Saturday, October 25, 2008

On Christian talk radio a fellow calls in to the host and asks him what he thinks of Billy Graham, and his aberrant doctrine. The host didn’t know what he meant and the fellow didn’t go into much detail but referred to ‘You Tube’ videos that not only criticize Billy Graham’s views, but viciously attack him. This caught my attention because Billy Graham is someone I respect and have seen God use for over a half a century to faithfully preach the gospel, give counsel to our President’s because of the nations respect for Billy Graham, and God has used Billy to reach millions with the gospel. The caller said go to “Billy Graham denies” on You Tube and we can see the truth of his false doctrine. Needless to say I went there and encourage all to do the same. I watched about six different videos that took Billy Graham’s statements and made him out to be nothing short of the Anti-Christ. So what are these heretical teachings, teachings that one video says has led millions to hell, not salvation? Here it is in a nutshell as I understand it, but I encourage you to see for yourself. Billy Graham, as he has grown in the Lord and traveled world-wide, met people from all faiths has come to question that God will condemn to eternal torture the millions who have never heard Christ’s name. He admits he is no longer as narrow minded on this baffling question as he was when he was younger when everything seemed black and white. He has now come to a place where he trusts that God will do what is just, regardless whether or not Billy Graham understands the fate of those in utter darkness.
Oh what a heretic! Oh what an enemy to the gospel! Oh what a teacher of soul damning lies! These are the shouts of some from within the Christian fraternity.
“He is a false prophet” they cry. They, in their wisdom and understanding of all the mysteries, took great pride in going to the Billy Graham crusades and stood outside and picketed them, warning as many as they could that if they go in and listen to Billy Graham they will be in danger of hell fire and deception!

To say that this grieves me, I can in no way exaggerate. This is a picture of the vicious cur chasing its own tail. What Pharisaical madness. These questions that Billy Graham considers are questions that thinking Christians have pondered in every generation. Hanna Whitall Smith, George McDonald, C.S. Lewis, all questioned and pondered these haunting questions. My previous post “The limits of reason”, poses questions that men and women of God since the time of Christ have sought to understand. Will we now discredit our century’s most faithful gospel messenger because he too seeks to understand the justice of God?
Will we be like those that Paul addresses in 2 Cor. 5:12 who make superficial judgments based on sound bites and not what is in the heart? Where are those “brothers” that seek to understand what Billy’s questions are, what has he come to understand, after 70 some years of faithfully serving God. Do you think he has come to trust not in the Blood of Christ which he has faithfully preached for over 50 years? I think 2 Cor. 6:7 describes Billy Graham’s ministry –
“in the Holy Spirit, and in sincere love, in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown…….. How much fruit must a good tree bear before we decide not to cut it down?
Oh church, I tell you, if you wonder where or what is the spirit of Anti-Christ, simply look within. When we create battles, denounce our own, bite and attack one another, cling to one chant and cry “blasphemy!” to anyone that thinks not as we do, pound the pulpits decrying anyone who dares look further than what our traditions allow, we have become the embodiment of that very evil spirit. The Spirit of love does not rail and attack, it is not easily offended; it is full of mercy and good fruits. My God, the salt has certainly lost its savor. We don’t even know who the enemy is. We are “blind fools”, waging wars over mint, dill, cumin and all manner of spices, while neglecting the more important matters of the law – justice, mercy and faithfulness.”
I’ll end by simply saying, if you find yourself running to certain scriptures, grasping them like weapons of justification, instead of adopting a merciful spirit of inquiry, you really need to ponder this post.
Photo from internet.


Mel said...

Hi Fred,

These are indeed grievous times, are they not? My soul joins yours in mourning--mourning over so much suffering and so much loss. There's so much I don't understand, but want to. If the purpose of life is to glorify God by loving God and loving people, as I believe it is, then I don't want to waste precious irreplaceable minutes doing anything that doesn't work towards or accomplish in some small way, at least, one of or both of those purposes.

My heart longs so passionately for the day when Jesus will return. When all sin, all injustice, all suffering, all deceit, will be put to an end forever. To see His face and rest in His love, life, light and presence for all eternity. I understand what the Psalmist says when he says, "I thirst for You as dry ground thirsts for rain."

With sorrow and yet with infinite hope,


Anonymous said...

There is a reason why Christ had to pay the penalty for our sins. If we dismiss that reality. If we cloud that beauty, than we do not understand God's plan in reconciling men to Himself.

