We received the following letter regarding the gospel preached by Billy Graham (and many others):
I have dear friends who are Pentecostals and Charismatic. I am not but do not presume they are not believers because they do different things than I. I have talked about this subject with them as I have written it here. None outwardly disagree with me and would voice it if they did.
My experience with these people has been that they tend to be emotionally driven. Standard, boring, evangelicals tend to be more reliable, consistent and far less sensitive. My friends tend to put great emphasis on a man for leadership. That, in itself, is dangerous, because depending on a man will inevitably lead to disappointment as that man will eventually and inevitably let you down. Every one of these friends has experienced and expressed great disappointment in man. They also carry the hurt forward. Leaders are necessary and called on by God. If you are called to lead, lead. If to follow, follow. We all have our giftedness and we should exercise what He has given.
I bring these things up, because I read your critique of Billy Graham. I will not dispute what he has or has not done. We really don’t know. I have heard him say “Praise the Lord” in public. I have listened to him and he speaks the Gospel as clearly as I have heard. However incomplete you may think that it is, Billy gives a simple, to the point presentation of what you can do on your death bed 60 seconds before last rattling exhale. The Gospel, in it’s basic form, must be as acceptable in that last minute as it is in the first minute of realization of the need at the tender ages of first understanding. We do not know the time or the hour that we are called to the earthly end. How can we be ready at all times in our life if it could take a lifetime to get ready.
Yours sounds as though works is a part of the Gospel to me. Maybe you do not agree with works but, if not simple and fast, works is merged and therefore contaminates God’s perfect plan.
My upbringing taught that works and faith (grace) could not be separated. Not by faith alone, but works must be integrated to prove your faith.
That last moment is when it can be started and finished or we are all doomed.
Greetings in the Lord Jesus Christ,
It finally appears that I have opportunity to answer your letter, Tim, and I’m thankful, particularly because I have an answer for you, not from man, but from God. The deathbed conversion gospel you attribute to Graham as being so clear and capable of bringing salvation to those who receive it is a lie. It is not the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Rather, it is a false gospel that gives those who receive it a misleading sense of assurance.
The gospel preached by Graham (and so many others) is the cause of much sin, blasphemy, and devastation. It is responsible for the bloodshed of multitudes. I’m not exaggerating. I’ll back up what I’m saying with godly reason and Scripture of truth.
First, to clear the air of your concern about what we preach, we aren’t preaching works, but the Lord Jesus Christ, with faith in Him through repentance (a gift of God), and obedience to Him as Lord of all. Without the works born of repentance that comes by grace, there is no evidence of the true faith of Christ being present. As it is written:
James 2:17-23 MKJV
(17) Even so, if it does not have works, faith is dead, being by itself.
(18) But someone will say, You have faith, and I have works. Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith from my works.
(19) You believe that there is one God, you do well; even the demons believe and tremble.
(20) But will you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
(21) Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
(22) Do you see how faith worked with his works, and from the works faith was made complete?
(23) And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness, and he was called the friend of God.”
So where is Graham’s error? Contrary to what you think, he is the one that preaches salvation by works, a work initiated by the will of man, and the flesh, that of “accepting” Jesus Christ as your “personal Savior.” Let us be clear about this: It is not man who accepts God, but God Who chooses, draws, and saves those whom He wills, by His mercy and grace. It has nothing whatsoever to do with anyone ever accepting Him. Those who think to have something from God in that manner have only that which is manufactured by religion and flesh.
“You have not chosen [accepted] Me, but I have chosen you and ordained you that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatever you shall ask of the Father in My Name, He may give it to you” (John 15:16).
“No one can come to Me unless the Father Who has sent Me draw him, and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44).
“For having been drawn to Him [His doing, not man’s], a Living Stone, indeed rejected [not accepted] by men, but elect, precious with God…” (1 Peter 2:4).
