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Expose the Unfruitful Deeds of Darkness, Part 1

For the inaugural blog post of H2N, I will be addressing perhaps the most significant theological danger to the Body of Christ, not only in the United States, but in the entire world. And the reason I feel particularly compelled to highlight an already well-known apostasy is this: Despite the plethora of articles and videos detailing the apostasy of Billy Graham over the past 20 years by conservative biblical theologians, there still remains a willingness to tolerate this nostalgic deception about Billy Graham as “America’s Greatest Evangelist.”

Consequently, even those who know how this previously esteemed figure has almost single-handedly steered American Evangelicalism off a steep cliff beginning in the mid-1950’s, few are willing to take whatever means necessary to condemn his apostasy, even posthumously, and to hold accountable those family members who carry on his ministry, and their own ministries as well, without changing course.

Of course, no one doubts how daunting it is to call into question the salvation of someone perceived as ‘the quintessential Christian evangelist.” However, I suspect that there are other maladies afflicting the American church that explain the reluctance of many to protect the Church from this threat. In this article, I will establish the central facts of, and implications of, Graham’s heretical theology in order to inform those who are unaware. Then, in Part 2, I will then attempt to identify some of these underlying maladies and their cures.

Let me introduce myself. My name is Paul Grose. I met and married my wife, Juli Andrews, while at Wheaton College in Illinois, which is also where Billy Graham graduated in 1943.

Juli and I both entered the Wheaton Conservatory of Music in 1983 as piano performance majors, but during my freshman year, I felt the Lord calling me to serve Him in missions. So I added a second major in Ethnic Music Theory, intending to assist nationals in creating their own indigenous music for the Church instead of borrowing Western musical forms.

As my father-in-law’s book, Polishing God’s Monuments: Pillars of Hope for Punishing Times, explains, both Juli & I became disabled with (ME) myalgic encephalomyelitis (a post-viral syndrome similar to what is now referred to as long-Covid) after contracting mono in 1987. You can find out more about our story on our About page.

From that brief description, then, you can see that this subject matter is quite familiar to me. Indeed, both Juli and I had the rare occasion of seeing Billy Graham a few times in person as he traversed through the Music section of the Buswell Memorial Library on his way up the stairs to the meeting rooms near the Wade Collection. As he passed through, he would often say to students studying at their tables something such as, “Now, y’all get back to studying, OK?” One time, he remarked that the reason why he took the stairs instead of the elevator was to get more exercise.

Even though I have had this cursory exposure and studied the overwhelming evidence about Graham for the past four-and-a-half years, I do not claim to be an authority on Billy Graham and his apostasy. Others have laid that foundation redundantly. I will heavily cite those sources, then follow up by asking the pressing question, Why hasn’t this information been adequately emphasized by those who claim to care about heresy and false teachers?

I will attempt to give my best answers to that question by using my three decades of Bible & theology study under my father-in-law, Pastor Jim Andrews, in his ministry at Lake Bible Church. In addition, Juli & I have helped to create and administer Pastor Jim’s radio ministry, www.thefinalwordradio.com, in its various forms over the past 25 years.

It is important to note here that I have no personal animosity toward Billy Graham or his family. For like most Christians, Juli and I have shared the common misconception of him as the greatest champion worldwide for the Gospel of Jesus Christ over the past 65-70 years. During that time period, we were products of the massive swing toward the New Evangelical movement, detailed in Iain Murray’s Evangelicalism Divided: A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950-2000, just like everyone else.

I would now like to invite you to watch this popular and influential 10-minute video. Over the past 13 years, it has reached 1.4 million views. It is the most concise explanation of Billy Graham’s life, ministry and theology I have found yet. But it also lays out the biblical parameters for understanding why someone who led so many to Christ was himself disqualified because of unbelief:
Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.(1 Cor. 9:26-27)

I also highly recommend this 6-minute video quoting Pastor John MacArthur on the subject of the heretical Universalist doctrine known as “Wider Mercy” that Billy Graham and others espouse.

