Posted in beth moore, billy graham, charles spurgeon, discernment, I am the door, martyn lloyd-jones, salvation

Jesus is the door: what do these famous testimonies reveal about their understanding of Christ?

I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. (John 10:9)

This is one of the famous I AM statements by Jesus. Here they all are.

1. And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).
2. Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12).
3. “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture” (John 10:9).
4. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep” (John 10:11).
5. Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25).
6. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
7. “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser” (John 15:1).

Any study on these statements would be rich and edifying. However let’s just look at the door. The door is narrow. There is only one door. It is an exclusive door. No other door will allow entry to heaven. If anyone tries to come another way, he is a thief and a robber. (John 10:1)

Jesus leads his Jews out of the fold into salvation. He has another fold (John 10:16) where He leads His Gentiles out into salvation and green pastures. No one can go to green pastures another way except through Jesus. His way is exclusive because He is the ONLY way. His way requires repentance, a realization of our utter inability to perform any act He would consider righteous and a realization of His total ability to crush us like a bug if He so desired- and that would be just. We understand His holiness but also His mercy in saving us. One would think that a conversion testimony would include acknowledgement of at least some of those positional truths.

Here are a few conversion testimonies I found online. Compare them. And in the back of your mind, keep thinking about the Door. At the bottom I’ll have the moral of the story.

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Conversion story #1

At the end of the sermon, the preacher had “Young man, look to Jesus Christ. Look! Look! Look! You have nothing to do but look and live!” I saw at once the way of salvation. I know not what else he said—I did not take much notice of it—I was so possessed with that one thought . . . . I had been waiting to do fifty things, but when I heard that word, “Look!” what a charming word it seemed to me. Oh! I looked until I could almost have looked my eyes away.

There and then the cloud was gone, the darkness had rolled away, and that moment I saw the sun; and I could have risen that instant, and sung with the most enthusiastic of them, of the precious blood of Christ, and the simple faith which looks alone to Him. Oh, that somebody had told me this before, “Trust Christ, and you shall be saved.” … I listened to the Word of God and that precious text led me to the cross of Christ. I can testify that the joy of that day was utterly indescribable. I thought I could have sprung from the seat in which I sat, and have called out with the wildest of those Methodist brethren . . . “I am forgiven! I am forgiven! A monument of grace! A sinner saved by blood!” My spirit saw its chains broken to pieces, I felt that I was an emancipated soul, an heir of heaven, a forgiven one, accepted in Jesus Christ, plucked out of the miry clay and out of the horrible pit, with my feet set upon a rock and my goings established … Simply by looking to Jesus I had been delivered from despair…

That young man certainly was aware of his position in Christ prior to salvation. He had been in despair, he heard the Gospel and he was saved by blood.The young man was Charles Spurgeon. His subsequent life certainly reflects the foundational understanding he had of the Gospel.

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Conversion story #2

“I didn’t have a fireworks moment for my salvation, I had a falling in love with Jesus in Sunday school when I was a very young child.” But she did have an altar call moment. In high school, she had planned to become a lawyer, but one summer while leading a group of sixth-grade girls at camp, she received what she considers a call from God. “I had no words, nothing but a sense,” she says. “God took a very troubled young woman and made sure that she understood.” She walked down the aisle of her church, committing herself to ministry.”

So she had a mystical sense to walk down an aisle and commit to the idol of ministry. Not the standard Gospel call of realizing our depravity in brokenness and turning to a resurrected, blood shedding Jesus as the exclusive hope for reconciliation with God… The woman is Beth Moore. Her subsequent life certainly reflects the lack of understanding she should have had of her position in Christ both before and after salvation.

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Conversion story #3

in 1914 at the encouragement of their minister the young man was now beginning to take a hard look at the reality of his spiritual condition. “For many years I thought I was a Christian when in fact I was not. It was only later that I came to see that I had never been a Christian and became one.” As he struggled with his salvation a grace truth came into focus. He said he had not really heard sound preaching of the gospel in his early life. “What I needed was preaching that would convict me of sin and … bring me to repentance and tell me something about regeneration. But I never heard that. The preaching we had was always based on the assumption that we were all Christians …” As the young man read for himself he slowly but surely saw the logic and the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Like the waves of the incoming tide, the reality of God’s grace swept over his heart until trusting Christ was all he could do. As surely as that reality overwhelmed him personally it overwhelmed him professionally.

The young man was Martyn Lloyd Jones, (source) a preacher called “logic on fire” and certainly his long and fruitful life subsequent to his conversion testifies to the grace of Christ in bringing him to regeneration from brokenness in sin.

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Conversion story #4

A certain young man began attending a tent revival.

“And then it happened, sometime around my sixteenth birthday. On that night, [the preacher] finished preaching and gave the Invitation to accept Christ… On the last verse of that second song, I responded. I walked down to the platform, feeling as if I had lead weights attached to my feet, and stood in the space before the platform… My heart sank when I looked over at the lady standing next to me with tears running down her cheeks. I was not crying. I did not feel any special emotion of any kind just then. Maybe, I thought, I was not supposed to be there. Maybe my good intentions to be a real Christian wouldn’t last. Wondering if I was just making a fool of myself, I almost turned around and went back to my seat…” As [the young man] stood at the platform, a friend of the family’s, testified to the young man and guided him to pray.

“He prayed for me and guided me to pray. I had heard the message, and I had felt the inner compulsion to go forward. Now came the moment to commit myself to Christ… I checked ‘Recommitment’ on the card I filled out. No bells went off inside me. No signs flashed across the tabernacle ceiling. No physical palpitations made me tremble. I wondered again if I was a hypocrite, not to be weeping or something. I simply felt at peace.”

The young man was Billy Graham, attending Mordecai Ham’s tent revival. The subsequent life of Graham testifies to his lack of a foundational understanding. Especially when in his mature decades, Graham said things like a person could go to heaven without ever hearing the gospel, knowing Jesus Christ, or having lived a sincere life just knowing he needed something. “They’re going to come another way” Graham said. No. They’re not.

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You see the weakness of Moore’s and Graham’s theology in describing their conversion. Their descriptions posted were not immediately after conversion, either, they were statements made decades later when one presumes some sanctified maturity has set in.

You see the strength of Spurgeon’s and Jones’ conversion stories. They talk os sin, grce, redemption, resurrection, regeneration.

Jesus is the Door. It is a narrow door. It is the only door. It isn’t easy to become a Christian. It involves a deep, soulful agony. Here’s Don Green on how to recognize true repentance,

Look at verse 4, where Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” This word for mourning describes deep, inner agony…agony. Jesus is describing a spiritual mourning here, not an earthly mourning. It’s easy enough to see that. There are a lot of people that suffer earthly loss and mourn that, that don’t receive comfort from Christ. Unbelievers who are mourning their losses don’t receive comfort from Christ. What Jesus is talking about here is spiritual mourning over sin. He had just talked about poverty of spirit. It’s in the context of repentance.

…the tax collector in Luke 18, verse 13…Luke 18, verse 13, you don’t need to turn there. The tax collector standing some distance away was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven but was beating his breasts saying, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner.” He was beating his breast, his agony, his mourning over sin was so great that he had to release it physically. This was no superficial response. This was no quick nod of the head to the question, “Do you think you’re a sinner?” And then move on to whatever the next topic of discussion was. No, the kind of mourning, the kind of sorrow that repentance expresses is a sorrow that stops you in your tracks, a sorrow that you can’t get over.

Salvation is no easy-breezy nod to the Holy I AM whilst wiping one’s feet on the doormat saying, “Gee, thanks for the ministry.” It isn’t ambling down an aisle, and checking off a ‘recommitment’  box after a quick prayer. Salvation is agony and going through the door means you leave all else behind, enter alone, and worship. Jesus isn’t relieved you have recommitted. He isn’t wringing His hands in hopes that you will fall in love with Him. He doesn’t have an ‘easy button’ you push. He has a narrow way of entry with strict requirements. Jesus is THE DOOR. He is not a doorMAT.

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Further Reading

How easy is salvation?

Posted in billy graham, false teacher, gospel, jesus, repent

Billy Graham turns 97 today, please pray he repents before he dies

The Bible records many truly devastating promises from the Lord Jesus Christ, Messiah, Creator, Judge. There are two which are particularly weighty on my heart. One is from Revelation 14:16,

So he who sat on the cloud swung his sickle across the earth, and the earth was reaped.

Are there any four words anywhere more devastating? “…the earth was reaped.” All wicked flesh crushed under the weight of the holy gavel.

The other terrible promise is this:

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:21-23)

Billy Graham is just such a one as these. He is at grave risk for standing before the Lord he claimed to serve, only to learn that despite his longevity, despite his seemingly ‘mighty works’, the Lord never knew him. All the crusades, all the fist pounding podiums, all the books written- it was all a sham, all for nothing, all as filthy rags.

But how can this be? you ask. How can a man live so long and speak of Jesus so much and not know Him? This set of verses shows us that it is possible. The Pharisees spoke with Jesus face to face, knew Jesus was from God (John 3:2) and they witnessed His many miracles, and yet they refused to believe. And not only that it is possible, there are MANY who will tragically and eternally discover that they had missed the mark all their years. People underestimate the power of how deeply sin blinds us. We are totally blinded to sin and to the deceptions of our own heart. 
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9)
So far we have learned about the how and that not only is is possible to labor for Christ, use His name for their works, and yet not be saved, we have learned that this verse is a reality for MANY.
Now, why do I say that it is a likelihood for Billy Graham? There are many reasons, if one cares to look and examine what the Bible says compared to what Mr Graham has said and believes.
Here is one web page with a list of compiled facts and their references which demonstrate the troubling theology and personal behavior of Mr Graham. If this link goes dead, here is another one.
I can understand that the approach the evangelist takes is different from the one the pastor takes. The two men have different roles. Despite that difference, however, the message remains the same. Sin-death-Jesus-blood-cross-wrath-resurrection-ascension-glorification. This is the message. This is the Gospel.
Mr Graham deletes critical components from the message. For example, the blood.

