Lordship Salvation’s Billy Graham Sets Trap


There is an old adage, often attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, that says:  Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.  This adage is intended to describe the power of innovation in the marketplace.

When preaching God’s word, innovation is never a good idea.  God particularly frowns on anyone changing the gospel, due to its unique nature in evangelizing non-believers. In fact, anyone changing the gospel is under His curse.

Billy Graham, the icon of American evangelicalism in the twentieth century, has made a lifetime of preaching a false gospel message.  He has done this by adding conditions that change the gospel from the Good News of how God has provided for our salvation through Jesus Christ, to bad news of how we must add to Christ’s finished work on the cross with our own commitment and faithfulness.

Unfortunately, the prince of this world (Satan) uses men like Billy Graham to keep people lost.  This world offers praise, accolades, fame, and worldly success to men who corrupt the gospel.  On the other hand, Jesus taught that people who lived for Him would be hated in this world.

In his latest book, “The Reason for My Hope”, Billy Graham has made some of his most ardent false claims to date.

Consider the following quote, in which Graham states that faith in Christ is not sufficient to receive eternal life:

I am afraid that many Christians, in their zeal to share their faith in Christ, have made the Gospel message of making disciples for Him too simple. Just to say “believe in Christ” can produce a false assurance of the hope of Heaven. Jesus spoke often about the gift of eternal life. To make it clear, He said, “Count the cost.”

Here Graham mixes the concept of receiving eternal life through simple faith in Christ with the cost of following Christ in discipleship.  “Counting the cost” is never mentioned in the Bible as a condition of receiving eternal life.

Next, consider this innovative twist on the gospel message:

Giving up something to follow Christ is not earning salvation; it is giving up what keeps you from salvation. When we hold on to something that is dearer to us than receiving the greater gift of salvation in Christ, we lose.

Graham has subtly changed salvation from a “free gift” to “a greater gift.”  In this way, Graham suggests that what man “brings to the table” in exchange for salvation is but a pittance, compared to the greater gift of salvation that he receives in return.  This view dishonors the blood sacrifice of Jesus as being sufficient to take away our sins, and changes the nature of Grace from being a gift to being a trade.

Teaching that salvation is received as a trade, rather than a gift, is nothing new for Graham.  His tract entitled “My Decision” includes the following under “How to Receive Christ”:  “Be willing to turn from your sins, and ask God to forgive you (repent).”  This is followed by a salvation prayer, aptly entitled “PRAYER OF COMMITMENT”.

Being willing to turn from sins is not a requirement for receiving eternal life.  Nor is asking God to forgive you, nor is our commitment to Christ.  Eternal life is received by Grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.  Nothing more and nothing less is required.  Billy Graham’s additions to the gospel create a false gospel that cannot save.

A recent exhibit at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte coined Graham as the self-proclaimed “God’s Ambassador to World Leaders.”  Presidents and potentates seek his spiritual counsel.  Presidential candidates “kiss his ring” to attract voters.  He has been called the “Protestant Pope.”  In April of this year, North Carolina’s House and Senate each approved resolutions naming Billy Graham as “North Carolina’s Favorite Son”.  Millions of people have flocked to his crusades.  Hundreds of millions have watched him on TV.  21,000 churches are participating in Billy Graham’s upcoming “national outreach campaign”.  Is your church one of them?

So, has the world beaten a path to Billy Graham’s door?  It would appear so.

Has Billy Graham been caught by his own trap?  Does he really believe what he says?

170 responses to “Lordship Salvation’s Billy Graham Sets Trap

  1. Kent – may I ask you a few questions yourself.

    What about the times the word believe was solely used in conjunction with salvation (the entire book of John for example, the only book entirely written for the purpose of evangelization – John 20:31)?

    What about the times the word repent was the only word used in conjunction with salvation? (i.e., repent or likewise perish)?

    What about the times the word repent was used with another word other than believe in conjunction with salvation (i.e. Acts 2:38 – repent and be baptized)?

    Do you think John left out turning from sin?

    Turning from sin is an entirely good thing for believers to do, a righteous work. But Titus 3:4-7 makes it clear it is not by works of righteousness we are saved (eternally). And Eph 2:8-9 and Rom 4:1-6, and Gal 2:16 and so many others. God called turning from sin ‘works’ in Jonah 3:9-10, and although good, and although it saved the Ninevites from physical destruction, works cannot contribute to the free gift of eternal life.

  2. Kent, thanks for swinging by.

    You said: You are simply wrong that repentance is not needed for salvation to come to the unredeemed soul.

    My comment: We teach that repentance is needed in salvation. But, we are careful to make sure that we properly define what we mean. Following is from our statement of faith:

    One of the common attributes of LS is a false concept of the meaning of repentance in the context of how a person receives eternal life.

    Repent (metanoeo) means a change of mind. Repentance is absolutely essential in salvation and the word “repent” in the Greek means a change of mind. In the context of receiving eternal life, repentance means a change of mind — from any idea of religion that man may have, to an acceptance of God’s way of salvation in Jesus Christ alone. Repentance does not in any sense include a demand for a change of conduct or “turning from sin” to gain or keep eternal life, before or after salvation. To insist upon repentance that in any sense includes a demand for a change of conduct either toward God or man in order to receive, keep, or prove that one has received eternal life, is to create a false gospel that attempts to add an element of works to how one receives eternal life. Acts 20:21; Matthew 21:32.

    Penance is payment for sin. Penitence is sorrow for sin. Works add something of self in turning from sin. But repent (metanoeo) means a change of mind. Nowhere does Scripture use the phrase “repent of sin” to be saved.


    Kent, if one were required to turn from sin in order to receive the free gift of eternal life, then eternal life would not be a free gift – it would be a trade.

    We are glad you found your way to our site and we hope that our clear, biblical teaching will help you to become better grounded in the gospel of Jesus Christ!

  3. Kent Hering

    Irrespective of the preaching of Billy Graham, the New Testament gospels and the whole of the New Testament for that matter, are replete with the doctrine of repentance coupled with faith in Christ’s redeeming work. You are simply wrong that repentance is not needed for salvation to come to the unredeemed soul. There are so many examples of this call to repentance in the New Testament it would take pages for me to list them. Clearly the scriptures do not teach that one can work his way into heaven, or that we can cleans ourselves of our own sin, for that is what Jesus redemptive work was all about. But that does not mean that God has no expectation of a repentant turn from sin. You are ignoring the clear teaching of John the Baptist, all the gospel writers and Jesus himself if you fail to recognize this. You sir are a false teacher yourself. Simply do a search of the many instances in the Bible of the word repent , coupled with believe and unless your eyes and heart are blind to the truth, you will see this is clearly a part of genuine faith. I will pray the Lord will help you to see this dear sir.

  4. Chas – I think secretly so many don’t like speaking out against FG or BG because they are standing up for morality and they hope for things to get better. But we know that the truth that will change people’s lives (eternally) is the gospel and these men come in the name of God and then point people down a path of good works, but one that doesn’t lead to God. Another Pilgrim’s progress type of path. Sickens me.

  5. Chas, it is sad that Roger Stone has fallen under the false teaching of Franklin Graham.

    I have prayed for both of them.

  6. Reading this article on BG again put me in mind of how Chuck Smith admired BG. Hearing Smith mention his admiration for BG in a sermon should have been a red flag to me, but in the late ’80s I wasn’t nearly as clear on the Gospel as I am now.

    And now Franklin Graham is walking in his father’s footsteps, preaching the same false gospel. I was reminded of FG this last week when Roger Stone’s prison sentence was commuted by President Trump. In an interview with Stone, he mentioned how his difficulties in the last couple of years have “brought him closer to God”. Stone was raised RC, but he credited a recent conversation with FG as showing him (Stone) his own need to “get right with God”, which, according to what Stone was told by FG involved “giving God control of his life”. Iow, typical “Evangelical Protestant” LS nonsense. Stone really needs our prayers.

    Wow, just got a huge feeling of deja-vu. Have i posted this before? Couldn’t have, since the events with Stone happened only last week. Weird.

  7. B. Adams, welcome!

    Our stance against the false gospel of Billy Graham has been a turnoff for some who see the same error from others, but for whatever reason don’t see it from Billy Graham.

  8. Fully agree with you…

  9. I saw an interesting quote today from Franklin Graham, with an afterthought by Todd Starnes of Fox “News”:

    Franklin Graham:

    I’m going to keep on doing what I do and I’m going to keep telling people how they can have a relationship with God how they can have their sins forgiven and how it can make and have that hope of heaven one day by putting their faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

    Todd Starnes:

    And that should be our prayer for Christian “influencers” like Mr. Harris and Mr. Sampson – that one day they might truly put their faith and trust in Christ.

    My comments:

    Regarding Franklin Graham: Franklin Graham teaches works salvation. He does not teach that faith in Christ alone results in eternal life. Neither did his father, evangelist Billy Graham.

    Regarding Todd Starnes: Starnes is reacting to a couple of prominent people who have renounced their professed Christian faith. Neither Starnes, nor I can know whether or not these people have ever believed in Jesus as Savior.

    This is part of a disturbing trend, in which people who commit atrocities are sweepingly assumed to have never believed in Christ as Savior, and in which people who lose their faith are blithely treated as never having been Christians in the first place.

    Since we have all sinned, assuming that people who seem to have sinned worse than us lack eternal life is a slippery slope indeed. And, since the Bible does not guarantee that the faith of all believers will endure, to assume those who have lost their faith were never believers in the first place is also a slippery slope.

  10. Johninnc (and the rest of my brethren)

    If there is no change in a person’s life, he or she must question whether or not they possess the salvation that the gospel proclaims. Many who go to church have not had a life-changing transformation in Christ…

    I was always wondering why they had a fairy-godmother-like transformation. A wand was waved and the gown and the hair and the jewels and the carriage, etc. I wonder how many felt the same way and strived to work harder instead of choosing to be in His Word and abide in Him? The accuser of the brethren accuses those mini-accusers as their own words come back to bite them and condemn them.

    If I looked to what always seemed like a snail-like process as proof of my salvation, I would have quit a long time ago. Thank goodness that I just decided to obey to continue in His Word and knew I needed His help for that. That I needed His help to remember to ask Him for help in more things in my life. I still haven’t been transformed into Cinderella, but His Word is strengthening me in the inner ‘man’.

  11. Chas,

    I remember seeing that interview, although I’m sure there were more with him. He was speculating how Mother Teresa would get in before him, and how he wasn’t sure he’d get in at all. Mother Teresa had the same fears, and so will everyone be self-condemned if they’re trusting their own heretical gospel of works to get them to heaven.

    You would think that his followers would be asking themselves the same question. If Billy Graham doesn’t think he’ll get it, where do I stand in line?

  12. Holly…
    Since, by his own admission, BG wasn’t sure that he would go to heaven even after his own lifetime of “good works” (which includes a lifetime of preaching a false gospel), apparently the “extra thing” was beyond him.

    Which is the ultimate end of faith-plus-works “salvation”, isn’t it? One can never be sure one has done enough, even if it’s just “our part”.

    Ironic that–after a lifetime of being a witness of a false gospel–BG would end up being a prime witness of the futility of it; its own refutation. I guess we can thank him for that.

    Btw, I’ve read that BG was actually a 33rd degree Freemason, but I’d never heard of him acknowledging that publicly. Did he ever?

  13. Hobbs, great analogy, it’s exactly what they are like. Chickens tend to run around even when they’re already dead.

    Chas, I missed that! Good catch, wow, so he must be a Lordshipper to the 33rd degree (A little play on the Mason thing). So believing and works aren’t enough for him, wonder what the extra thing is, is it a continual lifetime of good works?

  14. Poor old chickens really going through it at the moment.

  15. Hoping I didn’t sound smug with that comment – I’d still be a headless chicken too of course if I hadn’t discovered there were people defending grace, thank the Lord.

    Yes I noticed the ‘and do good works’ bit too, rather muddled.

  16. Chas, it was about 5 years old. I almost commented on the goood works part, too, because many people (including BG throughout his ministry) do teach faith plus works for eternal life.

  17. Wait a minute…
    Graham said:

    “As I approached my 95th birthday, I was burdened to write a book that addressed the epidemic of “easy believism.” There is a mindset today that if people believe in God and do good works they are going to Heaven.”

    Not only did he get the Gospel wrong, but it seems Graham didn’t even comprehend the LS caricature of “easy believism” properly. Isn’t the big complaint by LS-ers that “easy believism” leaves out good works? What Graham described in that article sounds like religious do-goodism. I sometimes wonder just how coherent BG was in his final years. How old is that article, John?

  18. Hobbs, the running around like headless chickens is a good analogy.

  19. Holly, yeah, it is really sad who people choose to listen to. Billy Graham put forth a false plan of salvation in which no one could ever have any assurance, because it was based on the nebulous “life change.”

  20. …faith in Him, I mean to say.

  21. So lets all panic, run around like headless chickens, changing our lives to get proof we’re saved.

    No, think I’ll just stick with Believing in the Savior.

    After all, what else have any of us really got other than our faith?

  22. By his own words Billy Graham was self-condemned. He didn’t know if he’d be ‘let in’ when he died. They don’t want to trust God and take Him at His Word, but instead look to their own evil flesh. I just can’t hardly stand it sometimes as people commend themselves and others and miss the most important thing of all. Did they ever believe Him? If so, why don’t they point others back to God’s Word to know whether or not they believed?

  23. I came across the following in an article in an old Christianity Today entitled “Q&A: Billy Graham’s Warning Against an Epidemic of ‘Easy Believism.”

    Following are some excerpts (my responses are in bold parentheses):

    If there is no change in a person’s life, he or she must question whether or not they possess the salvation that the gospel proclaims. Many who go to church have not had a life-changing transformation in Christ

    (My comment: No one need look to change in his life for evidence of eternal life. The only evidence is in whether one has believed in Christ alone as his Savior)

    As I approached my 95th birthday, I was burdened to write a book that addressed the epidemic of “easy believism.” There is a mindset today that if people believe in God and do good works they are going to Heaven. But there are many questions that must be answered. There are two basic needs that all people have: the need for hope and the need for salvation. It should not be surprising if people believe easily in a God who makes no demands, but this is not the God of the Bible. Satan has cleverly misled people by whispering that they can believe in Jesus Christ without being changed, but this is the Devil’s lie. To those who say you can have Christ without giving anything up, Satan is deceiving you.

    (My comment: The Bible repeatedly refers to eternal life as a gift. A gift does not require any payment on the part of the recipient, otherwise it would be a trade)

  24. Jason, I don’t know. But, I do know he corrupts the gospel.

  25. I am listening to a free audiobook of “50 Years in the Church of Rome” by Charles Chiniquy. I wonder if Billy Graham knows of the corrupt communication and destruction that comes from the confession booth and the utter idiolatry and superstition the Temple of the Wafer God.

