The Billy Graham School of Ecumenism?
As usual, I am usually last to find out about important matters going on in the world. However, when I find the issue important enough, I will address it nonetheless. And the current issue with Billy Graham and his recent interview in the August 14, 2006 edition of Newsweek is a big issue. Many others have written about this already, and I the links are provided below. However, my point in addressing this issue is for three reasons.
- I am a current student in the Billy Graham School of Evangelism, Missions and Church Growth. When I am a member of a school whose honorary name is given to a man who says, when asked whether he believes heaven will be closed to good Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus or secular people,
"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,"
there is a real problem. I am beginning to wonder if our school at Southern should look for a name change. How about The
- Just a few months ago, the Southern Baptist Convention erected a statue in honor of Billy Graham. Granted, Graham has done some amazing things, but wouldn’t it be fair to say that the conservative resurgence has been unapologetically and uncompromisingly faithful to the view of biblical inerrancy? No so for the “monumental” Billy Graham. He says,
"I'm not a literalist in the sense that every single jot and tittle is from the Lord . . .”
Shortly after this surprising statement by Graham, the interviewer adds,
“He is not saying Jesus is just another lifestyle choice, nor is he backtracking on essentials such as the Incarnation or the Atonement. But he is arguing that the Bible is open to interpretation, and fair-minded Christians may disagree or come to different conclusions about specific points.”
After this, one might wonder what to make of the statue of ole’ Billy in
Houston Nashville, we have a problem.”
- Finally, Billy Graham has made a tremendous impact on the contemporary styles of evangelism, and by that I am referring to the altar calls and decisional regeneration. This has done more to confuse sinners, change the gospel, and cause greater harm in the church than any recent thing in recent history. I know that is a big assertion, but I stand by it. We are in danger of losing the gospel today, and our churches are in serious need of reform. Reform from what you might ask? Reform from easy-believism and man-centered theology that assumes that salvation can manipulated or coerced by tactics, schemes, or moods.
My heart was grieved when I heard news of this interview of Billy Graham. People have said that when people get older, they get wiser and soften their once passionate views which they held with such conviction and boldness. Recently I heard this also argued concerning J.I. Packer who in his earlier years wrote such potent stuff as Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God as well as the remarkable introduction to John Owen’s The Death of Death in the Death of Christ. Whether this is true, I know that in the Christian life, it is not how you start but how you finish. As Billy Graham nears that finish line, let’s pray that the Lord will clear up the doubts he has about God’s inerrant Word and the exclusivity of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Other articles about Billy Graham in Newsweek:
Ingrid Schlueter (Slice of Laodicea): Billy Graham's New Thinking on Salvation
Nathan White: Billy Graham: False teacher, or just a little wayward in old age?
Josh Buice: When a Hero Falls