Billy Graham, Bobby Welch, and the SBC

“This is certainly about Dr. Graham, but it is also about the Gospel and that is what I want it to portray and I hope that comes across strongly and profoundly because we are about preaching the Gospel …,” he said. “I have tried to bring the Gospel to the forefront in this sculpture and pay tribute to a man who has dedicated his life to preaching all over the world without compromise. So this has been a great privilege for me.” – Bobby Welch, commenting on the Billy Graham statue that was erected just a few weeks ago.

“Preaching the Gospel”? Is this what Welch had in mind?

“When asked whether he believes heaven will be closed to good Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus or secular people, though, Graham says: ‘Those are decisions only the Lord will make. It would be foolish for me to speculate on who will be there and who won’t . . . I don’t want to speculate about all that. 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.’” – Billy Graham in a recent interview with Newsweek.

Is this just because of Graham’s old age? Consider this from 1997:

“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 … 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 they are saved, and that they’re going to be with us in heaven.”

“SCHULLER: What, 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.”

What about from 1978?

“I used to believe that pagans in far countries were lost if they did not have the gospel of Christ preached to them. I no longer believe that” (McCall’s, January, 1978).

Many more examples could be given, but you understand the point.

I will have to be honest, I am having a hard time understanding Welch’s comments that were made at the top of this post, not to mention the erecting of a statue. But should we really be surprised? After all, consider a recent statement Welch made as he stepped down from the SBC presidency:

“The next three months of our attempt to witness, win, and baptize one million is of large interest to many. Accelerate — Accelerate — Accelerate! Just as I urged on page 13 of the Convention program, we need to do a number of things to go all out these last three months: Have a revival, do another associational baptism rally, have a local one-day Crossover, conclude this church year with a major event centered upon reaching the lost and baptizing. In short, ‘Do all you can with all you have where you are … NOW!’”

Consider how Graham has ‘reached millions’. How Graham has obtained super-star status even in the secular society. How Graham has produced millions of responses to his altar calls. How Graham could document that he has ‘baptized one million’.

Graham is everything that many within the SBC advocate with every fiber in their being: free-will, easy-to-believe, numbers-centered, ‘I just believe the bible, don’t give me theology’, type of ‘gospel’ with IMMEDIATE RESULTS THAT WE CAN SEE!! Why should we be surprised at his adoration? His ministry is marked by setting doctrine aside, setting theology aside, setting the ‘making of disciples’ aside, all in favor of trying to garner a response to an altar call…and boy has he ever gotten a response. He is the poster-child of many within the SBC, even with his abhorrent statements of inclusivism.

So when your focus is on ‘revival’, as if you can generate it on your own, and ‘baptism rallies’, and numbers, and ‘reaching the lost’ (without caring what you reach them with), Billy Graham is your man. No matter how bad his actual theology turns out to be, his huge success in ministry will (by necessity of their own philosophy) garner him the praise of being an example to us all. He’s popular; he stands on stage and says Jesus is the only way; he stands with his bible and says it is the Word of God; and most importantly, he produces quick results that we can all see -in ‘record’ numbers. When pragmatism is your guiding light, Billy Graham is a hero to the faith -no matter what he believes and teaches.

Pragmatism is deadly force, and it is a plague in this convention. As John MacArthur stated in the classic Ashamed of the Gospel,

…when pragmatism is used to make judgments about right and wrong, or when it becomes a guiding philosophy of life, theology, and ministry, inevitably it clashes with Scripture. Spiritual and biblical truth is not determined by testing what “works” and what doesn’t. We know from Scripture, for example, that the gospel often does not produce a positive response (1 Cor. 1:22, 23; 2:14). On the other hand, satanic lies and deception can be quite effective (Matt. 24:23, 24; 2 Cor. 4:3, 4). Majority reaction is no test of validity (cf Matt. 7:13, 14), and prosperity is no measure of truthfulness (cf Job 12:6). Pragmatism as a guiding philosophy of ministry is inherently flawed. Pragmatism as a test of truth is nothing short of satanic.