  26. I read that Billy Graham had been voted the fourth most admired man in America, according to Gallup.

    He finished behind Obama, Trump, and the Pope.

    This is the 61st time that Billy Graham has made the list.

  27. Keith, agree. And, once a new believer has assurance, Satan will immediately attempt to undermine that person’s assurance, through contrivances such as Lordship “salvation.”

  28. One problem with presenting the gospel invitation as “committing one’s life to Christ” for eternal life is that assurance of eternal life requires ongoing effort on the part of the one making the commitment. If one fails to meet the terms of his commitment, however they are defined (either now or in the future), he presumably never had eternal life to begin with. It is just another version of POS. In contrast, the biblical gospel brings immediate assurance of eternal life for those who accept it (John 3:16, 5:24, 6:40, 6:47).

  29. My bigger problem with Billy Graham’s comment was about committing one’s life to Christ. Believing in Jesus and committing one’s life to Him are not the same thing.

    Of course, if Christ had not died for us, and was not raised from the dead, our faith would be in vain (see 1 Corinthians 15:14).

    I was already aware of Billy Graham’s false view of how one receives Christ as Savior. See number 2 in the article linked below:


  30. Sounds like BG is saying that a persons faith is the power that saves. It is by grace that we are saved: salvation is all of Christ.. Faith is simply how we accept what Christ has done to save us.

  31. Keith, agree completely.

  32. Here’s the latest from Billy Graham:

    In today’s newspaper article entitled “What Does It Mean To Trust Jesus”, BG explains:

    “In a far deeper way, this is what it means to trust Jesus. First, you believe in Him — that is, you believe He is the Son of God who gave His life to pay the penalty for your sins. But second, you actually trust Him — that is, you commit your life to Him and trust Him to save you. Don’t delay any longer, but put your faith and trust in Christ today”.

    My comment: receiving eternal life has nothing to do with making a commitment of any kind, or having good intentions of how you will live your life as a “Christ follower”. It is understanding the person and work of Christ, that He has paid in full the penalty for your sins past, present and future, and simple faith in the promise of eternal life for all who believe (John 5:24).

    Those who add to the gospel, as BG did here, are trying to avoid the offense of the cross (Gal. 5:11), which strips a person of all self-righteousness before he can believe.

    Satan’s most effective weapon is to con people into living the Christian life without having ever been born again.

  33. Amen, Brother. If I’m not saved by Grace alone, believing in Christ alone, I just ain’t gonna make it.

  34. From my own experience hearing BG’s faith/works false “gospel”. Hearing BG on TV as a teen, Yes, I heard Christ died for my sins, but I also heard Graham say I had to change my life, a complete turnabout, I had to give up this and that, and start doing this and that. It became about me, me and me and less and less about what Christ had done. As I’m sure others just gave up, I couldn’t live up to all that Graham said. I wasn’t until years later that I heard, read, and believed the good news that Christ had already paid for all my sins on the cross in order to save me and give me eternal life. All I had to do is believe it and salvation and eternal life was mine-which I joyfully did! If Graham had preached the true gospel instead of the false one he preached I would have been saved as a teenager. But thank God i heard the true gospel as an adult some years later and believed.
    The trouble with Graham, JMac, and other legalists and LS’rs is that they will jump all over the Bible using any passage irregardless whether it is under Law or Grace and mix it all together and call it “the gospel according to Jesus.” I’ve got news for these false preachers: the gospel that Paul received (1 Cor 15) is the true gospel because he received it from the ascended Lord Jesus Christ.(Gal 1:11,12). It is gospel of salvation by the death of Christ for our sins, his burial, and resurrection. And it is offered by faith in Christ’s saving work alone, plus nothing else It is simply a loving gift with no string attached, no forsaking sins and no “repenting of sins”, no works that have to follow, no “counting the cost”, no discipleship requirements, no coming forward publicly.

  35. Graham apparently does not think mormonism is a cult anymore.

  36. And no, I don’t judge his salvation (for anyone who might have drawn in their breath a little). He doesn’t understand the gospel now, so I don’t know if he ever did…

  37. Interesting John, I had a few thoughts as I was reading. The reason he has broad appeal is because he is religious. He will draw big crowds — answered in Luke 6:26.

    The part about “friends in high places” seeming as contemporary as Elvis or I Love Lucy was actually chilling. He does indeed have friends like the Pope and Mother Teresa, and many, many popular false teachers as friends.

    Even though he is this white haired, kindly elderly gentleman with a knitted sweater in a rocking chair, most people don’t have the wisdom in the story in little Red Riding Hood. (Grandpa, what big teeth you have…) They just cannot reconcile he is a wolf as he presents a Norman Rockwell-esque picture of himself. They don’t hear the words for the picture they present. People are so angered if you dare speak ‘ill of your brother’. But they are missing that he is 1) leading the masses to hell and 2) likely not saved himself.

  38. There is a long article today in “The State” newspaper (Columbia, SC) entitled: “He’s 98 and retired from the pulpit. Will there be a next Billy Graham.”

    Among other interesting points, the article says the following:

    Some of the U.S. evangelists who’ve been mentioned over the years as would-be successors to Graham – Rick Warren, T.D. Jakes, Greg Laurie, and Graham’s own grown children, Franklin and Anne Graham Lotz – still have big followings, but mostly within segments of the broader evangelical community. And all are nearing retirement age themselves.

    My comment: most of these are Calvinist/LS.

    But if Graham’s charisma and friends in high places made him seem as contemporary as Elvis or “I Love Lucy,” his message to the masses was as old as the call to conversion in the letters of that other famous evangelist, Paul.

    My comment: The false gospel that Graham preaches is old (see Galatians), but it is not the same as the gospel preached by the Apostle Paul.

    These and other savvy preachers can still draw big crowds in person and online.

    My comment: I wasn’t able to find the word “savvy” in the Bible. The Bible calls the false LS gospel that Billy and Franklin Graham preach “accursed.”

    Galatians 1:8-9:
    [8] But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
    [9] As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

  39. I am afraid Billy Graham also doesn’t know he is saved. How tragic. We can know we possess eternal life, but he’s somehow compared himself to Mother Teresa and all her good works, (since he is works for salvation oriented), so he is not sure if he will make it to heaven that day.

    They have alreaddy exposed themselves over and over by their words, their doctrine, but people don’t recognize this as the fruits they will know them by. All we can do is keep warning with His Word, marking and avoiding them, and praying for those who are deceived.

  40. Holly, like you, I don’t understand why people who are otherwise passionate about proclaiming and defending the gospel give the Graham’s a pass.

    But, I can understand why Lordship “Salvationists” are comfortable with Billy and Franklin Graham.

    Billy and Franklin Graham either don’t believe the gospel, or they teach something that they don’t believe.

  41. I’m afrad I might not of worded that well. Satan also used the Word, but twisting the Word to people’s destruction. I should have said properly quotes some of the Word, such as John 3:16 while preaching a false gospel in the same meeting. The Grahams somehow are paragons that most would fight tooth and nail for instead of defending the gospel. Sadly, I assume Luke 6:26 answers why.

  42. Holly, yes – the word of God is used sometimes by the Grahams. Same with MacArthur and all of the others.

  43. Franklin and Billy both do not have a consistent gospel, except that it is consistently wrong in some way or another. The only hope there is the Word of God is used sometimes, so I pray that will do the work with some. Many people have made ‘decisions’ to follow Christ at their Crusades, and Billy Graham made deals with Jewish and Catholic leaders to send them back into that religion. What kind of gospel is that? He is not even understanding making disciples. He is trying to raise up an army of ecumenical workers is all.

  44. I just got an e-mail from Samaritan’s Purse, which is headed by Franklin Graham.

    Following is an interesting quote from Graham:

    That’s why I’m going to Raleigh—and all 50 state capitals—in 2016 to hold prayer rallies as part of the Decision America Tour. I will be challenging believers to pray for our nation, to vote, and to run for office at all levels—local, state, and federal. I will also be preaching the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, which has the power to change hearts and lives.

    My comment: Franklin Graham may preach a gospel of sorts, but his plan of salvation is not the gospel. It is a gospel of works, that includes “repenting of sins.”

    The Bible says this about the gospel:

    Romans 1:16: For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

    Note the emphasis on salvation. We need eternal life. A “changed life” is God’s desire for the believer in Christ, but it is not an automatic result. If it were, the epistles need not to have been written.

  45. From an article today entitled “Billy Graham: 2 things Christians can do to lead Atheist friends to Jesus Christ.” Following are quotes from the article (in italics), as well as my comments:

    Graham responded by saying, “you can’t win him over by yourself” and that part of the effort must include God, since “He can conquer even the most stubborn heart.

    “And that’s why the most important thing you can do for your friend is to pray for him, asking God to convict him of his sin and his pride and convince him of his need for Christ,” wrote Graham.

    My comment: God can conquer even the most stubborn heart. God can convict a person of his sin and his pride and try to convince him of his need for Christ. But, believing in Jesus as Savior is a responsibility of man. God could override the free will of man to believe vs. not believe, but He doesn’t.

    John 16:8-11:

    [8] And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
    [9] Of sin, because they believe not on me;
    [10] Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
    [11] Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

    Also, Graham never mentions preaching the gospel. Since Graham routinely butchers the gospel, this should not come as a surprise. The Bible says the gospel is THE (sole, exclusive) power of God unto salvation.

    Romans 1:16: For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

    Billy Graham does not teach biblical salvation. He teaches salvation by works.

    “Pray also that your life will be a witness to him — a witness to Christ’s peace and joy. People may argue with what we say — but they can’t argue with the reality of a life that’s been transformed by Christ.”

    My comment: our “transformed life” should never be the basis of our testimony. What if we “transform back?” There are lots of people, from all sorts of phony religious traditions, who exhibit peace and joy.

  46. They have no idea what the clear gospel is. If they do, they are suppressing it in unrighteousness.

  47. I found the following quote attributed to Billy Graham in an article from September 18, 2015. The quote was from a radio broadcast Graham gave in 1953.

    The Bible teaches that sin leads to hell. In 1 Corinthians 6, the Bible says that no immoral person can inherit the kingdom of God. There are hundreds of passages that indicate the wrath of God is being stored up against those who commit such sins.

    My comment: The Bible teaches that those who are not in Christ do not have eternal life. The Bible does not teach that those who have committed the sins listed in 1 Corinthians 6 do not have eternal life. The Bible teaches that whoever believes in Jesus as Savior has eternal life.

  48. I found the following today in an article from CNS news:

    The Decision America Tour 2016, which Rev. Graham is heading, is designed to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ across the country and to encourage Bible-believing Christians to get involved in political life, at the local, state, and national level.

    At the same, Rev. Graham wants all Americans to pray relentlessly for good, honest, and morally upright leaders for this nation.

    As for the presidential candidates come November, Rev. Graham said, “You may have two candidates out there that may be heathens, who end up running against each other.

    “And you’ll just have to decide which is the less of two heathens,” he said.

    My comment: Franklin Graham doesn’t preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. He preaches the false gospel of Lordship “salvation” – just like his father, famed evangelist Billy Graham.

    Also, there is no “lesser of two heathens.” Someone is either a Christian, or they are not. Graham’s false gospel frustrates grace, keeping lost people lost.

  49. The governor of North Carolina was able to brave the impending hurricane today for a ceremony in Charlotte honoring Billy Graham. Following is the story:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Friday was a historic day for Charlotte-born evangelist Billy Graham and his legacy.

    North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed a bill paving the way for a statue of Billy Graham to be placed in the National Statuary Hall in Congress.

    During the ceremony Friday morning at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, Franklin Graham said he hadn’t yet told his father about the statue for fear he wouldn’t have wanted it, but he expressed gratitude for the state’s action.

    “We are here and this is a great honor that is being bestowed on my father. Just incredible and we’re so grateful,” Franklin Graham said.

    A committee will be formed to raise money to create the statue. No timetable has been set for its completion.

  50. Free admission… hmmm, but once you get in there, you have to perform, or you were never admitted at all…. Interesting picture John. They can understand it’s free to get in, and yet they don’t understand if one misbehaves from the time of entrance, then as Keith said, you were never there in the first place…

  51. Keith, great point!

  52. Maybe it’s free to go in, but if you don’t pay anything going out you never visited in the first place?

  53. I just added a picture to the top of this article. It is an advertisement for the Billy Graham Library. It says “Free admission. Priceless Experience.”

    I wonder if “free admission” means one has to “count the cost” to go in?

  54. janellecimi , Welcome
    Thanks for posting , There are very few places on the internet like expreacherman . you found an Oasis of Grace .

  55. janeellecimi, welcome and thanks for your comment.

    If you haven’t already read them, you might also like Ron Shea’s doctrinal comments about teaching that is contradictory to the doctrine of grace. See below:


  56. janellecimi

    Thank you for posting this! The truth needs to be exposed. I have thought this way for years and been burdened by most believer’s little concern over this. If we don’t share the truth, who will?

    Lordship salvation is becoming even more increasing among Christendom. The problem is because people are wrongly defining repentance and not understanding the distinction between salvation and discipleship

  57. I thought we were given the gift?

    This terminology, ‘give your life to Jesus’ or ‘commit your life to Jesus’ or ‘surrender your life to Jesus’, I am sure knowing some people who share the gospel, they don’t realize what confusion they are sowing. When I say something, they feel as if I’m either nitpicking, or questioning that they’re not giving the real gospel.

    But we need clear language, and what many of them actually are missing is 1) believing and 2) the entire gospel of Christ crucified for our sin, His burial and raising Himself up after 3 days proving He was God.

    I frequently see the condition and the entire gospel missing along with the obvious, He did the work — Christ and Him crucified. Not you and you giving your life over to Him. We receive Him when we believe, we are given to the Son by the Father, not by ourselves.

  58. “There was a quote in the article from a chaplain who said that three gang members and another hundred area people “gave themselves to Jesus.”

    I wonder too , but how many got saved ?
    a soul can give themselves to Jesus and never be saved for with out the shedding of blood there is no remissions of sins

    believeth in him shall receive remission of sins
    Act 10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

    without shedding of blood is no remission.
    Heb 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

  59. There is an article out from Reuters today entitled “Ferguson Turmoil Draws U.S. Evangelist’s Rapid Response Team.”

    The article is about Billy Graham’s Rapid Response Teams, that are deployed whenever there is a crisis.

    The program has 1,800 volunteer chaplains in the U.S., and has responded to more than 250 crises.

    There was a quote in the article from a chaplain who said that three gang members and another hundred area people “gave themselves to Jesus.”