“As it is written: There is none righteous, no not one; there is none that understands, there is none that seeks after [accepts] God. They are all gone out of the way, they have together become unprofitable, there is none that does good, no, not one” (Romans 3:10-12).
“Herein is love, not that we loved [accepted] God, but that He loved [accepted] us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).
“But God, Who is rich in mercy, for His great love with which He loved us (even when we were dead in sins) has made us alive together with Christ (by grace you are saved), and has raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God [you didn’t accept Him; He gives you the gift of faith to believe on Him]” (Ephesians 2:4-8).
“Accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior” is unscriptural, and doesn’t require or produce the true works of faith by those who profess to accept Him, without which, there is no salvation. It proclaims man to be in the driver’s seat and puts the onus on him to make the move towards God, which is self-righteousness. This designates man as God’s superior, the opposite of what the Lord has said and of what the Scriptures teach. It is not God that needs acceptance from us; we need acceptance from Him:
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, so that where I am, you may be also” (John 14:3 MKJV).
“Therefore come out from among them and be separated, says the Lord, and do not touch the unclean thing. And I will receive you and I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18 MKJV).
“Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him” (2 Corinthians 5:9).
“If you do well, shall you not be accepted? And if you do not well, sin lies at the door. And unto you shall be his desire, and you shall rule over him” (Genesis 4:7).
“But in every nation he that fears Him, and works righteousness, is accepted with Him” (Acts 10:35).
“For he that in these things serves Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men” (Romans 14:18).
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19).
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).
I ask anyone to show me one Scripture where it says that you need to “accept Christ as your personal Savior.” What did John the Baptist say about this matter? He was the “voice crying in the wilderness” sent to prepare the way of the Lord. Did he say that he accepted Jesus Christ as His personal Savior, or that you should? No, he said:
“I indeed baptize you with water, but He Who is mightier than I comes, the thong of Whose sandals I am not worthy to loose. He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire…” (Luke 3:16).
And what were his first words to the people? He said:
“Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2).
And what did he have to say to the religious of his day, who came out to hear him? He told them:
“O generation of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy [acceptable] of repentance; and do not think to say within yourselves, We have Abraham as our father. For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones” (Matthew 3:7-9).
How many of you religious would listen to such speech today, without utterly condemning the speaker? How many would submit themselves to the admonishment and scrutiny of a prophet preaching, not in your cushy churches, but in the wilderness of Judea? Not many at all.
And why not? Because you’ve been taught a false gospel, which has told you that you were saved when you “accepted” Christ. That gospel, in effect, says, “Forget bringing forth fruits that are worthy of repentance; there is no need to because you’re saved and therefore accountable to no one for correction.” Where there is some accountability, as with a church, it’s to those you’ve hired to do your bidding. Consequently things are kept superficial, light, and unreal.
The false gospel of “accepting” Jesus Christ, of which Billy Graham has been one of the greatest proponents, doesn’t teach the requirements of a Holy God. It is not born of faith, but of the flesh, which it serves. This tenet, rather than bringing those who adhere to it into the Kingdom of God, is used to shut out God, His Word, His servants, and His judgments. You have nullified all that He says and does by this one pernicious idea that because you “accepted” Christ you’ll now go to Heaven. You fulfill the Scripture, the words of the very Lord you profess to believe in:
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the Kingdom of Heaven against men. For you neither go in, nor do you allow those entering to go in” (Matthew 23:13).
The false gospel of “accepting” Christ puts salvation into the future, after death. You fulfill your part by “accepting” Christ, and He’ll fulfill His part by changing you after death. Now, there is some truth here, because our salvation does come after death. However it comes not after physical death, but death to the world by identification with the cross of Christ.
