What do you think of Billy Graham, and WHY?

Discussion in 'Missions / Witnessing / eVangelism' started by Rev. G, Oct 14, 2002.

  1. Rev. G

    Rev. G
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    I'd just like to hear from folks about what they think of Mr. Graham, particularly our British brethren. Please include the "why" in your answer. Thank-you!
     
  2. All about Grace

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    I am not British (although I have a very English grounded name), but here goes.

    Billy Graham is a man who has been used tremendously by God. Do I always agree with every "ecumenical" action he takes? No. But am I going to stand back in judgment and suggest he has perverted the gospel in some fashion? No.

    Anyone who has ever attended a BG crusade is reminded of how God uses the simple presentation of the gospel to draw persons to Christ. The last crusade I attended reminded me that the power of the gospel is not in the oratory skills of the speaker but in the message itself.

    Until I am personally privileged to be used by God in a similar fashion as BG, I am going to abstain from criticism [​IMG]

    On a side note, BG's personal character and holiness stand as a testimony to all of us on how we should protect ourselves from the onslaught of the Evil One by keeping ourselves above reproach.
     
  3. Ulsterman

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    There can be no questioning of Billy Graham’s abilities as an evangelist. A dynamic and interesting speaker he has engaged audiences the world over with good success. In 1954 his Greater London Crusade was extended for three months leaving a profound effect upon the United Kingdom.

    However, the record of Graham’s ministry is essentially a litany of compromise. Little by little Graham moved away from his fundamental Baptist roots toward liberalism and modernism.

    For example, in 1960 Graham attended and participated in the World Council of Churches on evangelism. In November 1961 he attended a World Council of Churches meeting New Delhi, India, where he appeared on the same platform as Anglican Archbishop Arthur Michael Ramsay, one of the most notorious of apostates ever housed by the Church of England. Ramsay believed in evolution and had no misgivings about denying Biblical truth. He is on record as believing that heaven was not the reserve of “Christians only,” and he expected atheists to be there. He was a strong Anglo Catholic and advocate of church unity, paying a visit to Pope Paul VI in 1964. This man, alongside others of the same ilk, Graham addressed as “Christian leaders from every corner of the earth.”

    In 1984 his Mission England campaign unveiled his continuing compromise. It was supported by Hugh Montefiore, the Anglican Bishop of Birmingham, England, who spoke of Graham and his crusades in enthusiastic terms. This same Bishop believed that faith in Christ was not essential for salvation, and that unbelievers would not go to hell. The campaign was also supported by the liberal Archbishop Robert Runcie. Five years later, in 1989 Michael Steed, Ecumenical Advisor to the English Cardinal Basil Hume said that Graham’s evangelistic efforts “helped our church greatly and many 'renewed their [Roman Catholic] faith under his great ministry.'” Romanists, liberals and modernists love him because not only did he promote them as fellow believers, but he has helped fill their otherwise emptying churches.

    Billy Graham is the champion of the so called New Evangelicalism. His has been a ministry of infiltration, rather than Biblical separation. He is the chameleon evangelist changing and adopting to his environment without regard to the Scriptures. In his own words “I feel I belong to all churches. I am equally at home in an Anglican or Baptist church or a Brethren assembly or a Roman Catholic church, and I would say that I identify with the customs and the culture and the theology of that particular church.”

    In an interview with Sir David frost he said:"The Bishops and the Archbishops and the Pope are our friends and we have plans underway now for a couple of events that will probably be world news about our relationship with the Roman Catholic Church because there is so much we have in common and so much of what we believe.”

    Reams have been written about him and his ecumenical philosophy and methodology. Personally I an convinced the man is a compromiser who has done great harm to the cause of the Gospel.
     
  4. M Wickens

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    Of course, old Billy's great. If he were my college professor I could skip my doctrines class as doctrine just divides, my church history class because the Gospel distinctives my forefathers suffered and died for were just imagined and we should just be one happy family really, my World Religions class would have to go because it doesn't matter what they believe as they'll get to Heaven anyway. Thinking about it some of the Bible verses such as earnestly contending for the faith and other such divisive passages would have to go. Life would be so much easier. Sure,
     
  5. All about Grace

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    Wasn't it BG's resolute affirmation of the inerrancy and inspiration of Scripture that initially separated him from the compromising moderates of his day who were committed to the demise of such doctrines in the name of historical criticism?

    I think it is unfair to attack BG on theological compromise grounds (as far as what he believes about the fundamentals). You can criticize him on his associational tendencies, but to attack him as not believing the Bible is a complete misunderstanding of his entire ministry.