May the Lord show mercy on Billy Graham, for by his own admission he did not study the scriptures in his lifetime as much as he would have liked. We can all say the same about ourselves. May the Lord also show mercy on the SBC, and may we recover the true gospel we are so prone to give lip-service to. Reaching millions with a gospel robbed of its power will certainly do more harm than good…

Titus 1:1 – Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior…

Further reading on this subject:

Timmy Brister

Nathan White

Slice of Laodicea

Chip Thornton

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Explore posts in the same categories: Doctrinal Issues, Southern Baptist Convention

33 Comments on “Billy Graham, Bobby Welch, and the SBC”

  1. Mark Brown Says:

    Nathan,

    I have been a baptist for 41 years and a christian for 30+ years. Please do not take this as a knock, but you have not reported anything new. I am sad to say. In my 30+ years of sitting under SBC pastors, I can name 1 or 2 that did not believe as Billy.

    Maybe to a younger generation this is news (I assume you are younger than I :^)), but old news to those who have watch universialism and baptismal regeneration(br) seep into the SBC. By br I have heard SBCers tell none SBCer or new converts that they were baptized incorrectly and therefore not “saved”.

    Keep contending for the faith.

  2. Scripture Searcher, Saved and Sure, GOWITHGOSPEL Says:

    While I thank God for whatever good has come from the life and ministry of Billy Graham, I do not hesitate to oppose those who have elevated him to the place of an IDOL or ICON. And it is happening more now than ever before – primarily because of his age.

    As a person he is one of the most likeable I have ever known and I know many preachers, but as a consistent TRUTH teller he has many failings. And his invitation system is not scriptural.

    His son, Franklin, is much more Biblical than his famous father.
    Read Franklin Graham’s book THE NAME and listen to him when interviewed on television. He adamently, firmly but graciously proclaims the truth of John 14:6, Acts 4:12, etc. Like John MacArthur, and unlike Osteen and Schuller, he faithfully speaks the truth gospel of God – even on the Larry King program!

    And Franklin would never say what Billy said at the closing service of his final New York crusade. In plain English he told the world that the former (disgraced) president Bill Clinton would make a GREAT world evangellist!

    Maybe so – maybe so – if Clinton becomes a Christian!

  3. Nathan White Says:

    Yeah Mark, I know this isn’t anything really new. However, I was surprised to see the statue and the amount of praise given to this man. But like I said, it makes perfect sense given the pragmatism that is running rampant in the SBC.

    SSearcher, you are correct, Franklin Graham will not endorse his father’s statements. Thank you for pointing that out.

    SDG

  4. Timmy Says:

    I, too, am greatly encouraged by the outspoken and clear stance of Franklin Graham on theological matters, especially when he is disagreeing with his father. Some in the SBC would assert this as being divisive, rebellious, or an act of insubordination. The truth is that Franklin is just being biblical and has chosen the Word of God to be the final authority and not his father or human tradition. We could all learn from his example of courage, consistency, and clarity.

    Concerning Graham, I am afraid that many SBCers are too handicapped by the sheer euphoria of Graham’s prestige and legacy to point out the heinous positions he holds. He is SBC’s rock star, and sadly enough, many of us would rather want his autograph or a photo from him rather than the truth.

  5. Mark Brown Says:

    I like watching Franklin on some of the news shows I watch. Somehow and someway he is going to talk about Jesus as the saviour and the only way to heaven.

    Guess the apple did fall far from the tree….thank the Lord!


