A good example of how ecumenism with Rome is even seeping into the Protestant “bulwarks”

Ulster Bulwark
The Magazine of the Evangelical Protestant Society
April-June 2018 Edition

Back in early-May, I included a news story in the Weekend Roundup about an article in a Northern Irish evangelical publication that was creating some controversy in the Irish press. An evangelical pastor had written an article for the “Ulster Bulwark,” which warned of the blasphemous nature of the Roman Catholic mass. See the story here.

I sincerely appreciated that the publication was standing up for the Gospel of grace, so I searched for the Ulster Bulwark web site, submitted my subscription to the publication, and received my first copy a short time ago, which included the following short articles:

  • Don’t Despise the Days of Small Things: Some Reflections on Zechariah 4:1-10.
  • The Protestant at the Mass – The article which generated all of the controversy. Excellent!
  • Lessons from Luther – A discussion about Marin Luther with Carl Trueman who teaches at Westminister Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. In light of the other excellent articles in this issue about the mass and Billy Graham, it’s sadly ironic that the Ulster Bulwark chose to interview Trueman who advances the cause of ecumenism with Rome as a regular featured writer for the Catholic ecumenical journal, “First Things.”
  • News – Short bits of news of interest to evangelicals in Ireland.
  • The Legacy of Billy Graham – A critique of Graham’s ecumenism and Universalism.
  • Book Reviews – In this edition, “Pierre Viret: The Angel of the Reformation” by R.A. Sheats and “A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Mary” by Leonardo de Chirico (see my review of that book here).

I enjoyed this small (20 pages) publication although the discussion with Trueman was puzzling. Perhaps the interviewer and editor weren’t aware of Trueman’s connection to “First Things”? Ecumenism’s talons are so deep into the church these days that it’s difficult to keep track of who’s in Rome’s back pocket and who’s not.

You can receive a free subscription to the “Ulster Bulwark” via the website below:

http://www.evangelicalprotestant.org/the_ulster_bulwark/

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A pope venerated during an evangelical worship service and nobody says a word?

I’ve mentioned before that my wife and I are both big ol’ square pegs when it comes to evangelical church membership. We’re too “liberal” for flag-waving fundamentalist churches where we started out as new believers decades ago, and too “conservative” for progressive mega-churches, which are generally well-on-the-way to ecumenical compromise and betrayal.

Two-and-a-half-years ago, we began attending a large non-denominational church, which leans much more towards a contemporary than a traditional worship-style, but, and this is huge for us, politics are never mentioned from the pulpit and there have been no overtures toward Rome. Phew! Until now. What?!?!

A couple of Sundays ago, we were sitting in the “sanctuary” and listening to the pastor finish a fine sermon on resting in the Lord. Immediately after the sermon, the worship band came out and performed a song called “Rest In You.” As the band played, a video was displayed in the background, which included both exterior and interior shots of what would clearly be manifested to be a Roman Catholic church. The video scenes included among other things:

  • A statue of a smiling pope wearing the three-tiered papal tiara (photos above and below)
  • Votive candles being lit (votive candles are often used in connection with prayers to Mary and the “saints”)
  • Statues of unidentified Catholic saints
  • A statue of Jesus exposing his “sacred heart”
  • The church interior showing the Catholic altar

The above images looped through the video twice while my wife and I sat there with our mouths wide open in disbelief. Watch the very same 5-minute video for yourself far below.

We went home and composed a letter to the pastor expressing our deep dismay and emailed it Monday. The pastor responded the next day. I don’t wish to publish the details of our private correspondence other than to say we were pleased with the pastor’s gracious reply.

But one has to ask oneself, how does a big evangelical church with a large staff and many eyes permit something like that video to slip through? C’mon! A statue of a pope?!?!?! Forty years ago, if such a video had been shown at an evangelical church service, the entire congregation would have rightly demanded an explanation from the elder board. But in this era of ecumenism and growing doctrinal ignorance, at a church with an average Sunday attendance of over 2000, we were told we were the only ones who raised a concern.

Capture27

I did a little research and found out the song, “Rest In You,” and the accompanying video were created by a now-defunct band named All Sons & Daughters, which was led by Leslie Anne Jordan and David Alan Leonard, the former worship co-leaders at Journey Church in Franklin, Tennessee. Their final album, “Poets & Saints” (2016), includes the song in question as well as “You Are Love & Love Alone,” which the band claimed was inspired by Catholic nun and saint, Thérèse of Lisieux. An article (see here) from a Catholic news source triumphantly cites “Poets & Saints” as a “Protestant album” that “finds some very Catholic inspiration.”

