Dr. Graham preached a clear and accurate gospel for many years and for that I praise the Lord. I spent several months studying his history and must admit that Billy Graham is a rather complicated man. Dr. Graham’s fall into ecumenicalism should be a warning to all Christians and Christian authors and speakers to guard their steps lest we become a victim of pragmatism and compromise.
I admit, I still love watching those old 1960s and 1970 crusade sermons by Dr. Graham. Yet, while I so appreciated his proclamation of the gospel, I also must report on his part in opening the door to a religious trojan horse.
Hosting a national radio program five days a week for many years allows me to hear from lots of people who call in to the program as well as from those who email me. For many years I wrongfully ignored the warnings that many people would send concerning Billy Graham’s history. To be honest, I just did not want to believe that the man whom I had watched on television since the age of three had chinks in his armor.
On a table sitting to the right of me as I write this book is a little, black, leather-bound copy of the New Testament. I received this New Testament as a Christmas gift on 12/25/72. I was 3 years and eight months old when this Bible was given to me by my parents. By the age of four, I was standing on a black, wooden picnic table in our back yard “preaching” to the neighborhood kids I had assembled. I had learned this from not only attending church, but from watching Billy Graham on television.
Many years later, a friend invited me to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association headquarters in downtown Minneapolis. I was taken into the private office of Billy Graham. This was the office that Dr. Graham would use when he was in town. I was encouraged to sit at this desk, to which I did not hesitate. A few years later I had the opportunity to attend a Billy Graham crusade in the Minneapolis Metro Dome.
Perhaps it was because I grew up with such respect for Dr. Graham that I refused to hear criticism of him or his ministry. Perhaps even now as you read this chapter you are feeling the same way I once did. If so, I completely understand. However, I finally came to a point where I knew that the importance of the gospel and the protection of the gospel must outweigh my personal feelings. In other words, I must be committed to Biblical principles above personalities. This change in my thinking about Dr. Graham began in 2007 when I saw a recording of his appearance on the television program of Robert Schuller. Graham’s appearance on Schuller’s “Hour of Power,” was extremely disappointing to me. I had written about the heresy of Schuller for many years and was always pained when I would see evangelicals giving him credibility by appearing on his television broadcast.
The interview between Robert Schuller and Billy Graham included these exchanges:
Dr. Schuller speaks, speaking to Billy Graham. "Tell me, what is the future of Christianity?"
Dr. Graham: "Well, Christianity and being a true believer, you know, I think there's the body of Christ which comes from all the Christian groups around the world, or 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."
"What God is doing today is 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 they have and I think they're saved and they're going to be with us in heaven."
Dr. Schuller: "What I hear you saying is that it's possible for Jesus Christ to come into a human heart 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?"
Dr. 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, have never heard of Jesus but they've believed in their hearts that there is a God and they tried to live a life that was quite apart from the surrounding community in which they lived."
Dr. Schuller: "This is fantastic. I'm so thrilled to hear you say that. There's a wideness in God's mercy,…”
Dr. Graham: “There is...there definitely is.” [footnote #1]
I remember that many people believed that it was Graham’s old age that caused him to proclaim such a message that is contrary to Biblical truth. I, too, wanted to believe that was the cause. Unfortunately, my research and the research of very Godly men such as Dave Hunt and Iain Murray, has revealed to me that in fact, since at least 1957, Billy Graham deliberately chose a path of ecumenicalism. As I will document in this chapter, I believe it was Graham’s chosen path that aided in opening the door to the religious Trojan horse that is in the center of the evangelical camp today.
To those who believe that Graham’s comments to Robert Schuller on The Hour of Power in May of 2007 was an isolated incident, please know that in 1978 in an interview in McCall’s magazine, Graham was quoted as saying:
[Quote] I used to believe that pagans in far countries were lost if they did not have the gospel of Christ preached to them. I no longer believe that. [End Quote, Footnote #2]
The sad reality is that if one speaks truth about the history of Dr. Graham, they are blacklisted. In 2011 and early 2012, a man who has spoken for Worldview Weekends many times was convinced by the New Religious Right and neo-evangelicals to not speak for our largest conference held each year in Branson, Missouri. The reason for this “blackballing” of me was because I had been such a vocal critic of the New Religious Right entering into a spiritual enterprise with New Age Mormon Glenn Beck, and several spiritual enterprises with the false prophets of the New Apostolic Reformation. The man that had built his radio and ministry reputation on being a bold contender was told if he spoke for us, his daily radio program would be cancelled from a national “Christian” radio network. The bold contender acted in a wretched manner and folded like a long, skinny, cheap suit. The censorship that truth tellers in America have and are experiencing is not currently coming from the government or secular press, but largely from “Christian” radio and TV networks and through the peer pressure coming from the New Religious Right and neo-evangelicals.
I never believed this individual would compromise for personal gain or to maintain the approval of the religious establishment, but he did. Please understand—should the Lord not return soon, Biblically committed Christians will increasingly find themselves being betrayed by family and “friends” they never thought would betray them—or more importantly—betray the gospel.
A Fork in the Road
It appears that in 1957, Billy Graham and his ministry came to a fork in the road, and sadly, I believe Graham chose the road to the left. As Iain Murray documented in his book, Evangelicalism Divided:
[Quote] Graham accepted an invitation to hold a crusade in Manhattan, New York, in 1957. It was not the venue which made this projected crusade unusual, important although the location undoubtedly was. It was rather that this would be the first Graham crusade in North America to accept the sponsorship of non-evangelicals…The sponsors for the 1957 [crusade] were the Protestant Council of the City of New York which meant, in the words of one impartial commentator, [footnote #3] ’cooperation with a group that was predominantly non-evangelical and even included out-and-out modernists. It also meant sending converts back to their local churches, no matter how liberal those churches might be.’ [End Quote, footnote #4]
Today, the culture is largely dominated by postmodernism, which is the belief that truth and reality are created by man, not God. Postmodernists believe that whatever works for an individual is what is true for them. Prior to postmodernism, there were modernists. Modernists believed that truth was not found in the pages of God’s Word, as a reflection of God’s character and nature, but truth was discovered through science and human reason. Modernists deny essential Christian doctrines and promote higher criticism to the Bible.