    If that means they BELIEVED in Jesus, great. But, given the garbled gospel that Graham promotes, I am left to wonder what these people were told and what they believed.

  60. Franklin is taking over an empire, so he’s not going to shake the false gospel out now.

  61. Phil, you are correct. Franklin Graham is also frustrating grace with his false gospel.

  62. I might add Franklin Graham seems to have the same salvation message including repent of your sins also to be saved.

  63. John – I agree completely — sugar coat, or call it semantics, it’s the subtle lies of the enemy. Billy has that charming Southern accent, and now sweaters and rocking chair, hard not to be drawn to his homespun charisma, but the wolves look like sheep, that is the point that many sheep just don’t seem to get sadly. And their defense of him will be something that will cost them in this life and the next.

  64. Preston, I have shown these comments to a few people. Everyone wants to sugarcoat them.

    Billy Graham is one of the “sacred cows” of Christendom (along with Spurgeon). Negating the message of how to have eternal life is one of the more evil things imaginable.

  65. John,

    I am not sure Billy EVER preached the gospel. I have heard some “older” sermons and i dont think he ever got it right. He always seemed to “add” to the cross
    – commit to Christ
    – count the cost
    – repent of your sins
    – etc

    So, where was his devotion?

    He has given high praise to Pope John Paul II; received rewards/honor from the Catholic Church, etc. There is a reason why the world loves him, Like most “famous” evangelicals, I think Billy was “made”.

    You think it is bad now? IMO, Wait until he dies. They will be pushing all this “Billy Graham, the greatest evangelical of the modern era” false gospel merchandise.
    – talk about making merchandise of the saints (2 Peter)

  66. I still can’t figure out why Billy Graham has devoted his life to preaching the gospel, but at this late stage doesn’t seem to understand it.

    Billy Graham: “Just to say ‘believe in Christ’ can produce a false hope of heaven”

    Jesus: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

    Billy Graham is DIRECTLY contradicting Jesus.

    Every time I think I am being too hard on the kinds of statements highlighted in this article, I get back to what they really are. They are a man saying that God’s words about how to have eternal life are not reliable.

  67. I just noticed that Billy Graham tied for number 4 on the Gallup Poll list of most admired men for 2014. The accolades just keep on rolling in.

  68. Nathan, conversely, what gives these celebrities their celebrity status is their false gospels.

  69. What makes this false message so hard to battle is the celebrity status of the people putting the false message out there. It seems to be an epidemic of our culture that people look up to celebrities as being those that they blindly trust. I myself have done this and have repented now of not blindly trusting everything someone says, but instead to search out the truth in God’s Word. I understand now why God made mention of the Bereans in His scripture to help us to be diligent and to adhere only to His Word for everything!

    Thank you John and Jack for your service to the Lord in pointing people to the truth. I for one definitely needed help in getting things straightened out. God bless.

  70. Nathan, that’s correct. We should not sin, but our willingness to turn from sin is not a condition for receiving eternal life.

    Graham is ignoring the entire truth of the gospel.

    Franklin Graham is teaching an accursed, false gospel.

    Before I believed in Christ as my Savior, I believed the false gospel that Graham is teaching. The main difference is that I had not deceived myself that I had turned from my sin.

  71. So understanding what Graham’s message is saying here then he is disregarding the truth of Romans 6.

    Romans 6
    What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

    So Paul is saying here that because your ARE saved or “baptized into Jesus Christ” that you should not continue in sin, but not saying stop sinning to BE saved?

  72. By the way, one of the points of my article on Billy Graham is he is really NOT persecuted. The world loves him!

    I found these very telling quotes from Franklin Graham, Billy Graham’s son, in “Huffington Post” (April 23, 2014):

    “Maybe gays that are watching want to know, ‘Can God forgive me? Or can I go to heaven as a gay person?’ Absolutely. But the same for any of us. We have to repent of our sins in turn. A person cannot stay in adultery and be accepted by God. You’ll have to repent.”

    Graham continued, “Franklim Graham is a sinner, and I’m no better than a gay person. I’m a sinner. But I’ve been forgiven, and I’ve turned from my sins. For any person that’s willing to repent in turn, God will forgive him.”

    My comment: “In turn” means “in succession, one after the other.” In other words, being willing to turn from sins means “if you’ll give me eternal life, I’ll respond by turning from my sins.”

    Franklin Graham, like his father, makes it crystal clear that he thinks salvation is a TRADE, not a gift.

  73. Mary, that is a good quote, I think from Ryrie.

    Here is another quote – this one not good – from an inscription at Lubeck Cathedral in Germany:

    “Thus speaketh Christ our Lord to us:
    Ye call Me Master and obey me not,
    Ye call Me Light and see Me not,
    Ye call Me Way and Walk Not,
    Ye call Me Life and desire Me not,
    Ye call Me wise and follow Me not,
    Ye call Me fair and love me not,
    Ye call Me rich and ask Me not,
    ye call Me eternal and seek Me not,
    Ye call Me gracious and trust Me not,
    Ye call Me noble and serve Me not,
    Ye call Me mighty and honor Me not,
    Ye call Me just and fear Me not,
    If I condemn you, blame Me not.”

    This is the gospel of the Lordship “Salvationist.” It implicitly includes faith in Christ and serving Christ as necessary conditions to being saved.

    It falsely attributes those words to Christ.

    It contradicts His real words.

    John 3:18: He that believeth on him is not condemned, but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

    Anyone who thinks he must both trust Jesus and serve Him to receive eternal life does not believe the gospel.

  74. Hi Guys, was reading an article today.
    A quote I read today.

    The importance of this question cannot be overestimated in relation to both salvation and sanctification. The message of faith only and the message of faith plus commitment of life cannot both be the gospel, therefore, one of them is false and comes under the curse of perverting the gospel or preaching another gospel (Gal 1; 6-9)

  75. Thanks John

    I appreciate your deep concern for the Truth of the Word of God.

    We will pray with you that your friend will be able to separate the Truth from the Graham lie and settle or be sure of his own eternal life in Jesus Christ alone.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  76. I just talked to a couple of friends at work about the Billy Graham errors.

    One of the gentlemen (we’ll call him Joe) chuckled incredulously, so I read him the Billy Graham quotes in the article.

    Joe said, regarding Graham’s false statement that one had to “count the cost”, that Graham was just saying that Christians will be persecuted.

    I quickly told Joe some of the other Billy Graham error, and gave him a brief personal testimony.

    Joe did not seem hostile, argumentative, or entirely dismissive, but he may have just been being polite.

    Joe is fairly active in his Presbyterian church, and recently served on its pastoral selection committee.

    I have prayed that if Joe knows Jesus as his Savior, that he will grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus. And, if he has never trusted in Christ alone, that he would understand the gospel that he might believe and be saved.

  77. John

    Lucado is like so many who relish the company of the “famed” but false teacher Billy Graham.

    Lucado has written many books and claims his passion is “words”; he loves to craft sentences with words with meaning.

    That is strange in light of his rather benign Statement of beliefs which reads, under Salvation:

    “Those trusting Christ should repent of sin, confess their faith, and be baptized.”

    He loves “words” but does not love or know The Word, God’s word enough to understand that The Word never uses the words, “repent of sin.”

    That is sad, but such is the story of those who idolize and follow the likes of Billy Graham.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  78. I heard a commercial today for the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, NC. Popular pastor Max Lucado is going to be doing a guest appearance.

    I don’t know much about Max Lucado, but I think that anyone who is clear on grace and who preaches the gospel accurately should avoid association with Billy Graham and other Calvinists/Lordship “salvationists.”

    After all, if someone glad hands Billy Graham, and cooperates with him in ministry, he is conferring legitimacy on Graham’s false gospel.

  79. Mary and Genevieve, we are going to try to manage a Bible study online, via our free conference call. We believe it can also be accesses similarly as skype, although audio, so once we figure it out, I intend to maybe start with twice a month studies for women. I believe you both have my email, but we’re going to try to do Australia and New Zealand in one time zone, and then I’ll probably try to skip the weeks for those in UK and Europe time zones. I need to know though your best times in your time zone, whether morning, (I was thinking about 10 am mornings) or maybe can even do noon time (somewhere thereabouts), so if you both are able, let me know. If it can only be weekends because of work, let me know. Right now, just doing a spreadsheet, on where people are that ‘think’ they might like to attend. I’ll do a different teaching than John for those who are already listening to John.

    In Christ’s love to you both, Holly

  80. Hi Genevieve, i am in Adelaide and there are no churches here, churches are complicated places and places of conflict where people are coming from all sorts of denominations. This site is our church, i would love to hook up with you, but i understand this site has our protection at heart, i don’t know if Jack will relent on that. I’m sure he has been prayerful with it, if he changes his mind i can leave my mobile number with Jack.

  81. Curtis, people love these guys Ducky Dynasty and the other 19 and counting that Living Water produces. I just continue to shake my head, I know I should know these things, and should expect them, but it still is so sad, and I am in disbelief when people are faced with hundreds of Scriptures and will just ignore them for the sake of one they’ll repeat over and over again, or justify these people as good, and wholesome Christians just because they are on tv.

    We just need to keep praying and sharing the Word, knowing of it’s power.

  82. Frying Pan 9, you are right about FB. It is a good think my husband isn’t alive. I think he’d be beside himself for some of the threats from men, from even pastors, who have called me slanderer and false accuser, to a couple who called me Jezebel, one called me an antichrist, yet another called down ‘holy fire from heaven on me’, and his wife, called me a blasphemer. (For using God’s Word)..

    I have been threatened by Calvinists and Hebrew Roots (same idea, both lawkeepers). And been told to shut up and/or stay silent, that I was ‘not to speak’. (after he had been speaking to me for quite awhile). I have been called a false prophet, a false teacher, and in some sort of ‘new movement or doctrine’. Called a cult leader, and blamed for having the ‘spirit of witchcraft’. I have been called a Pharisee for quoting His Word. I have been attacked, stalked, blocked and falsely blamed. One pastor after speaking to me for awhile and didn’t like that he wasn’t making headway insisted I go get my husband, that he wanted to talk to him before he talked to me any more. I told him that the Lord had that position, my husband was with Him, so if he wanted to talk to him, go ahead, I’d wait 🙂 (I was a little naughty on that one) 🙂

    I think on what my husband might do or how he would react (if he were alive) knowing some men were talking to me this way. Men supposedly Christians. But I count it all joy now and rejoice. Except I feel sorry for them and I pray that they will come to know the Lord. I always think on 2 Thess 1:6-9 and it makes me frightened for what the Lord will do to them if they don’t believe, and a little more aware of Col 4:5-6 in dealing with them.

    It’s growing harder out there. Hearts are hard and cold. People are dull of hearing. May we have compassion on some, making a difference…

  83. Mr Phil Roberson’s last comment was a wopper as well concerning ISIS
    ” Convert them or Kill them ”
    That’s no better than the Muslim’s themselves .

    I agree with what you are saying there Frypan
    also all the world’s religion could unite under lordship salvation in that works are required for evidence of salvation. That’s how Roman Catholics and all the other ism’s and ite’s of the world can all sit together on the same stage. I do believe however that there our believers who have trust Jesus as their Savior who are messed up in religion and should come out of it but they choose not to see it.

    I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed
    fearing them which were of the circumcision.
    Gal 2:11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
    Gal 2:12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.

  84. Fryingpan, no doubt you are correct!

    We get so many religious commenters who ask us the same things repeatedly here at ExPreacherMan, who are then indignant when we won’t let them continue to use the site as a sounding board for their false doctrines.

    They are not content to teach their doctrines in their “churches”, their books, their videos, and their hundreds of thousands of websites.

    No, they have to hunt down every voice preaching the good news and try to distract, confuse, and draw people away.

  85. John, I have no doubt in my mind that some of the persecution Jesus warned his disciples about applies to multiple groups of people. It’s not just (hypothetically) Muslims or Roman Catholics that have or will think they are serving God by persecuting those who stand for the gospel. I know this for various reasons of course but for example, I guarantee that If I were to start getting more and more vocal about standing up against false doctrine that I see all over Facebook, I’d get a LOT more trouble from professing Christians than I would from agnostics and atheists.

  86. I was just doing some research on Samaritan’s Purse (Franklin Graham). The statement of faith and “Knowing God” sections on its website are LS all the way.

    In addition I noticed that the Duck Dynasty guys (Church of Christ) are featured on the Samaritan’s Purse website. Graham and Church of Christ teach different false gospels, yet they are joined together in charitable work.

    I have noticed a number of evangelical churches that also cooperate with Samaritan’s Purse. I can’t bring myself to do it, knowing that I would be helping them spread a false gospel.

  87. Thanks a lot Jack. Yeah free grace seems to be rare in Brisbane, Australia. If anyone can help that would be great.

  88. To all,

    We have a new friend, Genevieve, in Brisbane Australia, wanting to know of a grace preaching church there. We have several viewers in Australia so if anyone knows of a good free grace church, please let us know.


    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  89. I should have posted this here, because sadly Graham is caught in his own trap.

    NEWS BRIEF: “Graham Worries Heaven Might Be Wrong Place For Him”January 2, 2000, Fox News Interview, reported in The Calvary Contender, Vol. XVII, January 15, 2000.

    “In a Jan. 2 Fox News interview, Tony Snow asked Billy Graham: ‘When you get to Heaven, who’s going to speak first, you or God?’ Graham replied: ‘When I get there, I’m sure that Jesus is going to say that he will welcome me. But I think that he’s going to say: ‘Well done, our good and faithful servant.’ Or he may say: ‘You’re in the wrong place’.”

    Tony Snow’s next question.

    SNOW: “You really worry that you may be told you’re in the wrong place?

    GRAHAM: Yes, because I have not – I’m not a righteous man. People put me up on a pedestal that I don’t belong in my personal life. And they think that I’m better than I am. I’m not the good man that people think I am. Newspapers and magazines and television have made me out to be a saint. I’m not. I’m not a Mother Teresa. And I feel that very much.”


    He said himself he was not a saint. How about saying, “without Christ I would not be considered righteous”? How does someone who has believed the gospel not know based on God’s Word that he is saved?

    Must be because he has not believed the Word of God, as he himself has said as reported in Newsweek, “I am not a literalist in the sense that every single Jot and Tittle is From The Lord.”

  90. All three of those comments are really good… They say we ‘box God’ or we ‘limit’ Him, but in truth? It is the Calvinists who limit God…

    Excellent explanations…

  91. Hi Mary. One of the many odd and contradictory things that I’ve noticed about Calvinism is that its proponents cry out “sovereignty,” “sovereignty.” Yet, it is the Calvinists themselves who deny God the power to create a being with free will, a being who has the ability to accept him or reject him. The “god” of Calvinist concoction forces salvation upon some people while denying the ability of others to become saved at all. Their “god” is an ogre, and NOT THE God of the Bible!

