Progressives Celebrating Billy Graham’s Death Should Wake You Up

Progressives Celebrating Billy Graham’s Death Should Wake You Up February 23, 2018

With the news of Billy Graham’s death came a wave of mixed reactions. Many lamented the death of a man whose life marked one of faithfulness to many ministry endeavors, others utilized this as an opportunity to critique his theology, whilst others still utilized it to speak to the eschatological hope those in Christ have. Perhaps what was most interesting though was reaction from many progressives, as they saw Graham’s death as an altogether different occasion to celebrate. Graham committed the LGTBQ’s unforgivable sin: he supported traditional marriage.

I’ve been arguing for years at this point that the trajectory of LGTBQ ethics is not one wherein a middle-ground can be reached. They don’t want middle-ground. It is an all or nothing approach. Some have maintained I am an alarmist or treat progressive arguments unfairly, yet reality indicates otherwise. They are incredibly well-funded, well-organized, have great legal representation, and have the attention and backing of popular media outlets, major corporations, politicians, and celebrity personalities.

Former gay and lesbian people, now speaking against it and advocating the power of salvation through Christ, are often bullied and slandered. Heterosexuals speaking against it, advocating for the goodness of the biblical sexual ethic, are also bullied and slandered. A man, hours after his death, had his body dragged across the digital square in an effort to dishonor him. There is no tolerance for traditional marriage supporters.

As a fair warning, I am not going to censor any of their comments. I want Christians to take them in. Provocative language serves a purpose, and ultimately serves my case here quite well.

 

So why bring these examples to light? Bible-believing Christians shouldn’t be shocked by them. Even when something deserves a bit more decorum and tact, we ought not to be shocked. Simply stated, the apostle Paul describes two distinct realms that believers and unbelievers operate in (1 Thess. 4: 1-8). The Christian, having been brought from death to life, has been placed in the realm of sanctification (that is, they have a vested interest in pleasing the Lord); the unbeliever operates in the realm of vileness and impurity. They exist in these two distinct realms of operation simply by the nature of what God has done – not on the basis of their heterosexuality or homosexuality, political affiliation, etc.

Yet what is even more notable is that hatred of God doesn’t have to appear as vitriolic as some of the above comments. Your unbelieving great-aunt Betty might be the kindest lady you’ve ever encountered, yet when she dies an atheist, she will meet the same end as the most vitriolic anti-theist you’ve ever witnessed. When her heart is laid bare before the Lord, the revelation of her hatred of Him will be made clear. No amount of kindness will spare her from the wrath that awaits if she refuses to repent and believe the gospel.

The Scriptures demonstrate this reality over and again, placing a focus on the fact that those who are not in Christ are God-haters. They will speak like God-haters. They will act like God-haters. Part and parcel to this is hating the one who bears likeness to that God who has revealed all truth. Bluntly stated, this is why you have a meek and mild man like Billy Graham, mere hours after his death, having his body dragged across the virtual public square and paraded about as an example of what is perceived to be bigotry.

No amount of kindness will allow one to escape this condemnation unscathed. If you preach a message contrary to the desires of this world, there will be consequences to that. I fear that we have somehow lost sight of the fact that Scripture teaches no servant is greater than their Master in every regard. No servant. Not even the late Billy Graham. If Christ, being targeted since the day He arrived in His mother’s womb did not escape this reality, you will surely not be the exception to this rule. This is precisely what we need to be woken up to: if you don’t accept the prevailing winds of cultural dogma and instead believe Scripture’s ethic, especially in regard to matters of sexuality, you don’t deserve an honorable send-off. In this we must acknowledge that the world’s Christians throughout the history of the earth have not enjoyed the relative prosperity and peace we do. The common trajectory of Christianity has not been limited to experiencing anything less than hatred for the name of the One they bear witness of.

This is the reality of the world we currently live in – and it has always been this way. Social media has a nasty habit of giving many a platform and backbone they wouldn’t otherwise have, yet it nonetheless serves as an example of humanity’s utter hatred of God. We have somehow bought into the notion that there is neutral ground, or perhaps, the rebellion of one God-hater is less severe than the hatred of another, more vocal God-hater. There is no such thing as neutral ground, nor is there such a thing as less wicked ground. Scripture simply dictates this isn’t the case, and we ought not to be surprised to find that Scripture adequately pinpoints the issue as one of worship. People are all too happy to reject the message-bearer on account of rejecting the God of the message. This is not an effort to blindly broad-brush people as if they do this in the same manner, but a depiction of these two spheres of reality Paul lays out so clearly. They are diametrically opposed because they have different understandings of reality, a different trajectory, and a different end goal.

