Musings on Christian Themes
Graham’s Last Sermon
Billy Graham’s Last Sermon
by C. Matthew McMahon
In a recent survey of a large portion of “evangelical” pastors, they were asked who is the most influential figure in the church today. No, they did not say Jesus Christ. But this is to be expected of those without good biblical sense. Instead, they named Billy Graham.
In what he called his last sermon, Billy Graham sermonized a final time March 11-12 at the New Orleans Arena. His cornerstone saying in every sermon is “God loves you, Jesus loves you.” Billy Graham, is called the famous “evangelist” of the 20th century. However sad the Billy Graham Crusade is about the retirement of their world ridden evangelist, it is a cause of rejoicing for those who know the true Gospel of sovereign grace. For the poor doctrine and the compromising theology is finally at an end, or so we hope. Certainly others have taken his place with as much bad theology as he had, like his son Franklin who is infected with the same heretical theology that Graham had been. But knowing that Franklin Graham will not be as cherished as his father has become a cause of rejoicing for those who hold dearly to biblical truth. We do not need to speak of Graham’s association with Papists, the Masons, or New Age movement. Rather, we simply need to listen to a sermon or two to find his deviant gospel glaring back.
Billy Graham, like Arminius, or even worse than Arminius, herald the same secular man’s religion as the Remonstrance did four hundred years ago. Not only was Graham an avowed Arminian, but he was also the voice of a watered down Gospel; which is no Gospel at all. His theology is not only riddled with error, but his compromises demonstrate the worst sort of heretical teaching. On May 31, 1998 he had a television interview with Robert Schuller (another arch-heretic that the church should be keenly aware), as reported in the May-June 1997, Foundation magazine. Graham said, “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.”
In September 1993, Graham held a crusade in Columbus, Ohio. In a pre-Crusade television interview, Graham said (speaking of the people of Columbus, Ohio): “You’re too good, you don’t need evangelism. … In fact, that’s what kept us from coming [to Columbus] for so long.” Curtis Mitchell, who documented Graham’s invitational preaching, says the following is a typical use of words by Graham, “I am going to ask you to come forward. Up there – down there – I want you to come. You come right now – quickly. If you are with friends or relatives, they will wait for you. Don’t let distance keep you from Christ. It’s a long way, but Christ went all the way to the cross because He loved you. Certainly you can come these few steps and give your life to Him…” Such things are said as he shares his stage with Roman Catholic priests, and boasts of unity at the expense of the Gospel. Billy Graham has made it no small matter that he has aligned himself with an ecumenical spirit surrounding the apostate church of Rome and her wicked priests; which have accompanied him at his evangelistic crusades. It is one thing to invite unconverted Roman Catholics to a gospel meeting to hear the gospel preached, but it is quite another matter to go to a meeting where Roman Catholics, and Roman Catholic priests that are still firmly in Rome, are preaching from the platform.” Similar expressions of Charles Finney’s Pelagianism can be found throughout his years of preaching.
Graham was a revivalist, no doubt, but a revivalist of Finney’s heretical teaching on decisional regeneration, and its destruction of the Gospel. When the stadium is packed with religiously inclined people, and Billy Graham gives the invitation to the masses to come and accept the Lord, where is his theology coming from? When preacher after preacher beckons the people to come to the altar, where are they getting their theology from? Jesus never asked for the multitudes to come forth publicly and show forth a profession of faith, check a box on a card and go home assured of their salvation. The Bible, contrary to Graham, does not say that. One cannot decide to be regenerate on a whim (John 3:1-10), or walk down a flight of stairs towards a man calling them to act on their own accord. Graham has through the years increasingly accommodated error in order to gain greater influence.
Iain Murray, in his book Evangelicalism Divided: A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950 to 2000 (Banner of Truth Trust, 2000), includes two chapters describing Graham’s influence on evangelicalism, and demonstrating his move from a more conservative stance to a willingness to embrace proponents of error and heresy. Billy Graham began as a brush salesman, and the same tactics he used to go door to door to sell Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Jones a brush or two, he has used for years to continue his sales pitch to the ignorant and sentimental.
Yes, Billy Graham preached his last sermon. What do we say to this?
We say “finally.”