Special Episode: Iain Murray on Modern Evangelicalism

Likewise, I encourage you to listen carefully to this audio program from speaker Iain Murray, author of Evangelicalism Divided (mentioned above), at the 2001 Shepherd’s Conference at Grace Community Church. The most salient portion is Murray’s remarks beginning at about 50 minutes and John MacArthur’s closing comments all the way to the end (about 27 min. total).

Finally, blogger Elizabeth Prata wrote this excellent piece pointing out the harsher condemnation that Andy Stanley receives for preaching the same heresy (questioning or downplaying the Virgin Birth) as Billy Graham. Also included in her article is a chart (cited from an external source) showing Graham’s associations over his ministry that prove the biblical admonition, “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals’” (1 Cor. 15:33; See also Prov. 22:24-25, 24:1-2).

As a consequence of his gradual but constant drift into apostasy during his lifetime, Billy Graham has also led believers astray by the following endorsements or statements: (Note: citation does not necessarily imply endorsement of the website.)

“It’s OK to deny Christ’s resurrection & other essential doctrines”
https://reformationcharlotte.org/2021/05/04/billy-graham-says-you-can-deny-essential-doctrines-like-the-resurrection-and-still-be-saved/
https://reformationcharlotte.org/2021/06/30/false-teacher-of-the-day-28-billy-graham/
http://a-voice.org/discern/graham.htm (Muslims, Jews, Catholics, I’m not sure I’d go to heaven, etc.)
https://www.cuttingedge.org/news/n1355.cfm

Abortion is OK in Cases of Rape & Incest:
https://pulpitandpen.org/2018/07/16/shock-video-billy-graham-was-for-abortion-in-cases-of-rape-incest/

Mormons as Christians and Are Not Part of a Cult:
https://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/2012/10/breaking_billy_graham_endorses_romney_then_scrubs_site_calling_mormonism_a_cult/

The best way to conclude this section on Billy Graham is to cite his own words from this January 2, 2000 interview with Tony Snow of Fox News, describing what he thinks will happen after his death:

SNOW: When you get to Heaven, who’s going to speak first, you or God?
GRAHAM: When I get there, I’m sure that Jesus is going to say that he will welcome me. But I think that he’s going to say: Well done, our good and faithful servant. Or he may say: You’re in the wrong place.
SNOW: You really worry that you may be told you’re in the wrong place?
GRAHAM: Yes, because I have not — I’m not a righteous man. People put me up on a pedestal that I don’t belong in my personal life. And they think that I’m better than I am. I’m not the good man that people think I am. Newspapers and magazines and television have made me out to be a saint. I’m not. I’m not a Mother Teresa. And I feel that very much.

There are so many heresies contained within these few words that I only have time to highlight the most important one: Billy Graham believes that his good works, or the lack thereof, will determine whether or not he enters into Heaven. This is known as the Works-Salvation heresy, something that Graham had condemned in his early ministry.

Pastor Jim Andrews specifically addresses this heresy of Works-Salvation or Legalism (earning your way into Heaven) in this Galatians sermon (esp. from 6 min to the end):

Here is a selected transcript of the key points of this sermon: the definition of the Legalism heresy, the curse pronounced by the Spirit upon it, the importance of right doctrine in general, and two modern misconceptions about pastors who vehemently attack heresy in order to protect their flocks.

@11:52, “. . . I don’t care what group a person belongs to, that person is adding a works condition to the salvation equation. That goes beyond the simple formula of ‘By God’s grace through faith alone.’ I say for the umpteenth time, that is legalism. Legalism is a heresy, and heresy is lethal. And Paul says, ‘Whoever is into that, let them be accursed.’ This is a works principle; this is not the grace principle. I don’t care who you are what you belong to, or what you don’t belong to. If in any way, shape or form you propose to face God on the basis of your imagined merit, you are a legalist. You cannot succeed because God says ‘That’s your righteousness; here’s mine, do it, and don’t miss it.’ You can’t do it.”