And then there is Graham’s preaching what he says and what he does not say. Graham is famous for exhorting people to “commit to Christ,” but precious little is said regarding “repentance” over sin. It is a much easier gospel than what Jesus preached. And there is precious little said of atonement through the blood of Christ. Perhaps this helps explain: in a letter dated Feb. 29, 1968, Rev. W. H. Martindale, Spiritual Counselor of Graham’s home office, wrote: “Mr. Graham believes that we are saved through the blood of Christ; however, this aspect of Christian doctrine he does not emphasize in his messages. This is the duty and prerogative of pastors.” If Graham does not emphasize “salvation through the blood of Christ,” then we can only ask which Jesus he is preaching. It plainly is not the Jesus of the gospel. (source)

Mr Graham also deletes from the Gospel message the exclusivity of Christ as the only way to salvation. In 1978 McCall’s Magazine interview, Mr Graham said that,

In a January, 1978, interview with McCalls Graham said, “I used to play God, but I can’t do that any more. 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.” (source)

Romans 10:13 says, “for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 
Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Graham’s words were not a one-time mistake. They are not a statement spoken unwisely by an aging evangelist. They are firmly held beliefs Mr Graham has spoken or written about since 1960 when he wrote the same in his Decision Magazine. He said it again in 1997 to Robert Schuller, on a defunct television program called the Hour of Power,

Billy Graham was interviewed on television by Robert Schuller, a noted infidel widely recognized for his alteration of historic Christian doctrine. Part 1 was an approximately 7-minute-long broadcast in Southern California on Saturday, May 31, 1997. The following is an exact transcript of an excerpt close to the end of this broadcast. 

SCHULLER: Tell me, what do you think is the future of Christianity? 

GRAHAM: Well, Christianity and being a true believer you know, I think there’s the Body of Christ. This comes from all the Christian groups around the world, outside the Christian groups. I think everybody that loves Christ, or knows Christ, whether they’re conscious of it or not, they’re members of the Body of Christ. And I don’t think that we’re going to see a great sweeping revival, that will turn the whole world to Christ at any time. I think James answered that, the Apostle James in the first council in Jerusalem when he said that God’s purpose for this age is to call out a people for His name. And that’s what God is doing today, He’s calling people out of the world for His name, whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world, or the Christian world or the non-believing world, they are members of the Body of Christ because they’ve been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus but they know in their hearts that they need something that they don’t have, and they turn to the only light that they have, and I think that they are saved, and that they’re going to be with us in heaven.

So the noted and celebrated evangelist believes that a person can never hear the Gospel, can be outside the body of Christ, not even know Jesus, and be saved? Graham believes the Body of Christ comes from outside Christianity? Aren’t the folks who believe these things the very people we’re called to evangelize? Not be the evangelist?
Matthew 10:33 also make a devastating promise: “but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”
Dr John MacArthur spoke of this interview and Graham’s false view four times in detail over the years, herehere, and here. Also here:

Then he went on to say, “I’ve met people in travel situations that have never seen a Bible, heard about a Bible, never heard of Jesus, but they believed in their hearts that there is a God and they’ve tried to live a life that is apart from the community in which they live.” Is that enough? You might not be surprised to hear the Pope say that. But you might be surprised to hear Billy Graham say that.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
And there’s this essay from a faculty member at Westminster Seminary, titled The Myth of Influence

Evangelicals who succumb to the myth of influence do so in part because of their own flawed theology. They have developed theologies which depart from the rich biblical theologies of the Reformation. 

Some evangelicals have embraced the myth of influence out of an Arminian view of salvation. Since salvation ultimately depends on the consent of the free will, many theological compromises are justified in order to gain a hearing and move the unbeliever. Other evangelicals are motivated by a defective doctrine of the church. They see the church, not as an essential institution in God’s economy founded on and regulated by his Word, but as a helpful support group for the individual Christian in his walk of faith.
Both of these theological weaknesses surface in Billy Graham. His Arminianism is clear. (7) His weak doctrine of the church is seen in his sending inquirers back to false churches

Did you know that? In an effort to ensure high attendance and in order not to rock the boat with local churches, the Billy Graham Crusades were always designed to work with any church, including Synagogues and Catholic churches? And that seekers streaming down the aisles once they were “counseled”, were sent back to their false churches?
Mr Graham also says he personally believes in the virgin birth but that such a belief is not necessary for salvation; that aliens exist on other planets but they are not in rebellion against God and therefore don’t need His blood; that the Roman Catholic Church has the same Gospel as the Protestant Church; that evolution is a possibility; and that baptism regenerates the soul. 
Here is a quote from an interview program:

Islam is misunderstood, too, because Muhummad had a great respect for Jesus, and he called Jesus the world’s greatest prophet except himself, and therefore I think we are closer to Islam than really we think we are. (David Frost, On May 30, 1997)

Through simple longevity and staying power, plus popularity, Graham’s apostasy has escaped many. This gentleman, Christopher J.E. Johnson, made remarks that I also would like to state clearly as my beliefs also:

It sounds like Billy Graham is a real Christian, and it’s also why I believe he’s one of the most deceptive men of our day. Due to quotations like this, I have had many objections to my statements about Billy Graham and his teaching of false gospel; so many I found it necessary to write a full-length article about him. Billy Graham may SAY these things on stage, but he doesn’t truly believe them.  

Because people tend to take extremes and take my words out of context, I want to make it clear that I am NOT saying people have not been truly born-again saved at a Billy Graham event. I am NOT saying all people who work in the Billy Graham organization are apostates. I am NOT saying Billy Graham has never preached a good sermon. However, what I AM saying is that we have VERY little evidence of Billy Graham’s faith in the Jesus Christ of the Bible, and a LARGE amount of evidence that he believes in a false, new-age idol he calls “Jesus Christ.”

This evidence is present on video, in articles, and in interviews. Graham’s age has given us numerous opportunities to see and read and watch his statements regarding Jesus and the way to salvation. We have an ability in this day and age of the world wide web to not only research this evidence for ourselves but also to watch his apostasy from his earliest days to the present day, over 81 years of his alleged Christianity.
I say these things with no glee and no shred of joy. It grieves me to see a soul go down to Sheol. It is a heartache to watch streams of seekers flow down the aisles of a Billy Graham crusade and know that they will be re-consigned to darkness, thanks to the pragmatic, popularity seeking ecumenical evangelist known as Billy Graham.
I urge you to seek out the information I’ve presented. Confirm it. Compare to the Bible. Remember that we are warned that many ministers of light will come in and devour the unwary. (2 Corinthians 11:14, 1 Peter 5:8). Meanwhile I pray Mr Graham comes to repentance. The Lord has already graciously prolonged his days.
Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. (Isaiah 55:6-7)
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Further Reading
Billy Graham: The Man and his Message. Video of a talk delivered by Cecil Andrews of Take Heed Ministries.
Posted in billy graham, discernment, false teacher

Why does the world love Billy Graham?

Gallup: Billy Graham Among 10 Most Admired Men in World–for 58th Time

Ninety-six-year-old pastor Billy Graham, arguably the most influential Christian preacher of the last 60 years, was ranked No. 4 in Gallup’s Most Admired Man List for 2014, the survey group reported, adding that Billy Graham has been in its top ten list 58 times between 1946 and 2014, the most appearances of any man in the world since Gallup started the survey.

What comes to mind when I read this are several things.

1. He is not a Christian, that’s why the world loves him. “If you were of the world, the world would love its own;but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.” (John 15:19)

2. The mark of popularity is a curse and a warning. “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.” (Luke 6:26)

“Woe unto you; that is, it would be a bad sign that you were not faithful to your trust, and to the souls of men, if you preached so as that nobody would be disgusted; for your business is to tell people of their faults, and, if you do that as you ought, you will get that ill will which never speaks well.

Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume

3. Lauding a man as Christian who denies the exclusivity of Christ as sole entry to heaven, exalts Mary beyond her place, partners with Catholics, sends seekers to counselors of false religions, fails to preach the whole counsel of God, and gives credence to evolution, brings to mind Hosea 4:6, “my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.

Though this isn’t in the bible, I thought of the old saying from poet Thomas Gray: “all that glitters is not gold”.

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Further Reading

Exposing the False Teachers: Galatians 5 exegesis & commentary

In his exposure of these false teachers, Paul gives us six identifying marks that can guide us to discern the presence of “wolves in sheep’s clothing” in our midst today

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Posted in billy graham, discernment, false christians, wolf

Billy Graham: a wolf who offers only dreams of meat to those who are starving

On the occasion of Billy Graham’s 96th birthday on November 7, Orthodox bishop Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev of the Russian Orthodox church was ushered in to Billy Graham’s living room at his home in North Carolina in order to offer the elder man well-wishes.
The Press Republican stated of the photo-op,

“The photo-op on Nov. 7 was symbolic and, for many, historic. The elder statesman was the Rev. Billy Graham, and rather than an evangelical superstar, the man who met with him at his North Carolina mountain home was Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev. This visit was linked to a Hilarion address to a Charlotte gathering of Protestant and Orthodox leaders, organized by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. (BGEA)

The Russian Orthodox Church is not a true church because it adheres to orthodoxy that is false. They were a schism church formed after splitting from Roman Catholicism. The Orthodox group of churches (Greek, Russian, etc.) do not believe in justification by faith. They believe in part:

  • The equal authority of church tradition and Scripture
  • Discouragement of individuals interpreting the Bible apart from tradition
  • The perpetual virginity of Mary
  • Prayer for the dead
  • Baptism of infants without reference to individual responsibility and faith
  • The possibility of receiving salvation after death
  • The possibility of losing salvation

Therefore it is unfortunate to read that the BGEA organized a conference this month and invited a mix of men who preach a different Gospel with Protestant leaders, for what has darkness to do with light, For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? (2 Corinthians 6:14)

From Twitter. Met. Hilarion Alfeyev visiting Billy Graham on his 96th birthday.

