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Billy Graham's Gospel?

Three Interviews:

By Robert E. Kofahl, Ph.D.


SCHULLER: Tell me, what do you think is the future of Christianity?

GRAHAM: Well, Christianity and being a true believer--you know, I think there's the Body of Christ. This comes from all the Christian groups around the world, outside the Christian groups. I think everybody that loves Christ, or knows Christ, whether they're conscious of it or not, they're members of the Body of Christ. And I don't think that we're going to see a great sweeping revival, that will turn the whole world to Christ at any time. I think James answered that, the Apostle James in the first council in Jerusalem, when he said that God's purpose for this age is to call out a people for His name. And that's what God is doing today, He's calling people out of the world for His name, whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world, or the Christian world or the non-believing world, they are members of the Body of Christ because they've been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus but they know in their hearts that they need something that they don't have, and they turn to the only light that they have, and I think that they are saved, and that they're going to be with us in heaven.

SCHULLER: What, what I hear you saying that it's possible for Jesus Christ to come into human hearts and soul and life, even if they've been born in darkness and have never had exposure to the Bible. Is that a correct interpretation of what you're saying?

GRAHAM: Yes, it is, because I believe that. I've met people in various parts of the world in tribal situations, that they have never seen a Bible or heard about a Bible, and never heard of Jesus, but they've believed in their hearts that there was a God, and they've tried to live a life that was quite apart from the surrounding community in which they lived.

SCHULLER: [R. S. trips over his tongue for a moment, his face beaming, then says I I'm so thrilled to hear you say this. There's a wideness in God's mercy.

GRAHAM: There is. There definitely is.


SCHULLER: You knew ... Fulton Sheen. You knew these men. Your comments on both of these men [Fulton Sheen and Norman V. Peale].

GRAHAM: The primary way of communicating is to live the life, let people see that you're living what you proclaim.... [comments on his friendship and conversations with Fulton Sheen] I lost a very dear friend, and since that time, the whole relationship between me and my work, and you and your work, and the Roman Catholic Church has changed. They open their arms to welcome us and we have the support of the Catholic Church almost everywhere we go. And I think that we must come to the place where we keep our eyes on Jesus Christ, not on what denomination or what church or what group we belong to.


Billy Graham's first great city-wide evangelistic campaign was held in Los Angeles in 1949. At that time he made a public promise that he would never have any theological modernists (theological liberals) on his platform. Dr. Graham's first evangelistic campaign in England was held in the summer of 1954. On that tour he was accompanied by Dr. John Sutherland Bonnell, the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in New York City. Dr. Bonnell was also the president of the Ministerial Association of New York City, which was dominated by modernist ministers and churches. On Dr. Graham's British tour Bonnell was working to persuade him to hold a campaign in New York in 1956 under the auspices of the liberal Ministerial Association. During that time a group of Bible-believing pastors and laymen sent Dr. Graham in England a telegram asking him to hold an evangelistic series in New York City sponsored by "a committee of twice-born men."

On his return to the States Dr. Graham announced that he would come to New York in 1956 sponsored by the Ministerial Association of New York City. The committee of Bible-believing men sent a delegation to Dr. Graham begging him not to confuse the line between the gospel of grace and the false gospel of the modernist churches represented in the Ministerial Association. Graham turned a deaf ear to them, and came to New York with the requirement that all churches should be invited to participate in the campaign. In that campaign, the Billy Graham Association trained counselors sent from all sorts of churches, including the Roman Catholic Church. The policy was established of directing each inquirer during the campaign to his or her home church. Some Protestants were sent to modernist churches. Roman Catholics were directed back to the priest of the Roman church nearest to their home address. This policy of cooperation with the Roman Church continues to this day.

Dr. Graham has received honors from Roman Catholic circles, including an honorary degree from a Catholic college. In his last campaign in the British Isles, two leading prelates in the Roman Catholic Church in England sent out pastoral letters encouraging Catholics to attend the Graham meetings. One of these prelates explained to his parishioners that "Billy Graham knows our limits." That is, the Roman Church can count on him not to touch on any theological doctrines that contradict official Romanist teachings. Thus Dr. Graham will not explain that a sinner trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sins and eternal life must give up any trust he might have in any other object of faith; that he or she must trust in the Person, Jesus Christ, and Him alone, not trusting in Mary or saints, rejecting any trust in the sinner's good works or religious observances, relying totally on His perfect work of redemption, a substitutionary atonement on the cross, taking the sinner's place under the judgment of God and receiving in His body the total punishment for sin that the sinner deserves, and through repentance and faith receive the perfect righteousness of Christ, imputed by God to the believer, that makes the sinner forever acceptable to a holy God, and immediately a possessor of the gift of eternal life that cannot be forfeited or lost, kept by the power of God throughout all eternity. If Billy Graham were to preach this biblical and complete doctrine of salvation, he would at once lose the support of the Roman Catholic leaders. Multitudes of Roman Catholics would be warned and frightened from attending Billy Graham meetings.