The Gospel is getting very muddied out there, brothers and sisters! Why don’t these accommodating and compromising Judas ecumenical evangelical ministers just padlock their church’s doors and send everyone a mile down the road to the local Catholic church?

“Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” – Luke 18:8

 

“You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!” – Galatians 5:7-12

Rampant ecumenism in the news

Accommodation, compromise, and tolerance are sometimes good things, but not in connection with fidelity to the Gospel. The four recent news stories below illustrate how Protestants are being pulled deeper and deeper into the ecumenical vortex.

Emboldened by pope Francis’ lifting of the ban on communion for remarried divorcees, cardinal Reinhard Marx (photo left) and other liberal German prelates announced a couple of months ago that they were preparing to allow communion to Lutheran spouses of Roman Catholics. Frazzled conservative bishops sent a letter of objection to the Vatican. Today, Marx and others will meet with archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to discuss the advisability of intercommunion with Protestants at this time. Make no mistake, Francis would gladly welcome intercommunion with Protestants, but it may be too much, too soon with the controversy still raging over his lifting of the ban on communion for remarried divorcees. Stay tuned.

Personally, I have absolutely no desire to partake in the anti-Biblical sacrifice of the mass or to receive the allegedly transubstantiated Jesus wafer. The Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone is not preached in Catholic churches. If any Roman Catholics are saved, they are saved in spite of their church, not because of it. Roman Catholics are a mission field, but I’m sure there are many Judas evangelicals who would gladly partake of the Jesus wafer from a Catholic priest.

“Evangelical,” Nick Hall (photo middle with pope Francis), brokered the Together 2016 ecumenical “happening” in July 2016 in Washington D.C., which featured a video greeting from pope Francis along with speeches from unabashed ecumenists like Ravi Zacharias, Francis Chan, and Ronnie Floyd. Catholic Matt Maher was one of the featured musical performers. Hall is planning another one of his many ecumenical “Pulse” events for St. Paul-Minneapolis on Friday, May 18th, which has the enthusiastic support of the local Catholic diocese (see article). Hillsong Young & Free will be one of the performers. Hall is also planning the Together 2018 ecumenical “happening” this coming October 20-21 at Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. Scheduled speakers include Zacharias, and TBN regulars, Priscilla Shirer, Tony Evans, Brian Houston, and Banning Liebscher from the aberrant Bethel Church of Redding, California, along with music from Hillsong United and Jesus Culture from Bethel Church. Will pope Francis also be sending a message to Together 2018?

Andy Stanley (photo right) ranks right up there with Bill Hybels and Rick Warren as a pioneer of the burgeoning seeker-sensitive, mega-church movement. Right doctrine is not only expendable in the eyes of the church-growth guys, it’s seen as a negative. I may disagree with my blood-bought, born-again brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ over doctrinal secondaries, but we are united in the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Messrs. Stanley, Hybels, Warren, and their disciples are so antagonistic toward right doctrine in the cause of false unity that just about anyone who names the name of Christ is fine with them, including the Gospel-defying pope of Rome.

Pope Francis will be visiting the headquarters of the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland on June 21st to participate in the commemoration the 70th anniversary of that organization. None of the 348 denominations affiliated with the WCC preach the Gospel any longer. The Roman Catholic church is not a member of the WCC but the two entities maintain warm relations.

National Day of Prayer?

Next Thursday, May 3rd, is the annual National Day of Prayer, so I thought it would be appropriate to trot out the archived post below.

The National Day of Prayer advances the causes of ecumenism and Civil Religion (see here), NOT the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

Please read the rest via National Day of Prayer?

Quasimodo pleads for “Sanctuary,” but finds none at Notre Dame

As I’ve related several times before, I had walked away from the Lord for a very long “season” after we left our first church in 1991. But the Lord is merciful and patient beyond measure and kept drawing me back to Him. Toward the end of that pitiful “journey,” my wife had reconnected with old friends, an evangelical Christian couple from our old neighborhood. They invited us to their church for Sunday worship four years ago and it was at that service that I returned to my Abba Father who had been watchfully and lovingly waiting for His prodigal son. But we didn’t consider attending our friends’ church following that Sunday because it upholds several secondary doctrines that we don’t believe are Biblical, which I mention in all humility.

