Billy Graham is the most famous Protestant celebrity in the world. In 1949 Billy Graham came to Los Angeles for a tent meeting that proved to be the spring-board for his media stardom. Some believed it was the publicity from the newspaper empire of William Randolph Hearst that brought Graham to prominence. (The Saturday Evening Post, March 1986, p.44)
In these last days, global mass media has become a powerful force in choosing the issues and choosing personalities that society focuses on. Global media even chooses our heroes for us.
Billy Graham appears to be a good man with a sincere, humble ministry. But no human can be beyond critique. It is a dangerous trend that modern, media-addicted, professing Christians often set up their heroes to be gurus who are beyond criticism. Our only hope to not be deceived in these days is to have the conviction to "... let God be true but every man a liar." (Romans 3:4) And we must become "Bereans", trusting only the Bible as infallible.
Don't Be Blind
We can praise God to the extent that Christ is still preached at the "Billy Graham Crusades", while at the same time not being blind to the very serious unbiblical trends surrounding the ministry of Billy Graham.
At a time when the whole world is being united in a "Tower of Babel" vision of Global Unity based on a false peace and a disregard for the truth, it is tragic indeed that many of our most respected Protestant celebrities are taking part in leading their followers in this same direction.
Billy Graham in recent years has pursued the following seriously unbiblical directions:
1. He has endorsed the grossly unbiblical ministry of Robert Schuller.
2. He has yoked himself in ministry and ecumenical vision with Roman Catholics.
3. He has endorsed the unity in diversity objectives of the Williamsburg Charter Foundation.
4. He has endorsed George Bush's war for the New World Order against Iraq.
5. He has advocated the false gospels of modern psychology.
An endorsement of Robert Schuller by Billy Graham appears on the back cover of Robert Schuller's 1985 edition of Self-Esteem: The New Reformation (first published in 1982) along with the endorsement of W. Clement Stone who is on Schuller's international board of directors.
The 1000th Hour of Power Celebration:
- In the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on March 31, 1989, there is an advertisement promoting "An Epic Event! Dr. Robert H. Schuller and the Hour of Power 1000th consecutive telecast Sunday April 2, 1989". The ad promises, "Greetings from our five living presidents: President George Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Richard M. Nixon"; and "Greetings from the Spiritual Leaders of the World: Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, Dr. Billy Graham, Mother Theresa, and Mrs. Martin Luther King, Jr."
- "Billy Graham, who has also praised Norman Vincent Peale and the Pope, told how he was the one who, back in 1969, suggested to Schuller, "Bob, why don't you think of telecasting your services?" Graham went on to say, that as a result of his encouragement "...the Hour of Power was born [in 1970]." He concluded his praise of Schuller and his Possibility Thinking message with these words: "Bob, I want to thank you and say, 'God bless you, your family, your staff, the congregation and everybody that stands behind you'. And may you have many more years of ministry with the Hour of Power." Can Graham be ignorant of the heresies that Schuller promotes? Or does he endorse those who undermine the very gospel he preaches because he believes such distinctions no longer matter? Graham was recently quoted in U.S. News & World Report (12/19/88): "World travel and getting to know clergy of all denominations has helped mold me into an ecumenical being. We're separated by theology and, in some instances, culture and race, but all of that means nothing to me any more."" (From the May 1989 CIB Bulletin)
In an interview (April 3rd, 1991) with an official of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's Seattle-Tacoma Crusade, the policy on Roman Catholic crusade counselors was discussed. It was policy to allow a Roman Catholic priest to be a counselor as long as he went through the training. Roman Catholic counselors were accepted and trained for the Seattle-Tacoma crusades. The official said that he had "processed hundreds" of Catholics to be crusade counselors in the past. Someone who accepts Jesus at a Crusade is referred to Roman Catholic churches if they indicate they are Catholic on the questionnaire they are given.
