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Billy Graham – You Decide


Nearly 50 years ago, Billy Graham declared, “Anyone who makes a decision at our meetings is...referred to a local clergyman—Protestant, Catholic or Jewish.” (San Francisco News, November 11, 1957)   For more than 50 years, Billy has affirmed Roman Catholicism as the true gospel and has sent Roman Catholics who come forward at his crusades back to the Catholic churches they had left. Billy praised John Paul II as a preacher of the true gospel (Saturday Evening Post, January/February 1980) and declared that he and the Pope agreed on almost everything. Yet John Paul II (as does his Church), looked to Mary instead of Christ for salvation. In his Last Will and Testament of March 6, 1979, he entrusted “that decisive moment [of death] to the Mother of Christ and of the Church [and] of my hope....” His Apostolic Letter of October 16, 2002, ended thus:


 O Blessed Rosary of Mary...our comfort in the hour of death: yours our final kiss as life ebbs away...the last word from our lips will be your sweet name...O Refuge of Sinners....


Billy Graham has praised Bishop Fulton Sheen as the “greatest communicator of the 20th century,”( Ad for Sheen Gems: The Best of Fulton J. Sheen video, vol 1-2, quoting Billy Graham)  Though Sheen preached a false gospel, and his hope of heaven was that Mary would let him in because of his 40 pilgrimages to Marian shrines at Fatima and Lourdes, (The Woman I Love video (Clifton, NJ: Keep the Faith).


Graham expressed his gratitude to Sheen “for his ministry and his focus on Christ.”( Billy Graham, Just As I Am: The Autobiography of Billy Graham (HarperSanFrancisco/Zondervan, 1997), 692-93). When Sheen died, Billy said, “I...look forward to our reunion in heaven.”( Nashua Telegram, December 10, 1979)


We should not be surprised, then, to learn that Graham also holds to Rome's false gospel of baptismal regeneration! The following quote is from an article written in October of 1961 after Graham did an interview with Lutheran clergyman Wilfred Bockelman, who was then the associate editor of The Lutheran Standard: (Emphasis added.)


"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 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" (10/10/61, The Lutheran Standard).


-  A recent interview on CNN's "Larry King Live" television broadcast once again reveals just how far Graham has fallen from the orthodox teaching of Scripture. King interviewed Graham for a full hour on Christmas Day, 1998. During the course of the interview, King questioned Graham about the afterlife soon after Graham had mentioned he was not afraid to die since he knew he would be with God (italics added):


GRAHAM: I'll know Him. He'll know me. He will receive me. I believe the moment that I die, an angel comes and takes my hand and leads me into His presence.


KING: In your body or through a soul?


GRAHAM: Both -- maybe both, because we have been resurrected. Remember, this body's coming back together again. Nothing ever disappears ...


KING: All right. You'll meet Jesus and then what will it be like? What will paradise be like?


GRAHAM: It's going to be like paradise. It'll be the -- everything that you ever wanted for happiness will be there. People say that the Bible teaches there's no sex in Heaven. If sex is necessary for our happiness and fulfillment, it'll be there. And then, if certain other things that we think are pleasurable will -- it'll be there.


Once again, Graham's theology is completely contrary to Scripture. God's Word never teaches that whatever is necessary for physical human happiness will be the believer's lot in heaven. On the contrary, the believer will rejoice in praising God and fulfilling His will, not the desired will of the individual. The believer's physical body, while on the earth, is still wrestling with the lusts of the flesh and the pride of life that are certainly pleasurable to the earthly saint. But heaven will be a place where the believer will fulfill the will of the Savior and honor and glorify Him throughout all eternity. To give the impression that heaven will be a type of hedonistic paradise is dangerous, false theology. (Excerpted and/or adapted from the Jan-Feb 1999, Foundation magazine.)


Graham also believes that men can be saved apart from the Name of Christ. (Source: 5/31/98 television interview with Robert Schuller, as reported in the May-June 1997, Foundation magazine.):


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. [How can anyone love Christ or know Christ and not be conscious of it (Rom. 8:9,16; 10:14; 1 John 3:24; 4:13; John 3:18)?] 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 [How can this be? (cf. Acts 4:12; Rom 10:13)], 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.


SCHULLER: Well, what I hear you saying, that it's possible for Jesus Christ to come into human hearts 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?


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, and never heard of Jesus, but they've believed in their hearts that there was a God, and they've tried to live a life that was quite apart from the surrounding community in which they lived.


SCHULLER: [R.S. trips over his tongue for a moment, his face beaming, then says] This is fantastic! I'm so thrilled to hear you say that! There's a wideness in God's mercy!


GRAHAM: There is. There definitely is.