  92. Mary,

    Guys like that love to talk about the two and revel in the “mystery” of it all. Yet what they don’t get is that there is not as much mystery as they think. It really goes back to things like their over exaggerated view of depravity. The other thing is that they think that God chooses some for salvation and grants faith. It is key for them to understand that salvation is offered to all and that man can believe (receive it by faith) without be made to. In other words, salvation is a legitimate offer.

    Jim F

  93. Mary, I think about it like this. God knows all things. But, he does not decree all things. Some things He causes to happen, others He allows to happen. Nothing can happen that God does not either decree or allow.

    God has given man free will to accept, or reject, salvation through Jesus Christ. Once a person becomes a believer, he continues to have free will. Many people claim they don’t believe in Calvinism, because they don’t believe that God chooses who will be saved and who won’t be. But, some of these same people think that once someone becomes a believer, they will automatically sin less and do good works. In essence, they think that man has free will, but only until he becomes a believer.

    We know that God’s will is that all men be saved (1 Timothy 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:9). We also know that few will be saved (Matthew 7:14).

    There is a great article on this subject, linked below:


  94. hi guys i keep getting told by christians that they don’t believe in calvinism but i think they do maybe partially. what do u do when they say i believe in free will but God’s sovereignty to me it’s a contradiction and confusing as they say the bible supports both. help me undestand

  95. Mary, saying that someone must be “willing to turn from sin” and “count the cost” for salvation is preaching Lordship “salvation”. If a Christian will not accept those statements from Billy Graham as absolute proof that he is teaching Lordship “salvation”, they likely don’t understand the issue. They also may not understand God’s plan of salvation, including the fact that salvation is the gift of God, without us “bringing anything to the table.” However, if you would like additional information on this topic, please see the articles linked below. Please bear in mind that “Christians” who hold these same beliefs that Graham is teaching do not presently believe in salvation by Grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, even though most will claim that they do.


  96. just wondering what is the absolute proof that we can give other christians that billy graham is definitely preaching lordship salvation i think somewhere on yr site u have a transcript how can i prove that transcript is correct. i have no problem believing he is in compromise. thanks

  97. It is horrifying, but greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world.

  98. Mary, you make a very good point. Jack likes to say “the woods are full of ’em.”

  99. with all the study and research i have done just about the whole of christendom is under a false gospel but a few that why the road is narrow and few find it. this understanding of lordship salv and calvanism and arminianism is going to put us in conflict with christians we used to once fellowship they will not buy this some will the majority wont. billy graham i was told for years they say that he preached the gospel and i got saved they say but really now i have to question if they have swallowed his lordship salv message are they really. this gospel of lordship and calv and arminianism is such a subtle deception in the church. its satans heavenly way of taking people to hell alright. mike gendron and justin peters all these men who i once respected and the macarthurs have all got false gospels i am horrified it doesn’t leave too many of the big ones that are sound. its certainly a sign of the times and the apostasy i can’t even imagine what the great apostasy is going to look like in the great tribulation. the word of faith teachers also preach a false gospel as well as the prosperity gospe. how sad.

  100. Lori, great question.

    I did study church history, although I had religious education, I did this on my own (kicking and screaming)…

    The formation of the Catholic church has transpired over time, as has their doctrine. They have added as they along, and sometimes also take away. They hold up traditions of men as somehow equal to the Word of God. They ‘canonized’ the apocrypha, (although they were already using it to form their doctrine) in the 1500’s at the council of Trent. Why is the apocrypha not the Word of God? It conflicts heavily with other Scriptures in usages such as, witchcraft used by prophets of God, Prayer for the dead, calls the birth of a daughter a loss. There is far more than this, but just thought I’d share a few.

    Do you feel like you are a loss in God’s eyes?

    Since the oracles of God were committed to the Jews, it is important to note although included in the Septuagint, they were in no way considered the writings of God. Gnosticism is seen heavily in these writings, and is what crept into the formation of the Roman Catholic Church.

    Jesus told us one work we must do to be saved (John 6:28-29) but the Catholic church requires seven sacraments of salvation, yet if you should happen to claim you KNOW you are saved (1 John 5:13) you have just committed a venial sin…

    Read the Word unfettered, run from the Roman Catholic teachings which if were true, at best, will send you straight to purgatory, at worst? If the Word is true, and they are false, it will cost you your soul in hell, eternally, no chance ever again of searching for the truth. My husband came out of Roman Catholicism, when he finally understood that Jesus loved him and came to die for him, in his place. He is now with the Lord Jesus, can a Catholic say for sure where their loved one has gone? Not unless they want to commit a venial sin…

    We all deserve to die, none of us can do one thing, we cannot be good enough, if Mother Teresa did not change her mind about the WAY to salvation, she is not with the Lord. (She doubted very much by the way that she would see heaven).

    Are you still seeking to establish your righteousness through another way?

    But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. Isaiah 64:6

    For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. Rom 10:3-4

  101. Lori, there were always true Christians being persecuted by catholicism, 1500 years before Luther was born. Catholicism was always untrue. Catholicism cannot get a person to heaven. And Luther had doctrinal errors too.

  102. Lori, I agree with John. The Catholic church did not follow in the teachings of the Apostles. They created something else. The universal church has always been comprised of believers regardless of any Catholic church or their errors. Even Catholics modify their own interpretations from time to time through their popes.

    I think we have some many interpretations partly because there there are so few people that are believers. Much error has come from unsaved “religious” intellectual types. Satan is also the author of lies and confusion. Also, even believers need to be faithful to study and rightly handled the Word through the Spirit. We must remember that the Holy Spirit reveals the truth of the Word. There are not legitimate multiple competing truths. We must use the Word rightly in order to know which are correct. That is why most of us have ended up at sites like this one that strive for Biblical accuracy in all things and especially concerning salvation.

    Jim F

  103. Lori, welcome, and thanks for your questions.

    I am by no means an expert on church history. Having said that, I do not believe that the Roman Catholic church and its various reformed off-shoots are the same as the universal church.

    Following is an interesting quote from Clear Gospel Campaign that discusses some of the early history of what has camouflaged itself as Christianity for more than 800 years:

    “Bilateral contract salvation” and the “Perseverance of the Saints” are two separate but interrelated doctrines within a complex theological system of salvation by works, which relies, at its core, on redefining the word “grace” as some sort of mystical empowering substance. This theological system is set forth in Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica, Part 1 of the Second Part, Questions 109-114, “Treatise of Grace,” a 12th century manifesto of Roman Catholic Theology. In Protestantism, it is known as “Reformed Theology” or “Calvinism”.

    Regarding your question as to why there are so many Bible interpretations, my belief is that many were written for commercial purposes (to make money), or to provide a platform for people to interject their errant beliefs into scripture. You may find the article linked below to be informative:


  104. Why do you think there are so many interpretations of the bible? We were one apostolic universal church meaning Catholic for fifteen hundred yrs. with the same interpretation. Martin Luther broke off and started his church and so on and so on. Now this leaves us with forty thousand shoots off of the Catholic church with every pastor interpreting their own thoughts. We have documentations and writing sin Rome that date back to the time of the apostles.

  105. Abe, Laurie’s comments were really goofy, especially the part about Billy Graham being a prophet. I don’t believe there are currently any prophets, based on the following scriptural passage.

    1 Corinthians 13:8-10:

    [8] Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
    [9] For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
    [10] But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

  106. Exactly Abe.

    This is what He should have said: Heavenly Father, I know that I’m a sinner. I believe Christ died for my sins and rose from the dead.

    Jim F

  107. Holly, thank you for that posting of Graham’s presentation. Yikes. It has four steps that I can see. One is to believe in Jesus and His sacrifice for our sins (that is good), but then there are three other steps, which include “turning from sins” and “repenting of sins” (what is the difference between those two statements as Graham would define them?). And then another step of “following Jesus as Lord and Savior”.

    Has anyone done those last three steps to righteous sufficiency? Can any person know if they have?

    This would explain why, in an interview on TV, Graham once said that he wouldn’t be shocked if he were excluded from heaven. He said “mother” Teresa would be all set, since she was so wonderful. But he wouldn’t be shocked if he were turned away, because he knows that he’s not that good a person.

    So he seems to believe for himself what he states in his “gospel presentation”.

    And this would also explain why he is such a supporter of catholicism and others that make such extreme departures from the Word of God. They’re all just working to be “good enough” for heaven. Birds of a feather…

  108. I probably should have posted Graham’s gospel here.

    Dear Heavenly Father, I know that I’m a sinner. And I ask for your forgiveness. I believe you’ve died for my sins and rose from the dead.

    I turn from my sins.
    I repent of my sins.
    I invite you to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow you as my Lord and Savior. In Jesus’ name, Amen

    (found on my hope with Billy Graham)
    Did you pray this prayer today or do you have a question about a relationship with Jesus Christ?

  109. Excellent John.

    I always find it amazing that the false prophets use Matt 7:21-23 to accuse people of not being saved, the irony they miss of calling Him Lord, Lord (they certainly emphasize the), and they justify themselves by their works done in His name. He never knew them, they were never His sheep. They don’t know what they are supposed to do (believe on Him-Jn 6:28-29) and they don’t do the will of the Father (Jn. 6:39-40). Somehow they miss that the lawless ones are the ones that do not have the righteousness of Christ, they too are still seeking to establish their own (Rom 10:3-4)…

  110. I have a new set of multiple choice questions.

    Galatians 5:16:25:
    [16] This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
    [17] For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
    [18] But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
    [19] Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
    [20] Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
    [21] Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
    [22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
    [23] Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
    [24] And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
    [25] If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

    Based on the above passage, please choose the best answer to the following questions:

    1. What does the writer appear to be saying with respect to walking in the Spirit?
    a. That walking in the Spirit it is automatic in the life of a believer.
    b. That someone who fails to walk in the Spirit is a non-believer.
    c. That it is unusual to find a believer that does not walk in the Spirit.
    d. That walking in the Spirit is a choice for a believer.

    2. In what will walking in the Spirit result?
    a. Developing fruit of the Spirit.
    b. Going to heaven.
    c. Remaining saved.
    d. Proving one is a believer.

    3. Which of the following is true with respect to fruit of the Spirit?
    a. It proves whether or not someone is saved.
    b. It is a reliable indicator of whether or not someone is likely a believer.
    c. It results from a believer’s choice to walk in the Spirit.
    d. All of the above.

    Matthew 7:15-20:

    [15] Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
    [16] Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
    [17] Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
    [18] A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
    [19] Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
    [20] Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

    Based on the above passage, and the previous passage from Galatians 5, please provide the best answer to the following questions:

    4. Is the good fruit described in the Matthew 7 passage the same as the fruit of the Spirit described in Galatians 5?
    a. Yes, because you can always tell a believer by his good works.
    b. Yes, because a believer does not typically live a sinful lifestyle.
    c. Yes, because people who don’t prove they are saved by doing good works are really not saved.
    d. No.

    5. To whom does Matthew 7:20 pertain?
    a. Believers.
    b. Non-believers.
    c. The false prophets referred to in Matthew 7:15
    d. None of the above.

    6. What are some of the possible fruits of false prophets?
    a. False gospels.
    b. False converts.
    c. Personal testimonies that include faith in Christ plus works.
    d. All of the above.

    Answer key:
    1. d
    2. a
    3. c
    4. d
    5. c
    6. d

  111. john, that was a startling set of comments from Greg Laurie. Laurie has taught some versions of lordship salvation that were so radical, that it was as bad as Paul Washer and John Piper. Clearly Laurie is in the same false gospel camp as them and Graham.

    How would Laurie respond to the universalism of Graham, or Graham sending supposed converts to the catholic establishment, or Graham calling one of the popes, the world’s greatest evangelist? Laurie is not a Bible teacher if he can’t nail those easy and obvious errors.

    Laurie’s comments just sound like man worship. Graham the greatest evangelist in all of human history? That’s a ridiculous statement when you see Paul, Peter, John, Phillip, and others in the Bible. Graham is a greater evangelist than Paul? What a ridiculous and unbiblical statement.

    Thank you for sharing that. I have spent much time in Calvary Chapel circles, and the man worship found among them is very big. Laurie is sort of their “star”, but he’s in as much error as anyone you’ll see.

  112. Brad,

    Welcome back and thanks for the video.

    I have the same one archived but it has too much other junk to post. That is a terrible indictment of Billy Graham.

    I have been tracking Billy since a couple of years after I trusted Christ as my Savior in 1964. He has an accursed message ever since then for sure — just wish I had tracked him on video.

    Yes Billy is far down the Lordship Salvation highway, maybe one of the chief engineers of its construction. I pray, if he has never done so, that he will trust Jesus Christ alone as his Savior before he dies. If so that would be a great opportunity for him to publicly correct his many, many years of false messages. Maybe at his 95th birthday bash called “Hope… ” something. Is that the same as the 21,000 church get together they have been advertising?

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  113. Thanks for take a courageous stand for the gospel. The masses have been conditioned to accept everything this man says. In fact, Graham has even denied that Christ is the only way to heaven. I like to think that some of his statements are the result of senility but I’m afraid the long journey down Lordship Salvation highway has taken it’s toll on Billy.

    {Website link removed — duplicated at Brad’s name above}

  114. Abe, following are some recent quotes from Greg Laurie quote regarding Billy Graham and his national outreach:

    “Billy Graham is a prophetic voice and to me it’s like Isaiah or Jeremiah standing up and telling the nation what they need to do,” Laurie says. “We would be wise to heed his warning and his admonitions and turn back to God because I believe God’s prophet is speaking to us.”


    “You know, he’s the greatest evangelist who has ever lived, not just in our generation, but in all of human history,” Laurie said during the Calvary Chapel Summer Crusade in June in Costa Mesa, California.

    “There is no one that has ever been quite like him out there. I don’t think anyone will ever really take his place. I’ve known him publicly and I’ve gotten to know him privately and he’s the same guy in both places. He’s a humble man and a godly man and he’s really the most Christ-like man I’ve ever met.”

  115. I am not sure if the recent “Christianity Today” article is included in this, but in that article, Graham himself has many steps to salvation… “repent of sins”, “live for Christ”, “walk rightly”, “surrender”. Really sad that 21,000 churches are going along with this.

  116. An excellent lesson for sure… Sin does make us hide from God and the cover-up of our sin, is surely trying to do good. I was there for far too long having been duped by this way of thinking. It was getting into the Word and really asking God to show me His truth and cleanse me from old thinking.

    I am sure I have some old thinking left, but now, I remember where the answers are, and we can look for ourselves and study with His approval always as our goal.

