The decisions I made in my teen years led me away from my Southern Baptist upbringing and into deep and gross sin. I wandered around lost until I was in my early 30s. I did so many wicked things, it shocks my mind now to even think back on what I was by the time I was 32-years-old. I was guilty before God and worthy of hell.
But then something dramatic happened to me. In February of 1992 I was radically saved through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Even though I grew up in church and heard the Bible preached from the time I was a child, I never knew in a personal way what Jesus Christ had done for me.
In 1992, I found out exactly what he had done for me through his atonement on the cross!
My sins - all those deep, dark, horrendous things I had done - were laid on his back when he went to the cross 2,000 years ago. That became a reality to me when I, in deep repentance, turned to place my faith and trust in him.
What bliss! All my sins were taken away because of the free gift of salvation.
For the first time in my life, I got interested in the Bible and in the truth. I began to study scripture, and I began to learn about how the world really works from God’s point of view.
One of the things I found out was that most of the religious world was corrupt. By that, I mean that many who call themselves Christian had, in fact, deviated greatly from the gospel and the spiritual things that the Lord had given us in scripture. They had fallen away from the ‘faith once given to the saints.’
I also learned that the God had told us just such a thing would happen. Just as the Jews had failed their God in the OT, the Bible prophesies that the Christian church would be overwhelmingly corrupt when the Lord returns.
Speaking of the last days, Paul warned Timothy: 2 Tim. 4:1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? Luke 18:8(b)
When the Lord Jesus comes back in the sky, he is going to take vengeance on all those who have refused him.
And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. 2 Thess. 1:7-10
One of the main ways that men deviate from the gospel of scripture is by trying to mix self-effort with the gospel of grace. The greatest example, though certainly not the only one, is the Roman Catholic Church.
The scripture says that anyone who preaches any gospel other than a gospel of grace is condemned of God: "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." Gal. 1:8,9
Then there are those who have made a mockery of the seriousness of scripture by turning it into a three-ring-circus of shame. Pick any televangelist you like to see what we mean by that. You can also lump pentecostalism, emerging churches and contemporary churches into this category.
And then there are those who are called modernists. To me, these are some of the most despicable. They are the ones who claim to be Christian, but they have turned the miraculous aspects of scripture into myth and fable. They do not believe in an inerrant Bible, they do not believe in the Garden of Eden, they do not believe in the virgin birth or the resurrection, yet they go on calling themselves by the holy name of Christ, all the while teaching people to doubt God.
My friend, you cannot be a Christian if you do not believe the Word of God.
Believing God’s word is the ONLY way you can become a Christian. There is no other door. If you deny the word of God, you are lost. If you change the word of God, you will be reproved and found to be a liar. If you pervert the word of God, you are condemned.
That is clear from the Old Testament and it is clear from the New Testament. Jesus said that failure to believe the writings of Moses means that you cannot believe the words of Christ.
For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words? John 6:46
Well, as a newly minted Christian, I started reading. Reading is a great gift. You learn things if you read. And because I had thrown off all my false notions about life and had come to trust the Bible as my guide, I was looking at everything in a whole new spiritual way.
I was particularly interested in Christian history and the history of the Lord’s church.
One of the saddest things that I read, and it was shocking to me at the time, was that the man that I grew up respecting so much as a little boy, this great evangelist Billy Graham, had actually made a career of giving aid and comfort to the enemies of Christ that I just named above. I vividly remember sharing this information with my brother, Alan, who had helped point me to Christ.
Alan was indignant that I would criticize this man. But as he read Graham’s statements he realized that what I was saying was true. Graham had turned away from what was right. It was a hard truth, but it went right in line with the scriptural warnings about spiritual deception in the last days.
How was it possible? How could anyone who claims to be a Christian, to love Christ, give any respect to those who pervert the word of God?
Having just learned what Christ had done for me, and how precious He was, it seemed incredible that anyone who knows our Lord could betray Him in that way.
But there it was in black and white. And Billy Graham didn’t do it just a little. This was not just a little compromise here and there. His entire career had been one betrayal of the Lord after another. It was done wholesale. And he had done it with eyes wide open. He started out on the side of conservative, fundamental, Bible-believing Christians and had made a conscious decision to go another direction.
Whatever his motives might have been, his move in a more liberal direction was made against the pleadings friends and those who understood the dangers of flirting with apostasy.