Though Billy Graham has for decades made public statements confirming his place in the pantheon of destructive wolves, there are many today who still don’t believe that such a man could be a false Christian. To that end, here are some quotes from Billy Graham, from newspaper media, books, and transcripts from interviews, which show clearly that such a man is not of the faith. Graham said these things throughout his life, not simply in his advanced years. Some claim he was ‘confused’, but no such claim can be made of a man who has made assertions contrary to the bible in each decade of his life. Some of these things he said as far back as 1948, at the beginning of his television crusade career.

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On Evolution:

Graham: I personally believe that it’s just as easy to believe that God took some dust and blew on it and out came a man as it is to accept the fact that God breathed on a man and he became a living soul and it started with some protoplasm and went right up through the evolutionary process. Either way is by faith, and whichever way God did it makes no difference as to what man is and man’s relationship to God. (Billy Graham: Candid Conversations with a Public Man By David Frost)

Here we begin with a basic tenet: Hath God said? The original question in the Garden to Eve which she answered incorrectly and led to the Fall of man, is here again posed to Mr Graham. Hath God said he formed man from the dust of the ground? (Genesis 1:26-27, Genesis 2:7). Or not? Indeed, God hath said how He made man and it is only a man without the Spirit in Him who finds it easy to dismiss the plain words of God and accept “arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God,” (2 Corinthians 10:5). “Either way” that man appeared on the earth, as Graham believes, is NOT by faith. One is by faith and the other is by satan.

Are you in favor of the ordination of women?

Graham: It would be according to the circle I was in, because I feel I belong to all the churches. I am equally at home in an Anglican church or a Baptist church or a Brethren Assembly or a Roman Catholic church and I would have to say that I would identify with the customs and the culture and the theology of that particular church.
But do you welcome that development? (ordination of women]
Yes. … from my study of the scriptures there were many women preachers in the bible. Candid Conversations with a Public Man, David Frost

Once a man accepts man-made opinions and not God’s word, all else falls from there. Here we see Mr Graham accepting culture and bowing to tradition, the way reeds are swayed by the wind. (Matthew 11:7, Jude 1:12). Whatever the people around him believe, Graham believes. That is what he is saying here. The bible says pastoring is for men only. Finally, Christians belong to Jesus, not “all the churches.” A man who “feels” he belongs to all the churches, including RCC, is not a man who has the Spirit in him.

On salvation

Free pics

Graham: I used to think 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 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. (James Michael Beam, article “I Can’t Play God Anymore,” McCall’s Magazine, 1978)

Only a man without the Spirit could deny that Jesus is the only way, and to say that other opportunities exist for men to say yes to God. Additionally, many say yes to God but deny the Son. Mr Graham did not speak of Jesus as the exclusive way to Christ, but spoke only of a nebulous allusion to nature.

In fact, the method of recognizing God through nature which Mr Graham is alluding is a verse about the wrath of God upon those who plainly see the existence of God in nature but suppress this truth in their unrighteousness. (Romans 1:18-20).

It could not be clearer: a man who disbelieves that those in countries who do not hear the word are not going to hell is not in the Spirit. This means that Mr Graham disbelieves the first and last condition of man: sinner born from the womb and being condemned already. (John 3:18)

On follow up after the Crusades

Graham: Anyone who makes a decision at our meetings is seen later and referred to a local clergyman, Protestant, Catholic, or Jewish. -Billy Graham, San Francisco News interview on Sept 21, 1957.

Many of the people who reach a decision for Christ at our meetings have joined the Catholic Church and we have received commendations from Catholic publications for the revived interest in their Church following our campaigns. This happened both in Boston and Washington. After all, one of our prime purposes is to help the churches in a community. If after we move on, the local (sic) churches do not feel the efforts of these meetings in increased membership and attendance, then our crusade would have to be considered a failure. (Billy Graham, Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph, 1952)

No man in the Spirit would celebrate the consignment of a seeking soul to the church of the spirit of antichrist! The Roman Catholic Church is not a local church but a synagogue of satan. No one who seeks Jesus will find him in a Jewish synagogue either. If Mr Graham’s “prime purpose” as he states, is to add souls to the number of those who are bound for hell, then Graham is of hell and making sons of hell twice as bad he is. (Matthew 23:15).

Free pics

On infant baptism

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 mysteries of God. But I believe that a miracle can happen in these children so that they are regenerated, that is, made Christians through infant baptism. If you want to call that baptismal regeneration, that’s all right with me. (Wilfred Bockelman, “A Lutheran Looks at Billy Graham,” Lutheran Standard, 10 October 1961)

No person is made a Christian by having water sprinkled on their infant body. We are made Christians by the way God said we become Christians:

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)

I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? (Galatians 3:2 )

Can an infant believe what he has heard?

Graham on hell being metaphorical and not real

The good folks at Answers in Genesis are right: once you chip away at the word in the first few chapters of the bible, all other doctrines crumble.

Graham: I think that hell essentially is separation from God forever. And that is the worst hell that I can think of. But I think people have a hard time believing God is going to allow people to burn in literal fire forever. I think the fire that is mentioned in the Bible is a burning thirst for God that can never be quenched. (Orlando Sentinel, Orlando, Florida, April 10, 1983)

You see the connection here: Graham says that “people have a hard time believing” about hell being eternal punishment. Rather than Mr Graham teach it clearly and scripturally, he bows to the wind of doctrine like a broken reed: therefore he says, “I think”. Notice he does not use scripture to support his view. It’s always, ‘I think’, or ‘I feel’… However the bible is very clear on the fate of the unbeliever.

But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice

Pixabay free pics.

magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)

Hell IS separation from God forever, though not separation from His wrath. However, the unbeliever was already separated from God before he went to hell. The fiery lake of burning sulfur is very specific about the hell the unbeliever will endure. Hell is not only separation from Jesus, but it is fire, sulfur, and physical torment (Luke 16:24; Jude 1:12-13, Revelation 14:11; 2 Thessalonians 1:9)

These are just a few, certainly not all, of the shockingly aberrant doctrines Graham has held during his life and has espoused publicly. We must not fail to mention the doctrines he does NOT preach about, either. When a person looks at the life of a man like Billy Graham, 60 years of seemingly tireless promotion of Jesus to the masses, they cannot believe that such a man would not be saved. They won’t believe he is a wolf, one of the pack that was prophesied to come in after Paul left the earth. (Acts 20:29)

Yet Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” (Matthew 7:15)

In sheep’s clothing means that the exterior will be molded to look like a believer, but inwardly they are not. It takes time, prayer, maturity and skill given by the Spirit to detect the wolves. And yet, is it really so hard after all? A man who denies basic doctrines, diverts seekers from Christ, and partners with all religions as equal is not so hard to see is a wolf. Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary says,

Beware—But beware of false prophets—that is, of teachers coming as authorized expounders of the mind of God and guides to heaven. (See Ac 20:29, 30; 2Pe 2:1, 2) which come to you in sheep’s clothing—with a bland, gentle, plausible exterior; persuading you that the gate is not strait nor the way narrow, and that to teach so is illiberal and bigoted—precisely what the old prophets did (Eze 13:1-10, 22) but inwardly they are ravening wolves—bent on devouring the flock for their own ends (2Co 11:2, 3, 13-15).

Gilbert Tennent (February 5, 1703 – July 23, 1764) was a religious leader, born in County Armagh, Ireland. Gilbert was one of the leaders of the Great Awakening of religious feeling in Colonial America, along with Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield. His most famous sermon, “On the Danger of an Unconverted Ministry” compared anti-revivalistic ministers to the Pharisees described in the gospels. (Wikipedia)

Gilbert Tennent, On the Danger of an Unconverted Ministry

I may add that sad experience verifies what has been now observed concerning the unprofitableness of the ministry of unconverted men. Look into the congregations of unconverted ministers, and see what a sad security reigns there; not a soul convinced that can be heard of for many years together, and yet the ministers are easy, for they say they do their duty! Aye, a small matter will satisfy us in the lack of that which we have no great desire after, but when persons have their eyes opened and their hearts set upon the work of God, they are not so soon satisfied with their doings, and with lack of success for a time. O! They mourn with Micah that they are as those that gather the summer-fruits, as the grape-gleaning of the vintage. Mr. (Richard) Baxter justly observes that those who speak about their doings in the aforesaid manner are likely to do little good to the Church of God. But many Ministers (as Mr. Bracel observes) think the gospel flourishes among them when the people are in peace, and many come to hear the Word and to the Sacrament. If, with the other, they get the salaries well-paid, then it is fine times indeed in their opinion! O sad! And they are full of hopes that they do good, though th ey know nothing about it. But what comfort can a conscientious man, who travails in birth that Christ may be formed in His hearer’s hearts, take from what he knows not? Will a hungry stomach be satisfied with dreams about meat? I believe not, though, I confess, a full one may.

That is what Mr Graham offers: dreams of meat, while they spiritually starve. Tennant again:

And more especially, my brethren, we should pray to the Lord of the harvest to send forth faithful laborers into His harvest, seeing that the harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few. And, O sirs, how humble, believing, and importunate should we be in this petition! O! Let u s follow the Lord day and night with cries, tears, pleadings, and groanings upon this account! For God knows there is great necessity of it. O! Thou Fountain of mercy and Father of pity, pour forth upon Thy poor children a Spirit of prayer for the obtaining of this important mercy! Help, help, O Eternal God and Father, for Christ’s sake!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Further Reading

Billy Graham’s Legacy of Evangelism Continues Online; 5 Millionth Person Indicates Decision to Accept Jesus as Savior

Life, ministry of Billy Graham chronicled in special release

Billy Graham: ‘His impact for good in the world is incalculable’

Billy Graham and the Catholics

Posted in billy graham, false christians, franklin graham, jesus

Franklin Graham part of "a new evangelization" partnering with Catholics, Graham’s Three Rivers Festival hosts Catholic Bishop Zubik

As many already know. Billy Graham is an ecumenical religionist who preaches an aberrant, unsaving doctrine. [Read also “When Did Graham’s Compromise Begin?]