We have spent a lot of time with this sweet couple over the last four years: sharing meals at our homes and at restaurants, traveling, seeing movies, visiting each other during sickness, and just hanging out together. They love the Lord and try to serve Him with their lives. However, one of the things that we don’t see eye to eye on is in regards to ecumenism. They are of a viewpoint that Roman Catholicism is a Christian entity and that it preaches the genuine Gospel. Argh! I’m sure this is what they unfortunately receive from the pulpit of their church. We have had many brief, polite discussions about this, but they attribute our “attitude” to being disgruntled, former members. No, Rome’s gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit is NOT the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through in Jesus Christ alone. Despite what Billy Graham and other ecumenists say, it’s impossible to fit the square Roman peg through the round Gospel hole. Our discussions on this issue have been brief and polite, but I’ve noticed their eyes tend to glaze over when we present our arguments.

Last Saturday, we went out to dinner with this couple at an Italian eatery (linguini and red clam sauce is one of my go-to dishes) and then attended a local high school production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”* The musical dramatization is based on Victor Hugo’s famous 1831 novel. Hugo (1802-1885) was a French politician and one of country’s most celebrated writers. He was a deist and strongly anti-clerical and anti-Catholic. The villain of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is the pathologically conflicted character, Archdeacon Claude Frollo, who represents the rigid, legalistic religiosity that Hugo abhorred. Is there a sadder figure in fiction than the forlorn hunchback, Quasimodo,** rejected by all? Too bad Hugo did not know the Lord.

We all enjoyed the show. The high school kids put on a tremendous performance far beyond their years. As we were all riding home in the car together, I half-jokingly mentioned that the moral of the play was never to trust a priest. Everyone shared a good guffaw, but then the wife friend commented with something to the effect of, “It’s just too bad the good priests have to deal with all the bad publicity from the bad-apple pedophiles.”

Huh? Good priests? Again and again we encounter this unscriptural understanding from our friends. Over and over. Patience, Lord, patience.

My wife quickly responded by saying that, according to Scripture, there is no longer any need for priests or sacrifice.

[Crickets]

That was the end of that particular exchange, but the debate is never-ending as evangelicals and evangelicalism continue to march onward toward Rome.

“And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” – Hebrews 10:11-14

*Notre Dame in Paris is probably the second-most famous Catholic church in the world after St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Many Americans don’t know that “Notre Dame” means “Our Lady.”

**The GIF clip above shows Charles Laughton as Quasimodo in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,”  RKO Radio Pictures, 1939. The name, Quasimodo, comes from a Latin phrase, “quasi modo,” which translates as, “Almost merely” or “Merely almost.” The name refers to Quasimodo’s several deformities and that he supposedly “almost” looked like a human or was an approximation of a human. The meaning “half-formed” isn’t correct, but that’s the right idea. Society has gone backwards in many respects recently, but at least there is much more respect shown to those with disabilities and disfigurements. Quasimodo, you are not alone! We are all spiritually disabled and disfigured by sin and we all, every single one of us, need salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Jesus Christ is REAL sanctuary for sinners!!! Why won’t you repent of your sins and trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior today? What are you waiting for?

“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.

Paradigm Shift: How Gospel outreach to Catholics became “anti-Catholic bigotry”

Paradigm. The word became extremely popular in business circles in the 1990s. It can mean how a person or group views or understands or conceptualizes a particular situation or set of circumstances. A paradigm may be accurate or inaccurate. It may remain stable over time or change.

It occurs to me that a dramatic paradigm shift involving eternal consequences took place in evangelical churches in America and throughout the world over the last sixty years.

I believe it would be accurate to say that back in the early 1960s, close to all evangelical and fundamentalist pastors agreed that the gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit taught in all Roman Catholic churches was NOT the Biblical Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Bible Christians agreed across denominational lines that Roman Catholics, like all other works-religionists, were a mission field. This widely-shared viewpoint WAS an accurate “paradigm” of the circumstances.

But several powerful influences began to change this paradigm:

*Billy Graham and his like-minded allies within evangelicalism (e.g., Carl Henry, Edward Carnell, Harold Ockenga, Bernard Ramm, etc.) began embracing Roman Catholicism as a Christian entity despite Catholicism’s own admission that its salvation system was based on sacramental grace and meritorious works. Graham never addressed in print or by interview how he was able to reconcile in his mind the two opposing gospels.

*Roman Catholicism’s Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) dramatically reversed the church’s stance regarding Protestants from that of militant opposition to ecumenical cooperation. Rome openly admitted at the time that the purpose of its switch to ecumenism was to eventually recover Protestants back to the fold. Rome’s new approach was hailed by many (naive) evangelicals.

