in the later-19th-century and was a swift-spreading cancer in seminaries and mainline Protestant churches. Believing churchmen drew a line in the sand with a series of 90 essays on the basics of the Christian faith, published between 1910 and 1915, and known as “The Fundamentals: A Testimony To The Truth.” Bible Christians rallied around the cherished doctrinal truths, but as mainline liberalism gained wider support, the fundamentalist movement increasingly adopted a circle-the-wagons, bunker mentality.

Billy Graham began his ministry in 1947 as a fundamentalist, but he and others recognized that fundamentalism took the opposite approach to Jesus’ exhortation to be in the world, but not of the world. Graham and like-minded friends (Carl Henry, Harold Ockenga, Edward Carnell, et al.) reasoned they could more effectively reach souls for Christ by cooperating with mainline liberals and religious unbelievers rather than by separating from them. But just as fundamentalism had its unhealthy sectarian extremism, Graham’s “New Evangelicalism” had its own pitfalls. Cooperation works both ways and Graham’s cooperation with unorthodoxy and unbelief led to accommodation, compromise, and eventually, betrayal of the Gospel. Graham sacrificed right doctrine on the altar of numbers, popularity, and ecclesiastical “respectability” and set a precedent for generations of pastors and para-church leaders to come.

In “Evangelicalism Divided,” Iain Murray, a former close assistant to D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, documents the rise and fall of Graham and New Evangelicalism. The larger portion of the book is devoted to circumstances in Britain, which closely mirrored those in the United States. Swimming against the rising tide, Lloyd-Jones called upon evangelicals to break ties with mainline liberalism and religious unbelief. When Graham began organizing crusades in Britain, he asked Lloyd-Jones, the nation’s most notable evangelical, to lend his support. Lloyd-Jones refused due to the many liberal churchmen aka religious unbelievers involved in Graham’s crusades. In opposition to Lloyd-Jones, Britain’s New Evangelicals, led by John Stott and J. I. Packer, rationalized that believers would be far more effective if they worked within the Anglican church. Not surprisingly, Packer would go on to be one of the charter signers of the ECT – Evangelicals and Catholics Together – ecumenical accords. Stott also fully embraced Roman Catholicism as a Christian entity. As for the current state of Anglicanism, is there even one Bible-believing minister within the entire denomination?

Murray may wander a bit, but overall this is an excellent book. There were so many passages I wanted to quote, but where to stop? I would have ended up quoting half the book. For everyone who wonders HOW and WHY Graham and company ended up eventually betraying the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone, this book is a sad but necessary eye-opener.

“The reason why the BGEA (Billy Graham Evangelistic Association) decided to co-operate with liberals and other non-evangelicals (such as Roman Catholics – Tom) was never set out in terms of principle. The fact is that the policy was seen as a neccessary expedient designed sincerely for the best end, namely to gain a wider hearing for the gospel. Crusades depended on crowds and in the Graham story there is an almost ever-present concern for maintaining and increasing numbers. ‘Keeping an eye for maximum public impact’ and ‘trying always for the largest possible crowds’ was a settled part of the Billy Graham Association’s strategy.” pp- 58-59.

“We may be small in numbers but since when has the doctrine of the remnant become unpopular among evangelicals? It is one of the most glorious doctrines in the whole Bible. We are not interested in numbers. We are interested in truth and in the living God. ‘If God be for us, who can be against us?’ …If we stand for God’s truth we can be sure that God will honour us and bless us.” – a quote from D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, p.293.

“Evangelicalism Divided: A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950 to 2000” is available at Amazon here.

Throwback Thursday: Billy Graham – Part 1

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on September 19, 2016 and has been revised.

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Billy Graham (d. 2018) is widely revered as the greatest evangelist of the last 100 years. No individual did more to spread the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone in that span. But my experience with Graham was quite different.

I left Roman Catholicism and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior in 1983. What joy it was 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 on my journey to the Lord, but I don’t recall them having made a direct 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.

However, several 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. Huh? 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 false 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 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 that 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.

I’m not going to expend a great amount of effort writing about Protestantism’s “saint,” however, if you’ve hung with me this far, I would strongly encourage you to watch the attached 1:30-minute video clip 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 false 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

Throwback Thursday: National Day of Prayer?