The false gospel altogether bypasses the cross, the only way to Heaven. The false gospel, which says you will go to Heaven if you accept Christ, and to Hell if you don’t, blinds those who receive and believe it to every evil imaginable in the present. You want proof? Billy Graham, the greatest proponent in the past generation of this false gospel, praises the pope as a godly man, and sanctions those “converted” at his evangelical “crusades” to go to the Catholic Church, if they wish. He is willing to send the sheep to the wolves; it makes no difference to him. Why? Because he himself doesn’t know the true Lord and Savior, and neither does he know wolves from sheep. He is a wolf.
Regarding the Catholic Church, as an example of Graham’s traveling buddies, has there been a more bloodthirsty and disreputable organization in the history of mankind? Check your history books to find out. Meanwhile, I tell you that all other churches Graham sanctions as clean, acceptable, and necessary for the faith of a new believer, are no different in essence. You are all one, part of that great whore John wrote about in Revelation, who is drunk with the blood of the saints. Yes, you praise the prophets and apostles, and the Lord Himself, even naming your churches after them and Him, and thereby fulfill the words of the Lord Jesus Christ:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets, and decorate the tombs of the righteous, and say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Therefore you are witnesses to yourselves, that you are the sons of those who killed the prophets; and you fill up the measure of your fathers” (Matthew 23:29-32).
The false gospel of Graham teaches people not to fear (reverence) God. It teaches them that if they accept God, He’ll accept them. It talks about God as love, not as His love truly is, but as a treacherous love that accepts men in their sins and lies, which bring death. It is a gospel of having your cake and eating it too, with all its artificial and processed ingredients, the vital nutrients taken out, making what was intended to be food, poison.
The love of this false god and gospel is nothing more than the love of the world. “You love me, and I’ll love you. We can all get along, if we ignore what that tyrant God demands of us, and accept each other.” The preachers of this gospel are at one with the world, freely mingling with its organizations and governments, and receiving its praise. Truly, you false Jesus worshipers don’t hate the world; you love it with the love of your false god and gospel. God doesn’t call that love. He calls it lust (fornication):
“For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies” (Revelation 18:3).
God sends His messenger to warn and exhort those who would be saved from this perverse generation:
Revelation 18:4-8 MKJV
(4) And I heard another voice from Heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that you may not be partakers of her sins, and that you may not receive of her plagues.
(5) For her sins joined together, even up to Heaven, and God has remembered her unjust deeds.
(6) Reward her as she has rewarded you, and double to her double, according to her works. In the cup which she mixed, mix double to her.
(7) As much as she has glorified herself and has lived in luxury, so much torment and sorrow give her. For she says in her heart, I sit as a queen, and I am not a widow; and I do not see mourning at all.
(8) Therefore her plagues will come in one day, death and mourning and famine. And she will be consumed with fire, for the Lord God who judges her is strong.
“And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all those who were slain on the earth” (Revelation 18:24 MKJV).
Certainly, you can say you have your standards, Tim, but rather than justifying you in the sight of God, those things you do and consider godly condemn you, because they’re the works of the flesh, and of the righteousness of man. You have a form of godliness in your Sunday schools, sermons, Bible teachings, studies, and many works, but you deny the power of God by substituting those things He despises for those things He requires.
The question then is: What does He want? He wants your heart, not your lips. He wants reality, not church and religion. He wants a pure people who worship Him in spirit and truth, rather than a mixture of worldliness and spirituality, which is utterly repulsive and corrupt in His sight. Didn’t He destroy the “Christian”/heathen mixture in Noah’s day?
He wants us to love Him, which means we identify with Him, the Truth, speaking and living it in the midst of a wicked and corrupt world, at the cost of our lives. He wants us to bring His righteousness and blessing to all people. The false gospel of Billy Graham and many others, which represents another Christ made in the image of carnal man, brings the wrath of God on all who touch it and participate in it. It’s true. Look around, and see how all you religious are perishing. Is Parkinson’s disease, one of several conditions from which Graham suffers, the favor of God and the fruits of His righteousness in man? What? Is God a liar?