What Graham is actually saying here is: "Sinners can be saved by their good works and that a personal relationship to Jesus Christ by being born again is NOT necessary to salvation." This statement also directly agrees with the Roman Catholic universal catechism, page 224; para. 847:


"Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience, those too may achieve eternal salvation."


Thus, Roman Catholicism, and Billy Graham, have said that even if you never hear about Christ, you can still be saved by being the best person you can be. This directly contradicts Acts 4:12 which says, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Jesus, Himself left no doubt: "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)


-  Graham refuses to defend the Bible as the inerrant Word of God. Newsweek magazine, April 26, 1982, examined the debate on the issue of Biblical infallibility. The article noted that Billy Graham is not on the side of inerrancy:


"Billy Graham, for one, clearly is not. 'I believe the Bible is the inspired, authoritative word of God,' Graham says, 'but I don't use the word "inerrant" because it's become a brittle divisive word.'"


Graham avoids controversy at any cost. He knows that Modernists and unbelieving Evangelicals are willing to call the Bible "authoritative and inspired" even while denying that it is the infallible and inerrant Word of God. Graham aligns himself with this unbelieving camp. If the Bible is not the inerrant Word of God, who can dogmatically determine which part is and which part is not inerrant? If the Bible is not inerrant, it is not authoritative (Source: Evangelicals and Rome, by David Cloud).


-  Never mind that the Catholic sacrament of the Mass is the greatest attack ever on the finished work of Christ (cf. Heb. 10:19-22), Graham thinks the Mass is not only beautiful, but that it is clear in the gospel!:


"This past week I preached in the great Catholic cathedral a funeral sermon for a close friend of mine who was a Catholic, and they had several Bishops and Archbishops to participate. And as I sat there going through the funeral Mass, that was a very beautiful thing, and certainly straight and clear in the gospel. There was a wonderful little priest that would tell me when to stand and when to kneel and what to do" (O Timothy, Vol. 10, Issue 9, 1993, pp. 16-17).


There you have it. Billy Graham kneeling and worshiping the Mass wafer! It evidently matters not to Graham that the Mass destroys the Biblical teaching of Christ's atonement, and thereby, the very Gospel itself.


Norman Vincent Peale was the person who was not only responsible for bringing "Christian" psychology into the professing Church, but he also advocated such New Age and/or occult teachings as visualization, pantheism, human potential, positive confession, positive thinking, etc. Once on the Phil Donahue Show, Peale, a 33rd degree Mason, said, "It's not necessary to be born again. You have your way to God, I have mine. I found eternal peace in a Shinto shrine." (Shintoism is an ancient Oriental religion that fuses ancestor worship with mysticism.) He also denied the necessity of believing in the virgin birth.


Peale's false teachings apparently mattered little to Billy Graham. Bible for Today quoted Graham as saying in a speech at a National Council of Churches luncheon on 12/6/66: "I don't know anyone who has done more for the kingdom of God than Norman and Ruth Peale, or have meant any more in my life -- the encouragement they have given me" (Hayes Minnick, BFT Report #565, p. 28). (Maybe Billy meant to say that he could think of no one who had done more evil for the cause of Christ than the Peales?) Graham even once allowed Peale to give the benediction at one of his New York City rallies, and then sent the names of some 400 new "converts" to Peale's Marble Collegiate Church.


One of Norman Vincent Peale's most "successful" protégés is Robert Schuller. Schuller teaches that there is no need for one to recognize his own personal sin, no need for repentance, and no need for the crucifixion of self. Concerning the latter point, Schuller teaches just the opposite philosophy -- that self is to be exalted -- which is nothing less than an outright denial of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (See Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, wherein Schuller says, "Jesus knew His worth; His success fed His self-esteem. He suffered the cross to sanctify His self-esteem and He bore the cross to sanctify your self-esteem. The cross will sanctify the ego trip" [cf. Matthew 16:24].)


Yet, Graham endorses this apostate as well, saying: "Robert Schuller is a great man of God, whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop and loose" (cf. John the Baptist's statement when speaking of Jesus in John 1:27!). Graham is also the one who advised Schuller, back in 1969, to start his "Hour of Power" television show. In 1972, Graham made Schuller a leader in his Anaheim Crusade, saying, "There is no one in all the world I love in Christ more than I do Bob Schuller. ... He has done some of the greatest things for the Kingdom of God of any man in our generation" (David Beale, S.B.C. House on the Sand, p. 144). Graham made a personal appearance on Schuller's 1000th anniversary program (aired 4/2/89), relating how he had encouraged Schuller 20 years earlier when he said, "Bob, why don't you think of telecasting your services." [Graham spoke at Robert Schuller's Crystal Cathedral in 1985, and the two men came up with a joint definition of "born again" as "a decision to stop carrying your own luggage" (Paul Harvey's report, 7/15/85).]