The elder Graham has been a friend of Rome for a long time, partnering with Popes and priests in various ecumenical endeavors as if the Catholic religion was true.

Occasionally people have asked me if the son, Franklin Graham, believes the same about Rome. There is an oft-repeated quote from a newspaper article from 1999 which seemed to indicate the younger Graham does. Franklin Graham told the Indianapolis Star (6/3/99) 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.”

But was one quote enough? Not to me. I waited and watched to see what would come out later. Would the fruit be thorns, or grapes? It didn’t seem likely that Graham the Younger raised in such an environment as Graham the elder’s, would emerge with beliefs that were true, but in any case, I was in wait and see attitude.

Meanwhile, in 2011 I saw a very interesting article from Maryland. It’s obvious that Rome’s doctrines are not saving doctrines and that the Roman Catholic Church is false. Yet astoundingly,

“An Episcopal church has decided to convert, en masse, to Catholicism. The parishioners, along with the pastor, wants to be under the authority of the Roman Catholic Church and its pope. Why? “[C]hurch members said, they were satisfying their longing for a clear religious authority by welcoming the leadership of Pope Benedict XVI. … they decided that the Reformation was a mistake. “It feels fantastic,” Delaney said. “It’s like correcting 500 years of history.””

I was flabbergasted that they would choose such obvious falsity. However, that little trickle was an example of what by now has become a broken dam. Falsity of all sorts of Catholic mischief has flooded into the faith. Lighthouse Trails has a good rundown of the examples of formerly evangelical leaders embracing various aspects of Catholic ritual. (Labyrinths, Contemplative Prayer, Lectio Divina, ecumenical partnerships, acceptance of Catholic dogma etc.) Just this month, I wrote about the infiltration of the Protestant use of Catholic prayer bead rosaries.

Since my first awakening notice of Catholic-Protestant unification in 2011, I’ve seen that Catholicism has become all the rage in Protestantism. The avalanche since 2011 in Catholicism entering Protestantism has been veritably sweeping away many individuals and whole churches. The acceptance of and promotion by top Protestant evangelical leaders is furthering this cause.

Jasmine Goldband Photography

Case in point- Franklin Graham. In August at the Three Rivers Festival (Franklin refuses to call the gatherings “Crusades” like his father,) the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association hosted a Catholic Bishop on stage, partnered with the city’s Catholic church as part of the “evangelistic outreach.” Bishop David Zubik was the Catholic representative, and he was invited to give the opening prayer. Worse, seekers were encouraged to come to the Catholic church for counseling, since they were ‘right next door.’ Here are the Bishop’s words. This is from the August 10 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Bishop David Zubik said the festival dovetails with calls by recent popes to a ”new evangelization,“ bringing back cradle Catholics who drifted or became estranged from the faith.

“We felt as long as there was a Catholic component to this particular crusade, we wanted to be a part of it,“ Bishop Zubik said. Those who respond to Rev. Graham’s invitation to make a decision for Christ, and who identify as Catholic, will be given the opportunity to go to Epiphany Church — adjacent to the Consol Energy Center — for the sacrament of reconciliation, or confession. ”We’re right next door,“ Bishop Zubik said.

Franklin Graham and Billy Graham will have to answer to our Holy Savior for their part in decades of consigning babes to darkness. They are false apostles, workers of darkness making sons of hell twice as worse as they are (Matthew 23:15, Luke 13:27). Their end will be as they deserve.

And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds. (2 Corinthians 11:15)

Did you know that Bob Jones Sr. called the elder Graham a “limb of satan”? We must call evil what it is. Denny Burk wrote a good essay the other day, “We must call evil, “evil.” He was referring to Islam, but I apply his concept here to Catholicism. Just because Islam is ferocious and obviously false doesn’t make it more evil than Catholicism, which sort of looks partly Christian and acts kind of nice. They’re both evil, because both religions and its adherents are doing evil against Jesus.

Bishop David Zubik said the [Franklin Graham Three Rivers] festival dovetails with calls by recent popes to a ”new evangelization,“ bringing back cradle Catholics who drifted or became estranged from the faith.
I’m very sad that I must call the younger Franklin a false teacher, a false worker, but the evidence is clear. It gives me no pleasure to say it nor to see it. I do grieve for the many people who come to his ‘festivals’ (of darkness) and are brought full circle back to their unsaved state. If anything comes from this essay let it be two concepts that stay with you:

1. We must see evil what it is; and after prayer and evidence, call it out (Jude 1:3,) and marking those who cause divisions (Romans 16:17)
2. We must be vigilant. These are dangerous times (2 Timothy 3:1).

——————————————-

Further reading

Like Father, Like Son: Franklin Graham (Son of Billy Graham) Allows Roman Catholic Bishop To Pray At His Pittsburgh Evangelistic Revival! Watch The Video Here!

Pittsburgh Post Gazette: Revival Headliner Franklin Graham has trail of support

Pittsburgh Catholic Newspaper: Catholics extend welcome to [Franklin Graham’s] Festival of Hope crowds

The End Time: “The dangers of the bible…AND…

Posted in billy graham, golfer, worldly desires

Golfing in heaven?

What will heaven be like? It is a marvelous question those of us who long for our heavenly home ask often. On the one hand, the glimpses given to us in scripture are wonderful and awe-inspiring. On the other hand, those glimpses make us long to be there even more!

There are some things the bible is silent on however, regarding our future in eternity. We know heaven will be a place where we will be active, and working for Jesus. We don’t know exactly what we will do. “Rule and reign”, worship Jesus, of course, and it won’t be boring. But as to exactly what we will do in the eternal state, the bible is silent.

We do know that our citizenship is in heaven, our new name is in heaven, our brethren are in heaven, our reward is in heaven, our life is in heaven, our hope is in heaven- Jesus is in heaven!

But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. (1 Peter 4:13)

As John MacArthur says in his essay What heaven Is

Everything we love, everything we value, everything eternal is in heaven. Nevertheless the church in this century has tended to be self-indulgent, proof that many Christians have lost their heavenly perspective. Too many don’t want to go to heaven until they’ve enjoyed all that the world can deliver. Only when all earthly pursuits are exhausted, or when age and sickness hamper their enjoyment, are they ready for heaven…

It is so important to have a heavenly perspective. The bible mentions heaven 550 times! It is obviously important to God that we know about it, or He wouldn’t have mentioned it so much. One of the most wonderful things about heaven is that we will see God.

“We will see He who is…according to 1 Timothy 6:15…the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see.” We will see Him then. Matthew 5:8 says, “They shall see God.” In that city we will be engulfed in His presence. We will be exposed to the full blaze of His eternal glory. Christ will be the radiant focal point of that manifestation. Christ will be the centerpiece, if there is such a thing, of that diamond blazing glory of God. (source)

We will be consumed with the glory of God!

And this then really is the joy of heaven. The hymn writer said, “The bride eyes not her garment, but her dear bridegroom’s face. I will not gaze at glory, but on my King of grace.” In other words, the believer is going to follow the glory back to the face from which it radiates. (source)

 It is equally important to also to have the right heavenly perspective.

To that end, I am reminded of something Billy Graham once said about heaven. In Ken Garfield’s biography, Billy Graham: A Life in Pictures, Graham is quoted,

“Somebody once asked me, ‘Will there be golf courses in heaven?’ I said, ‘If they’re necessary for our happiness, they’ll be there.’”

And that is precisely the wrong heavenly perspective.

Wiki CC, Herring Cove Golf Course, New Brunswick, Canada source

Readers of this blog know that I’ve written about Mr Graham a few times in the past. Mr Graham unfortunately is a liberal ecumenical who has a worldly perspective and has preached inconceivable contradictions. For example, preaching the Gospel at his conventions yet also declaring Muslims are in the body of Christ even if they don’t know Jesus, or that Mormons are not a cult outside Christian orthodoxy or that the Pope is a fine Christian and a terrific evangelist.

Mr Graham is famous for his interview with Robert Schuller in 1997 whereupon Mr Graham said he believes people can attain heaven without knowing Christ. He said the same in an interview in McCall’s magazine in 1978 and again before that in his own Decisions Magazine in 1960. His apostasy can be traced far back, even to his youth, when Graham was rejected for membership in a youth group due to him being too worldly, and later when chafing under Bob Jones’ University biblical standards, he transferred to the less strict Florida Bible Institute. Here Mr Graham is quoted as saying,

“I used to play God, but I can’t do that anymore. I used to believe that pagans in far-of 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. (James Michael Beam, “I Can’t Play God Anymore,” McCall’s (January 1978)

Compared to the glories of heaven as described in scripture, and compared to those glories as summarized above, Mr Graham’s worldly perspective about golf needing to be in heaven for him to be happy is certainly disappointing.

The hope of heaven should fill us with a joy of anticipation that loosens us from this transitory world. It’s easy to become so attached to the world that we spend our energy consuming things that will perish rather than accumulating treasure in heaven (Source)

If, as Mr Graham said, whatever is necessary for our happiness will be in heaven, I ask, what if sex is necessary for our happiness? Will it be there?

The bible says no. (Matthew 22:30).

What if my happiness in heaven depends on my unsaved mother being there, will I then be unhappy? The bible says no. (Isaiah 65:17)

The perspective that whatever made us happy on this earth is what we “need” to make us happy in heaven gives short shrift to the incomparable riches of His grace, His holy habitation, and His personal presence. JESUS is what is necessary for our happiness in heaven, and we will have it. No earthly game, activity, or item we enjoyed on this earth will be missed.