  6. Nathan,
    I’m very thankful for your post on this topic.

    -also-

    I hate to rain on all y’all’s Franklin Graham Thanksgiving Parade, but I really must point out that Billy Graham’s son is not really doing many favors for those of us who would view value the Protestant Reformation as a return to a clear, wide-spread proclamation of the Gospel as taught in God’s Word. This is true on at least 2 counts:

    1. Franklin Graham, after the death of John Paul II, was one who helped confuse the fact that Rome is preaching a false Gospel, as demonstrated in the following Larry King interview: http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0504/04/lkl.01.html
    2. Franklin Graham has helped to confuse people concerning the fact that Christ alone is the author and finisher of our faith, as demonstrated in this statement I heard from him on the radio awhile back: “By Christ’s death on the Cross, God has done 99% of the work necessary for salvation. And
    all he has left up to you is that 1%- to trust in the work of Christ
    to save you.”

    To the glory of God alone,
    -Andrew

  7. Allan Says:

    I wonder what the you all would say after his death. “Billy Graham – A man of God who understood little and preached much worse.” Interesting how they are always men of God with no intellect yet they are the ones changing the world through the decree of God.


  8. Allan,
    If, by your comments, you’re indicating 1 Corinthians 1:27, then (of course) I say a hearty AMEN! But when we talk of someone “changing the world” [and I rejoice also that you added, “through the decree of God,” for we all agree that only He should get the glory], we must carefully examine HOW the worlds is being changed. Now, Franklin Graham certainly does declare Jesus as the only way to heaven and he has helped display Christian charity through his Samaritan’s Purse International Relief organization. I say hallelujah to both these facts. But the genuinely good aspects of Franklin Graham’s ministry do not obviate our need to practice discernment, especially when core Gospel issues are at stake. Take the ‘Gospel presentation’ at Franklin Graham’s Samaritan Purse website, for example, found here:
    http://www.samaritanspurse.org/StepsToPeace_Step1.asp
    This presentation begins with the phrase: “God loves you and wants you to experience peace and life–abundant and eternal.”
    I would challenge anyone reading this to try and find single Gospel presentation IN SCRIPTURE that begins with these words.
    The Samaritan’s Purse ‘Gospel presentation’ makes no mention of God’s wrath, His holiness, or any kind of day of judgment awaiting sinners.
    What has been described as “decisional regeneration” has been a key to Billy Graham’s theology, and it is no less prevalent in the teaching of Franklin Graham. Decisional Regeneration is the doctrine that God has done all He can to provide salvation for each and every person throughout history, and it is up to the free-will choice of Man to actually effectuate salvation in any given case. According to this view, a sinner is only born again based on his or her “decision for Christ.” (See more about decisional regeneration here: http://www.challies.com/archives/000643.php
    The Samaritan’s Purse ‘Gospel presentation’ promotes the idea of decisional regeneration with the following phrase: “God has provided the only way. Each person must make a choice.”
    If someone chooses to “receive Him by personal invitation,” then he or she is invited to pray the sinner’s prayer and are then given assurance of his or her salvation based upon saying this prayer.
    Again, I would simply challenge the readers of Strange BaptistFire to think: “If the sinner’s prayer is so crucial to a person’s salvation, and if saying this prayer ‘with all your heart’ can give full assurance of one’s eternal destiny, THEN WHY IS THERE NO SCRIPTED SINNER’S PRAYER IN THE BIBLE, as there is in almost every evangelistic tract?”

  9. Josh Says:

    How is any of this different from what Charles Finney did in his day? Or even, heaven help us, what E.Y. Mullins did to the 1925 Baptist Faith and Message and its progeny? I can’t say that I’ve ever heard anything the good Rev. Graham preach go against that document.
    Much Grace
    Josh

  10. Timmy Says:

    Andrew,

    You may be right, but I have to at least hand it to Franklin for faithfully using every opportunity and interview to point people to Jesus.

    Allan,

    People have already written about Graham. There are at least three biographies out on him already, my guess there won’t be much new after his death.

  11. Nathan White Says:

    Andrew,

    I agree with your comments. I have been saddened by F. Graham’s words in the past. I only meant to convey that he will openly disagree with his father on many of his opinions.

    Rome’s gospel of 99% man and 1% God is no different than Graham’s gospel of 1% man and 99% God. Same principle, different scale. Thankfully, I don’t think F. Graham actually believes/practices that in his heart.

