Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets. –Luke 6:26
The famous Evangelist, Billy Graham, died today at the age of 99. His dynasty as the world’s foremost preacher lasted the vast majority of the 20th century and into the first decade of the 21st century. His crusades, filling stadiums and drawing crowds in the hundreds of thousands, even over a million once in Seoul, Korea, are a legacy that will be remembered forever. But what did Billy Graham’s crusades really accomplish for the Kingdom?
Billy Graham was undoubtedly an ecumenicalist, as he praised the pope as his “brother” and treated Roman Catholicism as a valid expression of the Christian faith. Speaking of Pope John Paul II after his death, Graham stated,
I think he’s with the Lord, because he believed. He believed in the Cross. That was his focus throughout his ministry, the Cross, no matter if you were talking to him from personal issue or an ethical problem, he felt that there was the answer to all of our problems, the cross and the resurrection. And he was a strong believer.
Of course, the pope of the Great Whore is no more a strong believer than Satan or the demons, of whom even believe and shudder (James 2:19). Graham’s affirmation of Roman Catholics did nothing except extend a false hope to millions who are caught up in the idolatrous religiosity of the Roman whore. Graham was even known to partner with Catholic churches during his crusades and send “converts” of his altar calls to Roman Catholic churches. In 1957, according to San Francisco News, Billy Graham stated, “Anyone who makes a decision at our meetings is seen later and referred to a local clergyman, Protestant, Catholic, or Jewish,” and according to the Florida Catholic, Sept. 1983, 600 people were turned over to the Catholic religion as a result of the Orlando crusade. Graham received an honorary doctorate from Belmont Abbey, an Jesuit Catholic school, in 1967.
Graham’s insistence on “decisional” regeneration and conversion has led to a massive influx of Charles Finney-like emotional evangelistic tactics that now invade the professing church. The idea is that anyone who might be “seeking” peace with God can simply “decide” to follow Jesus, pray a prayer asking Jesus into their hearts, and no longer be under the curse of Hell. This false gospel is now pervasive in many evangelical churches today and masquerades as a “traditional” form of Arminianism, yet this gospel of synergistic decisionalism doesn’t, in most cases, address the need for pure grace among the lost that comes only through the saving knowledge of the truth of Jesus Christ found alone in Scripture apart from any works of righteousness.
To make matters worse, Billy Graham not only affirmed Roman Catholics as valid Christian brothers and sisters, but, during an interview with the Universalist, Robert Schuller, Graham denies the exclusivity of Christ and even states that those who have never heard the name of Jesus Christ can be saved as long as they are turning to “only light that they have.” In other words, you can worship a false god and still be saved, according to Graham.
While we mourn the loss of a fellow human made in the image of God, we should not be quick to elevate Billy Graham to hero status among the Christian faith. While only God ultimately knows his fate and the state of his heart, we can be certain that much of what he preached and taught and affirmed was antithetical to the truth of Jesus Christ and His gospel, and, for this reason, we should mourn for all of the souls he has led astray.