Here is where I think the entire confusion starts and then is perpetuated down through history:

God, as He has revealed Himself in scripture, does not always set well with our understanding of justice and mercy. If any of us (tender hearted, loving human beings) are completely honest with ourselves, we do not like God, as He has revealed Himself in scripture. Let’s face it. He chooses to annihilate men from the face of the world (the ark); He chooses a special people to be His people and basically encourages the annihilation of all other people. Then when Christ came we learn about the “elect”. Those chosen by God to be His son’s bride. Then, as we study scripture, we find that the gate is narrow.

Our hearts cry out for a “wider mercy”. What we forget is that none of us are worthy to be reconciled. NONE!. The fact that He shows mercy on any of us is amazing.

I think that if we really get honest with ourselves, we have two choices. Either we bow down to God as He has revealed Himself in Holy Scripture (even if we don’t like it); or we dismiss the Word of God and create a God that is more suitable to our idea of mercy and justice and therefore be willing to suffer the consequences, should the Bible be true.

I will put my soul into the hands of God (as He has revealed Himself in scripture—whether is seems right and just and fair to me or not). I have not found a more reliable source. Certainly not, the thoughts and opinions of finite man and philosophers.

God, as He has revealed Himself in Scripture (all of scripture) is not a God I want to mess with. He is a God I want to bow down to in humble submission and simply thank Him for His Son and accept His plan for redemption whether it lines up with mine our not.

I think if we all realize how thankful we should be that God chooses to save any of us, we might gain a better perspective on all of this.

FCB said...

Hi Mel,
Grievous times indeed. I did have a sense of mourning when I listened to the you tube videos.
But, I picked up a book today by Isaak Watts and I'm eager to share some of his insights which I think pertain to this very circumstance.
I wish it could be a short 'sound bite', but,abbreviate it as I did, it is a bit lengthy.
Hope you enjoy it.

Dear anon,
I think your approach is a good one, and it is one that I took for many years, but it still leaves something hollow for me. In the post I'm about to put up, I think it speaks to all of these issues.
At least it is how I interepret it.
These are difficult teachings, and I think all considerate Christians struggle to make sense of it, but I think there are solid Biblical answers to everything Billy Graham alluded to. I just wish he were a younger man and had the ability to defend or explain his inferences.
I know for certain, that Billy Graham believes that no one comes to the father but by the blood of Christ, as I do. Now how that blood is applied to those who have never heard, is a mystery. But that is where I have faith in the justice of God, that he has a plan whereby all who would believe, whether they ever heard His name, will have an opportunity to hear and confess that Jesus is Lord, and He is the fulfilment and radiance of God's glory. Not all paths lead to God, but God may very well draw people from all paths to himself, and even though they be ingnorant of God's Son, they have heard the voice of God in whatever situation or location they find themselves in. Difficult issues, but I see in the Old and New Testaments this seeking and reaching for all races. That's my abbreviated take on it.
God bless,

Anonymous said...

Two question:

You said: "...and it is one that I took for many years, but it still leaves something hollow for me.

Question 1: Why did you take it (for many years)?

Question 2: Why did does it leave you hollow?

FCB said...

Well, let me think about that for a minute.... I took it, meaning I believed it, because I was taught that from the beginning and trusted that interpretation, and frankly, never heard or listend to any other interpretation.

The second part as to why does it leave a "hollow feeling" is my way of saying, that at some point I started comparing what God was doing in me with that interpretaion, and it didn't harmonize. Only then did I begin to search the scriptures for a different understanding. And, only then did I find that there are different interpretations to what I had always thought, and that there were people I admired that embraced them, which was nice, although it didn't make me see things that weren't there, but it did encourage me to look deeper.
I doubt one would follow my path unless they had a like experience.
It is a highly controversial subject and often times brings things to a rapid boil, which my Billy Graham post and the latest post addresses.
"Tapping out",

fcb4 said...

I dont like to come over here...I always get tempted to engage in these controversial discussions...can't you write about kittens or Lollipops or something? :)

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Fred :)

With so many divisions in Chistianity and The Bible being interpreted in so many ways and each division claiming superiority over the other, controversies and contradictions are bound to torment us.

We have to use our common sense to seive what is right and reject what is wrong. This is certainly going to be very difficult.

I pray to God to open our eyes and give us the wisdom to understand the true path to the doors of the heavenly paradise.

Best wishes :)