The last 70 years of his ministry have seen him drift further and further away from the position he espoused in his youth. In exchange, he has received much love and admiration from this world, for what that’s worth.
1 John 5:19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.
The Christ he claimed to preach certainly did not have the respect of this world. He didn’t want it.
Jesus Christ said of himself that he was a prophet without honor. He was hated by this world. No, he was loathed by this world.
He was taken to the brow of the hill in his own hometown to be thrown off. He was threatened by the Pharisees. He was accused of being demon possessed. Ultimately, he was crucified by this world. The Jews and the Gentiles joined forces to eliminate him from this earth. "We will not have this man to reign over us.” Luke 19:13. In his willingness to die for the truth, he was actually making it possible for man to be saved and freed from darkness and death.
Those who have followed Christ in truth have often received the same reward from this wicked, sin-saturated world:
Hebrews 11:36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. 39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
That is definitely not Mr. Graham’s testimony. He considered himself a Prophet with Honor. That is what he said of himself on the cover of his autobiography. I would agree that assessment.
As much as Christ was hated by this world, Graham has been loved by this world. That ought to cause any thinking Christian to stop for a minute and ask “why?” Things that are different are not the same.
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. John 15:18-20
"We are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day,” Paul said of himself and his fellow apostles. Graham, apparently, did not desire a place with the outcasts. Instead, he had his name in lights and was welcome in Hollywood, Washington, New York and Rome. He wanted to make Christianity respectable to the world by downplaying its offense.
Now he is dead and he will be immortalized by the world as the greatest Christian of all time. That is not an honor anyone should seek.
Time, Newsweek, ABC, NBC, CBS, presidents, cardinals, and religious leaders of all stripes will spend the next several days praising Billy Graham to the heavens as they have done for his entire ministry and career.
Luke 6:26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.
Why did the world so hate Christ and the apostles and so love Graham and his team?
We do not have to look to deeply to discover a fundamental difference in approach.
Jesus Christ’s main focus was on the truth about God and about Himself. He could in no way diminish his own honor because to do so would be to denigrate God. “He cannot deny himself.” 2 Tim. 2:13
He is the center of human history because he was God in the flesh. He is the only hope of salvation of man.
When a preacher offers Jesus Christ as the only hope of salvation, and when he makes it clear that the terms are very narrow, he will make himself an enemy of this world.
For Billy Graham, the Jesus Christ he offered was not the narrow one of scripture. Graham made the way broad enough that Roman Catholic priests and modernist infidels found ample road under their feet. No matter how much anyone blasphemed Christ, Graham would praise them and give them false hope of eternity. If anything marks a false prophet, it is whether or not they will live and die for the cause of truth.
Graham was able to find soft words not only for modernists and Roman Catholics, but even heathen idolaters. Bold, wicked, unrepentant blasphemers were treated as great friends of God by Graham. That’s the way to make sure that the world loves you. Never call the world’s hand. Never challenge the world and its wicked ideas about Jesus Christ.
It has always been so. It was that way in Isaiah’s day and it is not different today. "That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:" Is. 30:9,10
Graham had no great love for the narrow preachers of a narrow gospel. Graham liked the broad road and the wide way. And the people of the broad way loved having him as one of their own.
That was true even of the king of all apostates, the wicked Pope of Rome. My people have always said that the popes are antichrist. They have said it loudly and vehemently. The foul gospel of Rome damns people to an eternal hell. That is what we believe.
The popes have never ceased to pervert the gospel; they have burned my people at the stake and they have hounded and mercilessly treated anyone who wanted to read the Bible in their own language: they have never been anything other than enemies of the cause and gospel of Jesus Christ.
But that has never stopped Graham from crossing over to Satan’s side to praise the Pope, even to the point of calling John Paul II “a great evangelist.” Maybe for Mary, but not for Jesus Christ. Graham visited the Vatican 12 times and had a warm relationship with Rome.
In doing all this, Graham was drawn into the infidelity he flirted with.
"In this paradise that God had built, called the Garden of Eden - you can take it symbolically, you can take it literally - it makes no difference as far as the truth and meaning is concerned,” Graham said in 1962. He was wrong about that. What you believe about scripture will determine your eternal home.
"I do not believe that the ground of our fellowship is to be the inerrancy of Scripture,” he said.
Again, this was in 1962, lest someone think he only said such things in his dotage.
