Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
July 23, 1998
Last Updated :
March 1, 2018
The Surety Of Our Salvation, Christ Draws All Men, Every Knee Shall Bow, In Which God Do They Believe, The Antichrist Jews, Jesus Is The Only Door, There Is No Such Thing As Unconscious Salvation, The Father And Son Are A Package Deal, The Devils Likewise Believe, Billy Graham's McCall's Magazine Statement, Natural Creation Can Point Us To God, My Love Of Nature, God The Father Draws Us To Christ, The Core Gospel Message, Fall Of Modern Preachers, Exposure To Foreign Cultures, Many Paths Doctrine: Oprah Winfrey, Ecumenism RCC And One World Religion, True Doctrinal Unity Versus False Worldly Ecumenism, Jesus' Prayer For Unity For His Followers, One Fold And One Shepherd
Continuing our discussion from part two, the Apostle John clearly wrote that we are to know who our Savior is. We are to be sure of from whence our Salvation comes. It is not some nebulous, unconscious decision made by God alone. Yes, He has chosen us from the foundation of the world; but as I already said, I believe it is because He already knows that we will someday choose Him according to His Perfect Will and Plan. In other words, personal choice is indeed involved in our Salvation. As John wrote, we must choose to believe in Christ in order to obtain Eternal Life. Please consider the following verses:
"But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."
John 20:31, KJV
"These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."
1 John 5:13, KJV
"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
Acts 4:12, KJV
"And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."
Acts 16:31, KJV
Based upon all of the Scriptural evidence which I just shared with you, I firmly believe that Billy Graham's statements were indeed dangerous and misleading. They were not based on Scriptural Truth whatsoever. They give the false impression, and very clearly so, that Mr. Graham was stating that if one does not consciously know Christ, or even know His Name, that he can still be saved, simply because God has called him. For the sake of emphasis, Reverend Billy Graham stated "I think everybody who knows Christ, whether they're conscious of it or not, they're members of the Body of Christ . . . They may not even know the name of Jesus . . . and I think they are saved and that they are going to be in heaven with us."
It simply does not make any sense in my mind. How can anyone possibly know Jesus Christ and not be conscious of it? How can anyone be a part of the Body of Christ if one does not even consciously know or acknowledge the Head? Non-English speaking people may not know the exact name of "Jesus" in our English language. However, they will know Jesus' Name in their native language. They will likewise know of the loving Sacrifice which He made for all men everywhere. As our Lord said Himself in the Gospel of John:
"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."
John 12:32, KJV
I believe that is a conscious drawing together of His fold through faith in His Name. It is not some kind of mystical, mysterious, subconscious knowing. It is very conscious, and it is very physical. Sooner or later, either in this life, or at the Judgment Seat of Christ, every knee shall bow, both metaphorically, and physically, at the name of Jesus Christ. Everyone will know what they are doing, as we can see by the following verses:
"For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God."
Romans 14:11, KJV
"Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Philippians 2:9-11, KJV
I can only wonder if Graham was ever publicly challenged after making his erroneous statements. If he was, and if he personally gave a public response to these things, and did not just rely upon his associates to answer for him, I would be very interested to know what he said. I must also wonder if Robert Schuller challenged Billy Graham on live television immediately after he made these misleading statements. The transcript I have read indicates that he did not. If Schuller didn't do this, then I must also wonder why he did not do it.
The final point which disturbs me concerning Billy Graham's statements, is the fact that he seems to further alienate Jesus Christ from the picture of Salvation when he states "I've met people in various parts of the world . . . that have never seen a Bible or heard about a Bible, and never heard of Jesus, but they've believed in their hearts that there was a God."
While Graham states that these people believe in "a God", we must ask ourselves if such people believe in the one and only true God the Father, or if they believe in some other local god or deity to whom they attribute creation and all life and breath. Even if they do actually believe in God the Father, as Bible-believing Christians, we know that just believing in God the Father is not enough. The Jewish elders of the New Testament also believed in God the Father -- at least they claimed to believe -- but were they truly saved? Not by any definition of the word. Jesus very clearly said that they were of their father the devil, as we see by these verses:
"They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham . . . Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it . . . He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God."