    Thank you again John for some great truths shown from His Word. Praying some will see.

  117. John,

    Great Biblical lessons, all of them. No trick questions but solid Bible doctrine.

    Put them all together and I can see an article: “Multiple Choice Quiz: Am I a Proponent or Follower of Lordship ‘Salvation'”?

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  118. Here is one for today.

    Genesis 3:6-11:
    [6] And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
    [7] And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
    [8] And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
    [9] And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
    [10] And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
    [11] And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

    Given the above passage, please answer the following questions:

    1. What did Adam do because he was afraid of God?
    a. He hid from God.
    b. He made himself an apron of fig leaves.
    c. both a. and b.
    d. He ate of the tree that God had commanded him not to.

    2. Which of the following might people try to use as “fig leaves” to cover up their nakedness before God?
    a. Willingness to turn from sin.
    b. Good works.
    c. Submitting to Christ’s Lordship.
    d. All of the above.

    Romans 3:20-25:

    [20] Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
    [21] But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
    [22] Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
    [23] For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
    [24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
    [25] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

    Given the passage above, combined with the passage from Genesis 3, please answer the following questions:

    3. What can take away sin?
    a. Faith in Christ as Savior.
    b. Good works.
    c. Submitting to Christ’s Lordship.
    d. Willingness to turn from sin.

    4. Which of the following does faith in Christ preclude?
    a. Faith in willingness to turn from sin.
    b. Faith in good works.
    c. Faith in submitting to Christ’s Lordship.
    d. All of the above.

    Answer key:
    1. c
    2. d
    3. a
    4. d

  119. John, Russell, Matt.. Great comments and tests! I love open book tests 🙂

    I am so glad I got all the right answers! Praise God for the clarity found in His Word if we will look.

    John, the name did not hurt, it is a matter of rejoicing. It still amazes me truthfully to see such hatred and venom, but your passage above reminds me there are still unfortunately plenty of Vipers with venom out there. I pray for the ones they are leading into the ditch with their accursed message.

  120. Holly, sorry you have to endure the name calling. I guess I would rather be a “whore of grace” than a slave to the law!

    Regarding the comment about Paul being your savior, I think such slurs reflect a deep misunderstanding of the nature of scripture. The words of Jesus and the words of Paul in scripture are all equally the Word of God.

  121. Russell, what a wonderful thing it is that you have a heart for the Gospel like never before! And just think, it was rekindled by God, working through a free grace believer at your church. It wasn’t through some “flavor of the month” bestseller book on discipleship, written by someone who may not even be a believer.

  122. Matt for Grace and Truth

    Per Ephesians 2:8-9,Romans 4:4-5, and Romans 11:5-6, which of the following is/are true:
    a. Eternal salvation is by grace apart from works.
    b. Eternal salvation is by works alone.
    c. Eternal salvation is by grace and works combined.
    d. Eternal salvation is impossible by both GRACE and WORKS combined. By definition, it must be one or the other.

    Correct Answer: a and d.

  123. Russell, you are exactly right.

    The LS churches all sing songs about grace, without realizing that their official church doctrine is to reject grace in favor of a bi-lateral contract.

  124. Here is another one:

    Luke 3:7-11:

    [7] Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
    [8] Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
    [9] And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
    [10] And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?
    [11] He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.

    Given that the definition of “repentance” is “a change of mind”, and given the above passage, please choose the best answer to the following questions:

    1. What is the object of repentance in verse 8?
    a. Sin.
    b. That one’s ancestry or religion will save him?
    c. Both a. and b.
    d. Neither a. nor b.

    Hint: the answer is b.

    2. What are “fruits worthy of repentance” in verse 8?
    a. Good works.
    b. Turning from sin.
    c. A personal testimony or doctrine that reflects faith in Jesus Christ as Redeemer versus faith in Jewish ancestry or religion.
    d. All of the above.

    Hint: the answer is c.

    3. What is the “fruit” in verse 9?
    a. Good works.
    b. Turning from sin.
    c. A personal testimony or doctrine that reflects faith in Jesus Christ as Redeemer versus faith in something else.
    d. All of the above.

    Hint: the answer is c.

    4. What is the relationship of “the people” in verse 10 to the “generation of vipers” in verse 7?
    a. They are the same group.
    b. They are two separate groups within the multitude.
    c. They are both groups of believers.
    d. They are both groups of non-believers.

    Hint: the answer is b.

    5. Why did “the people” in verse 10 ask John the Baptist “what shall we do then”?
    a. Because good works are not automatic in the lives of believers, and they needed some examples of works befitting believers.
    b. Because good works are automatic in the lives of believers and they wanted to hear John the Baptist affirm what they already knew to do.
    c. Because they needed to do good works to prove they were saved, and wanted to make sure they did the right things.
    d. Both a. and c.

    Hint: the answer is a.

    6. What is the relationship of the good deeds described in verse 11 to verse 8?
    a. The good deeds described in verse 11 are the necessary proof of repentance in verse 8.
    b. The good deeds describes in verse 11 are the same as the “fruits worthy of repentance” in verse 8.
    c. The good deeds described in verse 11 are not the same as the “fruits of repentance” in verse 8.
    d. The good deeds described in verse 11 automatically accompany the “fruits worthy of repentance” in verse 8.

    Hint: the answer is c.

  125. I was thinking about the Billy Grahm crusades and how they always sing “Just as I am without one plea but that Thy blood was shed for me”. If they were being honest they would sing, “Just as I am without one plea but that Thy blood was shed for me and I am really sorry for all my sins and I have counted the cost of following Jesus and I also promise really really hard to commit to obeying Jesus… Oh Lamb of God I come, I come. How sad.

  126. This one might be a little more challenging, as the connected passages are longer.

    1 Corinthians 5:9-13:

    “[9] I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
    [10] Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.
    [11] But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
    [12] For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?
    [13] But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.”

    Based on the above passage, please answer the following questions:

    1. What is the distinction between the people in verses 10 and 11?
    a. The people in both verses are non-believers.
    b. The people in both verses are believers.
    c. The people in verse 10 are believers.
    d. The people in verse 11 are believers.

    Hint: the answer is d.

    2. Who are the people referred to in the first sentence of verse 13 (“But them that are without God judgeth”)?
    a. Believers.
    b. Non-believers.
    c. A mix of believers and non-believers.
    d. Not enough information to conclude.

    Hint: the answer is b.

    1 Corinthians 6:9-11:

    “[9] Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
    [10] Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
    [11] And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

    Based on the above passage, and on 1 Corinthians 5:9-13, please answer the following questions:

    3. Who are the “unrighteous” referred to in verse 9?
    a. Non-believers.
    b. Believers who have been justified (declared “not guilty” of all of their sins).
    c. Believers who have lost their eternal life through a pattern of committing these sins after they received eternal life.
    d. Not enough information to conclude.

    Hint: The answer is a.

    4. For believers who have a pattern of committing these sins, what is their eternal destiny?

    a. Heaven.
    b. Hell.
    c. Not applicable, because believers would not have a pattern of committing those sins after they were saved.
    d. Not enough information to conclude.

    Hint: the answer is a.

  127. I had to add one more thing. For years I have thought that the reason we have not seen more changed lives by the Gospel was because we were not presenting it clear enough or maybe we were not being clear enough about repenting of sin. I have now come to realize that the problem is that we (by we I mean the church in general) have been presenting a false gospel and in fact have been putting faith in a prayer and not in Christ. I used to ask Jesus to be my Savior, come into my life, heart soul…. over and over again. I was looking to a formula to be saved and not to Christ and not to the sure promise of Gods Word that whoever believes in Christ has eternal life. We can never look to ourselves for proof of our salvation.Our assurance must always rest on Gods Word. I was taught this growing up but somehow through the years I either forgot it or just got confused. It was not until a free grace beleiver in my church started sharing with me that I started to get it again. I am 47 and have a heart for the Gospel like never before. We need a second great reformation to reclaim the truth of the Gospel. Also the growth of Calvinism is all part of this false gospel. Thankfully God is greater than all this we just have to remain true to His Word. By Grace Alone – Through Faith Alone – In Christ Alone

  128. Here is another SAT (Scriptural Authority Test) question:

    1 Corinthians 3:1-3: ” And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?”

    Based upon the above passage, please answer the following questions:

    1. To whom is the passage written?
    a. Immature believers
    b. Non-believers
    c. Mature believers
    d. Not enough information to conclude

    Hint: The answer is a.

    2. Which of the following are possible for believers?
    a. To walk as men.
    b. To be carnal
    c. To have envy, strife, and divisions.
    d. All of the above.

    Hint. The answer is d.

  129. I liked Justin Peter’s series. He has not been real ‘out there’ regarding his position on Calvinism, so I couldn’t say. But in his gospel on his page, he says this, “Are you ready to forsake your sins and surrender completely to the Lordship of Jesus Christ? “

  130. Wow, missed a lot of good comments. Johninnc, I know how taxing it can be, tonight, I was called a ‘whore of grace’, and Paul was my ‘savior’.

    I also just don’t see how this passage can be explained away in Romans 5. I really think your “test” should be made into a blog. Can you do that?

    Really, people need to be asked those questions…excellent way to pose them.

  131. d taylor, very well said!

    The problem arises when someone gets there first with the wrong presentation of the gospel.

    Then, the hearer thinks someone is trying to deceive him when he hears the real thing.

    Tom Cucuzza put it this way in his sermon entitled “The Obvious that Isn’t So Obvious”:

    …people automatically want to believe the authority and so what that does is it leads people astray, into something that’s false and they believe that.

    And then, when someone comes along with the true Gospel of Grace, that says your sins have been bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ, once and for all, and that all you can do to be saved is to put your faith in Him, trust in Him as your Savior, they say this: “I can’t believe that. That’s too easy. That’s easy believism. That’s cheap grace.”

  132. Acts
    10:43 About him all the prophets testify, that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
    10:44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all those who heard the message.
    so much for walking an aisle, saying a prayer, turning from sins, confessing Jesus, etc…
    when how to have eternal life is correctly explained there is no need for a conference with the preacher, go to some program to help explain how to become a christian, etc..

  133. Welcome Russell!

    I had heard “repent of your sins” and “turn your life over to Christ” and “ask Jesus into your heart” so many times that I thought something was missing when I read the gospel without these add-ons.

    It really is alarming how adrift most churches are.

    Following are a couple of excerpts from Clear Gospel Campaign that describe the dangers of unclear and contradictory gospel presentations:

    The church will never fulfill the Great Commission as long as it is confused on the very message of the gospel! Certainly not while it continues to proclaim salvation by faith plus. And the church will never be lifted from its confusion unless each of those who understand the truth of the gospel labor to change it.


    Popular Gospel Substitutes

    Because it is impossible to anticipate every corruption of the gospel that fallen man may concoct, we offer, not as exhaustive, but by way of example, the following as false gospel substitutes:

    i) “Invite Jesus into your heart,”

    ii) “Make a personal commitment to Christ,”

    iii) “Put Christ on the throne of your life,”

    iv) “Give your life to Christ,”

    v) “Commit your life to Christ,”

    vi) “Give your heart to God,”

    vii) “Turn your life over to Jesus,”

    We believe that there are at least six grave dangers set before the church in the use of these, and similar contemporary gospel substitutes and popular aphorisms:

    1. Even when presented fully and accurately, the gospel is camouflaged by such nonsense, thereby hindering the effectiveness of the gospel message from illuminating the way of salvation to those who know not Christ.

    2. Oftentimes, essential elements of the gospel message are excised entirely from the message of the evangelist in order to make room for the addition of more nonsensical aphorisms, thereby robbing such messages of any capacity for imparting a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

    3. The gospel is often contradicted by works-oriented invitations such as requiring an unbeliever to “make a personal commitment to Jesus Christ,” which is, in its essence, a requirement of a promise future works in exchange for salvation.

    4. By such silly aphorisms, the unregenerate are given a false assurance of salvation through a meaningless profession of faith, thereby discouraging further inquiry into the most important question in the universe.

    5. Those unregenerate who subsequently lapse from their confused “profession of faith” are more likely to become hardened to the gospel, having seen the emptiness and worthlessness of what they understood to be biblical true Christianity.

    6. The true believer who is not firmly grounded in the clarity of the gospel is likely to redefine his understanding of the gospel message according to how he hears it repeatedly presented, thereby perpetuating and multiplying this confusion, and crippling successive generations of evangelists.

  134. Truly, truly, I say to you.” the one who believes has eternal life.

  135. To let you know how twisted the Gospel has become when I first heard the phrase “free grace” I thought it sounded wrong. Over the past year and a half I have been introduced to free grace sites that have brought me back to the simple truth of the Gospel, which is faith in Christ alone. Once I started to study Gods Word from the veiwpoint of a distinction between salvation and dicipleship it changed everything. What truly alarms me is how far from the true Gospel our churches and Christian radio shows have come. As for Bily Grahm I have often wondered why he is so popular with the world as this seems to be at odds with what the Bible says. We live in strange times and we must hold fast to the truth that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone. Nothing else is required. It really is a free gift with no strings attached. Praise God!!!

  136. Jack, like you said, context is vitally important.

    The people who twist God’s word usually take verses out of their proper context, and augment their perversions of God’s word with stories and yarns.

    Recent commenter Dan compared becoming saved to becoming pregnant. Dan insisted that if the baby (good works in Dan’s belief system) failed to arrive, then you really didn’t “get pregnant.” His analogy was focused on the wrong “baby.” The “baby” that God promises to deliver to believers is their own spiritual birth. This does not mean that someone who has trusted in Christ for eternal life will automatically turn from sin and do good works. It means that they have been forgiven for all of their sins (past, present, and future), and have eternal life.

  137. Thanks John,

    Your test questions prove many things — but most important — CONTEXT is vitally important to proper Bible study.

    You have created an essential and foundational, three year syllabus for the “ExP International Free Grace Seminary.” 9-)

    WE could make it a four year study by the following multiple choice question based on the most misunderstood verse in the Bible, John3:16:

    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

    Based on John 3:16, pick the right answer:

    a. God loves and provides salvation only those whom He chose or elected to believe.
    b. Only those who were chosen, then believe AND then become followers/disciples of Christ will “have everlasting life.”
    c. Those who believe in God’s Only Begotten Son must “P” Persevere to the end to have everlasting life and be saved.
    d. For God so loved the WORLD [everyone] , that He GAVE His only begotten Son [Jesus, the greatest GIFT ever given], that whosoever believeth [believing is a choice for anyone] in Him [Jesus] should not perish, but have everlasting [eternal, never ending] life.

    Hint: The answer is d.

