The famous evangelist Billy Graham used to read the Bible very carefully and tell it as he read it – God saves Christians and condemns everyone else to eternal Hell. The Bible still says the same as it did when Graham was young but apparently he reads it rather different nowadays. Nice to see. This is part of a dialogue between Reverend Schuller and Billy Graham that was broadcast on The Hour of Power, program #1426, May 32.
Schuller: ‘Tell me, what is the future of Christianity?’
Graham: ‘Well, Christianity and being a true believer, you know, I think there’s the body of Christ which comes from all the Christian groups around the world, or outside the Christian groups. I think that everybody that loves Christ or knows Christ, whether they’re conscious of it or not, they’re members of the body of Christ. And I don’t think that we’re going to see a great sweeping revival that will turn the whole world to Christ at any time. What God is doing today is calling people out of the world for His name. Whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world, or the Christian world, or the non-believing world, they are members of the body of Christ because they’ve been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus, but they know in their hearts they need something that they don’t have and they turn to the only light they have and I think they’re saved and they’re going to be with us in heaven.’
Schuller: ‘What I hear you saying is that it’s possible for Jesus Christ to come into a human heart and soul and life even if they’ve been born in darkness and have never had exposure to the Bible. Is that a correct interpretation of what you’re saying?’
Graham: ‘Yes it is because I believe that. I’ve met people in various parts of the world in tribal situations that they have never seen a Bible or heard about a Bible, have never heard of Jesus but they’ve believed in their hearts that there is a God and they tried to live a life that was quite apart from the surrounding community in which they lived.’
Schuller: ‘This is fantastic. I’m so thrilled to hear you say that. There’s a wideness in God’s mercy.
Graham: ‘There is. There definitely is.’
The Reverend Schuller must have been mistaken when he said that there is ‘a wideness in God’s mercy.’ The Christian God is presumably the same as he has always been; it’s Billy Graham’s mercy that’s got a bit wider. Goodness! If this goes on he might start quoting the Metta Sutta.