    Excellent summary of ‘decisional regeneration’ and the sinner’s prayer; I have a sinner’s prayer post coming up very shortly…

    Allan,

    Consider Josh’s comments under yours. Finney, like Graham, could boast of countless ‘converts’ from his preaching. He was the Billy Graham of his day. But, he was also a heretic in the opinion of many (Graham likewise has made some heretical statements). He also admitted at this death that ‘it seemed to be my lot in life to produce many false converts’. And likewise, it has been estimated that 95% of those who have come forward at Billy Graham crusades fall completely away from Christianity within one year. So, what good does it do to ‘change the world’ with a gospel robbed of its power? Have you really done more good than harm when you point people to Roman Catholicism with the same enthusiasm as you point people to protestant churches?

    The point of the post was to reveal the pragmatism in the SBC. May we also be cautious of this type of thinking, and may we look to the MESSAGE being proclaimed rather than the RESULTS that come from it being preached. And unfortunately, the message being preached –no matter what the results, does NOT line up with scripture.

    SDG

  12. Mark Brown Says:

    mufmphhumpfes phooey…ok now that I have taken my foot out of my mouth, I must confess I do not know that much about Franklin. Just what I have seen on some talk shows.

    What I have seen here is disturbing. While I agree with Allan in that Billy is changing the world, I disagree on whether it is for the better. Just because someone changes the world, does not make what he/she is doing to be correct or good.

    Comparing Billy to Finney…I think Ian H. Murry drew that conclusion in 1967 in his booklet on The Invtation System.

  13. Scott Says:

    Mark is right, this certainly is nothing new. I was just talking to my Father-in-law the other day, and he has been saying for 30 years that Billy Graham is a moderate. As for Bobby Welch, the very fact that his “answer” for our denomination is to baptize 1 million people in a year, shows that he is cut from the same cloth. I attended an evangelism conference at the State Convention in North Carolina this year where John Piper was the keynote speaker. He spoke immediately after someone gave a “baptism report.” He told us that there was nothing wrong with baptizing that many if there were that many true conversions. It seems that numbers, however, is all that matters too many in our SBC. As long as they walk the aisle and get baptized is all we care about. We don’t even care if we see them again after that. Luther and Calvin worked so hard to recover the biblical gospel and most Baptists have tossed the potato right back to the Catholics, metaphorically. This is what happens when watered down preaching is heralded as expository. Our people in the pews rarely here the Bible explained anymore. They don’t have the tools to discern anything or question what SBC leaders or Untouchables like Billy Graham ever say. In fact, we are criticized for saying anything negative at all. After all, don’t you know who this is? It’s Billy Graham!


  14. The gravitational pull of Graham’s celebrity can ensnare even the most sober of theological thinkers. For instance, our own Albert Mohler Jr. was the chairman of Graham’s recent Louisville crusade. He has also endorsed the use of Graham’s monikered as the name for the School of Evangelism and Church Growth at Southern Seminary. Given the fact that Dr. Mohler is legendarily well-read, I simply cannot believe that Mohler did any of this in ignorance. My point is that if someone with the astounding gifts and relatively unimpeachable integrity of Al Mohler could compromise in regards to Graham, how can we expect far lesser men within the SBC leadership (like Bobby Welch) to escape?

    PS – Didn’t Mohler also endorse Ronnie Floyd in the most extravagant of language? And, ironically, didn’t he announce his support for Floyd immediately following his appearance at the “Together For The Gospel” symposium? I fear that I am detecting a disturbing pattern.

