BE SURE TO READ the report on the recent Regional Conference of the Reformed Ecumenical Synod which the Rev. VanBaren begins in this issue.
Sometimes our readers wonder whether the witness of the Standard Bearer on a matter like the Billy Graham movement receives attention and is worthwhile beyond our Protestant Reformed circles and. our usual readership. This witness, of course, is necessary for our own instruction and enlightenment. But it is interesting and encouraging to note that it gains attention elsewhere. Recently, for example, there came to my address (though they should have been sent to our Business Manager) several requests from places like Oklahoma, Texas, and California for the July issue, which contained Rev. Harbach’s “Billy Graham’s Ministry of Error.”
Speaking of Billy Graham, a little paperback published in England just prior to the recent crusade, though rather mild in its criticism, is nevertheless worth reading, both because of its criticism and because of its thorough documentation. The title of this book by E. Hulse is “Billy Graham: A Pastor’s Dilemma.”
From the Baptist Examiner, July 30, 1966, which quotes Graham’s syndicated column, we quote this bit of “Graham-ese” in answer to the question, “What is predestination? Some say a person is predestined to heaven or hell at birth. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior. In your opinion was I predestined to accept Christ as my Savior?” Here is Graham’s answer, which ought to be convincing evidence against Reformed support of him and in favor or Reformed opposition to him:
The Bible says: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance,”
Unfortunately God has no power over the will of man. That is to say: He cannot save a person against his will, but at the same time, HE IS NOT WILLING THAT ANY SHOULD PERISH. He has made it possible for all men to be saved. But the Bible indicates that salvation depends on man’s willingness to be saved. It would be a kind of tyranny if God saved people against their will.
But His heart embraces all men, and in the word “whosoever will may come,” is the universal invitation, with no one excluded. Were you predestined to be saved? Since it is His will and desire that everyone be saved—in that sense you were of the elect. But this does not imply that if a person is lost, that God ordained it so. It is because that person was not willing to place himself within the scope of God’s redemption, by yielding his will. The Bible indicates that God will do everything short of coercion to redeem people. But even He cannot save them against their will.
I do not ask merely: is this Reformed? But I ask: is this the Gospel of Scripture?
A recent article of the Rev. J.A. Heys received special attention, by way of reprint, in Old Faith Contender. The article was “Worshipping the Unknown God.”