Written By Sam Grothe
I grew up watching Billy Graham’s Crusades at my Grandmother Una Grothe’s house in Fort Collins. So naturally, after I was saved and Born Again in 1986, I heard Rev. Graham’s Crusade was coming to Denver the following summer. I had just gotten my driver license and saved up enough to buy two tickets for the crusade: one for myself and one for my grandmother. It’s a moment and memory I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life. Rev. Graham’s message was the simplest and most straightforward of any preacher I had ever heard. “If you believe what Jesus did on the Cross at Calvary for you, then you’ll spend eternity in Heaven with him!” There was never any complication about his message, like do you need to be Baptized first, believe in pre- or post-tribulation theology, or be concerned with the Rapture. It was always about what Jesus did on the Cross for us.
My Grandmother Una Grothe and me as a kid.
Fast forward 31 years to 2018. I learned of Rev. Billy Graham’s death on the way in to work the morning he passed away. He was nine months shy of his 100th birthday. I spent a few minutes typing out a prayer and memorial to honor him for one of my Facebook Groups. But, instead of seeing an outpouring of support and sadness about his death, I was shocked to see several people heap condemnation on the man who I thought was America’s pastor, too. Most of them claimed he was a false teacher, a freemason, an apostate preacher, and involved in Satanic Ritual Abuse. “What? Wait a minute,” I thought. “Where is this coming from?” And, these folks who were tearing him down keep squeezing lighter fluid on the fire and sending me videos to watch. At first I was livid and couldn’t even bring myself to watch them. But, my curiosity got the better of me. I had to know!!! But, most importantly, I wanted to see how wrong they were. So, I watch two and then a third one that was the most detailed. And, here is my assessment of that piece of work.
Most of the first 15 minutes of the low-grade film documentary “Billy Graham Exposed” was spent serendipitously trying to tie a young Billy Graham to ecumenicalism and liberal leaders in the early 1950s and 1960s. And, likewise, brought up how the Apostle Paul rebuked Peter for Catholicism. Then branched into how Graham in his autobiography “Just As I Am” wrote: “(Graham’s team member Willis Haymaker) would also call on the local Catholic bishop & other clerics to acquaint them with crusade plans, and invite them to meetings. They would usually appoint a priest to attend and report back. This was years before the Vatican’s II openness to protestants, but we were concerned to let the Catholic bishop see that my goal was not to get people to leave their churches, that I wanted them to commit their lives to Christ.”
What Graham’s detractors argue is that Graham didn’t want Catholics to leave the Catholic church once they were saved. Well, didn’t Jesus appoint Peter to start the church to begin with, and why? Actually, of all the disciples, Peter was the first disciple to acknowledge Jesus as the Christ or Messiah. Remember it was Peter who cut off the soldier’s ear, when they came to arrest Jesus. Yes, he was also human and denied Jesus three times to save his own skin, but he wept bitterly. It was also Peter, who flung himself out of the fishing boat when Jesus was on the shoreline calling to his disciples after his resurrection. It was because of Peter’s repentance and Christ’s forgiveness that he proclaimed Peter “Rock of the Church!” If nothing else, Peter’s example is like young Graham’s struggle to seek, repent, again and again to turn towards Christ. I don’t care what faith or denomination you are, it is still very hard to deny the fact that God had intended for the Catholic Church to once be his one true church. Obviously, over times things have strayed, but many Catholics, like my wife, are true Christians and consider themselves Christians first and Catholics second.
The documentary goes on to gloss over how lesser known pastors quit or were removed because of personal or political reasons from Graham’s organization. The video only spends seconds discussing each case and never dives very deeply or quotes any of those were “offended,” “fired,” or “ grieved” in any way. Most of the detractors, like James E. Bennet, a former co-student at Wheaton College, who wrote an editorial for the Christian Beacon Press in May of 1957 titled “The Billy Graham New York Crusade: Why I Cannot Support It, A Ministry of Disobedience” were mostly spreading hearsay with absolutely no evidence in the video.
Folks, then they super-impose a photo of Billy Graham with the Devil and a Masonic compass and begin to say that Billy Graham denies Christ, but his very next words in the video are: “Our only hope…there is no other way out, there is no other way of survival, except through HIM (Christ)!” The narrator goes on to explain that he has never been able to get his hands on John McCarther’s original article in Decision Magazine that proves Graham denied Christ is the way. These guys are loons and have an axe to grind, plain and simple!!!
Yes, then they tear into the fact that Bob Jones, John R. Rice, and Carl McIntire accuse Billy Graham of ecumenism. “It was not the first time some of them have raised their objection to – my growing ecumenist of course. But my New York crusade marked their final break with our work.” The video goes on to equate Graham as a liberal-loving apostate, who enamored himself with unbelievers and Roman Catholics, and alienated himself from Christian teachers.
There’s also the secret tapes that Nixon made of his friend and confidant Rev. Graham, which we come to find out puts some of his feelings about Jews in a rather precarious light. ”They’re the ones putting out the pornographic stuff,” Graham said to Nixon mostly about New York publishers of the time. The thing is who of us has never crossed the racial line or spoken ill of some other nationality? If the log fits, it’s probably been in your eye, too.
Furthermore, the expose video goes on to say that Rev. Graham and his wife Ruth through prayer and Bible study find that Billy Sunday, DL Moody (whom I’ve studied extensively), and John Wesley were all wrong and compared himself to Niamiah, who tried to build the walls around Jerusalem. Niamiah, the detractors say, was trying to keep out non-believers, while Rev. Graham was alienating himself from believing Christians. Well, how many of us have grown wary of preachers over the smallest parochial differences. I don’t know about you, but I for one am still shopping churches!!! Luckily, I have many Christian brothers and sisters that I commune with. One notable friend, Pirate Mike, is my partner in crime on Sunday and we drive up and down the Front Range in search of Holy Spirit-filled churches to visit!!!
