Finally … An Answer (Such As It Is)
by Sandy Simpson. 1/23/09
I wrote a letter to Billy Graham at BGEA in 2000. I sent the letter certified mail with a return receipt and so I know they received it. That letter never got a response. However, a friend of mine wrote BGEA in 2009 with concerns over Billy Graham's interview with Robert Schuller and received the following letter back from a staff member of BGEA. I can vouch that this letter is genuine.
Dear Friend,I am glad that this response was made by someone at BGEA. I also recognize that Billy Graham has been suffering with a number of ailments. However this letter is not signed by Billy himself. It is a letter of a staffer making excuses for Graham when Billy should have addressed a number of concerns long ago himself. I acknowledge that Billy has preached the Gospel for many years and many have made professions of faith as a result of his ministry. But upon reading this letter I am troubled by their response.
Thank you for contacting us.
We appreciate your interest in and concern about the interview with Mr.Graham which was conducted by Rev. Robert Schuller in 1997. We hope to clarify Mr. Graham's position.
Shortly after the interview with Rev. Schuller, Mr. Graham responded to concerns in his newsletter, saying, "In all our Crusades we place a prominent banner with Jesus' words, 'I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.' We put that verse there because people live in a confused world, with so many competing religious voices calling men and women to follow them. But Christ is distinctive and exclusive about the way to God. There can be no true Christianity apart from Him. While some of the ethics and idealism of other religions may run parallel to Christian teachings, the fact remains, as stated by Jesus Christ, 'No man cometh unto the Father but by me' (John 14:6, KJV).
"Over the years I have met people with many religious and philosophical views. Many of them have had deep commitment to their beliefs. But I have become even more convinced of the uniqueness and the truth of Christ and His Gospel. And I want to continue preaching it as long as possible."
At the time of the interview, Mr. Graham was struggling with physical symptoms related to a then undiagnosed condition called hydrocephalus, involving fluid on the brain. These issues, in addition to his age, were evidenced by a weariness and instability in many areas of his life. We believe that, under the pressure of a live interview, Mr. Graham may have become sidetracked and acknowledged something he has never believed.
Perhaps these observations will make certain to your mind and heart what is the essence and direction of Mr. Graham's ministry. His many books, sermons, and articles from over 60 years of evangelistic ministry are also available to confirm for others his adherence to the Gospel message. Mr. Graham would be among the first to take a stand against anything that would threaten to weaken or discredit the truth of the Gospel.
Our prayer is that God, in His wisdom and mercy, will assist you as you seek His mind and heart. May God richly bless you.
(1) Graham didn't just make his Universalist statements in a live interview with Schuller (why was he submitting to an interview with a heretic in the first place?) but he also voiced these ideas in at least two other publications at two times a decade apart. There are also at least two other statements such as these out there.
They (the heathen) 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 they are saved, and that they're going to be with us in heaven" (Billy Graham, Straightway, September, 1997. The entire article may be received from the author upon request, http://www.foundations.edu/online_material/straightway/1997/vol25_no9.htm). “I used to think that pagans in far-off countries were lost--were going to hell--if they did not have the Gospel of Jesus Christ preached to them. I no longer believe that. ... I believe there are other ways of recognizing the existence of God--through nature, for instance--and plenty of other opportunities, therefore, of saying yes to God.” (Billy Graham, McCall’s Magazine, 1978)(2) If Graham made these statements publicly then I believe it is incumbent on him to renounce them publicly, not by way of someone in his office defending him. Perhaps he could sign this letter and send it out to everyone with a personal note on some other issues as well. Or better yet, post an apology for these comments on his web site.
(3) Illness is no excuse for changing what you have been preaching. It seems to me that with Parkinson's, senility, Alzheimer's and other mentally debilitating diseases the last thing to go would be the Gospel if you have spent your whole life preaching and defending it.
(4) As I stated before there are other almost as serious problems that have never been addressed such as:
(a) his asking Catholic priests to come to his crusades and counsel those who have made a profession of faith, telling them to go back to their RCC churches. This is not right in light of the mandate of the Great Commission to make disciplesThere is more, but I don't think you can chalk all this up to hydrocephalus problems. It shows to me that he has been hanging out with the wrong people and has absorbed and adopted a number of false ideas. This is why it is important for him to make a statement about these things himself to counteract the damaging effect these public statements and actions have had on his ministry. I gave him the opportunity in 2000. My goal was always to prompt him to state that he was wrong and that he stands by the Gospel and sound doctrine.
(b) his promotion of Alpha Course written by a Latter Rain/Toronto Blessing false teacher
(c) his allowing TBN to air his old crusades thus lending his name and reputation to the myriad of heretics on that network, a network that raises money with lying promises
(d) his calling the pope the "man of the year"
(e) his assertion that heaven may be the wrong place for him to Tony Snow on Fox News
(f) his promotion of the Toronto Blessing directly: Billy Graham, upon observing it (the Toronto Blessing), declared, 'I've never seen so many people come to salvation in such a short period of time.' (Fortean Times, #77)"(3)
(g) his acceptance of other religions, saying he has great fellowship with them: On Larry King Live, January 22, 1997 Graham made these statements: Larry King: "What do you think of Mormonism, Catholicism, other faiths within the Christian concept?" Billy Graham: "Well I think I am in wonderful fellowship with all of them." Larry King: "You’re comfortable with Salt Lake City. You’re comfortable with the Vatican?" Billy Graham: "I am very comfortable with the Vatican." ... etc.
Tit 1:13 .. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith.