That Neo-Evangelical Evangelist (1)

The above title assumes that the following article deals with a certain well-known personality.  The assumption is correct.  Intended is an expose of that personality.  Where that is warranted and called for, such a task is not only in order, but incumbent upon all who love the truth and hate the lie.  There is no doubt in the mind of this editor that the flaccid, compromising, uncritical approach to popular issues and public figures is the modern way of presenting a controversial picture in a red herring frame.  The trend of the liberal, controlled press, where any particular piece of (in its eyes) undesirable news cannot be suppressed, is to tone it down, minimize its critical or controversial nature, and instead of publishing in accordance with journalism’s highest principles of reporting, rather in the guise of reporting to editorialize off the editorial page in belittling, detracting language.  But Beacon Lights is no liberal publication.  Nor is this feature of the magazine a vox populi column in which only “issues, and/or conditions, not personalities” may be discussed.  Nor is this publication hampered with a super-clergy organization which dictates to the writers, holding them with coercive policies.  There is at least one city we know where the local ecumenical ministerium has adopted a policy of infringement with regard to the writers for the newspaper’s “voice of the church” column.  Nothing of a controversial nature is to be written by any of the contributing persons.  (I do not say “ministers”).  Anything antipodal to the liberal conception of academic freedom (excuse my “harrumph”!) is castigated as “not in accord with current American thought,” which implies that the ideas so expressed are basically “reactionary,” unsophisticated and antidemocratic.

This is not only the incessant one-string fiddling heard in the secular sphere, but the identical jangle jars us in the religious sphere.  We are often slapped with that misapplied text (which really has to do with matters neither commanded nor forbidden by the law of God), “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant?”  Who are you to judge someone God is tremendously using in His service?  Who are you, as a man of God, to criticize another man of God?  Who are you to attack a servant of the Lord who wins thousands of thousands to Christ?  Are you so full of grace that you are qualified to so charge one of God’s rarest exemplars of sweet humility?  “Now walkest thou not in love!”  (More misapplied Scripture irresponsibly hurled!)  This is the very rebuttal shot at the watchmen on the walls of Zion.  They, it is said, had a zeal according to knowledge, but not according to love!  (A false antithesis!)  Micaiah was one of those nasty, narrow-minded, pedantic preachers.  So was Elijah.  The latter rebuked sin in high places, would not condone the wicked, and attacked amalgamation with compromisers.  He was a disrupter of the peace.  He was a trouble-maker.  The puppet head of the Jezebel party said so.  But now that Micaiah!  The effrontery of the little man!  He was always criticizing the current administration, and never had anything good to say of conditions either in church or state.  He must have been addle-pated, for his utterances were always adverse.  He was a political “sore thumb,” and ecclesiastical “odd-ball,” the last of an all but extinct species of “hate mongers.”  All the other prophets, with one ear to the ground, and one finger in the air, knew which way the wind was blowing – to the left, of course!  With united voice, they announced the arrival of the eleventh hour with “all’s well”; like the man who fell out of the window on the 90th floor of the skyscraper, and as he passed the 18th floor he cried out to those huddled in the windows, “All right so far!”  Micaiah had been intimidated often to bring him in line with the latest whims of the Baal regime.  He was summarily advised to be like the local diplomats, and to pattern his style after their numbing prognostications.  His answer was a flat refusal.  The local “press”, if it reported it at all, must have in some obscure section of its cuneiform edition passed it off as “juvenile.”  It was, to be sure, the epitome of simplicity.  “As Jehovah liveth, what He says to me, that will I speak!”  Poor fellow!  So pitifully outdated!  He just didn’t fit with the spirit of the age.  There is too much in the whole counsel of God which grates on the flesh.  Few today, then, will stand with the Micaiahs.  He (it was a majority opinion) was not motivated by Christian love.  Witness his contention that the pronouncements of the opposition were inspired by the devil.  Micaiah was no echo, no yes-man, but he was downright unethical.  He kept harping on that “there is no compromise between Jesus Christ and the devil” line.  Then when he could have commended his liberal contemporaries as experts in social progress, he instead denounced them as speaking lies in hypocrisy.  He was immediately branded as an enemy of the state, one of the pestilent lunatic fringe.  For his refusal to desist from his fanatical obscurantism he was forcibly sequestered without a hearing, investigation or examination in the executive’s “psychiatric” ward.  (Cf. Christian and Evangelist at Vanity Fair, Pilgrim’s Progress).  There he was accorded the state-imposed diet of the concentration camp.

What has all this to do with the present topic?  Just this – that if the truth is defended and the lie opposed, we may expect the same treatment as the prophets.  And if we criticize a neo-evangelical we may be regarded with as much horror as the Birmingham bombers.

But what is a neo-evangelical?  He is one in the Protestant pale who detests the label of “Fundamentalist,” who shies away from the designation “modernist” or “liberal”, and because the term “conservative” might connote a compromiser with the latter, or appear to identify him with the former, he like a frog in his own pond rests on the lily pad of “neo-evangelicalism.”  He prefers mightily not to be recognized as a Fundamentalist, the separatist who practices coming out from Babylon and being separate from Belial.  He prefers an inclusive, middle of the road approach which will allow him in-and-out contact with any company which appeals to him, especially that of the modernist camp.  A Fundamentalist, to the neo-evangelical mind, has no “depth of sympathy and understanding” and so renders himself unfit for witnessing with cultured grace to the liberal strata in the church.  He will not take a clear-cut antithetical stand on the fundamentals and essentials of the faith over against everything contrary to sound doctrine.  He adopts rather a soft, weak, pacifist attitude toward the enemies of the historic, Reformed, Christian faith.  He puts on a strong front, uses some strong terms, but will not maintain a consistently traditional orthodox position, since he must proceed out of expediency and opportunism.  He shuns his Fundamentalist brother as a “too independent Christian who has failed to progress with God.”  But no attempt is made to avoid the modernist enemies of the gospel.