Before we move on, I think it is important for you to know about Iain Murray. Murray was the assistant to Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Jones was the assistant physician to the royal family in London, England before he went into seminary and became the pastor of historic Westminster Chapel and an internationally known defender of the gospel from liberalism. In Iain Murray’s must read book, Evangelicalism Divided, he writes:
[Quote] …Graham was anxious to have as Chairman at the World Congress of Evangelicalism, planned for a European venue in the mid-1960s. It was well known that Lloyd-Jones, although personally friendly towards Graham, had been the only British evangelical leader who had not given his support in 1954-5 – [to Billy Graham’s London Crusades] a fact which undoubtedly troubled the BGEA. [End Quote, Footnote #5]
From years of personal observation and years of knowing many national Christian leaders and pastors, I can personally testify that most were not actual leaders, but followers. The desire to be included as part of the group, to be an “insider,” to sit on the platform or to be invited to speak at major evangelical functions, to have their book endorsed by their fellow hirelings was of most importance. Going against the group and standing for Biblical truth and doctrinal purity was not a price most were willing to pay if the cost was being seen as an outsider, a troublemaker, harsh, or as “over the top.” Having personally been branded with such adjectives for not going along with the ecumenicalism of today’s neo-evangelicals and the New Religious Right, I have great respect for the boldness of Dr. Lloyd-Jones to not “file in line” with the other British evangelical leaders.
Iain Murray writes that in the summer of 1963, Graham and Lloyd-Jones “talked in the vestry at Westminster Chapel on the subject of the World Congress and, after explaining his position, Lloyd-Jones put [forth] this proposal. [Footnote #6]
[Quote] I said, I’d make a bargain: If he would stop the general sponsorship of his campaigns – stop having liberals and Roman Catholics on the platform – and drop the invitation system, I would wholeheartedly support him and chair the Congress. We talked for about three hours, but he didn’t accept these conditions. [End Quote, footnote #7]
Not only does history document the fact that Graham was warned of his drift into liberalism and ecumenicalism by Lloyd-Jones, but according to Iain Murray, Graham was also warned by Francis Schaeffer.
William Martin, one of Graham’s biographers has written:
[Quote] He doubtless intended to keep himself and his crusades free from Modernist contamination, but success weakened his resolve. [End Quote, footnote #8]
Graham’s biographer, William Martin, even admits to the fact that the liberals were infiltrating Graham’s crusades for their own gain.
[Quote] As non-Evangelicals watched the streams of people who responded to his invitation, they wanted to channel at least a trickle of them into their own churches. As they saw, it was possible to co-operate with his crusades without having him attack their beliefs from the pulpit, they began to join in the invitations, and when he agreed to come to their cities, to volunteer for committees…Increasingly, and particularly after extensive co-operation with state churches in England, Scotland, and on the Continent, Graham came to accept, then to welcome, then virtually to require, the co-operation of all but the most flagrantly Modernist Protestant groups, such as Unitarians, or such bodies as Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, whose teachings excluded them from both Evangelical and mainline circles. [End Quote, footnote #9]
By no means is Graham the only leader that helped to open the door to the religious Trojan horse. In 1978, it was reported that famed pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, and former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, W.A. Criswell said,
[Quote] I don’t know anyone more dedicated to the great fundamental doctrines of Christianity than the Catholics. [End Quote, footnote #10]
Graham’s Ecumenical Strategy
In 1961, Graham attended the New Delhi Third Assembly of the World Council of Churches. Graham was “directly invited by the World Council.” [Foonote #11] At this conference Graham met Michael Ramsey, a well-known promoter of the ecumenical movement and an Anglo-Catholic priest.
In his book Just As I Am, Graham writes that he said to Ramsey, “Do we have to part company because we disagree in the methods and theology? Isn’t that the purpose of the ecumenical movement, to bring together people of opposing views?” [footnote #12]
As Iain Murray points out in his book Evangelicalism Divided, Ramsey, “did not hold all Scripture to be the authoritative Word of God, nor did he believe such doctrines as the penal, substitutionary atonement.” [Footnote #13]
John Lawrence in his book, Hard Facts of Unity: a layman looks at the ecumenical movement, that:
[Quote] In retrospect it looks as if the Conservative Evangelical movement in Britain crossed the ecumenical watershed at Dr. Billy Graham’s Crusade at Harringay in 1954. [End Quote, footnote #14]
Iain Murray writes that his friend, Pastor Martin Lloyd-Jones “was of the same opinion”. [Footnote #15]
Lloyd-Jones warned, “Here is the great divide. The ecumenical people put fellowship before doctrine. We are evangelicals; we put doctrine before fellowship (Acts 2:42).” [footnote #16]
Why would Graham not heed the Biblical advice given to him by Lloyd-Jones? Murray believes:
[Quote] …to have followed the counsel he had given would have meant a very major reversal of policy. One can only assume from the outcome that he concluded that his work would lose more than it could gain if he cut off the liberal and the developing Catholic support… [End Quote, footnote #17]
In 1982, Graham received the Templeton Foundation Prize for Progress in Religion. [footnote #18] Make no mistake; the Templeton Foundation is an organization that has been committed largely to ecumenicalism and spirituality. Others who have received this award include Mother Teresa (1973), Chuck Colson, (1993), Bill Bright (1996) and numerous Catholics and spiritualists. Interesting that Colson and Bright were both involved in the promotion of the Evangelicals and Catholics Together document, and both were signers of this ecumenical document that was released in 1994.
