Billy Graham—dubbed by the press as “America’s Pastor”—is dead! He passed away on Wednesday, February 21, at the age of 99. He was an American icon and the friend and counselor of Presidents. America and the world are extending their love and sympathy to the Graham family—as well they should be doing. Unlike that of so many others, Billy Graham’s ministry was untarnished by either sex or financial scandals. His message of morality and upright living which he passionately proclaimed for almost six decades should be embraced by all who seek a better life for themselves, their families, our country, and the world. Any truth he set forth from scripture should be believed and embraced.
While I had great respect for Mr. Graham, there is much about his teaching and practice with which I disagree because I find it contrary to the Scriptures. While Mr. Graham preferred to be addressed simply as “Billy,” the media insisted on referring to him as “Reverend,” and he accepted that title. Yet, I find this specific word only once in our English Bible, and there it is used to refer to God, not man (Psalm 111:9, KJV). More determinative, however, is the fact that Jesus spoke against the wearing of religious titles. He emphatically stated, “But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. And do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father in heaven” (Matthew 23:8-9). Furthermore, the distinction between “clergy” and “laity” is of man and not of God. The apostle Peter explained that all Christians constitute “a royal priesthood” (I Peter 2:9). Continue reading