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. The post below was originally published back on April 15, 2016, but has been revised to reflect today’s event.

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The National Day of Prayer is today, Thursday, May 5th. Back in 1952, during the Korean War and Red Scare and in response to a groundswell of support sparked by a young Billy Graham, President Harry Truman signed into law the bill which mandated that an annual day of prayer be observed throughout the nation. The observance day was later fixed as the first Thursday in May. On this day, people of all religious faiths in the United States are called upon to pray for the nation and its leaders. Many born-again followers of Jesus Christ will join in “prayer” with Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, New Agers, and followers of various aberrant “christian” denominations and sects including liberal mainline Protestant denominations, Roman Catholicism, and Mormonism.

Many evangelical Christians see participation in the National Day of Prayer as a good thing. After all, doesn’t God’s Word instruct us to pray for the authorities over us, “that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:1-4)? But the National Day of Prayer also has some critics within evangelicalism, including myself.

The National Day of Prayer is an event that promotes American civil religion (see here), the conflation of religion and American patriotism. Christians should never join with unbelievers in spiritual endeavors. God’s Word is explicitly clear on this:

“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.'” – 2 Corinthians 6:14-17

“Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them.” – Ephesians 5:11

“…holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.” – 2 Timothy 3:5

Jesus proclaimed that He is the ONLY way to salvation. That’s definitely not a popular message in our post-modern era of cooperation, pluralism, tolerance, inclusiveness, and relativism. But Christians should NOT join with religious unbelievers as they pray to their false deities. That is cooperation with idolatry. Yes, we Christians must pray for our country’s leaders so that the Gospel can continue to be preached unhindered throughout this land, but we cannot join with religious unbelievers in this ministry.

Some Christian supporters of the National Day of Prayer argue that the event can be used as an evangelism tool, however, compromise works both ways. Cooperation and compromise with unbelief always leads to betrayal of the Gospel. The Old Testament is largely a record of the disastrous consequences of God’s people cooperating with idolatry.

In closing, I would ask born-again believers who regularly read God’s Word to try to imagine the Lord, Jesus Christ, or even the Apostle Paul, joining with the pagan religionists of 1st-century Judea, Mesopotamia, and Asia Minor in ecumenical or interreligious prayer. The notion is beyond preposterous and yet many followers of Christ will enthusiastically join with religious unbelievers on the National Day of Prayer. For many evangelicals, shared national citizenship and religious-tinged, patriotic fervor take precedence over fidelity to the Gospel. The pastor of the Southern Baptist church we previously attended encouraged participation in the National Day of Prayer, which was one of several warning signs that we were worshiping at the wrong place. This is pretty cut and dry, folks. The fact that the National Day of Prayer is so popular with American evangelicals is another example of the lack of discernment when it comes to nationalism, ecumenism, and “interreligious” cooperation.

“The Church of Christ is continually represented under the figure of an army; yet its Captain is the Prince of Peace; its object is the establishment of peace, and its soldiers are men of a peaceful disposition. The spirit of war is at the extremely opposite point to the spirit of the gospel. Yet nevertheless, the church on earth has, and until the second advent must be, the church militant, the church armed, the church warring, the church conquering. And how is this? It is the very order of things that so it must be. Truth could not be truth in this world if it were not a warring thing, and we should at once suspect that it were not true if error were friends with it. The spotless purity of truth must always be at war with the blackness of heresy and lies.” – Charles H. Spurgeon

Postscript: In the past, I’ve received some passionate pushback regarding this annual National Day of Prayer post. I’m aware that my views here don’t comport with the still-very popular paradigm among American evangelicals of Christian nationalism, the conflation of faith and patriotic nationalism. The notion of America being a nation uniquely covenanted with God, and Americans being God’s people (as in the frequently misappropriated 2 Chronicles 7:14) has been preached from American pulpits in some form or fashion since the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth in 1620.

Throwback Thursday: Accommodator and compromiser, Norman Geisler

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on August 12, 2016 and has been revised.