    No doubt we could do this contextually with every passage in the KJV Bible.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  138. Jack, here is another one – a two-part question in this case:

    Ephesians 1:1 reads as follows: Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:

    Based on Ephesians 1:1, Ephesians appears to be written to:

    a. Believers in Christ
    b. A mix of believers and non-believers in Christ
    c. Non-believers in Christ
    d. Not enough information to conclude

    Hint: the answer is a.

    Ephesians 5:1 reads as follows: Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;

    Based on Ephesians 1:1 and Ephesians 5:1, being a follower of God appears to be:

    a. An automatic result of being a believer.
    b. Something believers must be exhorted to do, hence the reason the passage was written.
    c. Something a believer is not called upon to do.
    d. Not enough information to conclude.

    Hint: the answer is b.

  139. John,

    Hmmmm, that would be a great question to ask as the Final Exam at “ExPreacherMan Free Grace Seminary.” 😎

    In fact, that would be a good final exam for ANY seminary — but it is a shame that most seminaries would consider that question too mundane and inappropriate… and most Seniors would probably fail the test anyway, even with the “Hint.” 😎

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  140. Holly, it is extremely taxing to try to answer long diatribes that misuse scripture throughout. I don’t think I’ll be doing that as much anymore.

    I think I may go with Romans 5:15-18 as a stock answer to such diatribes in the future. That passage uses the term “gift” six times and the phrase “free gift” three times. See below:

    Romans 5:15-18: “But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”

    I just don’t see how this passage can be explained away by people who insist that something must be offered in exchange for salvation (usually turning from sins, submitting to God, or displaying good works).

    My son recently took the SAT. Can you imagine being given the above passage on an SAT-type exam, and then being asked this question:

    “According to Romans 5:15-18, what is the cost to the recipient of receiving the gift of righteousness through Jesus Christ?”

    a. One must surrender his life to God in order to receive the gift
    b. One must turn from his sins, or at least be willing to turn from his sins before God will give him this gift
    c. One must have good works evidencing that he has received the gift
    d. Nothing

    Hint: The answer is d.

    I mean, honestly, no offense to the football players, but even THEY would get this one.

  141. Sam, you brought up a great point about people believing that being good will either get them into heaven or prove they are headed there.

    Jack wrote a great article a while back entitled “Why a ‘Good Boy – Bad Boy’ Salvation is a Lie”. Please see link below:


  142. Joel, I like your comment.

    God wants people to repent of believing that bi-lateral contract “salvation” will save them.

    In other words, God desires that all men reject the counterfeit religion being preached by Billy Graham and aided and abetted by 21,000 churches.

    I had to repent of thinking that salvation was a bi-lateral contract in order to be saved. I am amazed that I don’t meet more people who have turned from bi-lateral contract salvation to accepting Christ.

    One of the Lordship “salvationist’s” go-to verses is Matthew 7:20, because they think it teaches fruit inspection (of self and others) as proof of salvation.

    When taken in context, I believe the passage teaches that the fruits by which false prophets are known are false converts.

    Accordingly, I stand by my belief that there is an army of false converts out there, having been taught bi-lateral contract salvation from which they have never repented.

  143. Frying pan. By the time I typed my response on my kindle..time consuming…I was smiling to see you had responded above mine. I have been subjected to the same kind of lengthy and proof text loaded conversations and I am gaining some wisdom regarding those who do not want to HEAR the Word…

    I think there comes a time when one comes to TEACH vs. reason with His Word I feel Galatians 2:4-5 answers that dilemma perfectly.

  144. Jack, not at all surprised. We are in the age of postmodernism where self or experience or subjective reasoning seems to trump the authority of God’s Word. Complexity is treasured more than clarity or the simplicity found in Christ.

    What is so tragic to me is although they search the Scriptures many do not have His Word abiding in them. And although these same Scriptures testify of Jesus, they have not believed His testimony (1 Jn. 5:9-13) and consequently have not come to Him that they might have life.

  145. Holly, you totally read my mind. I couldn’t have expressed my frustration any better (and so I didn’t).

    Jack–I’m not surprised. I’ve been around this blog long enough to learn to sense when there’s more coming in than we’re (subjected to) seeing . . .

  146. Ginger. I am so glad to see you here. I truly appreciate the admins here and so many commentators as well. A lot of great reading to be found.

  147. Holly,

    True.. Sorry for your “friend” who would not answer your questions about the book of John.

    If you thought Dan’s “lengthy response” was unbearable and un-Biblical — you should have read the three more (as long) from him that never made it past the spam filter. They were ALL the same — promoting a Lordship “salvation.” (probation), typical works for salvation message.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  148. John and others, amazed you could take the time to answer Dan. Lengthy responses that don’t appear to be any attempt to get to the truth of what the Scripture is saying in light of other Scriptures is frustrating to me. Reminds me of the woman who asked me angrily, “So, you hang your whole hat on John?”

    I asked her if she had a problem believing the book of John, if John’s testimony was true? If the reason the book was written was true?

    No answer…

  149. John really enjoyed your article and the reponses. I was just thinking a lot of people believe that the way of salvation is just being a good person, helping others and they don’t do any of the really bad things that would send a person to hell [we all have heard this said before]. It seems to me even though Dan studys his Bible he simply has not understood how to rightly divide the word of truth, mainly Grace verses Works. So it seems to me even though he has Bible knowledge he is still stuck in the belief you have to be a good person, help others and not do anything too bad or for too long just like a person that doesn’t have any Bible knowledge. Dan sounds likes he is trying to do the right thing but unfortunately I don’t think he sees the difference between discipleship and salvation.

  150. Delgr (Dan) you wrote:

    “An example may demonstrate what I’m saying. Let’s say we have an atheist who says he is believing in Christ but he is also going to continue being an atheist. He has not “repented” (changed) from his atheistic views and thus does not actually believe in Christ. Repentance is a part of belief. You cannot believe 2 mutually exclusive ideas at the same time because that is irrational and I would even argue impossible. If you believe that 2 + 2 = 4, you cannot also fully believe that 2 + 2 = 5. One of them is true and you must believe one of them; you can’t believe both. Salvation requires one to submit to Christ and change from their old ways. To claim Christ but not change is impossible. Repentance is very integral in salvation.”

    Delgr (Dan),
    Interesting. Here you actual make a correct conclusion, but then light the fuse that blows up your argument. It is imperative that we correctly define the word “repent.” On one hand you do define it properly. (To change one’s mind.) I would also agree that repentance and belief are inseparably connected. You can’t trust Christ for salvation if you think that sin is not a problem. For one to trust Christ for salvation means to trust that your sin issue was settled at the cross. It would be like your math example. You can’t believe in a savior unless you implicitly believe you are saved from something, in this case, sin.

    The problem is that you are saying that you believe repentance to be two mutually exclusive ideas. You say, “Salvation requires one to submit to Christ and change from their old ways.” This is exactly what God wants you to repent of. That is a bilateral contract. It is a law that says if you live up to your responsibility then God will live up to his. That is the Law in a nutshell. Yet over and over we are told that we are NOT under Law but under grace. Here, you are actually saying that grace is the Law. That is, to receive grace you must enter into a legal contract that requires you to do a,b,c, etc. Romans 4:5 could not make it any more clear that these (faith and works) are mutually exclusive.

    I would strongly suggest you read Michael Cocoris’ paper, “Repentance, the most misunderstood word in the Bible.” It’s free, just google it.
    I would actually agree that we do need to submit and surrender to be saved. We need to submit and surrender any THOUGHT that we must do works, or behave a certain way pre or post salvation to add to, or secure our salvation. (That my friend is repentance.) I like the phrase, “forsake the thought.”
    This is a proper surrender. Belief in this sense is mental submission to the truth of what Christ did for you, and that you have nothing to add. Zilch. I trust that Christ died for our sins and that there is nothing I can do, add to complete or finish what Christ already fulfilled. That is placing one’s trust in the work of Christ.

  151. John,

    Thanks. That should rightly be Dan’s last response here at ExP. Dan would do well to read and believe your superb defense of the Gospel of God’s salvation by Grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

    Despite Dan’s out-of-context use of precious Bible verses and the lengthy “defense” of his philosophical position, I fear he is solidly frozen in the cold and unforgiving quagmire of a religion embodied in the dreaded Bible quote: “if it be of works, then is it no more grace.” (Romans 11:6b)

    Dan has frustrated the Grace of God. (Galatians 2:21)

    We pray for Dan, that he will come to the realization and belief that The God of the Bible is indeed the God of Love, Mercy, Grace and Justice. God did not hang a threat of Justice over a believer’s head like a mythical Sword of Damocles. God’s Justice was completely satisfied and available for the taking by anyone’s personal faith decision in the death, burial and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ (as you, John, pointed out so well in your quote of 1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

    Dan, as we pray for you to trust Jesus alone as your Savior, please think on these things:

    “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” Titus 3:5

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  152. Dan it is interesting that all the verses you posted (except John 3:16) are from books that are addressed to believers concerning their area of discipleship and the sanctification area of ones life. James is written to Jewish believers (twelve tribes) in the dispersion also it is the first book written. the book does not contain some of the more detailed and developed doctrines of the New Testament found in Pauls epistles. This book was written to strengthen the faith of Jewish Believers in the face of persecution. also the book was addressing/warning of the coming judgment the same judgment also addressed in the letter to the Hebrews and that is the Judgment in A.D.70 which is the Judgment connected to the sin of blasphemy against the holy spirit (the rejection of the Messiah acussing The Christ of demon possession)

    and also you are using mostly single verses that are taken out of their context one example is 1 John 2:19 in the context this verse is speaking about antichrist (not people who think they are believers but who are really not because they do not have works)
    this is what you said about 1 John 2:19 (This verse, as I understand it, very clearly states that someone who claims they were a Christian but then all of a sudden lives a lifestyle completely at odds with God and refuses to repent and return to living for Christ, was never saved in the first place. They were faking it.) and actually what the verse is saying when taken with 2:18
    1 John 2:18 Children, it is the last hour, and just as you heard that the antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. We know from this that it is the last hour. 2:19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us, because if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. But they went out from us to demonstrate that all of them do not belong to us.

    It is quite telling that you stay away from the only book that makes the claim that it was written so unbelievers may become believers and have eternal life : that book is the Gospel of John look at John 20:30,31

    John 20:30 Now Jesus performed many other miraculous signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not recorded in this book.
    20:31 But these are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

    You will not find repentance used one time when a condition is given for an unbeliever to become a believer and thus receive eternal life in John the only condition is belief/trust.

    also what do you understand about the sin of blasphemy against the holy spirit (mention above). this sin plays a part in a lot of the repentance and baptism of Jewish believers in Acts. an example of this is in started in Acts 2:14- 41 take a look at Matthew 12:39 But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.
    Notice after the the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit the emphasis Jesus places on this evil generation in Matthew. Peter is speaking about the same evil generation in Acts look at Acts 2:40 With many other words he testified and exhorted them saying, “Save yourselves from this perverse generation!

    Acts 2:40 peter tells the Jews (believers) to save themselves from this perverse generation. what generation is he speaking of the one that committed the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit in the context he is speaking of repentance and baptism being what saves them/separates them from the generation that committed the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. This is a physical salvation (not a spiritual salvation from hell because a person can not save themselves ) from the wrath of Gods Judgement even though they are believers (either people who were already believers in the group or just became a believer but they have not yet separated from the evil generation thats why they asked What should we do, brothers Acts 2:37 ) and have eternal life, if they do not separate themselves from the generation that committed the sin of blasphemy against the holy spirit they to will die(physically) in the coming judgment.

    Dr Arnold Fruchtenbaum has in his book Footsteps of the Messiah a more complete study of the sin of blasphemy against the holy spirit.
    here is a short write up by Fruchtenbaum that covers the sin in the first part of the writeup. http:

    [Ed. notation: Admin. does not publish links to Fruchtenbaum as he is an admitted four-point Calvinist]

  153. Dan, thanks for your response. This will be my last response to you, as I feel we are at an impasse.

    Here is how I see it:

    You would like to convince me that simple faith in Christ is not enough to save me.

    I would like to convince you that simple faith in Christ is enough to save you.

    There have been millions of books written, and there are millions of websites out there, and many thousands of churches of all different stripes that agree with your point of view. I avoid those, because I think they are all in error.

    Your last two comments have totaled 4,607 words, but I can summarize your “punchline” with two brief excerpts:

    Comment number 1 (1,622 words)

    You said: “I would go so far as to argue that claiming all you have to do is “believe” in Christ is mis-representing the Gospel.”

    My comment: The gospel is set forth clearly in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4:

    [1] Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
    [2] By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
    [3] For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
    [4] And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

    By the way, the “unless ye have believed in vain” referred to in verse 2 means “unless Christ did not rise again”.

    Comment number 2 (2,985 words)

    You said: “The second choice is to recognize Christ’s sacrifice, realize that God “owns” me and is my Creator, and decide to submit myself to God.”

    My comment: Believing in Christ as Savior does not require submitting oneself to God. This is set forth clearly by Jesus in John 3:14-16:

    [14] And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
    [15] That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
    [16] For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

    Dan, please consider the following excerpt from one of Tom Cucuzza’s recent sermons:

    If you say you have to do certain things after you are saved, or else you’re not saved, then you’re adding works to faith.

    So, it’s either you’re putting them on the front end or on the back end. And God says “don’t put them on either end.” You’re saved by grace, through faith, apart from works. OK? Yes, we’re saved unto good works, but we’re not saved by good works.

    Ephesians 2:10 – you don’t have it on the screen, today but it says:

    For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works (amen to that), which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

    The word “should” is the only word that you could put in there that goes with grace. Because grace is free. So “should”. “Should.” And we should.

    But, it isn’t we must, and it isn’t we will. People say: “oh, you will!” OK, how many? How much? How often? How long? “Well, you can’t tell me…” Wait a minute! Wait a minute. Are you telling me that God has not provided salvation as a gift? He says it over and over. He says it – what – three or four times in Romans chapter 5. He says it in Ephesians 2. He says it in Romans 6:23: For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Over, and over, and over, it’s the gift. The gift, the gift, the gift, the gift. What are gifts? Gifts are free.

    (People) say: “yeah, but you can’t accept the gift and then go out do what you…” Well, wait a minute then. What you’re saying, then, if that’s true – now, you shouldn’t go out and live like the devil – but, if it’s true that you can’t accept the gift and then go do something that’s contrary to the will of God, then you’re saying that you have to behave to keep the gift. Well, then, it’s not a gift, it’s a contract. Salvation is the gift of God, apart from works.

  154. Ginger, welcome. We are glad you’re here!

    It is great that we can serve God out of love and gratitude, knowing that we have received God’s free gift of eternal life through Christ Jesus.