Harald Bredesen, who is a founding board member of the 700 Club, wrote a letter on September 29, 1988 to Pope John Paul II, saying that he wanted, "Evangelical Protestants and Catholics joining together to single out the Pope of Rome as the man most worthy of receiving the Prince of Peace Prize." Bredesen says, "My heart is moved by a dream, Your Holiness. It is this: that what has already been discovered by men such as David and Justus DuPlessis, Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, Richard Neuhaus... regarding the riches and depth of Catholic piety, must become common knowledge among Evangelical Protestants everywhere." (From the March 1990 CIB Bulletin)
Dave Hunt says in his December 1990 newsletter, the CIB Bulletin, "When will those who are working together with Catholics to "evangelize the world by the year 2000" - Campus Crusade for Christ, Youth With A Mission, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Pat Robertson's CBN, Paul Crouch's TBN, and so many others - wake up to the truth about Roman Catholicism!"
Williamsburg Charter Foundation
The Williamsburg Charter Foundation was a private educational group that provided the focus for a movement to fill a void in public school curriculum in the area of teaching values and teaching about religion. Their goal was to produce class materials by 1990 which was done. An example of the class materials that resulted is "Living with our Deepest Differences: Religious Liberty in a Pluralistic Society", which Ernest Boyer (President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching) says is a "major stride forward for the school reform movement in this country". There was a formal signing ceremony of the "Williamsburg Charter" on June 25, 1988.
According to a CBS television program produced in 1990 called "The Fourth R: Religion and the Public Schools", Billy Graham took part in the signing ceremony. Signing the charter with Billy Graham, were two former U.S. presidents (Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter) and two Supreme Court Chief Justices (Burger and Rehnquist), Senator Strom Thurmond, and many other "distinguished leaders in government, art, and the religious community.
The Williamsburg Charter Foundation brought together an incredible amalgamation of supporters: The Mormon church, the National Council of Churches, the National Association of Evangelicals, the Muslim American Community, the American Jewish Committee, National Organization for Women's Molly Yard, CWA's Beverly LaHaye, Phylis Schlafly, People for the American Way's Norman Lear, James Dobson, Chuck Colson, Oz Guiness (Executive Director), the Chairman of the Soviet Commission on Human Rights, and Billy Graham gave an address at the signing ceremony. (From a CIB Bulletin)
George Bush, the War against Iraq, and the New World Order
During a March 12th, 1991 CBS broadcast of Billy Graham's Long Island, New York crusade, Graham said in reference to the war, "As our President, President Bush, has said, it is not the people of Iraq we are at war with. It is some of the people in that regime. Pray for peace in the middle east, a just peace."
The night that the "New World Order" coalition began its saturation bombing of Iraq, Billy Graham spent the night with George Bush at the White House.
"In a speech January 16, 1991, Billy Graham declared: "There come times when we have to fight for peace." He went on to say that out of the present war in the Gulf may "come a new peace and, as suggested by the President, a new world order."" (March 1991 CIB Bulletin)
The False Gospel of Psychology
In The Billy Graham Christian Worker's Handbook , published in 1984 there are a number of places where psychology is advocated. For example, on pages 70 and 71, under the topic of "Depression": "Depressed persons have a negative self-image which is often accompanied by feelings of guilt, shame, and self-criticism." One of the counseling strategies is, "Suggest that he consider a serious commitment to professional counseling with a qualified pastor or a Christian psychologist until all issues involved in the depression are resolved in the light of Scripture."
In a February 1991 CWA newsletter is an advertisement for Rapha Hospital Treatment Centers, "Treating emotional problems and substance abuse for the Christian Community", providing "mental health, spiritual, and psychological help". In the advertisement, Billy Graham endorses a book written by the founder of the Rapha Hospital Treatment Centers. The book is titled, The Search for Significance, by Robert McGee. On the front cover as a subtitle it says, "We Build our Self-Worth on our Ability to please others or on the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ.". Billy Graham says, "The Search for Significance should be read by every Christian."
Loving The Truth
The issue is not whether Billy Graham is a Christian or not. There is no question that many people have become followers of Jesus after hearing the Gospel at a Billy Graham Crusade. But the glory goes to the Lord and not to men. It is by God's sovereignty that anyone is saved, no matter who is doing the preaching. Last days believers cannot allow a man's popularity to keep them from being Bereans and evaluating the message, the mixed messages, and the actions of any ministry.
It is not necessarily a question of whether this person or that is a false prophet or a wolf in sheep's clothing. But we have to realize that this is always a possibility. We are warned to expect deceptions in the last days.
"And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many." (Matthew 24:4, 5)
"Any many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many." (Matthew 24:11)