West Asheville. Hank Williams, Jr., David Allen Coe and Waylon Jennings.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Robert Schuller Interviews Billy Graham on 'Hour of Power'

I saw a video clip of Billy Graham's foray into New York back in the '50s and '60s.  He was holding huge rallies at Madison Square Garden, but then broke ranks with Bob Jones (yes, that Bob Jones) over segregation.  It was in NYC where Billy G. took to street rallies in Harlem.  And, from that point on, he made a pact never to preach to an audience or in a church where there wasn't a cross-section of the people in the community.  In fact, according to his bio, he and MLK, Jr. teamed up to help with the civil rights campaign in the South.  Graham's stadium messages in the South "softened" white resistance to the ongoing drive by MLK, Jr. and others to end segregation.  MLK, Jr. had asked Graham not to take to the streets, but focus on stadium events, and to use the Bible and words of Jesus to remind people of God's love for all.

Since Robert Schuller died just recently, and since Easter Sunday is tomorrow, this interview is appropriate.  It caused an uproar in some circles.  A few years ago, I got into an e-mail "discussion" with an evangelical who seemed stunned by Graham's remarks in this interview and other interviews that I shared with him.  Below is that exchange.  I never followed Schuller (just saw snippets of him on TV a few times), but I always respected Billy Graham - still do, in many ways.

from 2008

Me:  There are YouTube videos with comments Billy Graham made a few years back.  He's another that's presumed by some diehards to be on his way to hell.  He said, or basically really, really implied that there are other paths to God.  He made these comments on Larry King, for example.  In response, believers have made YouTube videos splicing together his words with a warning that he's going to hell.  And click here for a preacher revealing Billy Graham's heresy.  Graham is a resident of Asheville, and is now in bad shape.  His wife died a year ago.

Him:  Billy Graham would have never said there are other ways to god - that would contradict everything he has ever preached.

Me:  He did not explicitly state that, but it was very implied.  He left room for there to be a different way to interpret what might happen to Hindus from India, all the Chinese unbelievers, Native Americans, etc.. 
By the way, I have always like B Graham.  When asked if America was a Christian nation, he said, "America is a secular nation (or based on secular principles) that happens to be made up of a majority of Christian believers." At the time I heard this, I was shocked.  However, if you consider democracy a form of gov't, it can be practiced anywhere, not just exclusively by Christians.  Turkey is an example. India also.  Thailand.

I realize it would contradict everything he preached, especially in his early days up until ten years or so ago.  I did see these later interviews.  He and Larry King are friends.  King is Jewish, of course...married to a Mormon who's many years younger.  He put the question to Graham as to whether or not he, being Jewish and not believing in Christ would be in heaven, and Graham's response would not have made many devout Christians happy.  Graham also said he doesn't believe hell is a literal place of fire....instead maybe just a place where there's no contact with God.
Him:  If that is what graham believes, then he is a heretic.  The bible teaches otherwise (very clearly!)

Here is a quote I read from Billy Graham regarding this:
Graham once said, "I fully adhere to the fundamental tenets of the Christian faith for myself... but as an American, I respect other paths to God."[citation needed] His refusal to proselytize to Jews, in particular, differed from the Southern Baptist Convention.[14] This was controversial since some Christians equated respecting with believing[citation needed], and inferred that Graham thought there were other ways to God than through Jesus.

This is from Wikipedia and obviously may not be 100% accurate.  If he actually said this then he is contradicting himself.  He either believes Christ is the only way or not (if not, then he can't claim to be Christian).  

Me:  So, if you can see the video below there's no question he differs with the Bible.  He even states that as he's gotten older and more mature his thinking has changed.  Well, I knew I had seen this interview before, and another one he did on Larry King.  Both of his responses shocked me at the time.

Me:  Also, on Michael Eisner's Conversations on MSNBC, he was interviewing Pat Robertson and asked him point blank the same question.  Eisner is Jewish.  Robertson's face got a tad red and he didn't stick with the strict Biblical interpretation that only people who accept Christ would enter heaven.  He even said God would have special terms for his "chosen people"....wink, wink, meaning they of course, believers or not, will enter heaven.  I believe you on this point, either the Bible is infallible and imperfect or it's not.  if not, then Robertson's claims could be true.

Him:  The reformers had a saying - "sola scriptura" latin for "scripture alone".  any "christian" who preaches something other than scripture is most likely a heretic (take joel osteen for example).  As I said in my other emails, god's final word to his people is contained in scripture alone.  That is why I back up my points with scripture.

I have my own doubts about pat robertson.  read what paul said - either christ was who he says he was (meaning he is the ONLY way to god) or he was a complete liar.  I believe he is who he says and he is the only way.

Me: Osteen was on TV last weekend...having a breakdown.  I did wonder what you might think about him.  I could put myself in the shoes of my former self and I, too, would have been opposed to his methods.  His ministry rakes in many millions, as do many other ministries.  This is one aspect of religion that bugs me. 

Him:  and the fact that he preaches other ways to god besides Christ alone - heresy!

Me:  Personally, I don't like Robertson or the late Jerry Falwell.  I really never did.  although, I have to confess, at one time, I enjoyed seeing the 700 club.  And even Falwell had very good points, and was a sincere believer.  However, he, and even Graham, really seemed to enjoy the political power that came from being big-time evangelists.

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