If the ground of our Christian fellowship is not based on the inerrancy of scripture we have no other ground to stand on. If the Bible is not true, or a mixture of truth and error, we have no hope…we are of all men most miserable. (1 Cor. 15:19)
It is blasphemy against God to belittle his word and suggest that it may be wrong. It is not wrong. It is eternal truth spoken by an eternal God who will never let anyone denigrate his word in that way.
Rev. 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
We have no problem understanding that if our country is at war with another country, any person who sides with the other country in any way is an enemy of our cause. They are traitors.
Think of Hanoi Jane Fonda in Viet Nam.
Billy Graham has been just such a traitor, but in a war that is so much greater, and with so much more consequence that is makes the mind reel to think of it. He didn’t just side with the enemies of something as temporal as country. He sided with the enemies of Jesus Christ, the eternal God and judge of all men.
Most Christians have no ability to process something like Billy Graham because they are stuck on false ideas about reward and punishment. They believe that the good he did will cancel out any error in his methods. They believe that he was simply ‘smart' to create a new way of doing things.
But that is not the way things work. In fact, he had far more obligation to do right and to stick to the narrow path than the man who has no knowledge of the Bible at all. He knew the word of God, and therefore, his judgment will come in relation to that fact:
James 3:1 My brethren, be not many masters (teachers/instructors), knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.
Luke 12:48(b) For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
Most people only see with the eyes in their head, but to assess something like this, you must have spiritual vision. If you look at the ministry of Billy Graham through the lens of scripture, it is detestable.
What about the people who heard about Jesus Christ through his ministry? Or, rather, is it right to do wrong that good may come?
The real question is this: what power might have been unleashed against the forces of evil if he had not been so pragmatic?
A voice like Mr. Graham’s would have had tremendous impact, and the Christian church of today might be far stronger without the encouragement he gave to apostasy.
Fifty years before Graham was born, Charles Spurgeon was waging war against the same tendency to compromise that Graham faced, but Spurgeon played the man and stood for the old book and the old faith. His powerful pen is still lifting the hearts of Christians today.
Spurgeon was certainly no man of squeamish words when it came to the Papacy: ‘It is the bounden duty of every Christian to pray against Antichrist, and as to what Antichrist is, no sane man ought to raise a question. If it be not Popery in the Church of Rome, there is nothing in the world that can be called by that name.’
Would to God Graham had stood on the same ground. Instead, he has been the Neville Chamberlain of Christianity when he could have been Churchill. We will live with the harm he has done and the confusion he has sown until Jesus comes back.
In taking the position he took, he got what many men crave more than anything - the respect of this world. He has received his reward. He played the world’s game and he will be paid in the world’s coin. To lie in honor in the Capitol rotunda is reserved for the elite of the elite.
How different was the death of his Lord who was shamefully crucified without the gate. He was beaten and marred more than any man. Humiliated and disgraced, mocked and jeered. Paul and the ‘pestilent fellows’ who followed him were not treated much better.
As Christians, we are to take our place ‘without the camp’ and bear the reproach of our Lord. Heb. 13:13 When a Christian becomes anything other than an outsider in this world he must be something other than a Biblical Christian.
Ultimately, that is the reason Mr. Graham remains so popular with the evangelical world. He appeals to evangelicals because they desperately want to be at home in this world..to be accepted by presidents, movie stars and the popular musicians of the day. Graham gave them all that and more.
Many will say it is in poor taste to eulogize Mr. Graham in such harsh words, but the truth is, he agrees with me today. Now that he has stepped into eternity, he has seen the error of compromise in a way that none of us will fully comprehend until we see our own foolishness and sin in the light of eternal truth.
You do not have to guess what eternity is like. You can read Scripture and know today. That is, if you stand on the ground of inerrancy. Once you step into the marshy quicksand of doubt, you won’t be able to know anything with certainty.
To make common cause with an enemy of Christ - or to praise anyone else who does - should be anathema to any right-thinking Christian. From my study of the Bible, I believe that God has everlasting contempt for those who side with the enemies of his Son.
You will say, ‘who is this fellow who is criticizing the great Billy Graham?’ I’m no one at all. I’m a wicked sinner who came to know the Lord Jesus Christ. But I believe that the simplest half-wit who believes the Bible is greater in the kingdom of God than all the big-name theologians who cast doubt on it. I have Scripture to support that.
I also know that God doesn’t measure things the way we do.
“For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence” (1 Cor. 1:26-29).
The above testimony is by Brian Snider firstname.lastname@example.org -
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