John 8:39, 44, 47, KJV
Notice the Lord's key phrases in those statements: "Ye are of your father the devil . . . ye are not of God". Jesus made very clear in the Gospels that believing in God the Father is only half of the Salvation Equation. Because the Jews rejected -- and for the most part continue to reject -- Jesus Christ as being the Son of God, they are all damned unless they repent. As I explain in articles such as "Not Everyone is a Child of God", this harsh reality applies to anyone who knowingly rejects the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no Salvation outside of Christ. To believe otherwise is to contradict the Scriptures.
The Lord, as well as other New Testament writers, have made it very clear that in order to get to God the Father, we must go through Him first. There are no detours. There are no side entrances. There are no secret passageways known only to a few initiated ones such as is promoted by certain occult groups. In short, there are not "many paths" as one very famous female TV personality has told her audiences. We all must enter through the Main Door, the Only Door. That is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the only Mediator between God and man. Please consider the following verses:
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
Matthew 24:24, KJV
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber . . . I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture."
John 10:1, 9, KJV
"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
Acts 4:12, KJV
"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;"
1 Timothy 2:5, KJV
Thus again, we can only conclude that unless we personally make a conscious effort to openly confess our belief in the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we are not truly saved. There is no such thing as unconscious Salvation. There is no such thing as being saved simply because God has chosen us. As we have already seen, if our Heavenly Father has chosen us, it is because He knows that in His appointed time, we will each accept Him by choosing to openly and consciously believe in the Sacrifice of His dear Son.
I cannot emphasize this important point enough. There is simply no such thing as being saved without a conscious knowledge of the Saving Grace of Jesus Christ. This is a false doctrine which contradicts the Scriptures. There is no such thing as being saved simply because we believe in God the Father, or in some other local god or deity. By God the Father's very own design, Jesus Christ His Son is a central part of the Salvation Equation. So we must believe in and accept both of them. The Father and the Son are a package deal, plain and simple. While discussing faith and works, the Apostle James also emphasized this point in his Epistle when he wrote the following:
"Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble."
James 2:19, KJV
Do you see that? Even the devils believe in one God. They all know that God the Father is real. They have seen Him. In fact, as I point out in the four-part series "Is Jesus the Only Begotten Son of God?", they also know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. In the Gospels, when the Lord cast those devils out of the demoniacs, they clearly identified Him as the Son of God, as we can determine by the following verses:
"And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?"
Matthew 8:29, KJV
"And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God."
Mark 3:11, KJV
"And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ."
Luke 4:41, KJV
"When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not."
Luke 8:28, KJV
So why is it that these demons are not saved? It is because they have not submitted themselves to the authority of Jesus Christ. They are in rebellion against God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. They are at war with them. In like manner, these people, whether they are Jews or anyone else, are not saved unless they not only believe in the one true God, but also in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. They must accept the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ as the only valid Atonement for their sins. As Jesus said in the Gospel of John, "I and my Father are one". As with the rebellious Jews, no one can say that they truly believe in God the Father if they reject the Sacrifice of His Son. To reject Jesus Christ, is to reject His Father as well. So as I said a moment ago, they are both a part of the same package. They are like the yolk and the albumen. Consider these verses:
"I and my Father are one."
John 10:30, KJV
"He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me."
Matthew 10:40, KJV
"I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me . . . But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not."
John 5:30, 36-38, KJV
". . . If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me."
John 8:42, KJV
Tragically, as I discovered years ago, it may surprise you to know that Billy Graham's wayward walk from the one true Gospel of Jesus Christ did not begin with his 1997 interview with Robert Schuller. Believe it or not, twenty years prior to that 1997 interview, he was already going off-track in his doctrine. In a 1978 interview which appeared in McCall's Magazine, Reverend Billy Graham made the following startling statement:
----- Begin Quote -----
"I used to think that pagans in far-off countries were lost -- were going to hell -- if they did not have the Gospel of Jesus Christ preached to them. I no longer believe that . . . I believe there are other ways of recognizing the existence of God -- through nature, for instance -- and plenty of other opportunities, therefore, of saying yes to God."
----- End Of Quote -----
Just like his other statements, the above quote from Billy Graham is another half-truth. Reverend Graham's words are a compromise. This is one of the Devil's favorite tactics. He will tell you a little bit of truth, but then he will throw in his terrible lies. Tragically, many people who are not familiar with the Word of God as they should be, will fall for this kind of subtle deception. Please understand that I am not saying that Billy Graham was purposely trying to be deceptive by stating the above. I am sure that he was very sincere regarding his beliefs, just as he was when he was interviewed by Robert Schuller. I simply believe that he was wrong, and that what he said may have misled people, insofar as the way to Salvation is concerned.