    One would hope that good works and a desire for obedience to Christ would naturally flow from all who become believers, but we know that is not always the case.

    That is why there are so many instructions on Christian living in the Epistles. Some good examples are:

    Romans 12:2: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”


    1 Peter 2:11: “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul”


    Titus 3:8: ” This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.”

    And, while a Christian SHOULD NOT live like the devil, he need not worry that his behavior will have any bearing on his eternal destiny.

  155. Jack, great addition!

    Thanks. John

  156. John,

    Below is a note I penned to our friend Kathleen on the Graham mess from another article thread. I think it is appropriate here:

    In the discussion of Billy Graham, I searched my archives and found an old video of him from one of his “Crusades” preaching that “repenting of and turning from sin” is a requirement for salvation. I doubt I can find a way to post it here — but I will try.

    Checking my old email archives, I found one from April, 1998 in which I wrote to the Billy Graham Association with a question:

    I have heard Rev. Graham say many times that a person must “repent of his sins” to be saved. He further defines “repent” as “to turn 180 degrees in the other direction from sin” as a requirement for salvation or eternal life.

    I note that the Southern Baptist Convention statement of faith says basically the same thing. Would you please explain.

    Don Kinde, Christian Guidance Department, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association answered my note with this:

    Dear Jack, Thank you for your response. Though we may disagree on the technical language, we are grateful that we can be brothers in the spirit and ministry of the Word and the gospel!

    And Don Kinde closed his note with words of “love and cooperation” in Christ.. and yada, yada, yada.

    He did not deny my challenge but said that we disagreed on “technical language.” Of course I followed his note with mine — clearly delineating the extreme differences and un-Biblical nature of Billy Graham’s false “works salvation” message and the salvation by Grace message in God’s Word.

    Needless to say, Graham’s spokesman, Don Kinde, did not give me the courtesy of a answer to this second note.

    So, Billy Graham’s message, as far back as I have been able to track him, has always been “turn from sin to be saved.” That is a total, fabricated lie and an accursed works message.

    Graham is affectionately called “The Protestant Pope” in religious circles. He is dangerous because he is a noted, charismatic (small “c”) personality with a persuasive voice and millions of acolytes. For his crusaded he invites every religion under the sun to be Crusade Advisers — to “share your faith with those who come forward.”

    Many years ago, several of my younger friends in Bible College signed up to be Advisers for a Miami Billy Graham Crusade. They volunteered as a lark to see what would happen. They met Advisers who were Catholics, Pentecostals, Baptists, Seventh Day Adventists and every religion you could imagine wanting to get in on the action, all selected to lead those who “came forward to Christ.” They would then direct them to their own churches and religions. The problem my friends had is that with thousands of folks coming forward, there were only a very small number who were not Advisers (marked with BIG tags and Bibles). So Advisers talked to Advisers — and my friends tried to lead them to Christ!! It was an exciting, confusing mess.

    So the moral of the story is, please be discerning.. don’t trust large “evangelical” organizations without thoroughly cheeking out what they REALLY believe and teach.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  157. Ginger,

    Welcome to ExPreacherMan…

    I enjoy your comments on FaceBook. Just like you, I find FB is only useful to share Jesus Christ and Him crucified!!!

    Thanks for your testimony today — To be FREE in Christ is so much better than ensnared in the web of Lordship/commitment “salvation” (probation).

    You are right — we are saved by Grace through faith in Jesus alone… and scripture says we are created in Christ Jesus to do good works which we SHOULD do:

    For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that [saved] not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we SHOULD walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10

    That word “should” indicates the freedom we have in Jesus.. Just as we chose to believe in Jesus, Believers are Free to choose to serve Him, which is the wise choice.

    If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. John 8:36

    Looking forward to “seeing” you again soon.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  158. Thank you. Thank you. And thank you, again! I believed in believing in Jesus + works = salvation for more than 20 years. I now understand that that wasn’t the Gospel, but the Gospel with man’s twist. It is so clear to me now, and gets even more clear as I dig deeper into His Word. If we truly believe, no one has to encourage us to “do good works”. Because we love Jesus and after we believe, He is the one Who changes us from the inside out and because of His great and perfect sacrifice, we DESIRE to please Him , and so, naturally, good works follow (as much as we possibly can “do” good works in this earthly tent we inhabit). But, not one of those good works is anything more than filthy rags, therefore, not one has the power to save nor keep us saved. Only Jesus can do that…..and does do that after we believe.

    I presented the same verses ,as others do, to prove that one cannot be saved unless they turn from their sins. I was sharing an impossible gospel. Anyone who claims they have turned from all sin is a liar. I’ve heard it said that taking up our cross every day means that we have to “try our best” not to sin anymore. Again, our best is still filthy rags to our holy Lord and Savior and earns us nothing. Our righteousness comes from Jesus Christ and the finished work He did on the cross is more than sufficient and doesn’t require anything more than for the lost sinner to believe on the Name of Jesus to be saved and sealed by God ~ He keeps us.
    If those who TRULY believe that we must turn from all sin and works are proof that we are saved, then why don’t they live like it? I don’t know of one single solitary Christian who believes that one has to repent to be saved who lives a life that reflects that, because everyone I know, sins.
    Recently, we had dinner with a couple that we’ve known for many years. They believe that, because we still have a free will, that we can, of our own free will, walk away from Jesus and be lost again. They asked us why we changed our minds about what we believe. Well, the Holy Spirit did that in our hearts and our minds followed as we studied His Word more fervently. This couple loves Jesus, of that, I have no doubt. My husband and I loved Jesus when we first believed, but, now that we both understand that we are secure, words can’t express the relief and the gratitude we feel, now. We love Him even more, BECAUSE, we understand that it is ALL Him and nothing more is required of us other than to believe. That realization hasn’t made us feel like we can live like the devil and still get to heaven! On the contrary, it’s humbled us to our knees in gratitude for this Savior Who gave all and ask merely that we believe. Since we’re talking about trade offs, can I just say that we got the better deal?
    I truly love Him better every day and can’t wait to see Him face to face.

  159. Kenneth,

    Thank you for that anecdote. People need to see how these things play out in “real life”.

  160. Excellent article. Graham has been teaching works for salvation for years.

  161. @johninnc,

    Thanks for the timely and thought-out response. I appreciate it.

    So it would seem we may be circling around the definition of certain words. Instead of trying to establish meanings for the words, it may be simpler for me to present the salvation process as I understand it and then go from there.

    (1) First, man left of his own accord would not ever seek God:

    Romans 3:11
    There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

    If God left man on his own and He never involved Himself, all of mankind would end up on hell because we would never seek after God because our nature does not seek the righteous things of God.

    (2) God involved Himself in this world so that man would even know the “steps” of salvation.

    John 3:16
    For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

    Christ came to fulfill the Law, which was given to demonstrate to man that we are in need of a savior in the first place. God established the standard of heaven as keeping the Law, which was summarized in the 10 Commandments. Since no man can keep the law (and even 1 offense removes us from perfection and thus heaven), the Law was a “school master” that informed us of our need of a savior. Think of it like a sinking cruise liner…if the alarm never goes off, you won’t know you’re sinking. The Law acted like the alarm, informing us of our pending doom.

    (3) God required death as the penalty for sin, and Christ paid that penalty in our stead.

    Romans 3:23
    For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    Romans 5:8
    But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

    (4) Thus Christ is the sacrifice for our sins. When a person is saved, Christ’s blood covers their sins so that when God the Father looks at us, He (legally) sees Christ’s blood applied on our behalf instead of our own sinful nature. My understanding is that God still knows we are sinners, but He is legally satisfied with Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf and we are thus granted eternal life.

    (5) This is the point of contention…what is the process of applying Christ’s blood to our account? How does it happen?

    My understanding is God enlightens our minds, which is a fancy way of saying He somehow allows our minds to comprehend Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf and informs us that the only way to avoid eternal damnation is the submit to God and accept Christ’s sacrifice. I don’t know how God informs us, I just know that we don’t seek God on our own and God “calls” us, so I will have to leave the particulars up to God.

    But when my mind is opened up by God, I have a choice to make: I can choose to refuse Christ’s sacrifice and continue in my sin and when I die God will judge me based on my merits, and I will enter eternal damnation because my merits are not good enough to enter into heaven because God’s standard is 100% perfection. Not a good choice, in my opinion.

    The second choice is to recognize Christ’s sacrifice, realize that God “owns” me and is my Creator, and decide to submit myself to God. Now people can argue all day about whether accepting a gift constitutes a “work” or not but I find that a silly argument…because no gift is forced upon you unless you accept it. And the act of accepting a gift does not negate the fact that it was a gift (ie, you didn’t pay for it or do something to earn it).

    So I decide that I will submit myself to God and accept Christ’s sacrifice as my only means of obtaining eternal salvation. However, I cannot fully submit and accept Christ’s sacrifice unless I reject my current lifestyle of sin. Acknowledging that living a life of sin is wrong does not mean I will never sin again; it’s merely admitting that I was wrong. If one does not admit he was wrong in his sins, then why would he turn to Christ as a Savior, because he has not fully understood why he needs that Savior in the first place? It seems to me that the Bible ties repentance inseparably with salvation:

    Acts 11:18
    When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.”

    2 Peter 3:9
    The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

    Luke 3:8
    Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father,’ for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham.

    2 Corinthians 7:10
    For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.

    Thus changing one’s mind about his sin and how he views it is not necessarily the same thing as feeling “sorry” for my sin. But realizing my wickedness of my sin is a part of realizing my need for a savior. It would be like a man coming to the doctor to heal him and telling the doctor that there’s nothing wrong with him. If you came to the doctor, you first have to have a problem with you, and you also have to admit you have a problem. By virtue of going to the doctor, one implicitly implies they have a problem they need help with.

    That is how I understand repentance (turning from sin). You must understand mentally you are a sinner and cannot save yourself and require a Savior. By turning to Christ as your Savior, you implicitly admit this fact.

    Honestly, it seems that the argument is that people are adding “repentance” to faith and thus adding to the requirements of salvation. I think the error lies in that repentance is not a “thing” itself but a descriptor of a type of faith. Salvation requires “repentant faith”, not changing your life around and then accepting Christ. They go hand-in-hand.


    With regards to James and works, on this point I believe the Bible is very clear. If your life does not demonstrate a clear change after “salvation”, then you were never saved in the first place. James talks about 2 types of “faith”: just saying something and saying and doing something. If you actually believe something, you must act upon it.

    If you say you are saved, but live a life continually in sin, never repent of your sin or never seek to stop sinning, the Bible is very clear: you didn’t “lose” your salvation, you just never had it to begin with. When you are saved you are changed. A changed person lives differently. If you don’t, you aren’t changed.

    I do not do works, get enough “goodness” credited to me and then cash in for salvation. Thus works are not required for salvation.

    But a saved person will live differently. People who do good works are not necessarily Christians. But Christians will do good works.

    James 2:14-19
    14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?
    15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food,
    16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?
    17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
    18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your[a] works, and I will show you my faith by my[b] works.
    19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!

    Again, works does not equal salvation. But a saved person will, by nature, since they are changed from within by God, live differently and demonstrate a changed life through their actions. They will acknowledge that sin is wrong. They will admit when they have wronged others. They will seek forgiveness for their wrong-doings to others. None of these actions earn them salvation, they merely demonstrate it.

    If a women says she is pregnant, but 8 months later her belly is as flat as it was 8 months prior, she’s not pregnant. I don’t care what she says. You cannot hide a baby that close to being born at 8 months. In the same way, a person who claims to be a Christian but does not express the “baby” by a changed lifestyle evidence by their actions, is not saved to begin with. Just like the women actually isn’t pregnant.

    My comment is not illogical; it’s Biblical. Christ and the apostles clearly state you know them by their actions and how they live. The Fruit of the Spirit, the book of James, etc…

    1 John 2:19
    They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

    This verse, as I understand it, very clearly states that someone who claims they were a Christian but then all of a sudden lives a lifestyle completely at odds with God and refuses to repent and return to living for Christ, was never saved in the first place. They were faking it.

    Thus I still stand by the position that works are not required for salvation, but a saved person will demonstrate a changed life through works. I do not see the logical inconsistency.

    A final example may demonstrate my point. Let’s say we have a paralyzed individual who is restricted to a wheelchair. Then one day this person rolls up next to you and tells you he’s healed! He’s no longer paralyzed! Then he rolls off, still in his wheelchair. And then when someone stands him up and removes his wheelchair from him, he collapses immediately and cannot take a single step. Then a doctor runs tests and confirms that the nerves in his back are still severed and it’s physically impossible for his lower body to move. Do you believe that the guy was healed like he said he was? No. It is perfectly logical, in fact it is ONLY logical, to accept that this man was never healed in the first place.

    In the same fashion, a person who came in contact with Jesus Christ (was healed) but remains in his sinful life (the wheelchair) and never demonstrates a change even when the church disciplines him (doctor says his nerves don’t work), wasn’t saved in the first place.

    The paralyzed man is not healed by walking. Just like a Christian is not saved by works. However, when that paralyzed man walks, he proves that he was healed. When Christians demonstrate a changed life, they prove they were saved by Christ.

    With regards to your 3 questions:
    (1) How do you know you will be living for Christ a year from now?
    I have submitted to Christ and accepted His blood as a sacrifice for my sins to God the Father. I understand that the only way this happens is by God opening my mind and permitting me to accept His gift. I have mentally accepted this gift and I seek to live a life consistent with how Christ told me to live. God says that once Christ’s blood is applied to me, it’s permanent: I’m adopted into Christ’s family and am a joint heir with Christ. So I will be living for Christ a year from now because I have been changed by God and I have no choice but to live for God because I am a new creature.

    (2) If you’re not, what do you think will happen?
    If I’m not living for Christ, the Bible provides 2 avenues. Either I am temporarily living in sin for a season and will repent, or I was not actually saved to begin with. Those are the 2 positions the Bible teaches. Church discipline is structured around this very principle, that Christians can sin and temporarily live inconsistent with Christ, but that eventually they will repent and return to living for Christ. The Bible does not give guidance as to how long this process may take; it only references a recurring lifestyle of wickedness.

    (3) In whom are you REALLY trusting?
    Christ. My righteousness is as filthy rags, which is used toilet paper, to God. I can’t earn eternal salvation because I’ve already lost because I’ve committed at least 1 sin and am thus guilty of all. The Bible says if I’m not living a life consistent with what the Bible teaches, I need to examine myself.

    2 Corinthians 13:5
    Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?


    I hope I have satisfactorily presented my view on the above issues. It does seem I was interpreting your definition of “repentance” differently than you would and there may be a disagreement on whether turning from sin constitutes a “work” or not with regards for salvation. I acknowledge the Jonah passage; I also acknowledge that several NT passages talk about repenting and being saved, often tying the 2 together very closely.

