Billy Graham's View On The Salvation Of All
It seems that even the most famous preacher in the world has made some room in His heart for a greater understanding of God's power and ability to fulfil his Word. It is interesting to see Billy Graham's words about "wide mercy" and comparing Spiritual with Spiritual regarding hell.
It's interesting to hear one of evangelicalism’s foremost leaders endorse a doctrine called "inclusivism," which teaches that people can come to saving faith by the means of general revelation. That means one does not have to actually hear of Christ nor the bible to be “saved.” This view is considered heretical by many denominations.
Schuller: Tell me, what do you think is the future of Christianity?
Billy Graham: Well, Christianity and being a true believer—you know, I think there’s the Body of Christ. This comes from all the Christian groups around the world, outside the Christian groups. I think everybody that loves Christ, or knows Christ, whether they’re conscious of it or not, they’re members of the Body of Christ. And I don’t think that we’re going to see a great sweeping revival, that will turn the whole world to Christ at any time. I think James answered that, the Apostle James in the first council in Jerusalem, when he said that God’s purpose for this age is to call out a people for His name. And that’s what God is doing today, He’s calling people out of the world for His name, whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world, or the Christian world or the non-believing world, they are members of the Body of Christ because they’ve been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus but they know in their hearts that they need something that they don’t have, and they turn to the only light that they have, and I think that they are saved, and that they’re going to be with us in heaven.
Schuller: What, what I hear you saying that it’s possible for Jesus Christ to come into human hearts and soul and life, even if they’ve been born in darkness and have never had exposure to the Bible. Is that a correct interpretation of what you’re saying?
Graham: Yes, it is, because I believe that. I’ve met people in various parts of the world in tribal situations, that they have never seen a Bible or heard about a Bible, and never heard of Jesus, but they’ve believed in their hearts that there was a God, and they’ve tried to live a life that was quite apart from the surrounding community in which they lived.
Schuller: [R. S. trips over his tongue for a moment, his face beaming, then says] I’m so thrilled to hear you say this. There’s a wideness in God’s mercy.
Graham: There is. There definitely is.
Billy Graham Does Not Believe Hell Is
A Place Of Literal Fiery Torment
The Orlando (Florida) Sentinel for April 10, 1983, asked Billy Graham:
"Surveys tell us that 85% of Americans believe in heaven, but only 65% believe in hell. Why do you think so many Americans don't accept the concept of hell?" He replied: "I think that hell essentially is separation from God forever. And that is the worst hell that I can think of. But I think people have a hard time believing God is going to allow people to burn in literal fire forever. I think the fire that is mentioned in the Bible is a burning thirst for God that can never be quenched."
"Hell is not the most popular of preaching topics. I don't like to preach on it. But I must if I am to proclaim the whole counsel of God. We must not avoid warning of it. The most outspoken messages on hell, and the most graphic references to it, came from Jesus Himself. ...Jesus used three words to describe hell. ...The third word that He used is 'fire.' Jesus used this symbol over and over. This could be literal fire, as many believe. Or IT COULD BE SYMBOLIC. ...I've often thought that this fire could possibly be a burning thirst for God that is never quenched. What a terrible fire that would be-- never to find satisfaction, joy, or fulfillment!" (A Biblical Standard For Evangelists, Billy Graham, A commentary on the 15 Affirmations made by participants at the International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, July 1983, Worldwide Publications, Minneapolis, Minnesota, pages 45-47). Endquote.
It is sad that the average Christian does not appreciate the significance of Billy Graham’s statement. His understanding of Hell being “a burning thirst for God that can never be quenched” is so contrary to the teachings of the three main divisions of the church for most of its history since Constantine that it is amazing thousands of ministers are not in arms about his statement. Clearly, the Hell of the Roman Catholic Church, the Greek and Russian Orthodox Church and most of the Protestant Churches have taught that God would judge evil people to a literal lake of fire in which physical bodies would be tortured endlessly IN the sight of God, His holy angels and the saints. I could produced tens of thousands of written quotes from church leaders of all the above groups proving their concept of Hell was FAR different than Billy Graham’s. And yet there is hardly a whimper of protest by the main leaders of the various denominations of Christendom.
Imagine, Jesus, the Lamb of God who was willing to die for His enemies, Who said “If anyone thirst, let him come unto me, and drink” (John 7:37) – imagine Him in front of billions upon billions of human souls burning with a thirst for God - and Jesus stands there in front of them saying, “Sorry, you blew it. You had your chance. And those of you who didn’t, the church blew it, they should have emptied their retirement accounts, spent their entire lives handing out tracts, begging people to get saved, laying down their lives for their enemies instead of starting thousands of wars that killed millions of people who never knew me, but that’s not my problem. I did my job. Yes, I know the Bible says I’m all powerful and possess unconditional love, but I’m not going to satisfy these people’s thirst for me. They can stay in this torment forever. They can rot for all I care.”
more time contemplating the Love of God
In Graham's view, the core message of the Gospel, and the love of God “for all people ”should take priority.But more recent years have given him something he had little of in his decades of global evangelism: time to think both more deeply and more broadly....He refuses to be judgmental thinks God's ways and means are veiled from human eyes and wrapped in mystery. There are many things I don't understand he says. He does not believe that Christians need to take every verse of the Bible literally; sincere Christians, he says, can disagree about the details of Scripture and theology absolutely he is arguing that the Bible is open to interpretation, and fair-minded Christians may disagree or come to different conclusions about specific points. Like Saint Paul, he believes human beings on this side of paradise can grasp only so much. “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror, Paul wrote, “then we shall see face to face. ”As time went on, I began to realize the love of God for everybody, all over the world,” he says. “And in his death on the cross, some mysterious thing happened between God and the Son that we don't understand. But there he was, alone, taking on the sins of the world.…I spend more time on the love of God than I used to. ”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 ma keI 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.”
Meacham, Jon. Newsweek Magazine. 14 August 2006. Excerpt from interview with Billy Graham. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14204483