Hindus, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims and atheists have been on the panel of judges and have been recipients of the prize. [footnote #19]
Why would Colson, Graham, or Bright accept the award and financial prize and thus tie their name to the ecumenical goals of the Templeton Prize unless they had no problem with ecumenicalism?
In his book, Occult Invasion, Dave Hunt writes:
[Quote] We have already noted that one of the most anti-Christian men ever to be accepted as a Christian leader is wealthy money manager John Marks Templeton. He is so obviously an occultist that it is astounding that he could have 'crept in unawares,' yet he has. Templeton offers an annual religion prize larger than the Nobel Prize. [End Quote, footnote #20]
Templeton laid out the goals and objectives of his foundation and Templeton Prize in his writings, which is nothing less than the spiritual evolution taught by New Ager and Jesuit Teilhard de Chardin:
[Quote] Microbes slowly evolved into worms, fishes, reptiles, and mammals. Humans did not appear until forty thousand years ago....According to the Jesuit paleontologist and mystic Teilhard de Chardin [known as "the father of the New Age"]...there came first the sphere of mineral evolution, the geosphere; then the sphere of living things, the biosphere; and lastly the sphere of the human mind, the noosphere....[T]he human mind is so potent...that no one knows what may happen next. Evolution is accelerating...Teilhard called for a new theology...a new, unprecedented religion....Is there evidence that minds are developing into even more miraculous spirits and souls...? As the religious forms of traditional Judaism and Christianity are losing their powers to inform the contemporary mind, the West desperately needs religious geniuses who can create new imaginal forms....Theologians...must begin to explore the vast unseen dimensions of our evolving universe....
The next stage of human divine progress on the evolutionary scale needs...geniuses of the spirit, blazing trails for the rest of us to follow. To encourage progress of this kind, we have established the Templeton Foundation Prizes for Progress in Religion. [End Quote, footnote #21]
In his book, The Humble Approach Templeton wrote:
[Quote] [N]ew research presently has as its focus the development of...spiritual truth [to be] accepted worldwide regardless of the culture or...religions of any geographical or ethnic area…I am hoping we can develop a body of knowledge about God that doesn't rely on ancient revelations or scripture…that is scientific...and is not disputed because of divisions between religions or churches or ancient scripture or liturgy.... The main purpose of the Templeton Foundation is to encourage enthusiasm for accelerating discovery and progress in spiritual matters… [End Quote, footnote #22]
In the same book Templeton went on to lay out his New Age and Hindu belief in pantheism—all is god, and his belief in panentheism—god is in all.
[Quote] God is billions of stars in the Milky Way and He is much more....Time and space and energy are all part of God....God is five billion people on Earth....God is untold billions of beings on planets of millions of other stars....God is the only reality....
God is beginning to create His universe and allows each of His children to participate in some small ways in this creative evolution....God is all of you and you are a little part of Him. [End Quote, footnote #23]
As Dave Hunt accurately explains, for Graham, Colson or Bright to accept the Templeton Price is a major compromise of Biblical truth and, I believe, openly embracing the religious Trojan horse.
[Quote] Colson’s office rationalized his acceptance of this prize by stating that he would use the opportunity to present the gospel. Sadly, he did not do so, and for obvious reason. Simple logic and honesty dictates that it would be a double-cross of gigantic proportions and the worst kind of hypocrisy for Graham, Colson or Bright to accept a huge monetary prize from a man who is thereby hoping to promote all religions, and then to use that occasion to declare that Jesus Christ is the only Savior!
The acceptance of the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion undeniably constitutes a compromise of that very faith once for all delivered to the saints, which true Christians are commanded to proclaim unflinchingly and to defend at all cost. Rather than to accept that prize and thereby to encourage Templeton in his error, Graham, Colson and Bright ought to have presented the truth of the gospel to this deluded man in an attempt to rescue him from a Christless eternity. And what of the multitudes who have been led astray by their acceptance of this prize? We can only pray that even at this late date all three will renounce this pagan honor and return the money to Templeton with interest!
We have devoted much space to this subject in order that there be no doubt what Templeton's prize stands for and the implications of accepting it. Here we have a most astonishing example of a compromising denial of the faith at the highest evangelical levels. Such a betrayal would have been unthinkable even a few years ago. [End Quote, footnote #24]
Truly a sign of the times is that many “Christians” today are not disturbed by the compromise of Biblical truth by evangelical leaders, but are instead disturbed that you and I would point out such compromise that they don’t view as compromise but as being “salt and light” or as “dialoguing” for group consensus.
Graham and the Church of Rome
Far from heeding the advice of Lloyd-Jones, Graham seemed to only accelerate his “ecumenical strategy.” In 1974, Graham held a crusade in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Graham invited his friend and Anglo-Catholic Priest, Michael Ramsey, to speak at the crusade. An interpreter, who was a Presbyterian pastor, was briefed on what Ramsey was going to say and what he would be required to interpret. The Presbyterian pastor, and interpreter, was alarmed and did not want to interpret the message Ramsey planned to deliver. However, Graham was informed of the situation and declared that Ramsey was his guest and the translator would interpret every word. [foonote #25]
Ramsey’s biographer writes that Ramsey’s message to the Billy Graham Crusade attendees was:
[Quote] You cannot come to Christ unless you bring your Roman Catholic brother with you…If you are asked to come forward to testify to Christ, don’t come unless you bring with you a resolve to be more charitable to your Roman Catholic brothers. Don’t come unless you resolve from now on to be doing something about poverty. [End Quote, footnote #26]
Clearly Ramsey, like many of today’s Emergent Church leaders, is tying works and social justice to salvation.
