The Dark Side of Billy Graham

The recent dedication of the twenty-seven million dollar Billy Graham library raised some eyebrows in the Christian community and for good reason. No Christian in his right spiritual mind would ever glorify himself.  Graham had the power to stop the project but decided not to oppose the construction of the library.  Apparently some family members raised objections to aspects of the project. Even Jesus did not glorify himself. Why would Billy Graham allow himself to be placed on a pedestal. It seems like the worldly rather than the Christian thing to do. With many Christians living in poverty and some on the brink of starvation, why waste twenty-seven million dollars to glorify a man.

Billy Graham is America's most loved Evangelist. How could anyone criticize him. But there is a dark side to Graham that needs to be exposed. We are all sinners and Billy Graham is no exception. The myth of the spiritual superman needs to be dispelled.

1. Graham has been deceiving his generation into believing that Jesus will return in their lifetime. The
deception is not deliberate but it has the same effect. During his 1950 crusade, he predicted that Christ
would return within two years.  When that failed to materialize, he was not branded a false prophet nor
removed from the evangelical circuit. Graham tried to instill the fear of God's wrath into thousands of
potential converts to motivate them to accept Jesus. He continued to claim that the second coming of Christ was right around the corner and that he could hear the hoof beats of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.  But it never happened. Graham's faulty eschatology brought disrespect upon biblical prophecy. His childish misinterpretations of prophecy caused some Christians to doubt the word of God. Graham never apologized for making false predictions nor did he make any effort to correct his eschatological errors.

2. The Nixon tapes exposed Graham's anti-Semitism. His prejudice against the Jews could no longer be
concealed in private conversations. Graham had no choice but to express regret for his remarks. He was
sorry he got caught. His friend Richard Nixon was a rabid anti-Semite. A true man of God would have
corrected Nixon and told him to repent. Instead, Graham claimed that the Jews had a stranglehold on the press and blamed them for "all the pornography". He went on to say that "a lot of Jews are great friends of mine, but they don't know how I really feel about what they are doing to this country". Apparently, the private and the public Billy Graham are two different people. Graham commented to Nixon that "if you get elected, then we might be able to do something about this". I can't help but wonder what kind of solution Graham had in mind. Slandering the Jews and then enlisting the president in the service of bigotry disqualifies Graham as a moral and spiritual leader.

To cast doubt upon whether he even made those remarks, Graham claimed to have "no memory of the
occasion" and apologized for "comments I apparently said". The tapes are public record and there is no
doubt about what he said. Graham's statement was released by his Texas public relations firm. Since when does a Christian need to pay a public relations firm to carefully craft an apology. Regarding his Jewish slurs, Graham said that "they do not reflect my views". Then whose views do they reflect. Attempting a cover up was a trick he learned from Nixon. But he could not get rid of "Graham Gate" with the pretense of amnesia or a phony public relations apology. Nixon stepped down from the Presidency because of Watergate. Graham should have stepped down from his ministry because of "Graham Gate" and dropped all pretense of being a spiritual leader. Billy Graham preached repentance for over fifty years but the word "repentance" was conspicuously absent from this public relations apology.

Even after the Watergate revelations, Graham continued to defend Nixon and vouch for his integrity. Either Graham is a poor judge of character or a blatant sycophant. He once said that "there is no American I admire more than Richard Nixon". Most readers of this article could name a thousand Americans they admire more than "tricky dick". Getting mixed up in politics has its price. Graham gloried in his relationship with Nixon until Watergate. Then Nixon became a liability and a stain upon Graham's ministry.

3. Graham's position on abortion undermines the pro-life movement. His modified stance smacks of
compromise and worldliness. Making exceptions for abortion is a slippery slope. Graham is sitting on the fence between pro-life and pro-choice. In the Billy Graham Christian Worker's Handbook (1997), he wrote: "We should accept abortion in these cases: rape or incest or if the delivery of the child is a threat to the mother's life." Once you take this approach, you soon start adding the unborn child with abnormalities to the list. The recent Supreme Court decision banning partial birth abortions is a step in the right direction. Both justice Thomas and Scalia stated that they would vote to overturn Roe vs. Wade. Graham's compromising position shouldn't come as a shock. He has been a lifelong Democrat and his party supports abortion.