Graham even finds it difficult to take a truly Christian position on moral issues. When in Portland for the 9/92 Crusade, Graham had the unique opportunity to declare that homosexuality is sin. He was asked about his position on Oregon's upcoming (11/92) statewide referendum that would declare homosexuality abnormal, and would thereby prohibit government support of it. Rather than giving a clear answer from the Bible, Graham played the politician:


"I find it is emotional, with strong arguments on both sides of the issue. I intend to stay out of national and local politics while here. God loves all people whatever their ethnic or political background or their social orientation. ... Christians take opposing views on many issues ... those on both sides of the issue must love each other. ... I never speak against other groups" (9/22/92, The Statesman Journal).


On the 12/22/94 Larry King Live Show, Graham also said that he believed that homosexuals are born with a tendency toward homosexuality; i.e., in the genes.


Concerning the issue of abortion, a year earlier on ABC's "Good Morning America" (GMA) (9/5/91), Graham, when asked the Christian position on abortion, said: "... there is a Christian position, I think. But I'm not prepared to say what it is." And, again two weeks later on GMA (9/19/91), Graham said: "But there are occasions when abortion is the only alternative" (although he didn't say when it is okay to snuff out innocent, unborn human life). (Reported in the 2/22/93, Christian News.)


In 1985, Graham affirmed his belief that those outside of Christ might be saved. Los Angeles reporter David Colker asked Graham: "What about people of other faiths who live good lives but don't profess a belief in Christ?" Graham replied, "I'm going to leave that to the Lord. He'll decide that" (Los Angeles Herald Examiner, 7/22/85). While this answer might appear reasonable to those who do not know the Bible, in reality it is a great compromise of the truth. God has already decided what will happen to those who die outside of faith in Jesus Christ. The book of Ephesians describes the condition of such as "children of wrath" (Eph. 2:3) and "having no hope, and without God in the world" (Eph. 2:12). That is why Christ must be preached. Men without a saving knowledge of Christ are condemned already (John 3:18). There is no mystery or question about this matter, because the Bible has plainly spoken.


Graham has said that the virgin birth of Christ is NOT an essential part of the Christian faith. In an interview with a United Church of Canada publication in 1966 ("Billy Graham Answers 26 Provocative Questions," United Church Observer, July 1, 1966), Graham gave the following reply to a question about the virgin birth of Christ:


Q. Do you think a literal belief in the Virgin birth -- not just as a symbol of the incarnation or of Christ's divinity -- as an historic event is necessary for personal salvation?


A. While I most certainly believe that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, I do not find anywhere in the New Testament that this particular belief is necessary for personal salvation.


In his zeal to appease the apostates in the United Church of Christ (its current moderator, Bill Phipps, denies that Jesus Christ is God), Graham tells an absolute lie. How would it be possible for a saved person to deny the virgin birth of Jesus Christ? If Jesus Christ were not virgin born, He was a sinner; and if He were a sinner, He could not have died for our sins. Further, if Christ were a sinner, and if He were not virgin born, He was a liar for making such claims and the Bible that records those claims is a blatant and wicked lie, and the Bible-believing Christian is a deceived and foolish person whose faith has no authoritative foundation. Therefore, apart from the virgin birth, there is no Gospel and no Salvation and no authoritative Bible. The virgin birth of Christ is "fatal" doctrine, meaning it is crucial for salvation. The entire Gospel stands or falls on the virgin birth (Evangelicals and Rome, by David Cloud).


Perhaps most dramatic is Graham's change regarding false religions. In 1948, he said: "The three gravest menaces faced by Orthodox Christianity are Communism, Roman Catholicism, and Mohammedanism." By 1973, however, Graham had changed his tune. He said that Communist Mao Tse-Tung's "eight precepts are basically the same as the Ten Commandments," he praised the Roman Catholic mass as a "very beautiful thing", and said Mohammed Ali's beliefs in Islam "are something we all could believe."

Graham's gospel and Roman Catholicism's gospel are, in reality, no different. In 1978, McCall's Magazine reported Dr. Graham's "updated" understanding of the way of salvation:


"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."


Foundation magazine seems to adequately sum up the case against Billy Graham:


"Fifty years of compromise have increased Billy Graham's popularity but have resulted in a serious loss of spiritual discernment and Scriptural convictions. Fifty years of compromise have brought Billy Graham into close fellowship and cooperation with millions of those who preach a false gospel and teach dangerous, unscriptural doctrines. His refusal to warn about the false gospel preached by the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant churches is inexcusable and indefensible. His failure to warn about the dangers of the wildfire teachings of charismatic leaders opens the door for millions of believers to be deceived. Fifty years of compromise have even led Billy Graham into joining with leaders of pagan, heathen religions on the basis of a mutual search for world peace" (March- May 1991 Foundation, p. 16).



 You decide......