Creative Commons, source

And just kidding now, what if Basketball was necessary for my happiness, and bowing to my ‘needs’, our Exalted God created heaven around my need to throw a bouncy ball into a net? Won’t every shot be a basket? Won’t every golf swing result in a hole-in-one, every baseball swing a home run? Because everything in heaven is perfect. Does Mr Graham believe that he won’t make par in heaven? If so, then there will be disappointment, and heaven is not a disappointing place.

Hinging our heavenly ‘happiness’ on the needs of our earthly desires is small minded. Expecting our God to create a place for us based on the activities we enjoyed while on the cursed earth, fails to keep in mind that what we do here is only a shadow of things to come. (Colossians 2:17).

Praise God that heaven is so stupendous, that He chose us for salvation, and that we will be with Him!!

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:1-5)

Posted in billy graham, jesus, universalism

Universalism, Billy Graham, and the precision of God

The false notion that we all end up in heaven is an old one, but in these days, it is called Universal Reconciliation. Wikipedia explains it, “In Christianity, universal reconciliation [ ed note: universalism for short] is the doctrine that all sinful and alienated human souls—because of divine love and mercy—will ultimately be reconciled to God.

[ Video: Christ the Only Way (RC Sproul) ]

We know that God is love and mercy, but we also know that He is Holy and Just. He will not allow unreconciled sinners into heaven. (John 14:6).

Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist) Pollock, 1950,
National Gallery of Art

Universalism is actually a terrible blasphemy against the Spirit, the unforgivable sin. It is also a heinous reproach unto the incarnated Jesus, who died a horrible death to make a way for sinners to be reconciled.

Do universalists think it was all a big joke? That Jesus says, ‘oops, just kidding about that cross thing, come on in anyway!’ Do they believe entry into heaven is like a Jackson Pollock painting? Splats and drips winding up where they did due to gravity and haphazard placement? That once any sinner dies they slide down the white tunnel and plop into some part of heaven like a splatting tomato bouncing off a vegetable truck? “Come on in, whoever you are and wherever you came from.”

Do they not suppose that God is precise as He was in Genesis, creating the earth just so far from the sun and the moon just so far from the earth and each petal of each flower just so. He does not throw open the doors of heaven and say, “Aw , you’re all just so adorable, come on in!”

The transition from earth to heaven is extremely orderly. Once there, the proceedings are orderly too. Everything is moment upon moment, exact, and completed with a precision that astounds the mind. The scene from Daniel 7 is one such example about what happens in heaven is precise, including the people who are there.

A stream of fire issued
and came out from before him;
a thousand thousands served him,
and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him;
the court sat in judgment,
and the books were opened. (Daniel 7:10)

If you read the entire chapter, it’s not long, your mind will be blown. Daniel’s certainly was. (Daniel 7:15, 28).

Bible Study Outlines

Please bring your attention to the phrase, “Books were opened.” It has an ominous sound. In heaven, they keep records. They write down names. They keep track. Revelation 20:12 repeats the phrase in a similar scene given to John. “Books were opened.”

And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.” (Revelation 20:12)

In this verse, we are given an additional detail, the things we do are in the books as well. The book of life is singular and the books in general is plural. It stands to reason that the book of life is singular because Jesus said few find the way. (Matthew 7:14). The book of life is the roll of the names of the saved. Heaven has a precision, and those who are elected to salvation are in the book. Actually, there are two sets of books, one is the book of life and the other is the book which the unsaved will be judged.

People hate it when I say that we will be judged.

People reject the notion of standards today. They reject the concept that some people are qualified for things and other people aren’t. For example, women are not qualified for ministry. Unrepentant, active homosexuals are not qualified for marriage. Unrepentant sinners are not qualified for heaven.

God has standards. He has expectations. No set of standards worth the paper they’re printed on is a standard which accepts all comers. There are learning standards. When a student achieves them, they graduate. If they don’t achieve them, they don’t graduate. There is a standard of care, “the degree of prudence and caution required of an individual who is under a duty of care.” There is a breed standard, in which in animal fancy and animal husbandry is a set of guidelines which is used to ensure that the animals produced by a breeder or breeding facility conform to the specifics of the breed.”

Does a person think that a farmer has a standard for breeding of cows, but our Holy God doesn’t have

Wikimedia commons free to use

standards for entry into His kingdom? Foolish notion!

The standard for entry is a single item. Just one. “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15). That’s it. No works, no study, no tradition, no payment. Jesus did the work, He studied the Father’s will, and He paid the price. He did it for us. Believe on His gospel and you will be saved.

There are so-called Christians who believe that all people will go to heaven. They are Universalists. This violates not only the one standard that God set forth (Belief in Jesus’ atoning work on the cross for forgiveness of sins) but it violates logic. It belies the orderliness of the heavenly scenes we see in scripture. It makes God out to be a patsy and a liar.

Billy Graham is one who believes that all peoples, ‘if they lived a sincere life” will go to heaven. He has believed this since 1960. He said in part,

They may not even know the name of Jesus but they know in their hearts that they need something that they don’t have and they turn to the only light they have and I think they’re saved and they’re going to be with us in heaven.

Wikimedia Commons free to use

There are essential doctrines that one must believe in order to be considered a Christian. The exclusiveness of the Gospel is one. If a person doesn’t believe the exclusivity of Christ as the sole entry to heaven, he cannot be considered a Christian.

Acts 4:12 says  “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.””

Now, Mr Graham is going to die soon. He has said so himself. His son has said so. When Mr Graham dies, there will be many accolades and an outpouring. I want you to know the truth: not all who claim the name of Jesus are in Him. The scriptures say that many will plead with Jesus on His day.

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” (Matthew 7:21-23)

It is the most heartbreaking scripture in the bible. It tears my heart apart every time I read it. My mother will be one of these pleading with Jesus. So will my sister. And so will Billy Graham.

The precision of God is ultimate. It is laser-point. It is Jesus.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Further reading

“My Hope America” with Billy Graham, and a look at Graham’s teachings (Part 1/2)

My Hope America & Billy Graham, part 2

Links

Video: Christ the Only Way (RC Sproul)

Tim Challies: Billy Graham and Ecumenicism (essay)

John MacArthur clip, A Wideness in God’s Mercy? (video)

Cecil Andrews: Billy Graham: The Man and His Message (video)

World View Weekend: Billy Graham (article)

David Cloud: Billy Graham’s Sad Disobedience To The Word Of God (note: I disagree with a lot of Mr Cloud’s teaching but the article I’ve linked to is mostly Graham quotes and discussion of same, with sources)

John MacArthur: Deliverance: From the Temporal World to the Eternal Kingdom (sermon)

Midwest Today: A Conversation with Billy Graham, 1997 (news article, printed interview)

CARM.org: Billy Graham

Posted in billy graham, decisional regeneration, easy believism, my hope america, relationship evangelism

A close look at "My Hope America with Billy Graham", decisional regeneration, and relationship evangelism (Part 2/2)

The other day I wrote about the upcoming movie release by Billy Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). The movie’s release is to coincide with the 95th birthday of the well-known evangelist, on November 7. Up until that time, the internet, churches, and publications will heavily tout this movie, called “My Hope America with Billy Graham.”

Readers of this blog know that there are three spheres under which I write: encouragement, prophecy, and discernment. Under the discernment banner, the other day I examined Billy Graham’s teachings and doctrine, compared it the bible, and showed that given the things Graham teaches and believes, he cannot be of the faith. He fails on one of the primary essentials (Jesus as the exclusive way to heaven, AKA the Gospel) and he fails on many other secondary essential issues. The sum total of the first part was to show that even, or especially, popular men can be and could be one of the prophesied wolves bringing false doctrine. (Matthew 7:15, 2 Peter 2:1). Please read that piece for the details and the biblical support.

Though I personally believe that Graham along with a couple of others have done more to damage the faith than to honor it, I’d said that I hadn’t written about Graham but instead have focused on the falsity of others because Graham is no longer active. However, it seems that Graham has produced one final religious/theological/social effort and is using the last vestige of his reputation and means before he dies (his words) to spread it as widely as possible. That effort is the movie of which I’ll speak today. It is called My Hope America.

The movie is an evangelistic effort in which people call friends neighbors, co-workers, and invite them to “meet Jesus” at a party, as Matthew had after his conversion. (Matthew 9).

I agree

There are several premises the video is produced under which I agree. First, their premise that there should be urgency to witness is biblical and appropriate. We need that prompting here in America, especially where wealth dampens urgency and technological distractions sidetrack us from personal relationships within which we share Christ.

The My Hope DVD has been sent to 157 countries already, such as Uruguay, Malawi, etc. It is now being promoted in America. Thus, the My Hope people have identified America as a country in need of missionaries & evangelists. I agree with this also. America has become more and more apostate. It is surely an irony that the nation which once sent more missionaries into the lost nations of the world has become lost herself and needs others to come here. It’s true and the people of this nation need the Gospel as much or more than many other countries on each day that passes.

The Movie’s Claims

In the promotional video, the listener hears pastors tell the BGEA video folks that they “have been praying for a way to mobilize their people into evangelism”, and we’re told that pastors are saying, “we’ve been looking for an opportunity to get our folks involved in personal evangelism and I believe this is it.”

We’re told that pastors are saying the video strategy is “bringing churches together as never before”, that it is going to “heal our land”, and “it is going to put everyone at peace.” We’re told by BGEA folks that “We’ve seen God use this strategy of the My Hope project in Latin America, in Asia, in Africa, Europe…” We see the BGEA folks say that “Each country gets the benefit of people working together towards a common goal in Jesus Christ. And that can change history in a country.”

Those are extraordinary claims and stupendous statements. Aside from being overtly slick and promotional, these claims also seem to be results-oriented. I’ll speak to the results-oriented approach below when I speak of decisional regeneration.