13:15, “He says in verse eight, ‘But though we,’ he speaks hypothetically, I will go so far as to say, as I paraphrase, ‘even if an angel from heaven.’ Paul says, ‘I don’t care who it is. I have my message from God; I am His apostle. I know what the truth is, and I don’t care where you got the message. You can lay it off onto an angel if you want to, but if you come around and you preach another so-called gospel other than what you Galatians have received from me, other than the apostolic doctrine, here’s what I say Paul says, and with him I would say, because God says, ‘Let that person be accursed . . . let them be anathema, let them be eternally condemned.’

Paul pronounces, as an apostle, a curse of God upon whoever would be so wicked and so daring as to twist the Gospel off of its grace foundation, and rest it on a merit basis. That person is making God a liar, and that person is misleading the lost.

For emphasis, in case it did not register the first time, and in order that there might be no mistake about the gravity of this in that day or this, so that it might be clear of the level of perversity of the teachers propounding this kind of lie, this Legalism, whatever form it takes, the Apostle reiterates his curse. And I’d have you note that he’s doing it under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Such a person is an enemy of Christ, such a person is a pawn of the Devil, and such a person deserves the same fate as Satan, who is the father of all lies.

Those of you who’ve listened to me over the years have heard me say again and again, ‘Ideas matter.’ I have to underscore that, red-line it, because many people just don’t seem to get it, I mean even in the churches. And when I say, ‘Ideas matter’ generically, specifically that is to say that theology matters, doctrine matters. Clearly, it matters greatly to God. Paul is making that abundantly clear, though apart from a holy walk that ought to follow from right belief, truth miscarries; there’s no doubt about that. But that said, there will never be any right walk with God without right thinking about God. We act the way we truly believe, so if we entertain false notions contrary to God‘s revelation, it just follows that those wrongheaded ideas will filter down to our feet and her hands every time.

@16:28. “Now let me here again take a detour from exposition of this truth to its application. There are two factors here that sometimes make moderns react against the visceral passion behind Paul’s condemnation of such persons. They read something like that ‘let such a person be accursed,’ and somehow, because Paul said it and not Jesus, and thinking that maybe there’s less authority in the words of the Apostle than behind the words of the Lord Jesus, they kind of throw up their hands and think, ‘Ooh, that’s over the top!’ No, that’s not over the top.

It comes directly from the Spirit of God, we need to get it. One reason people react that way is because, as Paul says elsewhere, ‘Even Satan appears as an angel of light.’ That’s in 2 Corinthians. To say that the Devil sometimes appears as an angel of light is to say that the Devil knows how to deck out his servants, in any age, so that the most dangerous and appealing are disarmingly charming, witty and engaging, and often so nice that they must be harmless, or so naïve people are led to think.

17:55 The second factor is that for some reason especially when it comes to religious matters, a lot of people feel that deviations from biblical teaching, apostolic doctrine, well, they’re not matters of significant consequence, much less eternal destiny. Well now, granted, as we said before, by no means are all matters of doctrine a ‘10’ on the scale of critical importance. On the other hand, a great many are so vital to the foundations of our faith that deviations there, at the foundations, define those who profess to be brethren as no more than false brethren or Christians in name only.

Somehow, we have to get over this desire to embrace everybody and everything that likes to parade under the Christian flag. We have to watch this thing of casting aspersions on those who, as gatekeepers of the faith ‘once for all delivered to the saints,’ [who] treat such people as lepers, as Paul is doing, because when we do that, we show that we don’t know our friends from our enemies.