However, we must acknowledge the reality of the spiritual dimension to this as well, in that Satan is very much at work behind the scenes. Every institution, whether it be the education system, government, media, entertainment, social structures, false religions, financial policies, etc., are all in the hand of Satan. The powers and principalities at play go far beyond political parties as well. One ought not to think the speedbump of Trump being in office will eradicate the trajectory of this nation’s liberal ethic – yet they also ought not to believe they are not at work within the heart and mind of Trump.

This is what makes the gospel so important. This is particularly what makes the work of Christ so incredibly important. Likewise, this is why we ought to feel a sense of dread when we look at our sweet, great-aunt Betty and realize she is dangling over the pit of eternal hellfire. Scripture makes no hesitations declaring there are billions of people who will willingly embrace eternal torment in favor of eternal paradise, simply because they have a profound hatred of the Lord. However, this is also our measure of encouragement, for we too were once those who hated God.

The glorious Maker of heaven and earth holds the ultimate power in His hand to change that heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh. It is the grand-reversal of our hatred for Him, ultimately bound in the greatest expression of love this world has ever seen. It is the great exchange of our sin for Christ’s righteousness. In spite of our hatred for Him and our propensity for great wickedness, the Lord displayed His love for us, while we were yet God-haters, through the crucifixion of His Son.

 

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • pud

    He made a wretched living convincing people that they are filthy rags and selling his mythical snake oil cure. He was a contemptible human being and anyone who held him in esteem is an imbecile

  • vinny152

    Billy Graham had a profound effect on even all the atheists in to-day’s world-J.L.

    • Donalbain

      He did? What effect did he have on me?

  • Jeffrey

    Meh.
    Growing up in the anti-Christian hellhole known as the ‘Bible Belt’, I heard countless preachers, ministers and other heretics over the years rejoice and delight in the deaths of secular, non-‘evangelical’ people.
    I was personally honored to have sat and listened to an insane rant (known by the gullible as a ‘sermon’) given by my grandmother’s moronic Baptist ‘pastor’ back in 1997, assuring all of us that Princess Diana had entered hell the previous night and that her car accident was well deserved justice.
    I’d tell you ‘evangelicals’ to take the beam out of your own eye first, but you probably wouldn’t get the reference.

  • Jansmt7

    So what IS the difference between Billy and Franklin Graham’s ideology, in your own words?

    • Camino1

      Not as much daylight as some conclude. It did seem Billy tried to be a bit less partisan. He didn’t seem to hate Muslims, and spoke a lot less about LGBTQ.

  • Tianzhu

    As you say, social media have not made us a kinder and gentler nation – rather, they allow people to communicate with their fellow haters. People clearly take pleasure in mass-hating, so that it appears to be almost a religious ritual. “You hate that guy? Hey, me too! Let’s all spew our hate together! This feels good!”
    The great Mr. Graham is beyond all this now. His son is going to have to endure more and more flack. It’s been sad for evangelicals to see once respected men like Tony Campolo caving in to the anti-Christian culture. I think Franklin Graham is made of sterner stuff.

    • Camino1

      “ENDURE more flack” ??

  • Halbe

    Well, you got one thing right: LGBT+ people will never accept the “separate but equal” compromise that evangelical christians are offering. That train has definitely left the station. (And you seem to find a perverse kind of joy in fantasizing about your omnibenevolent God torturing kind old ladies, but that is a bit off-topic).

  • against_the_wind

    There is a difference between “celebrating his death” and pointing out words and actions that were inconsistent with the message of the gospel. Jesus was not exclusionary in his ministry, dined with the “unacceptables” of his day and railed against religious and social systems that stigmatized and burdened those at the margins. Billy Graham was influential in both positive and negative ways. Be honest about it

  • Randy Thompson

    I’m bothered that you have made a generalization on the basis of a half dozen tweets. That much of the LBGTQ agenda is all or nothing in nature is too true. However, I am not willing to paint any group, whether I agree with them or not, with such a broad brush.

    • Halbe

      That much of the LBGTQ agenda is all or nothing in nature is too true.

      Care to elaborate? Should LBGTQ people accept a world with ‘Slegs vir heteros’ signs?