  15. Allan Says:

    What I ment by changing the world, and you are always free to correct me if I’m wrong 🙂 Is can you attest in all your abundant knowledge that Many true converts were not also in the harvest? These same ‘false’ canverts that you so quickly point out, are the same that Paul spoke of in his day, and even under his ministry. Jesus said this would be the case till he comes (which ever stance you hold Amin – pre – mid – post) That is why the Jesus states “let them grow up together lest in the weeding process you tear up those of the true crop. (obvious paraphrase)” Scripture states to give honor where honor is due (I said nothing about exalting) But you will not even give him the due honor, in that Our same God has used him to bring many to a saving knowledge of Christ our redeemer. BTW – Show me one sermon where he preached anything OTHER than you must be saved through the Jesus and Him alone. Even in the interview cited above, it states :
    Quote:
    Mr. Graham has faithfully proclaimed the Bible’s Gospel message that Jesus is the only way to Heaven,” says Graham spokesman A. Larry Ross. “However, salvation is the work of Almighty God, and only he knows what is in each human heart.”

    Name one calvinist who disagrees with this statement. You may disagree with his personal theology but he never (when he preached) went beyond the gospel messege. Regardless of how ‘you’ feel about alter calls or his personal theology, God has used his ministry to go to the ends of the ends of the earth seeking those whom God calls. God and God alone has blessed him to do ALL he has done. NOW – for the most interesting thing. I don’t really care that much for Mr. Graham theology. I just think it is wrong for you to stand in judgement of your own brother in Christ (and mine as well) when he has one judge and God to answer to. If he is in sin then, yes, lets US stand united and lovingly rebuke but if not it is God alone who will make His servent stand or fall. And as of yet God has upheld his man (for good or bad) and blessed his ministry. So if you will dog his wrong, then also proclaim his right twice as much, since he IS a brother in Christ. And yes, though I DO NOT hold to the Calvinstic beliefs I would stand up for you ANYTIME someone put you down as my brother in Christ.


  16. Please forgive the “typo” in my last post: I should have written “moniker” instead of “monikered.”

    PS – “The best of men are but men at best.”


  17. Be Realistic about Billy Graham…

    There is no denying that Billy Graham has had a profound impact, bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to thousands, if not millions. At Slice of Laodicea, Ingrid notes that criticism of Graham is a taboo within Christian circles, despite……

  18. Nathan White Says:

    Robert,

    There are many that share your concerns about Mohler (I am one of them). Mohler just seems to toe the party line way too often. But, Mohler is not a pragmatist by any stretch of the imagination, thankfully so. He, like Franklin Graham, will in fact voice his disagreements with the Sr. Graham when pressed, even if he ‘endorses’ him in ways that are certainly questionable.

    Mohler has certainly walked a fine line between extending extra grace towards those he disagrees with, and compromising all together. Where exactly he crosses that line I do not know…but I was scratching my head at the whole Floyd nomination. I guess God told everybody that Floyd was the man, huh? (As he told J Hunt and Floyd through ‘Acts 16’). 🙂
    SDG

  19. Nathan White Says:

    Allan,

    Again, changing the world has nothing to do with having ‘true or false converts’. For all we know, the Pope could have led more people to Christ than Billy Graham. Again, we can only look to the message being preached, that is where we are to judge with ‘righteous judgment’.

    Allan said: Show me one sermon where he preached anything OTHER than you must be saved through the Jesus and Him alone.

    Would not the Pope preach the same thing?

    Allan said: I just think it is wrong for you to stand in judgement of your own brother in Christ (and mine as well) when he has one judge and God to answer to. If he is in sin then, yes, lets US stand united and lovingly rebuke but if not it is God alone who will make His servent stand or fall.

    Sir, nobody is standing in judgment of anybody. I’m not even going into detail about Graham’s theology. I am simply pointing out how heretical his statements were, and the audacity of Bobby Welch and others who embrace him despite these serious doctrinal errors. We’re not talking eschatology here, or even Calvinism and Arminianism, we’re talking a whole lot more serious than that. If we were to use your logic of ‘don’t judge just give blind due honor’, we would violate our own standard in critiquing the Pope, or C Finney, or even Benny Hinn for that matter. For, there are countless people who say the same thing that you do about all of these men (‘oh, they just preached Jesus; they have many true converts; don’t judge them!!’).

