07 August, 2006

Comfortably Known

The current online Newsweek article about Billy Graham is quite startling. Since reading the whole article, I have been hoping that he was totally misquoted. That could very well be and I hope it is true. (Click on the header for the whole article) Quite frankly, I am extremely saddened by many comments and actions that have come from Graham for the past several years.

The problem, perhaps, has something to do with becoming famous. Even the most humble of us would be affected by the continued attention that prolonged celebrity brings. Even Christian evangelists. Perhaps it happens slowly where one, without really thinking it through, starts pleasing men instead of God.

Here are a few paragraphs from the article that concern me:

"There are many things that I don't understand," he says. He does not believe that Christians need to take every verse of the Bible literally; "sincere Christians," he says, "can disagree about the details of Scripture and theology├é—absolutely."

I sure wish he had given examples of this or maybe he did and they were not printed. But this leaves a Mac truck sized gap for new Christians to drive through. Was scripture God inspired? Of course. Does that make it literal? We need more information here. Of course, the media love this! This is their kind of Christian.

Here is another one:

"I've been watching the news from the Middle East full time," Graham says. "I think that history began there, and it is going to end there. The whole Bible is centered in the Middle East and so many of the events that are taking place in some ways already have taken place many times, and my heart goes out to all those people who are suffering on all sides ... I pray for those people constantly-they're on my mind, they're on my heart. I pray that somehow they will find a solution. I'm not sure they will ever find a permanent solution. Christ, who I believe is going to come back, will settle all of those..."

This has to be a misquote. He leaves it open that there could possibly be a solution! Even the Orthodox Rabbi's in Israel know there is no solution and they are not Christians. As one orthodox Rabbi was quoted back in the 70's, "If someone comes to you and says there can be peace in Israel, run away. Because this man is insane...delusional." I wish I could remember this Rabbi's name.

Peace in Israel? This is Bible basics 101. There will be NO peace in Israel until Jesus comes back. What was Graham thinking here? Was this an attempt to be loving so we ignore hard truth? Unfortunately, there is lots of that going around these days.

And a very confusing quote:

Asked about his son's use of the phrase "evil and wicked" in reference to Islam, Graham says: "I would not say Islam is wicked and evil ... I have a lot of friends who are Islamic. There are many wonderful people among them. I have a great love for them. I have spoken at Islamic meetings, in Nigeria and in different parts of the world."

Please, I beg you...tell me this is a misquote! If Islam is not evil, then what is? I just hope he preached the full gospel at that meeting in Nigeria and other parts of the world. What would it mean if he spoke to them but did not preach the gospel?

And finally:

When asked whether he believes heaven will be closed to good Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus or secular people, though, Graham says: "Those are decisions only the Lord will make. It would be foolish for me to speculate on who will be there and who won't ... I don't want to speculate about all that."

He is right about the fact that we will not know exactly who is saved. But we know from the scriptures that we can only come to the Father through Jesus. These Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and Jews, etc. will have to repent and proclaim Jesus as Lord for them to enter heaven. This is a very misleading quote. It leaves it open that God may save people who do not repent and proclaim Christ. Why not take the opportunity to preach the gospel and say that only through Christ can one go to heaven? If this IS a misquote, I hope he puts out a statement clearing this up. Is this the worst form of man pleasing you have ever heard? It makes me want to weep. How many people will be led astray over this quote?

There are more quotes but they are not as earth shaking as the above. He talks about refusing to comment on the ethics of stem cell research and wanting to give President Bush advice on the difference between Sunni's and Shiites but deciding against. He is quoted as 'hating the sin but loving the sinner' a cliche attributed to God that totally is negated by thorough reading of Psalm 5.

As we get older we start seeing people through new eyes. All of us have been disappointed by someone we respected. My disappointment in Billy Graham, I am ashamed to say, started with his New York crusade where he practically endorsed Hillary for President. I won't even mention his edification of Bill Clinton. (I was so upset, I wrote BGEA a letter) At the time I thought...why are they even on the stage? The crusades started looking like man pleasing events to me. Perhaps they always were.

But, as my late mother always told me, "Never put your faith in man. Always put your faith in Christ alone."

You were always right, Mom.


carla said...

These things disturb me too. Especially that picture...that's where I heard him say that his friend Bill could be an evangelist while his wife could run the country...and all the people applauded...and smiled...while the angels furrowed their brows and waited for instructions to send the lightening bolt...or an earthquake...but were told once again to wait...

Lindon said...

Hi Carla, Thanks for stopping by. My cyber pastor, Ken Silva teaches that God is allowing the tares to grow up with the wheat. The question is what you ask...how long will He put up with us?