Let me start by saying:
2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:”
15Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. 16And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” i John 4:2 and 15
I do not have a bit of admiration for Billy Graham. I have never watched him preach on tv or elsewhere. I’ve never listened to his old sermons. I know who he is; he is a registered Democrat, a liberal pastor who has preached to millions of people and several US presidents. I know that Billy Graham once stated that there were/are many paths to God and in doing so pluralized God and widened the Ecumenical road to hell. I know that there is high speculation that Billy Graham is/was a Mason. I know that Billy Graham has revered a few Pontiffs which is again in my view heretical and ecumenical. Billy Graham is highly influential in Crusade evangelism and hence grew close to the Calvary Chapel movement and many pastors in Calvary Chapel. I know that every time I hear “Billy Graham” referenced in church (and it’s happened at every church (and one women’s retreat) I’ve ever attended, often if not every time in a positive) I cringe and can only think of the detriment he’s caused. Stating all this, admitting my bias against Billy Graham, I still wanted to watch this ‘show’ to hear what he had to say for his last public sermon. I am after all a wannabe journalist, someone who seeks to provide the news story whether I agree or not, but I’m also a very biased blogger and I have the right to also state my perspective.
Thus I set out and I watched the above Youtube video. I did not watch the show that aired on who knows what channel so if this thing was longer I am unaware.
Setting the obvious aside Billy Graham presented the Gospel of Jesus Christ without deviation and both of the personal testimonies did as well. (not yet getting to the gritty bits and pieces of where some of these people hang their hats–wait for it people)
I’ve gotten a lot of comments condemning me for exposing things about Calvary Chapel and Chuck Smith et.al., and I’ve been wanting to write a piece in response to that issue; however, I’m still thinking about it. For now some of what I would have said in regards to Mr. Smith can be applied to Mr. Graham as well. Is Billy Graham my brother in Christ? Is he a false prophet, a false professor, a heretic? I bid you revisit 1 John 4:2 and 15. I’ll let you think about that one. If he is my brother I’m told I must love him as a brother in Christ:
20If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also. 1 John 4:20
I do love God. I do not hate my brother(n) or my sisters in Christ. I love those who are completely and totally saved-born again-regenerate people but don’t look like me or fit the mold I think they should. I love even those who are in Christian cults (like Calvary Chapel) where Christ is preached and the Gospel proclaimed; and although some are saved, they are then fed false doctrines, teachings, and teachers . Prayerfully as they grow in Christ and read His word they will see and hear and get discernment and leave. I love my brothers and sisters at Calvary Chapels all across this planet. Is that clear enough?
I will go a step further than that, and say, “I also love my enemies.” Yes, I love my enemies. My God also commands me, beside loving my brothers and sisters in Christ, I must also love my enemies who seek to destroy me.
“38Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. 41And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 42Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
43Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:38-48
If Billy Graham, Lecrae, and Lacey Sturm (Flyleaf lead singer) are all not saved and they are lost, then I must love them anyway.
I watched the video, knowing a few things about Billy Graham (and a tiny bit about Lecrae’s background); although I didn’t know who “Lacey Sturm” was at first I know a little about ‘Flyleaf’; and as I watched the video, I tried to focus on what they were saying instead of my preconceived judgment calls. I could identify with both personal testimonies. I was saved from a lot, delivered from many of the same sins, and my growing up was not safe and cushy in a church culture it was the street of hard knocks, a dark place that God rescued me from. I could empathize with their testimonies. I heard clearly sinners who were saved by recognizing that they are sinners and they sounded like repentance was present, praise God. What I don’t understand is how someone can meet a great and Holy God and continue to look so dark and continue to stay in that dark lifestyle, propping up images of death and symbols reserved for Satan’s minions. Despite my coming from a “liberal, evangelical, non-denominational” church at my beginnings, I was still impressed that yes, God makes all things new and the old man (in my case the old chick who sinned without conviction) is now a new creature; and I put off the old things, and that included my dress, my music, and my paraphernalia. Perhaps I was pendulum swinging, and I went full throttle into being a “Christian” both on the inside and on the outside, but that’s what God did in my life. Over the years I’ve learned to let go of my Pharisaical ways but now I’m just old and dogmatic about things because I’m older and dogmatic about things.
