It is far better to be uncomfortable with truth than lulled to sleep with pleasant lies. What follows is truth, not lies, which principled people must deal with even though they have had enormous lifetime respect for Billy Graham. My criterion is nothing but truth, the facts, no embellishments, just the truth. Shallow Christians cannot handle the truth. But let’s try. And even if I were to have bad motives, that would be irrelevant. What does God demand of His servants?
Billy Graham has been chosen as one of the “Ten Most Popular Men in America” for more than 40 years straight; but how can that be for a true man of God? James 4:4 reminds us: “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” Graham has been called the “superman of the cloth,” “the nearest thing to Jesus on earth,” “almost a divine life,” and he had a “natural glow about him,” “the Protestant Pope,” “the Pastor in Chief,” and on and on. Strange for a humble servant of God.
Not one major politician, soldier, businessman, entertainer, or media personality has ever said a critical word about Billy Graham, something I never noticed until writing these articles. God warns in Luke 6:26, “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you!” I wonder if Graham ever pondered that verse as he slept in the Lincoln Bedroom.
To those who want to lift my blonde scalp from my head, I remind them of the hardships endured by the Old Testament prophets, by John the Baptist who was beheaded for speaking against the King’s adultery, and by Paul who was stoned, whipped, and finally beheaded for his faithfulness. Of course, Christ was crucified by Rome and Jerusalem for telling the truth.
What happened to Graham who started so well with so much talent, magnetic personality, and commitment? His Los Angeles Tent Revival where he came to national prominence in 1949 was totally supported by Fundamentalists! What is not commonly known is that a delegation from the very liberal Los Angeles Church Federation approached Billy about a future crusade and he politely refused as reported by the famous Methodist Fundamentalist, Dr. Bob Shuler.
At the beginning of his ministry, Graham went on record as refusing to work with those pastors who were not doctrinally sound. He gave exuberant praise to Dr. Bob Jones Jr. and the university when he interviewed Dr. Jones on “The Hour of Decision” broadcast in Dec. of 1951. On June 3, 1952, Graham told Jones, “The modernists do not support us anywhere.”
Graham supporters have always criticized Graham’s Fundamentalist critics as being “unkind,” “unfair,” “unloving,” if not unsaved. And always “jealous.” However, Fundamentalists supported Graham longer than they should have. I was critical of his ecumenical evangelism as early as 1953 and began a massive Graham file when almost all my college friends thought I was a little nutty. Dr. John Rice of the Sword of the Lord supported him until 1957. John Rice, Bob Jones, W. B. Riley and others showed far more patience and grace than I did.
Graham said, “The one badge of Christian discipleship is not orthodoxy, but love.” He told Eternity magazine in 1958, “What is the great overwhelming evidence that we have passed from death unto life? Orthodoxy? Morality? Evangelistic passion? No! It is love!” Does anyone really believe that a Buddhist priest’s decency, morality, compassion, etc., is proof of his being a Christian? Biblical love and truth never conflict; therefore, love while essential never trumps truth.
Within months of his assurance to Fundamentalist leaders of his uncompromising stand, he was planning his 1954 New York Crusade where about 120 Modernists supported the meeting. Radical “Protestants” (who only protested real Bible-believing Christians) supported Graham as did Roman Catholics in the following years. In recent years, Billy insisted on having their support even to having priests on his platform, nuns singing in the choir, and hundreds of Catholic personal workers! In his 1963 Sao Paulo, Brazil meeting, a Roman Catholic bishop “blessed” those who responded to the invitation. Would any of my critics support their local pastor in such compromise? If not, why not? What’s the difference?
What does Roman Catholic support do to a lifetime missionary serving in a city where Graham works with the missionary’s opponents? Irreparable damage is done to a life’s work. The missionary sees Graham working with and endorsing the very Roman Catholic officials who have opposed him (the missionary) all his adult life. Early in his ministry, Graham had said that the Roman Catholic gospel is a “stench in the nostrils of God.” But evidently, he became accustomed to the “stench.”
In 1952, he wrote to Bob Jones, Sr., “We have never had a man on our committee that denied the virgin birth, the vicarious atonement, or the bodily resurrection.” In 1958, he stated in Eternity magazine: “If a man blatantly denies the deity of Christ or that Christ has come in the flesh, we are not to even bid him godspeed (sic). Thus, the Scriptures teach that we are to be separated from those who deny the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ… I am to treat him as an antichrist and an enemy of the cross” He had his orthodoxy straight but his orthopraxy was skewed. What happened to Graham? His walk contradicted his talk.
Then Graham saw that the big crowds were in the many very liberal churches not the relatively few Fundamentalist churches so he started changing his direction. He started kicking his friends and kissing his enemies! He adjusted his preaching, policies, and practices.
He showed compromise with every crusade when he praised, promoted, and presented unbelieving pastors as good and honorable men. He told Eternity in his 1958 interview, “There come times when we are to separate on theological grounds! [I recognize] that there are some modernists we are to separate ourselves from….”
He said it but did not practice it as my next column proves.
Boys’ new ebook The Rise and Decline of Billy Graham: He Tried to do Right the Wrong Way! is available here.
Fact, Fraud or Faith?
by Don Boys, Ph.D.
Only an uninformed fanatic says that evolution or creation can be proved scientifically. Christians believe in creationism because we believe in the veracity of the Bible but we also have scientific evidence to support our position. In every debate I’ve had with evolutionary scientists, the arrogant, asinine accusation is made, “Well, evolution is scientific while creationism is religion.” Evolution is about as scientific as a voodoo rooster plucking ceremony in Haiti. Almost.