  • Maine_Skeptic

    I can understand being angry that one of your heroes wasn’t treated with the respect you think he deserved by some people. In response, you’ve painted all Progressives everywhere of being evil and hating Jesus. You’ve made clear that your readers must distrust every act of kindness from anyone who isn’t Christian, because all non-Evangelicals everywhere hate Jesus, whether they show it or not. You’ve made clear that nothing any nonChristian or progressive Christian ever does can change your utter and complete contempt for them, because *some* people didn’t show adequate respect for your hero. Furthermore, you’ve made clear that any Evangelicals who don’t agree with you in that attitude are deceived.

    That’s a very effective wall you’ve built around yourself.

    • Carlos Santiago

      LOL the wall as I see the the skeptics want the fruit of the Spirit without the Spirit.

      • Maine_Skeptic

        “LOL the wall as I see the the skeptics want the fruit of the Spirit without the Spirit.”

        I’m listening. Care to elaborate?

        • cipher

          Well, he did say “LOL”. Doesn’t that convince you?

  • I’ve been arguing for years at this point that the trajectory of LGTBQ ethics is not one wherein a middle-ground can be reached. They don’t want middle-ground. It is an all or nothing approach.

    Yeah, whatever happened to compromise? My slaves were complaining, so I generously offered that they could not be slaves on Tuesdays and Fridays. They still complained! What am I to do–just free them all??

    There’s gratitude for you.

  • Damien Priestly

    This is a joke, right? Satire?

    -> “…when we look at our sweet, great-aunt Betty and realize she is dangling over the pit of eternal hellfire…”

    Poor Aunt Betty, probably smiled at a LGBT person or some abomination like that !!

    • LastManOnEarth

      Vicarious Sadism.

  • cipher

    As a fair warning, I am not going to censor any of their comments. I want Christians to take them in. Provocative language serves a purpose, and ultimately serves my case here quite well…

    The Christian, having been brought from death to life, has been placed in the realm of sanctification (that is, they have a vested interest in pleasing the Lord); the unbeliever operates in the realm of vileness and impurity.

    I say it all the time; conservative Christians have no sense of irony.

    Here’s something for you to “take in”, Sparky. If heaven exists and is filled with you and your ilk, I have absolutely no interest in going there. I suspect most other nonbelievers and a fair number of Progressive Christians would agree with me.

    • Gilsongraybert

      Crass language is different then suggesting humanity, without the grace of God (me and every Christian fully included in that) is in the realm of vileness and impurity. It is a basic truth of Christianity that mankind is in a state of rebellion against God and He deems this state to be reprehensible. That’s truly was sin does. Yet Christ being sacrificed for our sins has removed that vileness and impurity and established the sinner as saint, solely because of that sacrifice. In the end, it is a matter of sound and true judgment that lands people in hell – not the misgivings of the disenfranchised.

      • cipher

        Aside from the fact that my point about irony went over your head (which I expected) – I am well aware of the reasoning underlying your theology.

        Your belief system is a form of psychopathology. It has far more to do with your self-esteem than it has with divine revelation. There is no way in which this can be explained to you.

        • Gilsongraybert

          Actually the purported irony wasn’t lost on me at all, hence why I dealt with it in the response. If something is objectively true of mankind, then it isn’t ironic to simply state it. That’s the key difference, and if you’re aware of my reasoning, why conflate objective criteria for hell with subjective criteria for the desire to see people face retribution for a belief system? But, rather than deal with anything substantively, you simply resort to a gimmick that literally proves my point, and follow up with “there is no way which this can be explained to you.” So not only have you set the terms, you’ve actually successfully evaded having to provide any proof of your assertion. Bravo!

          • cipher

            As I appear to be the only person in this thread to whom you responded, I’ll assume I struck some sort of nerve.

          • Gilsongraybert

            Not really, some days I just pick one and go, other times I don’t at all. It’s mainly a matter of time and energy to be completely straightforward.

  • Paperboy_73

    Messages about hell so often sound weirdly hungry. Like they just can’t wait to see the doubters proven wrong, and hear those beautiful words “I should have listened to you, you were right all aloooooong!”

    It’s worth asking how you’d react if you got to Heaven and you were the one who was wrong – that Aunt Betty was actually going to get waved through. Would you be joyous? Having the opportunity to spend eternity with someone who brought so much kindness to the world? Or would you be angry, because she didn’t belong with you there? Then imagine if it was Aunt Betty and her wife, Aunt June? How angry would you be then?

    • cipher

      I am convinced many (and I suspect it’s most) in the evangelical world eagerly anticipate our damnation. They think watching it will be their chief entertainment in heaven.

      It is a subculture of psychopaths.