*In February 1967, about 25 college students from Duquesne Catholic University attended a retreat in which they claimed they received the Pentecostal/charismatic gifts of the spirit. The Catholic charismatic renewal movement has since grown to 160 million members including tens of thousands of priests. Charismatics and Pentecostals were in a compromising pickle; although Catholics believed in a different gospel, they demonstrated the requisite gifts of the spirit. Pope Francis has praised Catholic charismatics as a vanguard for evangelical-Catholic ecumenism.

*By the early 1970s, influential theologians, most notably, Francis Schaeffer, began to warn of the “spiritual and moral” decline of the West, and called on evangelical Christians to actively engage in the political realm. Leaders such as Jerry Falwell, D. James Kennedy, Pat Robertson, and James Dobson accepted Schaeffer’s challenge and encouraged pastors to organize and to mix faith and politics from the pulpit. In battles with advancing secularism, politically-minded evangelicals were not opposed to teaming with conservative Roman Catholics against the common foe. Once-important doctrinal differences took a back seat to the immediate cultural and political shared concerns. It wasn’t long before doctrinal differences were ignored altogether. Charles Colson attempted to formalize this alliance of expediency with his Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT) movement beginning in 1994.

*In the 1970s and 1980s, tracts, comic books, and books from Chick Publications, which strongly attacked Roman Catholicism, became popular among some Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals. Much of the information was sensationalistic and based upon unverifiable conspiracy theories (e.g., the Catholic church created Islam, Marxism, Mormonism, the Jehovah Witnesses, etc.). Chick’s irresponsible extremism weakened the efforts of credible, Gospel-focused outreach to Catholics.

*In addition to the ecumenical push by Graham and Co., Catholicism’s softened stance toward Protestants, Moral Majority’s ecumenism in the trenches, shared charismatic experientialism, and irresponsible conspiracy theorists, society entered into the post-modern era in which all truth is supposedly relative, and “inclusiveness” and “tolerance” are the buzzwords. Post-modernism has also impacted the evangelical church. Criticism of a religious group, even if they propagate a false gospel, is perceived by many evangelicals as negative, divisive, and completely distasteful.

As a result of all of the above influences, the evangelical church’s paradigm of Roman Catholicism has radically shifted over the past 60 years. Roman Catholics, who still believe in the same false gospel of sacramental grace and merit that was taught by their church back in 1960, are no longer viewed by many evangelicals as a mission field, but as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ! While Catholics perish without hearing the Gospel of grace, evangelical organizers invite Catholic priests to speak at their events. Books by Catholic authors such as G.K. Chesterton, Henri Nouwen, Peter Kreeft, and Thomas Merton are widely disseminated within evangelical circles and even recommended from pulpits. The widely-shared viewpoint that Catholicism teaches the Biblical Gospel is NOT an accurate “paradigm” of the actual circumstances. But in evangelicalism today, those who criticize Rome and its false gospel are increasingly looked upon as the loony fundamentalist fringe and anti-Catholic bigots.

This embracement of Catholicism by evangelicals over the last 60 years is an absolutely stunning 180-degree change in perception. Satan himself could not have designed it more perfectly. The bottom line in all of this: Catholics don’t hear the genuine Gospel and evangelicals are moving closer to Rome.

The idolatry of “Thomism” among some evangelical intellectuals

I like to tell people I’m a Theology 101 kind of guy. Praise the Lord that His Good News! is so simple even a child can understand it. But I appreciate the work that godly theologians have done over the years and I have picked up a few things here and there.

One thing that bothers me, though, is how some evangelical theologians are enamored with Roman Catholic medieval theologian, Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274). Those who specialize in studying Aquinas proudly dub themselves as “Thomists.” Three very influential evangelical theologians who embraced Thomism are Norman Geisler, and the late John Gerstner and R.C. Sproul.

R.C. Sproul passed into Heaven only a couple of months. I really appreciated R.C.’s ministry and his fidelity to the Gospel of grace. Every once in a while, I’ll listen to the daily broadcast from R.C.’s Ligonier Ministry, “Renewing Your Mind,” and this morning the topic was “Why Didn’t Jesus Know?” (see link below) in which R.C. explained why Jesus didn’t know the time of the Second Coming as it’s written in Matthew 24:36. R.C. explained that Thomas Aquinas had a wrong understanding of the verse, but emphatically qualified that statement with the following:

“I respect Saint Thomas Aquinas as much or more than any other theologian that’s ever lived. I think Saint Thomas was astonishing in his brilliance and in his consistent understanding of the things of God.”