Taking a hard look at the evangelistic efforts of Mr Graham and his methods, let’s focus on two of them associated with this video: Relationship Evangelism and Decisional Regeneration.

1. Relationship Evangelism

Forty-six seconds into the promotional video, the listener hears, “My Hope is Billy Graham’s call to relationship evangelism in America”. There are many scenes of people sitting around a table, or on the floor, or on couches and chairs, watching the various My Hope videos from the BGEA. The listener hears that Matthew was a relationship evangelist, whereupon he met Jesus, was converted, and wanted to share Jesus with as many people as possible and thus hosted a party in his home. (Matthew 9:10-13). The listener is urged to host a party or gathering and invite friends, family, neighbors, co-workers with the goal of sharing Christ as Matthew had.

I completely agree that as Christians we should operate within the spheres into which the Holy Spirit has set us, and witness for Christ using every means and method. Cold sharing, street preaching, friendship sharing, and using our lives of obedience and submission are several ways to share the Gospel with the lost and dying world of our individual spheres. I have no quarrel with that. Hosting a gathering in your home with weak brethren, non-believers, and mature brethren is good. It is proper. It is one way we use the strength of relationships, along with relating the truth of the Gospel to folks on church, in our community, clubs, and family homes.

These different evangelistic methods are variously called servant evangelism, (Galatians 6:10); lifestyle evangelism (Acts 5:13, 20); and friendship evangelism (or relationship evangelism). We should speak personally to friends, neighbors and co-workers. This is the type of evangelism Philip demonstrates in John 1:45-46. The woman at the well went back into town and told her friends. They asked Jesus to stay for two days and He taught them, and many believed.

So is there a problem with the evangelistic approach the BGEA folks are using, hosting “Matthew Parties” with an intent to share Jesus? There could be. As with anything, this ‘strategy’ dwells close to a line of subtlety where it can go off the rails quickly. Note the main DVD synopsis that personal testimonies will be told:

“as they share the common thread that led them to true happiness.”

Happiness?

Scott Boren authored a piece at Christian Leaders called “Does Relationship Evangelism Miss the Point?” He was talking about what have become known as “Matthew Parties.” He used an interesting quote from the book, The Relational Pastor by Andrew Root

However, he is not challenging the reality that the Gospel most easily spreads across relational lines. Nor is he saying that abundant life is not found in Jesus. He’s actually pointing out the fact that if we are going to have loving relationships we need to relate to neighbors, co-workers, family members, and friends in a such a way that we actually encounter them in the relationships instead of using the relationship to get something from them. If we are trying to get them to line up with our beliefs and ideals and are not demonstrating the Gospel. We are peddling it.

The entire piece is good and gives food for thought. When sharing Jesus is not an embedded lifestyle, but a strategy comes along that already has a faddish term associated with it (“Matthew Party”), and the folks we invite know that it is part of a promotional activity, they feel used. And we are using them. It is peddling Jesus rather than simply sharing the Gospel. There is a difference between natural, organic, sincere evangelistic effort, and jumping on an artificially promoted Matthew Party bandwagon.

For another view of relationship evangelism, street Preacher Tony Miano wrote in his piece, ““Friendship Evangelism Is Neither Friendship Nor Evangelism
Let make it very clear that Christians are called by the Word of God to be both friendly and relational. “If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:3)

But Miano goes on to warn of the line that is easily crossed in relationship evangelism, of the danger of backing off in relationship evangelism by not sharing Christ but simply living a perceptible life in front of believers:

“Part of the evidence that “Friendship Evangelism” is not evangelistic is that the practice makes the Christian known but it all-too-often fails to make Christ known.”

So though on the surface, the BGEA strategy of relationship evangelism does have roots in the bible, the  use of it as a strategy and a method can come across as too slick and faddish to the non-believer, they could well wind up feeling used. Secondly it is the Gospel that saves, not the friendship, and third, it leaves room for the Christian to back off in sharing Jesus but yet making the friend feel safely Christian.

Ultimately, what Relationship Evangelism is, is simply discipling.

2. Decisional Regeneration

Decisional regeneration is another thing like Relationship evangelism, which is not completely false but is fraught with subtle dangers which can quickly push one over the edge into false territory. The term means that a person becomes a Christian by deciding to become a Christian. They make a decision that they want Christ to be the Lord of their lives, or they decide to come forward at an evangelistic crusade or church service and decide to become a believer.

The work of salvation is completely in the hands of God. The believer is dead in his trespasses and sins, (Ephesians 2:1). A dead person cannot “decide” to become alive. It is the work of God who makes us alive (Ephesians 2:4).

However we are called to repent, and this is a conscious act of man. Repent means to take a 180 degree turn from the way we were, which was sinful, and to proclaim sorrow for our sins and go the way of holiness. It is perhaps here where the decision comes in.

Man is saved by Jesus but he is always responsible for his sins. Where that ground meets between sovereignty and responsibility is the gray line in decisional regeneration.

However at many churches and especially at Billy Graham crusades, “making a decision for Christ” easily becomes much more shallow. The practice is actually foreign to the scriptures, as Pastor Tim Challies explains here. The invention of the decision for Christ, combined with the altar call, is

generally attributed to evangelist Charles Finney who lived from 1792 to 1875. He emphasized the need for a decision, usually made by “coming forward” to approach the altar. Becoming a believer became synonymous with making a decision and proving that decision by taking physical action. It is important to note that this system is entirely foreign to the Scriptures.

Paul Washer speaks against the dangers of decisional regeneration often. Here, Todd Shaffer summarizes one of Washer’s sermons on the topic:

Washer rails against how Evangelicals are so quick to proclaim people ‘believers’.  One of the most damnable practices in the church is when a person doubts their salvation, they are usually taken back to that day when they “made a decision” for Christ and “asked Jesus into their hearts”, neither of which are statements found in Scripture (apart from a poor hermeneutic).  We are often guilty of giving people a false assurance that is based more on the ‘sincerity’ of their decision than on the presence of a transformed life.

And that is the danger: false assurance. Many people who come forward at a crusade or a Matthew Party having decided for Christ do so many times on a shallow Gospel presentation, or an incomplete Gospel presentation, or decide for a Christ who doesn’t exist, just because they are promised “happiness.”

In his talk about Billy Graham Cecil Andrews was speaking about the fifty year anniversary of the London Harringay Crusade. Andrews, who is from the UK,  said that despite many “decisions for Christ” at that monumental Graham crusade at Harringay stadium, by the time five decades had passed, there was virtually no effect remaining. The people who had been there fifty years before deciding for Christ before were not thriving Christians by any stretch, and it was plain to the interviewers that the “decisions” were vaporous emotional responses and not a lasting spiritual regeneration.

Relational Evangelism at a Matthew Party is a fad

I am not a fan of fads. Christian fads come and go with depressing regularity. Prayer of Jabez rugs, WWJD bracelets, Love Dares, Courageous Resolutions, Promise Keepers, Quiverfull, Daniel Fast, Prayer Circles, Parable of the Talents Challenge, and now Matthew Parties. If the thing has a name it is a sure bet it’s a fad. If the thing is mindlessly replicated from house to house and church to church, it’s a fad.

The bible says, “And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” (2 Peter 2:3). The KJV says ‘they will make merchandise of you.’ The word ‘exploit’ in the verse comes from the Greek word that we know today as emporium, or mall. Strong’s defines it as, “I travel as a merchant, engage in trade; I traffic in, make gain or business of.”

Now, the film is free, the associated bonus programs are free, you can watch them online for free or order them for free. The training is free and the support materials are free. That is wonderful. I am all for that. The My Hope Matthew Party is still a fad and it’s still merchandise. Here’s why:

The BGEA promotes the strategy of decisional regeneration and it focuses on results. This is the prophesied ‘merchandising’ part, even though no money passes hands. It is touted to be man-centered and results-oriented. In one of the promotional videos, it is stated that viewers of the My Hope DVD in other countries have “since 2002, ‘made average of 2 decisions for Christ per home.” Is that like “2 out of 3 dentists say…”?

The video is touted as a “unique opportunity” to witness for Christ where pastors have been “praying for a way to mobilize their people into evangelism”? Praying for a way, unlike the way the bible shows us? and we’re told that pastors are saying, “we’ve been looking for an opportunity to get our folks involved in personal evangelism and I believe this is it.” What if this ‘opportunity’ hadn’t come along? Would these pastors not be able to get their folks into personal evangelism? But you see, that is the results-oriented, merchandising language. The BGEA promotional video makes it sound like this is the only strategy and we better pick up on it fast. Is that like “operators are standing by”?

This is where the decisional regeneration method falters. It leaves the work of sovereign Holy Spirit of  regenerating hearts to the men behind production monitors counting how many decisions for Christ happened in a certain segment of the country.

“Decisions” often lead to False Assurance

Tim Challies explains,

Finney’s legacy in church history is largely one of failure, of creating masses of people who believed they were Christians, but most of whom showed no evidence. They were assured by their decision which they could always regard as a milestone in their lives, but while they had raised their hand, they had never turned to Christ. Why had they not done this? Because the Spirit had not done any work in them and they were, thus, unregenerate. They had attempted to make themselves believers, a task which can only be done by God.

And that was the legacy of the Harringay Crusade in 1954 and it is my worry and fear that the masses of homes where people are artificially invited to a My Hope Matthew Party will ‘decide for Christ’ based on peer pressure, or emotion, or because they were grateful for the food, or any other reason except that the Holy Spirit had opened their eyes to their need for a Savior. False assurance is worse than being unregenerate, in my opinion. Read this verse, and you can vividly see the myriads of unregenerate false Christians pleading with Jesus:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:21-23)

You can just hear them say “I went forward at the altar call! I decided! I saw the Graham DVD! I signed a card! They told me I was in the family of God!” But no…Jesus never knew them.