Ramsey’s appearance at Graham’s 1974 crusade is not just one example where Graham was entering into spiritual enterprises with unbelievers, or elevating the Church of Rome. Iain Murray writes:
[Quote] When Graham had the ear of Richard Nixon, during Nixon’s years as president, he could recommend the Roman Catholic Archbishop H.E. Cardinale to speak at a White House service…Graham himself shared a White House service with Rabbi Edgar Magnin and John Cardinal Krol. [End Quote, footnote #27]
Is it possible that Graham’s ecumenicalism dates all the way back to 1944? In his book, Just As I Am, Graham writes of meeting Sheen for the first time in 1944 when they were traveling on the same train. Despite the fact that Sheen was a huge promoter of Mariology, which is the worship of Mary and the belief in salvation through Mary, Graham wrote that he and Sheen had a “common commitment to evangelism.”
[Quote] We talked about our ministries and our common commitment to evangelism, and I told him how grateful I was for his ministry and his focus on Christ. … We talked further and we prayed; and by the time he left, I felt as if I had known him all my life. [End Quote, footnote #28]
Bishop Fulton J. Sheen described the importance of Mary in his doctrine when he said:
[Quote] When I was ordained, I took a resolution to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist every Saturday to the Blessed Mother…All this makes me very certain that when I go before the Judgment seat of Christ, He will say to me in His Mercy: “I heard My Mother speak of you.” During my life I have made about thirty pilgrimages to the shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes and about then to her shrine in Fatima. [End Quote, footnote #29]
How sad that this man did not place his faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone, but believed in a different Jesus—the Catholic Jesus—who must be sacrificed each week in the form of the communion wafer and juice. How sad that he prayed to Mary, who herself needed a savior, and believed that she could help to secure his salvation. Understanding the deadly consequences of these pagan beliefs and works-based religion should cause each of us to have a great burden for sharing the Biblical gospel with family and friends who are deceived by the Church of Rome’s false religion.
By 1967, Graham was receiving an honorary degree from Belmont Abbey, a Jesuit college. The Gastonia Gazette reported Graham’s comments that night included:
[Quote] The gospel that built this school and the gospel that brings me here tonight is still the way of salvation. [End Quote, footnote #30]
Graham, in his book Just As I Am, writes of such meetings as his “ecumenical strategy.” [footnote #31]
Graham himself is documented as having said, “I have no quarrel with the Catholic Church,” [footnote #33] and that was not only backed up by words but by deeds.
In 1977, Graham held one of his crusades on the campus of Notre Dame. In the June 3, 1977 Issue of Christianity Today they reported that:
[Quote] In Graham’s sermons were of the type that audiences around the world have heard, with only a few more references to such Catholics as Bishop Fulton Sheen and Mother Teresa of Calcutta. [End Quote, footnote #33]
Later that year Graham held a crusade in Manila, the Philippines and once again Christianity Today reported on that crusade and published:
[Quote] We didn’t know what to expect when we came here because the Protestant population in the Philippines is very small. But during the crusade we have seen some of the greatest unity among churches that we’ve ever experienced, and we have received marvelous support from the Catholic Church. [End Quote, footnote #34]
In his book Just As I Am, Graham wrote of accepting an invitation to participate in a service with Pope Paul II, but that an unexpected invitation to China kept him from being able to participate in the service. [Footnote #35]
There is a reason that the Church of Rome has worked so closely with Graham’s crusades, and I believe it is because, like the World Council of Churches, they wanted to use Graham for their ecumenical goals. As long as Graham did not call out the heresies of the Church of Rome or of the protestant modernists, both heretical groups were happy to use Graham, and I believe Graham was happy to use them if it meant filling stadiums. But was it perhaps more than Graham using the Church of Rome to fill his stadiums or was it that Graham actually saw no major difference between his beliefs and those of the Church of Rome? In a 1978 issue of McCall’s magazine, Graham was quoted as saying:
[Quote] I’ve found that my beliefs are essentially the same as those of orthodox Roman Catholics. [End Quote, footnote #36]
Iain Murray sums it up this way when he writes:
[Quote] From all this it is clear that, while Graham has professed no change in his doctrinal beliefs, he had come to accept the primary ecumenism that there is a shared experience of salvation in Christ which makes all differences of belief a secondary matter. [End Quote, footnote #37]
The problem is that while Graham was professing one thing with his mouth, his actions were professing something different altogether. The question Graham seemed to not ask himself was, “do the Church of Rome and the protestant modernists follow the Jesus Christ of the Bible?”
The Church of Rome, the liberal neo-evangelicals, and the cults do not follow the Jesus of the Bible despite what they profess. All of these religious groups have redefined Jesus, and if you re-define Jesus you also re-define the gospel. However, Graham did not seem to believe this, and therefore saw no need to contradict Catholicism, but to embrace it.
[Quote] My goal, I always made clear, was not to preach against Catholic beliefs or to proselytize people who were already committed to Christ within the Catholic Church. Rather, it was to proclaim the gospel to all those who had never truly committed their lives to Christ. [End Quote]
It is for this very reason that the Apostle Paul warns:
2 Corinthians 11:3-4: But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!
Indeed many have put up with “another Jesus” and “a different gospel” of today’s false religions in order to gain a bigger following. However some did not just “put up with it” but have come to the conclusion that many of today’s false religions are in fact following the Jesus of the Bible. Writing of Billy Graham, Iain Murray declares:
[Quote] Whereas the co-operation had first begun out of a desire to gain an entrance for the gospel in other religious circles, it was now discovered that the saving gospel had been with the non-evangelicals all the time. [End Quote, footnote #38]
Graham himself admitted that “The ecumenical movement has broadened my viewpoint.” [footnote #39]
William Abraham, a church history professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, was quoted in the St. Louis Dispatch on October 10, 1999 as saying:
[Quote] “The bravest thing" that Graham did was follow his father-in-law's lead and work ecumenically with main-line Protestant leaders, Abraham said. That widened his appeal. Graham's father-in-law, The Rev. Nelson Bell, was a Presbyterian missionary to China and became the first editor of "The Christian Century." "Initially, Graham was a blue-chip fundamentalist, but after his (1949) crusade in L.A. he decided he would break with the fundamentalists," said Abraham. "Founding 'The Christian Century' magazine made him pivotal in encouraging The New Evangelism Movement. [End Quote, footnote #40]
On April 5, 2005, Graham appeared on Larry King to talk about the death of Pope John Paul II. In this interview Graham assured the audience that the Pope was in heaven.
