Why We Do Not Support The Billy Graham Crusade
It is customary for those who live in Rome to do as Rome does; nonconformists are usually unpopular. Our American heritage, however, allows the right to disagree; the Scriptures advise that men "prove all things; hold fast that which is good." (I Thes. 5:21). The Bible demands investigation of religious claims; "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world." (I Jno. 4:1). We have investigated; we have heard Mr. Graham personally and through medium; we have read his writings extensively. We conclude with proof forthcoming that he does not preach the Gospel that Christ commanded the apostles to preach.
Through a perversion of Jesus' teaching concerning "judging", some have concluded that opposition to any doctrine is wrong. Jesus said, "Judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24), and taught that we shall know false teachers by their fruits. (Matt. 7:15-20). Any thinking person exercises his judgment, and anyone with conviction speaks it. Mr. Graham opposes many doctrines in his book, PEACE WITH GOD, more than once calling names of exponents of error.
Our opposition to the Graham crusade is not through preference but from conviction. We shall not reflect upon any person, but shall expose false doctrine. We distinguish between tenets and men. We simply urge a comparison of Mr. Graham's teachings with Bible teaching. Our quotations are from his book, PEACE WITH GOD; his newspaper column, MY ANSWER; and the text of the sermons of his Nashville Crusade (1954) printed by THE NASHVILLE BANNER, Nashville, Tenn.
Mr. Graham: "Conversion can take many different forms. The way it is accomplished depends largely upon the individual-his temperament, his emotional balance, his environment, and his previous conditioning and the way of life." PEACE WITH GOD. P. 110.)
The Bible: "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or Free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit." (I Cor. 12:13).
Mr. Graham: "Being born again is altogether a work of the Holy Spirit There is nothing that you can do to obtain this new birth ... In other words, there is nothing you can do about it.... The new birth is wholly foreign to our will." (PEACE WITH GOD, P. 146).
The Bible: "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (Jno. 3:5). "Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit. . . . Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God. (I Pet. 1:2223).
Mr. Graham: ". . . the moment we repent of sin and turn by faith to Jesus Christ we are born again." (PEACE WITH GOD, P. 147).
The Bible: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." (Jesus, Mk. 16:16).
Mr. Graham: "It is true that thousands of Christians do not know the exact day or hour that they came to know Christ. Their faith and their life testify that unconsciously they have been converted to Christ." (PEACE WITH GOD, P. 155).
The Bible: "And they went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing." (Acts 8: 38-39).
Mr. Graham: "You say, 'But Billy, what shall I do?" Repent, believe, surrender, you can do it tonight before you leave this stadium . . . and you will be reconciled to God." (NASHVILLE SERMONS, P. 31).
The Bible: "Now when they head this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men, and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." (Acts 2: 37-38).
Mr. Graham: Those who surrender their lives to Him and receive Him into their hearts. It is this act that makes you a Christian." (MY ANSWER, 9/15/1955).
The Bible: "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." (Matt. 7:21).
Mr. Graham: "Paul says that a'man is justified before God by faith alone. ... (MY ANSWER, 9/14/1956).
The Bible: "For ye are all the chil'dren of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." (Paul, Gal. 3: 26-27)." . . . Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." (Paul, Phil. 2: 12).
Mr. Graham: "Actually, repentance cannot take the place unless first there is a movement of the Holy Spirit in the heart and mind." (PEACE WITH GOD, P. 123).
The Bible: "I Tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." (Luke 13:3) (Note: Whose fault is it if man does not receive the direct operation of the Holy Spirit, and is lost?)
Mr. Graham: "No man can ever be saved unless the Holy Spirit in supernatural, penetrating power comes and works upon your heart." "You can't come to Christ any time you want to, you can only come when the Spirit of God is drawing and pulling and wooing." (NASHVILLE SERMONS, P. 18, 20).
The Bible: "And the Spirit and the bride say Come. And let him that hear.. eth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosover will, let him take the water of life freely." (Rev. 22:17). (Note: Coming to God is conditioned only on man's will. God is always willing.)
This list could be lengthened immeasurably; indeed a "Graham Vs. Graham" column could be printed without garbling quotations. Our plea is that men "try the spirits whether they be of God." Burying our heads in the sand will not erase error that is being taught and believed. The very principles underlying such man-centered publicity, or such aloofness from controversial issues that involve men's souls, are foreign to New Testament Christianity. We desire open discussion of religious differences. We realize that Mr. Graham has a crowded schedule; but in view of eternal consequences, we respectfully invite an open discussion of his doctrines any time he can arrange such -- be it 5, 10 or 20 years from now. Years pass quickly -- eternity more slowly. In the interest of souls -- "Come now, and let us reason together."
Truth Magazine I:2, pp. 15-17