I’m NOT saying that all people who have ever done those things are lost. I AM saying that the decisional regeneration method combined with fad Matthew Parties and promoted as a strategy that WILL get results is dangerous and shallow. The movie people promote it with terms such as I mentioned above, It is going to “heal our land”, and “it is going to put everyone at peace.” These claims are biblically false. When combined with the results-oriented statements such as people have “made average of 2 decisions for Christ per home” then what you’ve got is a gross misrepresentation of the Holy Spirit and not the praise due for a miracle of reconciliation by a holy, sovereign God.

The Christian Post touts this event as perhaps the biggest evangelistic event in history. Keep in mind it is created by a man who believes Muslims who don’t know Jesus are in the family of God, who believes that Roman Catholic Pope John Paul was the greatest evangelist ever, who makes a plea to thousands of people at his crusades to ‘decide for Christ’ but sends them to Catholic priests and Jewish rabbis for counseling, and put together a DVD which is a tactic, a strategy, and a passing fad of Matthew Parties.

John MacArthur spoke to these issues in his sermon The Lordship Controversy:

A subtle shift in emphasis over the past hundred years or so has gradually eroded the way evangelicals understand and present the gospel. Preaching and witnessing have changed. The message we’re hearing is less challenging, more comforting. But is it the truth?

Just as the My Hope DVD promised lands will be healed and true happiness will be found. Decisional regeneration is shallow and leads to false assurance much of the time. Continuing with the MacArthur segment:

Listen to the typical gospel presentation nowadays. You’ll hear sinners entreated with words like, “accept Jesus Christ as personal Savior”; “ask Jesus into your heart”; “invite Christ into your life”; or “make a decision for Christ.” You may be so accustomed to hearing those phrases that it will surprise you to learn that none of them is based on biblical terminology.

All of those are strategies you hear Billy Graham use and will find on the My Hope DVD. Continuing again:

They are the products of a diluted gospel. It is not the gospel according to Jesus. The gospel Jesus proclaimed was a call to discipleship, a call to follow Him in submissive obedience, not just a plea to make a decision or pray a prayer. Jesus’ message liberated people from the bondage of their sin while it confronted and condemned hypocrisy. It was an offer of eternal life and forgiveness for repentant sinners, but at the same time it was a rebuke to outwardly religious people whose lives were devoid of true righteous­ness. It put sinners on notice that they must turn from sin and embrace God’s righteous­ness. It was in every sense good news, yet it was anything but easy-believism.Our Lord’s words about eternal life were invariably accompa­nied by warnings to those who might be tempted to take salvation lightly. He taught that the cost of following Him is high, that the way is narrow and few find it. He said many who call Him Lord will be forbidden from entering the kingdom of heaven (cf. Matthew 7:13-23).”

Far from enjoying tacos at a Matthew Party and then making a decision to accept Jesus into your heart in order to experience true happiness (Billy Graham method), true faith is described in the Beatitudes, (Matthew 5:3-12).

Faith’s foundational characteristic is humility–a poverty of spirit, a brokenness that acknowledges spiritual bankruptcy. Genuine believers see themselves as sinners; they know they have nothing to offer God that will buy His favor. That is why they mourn (v. 4), with the sorrow that accompa­nies true repentance. It crushes the believer into meekness (v. 5). He hungers and thirsts for righteous­ness (v. 6). As the Lord satisfies that hunger, He makes the believing one merciful (v. 6), pure in heart (v. 7), and a peacemaker (v. 9). The believer is ultimately persecuted and reviled for righ­teousness’ sake (v. 10). … Those who cling to the memory of a one-time decision of “faith” but lack any evidence of the outworking of faith had better heed the clear and solemn warning of Scripture: “He who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36). (source)

“My Hope America” with Billy Graham (Part 1/2)

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Here is some more information on all the topics I’ve covered in this blog entry

Got Questions: Decisions for Christ

Got Questions: Easy believism

Got Questions: Asking Jesus into your heart

The Difference In Making (A Decision) For Christ vs (A True Conversion) 8-min video

Paul Washer: “The Sinner’s Prayer” (3-min video)

Tin Challies: Decisional Regeneration

Posted in billy graham, false teachers, john macarthur, my hope america

"My Hope America" with Billy Graham, and a look at Graham’s teachings (Part 1/2)

Billy Graham is about to turn 95-years-old. He is often called “the world’s most admired man” or “the greatest living American.” He is said to have personally presented the Gospel to 215 million people, and to millions more via programs on the web, tv, radio and film.

“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.” (Matthew 24:4)

Given Mr Graham’s extensive-lasting impact on the world, his long life, and the flurry of interest around his upcoming movie, “My Hope America with Billy Graham”, I am writing these things so that we can all be reminded that deception can come in any form and at any time.

If you have not been aware of the various aberrant and doctrines Mr Graham believes, then you might be shocked and upset that I am daring even to say these things about such a person of stature. However, as Cecil Andrews laid out the case against Graham carefully out in his 2001 speech, “Billy Graham: The Man and His Message,” (link at end)

We need to do that [test the spirits] not just with Billy Graham, but with many others who are up on pedestals in the evangelical world. They’ve built a reputation early in their life, but where are they today? I’ll tell you, they are in the forefront of the compromising, ecumenical world that you and I are being challenged with.

When the Apostle Paul was tested by the Bereans, and his words and teaching compared with scripture, and the Bereans were lauded for it.

“Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” (Acts 17:11)

Note that they were said to be of noble character because of two things: they received the word with eagerness, and they examined them against Scripture to see if what was being taught was true. Mr Graham, despite his popularity, or perhaps because of it, should no more escape scrutiny than any other teacher of our faith.

Graham, Osteen, Warren

I have long thought personally, that the three seemingly-Christian men most impacting the faith in negative ways in the 20th and 21st century are Billy Graham, Joel Osteen, and Rick Warren. For the women, I personally believe Beth Moore has done the most damage. I’ve written about or mentioned most of those on my list, but not Mr Graham, because he is no longer active. However with his new film being produced and promoted, to be released next month, I felt it necessary to lay out the case for caution, for your scrutiny and edification. Take heed.

Born November 7, 1918, according to the website NNDB, which offers profiles of noteworthy individuals, “Graham’s “big break” came in the 1940s, when publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst got wind of Graham’s then-recurring theme that the Cold War was a showdown between good and evil, and that communists were Satan-worshippers. “Either communism must die or Christianity must die,” Graham famously preached, and Hearst sent a memo to all of his papers’ editors, ordering them to “puff Graham”. Prior to that, Graham had been just another traveling evangelist, holding meetings in half-empty tents. After that and for the rest of his life, he has been America’s most prominent Christian leader.”

Please note that the man came to prominence expounding on political, worldly matters. His statement equates an eternal, heavenly faith structure with a man-made worldly political structure. Secondly, anyone who reads the bible knows that Christianity will not die, no matter how many political or governmental structures have existed or will come to existence. However, in 1949, communism was a very big problem, consuming the interest and attention of those in power.

Yet in 60AD, Apostle Paul did not say that “Either Rome’s Emperor system must die or Christianity must die.” It is written, 

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” (Romans 13:1)

Since then, Mr Graham has appeared on Gallup’s list of most admired men of the 20th century, appearing 55 times since 1955 (including 49 consecutive years), more frequently than any other individual in the world.

“Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.” 
(Luke 6:26)

But let’s go back to his beginnings. In his youth, Graham was rejected for membership in youth group because he was “too worldly”. After graduating high school in 1936, Graham attended Bob Jones College but he felt constrained by the restrictions and called it too legalistic (likely because Graham had earned a stack of demerits for disobedience). In addition, he was almost expelled, and wound up having a long sit-down with Bob Jones, Sr. about Graham’s future. Graham transferred to another college. After attending three total colleges, Graham eventually graduated from Wheaton in 1943 with a degree in anthropology. His college sojourn lasted 7 years, and please note his degree was not in religious or biblical studies. (Source, and source)

When he burst upon the scene in 1948 Graham did not seem to compromise on the basics, at least overtly, but over time he retreated on all fronts. David Frost said that in the beginning Graham used to say “the bible says” but as time went on he would more often say ‘what Billy Graham thinks’.

The basics, or essential doctrines to which one must adhere or the truth is not in them, according to CARM.org are:

The Bible itself reveals those doctrines that are essential to the Christian faith. They are 1) the Deity of Christ, 2) Salvation by Grace, and 3) Resurrection of Christ, 4) the gospel, and 5) monotheism. These are the doctrines the Bible says are necessary. Though there are many other important doctrines, these five are the ones that are declared by Scripture to be essential (I call them primary essentials since the Bible declares them as essential). A non-regenerate person (i.e., Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness, atheist, Muslim), will deny one or more of these essential doctrines. Please note that there are other derivative doctrines of scripture that become necessary also, the Trinity being one.

Though there are many troubling statements Mr Graham has made which gives one pause for thought, (I’ll list them below and also provide links) the essential doctrine Mr Graham denies is the Gospel. Let’s take a closer look. CARM.org again:

“The Gospel:

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” (Gal. 1:8-9). Verses 8 and 9 here in Galatians are a self declarative statement that you must believe the gospel. The gospel message which in its entirety is that Jesus is God in flesh, who died for sins, rose from the dead, and freely gives the gift of eternal life to those who believe.”

He gives the gift of life to those who believe. Mr Graham has on many occasions, years and decades apart, denied the exclusivity of the Gospel, denied who are truly believers, and denied what they must believe. Here are specifics:

Graham & Schuller

In his interview with Robert Schuller in May 1997 on The Hour of Power, Billy Graham opened up the family of faith to Buddhists, Muslims, and non-believers. Here in a sermon from 2000, John MacArthur repeats the interview and expounds in between each of Graham’s statements with biblical truth:

——————-begin MacArthur———————–

John MacArthur: “Those of us who teach the Bible, those of us who uphold sound doctrine have to rise up and speak the truth. I’ve tried to show you the breadth of this problem and I want to conclude comments on people and issues with a particular focus this morning.”