    Allan, one last time, we are critiquing the message here. And the message is not one that lines up with scripture by any stretch of the imagination. In addition to that, we’re not even going into detail about the message, I simply used it to point out how pragmatic Bobby Welch and so many others are.

    SDG

  20. Timmy Says:

    Tonight, I was going through the difficult process of “tubbing” many books because my guest bedroom/slash office is too cluttered. As I was filing through the stacks, I came across two that I set aside to study concerning Graham. During that time I was interested in how evangelicals understood conversion and regeneration. Let me provide you the bib info in case you might be interested in checking them out. Also, Nathan’s referenced to Evangelicalism Divided is a must read as well.

    “A ‘Paradigm Case’: Billy Graham and the Nature of Conversion” in Evangelical Landscapes: Facing Critical Issues of the Day by John G. Stackhouse (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2002): 103-20.

    America’s Preacher and His Message: Bill Graham’s View of Conversion and Sanctification by Timo Pokki (Landham: University Press of America).

    Although it’s been a long time since I read it, Graham also has a book called How to Be Born Again (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1989).

    I provide these because it is important to understand and explain the pervading belief in decisional regeneration and man-centered soteriology. Indeed, Graham has had a tremendous impact on the evangelical landscape, especially regarding conversion. However, I am afraid that his impact has had more adverse effects in the long run – effects which we are already seeing and reacting to in the succeeding generations of evangelical life.

  21. Allan Says:

    Quote:
    “Indeed, Graham has had a tremendous impact on the evangelical landscape, especially regarding conversion. However, I am afraid that his impact has had more adverse effects in the long run – effects which we are already seeing and reacting to in the succeeding generations of evangelical life.”

    And to that Timmy I would agree 🙂

  22. Allan Says:

    Nathan,

    I love it when you call me sir 🙂

    The changing the world does have everything to do with Graham in relation (only to my comments above) bringing in the Lost. and BTW name one person who has come to a saving knowledge of Christ through the Pope and his open teachings? I didn’t say he was changing it for the better BTW but simply in realation to MY postings of seeking the lost.

    And no Nathan, the Pope preaches, that salvation is in Chrsit through the Catholic Church. Did you not read his sermon from his stay in Mexico? He even told those Catholics to do anything nessesary to keep Catholosism the most promonint religion in Mexico.

    What do you mean no body is standing in judgement of him? Have you read this thread? Nathan what do you call someone who preaches herisy? (answer. A heritic) What gospel is someone preaching that isn’t scriptural (answer. Another gospel again making them a heritic/false teacher)

    And please, don’t twist my words either concerning honor. That was sillyness. I was stating to give him the credit that is due. Yeah, I agree, he may not be Luther, John Calvin, Charles Spurgen, Gill, or any other, but as I stated there are more of the redeemed in Christ because of his service to his King. And on that I say God is to be praised for using him as He so decreed. Can I say the same about the Pope bring in the redeemed? Come on Nathan, of course not!

    Nathan, once more brother, stop trying to equate a man who loves God dearly and has a testomony of salvation (your brother in Christ) with that of false christs and false prophet/teachers. His salvic preaching may be (to you and others) watered down. But does not the real blame concerning all those professions of faith, lie at the feet of all those pastors and churches that were to do follow up and discipleship with them. Those many false conversions (ie. people who did stay with it) may be that the churches left off their responsibility to educatate and disciple those new believers. All I am saying is that he has done all that God has asked of him (preach salvation) and GOD has blessed him for it.

    Equating him with Benny? Benny H. is a false prophet and by his own admission leads people from the God of basic tradional theology to the God of the new revelation. He is even quoted along with Kenneth Copeland on TBN (same program) that just saying Jesus save me, over and over and God must do it if you COMMAND in faith. He even believes we are christs as well -made in the image of God – Word of Faith movement. How about equating him with his Saviour and Lord who is the author and finisher of his faith?

    I have no problem critiquing a message but it isn’t the message alone I’m reading being blasted in the comments.

