From thinking it would “elect the Antichrist”, to praising it as a Christian organisation: quite a leap indeed.
In a booklet he wrote in 1970, Graham said that today’s great theologians were men such as Rudolph Bultmann, Karl Barth, Emil Brunner, Reinhold Niebuhr, Paul Tillich, and Carl Henry. Yet these men were outright Liberals! For example, Brunner and Barth were Modernists, and Niebuhr was a Socialist and Communist supporter.
By 1974, when asked at a press conference about his relationship with the WCC, he replied: “As far as I know, we have nothing but the warmest relationships with the World Council of Churches.”
E. Stanley Jones was a famous Methodist Liberal heretic, a man who supported the World Council of Churches, and who denied the biblical doctrines of the virgin birth, the deity of Christ, the Trinity, and the verbal inspiration of Scripture. And yet Billy Graham called Jones, in public, “my good friend and trusted advisor.”
Graham said of arch-heretic Norman Vincent Peale: “I know of no one who has done more good for the cause of the Kingdom of God and the Gospel of Christ than Ruth and Norman Vincent Peale.” Graham also once allowed Peale to give the benediction at one of his rallies, and sent 400 new “converts” to Peale’s church. And yet Norman Vincent Peale advocated “Christian psychology”, New Age and Occult teachings such as visualisation, pantheism, positive confession, etc.; and is on record as having said: “It is not necessary to be born again. You have your way to God, I have mine. I found eternal peace in a Shinto shrine.”
Peale spent his “ministry” serving the kingdom of Satan, yet Graham said he served the kingdom of God more than anyone he knew!
Graham also praised another arch-heretic, Robert Schuller, who denied the need to recognise one’s sin or repent, and exalted the self. Graham called Schuller “a great man of God, whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop and loose.”
His Liberal Doctrines
When asked about Graham’s position on the biblical doctrine of the blood of Christ, W.H. Martindale of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association said in a letter in 1968: “Mr Graham believes we are saved through the blood of Christ, however, this aspect of Christian doctrine he does not emphasize in his messages. This is the duty and prerogative of pastors.” Reader, pay heed to this heresy! It is deadly. If Graham was a true evangelist, he would certainly emphasise this aspect of true doctrine, because it is such an integral part of the true Gospel!
Graham actually taught the heresy of Universalism: that men can be saved apart from the Name of Christ. He believed that people could be saved despite their ignorance of the Gospel or of the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ!
He also refused to “judge” (as he put it) whether people of other religions were going to hell. In fact, on BBC TV he said he did not believe there would be any flame in hell. He is on record as saying: “I used to believe that pagans in far off countries were lost – going to hell – if they did not have the Gospel of Christ preached to them. I no longer believe that.” “I believe that there are other ways of recognising the existence of God – through nature, for instance – and plenty of opportunities therefore, of saying ‘yes’ to God.”
And yet his son, Franklin Graham, speaking at his father’s funeral, said that Billy Graham believed in hell. Well, he may have believed in some kind of hell – but it was not the hell described in the Bible! It was Graham’s own view of it, which was false.
His Support of Communism
In the early years of his “ministry” Graham was prepared to call Communists “disciples of Lucifer”; and indeed he once said, “Today, Communism is the medium through which [Satan] operates to dupe, deceive and delude that large segment of society which has chosen to believe a lie… Today millions are embracing the false religion of Communism.”
But all this changed very soon! Let us see the evidence:
In July 1953, he said that he did not know of any Communist sympathisers in the ranks of the “clergy”, and that this matter was “greatly exaggerated.” Yet there was solid, documented evidence of Communist infiltration into churches, theological schools and Christian publishing houses, available at the time!
He constantly gave respectability to the Communist-controlled Baptists of the USSR. He visited Moscow in June 1959 as a guest of Moscow’s only officially recognised Baptist “Church” – meaning it was State-controlled and pastored by KGB agents.
In 1960, in a campaign in West Berlin, Graham read aloud a message of blessing on his work from Alexander Karev, head of the Evangelical Baptist Union in the USSR – who was a member of the Soviet secret police and a leader in the Communist revolution of 1917!
Graham also developed a close friendship with Martin Luther King Jr., a radical Communist revolutionary. King prayed at some Graham crusades. When Graham heard of King’s assassination, he recalled: “I was almost in a state of shock. Not only was I losing a friend… but America was losing a social leader and a prophet, and I felt his death would be one of the greatest tragedies in our history.” Not a word about King’s Communism, his radicalism, etc.! King was not a prophet of the Lord in any sense. He was a false prophet, a false teacher and preacher, a liar and a womaniser.
In 1970, Graham made the statement that he refused to discuss Communism. “For years I have not spoken about that,” he said. “I cannot go around the world and say who is right and who is not right.”
One would think it pretty obvious that an ideology responsible for the deaths of over a hundred million people in the twentieth century was “not right” – to say the very least!
In 1973 Graham was quoted as having said: “Mao Tse-Tung’s eight precepts are basically the same as the Ten Commandments. In fact, if we can’t have the Ten Commandments read in our schools, I’ll settle for Mao’s precepts.” What an absolutely shocking statement!
Graham’s office denied that he made the statement, saying the reporter (working for an English newspaper in Tokyo) did not speak good English. However, the reporter was actually a native-born American, and she insisted she quoted him accurately.
In 1977 he was invited to preach in Hungary, and the invitation was approved by the Communist government! He was greeted on arrival by the Hungarian government protocol officer. While there he never criticised Communism. And after his visit he said he “regretted his former tendency to equate Christianity with the American way of life and Communism with the work of the devil.”
Certainly he was very wrong to equate Christianity with the American way of life. But he was right to say (in his early years) that Communism was of the devil. Tragically, he changed his tune and lied about Communism for years.
After he visited Moscow in 1982 to discuss peace and nuclear disarmament at a conference run by the KGB-controlled Russian Orthodox religious body, he famously told reporters that he found more religious freedom in the Soviet Union than he expected, and said, “I saw no evidence of religious repression in Russia.” He also said “there are millions of people in the Soviet Union that go to church on Sunday and practice their religious faith” – even as large numbers of Baptist pastors were rotting in Soviet prisons and concentration camps!
As Graham was preaching in Moscow’s State-controlled Baptist “church” building, a young woman unfurled a banner which read, in English: “We have more than 150 prisoners for the work of the Gospel.” Graham claimed that although he saw it, he did not have a chance to read it. He also said while in the Soviet Union that he had “no time” to meet with unofficial religious groups in Moscow – in other words, with the unregistered churches. Yet in truth he had plenty of spare time while there!
In fact, the documented, systematic persecution of Christians in the USSR was so well known that demonstrators held up signs outside the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, which read: “Billy Graham has been duped by the Soviets”, and, “Russian Baptists tortured as Graham praises the torturers.” Graham claimed he had been misquoted. But then again, he would. He served as a highly influential PR man for the Soviet system. How they must have been laughing as he claimed there was religious freedom in the Soviet Union! And pastors continued to languish in Soviet prisons, and to be tortured and killed.