KING: There is no question in your mind that he is with God now?
GRAHAM: Oh, no. There may be a question about my own, but I don't think Cardinal Wojtyla, or the Pope -- I think he's with the Lord, because he believed. He believed in the Cross. That was his focus throughout his ministry, the Cross, no matter if you were talking to him from personal issue or an ethical problem, he felt that there was the answer to all of our problems, the cross and the resurrection. And he was a strong believer. [footnote #41]
I believe that comments like this from Billy Graham have confused millions of people. My heart breaks for those trapped in the Church of Rome that hear such words and are left to believe that their soul is secure because they, too, have embraced the Jesus of the Church of Rome. How many millions have been led to hell by preachers and “Christian” leaders who have compromised Biblical truth in order to not appear intolerant in today’s pluralistic world?
While God is the finally judge of who is truly saved at the point of their death, we can know from the doctrine that if someone proclaims this, indeed they are of Jesus Christ. Jesus spoke of false teachers and tells us that we are to study the fruit of one’s doctrine to see if they are of Christ in Matthew 7:15-20:
[Quote] Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.” Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”
So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. [Quote]
I hear people often speak of how many millions Graham has led to the Lord, and I do believe that many did hear a clear gospel from Graham in his early ministry and even in his later years. When God’s Word is preached, it is His Word and the Holy Spirit that convicts of sin and reveals to sinners their need to repent and surrender their life to Jesus Christ. Thus, regardless of Graham’s theological and doctrinal failings, if the Word of God is preached, God can use it in spite of our faults, or the faults of Graham, and for that I am thankful.
However, I fear that Graham also led many astray, and this is a warning to all of us to guard the gospel and to be willing to suffer for the gospel when we lovingly explain the false Jesus of the cults, the false Jesus of the Church of Rome and the false Jesus of the New Age Movement, lest we, too, compromise for the sake of popularity or acceptance and leave unbelievers self-assured in their sin and condemnation.
As we have documented in a previous chapter, Pope John Paul taught that those who practiced voodoo could continue in their occultism and be a Catholic. We see that the Pope praised Hinduism and many other false religions. The Pope embraced the false Jesus of the Church of Rome and sadly, their Jesus does not save. Unless this man, in the final days or hours of his life, rejected the false Jesus of the Church of Rome and placed his faith and trust in the Jesus of the Bible and repented of his sins, his fate was the fate of all who reject Jesus Christ—an eternity in hell. While this may shock some readers, the Bible is very clear on this issue in Acts 4:12:
“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Is it possible that Graham embraced the Church of Rome because the Church of Rome embraced him and there were benefits for each in this relationship? Could it be that there were agents of the Church of Rome that made Graham a household name and thus Graham sold out to the Church of Rome in return?
Researcher, author, national-radio host and documentary producer Chris Pinto explores this possibility when he writes:
[Quote] Among the chief agents of the papacy are the Knights of Malta. It was two very powerful Knights of Malta, William Randolph Hearst and Henry Luce who made “Billy Graham” a household name. Hearst was the founder and president of a newspaper empire… It was Luce, along with Hearst who are said to be most influential in making Graham the chief spokesman of Protestant Christianity. This is odd when one considers that both Hearst and Luce were members of a devout Catholic order that openly declares its purpose is “service to … the Holy Father (i.e. the pope).”2 Was it their intent to create a kind of “Protestant Pope” to guide the beliefs of non-Catholics? Whether they intended this or not, that is exactly what Billy Graham would become. [End Quote, footnote #42]
Christianity Today has reported that Catholics, at Graham crusades, “usually make up the largest single denomination group” [footnote #43] Graham himself stated “We’re delighted that the Roman Catholic Church now cooperates with us wherever we go.” [footnote #44]
Church of Rome Counselors at Graham’s Crusades
I had heard from several sources that the Graham crusades, for many years, had included members of the Church of Rome as counselors to those who came forward for the “invitation”. I also heard that the contact information of those that came forward and were identified as being a Catholic were directed back to members of the Church of Rome for follow up. As I researched these claims in preparation for writing this chapter, I was stunned at the volume of news reports that indeed confirmed this. I have only included a few such reports for this chapter. For example, the June 29, 1979 issue of Christianity Today reported that:
[Quote] Prior to the crusade, there had been a controversy over Roman Catholic involvement ... when the crusade executive committee announced that inquirers would be referred to participating Catholic churches. ... Finally, a compromise was reached: any Catholic inquirers would be directed to nondenominational nurture groups where they would be encouraged to make up their own minds about church membership. [End Quote]
However, in September 1979, The Christian Courier of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, published the following report on the Milwaukee Crusade:
[Quote] Sister Maureen Hopkins, Director of the Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission of the Milwaukee Roman Catholic Archdiocese, and a liaison member of the Crusade committee, reported that 120 people have volunteered within the Catholic community to help her with the task of contacting each of the 3,500 inquiries. Sr. Maureen received the names and telephone numbers from the Crusade Committee, based upon the inquirer’s indication of having a Catholic background on his inquiry card. ... All 3,500 were immediately invited to a Eucharistic celebration which was held on August 16 at St. Theresa’s Church in Milwaukee. The Mass was attended by more than 400 people. The primary purpose for the Mass was to remind the inquirers that their commitments to Christ should be nurtured within the sacramental framework of the church. [End Quote]
