Billy Graham's Stand

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by TheOliveBranch, Sep 18, 2003.

  1. TheOliveBranch

    TheOliveBranch
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    I have been studying the rise of compromise in the Fundamentalist churches over the past century, and that in the 1940's Billy Graham had been a very strong fundamentalist, in his associations, and in his ministry. When he was speaking in the "crusades", fundamentalists began to reject him as the thought was that he was "rubbing shoulders" with liberals. They believed that he was slipping away from the fundamentals, and that he was spreading a New Evangelical form of christianity.

    There are probably two trains of thought here. One, that he saw the need for salvation of untold thousands and his heart was to see many saved,. Or... Two, that he was caught up in popularity, and found he had many more followers in the liberals, compromising his fundamentalist position.

    There is no challenge that Graham had changed. Was the change for the good, or for the bad?
     
  2. Johnv

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    I've never seen Billy Graham as the type of person who was out to win a polularity contest. Hence, I've lean towards option 1, that he saw the need for salvation of untold thousands and his heart was to see many saved. Besides, he doesn't strike me as the type of person who's ever been worried about getting "pigeonholed" as a liberal, conservative, fundamentalist, premillenialist, activist, pacifist, make-a-fist, or any other "fist". He's just been concerned with telling others about Jesus to the best of his imperfect human ability. If doing so is a curse, may God smite me with it, and may I never recover!!
     
  3. swaimj

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    The two options or evaluations that you shared are slanted and neither, in my opinion, correctly evaluates what Graham did.

    Graham and his new-evangelical strategy was a deliberate one. By allowing liberals to participate in his crusades, he believed that he would preach and see people get saved. They in turn would return to their liberal denomination and, over time, turn it back to a biblical position. One, you have to ask yourself if this is a biblical strategy. I don't think it is. Two, you have to ask yourself if it worked. Fifty years have passed. Which denomination that was liberal in the 50's has returned to a conservative position? Hmmm...I can't think of one. I think that history will judge Graham's strategy to be a failure. Already writers like Ian Murray have published books demonstrating how the strategy failed over the long haul.
     
  4. Squire Robertsson

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    Being from the tweener generation, I have had the opportunity to hear first hand from some of the people who took a stand against Brother Graham's methods. They took their stand for what they and I consider good an sufficent reasons. Rather than catalog them here, I can only quote Bob Jones, Sr.'s words that sum up the basis for their stand:
     
  5. Gunther

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    Swaimj, how about, I dunno, the SBC?
     
  6. swaimj

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    Gunther,
    The SBC was pretty conservative in the 50's when Graham began his new evangelical philosophy. The liberalism there did not peak until later. If anything, the SBC drift was in earnest and worsened while Graham was in his prime. I suspect that the conservatives in the convention were lax and allowed the liberalism to grow precisely because they were following Graham's philosophy. The SBC began to turn around because the leaders decided to purge liberals, not because they decided to co-exist with them as Graham chose to do. The SBC turned around because it rejected Graham's philosophy.
     
  7. Jim1999

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    I have seen the Graham ministry from its beginning, and I have seen many changes in people he has touched with the gospel. Was it his inclusivism? I doubt that very much, from a human standpoint. It was the direct works of the people behind him, the people in the counselling rooms and the follow-up people.

    Does inclusivism work? We will all have our doubts. On the other hand, it was the conservatives, who remained in the Baptist Union of Great Britain, and the Baptist Convention in Canada, who influenced the Baptist pulpit in both the UK and Canada.

    Those who took a strong stand against Billy Graham and Carl Henry's Neo-evangelicalism perhaps alerted those who remained within and kept them on their toes theologically. Let's not limit the actions of God in all movements.

    It is said that as we grow older, we mellow. I can attest to that. We do not change our views, but we change our attitudes and approach to the dissemination of truth. We do not accept modernism, but we do our best to work amid them and perhaps,,just perhaps,win them. When you swat a fly, you kill it. We cannot win by swatting, unless it is a fly. We are dealing with human souls regardless of their theological bent.