The doctrine that Dr. Graham expressed to Dr. Schuller is exactly what the Pope and the Ecumenical Institute in Rome have been teaching for years. This is the idea that any pagan, practicing idolatrous worship, having no slightest knowledge of the Bible, the gospel of grace, or the Person and name and redeeming work of Jesus Christ-if he is a "good person" and if he is sincere in whatever he may believe-is automatically "redeemed by the blood of Christ." This false doctrine of salvation was clearly and explicitly asserted and defended in debate about four years ago on radio stations KABC and KBRT by Father Vivian Benlima, then Director of the Office for Ecumenical and Interdenominational Affairs of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, who just returned from a year's study at the Ecumenical Institute. It is the official teaching of the Roman Church.

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association was the primary force for the founding of the Lausanne World Evangelism Conferences back in the 1980s. Especially in recent years these conferences have called on all churches, including the modernist ecumenical churches of the World Council of Churches and the Roman Catholic Church to cooperate with the evangelical churches in evangelizing the world for Christ. At Amsterdam '86, billed as a "school for evangelists" and sponsored by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Graham revealed his ecumenical, inclusivist approach to worldwide evangelism. In the final press conference, Dr. Graham was asked by Dennis Costella, a news correspondent for Foundation magazine, how he could justify this melding together of such a disparate crowd of theologically disunited religious groups. Dr. Graham responded, "Evangelism is about the only word we can unite on. ... Our methods would be different and there would be debates over even the message sometimes, but there is no debate over the fact that we need to evangelize. ... I think there is an ecumenicity here that cannot [be gotten] under any other umbrella." Therefore, he averred, all the churches must be willing to disagree even on the question of what the Christian message to the world is.

More recently, in the spring of 1994, a group of both evangelical and Roman Catholic leaders signed a document called "Evangelicals and Catholics Together" (ECT). This document asserts that there is one Church (including both Protestant and Roman churches), that, therefore, they must work together in evangelizing the world for Christ, and agree that there will be no sheep-stealing, that is, proselytizing of members of one church to depart and join another church. ECT dismayed multitudes of Christians and elicited vigorous criticism from many Christian circles.

There can be little question that Dr. Billy Graham during almost forty years laid the major foundation for ECT. Where will the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association go in the future? Will the leadership that succeeds the founder continue down the same perilous path of compromising and diluting biblical truth until we arrive at total syncretism and universalism? May God forbid and warn His people!

* Robert E. Kofahl, Ph.D., and the Rev. Harold L. Webb certify the accuracy of the transcripts from Parts I and II, respectively, of the televised interview of Dr. Billy Graham by Dr. Robert Schuller.

Excerpt from "The Berean Call" - January, 1998
by: Dave Hunt

In expressing concern in these pages for many heresies, we have tried to confine ourselves to those which impact the gospel and the salvation of souls. It is because the apostles in Jerusalem "walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel" that Paul rebuked them (Gal2:14). Tragically, the gospel is now being challenged and compromised by leading evangelicals! Yes, evangelical leaders who preach the gospel also compromise it. On January 21, 1997 Larry King interviewed Billy Graham on his program:

KING: What do you think of the other [churches]...like Mormonism? Catholicism? Other faiths within the Christian concept?

GRAHAM: Oh, I think I have a wonderful fellowship with all of them. For example....

KING: You're comfortable with Salt Lake City. You're comfortable with the Vatican?

GRAHAM: I am very comfortable with the Vatican. I have been to see the Pope several times. In fact, the night-the day that he was inaugurated, made Pope, I was preaching in his cathedral in Krakow. I was his guest...[and] when he was over here...in Columbia, South Carolina...he invited me on the platform to speak with him. I would give one talk, and he would give the other...but I was two-thirds of the way to China....

KING: You like this Pope?

GRAHAM: I like him very much.... He and I agree on almost everything.

KING: Are you...are you comfortable with Judaism?

GRAHAM: Very comfortable....ln New York, they have had me to the Rabbinical Council to...talk with them and Rabbi Tannenbaum, who was a great friend...he gave me more advice and more counsel, and I depended on him constantly theologically and spiritually and in every way....

KING: Mr. Graham, if you had 30 seconds during the halftime at the Super Bowl, what would you tell the audience?"

GRAHAM: I would tell them to...think about another game...the game of life, and to be sure they're on God's side, that God loves them and God is interested in them, and they can pray to God, and He'll answer their prayers."