Concerning a crusade in Vancouver, British Columbia, the October 5, 1984, the Vancouver Sun reported:
[Quote] If Catholics step forward there will be no attempt to convert them and their names will be given to the Catholic church nearest their homes [End Quote, footnote #45]
Christianity Today reported on December 11, 1995 that Graham’s Sacramento, California crusade had:
[Quote] A total of 303 Protestant and 38 Catholic churches participated in the event. [footnote #46]
In Billy Graham's early years as a traveling evangelist, some Catholic priests told their parishioners to stay away from Graham's crusades. The Rev. Robert Schwartz remembers those days well. And he's glad they're over… Schwartz's congregation, St. John Neumann of Eagan, is evidence that Graham's word is heard in the Catholic Church. St. John's is deeply involved in the Greater Twin Cities Billy Graham Crusade via the massive training sessions for crusade volunteers. For example, about 60 parish members were among the 700 people at the training session at the church Wednesday. “I haven't heard anything I would disagree with,” Schwartz said. “But there are somethings I would add, such as a social justice component, the Eucharist and liturgy, the importance of sacraments - those kinds of things.” [End Quote, footnote #47]
The St. Louis Review documented that in 1991, Graham’s St. Louis crusade was co-sponsored by the St. Louis Archdiocese and involved 300 to 400 parish volunteers. [footnote #48]
Just as the World Council of Churches were said to be using Graham to help build their churches, the Church of Rome seemed all too eager to use Graham to bring Catholics back home to the Church of Rome. An article in the May 12, 1996, St. Paul Pioneer Press reported:
[Quote] Regardless of differences in interpretations, The Rev. Martin Fleming, director of the office of evangelism for Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, says the Graham crusade has the full support of Archbishop Harry Flynn. The crusade will be one way to return disenfranchised Catholics to the church. [End Quote, footnote #49]
Based on this article, it seems clear that it is not only disenfranchised Catholics that the Church of Rome was hoping to attract, but also Protestants.
[Quote] Schwartz said that when conservative Christians come to his church on Wednesday evenings for the Christian Life and Witness training, many are apprehensive about entering a Catholic Church. “They have to tell me how strange it is to be in a Catholic church and how hard it was to come inside,” Schwartz said. “The good thing is they are there, sitting there in a Catholic church.” [End Quote, footnote #50]
The goal of using Billy’s 1996 St. Paul, Minneapolis Crusade to bring Catholics back to the Church of Rome was repeated by Archbishop Harry Flynn in the January 13, 1996 issue of the Pioneer Press as well when the paper reported:
[Quote] Archbishop Harry Flynn, head of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, has urged priests to become involved in the crusade in an effort to reach alienated Catholics. Quie [former Governor of Minnesota that was involved in the crusade] said Catholics have been very involved in recent crusades in Miami, Cleveland and other cities. [End Quote, footnote #51]
Perhaps Graham had representatives of the Church of Rome at his crusades because he did not disagree with much of the theology and doctrine of the Church of Rome. In a January 1997 interview with Larry King, Graham said he and the Pope, “agree on almost everything.”
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.
KING: You like this Pope?
GRAHAM: I like him very much. ... He and I agree on almost everything. [footnote #52]
In an October 10, 1999 interview with a reporter with the St. Louis Dispatch, Graham showed little concern if people chose to attend a Bible teaching church or a Catholic Church.
[Quote] My responsibility is to preach the Gospel to everyone and let them choose their own church, whether it is Catholic or Protestant or Orthodox or whatever it is. And to me that's between an individual and a church and God. [End Quote, footnote #53]
Lack of Knowledge and Commitment to Theology
I believe a Christian is only as sound as his theology and doctrine. Sadly, I believe Billy Graham was very lacking in his theological studies and depth. In fact in an interview with the St. Louis Dispatch, October 10, 1999, Graham admitted, “I am not a theologian.”
Biblical theology and Biblical doctrine is what brings discernment, and most self-professing Christians are lacking in discernment because they are lacking in a basic understanding of and commitment to Biblical theology and doctrine.
Iain Murray writes of Graham’s theological ignorance when he wrote of:
[Quote] …his apparent innocence and ignorance with regard to the destructive theological views of the religious leaders whose recognition and approval he often sought. Orthodox ministers who knew him were alarmed at his naivety in this respect. [End Quote, footnote #54]
Graham’s biographer, William Martin, writes of an exchange that took place at Cambridge University in 1955 that further reveals Graham’s doctrinal ignorance.
[Quote] At one address a divinity professor who introduced him pointedly noted that he ‘could not agree with his doctrinal views’. Graham countered this chill-inducing remark with a smile and observed that he did not pay great attention to theological differences. ‘We are all Christians’ he said, ‘and we love one another.’ [End Quote, footnote #55]
Grahams’ ignorance of worldviews and theology was certainly on display in a May 30, 1997 interview with David Frost when Graham declared:
[Quote] I think Islam is misunderstood, too, because Mohammed had a great respect for Jesus, and he called Jesus the greatest of the prophets except himself. And I think that we’re closer to Islam than we really think we are. [End Quote, footnote #56]
Did Graham not know that the Jesus depicted in the Koran is not the Jesus of the Bible? The very description of the Jesus of the Koran reveals that it is not the same Jesus of the Bible. While Graham speaks of Mohammed calling Jesus the greatest of the prophets except himself, does Graham not realize that this Jesus of the Koran was a prophet of Mohammed, a prophet that was said to have prepared the way for Mohammed? This statement alone should dispel anyone’s disbelief that Graham was anything but educated in theological and worldview issues.