    Billy Graham has never compromised the gospel message, and that was his primary calling; to be an evangelist. Have we in the pulpits done our jobs?

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  8. swaimj

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    Jim,
    There is no doubt that some who opposed Billy Graham were belligerant, hateful, and legalistic. So there was fault on both sides. As James says "We all stumble in many ways...."

    However, the question on this thread is about the method of Billy Graham, his motivation, and its result. Without making a personal judgement of Billy Graham and condemning him, we had better look at what he did, determine if it was biblical and make a judgement as to whether we should follow his example. It is wise to look at the lessons of history and try to learn from them.
     
  9. Johnv

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    If he preached the love of God and of Jesus Christ as Savior, and if his doing so resulted in people accepting Christ as Lord and Savior, then yes, he was being biblical. He might not have done another would have done it, but doing things differently does not equate to doing things unbiblically.

    Well, unless one is a legalist...
     
  10. TheOliveBranch

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    Not intentionally. Maybe I shortened my thoughts a little too much so as to avoid a book.

    Graham began as a very strong, seperated fundamentalist. He began to weaken throughout the '50's, but by '57 he had a major turning point in his ministry. Some of his actions support this claim. He also had other actions that he admitted he no longer could believe, thus slipped away from some fundamental doctrines.

    In pondering over his reasons and decisions, I wondered if the choices he had made were because he felt he was right and the fundamentalist doctrines were wrong, or if his popularity would wane if he were to adhere to them.

    I agree, Graham has delivered the Gospel to many. Many profess, but how many possess? Is Graham giving the Gospel as we are commanded, or is he actually giving the Gospel only to have those learn the language, which, in effect, would hinder those from ever really being saved? So many have (had) heard, but without the benefit of true churches, discipleship, and fellowship, will they end up in hell because they were never truly saved? I wonder if Graham has given himself more credit for seeing thousands(?) saved, than to allow the Holy Spirit to be credited for this work.
     
  11. All about Grace

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    If you truly wonder this, then you do not know the ministry or humility of Billy Graham.
     
  12. massdak

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    i believe many Christians are broken hearted of the continuing errors of billy graham and his documented compromise and complete error on transcripts on very important matters of salvation. billy graham has many flaws in his altar call set up with a mechanical approach to salvation through his invintation system.
     
  13. gb93433

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    Remember when Billy Graham acted against racism in the south when he went there to preach? I can only imagine how many didn't like his stance. But he went in place of those who wouldn't take a stance against a societal evil. That took courage to speak against segregation.
     
  14. Johnv

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    I know many saved people who have gone to see Billy Graham preach. I also know of several people who got saved at a Billy Graham crusade. I know of no one who lost or turned away from Christ following a Graham crusade. Unfortunately, however, I know several people who have done so through local churches.
     
  15. massdak

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    I know many saved people who have gone to see Billy Graham preach. I also know of several people who got saved at a Billy Graham crusade. I know of no one who lost or turned away from Christ following a Graham crusade. Unfortunately, however, I know several people who have done so through local churches. </font>[/QUOTE]it doesn't matter where a person is or who does the preaching, it is the gospel message that is preached why some will get saved. those who believe the gospel. graham maybe confusing those on salvation matters, he has made the altar call like a sacrament.
     
  16. Dallasdid

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    wow attacking billy graham again its amazing how fundlementalist attack some one who is actually doing something. Its amazing we will come "and i think he was wrong because he did not do it the IFB way he did other way" one day in heaven im glad there will be an end to foolish stupid attacks. Billy has see millions near that come to Christ and we sit her and say he is wrong. You know what until u reaches millions for Christ dont SAY A WORD!!!! OK should be ashamed cutting down some one God has used and dont even say "i wonder if they really got saved" i have heard that makes me sick if u say that get yo self a Bible and read it "he that winneth souls is wise" billy graham is the wisest man i know
     
  17. Pastor Larry

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    Fundamentalists confronted and separated from Billy Graham on teh basis of Scripture, such as Rom 16:17-18, 2 Cor 6:14ff., etc. In the late 40s and 50s, he took a decided turn, against the advice of men whom he had great respect for and a great relationship with. He began to preach under the auspices of those who "taught contrary to the doctrine." According to Rom 16, he should have separated from them; instead he tolerated and encouraged them. He encouraged people to attend false churches.