  23. Allan Says:

    I ment to add … author and finisher of his faith also. Not just critique.

  24. Nathan White Says:

    Allan,
    Judging someone’s worthiness (as you said above, by ‘bringing in the lost’) by their apparent ‘conversions’ is a dangerous method that cannot be supported by scripture. By this logic, the prophet Jeremiah is not worthy of ‘honor’ –despite 40 years of preaching, because he has no converts recorded in scripture.

    If the Pope preaches a different gospel than Graham, then why have Catholic priests and nuns participated in Graham’s crusades for decades? Why do they counsel people who ‘come forward’ at his crusades? Why did Billy Graham call John Paul III the ‘greatest spiritual leader of the last half-century’? You argue that the Pope preaches a different gospel than Graham, but unfortunately, Graham apparently doesn’t believe the same thing.

    We don’t judge the Pope’s credibility as a preacher or as a supposed man of God by his results –either positive or negative, we judge his message up against the Word of God. Please afford me the same liberty with Graham.

    Also, I fail to find the ‘judgment’ and ‘blasting’ that you keep referring to. Where has anyone said that Graham is not a believer? We have simply alluded to Graham’s seriously flawed message, it has gone no further than that. But once again, brother in Christ or not, we have a duty as believers to closely inspect the message being preached –no matter what the person’s credentials. You seem ready to critique Benny Hinn and the Pope, whom thousands and even millions of people believe are men of God and anointed by God, but you fail to stay consistent with your critique of Graham. Has he reached a status that acquits him of critique? Have the so-called results from his ministry exonerated him from any examination of his actual teaching? Paul said that ‘if we or an angel from heaven come to you with another gospel, let him be accused’, which points us to ALWAYS look past the messenger and focus on the specific message itself.

    The purpose of the post was to point out the pragmatism, as many readers here have already pointed out that Graham’s seriously flawed theology has been a well-known fact for quite a while.

    I’m not arguing that we burn Graham at the stake, call him an unbeliever, or even label him a false teacher! I am simply pointing out the shameful adoration of a man who has preached a flawed message for decades, but because of pragmatism, has been lifted up as some kind of spiritual super-hero. If this doesn’t give evidence to what kind of state the SBC is in right now, then we are so blind that we ‘don’t even know what we stumble over’.

  25. Scott Says:

    “But once again, brother in Christ or not, we have a duty as believers to closely inspect the message being preached –no matter what the person’s credentials. ”

    I would add especially when the leader in question allows his views for public display on the cover of Newsweek. That comes with the territory of being so public I’m afraid.

  26. Allan Says:

    To that Scott I agree!

    And Nathan, The whole Catholic issue is one of the problems that I have with his crusades. He is not how ever guilty by association. There are (I know of ‘1’ catholic church in Ar. that does believe salvation apart from the catholic church (traditional baptist salvation is what I am refering to) I don’t know if they are who Mr. Graham uses or not. I have not checked but I highly doubt All are. I also strongly doubt that he believes they understand true salvation but it trying to reach all no matter where they are. I agree this concept in VERY dangerous, but does not mean he agrees with their version of salvation. Anyway, all I’m saying is since he is a brother in Christ for all his flaws don’t forget those things he HAS done for Christ, and list them as well (however few they may be 🙂 )

  27. Allan Says:

    BTW – Nathan, on your statement of being consistant with my critque. It was you brother that brought up issue of equating Graham with the Pope and Benny H. I simply (due to your remarks) was showing the contrasting theologies of Himm and the Pope are not even remotely akin to his. It would be like me trying to equate you with John Wesley. There is NO comparision in theologies especially concerning salvation. The critque was of your analogy.

    Quote:
    I’m not arguing that we burn Graham at the stake, call him an unbeliever, or even label him a false teacher! … but because of pragmatism, has been lifted up as some kind of spiritual super-hero.

    To that point qutoed my brother, I will agree 🙂 Oh and I agree there are some definate flaws with the SBC. We just disagree on some of those and agree on others.