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Several months ago, I wrote a post regarding one of the strangest books I have ever read in my entire life. In “Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences” (1995), evangelical theologian, Norman Geisler (d. 2019), examined the many doctrines that separate evangelicals and Roman Catholics. Most importantly, Geisler noted that Catholicism’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit was not in accord with the Biblical Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. Nevertheless, Geisler still somehow concluded that Catholicism is a Christian entity. Huh? It was like a courtroom prosecutor closing his presentation by ripping up his water-tight evidence and turning to the judge and asking that the case against the clearly-guilty defendant be dismissed. Needless to say, ecumenists loved Geisler’s book. See my review here.

I’ve come across Geisler’s name several times recently. While he’s certainly not a household name, Professor Geisler is esteemed in evangelical academic circles as one of the most respected theologians, philosophers, and apologists. I’ve learned that several of evangelicalism’s most popular apologists were mentored by Geisler; men like Ravi Zacharias, William Lane Craig, and Lee Strobel. Ahhh. Now I get it! The apple never falls too far from the tree. I’ve mentioned Zacharias’ ecumenical leanings here. I’ve also read a couple of offerings from Strobel’s best-selling “The Case for…” series, but I jumped off that assembly line, never to return, after he cited Roman Catholics, Mother Teresa, pope John Paul II, G.K. Chesterton, and Saint Teresa of Avila as exemplary Christians in “The Case for Faith.” I’ve also documented Craig’s ecumenical compromise (see here).

While searching on Amazon the other night, I came across a book titled, “Why I Am A Christian: Leading Thinkers Explain Why They Believe” (2001), which was edited by Geisler. Among others, contributors include Zacharias, Craig, and Roman Catholic philosopher, Peter Kreeft. Kreeft, a convert to Catholicism from the Dutch Reformed Church during his college years, is definitely one of Rome’s most prolific champions. He has authored many books which proclaim and defend Rome’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. Isn’t it strange that a Catholic philosopher would be invited to contribute to a book devoted to evangelical apologetics? Not if the editor is Norman Geisler. Imagine Catholicism’s EWTN or Ignatius Press inviting John MacArthur or R.C. Sproul to contribute to a book on Catholic apologetics! Oy vey! The concept is laughable from either side. But accommodators like Geisler would much rather err on the side of “Christian unity” than be known as – heaven forbid – “uncharitable” Protestant sectarians.

Kreeft’s false gospel of salvation sacramental grace and merit is NOT the genuine Gospel of grace. Including Kreeft in “Why I Am A Christian” blurs the Gospel just like Peter’s accommodation of the legalistic judaizers in Antioch. Shame on accommodator and compromiser, Norman Geisler.

“But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?” – Galatians 2:11-14

Note from 2022: Readers of this blog know I’ve been critically examining Peter Kreeft’s book, “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic” (2018), every Friday. Chapter after chapter in that book, Kreeft has disparaged the genuine Gospel of grace and Gospel Christians and advanced the RCC’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. Norman Geisler’s influential role as an accommodator and compromiser is manifested even more clearly in the reading of Kreeft’s anti-Gospel apologia. Many people within the evangelical camp have contributed to the ecumenical compromise with Roman Catholicism, but none more so than Billy Graham, Charles Colson, and Norman Geisler. The argument is made that Geisler and cohorts got a lot of things right, so it’s unfair to judge them solely on their acceptance of RC-ism. With my background as an ex-Catholic who escaped the RCC and its false gospel, I can only view these accommodators and compromisers as traitors to the genuine Gospel who regrettably influenced many others.

All Roads Lead To Rome?

All Roads Lead to Rome?: The Ecumenical Movement
By Michael de Semlyen
Dorchester House Publications, 1993, 224 pp.

3 Stars

This is a semi-interesting examination of the ecumenical movement and the relentless pursuit of unity with the Roman Catholic church. This book was published 29 years ago during the papacy of John Paul II. The U.K. author’s focus is mainly on the Church of England’s dalliance with Roman Catholicism. A lot of water has gone over the dam since 1993. Is there an Anglican minister in the U.K. who still preaches the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone? One would not expect Anglican ministers to take umbrage with Rome’s heterodoxies when the COE has largely gone apostate itself. Still, it’s (sadly) interesting to read the particulars about how ecumenism between the COE and RCC advanced.

