Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Billy Graham's apostasy

WorldNetDaily: Billy Graham's apostasy

Sir Don brings notice of this story to the Round Table. I had heard brief reference to this Newsweek article, but have not read it. This WorldNetDaily article pretty well sums up an issue that seems to be eating away at the core of Christianity - universalism.

Can Brother Graham's comments be defended?

Sir C of the One Way

PS

4 comments:

  1. As far as I can tell, this is the quote.

    "Those are decisions only the Lord will make," Graham replied. "It would be foolish for me to speculate on who will be there [in heaven] and who won't. ... I don't want to speculate about that."

    The rest of the article explained by Billy Graham is now a heretic. I don’t read that much into it. The fact that he does not know who will be eventually in heaven is simply admission that he does not know who will trust Christ in the end. It is certainly true that Christ is the only way of salvation. Billy Graham did not say he was not.


    Sir John, Loyal to a great soldier

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  2. Billy Graham's apostasy

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    Posted: August 10, 2006
    1:00 a.m. Eastern


    By Tom Flannery
    © 2006

    After more than six decades spent preaching the Gospel – the truth that we can only be saved by God's grace through faith alone in Christ – Billy Graham now says non-Christians in other faiths (false religions) and secular humanists may be going to heaven.

    In a profile of Graham in the current issue of Newsweek, managing editor Jon Meacham asks the 87-year-old evangelist whether those who belong to religions that reject Christ as savior (Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, etc.) and secularists will be saved.

    "Those are decisions only the Lord will make," Graham replied. "It would be foolish for me to speculate on who will be there [in heaven] and who won't. ... I don't want to speculate about that."


    Of course, it's true that Christ is the eternal Judge and will determine who spends eternity with Him and who does not. But it's also true that He has told us plainly, through His personal testimony and the many corroborations contained in His Word, that it is only by believing in Him that a person can be saved.

    He is, after all, the One who said of Himself: "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live." (John 11:25)

    So there's no need to "speculate" about something that has been clearly revealed to the world by Christ.

    In the Newsweek profile, Graham explains his new thinking thus: "I believe the love of God is absolute. He said He gave His Son for the whole world, and I think He loves everybody regardless of what label they have."

    Indeed, He does. John 3:16 assures us: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son ..." The question isn't whether God loves every one of us or not, but why would He allow His beloved Son to die on the cross? He answers that question in the conclusion of this same verse. It is so that "... whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (emphasis mine). Because He loves us so much, Christ took the punishment we deserved for our sins and died in our place on the cross because it was the only way that any of us could ever be saved.

    According to God's inerrant, immutable Word, salvation is based exclusively upon believing in Christ – believing not being mere mental assent, but rather the placing of one's complete trust for eternal life in the Person of Christ and His completed work for us on the cross – apart from which there is no possibility of being saved. John 3:36 tells us: "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."

    Meacham hails Graham's conversion (so to speak) on the primary issue of salvation as an enlightened ecumenism, when it's really nothing more than age-old universalism – the erroneous idea that all roads lead to God and we're all going to get to heaven one way or another. This is the "I'm all right, you're all right" philosophy of the world.

    Well, if I'm all right and you're all right, then someone is going to have to explain the cross.

    Meacham describes Graham's embrace of universalism in glowing terms, similar to the way in which media elites like himself celebrate Republican legislators who adopt liberal voting patterns over time as having "grown in office." Thus, the Newsweek article is entitled "Pilgrim's Progress." Get it?

    In the piece, Meacham calls Graham "a resolute Christian who declines to render absolute verdicts about who will get into heaven and who will not" and as someone who "refuses to be judgmental." As liberals have been lecturing us for decades, we can't speak in absolutes (because, according to their warped worldview, they don't exist) and therefore should never be "judgmental."

    Meacham writes panegyrically how Graham has come to "an appreciation of complexity," or what liberals like to call nuance. They love that, because it's completely antithetical to the Bible's dogmatic teachings about right and wrong, good and evil.

    He says Graham's newfound complexity and "gentleness of spirit" (i.e., as opposed to the rank mean-spiritedness of those who hold to the truth of Scripture) separates Graham from other far more incendiary and divisive religious figures – radicals like Graham's own son Franklin, who had the unmitigated gall to tell the truth about Islam being "a very evil and wicked religion" (his father, needless to say, strongly dissents).

    Graham's redefining of salvation doctrine also separates him from any number of others who were considered radicals in their day.

