Many today, including evangelical Christians, are saying nice things about "America's pastor", Dr. Billy Graham after his passing at 99 years of age. While sympathizing with a family that has lost a loved one, it is important to point out that a lot is not being said about Dr. Graham and the ministry he really had. In spite of the eloquent, and often powerful, gospel messages he preached, and those who may have been truly converted to Christ as a result, it would be entirely wrong to overlook - and fail to condemn - the compromise with false religion that was the hall-mark of his evangelistic efforts. Billy Graham was the friend of Rome, Communist dictators in the U.S.S.R., and of liberal theologians, and he allowed those friendships to poison his ministry. Therefore, the damage he did to true evangelistic efforts by others - particularly in reaching Roman Catholics - cannot be under-estimated or over-stated. Nor should it be over-looked just because he has now passed away. Here is just a sample of Billy Graham's sinful compromise over many years:
‚ÄúIt would be difÔ¨Ācult to overestimate Billy Graham's importance in the last 50 years of evangelicalism.‚ÄĚ (Christianity Today, Oct. 5, 1992). ‚ÄúGraham personally embodied most of the characteristics of resurgent evangelicalism. ... de-emphasizing doctrinal and denominational differences that often divided Christians" (Christianity Today, Oct. 5, 1992). When he was an evangelist with Youth for Christ, Graham met Catholic Cardinal Fulton Sheen in 1944. Graham said: ‚ÄúWe talked about our ministries and our common commitment to evangelism, and I told him how grateful I was for his ministry and his focus on Christ. ‚Ä¶ We talked further and we prayed; and by the time he left, I felt as if I had known him all my life.‚ÄĚ (Graham, Just As I Am, p. 692) In 1952 - ‚ÄúMany of the people who have reached a decision on Christ at our meetings have joined the Catholic church and we have received commendations from Catholic publications for the revived interest in their church following one of our campaigns.‚ÄĚ Graham, September 1952, Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph In 1958 - OfÔ¨Ācial follow-up of San Francisco crusade reported that of the 1300 Catholics who came forward, ‚Äúpractically all remained Catholic, continued to pray to Mary, go to Mass, and confess to a priest.‚ÄĚ --Oakland Tribune, Dec. 17, 1958 In 1962 - Sao Paulo Brazil, Catholic bishop stood beside Graham and welcomed inquirers In 1963 - Upon death of Pope John XXIII Graham stated: ‚ÄúI admire Pope John tremendously. I felt he brought a new era to the world. It is my hope that the Cardinals elect a new Pope who will follow the same line as John. It would be a great tragedy if they chose a man who reacted against John, who reerected the walls.‚ÄĚ In 1967 - Graham was awarded an honorary degree from Roman Catholic Belmont Abbey College. He said: ‚ÄúThe gospel that built this school and the gospel that brings me here tonight is still the way to salvation‚ÄĚ --Gastonia Gazette, Gastonia, NC, Nov. 22, 1967 In 1979 - A special Catholic mass was conducted following Graham‚Äôs crusade in Milwaukee as part of the follow-up for 3,500 Catholics who came forward during the meetings. In 1979 - Upon Catholic Bishop Fulton Sheen‚Äôs death, Graham said: ‚ÄúHe broke down walls of prejudice between Catholics and Protestants ... I mourn his death and look forward to our reunion in heaven.‚ÄĚ Sheen had stated that his hope was in Mary. In 1981 ‚Äď Graham visited Pope John Paul II the Ô¨Ārst of three times. In 1982 - 100 priests and Catholic laity were trained to follow-up Graham‚Äôs crusade in Boston. In1984 - Vancouver, British Columbia, crusade vice-chairman David Cline stated: ‚ÄúIf Catholics step forward there will be no attempt to convert them and their names will be given to the Catholic church nearest their homes.‚ÄĚ -- Vancouver Sun, Oct. 5, 1984 In 1987 - From one service alone at the Denver Crusade 500 cards of individuals were referred to St. Thomas More Roman Catholic Church. In 1989 ‚Äď 2,100 Catholics who came forward during London, England crusades were referred to Catholic churches In 1992 - Catholics supplied 6,000 of the 10,000 counselors for the Portland, Oregon, crusade.
This all represents a deliberate, decades-long policy of sinful compromise. The damage done to the cause of Christ, and of true evangelism, by his association and co-operation with false teachers, and especially the wicked system of Romanism is impossible to quantify. But suffice to say, great confusion has been wrought in the hearts of many by the ministry practices of Dr. Billy Graham. He will answer to God for his works, as we all shall.
"Be not deceived: Evil communications corrupt good manners."
Rev. Stephen Hamilton
Rev. Stephen Hamilton is the minister of Lehigh Valley Free Presbyterian Church, Allentown, Pennsylvania.