VOL. XVII NO. 2, January 15, 2000

GRAHAM WORRIES HEAVEN MAY BE WRONG PLACE FOR HIM-In a Jan. 2 Fox News interview, Tony Snow asked Billy Graham: "When you get to Heaven, who's going to speak first, you or God? Graham replied: "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." The basis of getting to Heaven is muddled in this interview, and is manward instead of Godward. Earlier in the interview, Graham's testimony of salvation made no mention of the Gospel, but was about knowing Christ in his heart, and a big change.

[VW Editor]:

When I read this the tears came to my eyes. Here, in his own words, that which we have been observing for some time now. He is "not a righteous man" because he has not been washed in Jesus' blood. Recently we considered his definition of "repentance" ...the "works" of changing and 'doing better' and 'being a better person'. Trying to do better 'from now on'. He doesn't understand repentance as being a "place" at the foot of Jesus' cross (without works), where he could then receive "the righteousness of God" (Rom1:17,3:5,3:21-22,Phil3:9) which is of faith "in Christ" (2Cor5:21, Jn1:12) It is a "gift". (Eph2:8)

But, how many people claim to be "Christians" because they 'went forward' at a BG crusade? "From their fruits you shall know them. Do they gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles?" (Mt7:16) You see, folks, all those decades, he never was "of us". (1Jn2:19)

And... Wolves do not beget lambs!


Billy Graham's Gospel (9/10/07)

Saturday night I saw part of another BG archive TV broadcast from 1979. Among other things, he summarized what it takes to get to Heaven...that without these three things, one is not saved. He made a special point to emphasize these three, while stepping forward and standing to the side of the lectern, elbow propped on the edge of the lectern.

  1. Repentance...to "change the mind". I was going one direction, but I change and go a different way. (As he would say in other messages: A 'promise' to "do better from now on")

  2. Trust in Christ...faith

  3. Go to church, read the Bible, pray and live a good life
Notice that, except for #2, BG preaches a "works" salvation. Even his "repentance" is not a -place- at the foot of Jesus' cross: it is not asking for God's mercy (Lk18:13) after acknowledging our sin (Ps41:4,51:3); but it is -I- "going" a different way. I was doing -this-, but now I 'change' and do -that-. And #3...that's what catholics, lutherans and everybody else teaches. I know of someone years ago who, when they withdrew their membership from the lutheran church, was asked, "Well, don't you want to go to Heaven?"

However...Salvation is "NOT OF WORKS, that no one should boast" (Eph2:9) If salvation is based on -me- "changing" something, I don't have that ability. We were "without strength" when Christ died for us. (Rom5:6) Repentance is not RCC's "penance" where we must -do- something, but it is more of a helpless pitiful call for "Heeeelp!" Like the man who responded to Jesus, "Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief!" (Mk9:24)

And -which- church is going to save a person? The same unregenerate houses of satan BG would send his new 'converts' -back- to? Remember, the "assembling of ourselves together" is for those who have already had "remission of sins" and now have "boldness to enter the Holy of Holies" (Heb10:25,18,19) If a Believer is assembling with a group of unbelievers they are guilty of being "unequally yoked together with unbelievers" Such a person might be going "to church", but is in disobedience to God who says to "Therefore, Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you." (2Co6:14,17)

See also link: "Forsaking the Assembling of Ourselves"?

All those "church[es]" (plural) are Babylon, regarding which the proclamation is made: "And I heard another voice from Heaven saying, Come out of her, my people, so that you not share in her sins, and so that you not receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to Heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities." (Re18:4-5)

But a True Believer is part of the Church (singular) of Jesus Christ. He said, "I will build -MY- Church" (Mk16:18) not "st.peter's"

    "..great fear came upon all the church" (Ac5:11) Buildings can be afraid?

    "..news came...to the ears of the church" (Ac11:22) Buildings have ears?

    "And when they had come and gathered the church together" (Ac14:27) Buildings move around and meet together?

    Christ "loved the church and gave Himself for her" (Eph5:25) shedding His blood to redeem us to Himself. (1Pt1:18-19, Rev1:5)
But how many of you were "saved" under Billy Graham's 'gospel'? Isn't his, the message that most preachers preach, and on the basis of which most people "go forward" at invitation time at the "altar call"? And... if you have come out, don't they chide you to "go to church" with them? If you are not connected to some 'building' somewhere, and their self-contained weekly rituals (most of which are not found in the Bible, and most of their altar furnishings originate from pagan idolatry), do they not shun you as if you were a heathen? Do they not typically invite people to their building, in order to get them saved? But those are the ways of Babylon!

But what does the Bible say?

Whose acceptance do you crave? Theirs or God's? Whose judgment do you fear? Theirs or God's?