A prominent neo-evangelical organization is the National Association of Evangelicals which would definitely refuse to go along with us who confess the truth in the Belgic Confession, Articles 27, 28, 29 on the true and the false church, not accepting the concept of the purity of the church, but the inclusivist idea of the church.  The neo-evangelical publication, as already noted in this magazine, is “Christianity Today.”  Another such publication is the formerly Fundamentalist “Sunday School Times.”  The neo-evangelical movement presents no protection against the tide of apostasy, the socialism and leftism of the ecumenical movement, or the coming one world church of antichrist.  Neo-evangelism goes along with the tide of Babel-building.

Now who is the most outstanding neo-evangelical figure but Billy Graham?  A much-criticized evangelist, but the critics perhaps nearest to him have in mind only his dubious methods, his hobnobbing with the world, and his yoking up with modernists who preach a false gospel.  These critics do not adjudge him personally to be a false prophet, but are very careful to make it understood that they believe he does “preach the simple gospel of salvation.”  They merely regard him as a misled, or an inconsistent or compromising, or even backslidden “true preacher” of the “simple gospel.”  His Pelagian teaching that the natural man can make a decision for Christ is taken up by many in the Christian schools.  Am I wrong in feeling that the Christian school movement is swallowing up everything in the religious, secular and political realm without evaluation in the light of that system of doctrine taught in Scripture?

What we find in the newspapers about Billy Graham becomes increasingly shocking as time goes on.  However, this documentation which may be used adversely against Graham will more than likely be rejected by him, and especially by his followers as the usual tabloid inaccuracies and misrepresentations.  What then shall we say of this statement found in the April 28, 1962 Washington Post: “The ground of Christian fellowship, he (Graham) says, is ‘not the inspiration of Scripture, but the deity of Christ’”?  Also stated in this article:  Graham “says verbal inspiration of Scripture is only a theory and not a matter of great importance for Christian faith.”  Are these really Graham’s statements? Or are they the “usual twisted reports of the newspapers”?  Certainly, the language is not that of one firmly standing on the rock of Scripture, nor does it agree with the great confessions of the true church, as e.g., “the Holy Scriptures…are given by inspiration of God,” and ought “to be received because it is the Word of God…the infallible truth…the whole counsel of God…being immediately inspired by God,” and “the infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself.”  Does anyone believe that Graham would agree with this from the Westminster Confession, or that he would express himself as clearly and forthrightly?

The Philadelphia Evening Bulletin reported Graham as saying, “We in America have been called by God…We were once God-fearing.  We took in minority groups, and we showed the world democracy in action.  But we have become sinful…”  This is typical of his modern flattery of man.  Here God has called not the church in America, but America, and that as Americans we once were God-fearing, i.e., we were kind to minority groups, and so demonstrated not Christianity, but “democracy in action.”  No wonder so many in Christian Reformed circles see nothing wrong with the content of Graham’s preaching!  Here is the error of the Christian Reformed Third Point of Common Grace, that there is in man a common grace which enables his to do deeds in civic good in his unregeneracy.  This is contrary to that great truth of the Canons of Dort, III, IV, and therefore contrary to Scripture.  The natural man is dead through trespasses and sins.  The dead can only become more putrefied.  His civic acts he is incapable of using aright (to God’s glory), and the best of them are all polluted.  Therefore, America demonstrates nothing but sin in action.  It is only of the people of God in America that He says “I see no sin in Jacob.”  But if Graham preached the gospel truth of man’s total depravity, what would become of his popularity and following?

In Adelaide, Australia, The News of March 1, 1962 carried the headline, “Churches to Discuss Unity Plan…The topic arose from the recent assembly of World Council of Churches in New Delhi.”  These Adelaide churches were addressed by a Mr. C. H. J. Wright.  He expressed his regret that it was impossible for five Romish observers at New Delhi to have full participation at the assembly.  He mentioned the presence of Billy Graham, that he was very favorably impressed with the NDA meetings, and would return to his country to do his best to use his influence for the So. Baptist Church to join the WCC.  In the La Prensa, Lima, Peru newspaper, Feb. 8, 1963, Graham “eulogized the attitude of Pope John XXIII in his efforts to obtain greater tolerance and the final union between all the Christians.”  (Ital., RCH).  “According to him (Graham), there is now greater understanding and comprehension between the religions.”  This “greater understanding” does not mean that the Romanists are more understanding of Protestants in general, nor more tolerant toward their theological position and their missionary endeavors.  It merely means that nominal and renegade Protestants are more tolerant and soft toward the femininities and flatteries of hierarchy and priest craft.  The Kalamazoo Gazette, Nov. 14, 1963, reports that “Graham will preach at a Roman Catholic College next week, thanks to a Jew…The sermon will be Graham’s first before a Roman Catholic body…’I think,’ said Graham, ‘that it is evidence of the ecumenical (Christian Unity) spirit in the world today.’”  No proof is needed that Graham is an ecumenist.  Everyone knows that.  But what does he mean by such statements as the above?  Evidently, he means that the great dialogue between Jews, Romanists and Modernists is succeeding, the world is learning that we have so much in common, that labor toward organic union into one church must be our present aim.  Of course, the Romish church in its Christian Unity Movement has for its purpose the bringing of all (no longer Protestant “heretics,”) but “separated brethren” back again to the “mother church.”  Does Graham favor this?  That would be fair inference from the above news items.  The Hearst newspaper chain decided to “Puff Graham.”  Graham’s decision?  He has decided to “Puff” the one world church.

(To be continued, DV)