Straw Man Alert
The neo-evangelicals for many years have tried to marginalize and characterize those who take issue with their ecumenicalism and spiritual enterprises with false teachers as being legalistic, fundamentalists. Defending the faith from false teachers and obeying God’s clear instructions of not uniting in spiritual enterprise with false teachers as found in 2 John 9-11, 2 Corinthians 6:14 and Romans 16:17 is not being legalistic, but Biblical Bereans.
Richard Land of the Southern Baptist convention told a caller on his radio program one day that fundamentalists want to isolate and separate themselves from the culture and evangelicals want to engage the culture. Uniting with false teachers is not engaging the culture but confusing the culture and it is damaging the gospel.
Not raising the flag above cross, not uniting in spiritual enterprises with false teachers, not participating in ecumenical activities, but contending earnestly for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints is not withdrawing from the world or being an isolationist, but being a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ.
Just as the term “evangelical” has been destroyed by the neo-evangelicals, they have also distorted the original meaning of the word “fundamentalists.”
Indeed, some fundamentalists have been too harsh and even legalistic. However, the term fundamentalist is now often used as a pejorative by neo-evangelicals to try and discredit their critics because they cannot refute the Biblical facts that reveal their compromise and sin. Unable to attack the Biblical message, many neo-evangelicals are desperate and afraid of being unmasked, and thus they attack the Berean messenger.
When Billy Graham was interviewed by David Frost on May 30, 1997, he referred to “fundamentalists” as intolerant. I, and the 50 million murdered by the Church of Rome, do not believe that holding fast to the pattern of sound doctrine (2 Timothy 2:13), makes one intolerant.
As Iain Murray correctly points out, one can proclaim truth and be loving at the same time; but make no mistake, proclaiming truth that is unpopular, politically incorrect and contrary to the modernist and postmodernist heresies is not unloving, but the most loving thing one can do.
[Quote] As Christians, it is said, we do not want to be party to the kind of strident controversy which has too often marred the faith. Dr. Billy Graham has often blamed ‘fundamentalists’ for this fault. But the fact that what the New Testament says on love has been ignored is no reason why its injunctions against error should not be obeyed. That some have followed these injunctions in a contentious spirit is no excuse for others not to follow them at all. A biblical contending against error is fully consistent with love, indeed, it is love for the souls of men which requires it. The command to contend for the faith is not abrogated because some have failed to speak truth in love. There would appear to be a far more probable reason for the contemporary absence of opposition to error. It is the way in which the instrumentality of the devil in corrupting the truth has been so widely overlooked…Instead of believers in the apostolic age being directed to listen to all views ‘with an open mind’, they were told how to ‘test the spirits, whether they are of God’ (I John 4:10). For there are ‘deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons’ (I Timothy 4:1); false teachers ‘who will secretly bring in destructive heresies’ (2 Peter 2:1). There are words which ‘spread as a cancer’ (2 Timothy 2:17). [End Quote, footnote #57]
Perhaps Iain Murray explains best the transformation that took place in Graham’s life and ministry that led to Graham helping to lead the religious Trojan horse into the camp of evangelicalism:
[Quote] Subsequent history was to show that a lack of apprehension of danger, a determination only to be charitable, and an increasing commitment to ecumenism, were to corrode the convictions which had initially been part of Graham’s leadership in the new evangelicalism. [End Quote, footnote #58]
Murray further explains that in his view:
[Quote] …many, if not all, of these changes were brought on by ‘political’ or pragmatic thinking. I do not mean that the move away from principle was deliberate. The temptation was more subtle. The spiritual gains appeared substantial yet an ethos developed in which one concession led to another. No one thought that the sending of the names of those who made ‘decisions’ back to Roman Catholic churches would lead to Billy Graham being prepared to share a platform with the Pope, but it did. [End Quote, footnote #59]
In the book, The Assimilation of Evangelist Billy Graham into the Roman Catholic Church. Ewin Wilson writes:
[Quote] For some unexplainable or even mysterious reason, Billy Graham is unable to discern the theological, moral, and spiritual soul of Roman Catholicism. Likewise, he has failed to grasp, or worse still, has chosen to ignore the historical character of the entire Vatican system. Instead, he has chosen to become attracted, impressed, and finally to honor and follow the Holy See. The result has been a tragic failure on his part to understand the difference between the truth of God's Word and the utter blackness of Roman Catholicism … [End Quote, footnote #60]
Please understand this was only one chapter. Entire books have been written with incredible documentation that cover additional quotes and history beyond what I have covered. One only needs to put Billy Graham’s name into a search engine and you will find video clips that will allow you to hear Graham in his own voice as he proclaims some of the most doctrinally disturbing things while on the TV program of Robert Schuller, Larry King, and sitting with David Frost.
So the question posed by the title of this chapter is: Did Billy Graham help open the church door for the religious Trojan horse? Sadly, I believe the evidence can only lead one to answer yes. While Graham is not the only one who has assisted in opening the church door to ecumenicalism and another Jesus and another gospel, few have had the media attention, church attention, fame, credibility and following as that of Billy Graham.
While some outside the camp of evangelicalism have brought a religious Trojan horse inside the camp, I believe Graham was perhaps the leading member inside the camp of evangelism who made evangelicals comfortable with this Trojan horse. I believe that not only did Graham make evangelicals comfortable with aspects of the Religious Trojan horse, he made those that warned about false teachers and ecumenicalism seem extreme and unreasonable and that is a legacy that I believe more and more Biblically minded Christians are realizing.
One lesson committed Christians can learn from this chapter is to make sure that our testimony does not give credibility to the various aspects of the religious Trojan horse.