4. Graham's salary cannot be justified by Christian standards. In 2003, his total compensation package was $190,000. Contrast that with the $30,000 annual salary paid to Bill Bright, founder of the Campus Crusade for Christ. An even more stark contrast is with priests who take vows of poverty. Jesus never owned His own home or had a place to put His head. Is a servant above his master? A Christian minister who is paid an excessive salary is robbing God's treasury. Members of Graham's family who worked for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association were also paid excessive salaries. Stealing from God's treasury is unacceptable.

5. Graham's position on evolution undermines the word of God. In his book "Personal Thoughts of a Public Man", he wrote: "I believe that God created man, and whether it came by an evolutionary process and at a certain point he took this person or being and made him a living soul or not, does not change the fact that God did create him." He seems to agree with the late Pope John Paul that evolution is "more than a theory".  Apparently a soul was infused into the body of an ape and it became the first man. But this is not what the bible teaches. God created man from the dust of the ground and not from some ape like creature. The theory of evolution is a modern myth. The evolutionary process never happened. The bible clearly teaches creationism, not evolution. Theistic evolution is an unproven theory that does not warrant belief. To accept evolution is to reject creationism. Graham abandoned creationism to gain the approval of scientists.

6. Graham's eventual acceptance of his daughter's ministry is cause for concern. No doubt, he softened his position because she was family. His initial rejection of her ministry was correct. He was being faithful to scripture. But gradually he changed his mind and sided with his daughter rather than Christ. Graham liberalized his Christianity to accommodate his daughter and the world. Feminism has triumphed in the church. Under intense pressure, many churches capitulated and began ordaining women to the ministry.  Graham's life shows a consistent pattern of compromise with the word of God. He should have stood up to his daughter and refused to accept her ministry.

7. The much touted success of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Crusade is open to question. How many where actually converted and remained Christian is unknown. One estimate is that less than a third of Graham's converts lasted more than ninety days. Most were caught up in the emotion of the moment and eventually faded from Christianity. Did Graham actually bring thousands to Christ or was he reaping a harvest of false conversions. It is well known that the majority of attendees at Graham's crusades were professing Christians. One New York Times survey showed that sixty percent of those who made a decision for Christ at a Billy Graham crusade were already church members. Estimates of the actual number of new conversions were greatly exaggerated.

A Christian pastor who attended a Billy Graham crusade on September 22, 1990 in the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island made the following comment: "I have read often of the compromises of Billy Graham but doubted some of the stories as exaggerated. Now they have been proven, in my eyes, worse than reported....My conclusion is that Billy Graham is making twofold more the child of hell....The emphasis was on believing in God, with a little commentary on Jesus Christ, but very little....We were told that the way to take care of the sin problem is to 'receive Christ, rededicate your life, or renew your confirmation vows, or whatever you call it in your church.' I could hardly believe my ears. What do confirmation vows have to do with salvation....No one could have convinced me of the apostasy of Billy Graham any more than my own experience....He even had a Rabbi on the platform to show the unity of religions....Now having incompetent counselors is bad enough, but then to lead them to believe that a church experience is the same things as being born again is the height of apostasy....Billy has not compromised, he has gone kaput." (Perilous Times, March 1991)

The purpose of exposing Billy Graham's dark side is to warn Christians not to worship men. Hero worship is rampant in evangelical Christianity. Many Christians follow their pastor rather than Christ. They make
superstars and heroes out of ministers and seem to be willing to follow them into hell if necessary. Other
than Satan, your greatest potential enemy is your pastor because he has the power to deceive you and lead you astray.

We must become disenchanted with men and enchanted with Christ. Glorifying men like Billy Graham with libraries and exhibits detracts from Christ. Graham has feet of clay like the rest of us. We all have skeletons in our closet and things that we are ashamed to admit.  Each of us needs to cultivate a lifelong attitude of repentance. Graham's dark side is a stark reminder that the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked.


Copyright (C) 2007 Albert Emanuel