    One of them was the apostle Paul, who wrote by inspiration of God: "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus." (I Timothy 2:5)

    Another was the apostle John, who wrote by inspiration of God about Christ: "But as many as received Him, to them He [God] gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His [Christ's] name." (John 1:12)

    Yet another was the beloved physician Luke, who wrote by inspiration of God concerning Jesus: "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12) This verse is a four-fold declaration of the truth that salvation is found only in Christ, and in Christ alone.

    How much clearer can it be?

    Well, even more important is the testimony of one other "radical" ... Jesus Himself, who declared unequivocally: "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6)

    Graham hasn't completely forsaken the Gospel message, telling Meacham that he's made his share of mistakes in life but knows that all those transgressions have been paid for by the shedding of Christ's precious blood. And he does acknowledge with great regret in the article that he didn't spend nearly as much time studying Scripture as he should have through the years.

    Considering his apostate redefining of salvation doctrine, I'd have to agree with him on that one.



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    In the first place almost every Christian who has thought about the matter has been troubled by it and so Billy Graham being bothered by it is not supriseing. More over he didn't say that people that follow other religions would be saved by those religions-only that they might conceivably be "snatched out of the fire" in despite of them-and if they were they would certainly in some sense believe.
    What he said is debatable. While actually it is not debatable, for all the arguments have been made centuries ago and the argument still isn't over-so it is not literally "debateable" though it is certainly dissagree-able and like all quarrels sometimes "dissagreeable"(pun intended).
    We still have the example of the thief who didn't know anything about Christianity and may not have even known anything about Judaism(he might have been an escaped slave for instance). So it is obvious that there are last minute special provisions. So then is death the final point of no return? Are all those that die in error damed? That's more then we know and it seems odd that the point of no return would be a mere physical event. It is certainly appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment-but Lazarus died twice(Ok we don't know that but we assume that) so it would seem the statement refers to man in general. What we do know clearly is that no one may be saved without Christ through the attonement given by his sacrifice and resurrection. That is all we know. To infer that all who die in error are damned is a reasonable if painful inference-but it is still an inference.
    In any case all Billy Graham did was cry out, "is there no healing?"* He did not commit appostasy which means a Christian deliberately turning his back-it cannot be done accidently as doctrinal error can.
    If he had said other religions were equal paths to God that certainly would be teaching a lie. That is not what he did. He only said that God cannot be predicted(true), we don't know the fate of others souls(true)and there is some hope(maybe).
    In any case one must remember that newsies are generally ignorant about religion, and prone to take remarks out of context simply because they are interesting. I find it more easy to belief that Meacham is being obtuse then that Billy Graham is being heretical

    Sir Jason the Longwinded

    *borrowed from an obscure Tolkien-ite reference. it seemed appropriate.

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  3. Reading the entire story, I can sense where the author "cherry-picked" his quotes to fit his desired thesis. For instance, I'm sure liberals loved the quote..."I'm not a literalist in the sense that every single jot and tittle is from the Lord," Graham says. "This is a little difference in my thinking through the years." ...because they can expand that in their minds to, "see, he's admitting he wasn't right in everything he preached."

    But his humility shines through the quotes...

    "There are many things that I don't understand," he says. He does not believe that Christians need to take every verse of the Bible literally; "sincere Christians," he says, "can disagree about the details of Scripture and theology—absolutely."

    Notice in the text above Billy Graham didn't say not to take the Bible literally...that's how the author interpreted whatever he really did say.

    The author seemed to enjoy highlighting differences between Billy's and Franklin's positions on certain subjects. Not surprising that a father and son have different perspective on things, is it? However, their fundamental views are consistent, as stated by Franklin...

    "There are moral issues that do find their way into politics—he is very supportive of the right to life, for example. Now he doesn't go out and make a huge issue of it, or of any political question, because my father does not feel God has called him to speak out against any particular sin. He is against all sin, and believes the heart of man has to be changed by Christ. He doesn't get pulled into these political issues, and I think he's right."

    My sense on reading the whole article is that in fact, Rev. Graham has in fact "mellowed" with age, but that his faith in God and in the salvation of Jesus Christ is as strong as ever...where's the apostasy in that?

    May God bless the great Reverend in his remaining days, and may his joys be infinitely great when Our Saviour receives him into His Loving Arms...

    May we all mellow as sweetly...

    Sir Chuck, humbled in the shadow of a Great Knight

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  4. Sir Chuck, humbled in the shadow of a Great Knight
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    Well said, Sir Chuck.

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