    I do have some questions from some of your above statements that I ask clarification on:

    (1) “The Epistles were not written as a “field guide” to identify false professors. Their purpose was not to make people look to their behavior to determine whether or not they believed in Christ.”

    What does one do with 2 Corinthians 13:5 above? The Epistles were written for many reasons, at least one of which was to challenge members of the churches to examine themselves and make sure they were living a life that evidenced their actual turn from sin.

    (2) “You seem to like the book of James, because you think it proves that works are required as proof of being saved.”

    I only think this because James says it and he is supported by several other passages in the NT. This does not mean a person cannot be saved without works; you could be saved and die quickly thereafter without a chance of evidencing your salvation. But the Bible is abundantly clear that saying a prayer is not what matters; it’s the changes in your life that demonstrate Christ has changed you. I don’t get salvation by my changes; but I prove to myself and those around me that Christ changed me by my actions.

    James 2:17
    Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

    James 4:4
    You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

    1 John 2:4
    He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

    2 Corinthians 5:17
    Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

    Hebrews 12:14
    Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.

    2 Timothy 2:19
    Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.”

    1 John 2:3
    By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.

    1 John 3:9
    No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. (translated words give the context of a patterned lifestyle, not complete 100% perfection)

    1 John 2:9
    The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now.

    Romans 7:15-25
    15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
    16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
    17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
    18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
    19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
    20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
    21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
    22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
    23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
    24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
    25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

  162. Gilbert, welcome and thanks for your comments.

    Teaching that people must “turn from sin” and “count the cost” for eternal life is the crux of Billy Graham’s error. It is a false gospel of works that cannot save. Foisting the hearers of this false gospel off on counselors of every stripe adds further to the confusion. The fact that 21,000 churches are participating in Billy Graham’s November “National Outreach” means that an average of 420 churches per US State is participating (assuming US scope only). That is quite a bit of leveraging of a false message.

  163. Dan, I won’t try to answer each of your points, because they all revolve around the same point – you believe that receipt of eternal life requires turning from sin, a commitment to a lifetime of discipleship and obedience to Christ, and perseverance in a lifetime of holiness and good works to prove one was really saved to begin with.

    In case I have confused you, let me be crystal clear: one is saved by believing in Christ ALONE as his Savior – not as his helper, but as his Savior!

    I would like to address a few general misconceptions that you seem to have:

    Repentance – I believe repentance IS required to receive eternal life. But, my definition of repentance in this context does not involve turning from sins, which is a WORK.

    Following is the explanation of repentance from Northland Bible Baptist Church, which I think is excellent:

    Repent (metanoeo) means a change of mind. Repentance in salvation means a change of mind from any idea of religion that man may have and to accept God’s way of salvation. Repentance does not in any sense include a demand for a change of conduct before or after salvation. Matthew 21:32, Acts 20:21, 2 Corinthians 7:8-10, Eph 2:8-9, Rom 4:5, Rom 5:8, John 3:16-18, Gal 3:10-12, Acts 16:25-31, Rom 11:29.

    One of the counterfeits Satan is using today is the misuse of the word “repent”. To insist upon repentance that in any sense includes a demand for a change of conduct either toward God or man is to add an element of works or human merit to faith. Penance is payment for sin. Penitence is sorrow for sin. Works add something of self in turning from sin. But repent (metanoeo) means a change of mind. Nowhere does Scripture use the phrase “repent of sin” to be saved.

    If you think turning from sin is not a work, you might be interested in Jonah 3:10:

    And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

    The Epistles – these were written to believers. The Epistles were not written as a “field guide” to identify false professors. Their purpose was not to make people look to their behavior to determine whether or not they believed in Christ. Rather, it was to exhort them to live their lives in a way that would honor Christ, keep them from harm, strengthen the church, avoid false doctrine, etc.

    Following Christ versus believing in Christ – you have fallen for the Lordship “salvation” error of confusing discipleship passages with salvation passages. Believers should follow Christ as dedicated disciples, but that is not a requirement for receiving eternal life. (By the way, I did a word search in my KJV Bible and did not find the word “disciple” after acts 21:16).

    The best passage to clearly establish that BELIEVING in Jesus (the only condition for salvation ever presented in the Bible) and following Him in discipleship are separate and distinct is John 8:31-33:

    As he spake these words, many believed on him. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

    Now, I would like to address one of your specific comments:

    You said: “This is not saying works are required for salvation; it’s saying that once a person is changed by Christ, by necessity their life (ie, works) will demonstrate this fact. You cannot be changed by Christ and be the same person. It would be like a porn-addicted, wife-abusing, atheist claiming he believes in Jesus Christ but he continues to live that way.”

    My comment: Your logic is as follows: No works are required to go to heaven. But, everyone who goes to heaven will persist in doing good works. Therefore, if one does not persist in doing good works, he will not go to heaven.

    This is totally illogical!

    Let me ask you this: Are you doing good works? Do you still sin? Does God like your sins better than He likes porn-addiction? Wife abuse? If so, why?

    You seem to like the book of James, because you think it proves that works are required as proof of being saved.

    James 2:10: For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

    Dan, now I have three questions for you:

    How do you know you will be living for Christ a year from now? If you’re not, what do you think will happen?
    In whom are you REALLY trusting?

  164. John,

    Excellent article. And the BG Evangelistic Association claims “billions” are followers of Graham. Hmmmm your quote is right – there is a mouse trap that kills.

    We welcome you to ExPreacherMan.

    Thanks for sharing our web site with your friends.

    I also enjoyed your comment about the derivation of the Mousetrap story. That was new to me — I was not aware of the Emerson connection. Interesting.

    Kathy, peruse our web site — You will find many very informative articles with Eternal value. You will also see several inspiring pages in our web site header above.

    Please come back, visit and comment again.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  165. Kenneth Groenewald

    I had a discussion last week with one of Billy Graham’s converts who does not believe in eternal security and actually despises OSAS proponents. Unfortunately he is one of the team members who go out with me into our prisons. I gave him an illustration and asked him a question: Suppose a woman was traveling along the Freeway. She hears the gospel message clearly on her readio. She believes the message and trusts Christ as her Saviour. I ask him if she’s saved at that moment,to which he replies yes. Now suppose she is so excited,can’t wait to get home and tell her husband about what happened to her. But on her way home she’s involved in an accident and survives but her body is wrecked and in pain ever since. She gets hooked on pain killers and becomes a drug addict. Is she still saved I ask him?” Well that all depends he replies.” On what I ask?” “Well does she regularly go to church?” I reply “occasionally, maybe every 6 months.” “Oh no”he asserts “in that case she cannot be saved”. Sad how one can evangelize with that view.

  166. Gilbert Desmarais

    Billy Graham Says Unbelievers are Saved!

    “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
    … Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” – Matthew 7:15,20

    Television interview of Billy Graham by Robert Schuller on
    May 31, 1997.

    Billy Graham claims that some people who have never even heard of Jesus Christ can be saved. This is utter heresy! In sharp contrast, Acts 4:12 clearly states… “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other NAME under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved”. There is NO salvation apart from the NAME of Jesus, i.e., Christ Himself.

    Billy Graham sends Catholics at his crusades to priests, and thus back to the same damnable heresies they need to come out of. Catholicism is a Prisonhouse of Religion that Billy Graham is oblivious to.

    Why does the whole wicked world love Graham? It’s because he tells everybody that they’re right, that’s why! Look at what the word of God says about people the world loves…

    “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.” (Luke 6:26)

  167. Kathy, thanks for commenting. I was aware that the quote was a paraphrase of another Emerson quote, and that the mousetrap and Emerson were not contemporaries. That’s why I said “often attributed to..”

    So, right you are!

    Thanks. John

  168. John,  I’ve been passing the site to others. thought you’d enjoy this little tidbit. KathyOregon

    Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door is a phrase attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson in the late nineteenth century. The phrase is actually a misquotation of the statement: If a man has good corn or wood, or boards, or pigs, to sell, or can make better chairs or knives, crucibles or church organs, than anybody else, you will find a broad hard-beaten road to his house, though it be in the woods. >—Ralph Waldo Emerson In 1889, seven years after Emerson’s death, came the invention of the current standard of mousetraps. That same year Emerson was quoted as saying: If a man can write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mousetrap than his neighbor…” The phrase has turned into a metaphor about the power of innovation, and is frequently taken literally, with more than 4,400 patents issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office for new mousetraps, with thousands more unsuccessful applicants, making them the “most frequently invented device in U.S. history”.

  169. @johninnc,

    I read through the above article and I had several comments to make. I don’t know much about Billy Graham. I have heard him in person, however, where he clearly presented the Gospel message several years ago. I don’t know if I agree/disagree with all of Graham’s mechanisms.

    That said, I do not feel your article fully represented Graham or the teaching of the Bible clearly. If Graham is a “false teacher”, then by all means he should be pointed out in hopes that other Christians see and beware. However, I did not find the points you raised as adequate to point Graham out as a false teacher.

    The first point is that simply saying you “believe in Jesus” doesn’t save you. This is quite clear in Scripture.

    1 John 2:19
    They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.

    Merely saying “I’m a Christian” does not make a person a Christian. The majority of the book of James also clearly makes this argument. “Faith” that says something is meaningless. It’s only faith that is established by evidence of change that saves. This is not saying works are required for salvation; it’s saying that once a person is changed by Christ, by necessity their life (ie, works) will demonstrate this fact. You cannot be changed by Christ and be the same person. It would be like a porn-addicted, wife-abusing, atheist claiming he believes in Jesus Christ but he continues to live that way. I believe Graham’s statement is in accord with that thought.

    I also question the discussion regarding “counting the cost”. Christ made it very clear that if anyone is going to follow Him, that person had best count the cost.

    Luke 14:25-33
    25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said:
    26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.
    27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
    28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?
    29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you,
    30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
    31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand?
    32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace.
    33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.

    Christ clearly told those around Him that following Him would cost them. He told them to make sure they knew what they were doing and making a true, heart-changing decision and not an emotional one that would fade the moment hardship came. Christ told us that following Him would consist of taking up our cross daily. Christ doesn’t want lukewarm followers; he wants people devoted to Him. Christ and the apostles talked at decent length about false teachers who would come claiming to be “Christians”. You claim Graham is one such individual; however, Graham is merely stating people should be Christians because they truly understand what they are doing, not because it’s the “thing” to do. Merely telling people to have “faith in Jesus” does not equal salvation.

    Your next point is one that also slightly confuses me…you state that Graham is equating salvation to a trade instead of a “free gift”. I don’t gather that from Graham’s statement at all. Graham calls salvation a “greater gift” and you criticize him for claiming salvation is not “free”. Is not a gift free by definition? Graham is saying salvation is better than anything else. Is that not a true statement?

    Matthew 16:26
    What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?

    Christ seemed to believe that salvation was a better option than gaining the whole world. Is Christ guilty of making salvation a trade versus a free gift? How is Graham’s statement inconsistent with what Christ stated?

    The final point is one I think you may have had the right intention towards but my initial reaction was strong disagreement. Could you expound on this point some more?

    “Being willing to turn from sins is not a requirement for receiving eternal life. Nor is asking God to forgive you, nor is our commitment to Christ. Eternal life is received by Grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Nothing more and nothing less is required.”

    Luke 13:1-5
    1 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices.
    2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way?
    3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.
    4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem?
    5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

    Now we also find verses that clearly state “…for by grace are you saved through faith…”. Is there a disagreement here in scripture? I don’t think so.

    Repentance is a change of mind and a choice to remove oneself from that former life. This is not saying a person “saves” himself. It is saying repentance is implicit in salvation. You cannot be saved unless you turn from your ways to follow Christ. Why would you “believe” in Christ if you have not turned from your previous way of believing? Believing and repentance go hand-in-hand.

    An example may demonstrate what I’m saying. Let’s say we have an atheist who says he is believing in Christ but he is also going to continue being an atheist. He has not “repented” (changed) from his atheistic views and thus does not actually believe in Christ. Repentance is a part of belief. You cannot believe 2 mutually exclusive ideas at the same time because that is irrational and I would even argue impossible. If you believe that 2 + 2 = 4, you cannot also fully believe that 2 + 2 = 5. One of them is true and you must believe one of them; you can’t believe both. Salvation requires one to submit to Christ and change from their old ways. To claim Christ but not change is impossible. Repentance is very integral in salvation.

    What I think you may be hinting at is that a person does not “change” himself but it is God who changes us. True, the Bible clearly teaches that. But the Bible also teaches we are held accountable for our choices. Christ and His apostles went out, preached the gospel, and “convinced” people that Christianity was true. Again, God is the One Who illuminated people’s minds to accept and believe the gospel. But Paul frequently reasoned with and discussed Christianity with people. He didn’t go in and say “believe in Christ” and leave it at that. Many of his epistles were directed at churches whose behavior was inconsistent with their claim to follow Christ. So if they “believed” in Christ, why was Paul attacking them for living inconsistent with their Christian belief if belief is all they needed?

    James makes it clear that the type of faith that saves is the faith that acts. If I told you today that I believe that a missile is going to hit my house tomorrow, yet I do not move out of my house, do I really have faith that a missile will hit my house? No, I don’t. James says that kind of faith doesn’t save because it’s fake faith. However, the faith that leads to actions IS the kind of faith that saves. The Christian who says he loves his brother but doesn’t give him food/clothing is a liar. He “claimed/believed had faith”, but it was fake.

    I posit strongly from Scripture that repentance is an absolute integral part of salvation and cannot be separated. I would go so far as to argue that claiming all you have to do is “believe” in Christ is mis-representing the Gospel. That leads to people praying little prayers “asking Jesus into their hearts” and then thinking they are good to go and they have been redeemed to God. Christ doesn’t agree with that. Paul definitely doesn’t agree with that.

    I believe Graham is making the proper distinction in saying that there is more to salvation than claiming something. Actions are an integral part of a changed life. If there is no transformed life, then there was no change. James makes this clear and Paul fully supports this.

    From your article above, I am not fully convinced that Graham is incorrect. I believe Graham is upholding that salvation should not be cheapened but one should understand the cost of following Christ when they (humanly speaking) make the conscious decision to submit themselves to Christ.

    I hope I’m not mis-interpreting what you’re saying. I’m just slightly confused. I cannot in good conscience tell someone that Graham is a false teacher from his above statements. In fact, I would be forced to acknowledge that Graham is clearly representing the full Scripture instead of watering down salvation.

  170. He’s been called the “Protestant Pope”? Yeesh–that’s not flattering. The only other person to earn that moniker is John Calvin.

    Has Billy Graham EVER preached the true gospel?