I suppose one of the biggest problems I have with the anti-Graham movement is the way they claim he’s an apostate for telling Catholics to stay in their church. You know the one Jesus told Peter to create.
“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” – Matthew 16:18
Well, bottom line, we all know it’s been corrupted and even has Satanic elements infiltrated in it. But, the Devil is everywhere. He’s not just in the Catholic church, he’s working overtime to mess up your church, your family, your marriage, and you!!! It’s all about our faith and what we do about it that matters. Not where we go to church.
There’s also the matter of the Rev. Billy Graham “rejecting” the King James Bible back in the 1950s. Well, how many of you now carry around a King James Bible, and do you really think the Lord will judge us more harshly for studying an NIV, NASB, and ASV. Chances are your church is likewise guilty of “Alexandrian corruption” of switching out to a more modern bible too.
Then there’s the whole witch hunt of equating the Rev. Billy Graham with Liberals and Communists. The detractors in the video point to Graham’s words of “…a Christian is a person that is to live Christ under any form of Government, whether it be Rome, or whether it be Communism, or whether it be Nazism – that we are to live Christ in the midst of that situation in so far as we possibly can.” They also heap on him the atrocities committed by Stalinist Russians and Chinese execution squads. Really??? Was the Rev. Billy Graham there to witness those atrocities? We all know they happened, but as humans we also have something called self-preservation. Rev. Graham was always more concerned with getting the message of the Cross and Christ to those who were still alive, because we have no control over those who are already dead. And, it was pretty obvious, the Rev. Graham would have traveled to the gates of hell to spread the Gospel.
In 1963, Rev. Billy Graham spoke at Belmont Abbey (Catholic) College and in 1967 the same Jesuit college bestowed an honorary doctorate upon him. Ever since, the knives of anti-Catholicism have come out for Graham too. Well, how many of you viewed the Polish Pope John Paul II as an anti-Christ or un-Godly? We all have Catholic friends that we love and hope serve the true God, the same one that includes the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This video also equates “true men of God” as those like Bob Jones Sr. Well, the gate was so narrow at Bob Jones University that it lost its tax-exempt status for not allowing interracial dating. It also didn’t allow blacks until 1971.2
Rev. Graham’s detractors have for years called him (Stalin’s favorite term for Liberals) a “useful idiot,” because he was doing their (Communistic) work on our soil. In 1978, Graham was invited to Poland by the Ecumenical Council to speak at many of the churches in Poland. However, he was put down for being asked to “come and preach the same Gospel that you preach all over the world.” His critics even point to his own vindicating words as evidence of his wrongdoing: “I spoke from the bible on the meaning of the cross and explained why the death of Christ on the cross and the resurrection were central for Christians of all backgrounds.” Yet, they chastised him for not rebuking the Catholic Church, or in their minds – the whore of Babylon. And, the friendship formed between Pope John Paul II and Rev. Graham has been equated as an unholy alliance. My wife who was born and raised in Poland, considers herself a Christian first and a Catholic second. But, even I find no fault with Pope John Paul II. God forgive me, if I am unaware of any Satanic ritual he may have taken part in, but I highly doubt that ever happened. Unfortunately, I doubt I can say the same for our current papal Pope. His critics have gone so far as to say Rev. Graham “yoked” himself with Rome!!!
“Billy Graham has served as Satan’s “Pied Piper” taking unregenerate rats into an ecumenical hell seated in Rome,” according to the Video’s narrator. It’s seriously that dumbfounding people, the amount of abuse they have heaped on a man of the cross!
Finally, his critics say that there is no need for a revival of Christianity, claiming: “We do not need a so-called Spiritual Revival. There is plenty of spiritual activity going on here and around the world, and here in America!” I seriously disagree with this assessment. After having spent eight years under the Obama administration that pranced around homosexuality, embraced Islam, and treated non-Christian immigrants better than believers trying to get here.
Right after 911 in 2001, the Rev. Billy Graham said there was a serious need for a spirit awakening or a spiritual revival. “And, God has told us in his word, time after time that we are to repent of our sins and return to Him, and He will bless us in a new way.”
The bottom line is really this, the Rev. Billy Graham was crucified by his critics for his inclusive views of those who could become saved. But, his critics will never let go of the fact that Billy Graham yoked himself with those who were Catholic, or liberal, and yes in some cases different religions altogether. But, Jesus who met with tax collectors, prostitutes, and lepers was an okay guy. However, Rev. Billy Graham who wanted to re-invigorate the faith in Christ of Catholics, Communists, Liberals, and others is a bad guy and going to hell?
All three of the videos I subjected myself to never provided photos or evidence of Rev. Graham being a Freemason or a Satanist. The ecumenical ties are a bit more believable and easy to understand, but he was never an apostate pastor. His message was always about the washing away of our sins by Jesus on the cross. So please, pull the log out of your eye, before you go shooting splinters at our dearly departed Rev. Billy Graham folks!!! God’s love and plan for salvation is bigger than our heads can ever comprehend.
On Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018, the Rev. Billy Graham will become only the fourth civilian to “lie in honor” in the nation’s U.S. Capitol Rotunda. He follows in the footsteps of Civil Rights activist Rosa Parks, and two state Capitol Police officers, who were slain in 1998.
1“Billy Graham, Nixon and anti-Semitism: The Bombshell Tapes That Tarnished the Faith Leader’s Reputation” published in Haaretz, Feb. 25, 2018.
2“Bob Jones University Would Probably Like You to Forget it Once Banned Interracial Dating” published The New Republic, 2017.
By Sam Grothe