“And he said, If you will carefully listen to the voice of the LORD your God, and will do that which is right in His sight, and will give ear to His commandments, and keep all His Laws, I will put none of these diseases upon you, which I have brought upon the Egyptians; for I am the LORD Who heals you” (Exodus 15:26).
Does God, or do we, wish for Graham to perish? Not at all. We aren’t willing that any should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance. Therefore we speak His Word, for which purpose He sends us, and we know that the Word we speak won’t return to Him empty.
Watch what happens from this day forward, Tim. What has been hidden has been promised to be made manifest, and so it is. The Lord is no longer looking the other way at your ungodly works and hard things you speak against Him.
It’s on account of false gospels that Jude exhorts us to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints:
“For certain men crept in secretly, those having been of old previously written into this condemnation, ungodly ones perverting the grace of our God for unbridled lust, and denying the only Master, God, even our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:4).
Of such is Billy Graham, who, along with countless others, perverts the grace of God into wanton lawlessness. Among other things, these people commend pagan practices in the name of Christ, such as Christmas and Easter, while denying the God-given Sabbath by substituting Sun-god day worship, as taught and instituted by the pagan Roman emperor Constantine.
Constantine used the Catholic Church and the Name of Christ to establish dominion over a citizenry which followed the pagan custom of keeping Sunday. He, in union with the Catholic Church, outlawed the Sabbath and supplanted it with Sunday to placate his subjects, thereby implying that men have the power and ascendancy over God and His Immutable Law.
Accepting Jesus as your personal Savior is just another manifestation of the teaching that the power of men prevails over God, and in the final analysis, that men can do as they please, because they are “saved.” No wonder those who follow this false gospel in the Name of Christ are found doing whatever is right in their own eyes, with the confusion that ensues causing the heathen to scoff at His Name.
This is the work of Mystery Babylon, the whore mentioned in Revelation 17. Babylon, which comes from the word “babble,” connotes confusion. Is it a mystery to you how this could be done in the Name of Christ? It needn’t be, and won’t be when you repent.
Satan comes as an angel of light. However, his kingdom is divided and does fall. We are calling on all to repent, to turn from vain and false gospels and christs unto the true Lord Jesus Christ, Who says:
“Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Luke 13:24).
And: “Go in through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there are who go in through it. Because narrow is the gate and constricted is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
Tim, I have not directly responded to your thoughts about following men, or who is right, “standard” evangelicals or Pentecostals and Charismatics. However, I can say this: If people follow Jesus Christ they won’t be divided by doctrine, but will be united in Him. Sectarianism is satanic. Those who are Christ’s will follow true men of God, those shepherds appointed by Him, and not hirelings and self-promoters.
They’ll have no fear of being too dependent on man, because the shepherds of God look to Christ for their sufficiency, and teach the sheep to do so as well. They’ll forsake other christs and gospels, selling all they have buy the truth. They will submit themselves to the Lord Jesus Christ and to each other, taking up the cross to follow Him. They’ll walk as Christ walked, and will be found accepted by God, because they are born of Him, and in Him.
They will be His workmanship and not their own:
“For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10 MKJV).
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ; according as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He has made us ACCEPTED in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:3-6).
There are several writings on our website that will answer you more completely. I recommend:
The Big Lie Exposed
The Baptism in the Holy Spirit
The Case for Coming Out
Here Is the Way It Is
The True Marks of a Cult
Law and Grace
Contending for the faith and the true gospel that was once delivered to the saints, by which men are saved from all false gods and gospels of men who have corrupted the truth and made God into their own image,
A reader responded to this posting. See our answer, given for all:
The Gift of Faith
The only way a person can believe in the Lord Jesus Christ is by godly faith, and this faith isn’t something a person naturally has – it’s a gift from God. Therefore anyone who truly believes in Christ (not only as a matter of doctrine, but according to a supernaturally-changed life), then it’s because God planted faith in that person, not because the person accepted God or His gift. When you plant a seed in the ground, you don’t say the earth accepted it.