There’s a lot of good information in this book, but the author also favorably cites less than stellar references, including a variety of Jack Chick Publications, Alexander Hislop’s “The Two Babylons,” and Edmond Paris’ “The Secret History of the Jesuits,” which all deal in unverifiable speculation and conspiracy theories. De Semlyen passes along the ridiculous Chick-like theory that pope JPII was actually a communist double-agent: “No-one capable of coherent thought will believe that a Cardinal from behind the Iron Curtain can be anything but a Communist plant” (p. 77). The author also propagates KJV 1611 Only-ism. We read that anyone who uses a modern Bible translation is being duped by Rome. So the discerning reader of “All Roads Lead to Rome” must carefully pick through all of the dubious material to get to the solid information. There’s enough theological and historical evidence to easily convict Rome for its anti-Biblical and spiritually deadly errors without resorting to conspiracy theories, and, thankfully, we have solid examinations of Roman Catholicism by evangelical authors such as Gregg Allison, Leonardo De Chirico, James G. McCarthy, and James R. White, which deal in fact rather than fanciful speculation.

Throwback Thursday: James White: What goes through Ravi Zacharias’ head?

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on July 14, 2016 and has been revised. Ravi Zacharias was a very popular Christian apologist who was highly revered by many evangelicals. Following his death in May 2020, it was discovered that Ravi had led a double-life for many years, preying on women as a serial adulterer and as a serial sexual predator. But Ravi had been openly engaged in spiritual adultery for decades, suggesting to his many admirers that Roman Catholicism with its false gospel was a Christian entity.

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Back in October of last year, I ran across a You Tube video of Christian apologist, Ravi Zacharias (photo left), speaking at a seminar. At the start of the video, a young street evangelist asks Ravi if Roman Catholicism is a cult or an apostate church? For five minutes, Ravi dances around the question without giving the young man a forthright answer. I was angered. Does Rome teach the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone or does it not? Why was Ravi so reluctant to be straightforward? Why the hesitancy? Why the deference to Rome? Meanwhile, Catholic apologists do not hesitate to proclaim their church is the one true church and that its gospel of sacramental grace and merit is the only authorized way to God.

For Ravi’s video and my reaction, see here.

Praise God, I see that I’m not the only one who was flabbergasted by Ravi’s non-reply to the street evangelist! Yesterday, I stumbled across Christian apologist, James White’s (photo right) 2/3/15 reaction to the very same video. Click on the link below. White’s critique of Ravi’s comments begins at the 29:40 mark and ends at the 47:37 mark.

Roman Catholicism

I can personally attest to the fact that Ravi has referred to several Roman Catholics with great praise and admiration in his talks and writings including St. Francis, G.K. Chesterton, Malcolm Muggeridge, and Henri Nouwen. I would not be surprised if there have been many others. I see Ravi’s also scheduled to appear at the “Together 2016” ecumenifest this weekend, which will also include a video from pope Francis.

Ravi is a wonderful speaker and he’s pointed many to Christ but, unfortunately, he’s also muddied the Gospel of grace by embracing as Christians those who teach salvation by sacramental grace and obedience to the Ten Commandments. But there is only one Gospel. No one benefits when evangelicals turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the deadly errors of Catholicism’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit.

Praise God for James R. White and other evangelical apologists who are still able to discern a false gospel from the genuine Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Throwback Thursday: Quit Quoting C.S. Lewis

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on June 18, 2016 and has been revised.

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Tune into Christian radio for the day and you’re bound to hear a quote or two from C.S. Lewis. Sit in a pew at an evangelical church on Sunday and there’s a very good chance the pastor will quote Lewis during his sermon. But Lewis held many beliefs that were contrary to Gospel Christianity. Why then this infatuation with Lewis among evangelicals? There’s a certain degree of intellectual snobbery in connection with name-dropping the Oxford professor that appeals to some. Others just follow along because quoting Lewis seems to be “the thing to do.” See here for my previous review of “Mere Christianity” and why Lewis’ theology is very problematic for evangelicals.