I can testify myself that it is indeed true that many people recognize the power of God through His Creation. Undoubtedly, this is a part of God's plan in order to cause such people to realize that there is indeed Someone greater than themselves. It also results in people lifting up their voices to Him in praise, and in thankfulness for the wonderful world which He has given them in which to live. Writers such as King David and the Apostle Paul confirm this point that the natural creation can point people to God. In fact, Paul very bluntly states that it is because of the obvious evidence we find in the natural creation, that no one has any excuse whatsoever for not believing in God. Consider these two verses:
". . . The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork."
Psalms 19:1, KJV
"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:"
Romans 1:20, KJV
As I mention in a few other articles, I too was captivated by God's natural creation, and felt very close to Him when I was in it. While other children were off doing other things with their friends, more often than not, I would be lost somewhere in the wooded areas around our home, just enjoying all of the wildlife. I remember the very first time that I saw a hummingbird in the wild. Wow! It absolutely amazed me. In fact, it was while living on a commune in the U.S. state of Oregon as a teenager, totally surrounded by the natural creation, that I strongly felt God's Call in my life. While I have always believed in God and Jesus as far back as I can remember, living amongst nature is what served as a catalyst, and resulted a few months later in my choosing to dedicate my life to Christ, and to start serving Him. It was a very conscious decision on my part, and not some nebulous thing.
I can also agree with the Reverend Graham when he states that God can speak to us, and reveal Himself to us, in many different ways and through many different things. It would be foolish for any of us to try to limit the Almighty. However, as I have already made clear, He will ultimately draw us to Christ, His Son, who is the one and only way to Salvation. This point is made evident by the following set of verses:
"ALL THAT THE FATHER GIVETH ME shall come to me, and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out . . . No man can come to me, EXCEPT THE FATHER WHICH HATH SENT ME DRAW HIM: and I will raise him up at the last day."
John 6:37, 44, KJV
"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. MY FATHER, WHICH GAVE THEM ME, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand."
John 10:28-29, KJV
"I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for THEM WHICH THOU HAST GIVEN ME; for they are thine . . . And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name THOSE WHOM THOU HAST GIVEN ME, that they may be one, as we are . . . Father, I will that they also, WHOM THOU HAST GIVEN ME, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, WHICH THOU HAST GIVEN ME: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world."
John 17:9, 11, 24, KJV
"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."
Philippians 2:13, KJV
Once the Lord does draw our attention to Him through His wonderful creation, is that supposed to be the end of the story? As I just explained through my own testimony, no; not by any means. Once He has our attention, God desires for us to start listening to Him. What will He tell us if we are listening? He will tell us of the story of His great love for us. He will share with us the story of His beloved Son, Jesus, whom He sent to die for the sins of the world. He will find a way -- a person, a Gospel tract, a TV or radio show, a website, etc. -- to deliver the Gospel message to us. He will draw us to Christ. Then He will tell us that His physical creation is nothing compared to the wonderful world He has waiting for those people who accept His token of love through His Son, Jesus Christ. Consider the following verses:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
John 3:16, KJV
"Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."
1 John 3:16, KJV
"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."
1 Corinthians 2:9, KJV
Thus we see that believing in God the Father through the proof of His creation is not enough. It is only a vehicle He uses to point us to the whole Truth. That truth is plainly the Gospel -- or Good News -- of Jesus Christ, which Billy Graham seemed to think some people do not necessarily need to hear. That Gospel is that Jesus Christ died for our sins, so that through faith in His Sacrifice, we can be saved and thus inherit Eternal Life. To reiterate, by his own statements, at that time in his life, Graham seemed to think that believing in God's existence was enough for some people. What do you think?
It is so terribly sad to see these kinds of things happen. It is really pitiful. Some of these evangelists start out so sincerely dedicated to the Lord and to His service. They are full of the Lord's spiritual fire, and they want to do what is right. They want to preach a pure Gospel. Billy Graham was definitely such a burning flame for the Lord during his time. He certainly reached a lot more people with the Gospel than I ever have. None of his critics can take that away from him. But then, as I mentioned earlier, they are either tempted and led astray by their desire for wealth and power, or else maybe they start wanting to take a little bit of the credit to themselves. Sadly, they become more interested in popularity, so they begin to soften and compromise their message.