    As far as I know BG makes no claims to be a theologian. He simply views his task as preaching the good news of Jesus Christ upon every platform where he is granted the opportunity. Such a philosophy may not correlate well with the thinking of many secondary seperationists but to attack his stance on the gospel and belief about the Bible is unfair and unwarranted.

    Obviously you have the right (based upon your interpretation of Scripture) to choose with whom you will associate and with whom you will not, but in the end, one must recognize that such choices are primarily personal and not always scripturally governed (if the gospel itself is not being compromised).

    Sharing the platform with those who differ from my belief regarding salvation does not necessarily entail compromising the gospel. If I am faithful to share Jesus clearly, the message has not be obscured or altered.

    Again, BG's choices of association have not always seemed like the best ones, but until one shows clearly where he has compromised the simple gospel message, theological and associational attacks become one's personal preference.
     
  6. Mike McK

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    Most assuredly NOT British but I have a tremendous amount of respect for him for his unflinching stand for the Gospel.

    Besides, anybody who manages to get thrown out of Bob Jones university for telling off Bob Jones, himself is alright in my book.

    Mike
     
  7. Ulsterman

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    SBCby Grace writes:
    "I think it is unfair to attack BG on theological compromise grounds (as far as what he believes about the fundamentals)."

    In my previous posting I quoted Billy Graham as saying he identifies with (among others) the theology of Rome. Furthermore, Rev. Cuthbert E. Allen, Vice President of the Roman Catholic Belmont Abbey College, stated Billy Graham was “ . . . preaching a moral and evangelical theology most acceptable to Catholics.” How can this be, considering the Roman Church has anathematised all who would preach salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone?

    Billy Graham, in an interview with Sir David Frost described Karl Barth as “the greatest modern theologian.” The principal emphasis in Barth's work, was neo-orthodox. He regarded the Bible, not as the actual revelation of God but as only the record of that revelation. The Bible was a fallible book, containing the word of God, and becoming the word of God when it spoke to the reader, but could not be described as the Word of God.

    Again, interviewed by Sir David Frost Graham remarked “I don’t think there’s any conflict at all between science today and the scriptures. . . I believe [God] created man, and whether it came by an evolutionary process and at a certain point he took this person or this being and made him a living soul or not, does not change the fact that God created man.” It changes the Genesis record. Theistic evolutionary belief is theological compromise of the Genesis account.

    He is still a compromiser.

    Smoke_Eater writes:
    "Anybody who manages to get thrown out of Bob Jones University for telling off Bob Jones, himself is alright in my book."

    It's a great pity he did not manage to get thrown out of Soviet Russia for telling off the Soviet regime when they were persecuting Baptist believers. Asked about the seizure of a young Baptist woman who protested outside whilst he preached in the State registered Moscow Baptist Church, Graham said "We detain people in the United States if we catch them doing things that are wrong." What was this young woman doing "wrong?" Highlighting in a banner "We have more than 150 prisoners for the work of the Gospel." (Chicago Tribune, May 13th, 1982)

    The man knows no shame.
     
  8. All about Grace

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    D Moore:

    Can you provide an instance or quote where Billy Graham denies that salvation is by grace through faith alone? Again, you are attacking associational choices he has made. You are not providing evidence that Billy Graham has ever preached or promoted a gospel that is not through Jesus Christ alone. There is no need to get into the "are Catholics going to Heaven" discussion here, but I think it is safe to say that anyone who is trusting in Jesus alone is secure (whether they wear the correct label or not). I am not persuaded by any of your quotes that BG has ever compromised the gospel message. Again, show us where he has distorted the fundamentals of what it means to be a Christian.

    As far as Karl Barth goes, he was a great theologian in his own right. No he was not a flaming fundamentalist who believed in the inerrancy of Scripture (which was a non-issue in his cirles), but he was a man who defied liberalism. When considering Barth, one cannot neglect the culture around him. He stands out as a defender of Jesus Christ and the Bible in the middle of a hostile environment. I have heard many evangelicals acknowledge the contributions of Barth to the theological world. Though I totally disagree with many of his conclusions, he is no doubt a theological giant. So BG's words do not surprise me.

    My point remains the same: You can attack BG for his associational choices, but you have yet to provide evidence that his message is a gospel perversion.
     
  9. Molly

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    I agree with some others here...he seems to be a good evangelist,no doubt some have heard the gospel from him,but to say he is doctrinally sound is a huge stretch. He tends to be accepting of many other doctrines of faith that may not be biblically based. Does anybody remember his interview with Dr. Schuller....he stated that anyone who believes there is a God is saved. It was a scary interview! Both men are questionable!
     
