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1 Corinthians 15:33

Evangelical icon worshippersthose who have not already skedaddled, that iswill be relieved to know that this will probably be my last mention of Billy Graham for the present time.

Compromise with people of all theologies was a common thread running through Billy Grahams ministry. In the effort to garner support for his evangelistic crusades, it seems there was no heresy he was not willing to let slide. As time passed, it was not merely his associations that were unorthodox; as the following account* of his embrace of inclusivism will demonstrate, his thinking was altered as well.

image   Achieving common ground with the Roman Catholicism is one of the things for which Mark Noll commends Graham. But agreement with non-evangelicals has gone still further. In 1978 McCalls magazine quoted Graham as having said, I used to believe that pagans in far countries were lost if they did not have the gospel of Christ preached to them. I no longer believe that. That statement alarmed supporters BGEA and Christianity Today was quick to claim that the evangelist had been misquoted. Subsequent disclosures would appear to show that it was Grahams paper rather than McCalls which was inaccurate, for a Graham interview with Dr Robert Schuller on 31 May 1997 put the matter beyond doubt. Schuller has attained fame as the promoter of a liberal self-esteem gospel which he preaches in his Crystal Cathedral in California. In the course of his discussion with Graham, conducted by means of a television link-up, Schuller asked for the evangelists view on the future of Christianity. Graham answered by giving his belief about the final make-up of the body of Christ. That body would be made up, he affirmed,
imagefrom all the Christian groups around the world, outside the Christian groups. I think that everybody that loves or knows Christ, whether they are conscious of it or not, they are members of the body of Christ. And I dont think that we are going to see a great sweeping revival that will turn the whole world to Christ at one time. imageI think James answered thatthe Apostle James in the first Council in Jerusalemwhen he said that Gods purpose for this age is to call out a people for his name. And that is what he is doing today. He is calling people out of the world for his name, whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world or the non-believing world, they are members of the Body of Christ because they have been called by God. They may not know the name of Jesus but they know in their hearts that they need something they do not have, and they turn to the only light they have, and I think that they are saved and they are going to be with us in heaven.
   Surprised by this, Schuller was anxious for clarification: What, what I hear you saying, that its possible for Jesus Christ to come into human hearts and soul and life, even if they have been born in darkness and have never had exposure to the Bible. Is that a correct interpretation of what you are saying?

Yes, it is, Graham responded in decided tones. At which point, his television host tripped over his words in his excitement, and exclaimed, Im so thrilled to hear you say this: Theres a wideness in Gods mercy. To which Graham added, There is. There definitely is.

Iain Murray, Evangelicalism Divided (Banner of Truth, 2000), 7374.

* Those who doubt the veracity of this account can easily find video of the Graham-Schuller exchange on YouTube.

Posted 2010·08·19 by David Kjos
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Posted in: Bad Theology · Billy Graham · Church History · Evangelicalism Divided · Iain Murray · Robert Schuller
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