  28. Sean McDonald Says:

    Personally, as a Covenanter, I don’t care for the fact that Billy Graham left the Associate Reformed Presbyterians (back when they were Psalm-singers, no less) for the Southern Baptists. It certainly is a slippery slope… 😉

  29. J. Gray Says:

    Allan,

    I am confused.

    Are Graham’s statements regarding the exclusivity of the gospel wrong or not?

    If they are, are we to ignore them or call it for what it is?

    If he is in error, is he above critique or need for repentance?
    Do past “good acts” forgive current sins?

    If he is teaching a false gospel, which seems to be what he is doing in some degree (non-exclusive gospel, at least)….what does that make him?

    Why are SBC leaders (or anyone else) not talking about him or his comments?
    Why are some people so defensive when it comes to pointing out heretical comments?
    If Brian McLaren or someone like him made similar comments, the big-wigs in the SBC would come out guns blazing (and rightfully so)…but why not now?

    This is a real downside of the SBC. It seems many of our leaders have no problem fighting the “evils” of Calvinism and alcohol. They’re gung-ho and pro-active in being a loud proud SBCer then. But when a matter of real gospel subversion pops up…they run and hide from the sacred cow. What a sad sign that so many of our leaders are to scared to say something about this (and this isn’t the first time, either).

    And they wonder why so many young pastors are disillusioned by the SBC and some of the stances the leaders take.

  30. Scott Says:

    “Why are SBC leaders (or anyone else) not talking about him or his comments?”

    I guess they are consistent, our leaders have their programs on TBN and allow themselves to be interviewed by the same program to tell Paul Crouch happy birthday and what a great servant of God he is. My father in law has a great post on this at my blog if you want some more on this. Check out the “Open Letter to the SBC Concerning Their Presence on TBN” on our archives. Actually, I saw a recorded interview recently between Billy Graham and Paul Crouch. That was a fun one! Basically they just kissed up to each other (and I’m being clean in case the kiddies are reading).

  31. Mark Brown Says:

    Scott,

    SBC leadership on TBN!? I do not watch tv, but know about TBN. Too many people at my church wax poetically about Paul and et al.

    Where can I find any information on this? This is VERY disturbing and down right disgusting. I hope this is not true and someone gave you false
    information.

    Billy should be rebuked for any interaction as described with TBN. The word faith movement is not the gospel but a false gospel. What is next, elbow rubbing with the moonies?

    I now have a headache. Time for some coffee.

    Mark

  32. Scott Says:

    Mark,

    A couple of months back there was a “birthday celebration” for Paul Crouch. It was about a four hour program. A couple of well known SBCers showed up to wish Crouch a happy birthday and to thank him for what a great work he is doing for God. Ed Young, Sr. and Charles Stanley just to name a rew (D. James Kennedy also showed up). Add this to men like James Merrit’s program regularly appearing next to Benny Hinn’s…why are we saying it’s not the same comparing these guys to Hinn? The world sees there shows side by side and thinks they are no different. There are several other big name SBCers who broadcast on TBN, but I’ll stop there. I went on the TBN website to see about getting a video transcript of this B-day party. I actually would have paid them for it! What a surprise, they DO NOT make any of their transcripts available.

  33. Mark Brown Says:

    D. James Kennedy?! Please tell me he had a whip and was quoting Christ in the temple with the money changers.

    This could almost drive me to drink……..something harder than coffee!

    Paying for a transcript does not surprise me.

    I heard Rick Warren was on ORielly tonight. Same ole same ole?

    My pastor just returned from a 3 month vacation. Yes I attend a megachurch. He visited some other megachurches to see how they do “it”. Did alot of fun things. He even admitted that he read a Systematic Theology book and it was the first one since he graduated seminary. Oh about 25 years ago.

    I must not email and blog for 2 days after attending church. By then my bloodpressure should be lowered. Thankfully I am doing pulpit supply for the next few weeks. I am always recharged after preaching.


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