But as I said in my previous article, Protestant Leaders Praise the Pope of Rome, it’s not surprising that Charismatics sing the pope’s praises. What more could be expected, for example, from a man so fond of spouting utterly false doctrine and outright heresy as Benny Hinn? Charismatics have set aside the Bible as the only rule of faith, and have embraced the unscriptural idea that the Lord is still speaking through “prophets” and “tongues-speakers” today; and this is essentially the position of Rome itself. With Rome it’s “the Bible plus.” With Charismatics it’s “the Bible plus.” They’re precisely the same here. Both reject the written Word of God as the sole rule of faith and practice. So they already have common ground, a shared starting-point. In the early days of the Pentecostal movement, many Pentecostal preachers spoke out against the Roman Catholic religion. But in the 1960s and afterwards, when the Vatican very cleverly began to claim that many of its priests and nuns were now “prophesying” and “speaking in tongues”, the Pentecostals and Charismatics started to receive them as “brothers and sisters in Christ.” After all, they reasoned, if Roman Catholics are “exercising the gifts” just like us, who are we to reject them? They did not “try the spirits” by the standard of the written Word of God, but by the fact that they were now doing the same things: babbling in supposed “tongues”, performing supposed “healings,” etc.
So it is not at all surprising that Charismatics like Benny Hinn speak well of the pope of Rome. What will be surprising to many, however, is the number of so-called “Evangelicals” who did so. And yet in truth this should be no more surprising: for those who are termed “Evangelicals”, for the most part, long ago departed from the truth of God’s Word, and embraced all kinds of errors and false doctrines.
Billy Graham was in the very front of the queue when it came to heaping praise on the head of John Paul II (what he said was quoted in my article, Protestant Leaders Praise the Pope of Rome). And not to be outdone, his example was followed by his preacher children, Franklin Graham and Anne Graham Lotz (yes, a woman preacher contrary to the Scriptures, whom Billy once described as “the best preacher in the family” – although this isn’t saying much. But it certainly shows that even in this matter, as in so many others, Billy is as unbiblical as it’s possible to get).
Franklin said that John Paul II preached the same gospel as he does. Well, that says volumes about the so-called “gospel” preached by Franklin Graham! For we know that John Paul did not preach the Gospel of Christ, but rather the Roman Catholic “gospel”; so if Franklin preaches the same “gospel”, then he preaches essentially the “gospel” of Rome! It may be a very watered-down version, but by his own admission this is the “gospel” he preaches.
As for Anne, she told the press that she was certain John Paul II was in heaven. Her famous Dad made the statement on Larry King Live, aired on April 2 this year, that there was no question in his mind that the pope was in heaven, so Anne was simply echoing his sentiments. Both are deceived and spiritually blind.
Anne represented her father at John Paul’s funeral, and Franklin was to represent him at the coronation of the new pope. Billy Graham said on Larry King Live, “I don’t have the physical strength to go, and I have been invited. I was invited about six or seven months ago by the Vatican ahead of time. And they’ve asked that I come. So I’m asking my daughter, Anne Lotz, to go…. And then my son, Franklin, will be going to the enthronement of the new pope” (Friday Church News Notes, April 22, 2005. Fundamental Baptist Information Service). It doesn’t worry Billy in the least that he spoke of the enthronement of a man he claims is a Christian leader! Where in all of Scripture do we read of the enthronement of a true Christian pastor? Such language is the language we reserve for monarchs, not ministers; potentates, not pastors! This is of course precisely what the Roman popes are: the successors of the ancient emperors of Rome. He is indeed a monarch, but he is not a Christian minister. But Billy has no problem accepting that the pope is both. He sees nothing strange about the enthronement of one who claims to be God’s servant!
The very influential and falsely-called “Evangelical” magazine, Christianity Today, was founded by Billy Graham, so it is not surprising to read the following words of praise for the late pope by an executive editor of the magazine, Thomas Oden: “John Paul II opened the door in ways that had not been opened before for Protestants, especially for evangelicals, to see that their doctrines, although they differ in many ways, have important levels of similarity between them. I regard this as a work of the Holy Spirit in our time to bring the Christian community and all of its different manifestations worldwide into a greater proximate unity as the body of Christ…. I really don’t think that the project we call Evangelicals and Catholics Together could have occurred without John Paul II.” He also said that “the 1.1 billion Catholics certainly are a very significant part of [the] worldwide body of Christ.” He met John Paul II in the Vatican in 2004, to present him with the results of InterVarsity Press’s Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, of which Oden was general editor (Friday Church News Notes, April 22, 2005. Fundamental Baptist Information Service).