Why keep banging the drum regarding the problems with C.S. Lewis? Because yesterday I heard Lewis fawningly quoted on Catholic talk radio (argh!) and I also ran across this informative 3-minute video critique of Lewis from No Compromise Radio. Evangelical pastors need to STOP WITH THE C.S. LEWIS QUOTES!

Billy Graham, the disappointing enigma

Billy Graham: Prayer, Politics, Power
Directed by Sara Colt and written by Keven Mcalester
American Experience Series, PBS, 2021, 1:51:41

4 Stars

Billy Graham (1918-2018) is widely revered and beloved as the “greatest” Christian evangelist of the 20th Century. Any criticism of Graham is considered blasphemy by most evangelicals, but I’m definitely NOT a fan for several reasons that will be detailed below.

“Billy Graham: Prayer, Politics, Power” first aired on PBS on May 17th. This biographical documentary spans Graham’s entire life. In 1944, Graham began his career as an evangelist affiliated with Youth for Christ. He eventually branched out on his own and his 1949 Los Angeles tent crusade received a tremendous boost from Roman Catholic media mogul, William Randolph Hearst, who ordered his newspaper editors to “Puff Graham.” Graham alienated his fundamentalist supporters when he ignominiously accepted the backing of liberal clergymen in organizing his 1957 New York City crusade, part of a calculated strategy by Graham and allies, Carl Henry and Harold Ockenga, to create a more ecumenical “New Evangelicalism” movement. Graham eventually enlisted the support of local Roman Catholic bishops in organizing his crusades. Catholics who came forward at Graham’s crusades were referred back to Catholic workers who counseled the seekers that their acceptance of Christ was only a reaffirmation of their infant baptism and confirmation.

To further increase his popularity and influence, Graham forged a close relationship with President Dwight Eisenhower. At the height of the Cold War standoff with atheist Russia, Graham influenced Eisenhower to meld patriotism and religion by directing that “In God We Trust” be stamped on currency and that “…under God” be inserted into the Pledge of Allegiance. American Civil Religion was/is antithetical to Jesus Christ and genuine Christianity because it presents God as a nebulous “Supreme Being” that’s palatable to all American religionists – Catholics, nominal “Protestants,” Muslims, Hindus, Jews, etc. It was the glue that bound patriotic Americans together in the face of advancing Soviet communism. Even today with the steady rise of atheism, Americans of all religious persuasions still join together at ball games and other public events and sing, “God Bless America.” Graham would go on to have an even closer relationship with another president, Richard Nixon, but would afterwards distance himself from politics following the ignominy of the Watergate scandal and Nixon’s resignation. However, Graham’s hobnobbing with presidents set the table for the Christian nationalists who followed, including Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.

Graham began drifting into Universalism in the mid-1970s. At a September 1977 interview session with McCall’s magazine journalist, James Michael Beam, Graham candidly revealed that he no longer believed people in foreign lands who had not heard the Gospel were going to hell. Incredulous? Hear Graham for yourself below in this 1:30 video snippet from 1997 tell “positivity gospel” propagator, Robert Schuller, that he believed all religions and even atheism were legitimate pathways to God.

I appreciated this PBS documentary for its critical examination of Billy Graham. Yes, many souls trusted in Jesus Christ as Savior through Graham’s ministry, however, Graham had several major flaws, including his strong desire for popularity, prestige, and political influence, his trailblazing propagation of ecumenism with Roman Catholicism, and his drift into Universalism. After trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior and leaving Roman Catholicism and its false salvation system of sacramental grace and merit in the early-1980s, I was shocked to discover that Billy Graham, evangelicalism’s favorite son, fully endorsed the Roman Catholic church with its false gospel as a Christian entity. Graham betrayed ex-Catholic evangelicals and Roman Catholics who needed to hear the genuine Gospel. The legacy of Billy Graham is that of a beloved evangelist who actually undermined and betrayed the Gospel on multiple levels. It’s not surprising that Satan would use Graham’s lust for numbers and popularity to subvert the Gospel.

See the PBS Graham documentary for a limited time here.

