How to Be Saved In Their Own Words: Part 3 – Billy Graham, John Calvin, and Augustine of Hippo

Billy Graham is a famous evangelist so I thought it would be fitting to check and see how he suggests that a person can be saved from the penalty of sin. I have also included quotes from Calvin and Augustine. I am fully convinced that much error comes from these two men as it had come from the Catholic church.  Next time in part 4 we wrap up this series with a look at the Catholic church’s statements about how to be saved and examine the true gospel and method of salvation in comparison.

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Billy Graham:

We suggest a prayer like this:

“Lord Jesus Christ,

I am sorry for the things I have done wrong in my life. I ask your forgiveness and now turn from everything which I know is wrong. Thank you for dying on the cross for me to set me free from my sins. Please come into my life and fill me with your Holy Spirit and be with me forever.

Thank you Lord Jesus, Amen.” ”

“What do I have to do to go to heaven?

God isn’t waiting to judge you. God isn’t waiting to condemn you. He’s waiting to receive you with mercy, with love, with open arms, and forgive all your sins. Will you come to Him? Will you turn from your sin and promise to live for Him?”

My Comment:

Notice here that turning from sin and promising to live for Him is a Lordship Salvation style method of becoming a Christian.  Man does not need to do this to be saved. He must trust in Christ alone for salvation.

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Augustine:

“Faith, then, as well in its beginning as in its completion, is God’s gift; and let no one have any doubt whatever, unless he desires to resist the plainest sacred writings, that this gift is given to some, while to some it is not given. But why it is not given to all ought not to disturb the believer, who believes that from one all have gone into a condemnation, which undoubtedly is most righteous; so that even if none were delivered therefrom, there would be no just cause for finding fault with God.”

My Comment:

It should be understood here that faith is not the gift, salvation is.  He also mentions erroneously that God’s gift of faith is only given to some (the elect).  His last point about finding fault with God is somewhat irrelevant because faith is not granted in this manner in the first place.    God gives all men the ability to believe or reject the gospel if presented to them.

“This grace, therefore, which is hiddenly bestowed in human hearts by the Divine gift, is rejected by no hard heart, because it is given for the sake of first taking away the hardness of the heart.”

God first softens our heart with grace, part of the Divine gift? This sounds like what has become to be known as irresistible grace to me.

“Furthermore, who would be so impiously foolish as to say that God cannot turn the evil wills of men—as he willeth, when he willeth, and where he willeth—toward the good? But, when he acteth, he acteth through mercy; when he doth not act, it is through justice. For, “he hath mercy on whom he willeth; and whom he willeth, he hardeneth.”

This is more of the same from him.  Doesn’t this make God out to be some kind of puppet master that controls people toward belief or unbelief?  We know however that God is not in the business of re-probation because He desires the salvation of all men.

Calvin
John Calvin:

“There is no man to whom some awareness of eternal light does not penetrate…. No man will penetrate into the Kingdom of God by the cleverness and perspicuity of his own mind. The Spirit of God alone opens the gate of Heaven to His elect….”

“Implanted into Christ by faith, we attain the right of adoption as the sons of God…. They are already born of God, who believe….”

“By faith, we conceive the incorruptible seed by which we are born again to new and divine life…. Faith is a part of our regeneration, an entering into the Kingdom of God so that He may number us among His children.”

“The enlightening of our minds by the Holy Spirit, belongs to our renewal. So faith flows from its source, regeneration. But since by this same faith we receive Christ Who sanctifies us by His Spirit, it is called the beginning of our adoption….”

“When the Lord breathes faith into us, He regenerates us in a hidden and secret way that is unknown to us. But when faith has been given, we grasp with a lively awareness not only the grace of adoption but also newness of life and the other gifts of the Holy Spirit…. We begin to be sons of God only after we believe.”

“The outstanding thing about faith,” explains Calvin, “is that it delivers us from eternal destruction…. He [God] is favourable to the whole World, when He calls all without exception to the faith of Christ…. Christ is open to all and displayed to all, but God opens the eyes only of the elect – so that they may seek Him, by faith….”

I wonder why so many are content to be called Calvinists given Calvin’s error as to regeneration before faith and unconditional election.  Perhaps they don’t see the error for what it is.  How sad, because many today in churches around the world do not understand where some of their “precious” doctrines come from. Teachings like regeneration before faith and Calvinism’s unconditional election come not from Bible but from men.

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11 Responses to How to Be Saved In Their Own Words: Part 3 – Billy Graham, John Calvin, and Augustine of Hippo

  1. Pearl says:

    Hi Jim! I’ve been looking forward to Part III, and you didn’t disappoint.

    Just about all the quotes you cited stagger me, and others have me scratching my head, like this one:

    ““This grace, therefore, which is hiddenly bestowed in human hearts by the Divine gift, is rejected by no hard heart, because it is given for the sake of first taking away the hardness of the heart.”

    Huh? Is this circular reasoning? It’s definitely confusing.

    Like you, I find it amazing that so many flaunt the badge of Calvinism or Arminianism. And then, there are the less discernible hybrids borne of the two, which we’ve seen in the writings of those who appear to be anti-LS.

    Thanks for your hard work.

  2. jimfloyd12 says:

    Pearl,

    Here is a larger section of what Augustine said.

    “We see that many come to the Son because we see that many believe on Christ, but when and how they have heard this from the Father, and have learned, we see not. It is true that that grace is exceedingly secret, but who doubts that it is grace? This grace, therefore, which is hiddenly bestowed in human hearts by the Divine gift, is rejected by no hard heart, because it is given for the sake of first taking away the hardness of the heart. When, therefore, the Father is heard within, and teaches, so that a man comes to the Son, He takes away the heart of stone and gives a heart of flesh, as in the declaration of the prophet He has promised. Because He thus makes them children and vessels of mercy which He has prepared for glory.”

