Friday, August 18, 2006
BILLY GRAHAM, UNIVERSALIST?
Getting some play on the Internet this week in an inteview given by evangelist Billy Graham to Jon Meacham of Newsweek. Here is the money quote.
"When asked whether he believes heaven will be closed to good Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus or secular people, though, Graham says: "Those are decisions only the Lord will make. It would be foolish for me to speculate on who will be there and who won't ... I don't want to speculate about all that. I believe the love of God is absolute. He said he gave his son for the whole world, and I think he loves everybody regardless of what label they have."
There was a time when Graham would have been glad to say who is going to heaven and who is not, and he would not have called it speculation. To imply, after a lifetime of Christian evangelism, that Jews, Muslims, Buddists or any other non-believers in Christ may go to heaven is a repudiation of his own ministry.
In John 3:3, Jesus said "unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." He went on in verse 16 to say that "whoever believes in him (Jesus) should not perish but have eternal life." In verse 18, he said "whoever does not believe is condemned already." Jesus was pretty clear, wasn't he? Those who believe in him will be saved and end up in heaven, those who don't, won't. Would that be too hard for Graham to say?
If John 3 is not enough for you, you might try Romans 1-2. For example, 2:12 says for all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law".
It is a shame that well known preachers end up on tv and then abort the gospel message. Joel Osteen got a lot of criticism for doing that recently. Now, Billy Graham of all people gives credence to a sort of universalism rather than the gospel. Please give me back the old Billy.