Frankly, this is insane, but then again the world and even the churches these days are full of insanity, and sometimes astoundingly naïve. These things are serious, and when something is so serious, to minimize them, to paper over them, to receive as brethren those who clearly, by definition, have to be false brethren, is not loving in the least degree. It is being irresponsible, it’s failing to be good shepherds, it’s failing to be good stewards of what God has entrusted to us. @19:41

Unfortunately, the impact of Billy Graham’s apostasy did not end with his death. That’s because his children (esp. son Franklin and daughter Ann) have become well-known and respected in their respective Christian ministries. Yet none of Graham’s children or grandchildren have condemned his apostasy, and they have added more heresies of their own. So I will briefly explain the heretical doctrines of each of these public figures.

According to Franklin Graham’s ministry website, he became president and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse in 1979, and president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in 2001.

Yet since 2000 (source pending), BGEA has been partnering with the heretical cable network, TBN, which promotes many false teachings, including the “little-gods” heresy. The founders and current leaders promote this teaching directly and through their program hosts.

In addition, Graham raised eyebrows even among unbelievers due to his excessive income. In 2009, World Magazine featured an article highlighting his enormous salaries from the two non-profits he led.

“When the Chronicle of Philanthropy released its annual list of the top-paid executives in the nonprofit world, Graham appeared twice, at the top of the list for his salary with BGEA, and only slightly farther down for his only slightly less hefty salary with Samaritan’s Purse. The two combined gave him a total compensation of more than $1.2 million (including expense allowances) for 2008 and made him the highest-paid executive at a Christian ministry listed in the survey, and one of the highest-paid nonprofit executives of any kind.”

Around that same time, Pastor Jim Andrews read the World article and condemned Graham’s greed in one of the programs of his Isaiah series (from 14:00 to 15:00).

The 2009 World article concluded by stating that Graham decided to give up his BGEA salary. “His spokesperson, Mark DeMoss, said that Graham had decided the controversy ‘just wasn’t worth it.’”

Yet even after this controversy, Graham resumed taking a salary from BGEA: “In 2009, Graham made more than $1.2 million. But, after the Charlotte Observer revealed details of his compensation, Graham gave up his pay for the Billy Graham Association for a year. He resumed taking a salary in 2011 — and his salary from the BGEA has more than doubled since then.”

Additionally, Graham has made numerous doctrinally unsound statements. For example, in 2015, he stated, among his other theological errors, that Muslims who wish to be saved need not publicly announce their conversion, in order to protect their lives

Graham, as noted earlier, routinely partners with TBN and other heretics who teach “little gods” and Word-of Faith doctrine. Recently, Graham and several other prominent SBC figures endorsed Paula White’s book. White preaches the “little gods” heresy and emphatically states that Jesus was NOT the only begotten son of God. (Go to the bottom of the page linked to and click on the Justin Peters video. Then forward to 51:00.)

Billy Graham’s daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, (anngrahamlotz.org) teaches mystic and occult practices. She also, like her father and brother, speaks positively about Roman Catholicism.

The grandchildren of Billy Graham who have become public figures have not denounced his apostasy, either. Franklin’s two sons, Will and Edward are set to inherit his two ministry positions after his retirement. Will is slated to take over the BGEA, and Edward, Samaritan’s Purse.

Tullian Tchividjian, the son of Billy’s daughter Gigi, was forced to resign after an extramarital affair.

Jerusha Duford, the daughter of Billy’s daughter Virginia, signed a statement, “Pro-Life Evangelicals for Biden,” supporting the pro-abortion candidate for President.

So, as we can see from this brief overview of Billy Graham’s children and grandchildren, those who continue in his heretical teaching, and add their own, will be judged according to the Scriptures. Part 2 of this series will examine the underlying reasons for hesitancy in making the case against those who preach heresy.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:
E.S. Williams, Ecumenism: Another Gospel , Lausanne’s Road to Rome, 2013
Article: https://www.bibleleaguetrust.org/beware-of-the-orality-movement/
Iain Murray– Evangelicalism Divided: A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950-2000

Note: Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

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