1. Bill Graham appearing on the Hour of Power with Robert Schuller, May 31, 2007.
2. William C. Martin, Prophet with Honor, pp. 576, 712. The Graham quotation was in an article by James Beam in the January, 1978 issue of McCall’s.
3. Iain H. Murray, Evangelicalism Divided: A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950 to 2000, p. 29.
4. George M. Marsden, Reforming Fundamentalism, (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company) April 5, 1995, p. 162.
5. Iain H. Murray, Evangelicalism Divided: A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950 to 2000, p. 75-76.
6. Ibid; p. 76.
7. Murray, D. M. Lloyd-Jones: The Fight of Faith 1939-1981, p. 440.
8. William C. Martin, Prophet with Honor, p. 218.
10. David Beale, Southern Baptist Convention, House on the Sand? Pp. 142-43; Dallas Morning News, August 19, 1978.
11. A.T. Houghton, What of New Delhi? (London: Bible Churchmen’s Missionary Society, 1962), p. 47.
12. Billy Graham, Just As I Am (London: Harper Collins, 1997), p. 695.
13. Iain H. Murray, Evangelicalism Divided: A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950 to 2000, p. 41.
14. John Lawrence, Hard Facts of Unity: a layman looks at the ecumenical movement, (London: SCM, 1961), p. 68.
15. Iain H. Murray, Evangelicalism Divided: A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950 to 2000, p. 43. (footnote)
17. Ibid; p. 76.
19. Dave Hunt, Occult Invasion
20. John Templeton, as quoted by Dave Hunt in the article, Progress in Religion, posted here: https://www.thebereancall.org/node/5830
21. John Templeton, as quoted by Dave Hunt in the article, Progress in Religion, posted here: https://www.thebereancall.org/node/5830
22. The Humble Approach (1981, revised in 1995), p. 135-139.
23. Ibid; 37-38.
24. Dave Hunt in the article, Progress in Religion, posted here: https://www.thebereancall.org/node/5830
25. Ibid; p. 60. As detailed by Ramsey’s own biographer and documented by Iain Murray
26. Quoted in Evangelicalism Divided by Iain Murray and sourced as coming from the book by Ramsey’s biographer, Owen Chadwick, Michael Ramsey: A Life (Oxford/New York: OUP, 1991), p. 335.
27. Iain H. Murray, Evangelicalism Divided: A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950 to 2000, p. 68.
28. Billy Graham, Just As I Am (London: Harper Collins, 1997), p. 692.
29. Fullton j. Sheen, Treasure in Clay, p. 317.
30. The Gastonia Gazette, November 22, 1967
31. Billy Graham, Just As I Am (London: Harper Collins, 1997), p. 450.
32. William Martin, Prophet with Honor: The Billy Graham Story, p. 223
33. Christianity Today, June 3, 1977.
34. Christianity Today, December 30, 1977.
35. Billy Graham, Just As I Am (London: Harper Collins, 1997), p. 599.
36. McCall’s, January 1978,
37. Iain H. Murray, Evangelicalism Divided: A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950 to 2000, p. 69.
38. Ibid; p.69.
39. Curtis Mitchell, Billy Graham: Saint or Sinner,(F. H. Revell Company, 1979) p. 220.
40. FOR MILLIONS OF PEOPLE, HOW GRAHAM PREACHES IS AS IMPORTANT AS WHAT HE'S PREACHING. By Patricia Rice, October 10, 1999, BG4
41. Billy Graham: Pope John Paul II Was "Most Influential Voice" in 100 Years posted at: https://www.cbn.com/spirituallife/BibleStudyAndTheology/Perspectives/ANS_PopeGrahamCaviezel.aspx
42. Chris Pinto, Billy Graham and Rome posted here: http://www.adullamfilms.com/BillyGrahamRome.html
43. Kenneth Kanztzer, Christianity Today, November 18, 1988.
44. The Portland Catholic Sentinel, September 25, 1992.
45. Vancouver Sun, October 5, 1984
46. Christianity Today, December 11, 1995, posted here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/1995/december11/5te062.html
47. CRUSADING CATHOLICS//TWIN CITIES CHURCHES TRAIN VOLUNTEERS FOR REV. BILLY GRAHAM'S SUMMER STOP HERE. BYLINE: Clark Morphew, Staff Writer May 12, 1996, Section: Metro Edition: Metro Final, Page: 6B
48. St. Louis Review, September 27, 1991.
51. GRAHAM VOWS TO ATTEND LOCAL CRUSADE, BYLINE: Clark Morphew, Staff Writer, January 13, 1996
Section: Metro, Edition: Metro Final, Page: 2F
52. The Larry King interview and the interview with David Frost can be seen online at this url: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f68IgZruyNI
53. A CONVERSATION WITH BILLY GRAHAM THE WORLD'S BEST-KNOWN EVANGELIST DISCUSSES FAITH, HIS GRANDCHILDREN AND WHAT HE CONSIDERS TO BE HIS MOST IMPORTANT CRUSADE. By Patricia Rice, October 10, 199, Page BG3
54. Iain H. Murray, Evangelicalism Divided: A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950 to 2000, p. 65.
55. William Martin, Prophet with Honor: The Billy Graham Story, p. 190.
56. Billy Graham being interviewed by David Frost, May 30, 1997, posted here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f68IgZruyNI
57. Iain H. Murray, Evangelicalism Divided: A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950 to 2000, p. 260-261.
58. Iain H. Murray, Evangelicalism Divided: A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950 to 2000, p. 66.
59. Ibid; p. 304.
60. The Assimilation of Evangelist Billy Graham into the Roman Catholic Church, by Ewin Wilson p. 22 – as quoted by Biblical Discernment Ministries article: Billy Graham: General Teachings/Activities