Isn’t this exactly what some fundamentalists are doing with evangelicals they admire for one reason or another?

It is not helpful when fundamentalists try to discredit the evangelistic fruitfulness of Graham’s ministry or when evangelicals use that fruitfulness to justify all of Graham’s associations and actions. Both attempts are rooted in the same false assumption—God can only use those who are perfectly obedient (or close to it). … The evangelical, coming from the opposite angle but with the same assumption, feels compelled to argue that since God used Graham, what Graham was doing can’t be wrong (or, at least, not that bad).

Dave is giving some good analysis in his series of articles, but this paragraph seems to describe precisely the problem I have with the way some fundamentalists talk about their evangelical ‘faves’.

And I have one other point where I want to make a mild objection.

Here it is:

Also, it is important to recognize that some evangelicals disagree with the ecumenical practices of Graham, yet still see him as someone whom God used to spread the gospel to millions around the world.

Isn’t it more supportive than that? Don’t most evangelicals think what Graham and Henry and Ockenga et al did was right? Necessary? A benefit to the church? A proper ‘toning down’ of the craziness that was fundamentalism?

You see, what I hear the evangelicals saying is something like this: “Well, we don’t like the ecumenicalism and the problems it brings, but we sure do appreciate the New Evangelicals marginalizing the fundamentalists like they did.”

Dave sees some evangelicals as ‘developing’ separatists. I don’t actually see that. I hope I’m wrong.

As for Dave’s ‘way forward’, I agree with all of that. I have no problem acknowledging that Billy Graham’s ministry actually brought many into the kingdom. At least one member of our church is the fruit of Graham’s ministry (by watching him on television, no less). I don’t think much is gained by cursing Graham, but we have to constantly teach about his great error and its consequences.

I hope evangelicals will come to see the New Evangelical error for what it is and completely repudiate it.

By the way, I think it is important to keep the New Evangelical term alive in this context. New Evangelicalism is still alive and well in the minds of many, that is why they can’t bring themselves to completely repudiate Graham. They think he did a service. They think New Evangelicalism was a good thing. I think they mostly think the problems came after the ministry of Graham et al – others took things too far. Until they see New Evangelicalism as the problem, there will be no common ground with Fundamentalists.



  1. Jerry Bouey says:

    One of the things I despise about Graham’s compromise is that he waters down the Gospel. If he was preaching it “according to the Scriptures”, he would never fit in with the Catholics and the liberals.

    About 12 years ago, I started volunteering at the Gospel Mission (where I am now working), and we had many of Graham’s Decision magazines donated. I went through them carefully to see if they actually contained “the Gospel” – they did not! Sure, one magazine at Easter focussed on Jesus’ death and suffering – but not how He paid the Full penalty for our sins, nor how belief in His resurrection was imporant. If 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 defines what the Gospel is, Billy Graham’s magazine falls woefully short! The other magazines were the same – nothing in them to make a distinction or clarification between the true gospel and false ones, not one single magazine in the ones I read preached the gospel fully or clearly.