[Pausing wearily]

As I said, I’m certainly not a theologian, but I do know several things about Thomas Aquinas. The Catholic church considers him their preeminent theologian. He promoted and defended the teachings of baptismal regeneration and sacramental grace, auricular confession of sins to a priest, purgatory and indulgences, the invocation and intercession of the saints in Heaven, and papal primacy. Borrowing heavily from Aristotelian philosophy, Aquinas defined, among other things, the spiritually deadly false dogma of eucharistic transubstantiation.

Thomas Aquinas was certainly no friend of the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace though faith in Jesus Christ alone. Many of the other doctrines he promoted, defended, and defined were un-Biblical and even anti-Biblical. What is it exactly that attracts these evangelical theologians to Aquinas?

I love R.C. Sproul and I’m grateful for his ministry in my life. I am not trying to besmirch the reputation of a departed brother who was faithful to the Gospel in many other ways, but I am very disappointed by R.C.’s unqualified great praise of Thomas Aquinas in today’s taped radio message and elsewhere. R.C. wasn’t perfect. This infatuation with Thomas Aquinas and Thomism among some evangelicals is a spiritual blind spot that I believe is rooted in intellectual pride.

In all things, we must always follow the Lord, Jesus Christ and His Word, rather than men. If Christian teachers, even otherwise solid Christian teachers, depart from the truth, we must follow the Lord.

“It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.” – Psalm 118:8


“Why Didn’t Jesus Know?”
http://renewingyourmind.org/2018/02/27/why-didnt-jesus-know

The well-spoken man: An allegory of Billy Graham

Yesterday afternoon, I was under the impression that I had posted all of my thoughts regarding Billy Graham (see here and here), until the short allegory below came to mind. Thank you for your interest. I won’t be posting anything more about Billy Graham.

Imagine yourself being on a large ship, the Queen Mary, in the middle of the ocean. It’s a warm, sunny day and you’re relaxing on deck, enjoying the ocean breeze, but suddenly the big ship shudders violently as it hits a reef. You scramble as you get into the Lifeboat* and warn your fellow passengers to do likewise. But a well-spoken man appears on deck and counsels the frazzled passengers with his confident and soothing voice to stay on the ship, telling them that it remains seaworthy and dependable. The passengers let out a collective sigh of relief and express their gratitude to the well-spoken man for allaying their fears. The ship’s captain also extends his enthusiastic thanks. Everyone returns to the ship’s interior. You yell from the Lifeboat, “What are you doing? The ship is sinking! Get into the Lifeboat!” The well-spoken man looks back for a quick second and gives you a wink and a smile. From your Lifeboat, you watch the ship sink into the ocean and all passengers appear to be lost.

*In this allegory, the Lifeboat has room for “whosoever will.”

Billy Graham warmly eulogized by Roman Catholic leaders. Is there anything strange about that?

Yesterday, I posted a few thoughts on Billy Graham. See here. This morning, I scanned the internet and I was not surprised to find many glowing articles from Catholic sources eulogizing Graham, including the ones far below.

Bible Christians uphold the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Rome propagates a different gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. The two gospels are not the same. They are, in fact, opposed to each other. But Billy Graham completely dismissed doctrinal distinctives and embraced Roman Catholicism with its false gospel as a Christian entity. He invited local Catholic bishops to participate in his crusades and directed Catholics who came forward at his altar calls to go back to their Catholic churches.

“Billy Graham risked a great deal with his core evangelical constituency when he began building bridges with Catholics” – from “How Billy Graham shaped American Catholicism,” below.

The Catholic hierarchy’s praise and approval of Billy Graham, especially for his ecumenical efforts, should be a red flag for Bible Christians who continue to honor Billy Graham. The Lord, Jesus Christ, and His apostles did not receive the approbation of the Jewish and pagan works-religionists of Palestine and the Roman Empire, neither did they seek it. But in today’s topsy-turvy world, ecumenism with Rome is viewed by many as a good thing, and those who object are ignored or even criticized. Can anyone imagine Catholic bishops of yore weeping at the gravesides of John Knox, Charles Spurgeon, or Martyn Lloyd-Jones as they will be doing at the graveside of their friend and ally, Billy Graham? Was the Catholic press full of accolades for Spurgeon and Lloyd-Jones when they died? No? Then what has changed?

“For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.” – Galatians 1:10


REV. BILLY GRAHAM BELMONT COLLEGE
Billy Graham and Catholic priest, John Oetgen, president of Belmont Abbey Monastery in North Carolina, are pictured in 1967 after the popular evangelist was invited for a talk and to receive a degree from Belmont College. Graham called the gathering “a time when Protestants and Catholics could meet together and greet each other as brothers, whereas 10 years ago they could not.”