Recently many of us read an editorial in a “Reformed” publication concerning the preaching of Billy Graham. The article surprised, even shocked many of us, since it slighted a man thoroughly Reformed and came to the defense of one whose true colors are anything but of a Reformed hue. The item referred to did what is so commonly done with this modern prophet in religious circles today, namely, it sugarcoated him as a Fundamentalist next to whom any good Reformed man could be proud to stand. But it is at least extremely inaccurate, if not, false, to portray Billy Graham as a Fundamentalist. He no longer needs nor wants such a camouflage. He does not consider himself in the Fundamentalist camp, but in the Liberal camp. In St. Louis he said, “I am not a fundamentalist, I consider myself to be a Conservative- Liberal.” In Europe he had said, “I am not a fundamentalist. I am not a modernist. I am a constructionist.” Now that is interesting! It makes us think of Nimrod. He, too, was a constructionist. So was Noah. But Nimrod and Noah cannot be put in the same boat. Their construction was by no means on the same project. For Noah was an ark-builder. Nimrod was a Babel-builder. Graham disavows any connection with the Noah construction company. He is of the Nimrod Foundation.
The more we read of Graham the more apparent it becomes that he is not a Fundamentalist, but a liberal ecumenist. In the La Prensa, Lima, Peru newspaper, Feb. 8, 1963, he “eulogized the attitude of Pope John XXIII in his efforts to obtain greater tolerance and the final union between all the Christians” (ital. added). “According to him (Graham), there is now greater understanding and comprehension between the religions.” This reveals a desire not only to unite “all the Christians” but all “the religions” in one universal ecclesiastical body. What is really true of this “greater understanding” is not that Romanists are becoming more understanding of Protestants in general, nor more tolerant toward their theological position, and to Protestant missionary ministries, but that nominal and renegade “Protestants” are more tolerant and soft toward the femininities and flatteries of hierarchy and priest craft. The Kalamazoo Gazette, Nov. 14, 1963, reported that “Graham will preach at a Roman Catholic college next week, thanks to a Jew. . . The sermon will be Graham’s first before a Roman Catholic body. . . ‘I think,’ said Graham, ‘that it is evidence of the ecumenical spirit in the world today.'” What does Graham mean by this statement? Evidently he means that the present great dialogue between Jews, Romanists and Modernists is succeeding, that the three groups are learning that we have so much in common that labor toward organic union into one world church must be our aim.
Very hard does Graham push the cause of modern ecumenicism. His crusade after the Nashville meetings donated about $65,000 toward a stadium at Vanderbilt University, “an extremely liberal Methodist institution on whose faculty the blasphemous Nels Ferre was then serving.” As a result of the New York crusade the Graham organization presented a gratuity of $67,000 to the N.Y. Protestant Council of Churches. The New York Times, Oct. 25, 1963, reported, “Dr. Graham . . . recalled that during a recent Graham crusade in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the Roman Catholic bishop stood beside him and blessed the converts (sic) as they came forward. Protestant leaders protested that such a display should not be permitted. Dr. Graham said he told them: ‘He’s the bishop here. You go ahead and stop it.'” This is interesting, too. It reminds us of the answer the Jewish hierarchy gave the belated remonstrance of Judas, “What is that to us? See to it yourself!”
Did you ever know a Fundamentalist to associate with the modernist-liberalist National Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches? Yet this does Billy Graham! The San Francisco Examiner of Dec. 5, 1960, reported that “Evangelist Billy Graham preaching to an overflow audience in Grace Cathedral (the Episcopal citadel of Bp. Jas. A. Pike, who denies the virgin birth and the trinity), warned yesterday that America’s race problem will get worse . . . Graham spoke in a program sponsored by the Christian Men’s Assembly, held in conjunction with the opening of the meeting of the National Council of Churches.” Two years before this, in, Grace Episcopal Cathedral, Graham was an honored guest at Bp. Pike’s “consecration” on May 15, 1958. When Graham was at the Cow Palace, May 24, 1958, he had Pike on the platform to read the evening prayer after warm words of praise. On Dec. 4, 1960, Pike had Graham in the Grace Cathedral pulpit for the National Council address. Graham therefore gives public recognition to and has fellowship with a heretic who denies not only the virgin birth and the trinity, but the ascension, the sitting at God’s right hand, and all the fundamentals of the Christian faith. Graham insists he is a minister in the Southern Baptist Convention, which is not a part of the World Council, yet he constantly pulls for the National and World Councils.
