Sunday, February 25, 2018

American Jewish Committee mourns the passing of Billy Graham

Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets. Luke 6:26

If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: John 15:19a

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16

As reported by the American Jewish Committee, February 21, 2018 (video embed inserted by blogger):

NEW YORK, Feb. 21, 2018
AJC mourns the passing of Rev. Billy Graham, a longtime friend of the organization, who died today at age 99.

Graham was the acknowledged leader of America's Evangelical Christians for more than 65 years, and a pillar of the country's religious and spiritual leadership.

Rabbi A. James Rudin, AJC's Senior Interreligious Adviser and well-known interfaith ambassador, worked with Graham on a variety of projects and programs. He noted that the world-famous evangelist produced the film "His Land," a glowingly positive tribute to Israel.

"The film has been viewed by millions of people since its release in 1970," said Rudin, adding that "Billy Graham was also a strong international Christian leader in the successful struggle to bring freedom to Jews in the former Soviet Union."

In 1973, during the Evangelical-sponsored "Key '73" conversion campaign in the United States, Graham hosted Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum, then the world-renowned Director of AJC's Interreligious Affairs Department, and Gerald Strober, an AJC staff member, at his home in Montreat, North Carolina. At that meeting, Graham released an historic public statement that criticized Christian proselytizing efforts specifically directed at Jews.

Graham declared: "I believe God has always had a special relationship with the Jewish people….In my evangelistic efforts, I have never felt called to single out Jews as Jews…Just as Judaism frowns on proselytizing that is coercive, or that seeks to commit men against their will, so do I."

However, in 1972, during a private meeting in the White House with President Richard Nixon, Graham uttered a series of anti-Jewish remarks that contained prejudicial stereotypes and caricatures.

"Billy Graham later regretted his highly negative remarks about Jews and Judaism. He publicly apologized for them and asked for forgiveness during his 2002 'Crusade' in New York City," said Rudin. "I had a private conversation with him at that time, where he expressed deep personal remorse and asked me to convey his sincere apologies to the entire Jewish community."

Rudin added: "Billy Graham was an original on the American and world stages, and we are unlikely to see his type of religious leadership again anytime soon."
The January 1978 issue of McCall's magazine contained an interview with Billy Graham, which, unfortunately, is not available online in its entirety. The article included a statement by Rev. Graham that he enjoyed warm relations with the Rabbinical Council in Jerusalem. That's odd, because the Lord Jesus Christ didn't at all enjoy warm relations with the rabbinical leaders in Jerusalem.

Billy Graham said in a conversation with President Nixon that Jewish opposition to Christian evangelism would stir up anti-Semitism in the United States, but Rev. Graham wasn't referring to evangelism of Jews.

The apostle Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, said that the gospel is to the Jew first; according to Billy Graham's reported statement from his meeting with Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum, the gospel isn't to the Jew at all. To quote Sherlock Holmes out of context, "Most singular! Most remarkable!"

See my post A telephone conversation between Richard Nixon and Billy Graham--February 21, 1973 (December 6, 2009)

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