Thursday, June 23, 2005

More Christianity on "Larry King"

Christians are making the rounds on "Larry King" and making some curious statements. Billy Graham was interviewed on June 16 and said some confusing things. I love and respect Billy Graham a great deal but he seems to have "mellowed" a bit TOO much the past several years. Perhaps it is the age or the growing illness with which he suffers. I don't want to cast any dispersion or put Graham in the same category as King's previous guest (see below) but the world's "premiere evangelist" really should take more of a stand for the doctrine of salvation. Read an excerpt below or go here for the entire transcript:

KING: And do you think he loves the people of 9/11, the people in the planes on 9/11 as much as he loves you?
GRAHAM: Yeah, he does. He does. I can't explain 9/11, except the evil of man. I think that there is a force in the world, a force of evil. There are two great forces, God's force of good and the devil's force of evil, and I believe Satan is alive and he is working, and he is working harder than ever, and we have many mysteries that we don't understand.
KING: Does God love him?
GRAHAM: Does God what?
KING: Satan. Does he love Satan?
GRAHAM: Well, he created him as Lucifer. In the 22nd of Ezekiel, it tells us about it, and he must love him, but the end of Satan is hell. Hell was created for the devil and his angels, or his demons, not for men.
I struggle with how to interpret that.
KING: But what about those faiths -- the Mormons and the others that you mentioned -- believe in Christ. They believe they will meet Christ. What about those like the Jews, the Muslims, who don't believe they ...
GRAHAM: That's in God's hands. I can't be the judge.
KING: You don't judge them?
KING: How do you feel...
GRAHAM: ... going to hell and all that.
KING: How do you feel when you see a lot of these strong Christian leaders go on television and say, you are condemned, you will live in hell if you do not accept Jesus Christ, and they are forceful and judgmental?
GRAHAM: Well, they have a right to say that, and they are true to a certain extent, but I don't -- that's not my calling. My calling is to preach the love of God and the forgiveness of God and the fact that he does forgive us. That's what the cross is all about, what the resurrection is all about, that's the gospel. And you can get off on all kinds of different side trends, and in my earlier ministry, I did the same, but as I got older, I guess I became more mellow and more forgiving and more loving. And the Jerry Falwells and people like that, I love them, I thank God for their ministry, he has a great university and two or three of my grandchildren have gone there, they have had a tremendous change in their lives for being there, and some of the other people are the same way, but at the other end of the extreme.
A little later in the interview . . .
KING: But -- your Franklin once said, he was very critical of Islam. He called it evil and wicked. How did you react to that?
GRAHAM: Well, he has my views and I have mine. And they are different sometimes. I told him from the very beginning that there would be times when he would have to take his own positions. But he doesn't hold that position now. I think he said it off the cuff somewhere some years ago.
KING: After 9/11?
GRAHAM: I think so.
I care a great deal about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Every Christian should. I love Billy Graham but I love the Gospel more. I hope we can agree that there is just too much left unsaid in this interview.

The hard truth is that the Bible very clearly says that man is lost and his only hope is faith in Jesus Christ. We don't have to "have an opinion" on that. The Bible makes that statement as a statement of fact. This is the heart of the Gospel, and it was not at all clear in Dr. Graham's interview. I don’t think that this man believes that there is more than one way of salvation, but the interview seems to imply that people of other faiths might be okay after all.

And that is NOT the Gospel. If people can get to heaven apart from the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, then Jesus truly did die for nothing.

Why are we so scared to repeat the words of Christ: "No one can come to the Father except by Me."


bru said...

As for the hell part (created for Satan, not man), the Bible says that it was created for Satan and his angels. However, the Bible also tells us that the wages of sin is death and that the end of those who die in their sin is eternity in hell. God doesn't will that any would perish (spend eternity in hell) but that all would come to repentance (my paraphrase). As for the gospel, it is simple, there is no way to be forgiven of your sin and therefore be put back into right relationship with God so that you can spend eternity with him except to come by faith. I too am a little disappointed that Mr. Graham wasn't more firm.

Brian Pestotnik said...

I too have been greatly disappointed by Billy's comments within the last few years. I don't know if his age is a factor along with his Parkinson's or not but he has become very soft on critical theology. I think his theology was clear when he was young- now it is questionable. In the Sunday Charlotte Observer I saw a quote that I agreed with- in his heart he is a universalist but he is not in his mind- paraphrase. If I was a non-Christian having seen his interview I would not have known my need to hear the gospel at a crusade/revival in blistering heat.