When will men stop disguising Graham as a Fundamentalist? The December 1965 issue of the Old Faith Contender informs us that Graham spoke at a Motion Picture Relief Fund banquet in Hollywood with 900 in attendance. Here he highly praised a recent book by Romanist Bishop Fulton Sheen. The program concluded with a “benediction” by Rabbi Edgar Magnin, in which he thanked God for Graham, who has now come to realize that the battle today is not one of faith against faith, but of faith against no faith. There is no record that Graham testified to this rabbi that Jesus Christ is the true Messiah, the divine, co-equal Son of God. It seems that the religion of Judaism which rejects the Son of God is acceptable to Graham. For the same article quotes Graham at the Graham Pavilion in the World’s Fair as saying, “The Pavilion will also be a call to renew our faith in God, whether we be of the Jewish, Roman Catholic or Protestant faith, or some other religious affiliation.” Since when do unregenerate Jews, Romanists and Protestants have any faith to renew? How can a Unitarian religion (Judaism) be thought to express “faith in God?” Which God? But this is Graham’s conception of faith, that all men naturally and natively have it, whether they are of the true church or the false church. Man need only put his faith in the right object. What is that right object? Graham speaks of faith in “God,” he does not speak of faith in Jesus Christ. That would offend the Jews While he was at it, why didn’t he include those of the Mohammedan faith, the Hindu, and the Buddhist faith? They, too, were well represented at the World’s Fair and are becoming widely accepted in our country.
In the same issue of the periodical mentioned above we read: “Can you imagine Billy Graham, Oral Roberts (the charlatan healer) and H.M.S. Richards, Seventh Day Adventist, being featured speakers on the same program and on the same platform? Well, it happened!—according to the Full Gospel Business Men’s Voice, at their 10th Annual Convention held in Seattle. This Pentecostal paper states, ‘The Holy Spirit is breaking down the denominational barriers, as Oral Roberts is used of God to bring healing to the nation. The F.G.B. M.F.I. is bringing the Holy Spirit to the nation; while the Seventh Day Adventist brings us prophecy.'” What is it that Billy Graham is bringing to the nation? He tells us himself in his publication of a “World Congress on Evangelism” prayer-news bulletin dated January 1966. This congress is to be held in Berlin in Oct.-Nov. 1966. It is to be the “largest evangelical trans-denominational” gathering, and the “most representative” o f evangelicals. The theme will be, “One Race—One Gospel—One Task.” Comments on what Graham might mean by “one Gospel” we hold in reserve. At the moment we are concerned with that “one race” idea. From what you have just read of Graham, you certainly would not suppose that he refers to Peter’s “elect race” (I Peter 2:9, ASV). That, however, is indubitably and exclusively the “one race” holding the only “one Gospel.” It is to be feared, and the fear is well-founded, that Graham envisions an ultimate race produced by a blend of all racial stock. The ecumenical, post-millennial dreamers of the day see such a race as the only hope of attaining “world peace.”
This champion of ecumenicalism is also lauded as a Bible-believing evangelist. Such white-washing is done with the utmost confidence in Graham as holding the five great fundamentals of the faith, namely the infallible, verbal inspiration of the Bible, the Deity of Christ, the vicarious atonement, the bodily resurrection and His second coming. But if we test Billy on these fundamentals, we find that he does not think very much of them as a standard for determining the sphere of Christian fellowship. The Washington Post of April 28, 1962, states, “The ground of Christian fellowship, he (Graham) says is not the inspiration of Scriptures, but the deity of Christ.'” Graham does not believe that holy Scripture makes any claim for its own verbal inspiration. Such a contention is, as he sees it, pure speculation. For Graham says, in the same article as above, that “verbal inspiration of Scripture is only a theory and not a matter of great importance for the Christian faith.” This belittling of Scripture and its verbal inspiration makes the supernatural revelation of the Word of God hardly more than a human expression. The danger of Graham’s view of Scripture is that it leads to bringing down of Holy Writ to the level of the words of saints.
Graham for years has operated not on the basis of the five points of Fundamentalism, but on the basis of merely one point, the deity of Christ. Relative to his N.Y. City campaign he said, “I am urging you, however, to accept into our fellowship any man who accepts the deity of Christ and will rally to my preaching.” It is not at all certain whether Graham believes Christ’s deity to be such that He is consubstantial with the Father. Still, Bishop Pike, who denies the virgin birth, is acceptable to Graham’s fellowship.
Another point needs clarification. The “old unresolved problem of human responsibility and divine sovereignty” that we find involved in Reformed theology is not at all involved in Graham’s “theology.” He never allows such a problem to touch him. He invariably drops the sovereignty of God! He does indeed speak of man being dead in sins, yet that dead sinner is not so dead that he cannot believe. Devoid he is of spiritual life, but he can still accept Christ. (cf.World Aflame, Billy Graham, Doubleday, 1965, p. 109). The problem here with Graham is the age-old problem of Arminianism versus Calvinism. He stands with the former against the latter.
(to be continued, D.V.)