Postscript: Influential evangelical pastor, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, declined to support Billy Graham and his crusades in the U.K. because of Graham’s ecumenism with liberal, nominal “Protestant” Bible-deniers and Roman Catholic prelates. Lloyd-Jones also objected to Graham’s use of “decisionism” (i.e., the use of the “sinner’s prayer” to affect conversions). Millions of people who attended Graham’s crusades undoubtedly had false conversion experiences based on coming forward at Graham’s invitations without true repentance.

Throwback Thursday: National Day of Prayer?

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. The post below was originally published back on April 15, 2016, but has been revised to reflect the upcoming 2021 National Day of Prayer.

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The National Day of Prayer is coming up next week on Thursday, May 6th. Back in 1952, during the Korean War and Red Scare and in response to a groundswell of support sparked by a young Billy Graham, President Harry Truman signed into law the bill which mandated that an annual day of prayer be observed throughout the nation. The observance day was later fixed as the first Thursday in May. On this day, people of all religious faiths in the United States are called upon to pray for the nation and its leaders. Many born-again followers of Jesus Christ will join in “prayer” with Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, New Agers, and followers of various aberrant “christian” denominations and sects including Roman Catholicism and Mormonism.

Many evangelical Christians see participation in the National Day of Prayer as a good thing. After all, doesn’t God’s Word instruct us to pray for the authorities over us, “that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:1-4)? But the National Day of Prayer also has some critics within evangelicalism, including myself.

The National Day of Prayer is an event that promotes American civil religion (see here), a conflation of religion and American patriotism. Christians should never join with unbelievers in spiritual endeavors. God’s Word is explicitly clear on this:

“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.'” – 2 Corinthians 6:14-17

“Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them.” – Ephesians 5:11

“…holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.” – 2 Timothy 3:5

Jesus proclaimed that He is the ONLY way to salvation. That’s definitely not a popular message in our post-modern era of cooperation, pluralism, tolerance, inclusiveness, and relativism. But Christians should NOT join with religious unbelievers as they pray to their false deities. That is cooperation with idolatry. Yes, we Christians must pray for our country’s leaders so that the Gospel can continue to be preached unhindered throughout this land, but we cannot join with religious unbelievers in this ministry.

Some Christian supporters of the National Day of Prayer argue that the event can be used as an evangelism tool, however, compromise works both ways. Cooperation and compromise with unbelief always leads to betrayal of the Gospel. The Old Testament is largely a record of the disastrous consequences of God’s people cooperating with idolatry.

In closing, I would ask born-again believers who regularly read God’s Word to try to imagine the Lord, Jesus Christ, or even the Apostle Paul, joining with the pagan religionists of 1st-century Palestine, Mesopotamia, and Asia Minor in ecumenical prayer. The notion is beyond preposterous and yet many followers of Christ will enthusiastically join with religious unbelievers in the National Day of Prayer. For many evangelicals, shared national citizenship and religious-tinged, patriotic fervor take precedence over fidelity to the Gospel. The pastor of the Southern Baptist church we previously attended encouraged participation in the National Day of Prayer, which was one of several warning signs that we were worshiping at the wrong place. This is pretty cut and dry, folks. The fact that the National Day of Prayer is so popular with American evangelicals is another example of the lack of discernment when it comes to ecumenism and “interreligious” cooperation.

“The Church of Christ is continually represented under the figure of an army; yet its Captain is the Prince of Peace; its object is the establishment of peace, and its soldiers are men of a peaceful disposition. The spirit of war is at the extremely opposite point to the spirit of the gospel. Yet nevertheless, the church on earth has, and until the second advent must be, the church militant, the church armed, the church warring, the church conquering. And how is this? It is the very order of things that so it must be. Truth could not be truth in this world if it were not a warring thing, and we should at once suspect that it were not true if error were friends with it. The spotless purity of truth must always be at war with the blackness of heresy and lies.” – Charles H. Spurgeon

Backwoods, hillbilly, anti-Catholic fundamentalist?

My old blogging routine was to post articles Monday thru Saturday, but when I returned back to work in early-January I cut back to only four days per week. A recent cold meant A LOT of couch duty and time to ruminate and write some extra posts. So, in order to relieve the “glut,” I’ve decided to publish today and Friday.