“Through the years we have all become influenced by Billy Graham. One way or another he has, for us, been the spokesman for evangelical Christianity. He has become the symbol of gospel preachers to the world and even to the church. He, more than anyone else, has influenced evangelicalism through his preaching, through his cooperative evangelism, through his influence on Wheaton College, Fuller Seminary, Christianity Today and many other agencies.”

“There is an article in a journal that comments and reviews his autobiography, Just As I Am. And I think it’s worth giving you some insight into that because I think it points out the breadth of this problem. The editor of the journal says, “While Graham has become the very symbol of gentle, compassionate and loving evangelicalism, he has also become the symbol for evangelicalism that speaks cautiously, politically and non-theologically. He was never able to escape the fuzzy a-theological pragmatism of modern evangelicalism. It is Billy Graham more than any other figure in this century who helped to create by his overwhelming persona the present evangelical crisis which threatens to destroy the very institutions and causes in which Graham invested his life and energy for over 55 years,” end quote.”

“That is a sad statement, but it is an appropriate one in view of the facts. A recent public interview with Billy Graham and Robert Schuller underscores this. Graham has uncritically praised Schuller’s ministry, which is a ministry of what is called neo-orthodoxy combined with psychology, not a true historic Christianity. But in the discussion, and here it is verbatim, I’ll just share some things that will open to you the understanding.”

“Dr. Schuller speaks, speaking to Billy Graham. “Tell me, what is the future of Christianity?”

Dr. Graham: “Well, Christianity and being a true believer, you know, I think there’s the body of Christ which comes from all the Christian groups around the world, or outside the Christian groups. I think everybody that loves Christ or knows Christ, whether they’re conscious of it or not, they’re members of the body of Christ. And I don’t think that we’re going to see a great sweeping revival that will turn the whole world to Christ at any time.”

“Now let me stop there. He said that non-Christian groups are members of the body of Christ, that people can love Christ and know Christ whether they’re conscious of it or not and be members of the body of Christ. And therefore we’re not going to see a sweeping revival that will turn the whole world to Christ at any time, ostensibly because it isn’t necessary.”

“He [Graham] goes on to say. “What God is doing today is calling people out of the world for His name. Whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world, or the Christian world, or the non-believing world, they are members of the body of Christ because they’ve been called by God. They may not…he says…even know the name of Jesus, but they know in their hearts that they need something that they don’t have and they turn to the only light they have and I think they’re saved and they’re going to be with us in heaven.”

Dr. Schuller: “What I hear you saying is that it’s possible for Jesus Christ to come into a human heart and soul and life even if they’ve been born in darkness and have never had exposure to the Bible. Is that a correct interpretation of what you’re saying?”

Dr. Graham: “Yes it is because I believe that. I’ve met people in various parts of the world in tribal situations that they have never seen a Bible or heard about a Bible, have never heard of Jesus but they’ve believed in their hearts that there is a God and they tried to live a life that was quite apart from the surrounding community in which they lived.”

Dr. Schuller: “This is fantastic. I’m so thrilled to hear you say that. There’s a wideness in God’s mercy, Dr. Graham, there is…there definitely is.”

“In response to that interview, the editor of this journal wrote the Billy Graham Organization and received a reply that said, “Dr. Graham’s views were the same as they have always been.” Apparently his views have always been that Muslims are part of the body of Christ, Buddhists are part of the body of Christ, non-believers are part of the body of Christ, people who have never heard of a Bible are part of the body of Christ if they’re trying to be better than the people around them. People who never heard of Jesus are part of the body of Christ.”

——————-end MacArthur———————–

(Television interview of Billy Graham by Robert Schuller, broadcast in southern California on Saturday, May 31, 1997).

Graham refused to speak the Gospel to Larry King in 2005, and in fact refused to declare Jews or Mormons were lost souls

KING: But what about those faiths — the Mormons and the others that you mentioned — believe in Christ. They believe they will meet Christ. What about those like the Jews, the Muslims, who don’t believe they …

GRAHAM: That’s in God’s hands. I can’t be the judge.

KING: You don’t judge them?

GRAHAM: No.

KING: How do you feel when you see a lot of these strong Christian leaders go on television and say, you are condemned, you will live in hell if you do not accept Jesus Christ, and they are forceful and judgmental?

GRAHAM: Well, they have a right to say that, and they are true to a certain extent, but I don’t — that’s not my calling. My calling is to preach the love of God and the forgiveness of God and the fact that he does forgive us. That’s what the cross is all about, what the resurrection is all about, that’s the gospel. And you can get off on all kinds of different side trends, and in my earlier ministry, I did the same, but as I got older, I guess I became more mellow and more forgiving and more loving.”

Is it loving to refuse to use the worldwide media opportunity such as the then-popular Larry King show to expound on what Jews and Muslims need to do to be saved? No, it is not.

In each decade from the 1950s onward, since Graham burst upon the scene, Christians have been presented clear indications of Graham’s aberrant beliefs. He praised Catholicism in the 1950s, in fact in In 1967, he was the first Protestant to receive an honorary degree from Belmont Abbey College, a Roman Catholic school. He has included rabbis and priests as counselors to inquirers at each crusade, effectively handing over little children seeking Jesus to a devastating cycle of apostasy and hopelessness. As mentioned in the Decision Magazine inquiry, Graham has believed since at least 1960 that most people will go to heaven. He believes in baptismal regeneration, the inclusion of old earth and evolution as part of God’s works, that Mary the mother of Jesus should receive higher due, that there is life on other planets who worship God … and so on.

His aberrant beliefs cannot be attributed to recent old age, infirmity, confusion, or anything else except that he was and is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

I am sorry to say that and it gives me no pleasure, but in testing his beliefs against the bible, one must conclude that Mr Graham does not know the true, biblical Jesus, and is in fact a liberal compromiser in pursuit of earthly rewards, fame, and celebrity.

“To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isaiah 8:20)

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:1-6)

In part 2 I’ll look at Mr Graham’s movie, the movie’s designated evangelistic strategy of ‘friendship evangelism’, discuss ‘decisional regeneration’, and conclude with some general remarks. Below are many links to writings, quotes, and videos of Mr Graham’s apostasy. Please check them out yourself and as with everything test the spirits and use only the bible as your benchmark of truth. And stay away from Graham’s “My Hope America” movie.

Part 2/2 here
————————–

Links

Tim Challies: Billy Graham and Ecumenicism (essay)

John MacArthur clip, A Wideness in God’s Mercy? (video)

Cecil Andrews: Billy Graham: The Man and His Message (video)

World View Weekend: Billy Graham (article)

David Cloud: Billy Graham’s Sad Disobedience To The Word Of God (note: I disagree with a lot of Mr Cloud’s teaching but the article I’ve linked to is mostly Graham quotes and discussion of same, with sources)

John MacArthur: Deliverance: From the Temporal World to the Eternal Kingdom (sermon)

Midwest Today: A Conversation with Billy Graham, 1997 (news article, printed interview)

CARM.org: Billy Graham

Posted in billy graham, evangelicalism divided, lain murray

Some good stuff: recommendations

Roman siege and destruction
of Jerusalem (David Roberts, 1850)

If you wonder about the fate of Israel and the city of Jerusalem in prophecy, the prophet Zechariah has the entire sweep and scope of the past and future of Israel in one book. Last Sunday, Dr. John MacArthur preached on the prophecy of Zechariah regarding Israel’s national salvation in the last days. It is a great sermon. He exposits the text verse by verse, explaining what will happen in the last day, what will happen at Armageddon, and then the glorious afterward with the promise of national salvation fulfilled. His sermon is here: “The Salvation of Israel.”

This is a book with good reviews and is solid in truth. “Evangelicalism Divided: A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950 to 2000” by Iain Murray. It records the ‘history of the change within evangelicalism over the last 50 years is both impressive and frightening. He shows how decisions by some noted evangelical leaders in Britain and the U.S. for the sake of “unity” or “results” have compromised the church and watered down the message of the Gospel’ writes reviewer David Vosseller. This decline includes chronicling the history of unfortunate decisions by including well-known Gospel promoting pastors such as Billy Graham, J.I. Packer, and John Stott.

You might be surprised to find the beloved US pastor Billy Graham’s name listed in a list noting pastors who have declined toward apostasy due to their unfortunate ecumenical decisions, indeed, an entire chapter in this book is devoted to his decline, but his decline is a true one. Mr Graham is among those who at once promote the Gospel while simultaneously undermine it.

The book isn’t brand new but it is fairly new, but it does chronicle how apostasy happens and the danger of ecumenicalism, worthy subjects in light of today’s mainline church regularly blaspheming the Holy Spirit, how the emergent church model is a harbor for pastors without a pastor’s heart, and spiritual abuse. It’s come to this, and Murray was right.

Joel Rosenberg wrote, “A positive development: southern Baptists choose African American pastor as president who says, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” He is Pastor Fred Luter.

Photo Christian Post

Mr Luter said, “There are a lot of things in this life … that I’m ashamed of. I’m ashamed of the number of babies that are being killed through abortion every year in America; I’m ashamed of the racism that still persists in our society; I’m ashamed that our elected government officials cannot put aside their personal agendas for the betterment of our cities, our states and our nation; I’m ashamed that brothers and sisters in the body of Christ can’t put aside their petty differences for the cause of Christ. Maybe if the world saw us getting along, … then maybe we can be an example; I’m ashamed of the number of preachers who don’t practice what they preach; I’m ashamed of the high divorce rate among Christian couples in America; I’m ashamed of our drive-by shootings; I’m ashamed of our child pornography. Yes … there are a lot of things … that I’m ashamed of. I’m so glad to proclaim that in spite of all the things I am ashamed about … I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!”

Me, either! How about you? Promote the name of Jesus everywhere, preach sin and redemption, grace and mercy, extol the virtues of a Spirit filled life by being salt and light.