For instance, how do you justify this:
A picture is worth 1,000 words they say, so I’ll let these images do their own speaking.
I get that not everyone can receive the message of Christ from a pew, in a clean sterilized “sin-free” zone. I mean really, there is no such place. I trust that God can call His own in unique ways and when He does it’s always a miracle. I heard the gospel at Calvary Chapel for goodness sakes, my salvation is true and real, I didn’t lose my salvation when I walked out of the dove laden doors. I didn’t have to get saved again; because as I grew in Christ I grew up to an understanding that there were deep rooted false teachers in the system that is Calvary (Chapel), and I most certainly don’t think that everyone who gets saved has to look like me, or talk like me. I’m not better than any of my fellow Christians.
I do think however that Satan likes to keep people chained to darkness although they have had encounters with the light. I do believe children (state of maturity in Christ) need to grow up and get out of feeling the need to prop up pop culture within the church body and show the next generation how to become mature Christians. Getting tattoos and wearing Satanic symbols is not going to preach the Gospel of Christ to the heathen, it only encourages them to stay as they are. Calvary Chapel used a mantra back in the day, I’m not sure if they still say this, “Come as you are,” but that was never a license to stay in a permanent state of defilement!
That young lady Lacey had a beautiful story of redemption. I was impressed by her 180 degree turn to a loving God and recognizing that she was “so not good.” Then as I pieced together that this was the same head singer of fly leaf I was thinking, why does she continue to look so dark and sad and stuck in bondage? Why put on the cloak of all the emotional baggage she claims God delivered her from? I don’t get it, but maybe that’s good.
I scrolled through images of her and noticed that her tattoos change and appear and disappear in different photos. Is it merely an image, a facade, acting? Certainly she was dramatic in the Billy Graham video and she apparently is very often emotional. (fruit of self control?) The hanging of the hat with elk like “The Whosoevers?” I think there’s a verse about bad company corrupting good morals. The Whosoevers emblems are down right demonic and another blogger has written sufficient enough about them that I don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
See here. http://galatiansfour.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-whosoevers-christian-band-and-their.html (and there are much more on the same site)
If this is Billy Graham’s last sermon, extracting what his company said and who they are, the message of what Christ did for us on the Cross is true. It’s a shame that you have to muck through all this other stuff. The unsaved person wouldn’t know a lick about Flyleaf, or Lacey Sturm, or understand or question Lecrae’s emblem on his shirt in this piece. The lost person won’t understand why a supposed Christian Pastor who proclaims Jesus Christ alone is shown shaking hands with the Pope (Paul ll now deceased), or ever heard that Billy Graham once stated “All roads lead to Heaven.”
If this is all the sinner saw and heard, I pray they heard the Gospel, the Word of God that was strategically interwoven through the mud and that God’s two edged sword, His word, His love penetrated through the marrow and the despair and saved a soul. Jesus Christ does want to save the Lost, to redeem the cold hearted sinner and give new life to people who are dead in their trespasses. Get to the Cross of Calvary, meet Jesus, know that he died for you, but he’s not dead; He’s ALIVE! He’s risen! He makes intercession for you. He wants to change all of you in a dramatic way and He can if you allow Him. All this other stuff, the crazy tatt’d up Christians the ones who continue to cry in misery, don’t look to them, look to a victorious Lord and Savior. Learn about who He is from His word.
Articles of interest:
Loving the sinner, the lost, and the misdirected saved born again Christian is not the same as saying the lost unregenerate Christ denier can get to heaven. Saying I love my brothers and sisters in Christ doesn’t translate to me endeavoring with them in their false teachings. Love is not license to love them to hell, which is what we do if we do not tell them that there is Only One Way to God the Father and that is through Jesus Christ LORD and Savior. So then, this message of Billy Graham above is not the same as what he’s said in the past:
http://youtu.be/-gtR8rp4ozw Billy Graham says all roads lead to Heaven, even non-believers. That is not the gospel message that is ecumenical at best heretical at worst. It’s a lie from the pit of hell. Did Billy Graham change his tune, back toward a solid gospel? Or is he merely trying to redeem his missteps and false teachings? I don’t have the answer to that.
I do know that Christ warned us of false teachers, rising from among ‘us.’ We are to know them, to recognize them, and know our Bible enough to rebuke false teachings when we hear them.