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.
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?”
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.
“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.”
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.
“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.