In the case of Billy Graham, it seems to me that he became deceived by this false ecumenical spirit which has invaded modern Christianity. During his many travels, Graham became exposed to other cultures, and many wonderful people, and he apparently thought, "Surely these people must be saved, even though they don't personally know Jesus Christ. Surely they are God's children too." Just like Oprah Winfrey, he seems to have become deceived by the "many paths" doctrine, when in reality, there is only one path to the Father: Jesus.
As I thought about this, I was reminded of King Solomon. As you may know, he started out well. God even blessed him with wisdom so that he could better rule the kingdom. But then what happened? As he got a little older, he became lifted up in his pride, and thought that he knew better. So what did Solomon do then? He listened to the advice of his younger counsellors, instead of to the advice of the older and wiser counsellors. Sadly, that was the beginning of his downfall, which would eventually lead to the division of the kingdom.
But that is not all. Just like Graham, Solomon became very popular, and very rich. He started having pagan wives and concubines who fed him with foreign ideas, and foreign gods. In a sense, Billy Graham kind of did the same thing. In other words, he started interacting with other faiths, and it seems that he became deceived by them to some degree, so that he no longer embraced John 14:6 as necessarily having to be applied to the whole world. Then he started hobnobbing with the Roman Catholic Church, and became involved in ecumenism to some degree.
For those of my readers who are not familiar with this term, "ecumenism" is simply a worldwide movement which hopes to achieve spiritual unity amongst the various religions of the world, whether they be Christian or not. Many Christians are convinced that this evil movement -- which has received the approval of some of the major religious figures of the world, including many prominent American Christian leaders -- is nothing more that a major step towards the creation of a new One World Religion, which will nicely fit into the scheme of the New World Order.
Any informed person knows that many wars have been fought, and millions of people have died over the centuries, over matters of religion. Ecumenism seeks to resolve this problem by creating a One World Religion which will appeal to, and which will be acceptable to, everyone. However, for such a religion to really work, it suggests that there will be no place in it for Jesus Christ to be viewed as the only Lord and Savior of all mankind, as we are clearly taught in our Christian Bible. Going by his above statements, it appears that Billy Graham may have possibly been in support of ecumenism. I do recall reading online that his organization did work to some degree with members of the Roman Catholic Church. The thing is, the RCC is actually the main driving force behind the ecumenical movement. That should trouble us.
As we saw earlier in this series, the idea of spiritual unity in the faith is indeed a Scriptural doctrine. Not only did the Apostle Paul and other New Testament writers encourage their followers to speak the same thing, but even Jesus Christ prayed for spiritual unity amongst His followers, as becomes evident by the following verses which are found in the Gospel of John:
"And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are . . . That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me."
John 17:11, 21, KJV
"And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."
John 10:16, KJV
In the previous verses, it is important to realize that Jesus is not praying for the religious unity of the world through ecumenism. This is a lie of Satan. It is a lie of the world and of false religious leaders. In fact, Jesus is not even praying for the people of the world. He is praying only for those followers whom His Father has given Him out of the world. While we Christians are in the world, because we physically live in it at this current time, we are not a part of it. We are not to participate in its affairs, just as we saw earlier in this series. Please understand this, because it is very important in order for you to grasp the deception which is being promoted by these ecumenists. We Christians are the only ones for whom Jesus is praying for spiritual unity in the above verses. This is why He also said in that very same prayer:
"I pray for them: I PRAY NOT FOR THE WORLD, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine."
John 17:9, KJV
The Lord is simply praying that we will be one in spirit, mind, purpose and doctrine, with Him and the Father. When He talks about One Fold and One Shepherd, He is referring to one Christian fold with Himself as the One True Shepherd. He is not talking about some worldwide ecumenical fold of some One World Religion in which different worldly religions have put aside their differences in order to come together to support the New World Order. Again, these are utter lies of Satan! The point is, the Apostle Paul tells us quite plainly that there can only be one true Great Shepherd of the flock; and we all know who that is. Consider this verse:
"Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,"
Hebrews 13:20, KJV
Please go to part four for the conclusion of this series.
⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .