Graham learned quickly that knowing powerful, influential, and wealthy people could be more profitable to his ministry than running with Fundamentalists.
After fouling his nest with President Truman, he learned how to deal with politicians. He used them and they used him. No question about that. He had access to the halls of power but did not use that access to challenge, correct, or condemn powerful officials. He refused to condemn his friend Bill Clinton even saying he was a true man of God and would be a “good Christian evangelist” and that Hillary should “run the country.” What country? And run it where?
Graham is considered the “pastor to the Presidents” but he was a pastor whose voice was quiet when it came to denouncing sin as Old Testament prophets did. Billy was a considered a “prophet without portfolio.” However, he did not qualify as Nathan to David, Jonah to Nineveh, or Jeremiah to Judah. Graham was more like the dumb dogs in Isaiah 56:10 that refused to bark. When I was young, I had a watchdog but he wouldn’t bark, but why have a watchdog that refuses to warn? Graham’s voice was silent; after all, he must not hinder his access to the halls of power. Careful what you say. It was tragic. It is also tragic that informed Christians still defend such compromise.
He was always careful to say the right thing at the right moment to keep his standing with sitting Presidents–always uncritical, unchallenging, and unquestioning. He called President Lyndon Johnson, “the best qualified man we’ve ever had in the White House” and “a very religious person.” Johnson was a moral leper like Kennedy and Clinton.
When Johnson was in deep doo doo because of the Vietnam War and his back was against the wall, Graham called him “the greatest religious leader in the world!” Incredible, since everyone knew Johnson was a filthy mouthed, loud-mouth fornicator.
Johnson knew if he got Graham into his orbit, he also pulled in his constituency. Esquire said it well of Johnson: “Westmoreland was his general, his soldier. Fortas was his Jew. Thurgood Marshall was his Negro. And Billy was his preacher.” Tragic!
Johnson was fearful that Graham would support Republican Goldwater in 1964, (Billy having received 60,000 telegrams in one day urging him to support Goldwater!) so Johnson told Graham, “Now, Billy, you stay out of politics.” Graham admitted, “He even kept me right in the White House on the weekend before the election.” Of course, Billy was not a prisoner. He chose his gilded cage. The Lincoln Bedroom is a very prestigious suite but I wonder if he slept well.
After Johnson abdicated his White House throne in 1968, Graham was called to the bedside of former President Eisenhower whom Graham had suggested a run for the Presidency in 1952. It is declared by Billy’s official biographer that Graham personally baptized Ike shortly after his Inauguration, but that is not true. The pastor of National Presbyterian Church catechized (taught the rudiments of his church) to Ike at the White House and baptized him (not immersion) shortly after his inauguration. It doesn’t matter since no form of baptism has any effect on a person’s salvation.
With tears in his eyes, Ike asked Billy “How can I know I’m going to heaven? How can I be sure, Billy, absolutely sure, that my sins are forgiven?” Graham said he took his cold hand and told him “his whole past was forgiven. I prayed for him.” Ike replied, “Thank you, Billy. I’m ready.” If that’s it, then that was “religious malfeasance” and no Bible preacher would have been so vague but would have spoken of repentance, Christ’s death and resurrection, the New Birth, and sin. Maybe Graham had dealt with that in 1953 before Ike’s election. Ike was the only sitting President who was “baptized” while in office.
Graham’s association with President Nixon is well known and as more details have emerged recently, Graham’s name was besmirched. Billy had said of Nixon, “He is a splendid churchman;” however, Nixon was not even religious or a regular church goer. Graham’s statement came back to bite him when newly released tapes revealed that Nixon used extremely vile language that peeled the paint off the walls of the Oval Office.
Many have said to me, “Well, Billy may have courted the powerful but he still preaches the Bible.” However, that is not true, except at selected times. Moreover, he stopped preaching about abortion, telling columnist Cal Thomas as reported in Flashpoint in August of 1995, “I think the top social issue of our time may be ecology. I think that’s more dangerous…and I’m going to start speaking out on that.” Oh yes, we must be more concerned about bogus global warming than protecting innocent babies!
Graham even told Larry King that sodomites are born sodomites, since, as he said, it is in their genes. Graham was quoting dishonest homosexual activists not unbiased experts or the Bible.
He stopped emphasizing the blood atonement many years ago; after all, that is not very urbane, sophisticated, and chic. A 1968 letter from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association declared, “Mr. Graham believes that we are saved through the blood of Christ, however, this aspect of Christian doctrine he does not emphasize in his messages. This is the duty and prerogative of the pastors.” Well, that would surprise every evangelist for the last 2,000 years.
When he went to Russia, China, North Korea, and Hungry, he had good things to say about those slave nations; all totally untrue statements. Those trips were an amazing display of political correctness toward infamous dictators. Did Graham ever read II Chron. 19:2, “And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the Lord?”
Graham has been giving aid and comfort to the enemy (whether Communists or radical unbelieving preachers) while trying not to disturb the very lucrative cash flow. Only eternity will reveal what he could have accomplished had he stayed true to his original calling, commitment, and convictions.
God will be the final judge in his life and mine. I want to learn from his life. That might be one of the redeeming features of his life if a large host learns from his successes and his failures.
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.