  10. Ulsterman

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    SBCbyGRACE, I note that in your original posting you say that I had no grounds for attacking Billy Graham theologically, but now you have honed that to the preaching of the gospel alone. Is that an admission that Graham has serious theological flaws? As far as preaching the gospel, how could he be true to it if the gospel he is preaching contains "a moral and evangelical theology most acceptable to Catholics?"

    When he received his doctorate from the Roman Catholic Belmont Abbey, Graham said in closing his acceptance speech "Finally, the way of salvation has not changed. I know how the ending of the book will be. THE GOSPEL THAT BUILT THIS SCHOOL AND THE GOSPEL THAT BRINGS ME HERE TONIGHT IS STILL THE WAY TO SALVATION" So, there is no difference between the sacramental-works based gospel of Rome and the one Graham preaches? If there is, then Graham lied, if there is not, Graham has no understanding of what the true gospel is.

    Furthermore, in a 1961 interview with the Lutheran Standard, Graham made the following amazing statement:

    "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" How can a man whose gospel theology is supposed to be beyond reproach assent to some form of baptismal regeneration?

    BTW in his book on the Holy Spirit he says "I've seen people in our crusades come forward more than once, and not experience the assurance of their salvation until the third or fourth time. WHEN WERE THEY REGENERATED? Only God the Holy Spirit knows; it might have been AT BAPTISM or CONFIRMATION, and they came forward for assurance."

    The gospel is the message of salvation. But what is it we are to be saved from? Is it not the wrath to come, hell, the lake of fire? Yet here too Graham denies the plain teaching of God's Word in favour of a modernist interpretation. He is quoted as saying "Jesus used three words to describe hell. ... The third word that He used is 'fire.' Jesus used this symbol over and over. This could be literal fire, as many believe. Or IT COULD BE SYMBOLIC. ... I've often thought that this fire could possibly be a burning thirst for God that is never quenched."

    Finally this great gospel preacher allows for the possibility of pagan's being saved. In an interview with McCall’s magazine, January 1978, entitled "I Can’t Play God Any More," Graham said: "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 recognising the existence of God—through nature, for instance—and plenty of other opportunities, therefore, of saying ‘yes’ to God."

    This is a clear contradiction of Mark 16:15. The man is a compromiser and you cannot get around that, unless you put your head in the sand like the proverbial ostrich. When you do that, eventually you end up, as the Anglicans in Britain have, with a church leader who describes a Druid ceremony of which he is a part as "a very Christian service."

    [ October 16, 2002, 05:39 AM: Message edited by: D Moore ]
     
  11. Dr Steve

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    I believe we can catogorically state that witout fear of contradiction that Billy Graham preaches the gospel, the question is which gospel. It is certinually not the same one Paul preached or the one believers are custodians of, rather it is another gospel.
     
  12. Bro. Curtis

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    I am sad to see so many stick up for Billy Graham, with his ecumenical tendancies, and his wish-washy non-offensive doctrines, and then lable folks like David Cloud "legalists" because he strives to stay in scripture.

    Any time the world calls a preacher "good", it's time to cast a dubious eye upon them. A "good" preacher calls sin sin. A "good" preacher stays seperate from the worldly influence upon his ministry. The world will hate a "good" preacher, because it first hated Christ, who "good" preachers are supposed to exhalt.

    John 15:18
    1 Corinthians 2:2

    You say many have been saved due to his ministry. But how many have refused Christ because Dr. Graham told them they could go to heaven as a Muslim, Hindu, or Buddhist.
     
  13. Molly

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    I agree,Mr. Curtis. He is questionable to say the least.
     
  14. Ben W

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    I have a large collection of Billy Graham books which offer theological insights into a number of subjects. NEVER in any of these does he say a Hindu, Muslim, Buddist is saved because they think there is a God. If you believe this then you have taken something he has said grossly out of context.

    Billy Graham comes from America. Maybe this is why some people from America Hate him so much. Was Jesus was right when he said "No Prophet is accepted in his own country" (Lk 4:24).

    Billy Graham is a great Christian and he and his ministry (or his son Franklin) are more than welcome in Australia. It is a pity more people did not have his attitude towards evangalism.
     
  15. Ulsterman

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    If you have so many of Graham's works check out the quotation above in his book on "The Holy Spirit" it is in the chapter entitled "Baptism With The Spirit," subheaded "Three Possible Exceptions," page 69 in my copy. I did not take it out of context.

    As for Franklin Graham, he is just a chip off the old block. He told the Indianapolis Star that his father’s longstanding ecumenical alliance with the Catholic Church and all other denominations "was one of the smartest things his father ever did."