    There is always a false argument made when someone says, "Look at what he ccomplished." No doubt, there has been many people saved. But studies have shown that a great many, even a majority of his "converts" are nowhere to be found in churches a year after their decision. That shows that the great numbers seen flowing down the aisles are not true numbers. But the bigger problem is that success is obedience, not numbers. Many people have tried to do great things, but if it is done in disobedience it is wrong. We should not fall prey to this false standard of argumentation.
     
  18. gb93433

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    I am not sure what Billy Graham did was wrong when he separated from the fundamentalists. Over and over again I am reminded of a saying I once heard, "You can be a fundamentalist but you don't have to act like one.'

    On page 251 of Just As I Am: The Autobiography of Billy Graham, Billy Graham writes, "During this holy but hard time, letters to Ruth were my safety valve. In the intimacy of our partnership in the ministry, as well as our mutual love and respect, I could express myself to her as to few others. I smarted under grievous criticisms from fundamentalists, and I minced no words in telling her how I felt: '"Some of the things they say are pure fabrications.... I do not intend to get down to their mud slinging and get into endless arguments and discussions with them.... We are too busy winning souls to Christ and helping build the church to go down and argue with these... publicity-seekers.'" "I continued in the same vain: '"If a man accepts the deity of Christ and is living for Christ to the best of his knowledge, I intend to have fellowship with him in Christ. If this extreme type of fundamentalism was of God, it would have brought revival long ago. Instead it has brought dissension, strife, and has produced dead and lifeless churches.'"

    Shortly after I came to Christ I attended a fundamentalist Bible believing church. Everything was fine until a few of the older men died and a few of the younger ones took over. The older men were gracious and would give everything they had to serve others. The church grew quite rapidly during that time. But when a few of the younger ones took over they had "all the answers." They were divisive and thought what they believed was right. What they thought was right was in disagreement against what the founders of the church believed who had died not much earlier. The chruch was started shortly after the depression. If anyone had a need the church took up a collection that day for whoeever might have a need. But I knew when the pastor left our days were numbered. The church continued a steady decline in evangelism, dscipleship, baptisms, and church attendance. The church is now growing again after almost 30 years of decline. Most of those younger men are now elderly and a number have died. The church is beginning to return to its roots and become more gracious.

    From what I can tell God always gives grace to the humble but always opposes the proud.

    Anyone think he has perfect theology? God will show you otherwise.
     
  19. Pastor Larry

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    I think you misunderstand. The issue with Graham was not publicity; it was doctrine and obedience. When Graham did what he did, he did so in direct violation of God's word. He sought advice from people and then rejected that advice. Then he tried to make those people the bad guy because they took the scriptural line while Graham took the unscriptural line. The fact that he was "winning souls" is irrelevant (if it is even true). The fact is that Graham chose to disobey Scripture on central issues of the faith and those who loved Scripture were required to separate from him (Rom 16:17-18) or become disobedient themselves. Obedience is always better than sacrifice.

    Even the quote you give is misleading because hte deity of Christ was not the standard. Graham had sponsors who denied the deity of Christ. The deity of Christ is not the only doctrine of significance anyway. There are other doctrines that he was willing to push to the side in order to gain his following.
     
  20. All about Grace

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    Or perhaps BG did not interpret these verses through the fundamentalist grid of others.

    I have not agreed with every decision BG has made but I am not going to step out on a limb to suggest it was intentional direct disobedience to God's Word. BG made it abundantly clear early in his ministry that he would not compromise the integrity of the Scritpures. Whether his affiliation decisions caused him to do that or not is a matter of personal opinion.
     

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