Tuesday, February 01, 2005if you hated the "romanist" post...you'll really hate this one...
I want to thank Melly for picking up my little "Easter egg" in my C.S. Lewis post. I've been meaning to deal with Billy Graham in a post for some time now, but haven't had the time. So you can thank (or be mad at...) Melly (LOL) for pushing me to blog on this well-known, much loved "preacher".
Well, as mentioned in the Lewis post, I'm not a fan of Billy Graham at all. At best, I believe he is a Christian with some real messed up theology, or, at worst, he is a false teacher after the manner of Balaam.
Now please, READ THIS POST CAREFULLY AND TAKE YOUR TIME BEFORE COMMENTING. I know many/most Christians LOVE Billy Graham, and I know that the temptation will be there in many to just angrily post a quick comment. Please try to look at the evidence I've presented, and think it through.
Some clear problems with Billy Graham's teachings:
(I truly hope you are able to catch the problems with the following, if not, you need to spend more time in the Word of God)
-Speaking at the Roman Catholic Belmont Abbey College, Noth Carolina, Dr. Graham said:
"The gospel that built this school and the gospel that brings me here tonight is still the way to salvation" (Gastonia Gazette, 1967).
-Billy Graham in an interview with McCall's magazine:
"I used to believe that pagans in far-off countries were lost, were going to hell, if they did not have the Gospel of Jesus Christ preached to them. I no longer believe that. I believe that there are other ways of recognizing the existence of God through nature, for instance, and plenty of other opportunities, therefore, of saying yes to God."
-In an interview with the Charlotte Observer, Rev. Graham said:
"And I think there is that hunger for God and people are living as best they know how according to the light that they have. Well, I think they're in a separate category than people like Hitler and people who have just defied God, and shaken their fists at God. I would say that God, being a God of mercy, we have to rest it right there, and say that God is a God of mercy and love, and how it happens, we don't know.
-On Larry King Live, Billy Graham and Larry King had this exchange (and I'm not making this up) :
Larry King: "What do you think of Mormonism, Catholicism, other faiths within the Christian concept?"
Billy Graham: "Well I think I am in wonder fellowship with all of them."
Larry King: "You're comfortable with Salt Lake City. You're comfortable with the Vatican?"
Billy Graham: "I am very comfortable with the Vatican."
Larry King: "You were preaching in his church (Pope) the day he was made pope."
Billy Graham: "That is correct."
-In an interview with the Lutheran Standard, Billy Graham said:
"I have some difficulty in accepting the indiscriminate baptism of infants without a careful regard as to whether the parents have any intention of fulfilling the promise they make. But I do believe that something happens at the baptism of an infant, particularly if the parents are Christians and teach their children Christian Truths from childhood. We cannot fully understand the miracles of God, but I believe that a miracle can happen in these children so that they are regenerated, that is, made Christian, through infant baptism. If you want to call that baptismal regeneration, that's all right with me."
-In Time magazine, Billy Graham said:
"The only thing I could say for sure is that hell means separation from God. We are separated from his light, from his fellowship. That is going to be hell. When it comes to a literal fire, I don’t preach it because I’m not sure about it. When the Scripture uses fire concerning hell, that is possibly an illustration of how terrible it’s going to be—not fire but something worse, a thirst for God that cannot be quenched."
-In Newsweek, Billy Graham said (this on really gets me going):
"I believe the Bible is the inspired, authoritative word of God, but I don't use the word "inerrant" because it's become a brittle divisive word."
All these are but a few examples of grave errors that Billy Graham espouses, and let's say things as they are: THESE ERRORS ARE SERIOUS ERRORS!!! And it doesn't end there. Much of the problem I have with Billy Graham isn't only in the things he says, but rather, the things he doesn't say.
I have had the opportunity to watch and hear many "Billy Graham crusades", and interestingly enough, they are all remarkably the same. High in entertainment (music, testimonies, humour...etc), extremely high on emotionalism (emotions are fine, but they have to be directed by Truth), and EXTREMELY LOW ON DOCTRINE/THEOLOGY. Graham speaks of the Person of Jesus, he speaks of having a relationship with God, he speaks of our individual imperfections and trials, BUT THERE IS NO DETAIL! And you know how the expression goes: "the devil is in the details."
Here is what I mean by the importance of details. When we go out to street preach, every Friday, in our Gospel presentation, we mention the fact that every person is a sinner. We get absolutely no problems with that statement, everyone agrees, and all is well. That's as far as Graham goes. But you see, we believe the message has to go a little further. For example we'll present what it is that makes us sinners: one lie, one drunkenness, one curse, one immoral act/thought...etc...and then we don't shy away from mentioning that for one of these transgressions, the sinner is under God's wrath, and will remain there forever, unless there is repentance and faith in Christ Jesus. Let me tell you, that riles people up! All of sudden, we don't get the same kind of reception as old Billy does!
Billy Graham would make a fantastic politician (in politics, what you say and what you don't say is the key to success). The way he was and is able to get the approval of such a large section of religious people is quite a feat! But you see, Billy Graham doesn't make himself out to be a politician, he makes himself out to be a preacher; and while I can show some latitude to a politician using a bit of deception to win votes, it is intolerable in the matters of faith. The Bible calls us out to be truthful. Completely truthful (Colossians 3:9; 1 Peter 3:10).
The Bible says:
"Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."
There are a lot of bad fruit in Billy Graham's ministry. Is it bad enough that the tree is corrupt? I think so, but I don't know for sure. One thing is for sure, I don't have time for men who walk a fine line between heresy and truth. I hope you have the same attitude.
N.B.: Please, pretty please, take time to ponder on this post. Don't just go nuts and try to set me straight. Consider the words. Consider the Scripture. Consider your personal bias (we all have one). And remember to be kind. Yes! the Bible requires it, even to those you may not believe deserve it (Psalm 101:5). AND DON'T FORGET THE TOU!