    "In the early years, up in Boston, the Catholic church got behind my father’s crusade. That was a first. It took back many Protestants. They didn’t know how to handle it," Franklin said.
    "But it set the example. ‘If Billy Graham is willing to work with everybody, then maybe we should too’" ("Keeping it simple, safe keeps Graham on high," The Indianapolis Star, Thurs., June 3, 1999).

    As for either of them going to Australia, you're welcome to them, that is where we sent our criminals in the past. These two felons are guilty of selling the soul of evangelicalism to the lowest bidder. That's a theological crime in my book.
     
  16. All about Grace

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    DMoore:

    I can honestly appreciate your concerns over some of the quotes you have offered above. They are not new quotes. They have been raised repeatedly in discussions regarding the ecumenical flavor of BG's ministry. My primary point is that BG has been faithful to preach the simple gospel in many venues. He has been consistent to preach that a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven. I have heard him say this again and again.

    What BG has avoided is making enemies across theological & denominational lines. Again, you might can fault him for some of these choices.

    What I discover in BG with the quotes you cited above is a man who sees through a glass darkly. These are real issues with which he has perhaps struggled. Again, for BG the gospel message is very simple. He does not seem to place all the disclaimers on the gospel that we tend to do. I think it is unfair to judge BG on a few statements that he has made through the years and to neglect the repeated message he has publicly proclaimed regarding the simplicity of the gospel.

    BG's view on Hell is a dead horse that his critics enjoy trampling. Never has BG denied the existence of a Hell. What he did suggest in this far removed interview is that he is unsure about the nature of Hell. This is not an uncommon struggle as we have witnessed great evangelical leaders such as John Stott struggle with similar issues. B/c the Bible portrays Hell in different fashions, it is difficult to make a dogmatic blanket statement about the nature (not the existence) of Hell (as far as what kind of flames exist, etc.).

    In no way do I want to defend any message of salvation that is not Jesus Christ alone. Nor do I want to defend certain controversial statements BG has made. But what I do want to defend is the fact BG is a man who has been used greatly by God. Whether or not one agrees with all he has said or done practically or theologically, one cannot deny God's hand upon his life. What that tells me is that God does not limit Himself to our own finite boxes.

    To make blanket statements that label BG a compromiser of the gospel and as one who has sold out the true gospel in some fashion is arrogant at best and ignorant at worst.

    It is amazing to see how God uses people with whom we totally disagree. Maybe it should cause us to sit back and realize, "I don't have all the answers; therefore, I am going to be careful about attacking those whom God is using to communicate his message."

    I am an evangelical conservative committed to the integrity and truth of the gospel message, but I never want to reach a place in life where I am so quick to judge those with whom I disagree on certain issues. It is fair to question certain statements BG has made, but it is unfair to write him off as some type of false prophet.

    I will end with a simple quote from BG's book Peace with God:

    "The cross is the only way of salvation...There is no possibility of being saved from sin and hell, except by identifying yourself with the Christ of the cross....There is only one thing to do about [sin] and that is to bring it to the cross and find forgiveness....Biblical conversion involves three steps--two of them active and one passive. In active conversion, repentance and faith are involved. Repentance is conversion viewed from its starting point, the turning of the former life. Faith indicates the objective point of conversion, the turning to God. The third, which is passive, we call the new birth or regeneration."

    This is but a brief quote that illustrates what BG believes about the gospel. We would all be wise to guard our comments regarding his preaching of a distorted message. Just my opinion. ;)
     
  17. Johnv

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    I have respect for any man who uses Christ to unify people, rather than separating them. Billy Graham is respected with open arms by just about every mainling Christian denomination on the face of the earth. As for his alliance with Catholics, great. Instead of making Christians out of members of the Catholic Church, he's filling the Catholic Church with Christians. Sound good to me!!!

    If this is compromising, would that all of our churches be compromised in such a fashion!!!

    [ October 16, 2002, 05:46 PM: Message edited by: Johnv ]
     
  18. Mike McK

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    Couldn't agree more.
     
  19. just-want-peace

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    To all you people who seem to THRIVE on condemning BG, I offer the following scripture:

    " It is against the LORD that you and all your followers have banded together. Who is Aaron that you should grumble against him?"

    This is just one verse from Numbers 16 if you are interested enough to read it.

    Now I'll be up-front and tell you that nowhere does it say, "Do not criticize Billy Graham"! BUT, the whole scenario should make one at least think just a bit before wholesale condemnation of one of God's chosen!!!!
     
  20. Bro. Curtis

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    [ October 17, 2002, 03:59 AM: Message edited by: Bro. Curtis ]
     

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