    This is basically the language used by Calvinists today to justify regeneration before faith. (Taking away a heart of stone and giving a heart of flesh)

    Part of the reason that I am doing this series of posts is so that people can start to see where some of these ideas are coming from. Holding to some form of modifed Catholic teaching is not usually a good thing. Also, if your theology places regeneration before faith, makes God a God that forces people to believe and others to be condemned, or demands certain aspects of repentance (turning from sin) or commitments to discipleship to prove that you are one of the elect, then your theology is wrong and comes from men’s logic. The tragic thing is that there are men that might basically be free grace except they still hold on to scraps of the Augustinian and Calvinistic thinking such as repentance being turn from sins, unconditional election, and or faith possibly being a gift given to only the elect.

  3. jimfloyd12 says:

    Pearl, all

    The good thing is that each believer can go to the Word of God for themselves and discern the truth. Do you remember the telephone game? The one were a person passes a message to the next person by whispering and so on until it goes full circle and the final person declares the message they received only to find it different, sometimes totally different, than the original? I see all of this with Catholics and others somewhat the same way. There is no need to play the telephone game with Catholics being at the beginning of the chain. If Paul or Peter or any of the early church fathers taught the truth and the Catholics came in and twisted it, then why do I want to even consider their teaching if the very people like Paul and Peter contradict them in the Bible? The way to prevent the spread of error is to go back to the purest source and start over if needed. Much of the reformation was a failure in my opinion because I do not believe they left enough of the error behind. In many ways, some just came up with a less obvious more believable form of error.

  4. Pearl says:

    Part of the reason that I am doing this series of posts is so that people can start to see where some of these ideas are coming from. Holding to some form of modifed Catholic teaching is not usually a good thing.

    I really pray that many will stop and listen. I’ve met a few souls who came out of Catholicism, and preach hard against it via their “discernment” blogs, yet they fail to see the similarity in the beliefs they now tote, usually of the reformed persuassion.

    You’d think that with the advent of the information age, with all this knowledge at our fingertips, more people would be pouring out of these Catholic spin-offs and into His fold, but strangely, the very opposite seems to be happening and an ugly spirit of debate rules the day. Truly, the god of this world is blinding them.

  5. jimfloyd12 says:

    Pearl,

    Yes, the god of this world is blinding them. The Bible says narrow is the way that leads to salvation and few there be that find it. For believers, I think part of it is that people start following each other (along with some professing – yet unsaved men) rather than putting in the real effort to look to God and His Word for the truth themselves. Sure there are things we can learn from people but we should be putting in the study time first. If we get led astray we know that it wasn’t the Spirit that led us there.

    For unbelievers, I feel that there is just so much out there that is false combined with he sinful human nature that is not disposed to the truth especially when it gets a taste of some seemingly spiritual content ie Catholicism. Another interesting thing is that most false doctrine and religions have some form of works for salvation rather than truly trusting in Christ alone.

  6. Sue says:

    Hello Jim

    Augustine: “…foolish as to say that God cannot turn the evil wills of men—as he willeth, when he willeth, and where he willeth—toward the good?”

    I think this is an oxymoron! What willeth does what it doesn’t willeth to do of it own volition? Evil will or good will, that’s the manipulation of man by a puppet master to make them do what they don’t want to do!

    Isn’t it?

    Augustine: “…He takes away the heart of stone and gives a heart of flesh…”

    Unless I am very much mistaken, this seems to be a perfect example of how Covenant Theology likes to reinterpret Scripture. God’s Truth is removed from its literal context and conveniently ‘spiritualized’ by the human perception of mysticism to back a personal theory through fake faith.

    “c. Mysticism is knowledge based on intuition or direct insight and rejects reason and logic as inherent to truth. Mysticism is pure subjectivism and is often irrational and emotional.” RD

    Calvin is as equally oxymoronic, and as mystical as Augustine imo!
    Pearl is right! Definitely confusing, no doubt as a result of suffering an excess of wind.

  7. jimfloyd12 says:

    Sue,

    You are right about the Augustinian / Calvinistic ultra-controlling “deity” that they make God out to be. God does not make anyone believe and does not make anyone reject the gospel. Double-talk, hot air, wind, circular reasoning, mysticism, – whatever it is, it isn’t God’s truth but man’s false view of God.

    Covenant theologians do like to allegorize quite a bit. It does seem though that they like for some things (dry bones and heart of stone/heart of flesh) to be literal and applied how and when they see fit. The sad thing is that who can ever know if one is saved or has supposedly been given faith? Then enters in the lifetime of trying to prove that one is elect.

    Hopefully this site can serve to prevent people from entering this trap. God’s truth is that Jesus Christ has accomplished the work needed for salvation and offers it freely to all will trust in Him alone for salvation. No implanting of some mystical grace is needed.

  8. john says:

    Jim, thanks for pointing out these errors. These man-made teachings go way back, as you have so aptly documented. This deception seems to be pervasive, attaching itself to all kinds of devoted, intelligent, well-educated, and well-meaning people. The one thing these teaching have in common is that they each deviate from the Gospel.

    I look forward to the next installment.

  9. Jim,

    Thanks for these installments.. they are a good resource and when I use them, I will credit your web site.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  10. jimfloyd12 says:

    You are welcome Jack. I hope to have my next one finished soon. There has been a lot going on recently but I’ll be getting back into the swing of things soon.

  11. Pingback: Jesus Paid it All — what’s your down payment? | Redeemingmoments

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