More Bewildering Statements From Billy Graham
POPE IS GRAHAM'S 'MAN OF THE CENTURY' - Evang. Billy Graham said in a recent interview that he would pick Pope John Paul II as the man of the century (12/20/99 Religion Today). He said the Pope "has brought the greatest impact of any pope in the last 200 years. I admire his courage, determination, intellectual abilities, and his understanding of Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox differences, and the attempt at some form of reconciliation."
GRAHAM WORRIES HEAVEN MAY BE WRONG PLACE FOR HIM - In a Jan. 2, 2000 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.
HEAVEN WRONG PLACE FOR GRAHAM?--Dr. Billy Graham voiced this concern
in a Jan. 2, 2000 Fox News interview
with Tony Snow (see 1/15 CC). George Zeller observes:
1. Graham is indicating by these statements that he does not have or enjoy full assurance of his salvation. How can a true believer think that God may someday say to him, 'You are in the wrong place.' How different from Paul's statements of assurance found in 2 Tim. 1:12, Phil. 1:6 and 2 Tim. 4:7-8.
2. I can imagine a true believer saying this: 'Lord, I know that I am in the wrong place. I deserve to be in the lake of fire to suffer eternal punishment and to be separated from you forever. But by Your wonderful grace you have saved me and redeemed me and I belong to You forever.' But this is not quite what Graham said.
3. Graham, by his words, totally misrepresented the true gospel of God's grace. He gives the impression that whether or not a person gets to heaven depends on how good or how saintly the person has lived. Graham is to be commended for acknowledging his lack of personal righteousness and his lack of goodness but a true believer should also be quick to confess that by the grace of God he is clothed in the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ, and it is only because of Christ that he is fit for heaven.
4. 'I'm not a Mother Teresa.' How can we point to Mother Teresa as an example of someone who is saintly enough to enter heaven? Graham regrets that he has not measured up to her standard of saintliness. This again misrepresents the true gospel. Mother Teresa was a woman who devoted her life to helping those who are poor and needy and suffering and she was a remarkable woman in many ways, but such good works do not contribute in any way to one's salvation or entrance into heaven (see Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5; Rom. 4:1-5). Also if Mother Teresa holds firmly to Roman Catholic doctrine, then it is certain that she herself is not saved and will not qualify for heaven. Why would any Bible believer point to a good Roman Catholic as an example of a person good enough to get to heaven? What the Roman Catholic Church teaches about how a person can get to heaven and what the Bible says about [it] are diametrically opposed.
5. What an opportunity Graham lost! He was being interviewed on a national network and asked about heaven, and he totally failed to point out God's simple plan of salvation. He failed totally to point to Christ and Him alone as the sinner's only hope. He failed to clearly define God's so-great and so-gracious salvation. The interview was a disaster and totally muddled the true gospel of grace. Can we perhaps blame this on senility or dementia caused by old age or is Graham really this unclear about the gospel in his own mind?