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I was a Roman Catholic for my first twenty-seven years, until 1983 when I trusted in Jesus Christ as my Savior by faith alone. The Lord then put it in my heart to earnestly study my former religion and the many incompatible, irreconcilable doctrinal differences between Roman Catholicism and Gospel Christianity. Over the past five-and-a-half years of blogging, I’ve published many posts examining those differences. The prime difference between Catholicism and Gospel Christianity is in regards to how a person is saved. The Catholic church teaches that salvation is obtained by participating in its sacraments, whereby graces are allegedly received, supposedly enabling the Catholic to better obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!), in order to hopefully merit eternal life at the moment of death. Gospel Christians believe in salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. The theologies are diametrically opposed and cannot be reconciled. One is right and one is wrong. They cannot both be right.

One of the most disturbing things I’ve seen over the past thirty-eight years is how Gospel Christians have increasingly embraced my former religion, the false Roman Catholic church, as a Christian entity. Sixty-years ago, evangelicals rightly knew that the Roman church taught a false gospel. Since then, accommodators and compromisers within have chipped away at theological discernment. A consensus emerged and grew that proclaimed that, although the RCC had some quirky, un-Biblical beliefs, they got the basic Gospel right because they also talk about Jesus, “grace,” and “faith.” The rising tide of secularism motivated many undiscerning believers to dismiss doctrinal distinctives and to embrace Roman Catholics as “brothers in Christ” in an effort to present a semi-united “Christian” front in the culture/morality wars. Some evangelicals were also attracted to Catholic “intellectualism” and the false church’s ornate ritualism and ceremony.

These days, it appears* that the majority of those who identify as “evangelical” embrace “practicing” Roman Catholics as fellow-Christians. The consensus is that those who do not support ecumenism with Rome are akin to embarrassing, repugnant, anti-intellectual, backwoods, bigoted, unsophisticated, hillbilly fundamentalists of a bygone era. But Rome has not changed any of its major doctrines since 1960 and Catholics unabashedly admit that their church teaches salvation by (sacramental) grace and works. So what is the problem? Why did evangelicals cave when it came to Roman Catholicism, but still resolutely (at least for now) reject the Latter Day Saints and the Watchtower Society as false churches? Accommodating evangelical apologists (e.g., Norman Geisler, William Lane Craig, Frank Turek, Josh McDowell, etc.) readily admit that Roman Catholicism teaches a heterodox view of justification, but still dichotomously embrace it as a Christian entity. For ecumenical evangelicals, it is easier on their psyche to hold to a totally incongruous view (i.e., works-righteousness Catholicism is Christian) rather than swim against the tide and be thought of as an anti-Catholic fundamentalist.

In summary, a general consensus developed within evangelicalism over the past sixty years that says that Roman Catholicism teaches the genuine Gospel or something “close enough” EVEN DESPITE the RCC’s own unapologetic testimony to the contrary and despite evangelical theologians’ and apologists’ acknowledgement that Rome’s version of justification (baptismal regeneration, works righteousness) is heterodox and does not lead to salvation.

Because I point out that Rome teaches a false gospel, many evangelicals who visit my blog are embarrassed by my content, which doesn’t agree with the popular consensus/paradigm. In their eyes, I am a bigoted, anti-Catholic fundamentalist. They have been conditioned to be repulsed by those who say anything critical of Roman Catholicism. Warning Catholics and Christians of Rome’s false gospel is now viewed as distasteful and something akin to forcing people to sit at the back of the bus.

“If any one saith, that man is truly absolved from his sins and justified, because he assuredly believed himself absolved and justified; or, that no one is truly justified but he who believes himself justified; and that, by this faith alone, absolution and justification are effected; let him be anathema.” – Council of Trent, Canon 14

“None of us can say…I am already saved.” – pope Francis, December 11, 2015

What Does the Roman Catholic Church Believe About Justification? by R.C. Sproul

*A 2015 Lifeway Research survey revealed only 23 percent of evangelical Christian pastors disagreed with the statement that the pope is a fellow Christian and a “brother in Christ” (see here).