Billy Graham: “The Jehoshaphat of our Generation”


24 November 2011 Source Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

I read a book by this title about forty years ago and it is still the best description of Billy Graham. The problem is that Christians know so little of the Word of God that name Jehoshaphat does not mean anything to them.

Jehoshaphat became King of Judah, the Southern Kingdom, in fourth year of Ahab, King of Israel. He had a good father, Asa, who walked in ways of David and did what was right. Jehoshaphat outlived Ahab and reigned during the time of Ahab’s son, Jehoram. Jehoshaphat was a good king…

And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim; 2 Chronicles 17:3

And Jehoshaphat dwelt at Jerusalem: and he went out again through the people from Beersheba to mount Ephraim, and brought them back unto the LORD God of their fathers. 2 Chronicles 19:4

…whose obedience to God was incomplete…

And he walked in all the ways of Asa his father; he turned not aside from it, doing that which was right in the eyes of the LORD: nevertheless the high places were not taken away; for the people offered and burnt incense yet in the high places. And Jehoshaphat made peace with the king of Israel. 1 Kings 22:43-44

…and is remembered for his alliance with the house of Ahab.

But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up. 1 Kings 21:25
And it came to pass in the third year, that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel. 1 Kings 22:2

And he said unto Jehoshaphat, Wilt thou go with me to battle to Ramothgilead? And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, I am as thou art, my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses. And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Enquire, I pray thee, at the word of the LORD to day. Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king. And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might enquire of him? 1 Kings 22:4-7

In spite of the good that Jehoshaphat did, the Lord had to rebuke him for this alliance with the house of Ahab.

And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD. 2 Chronicles 19:2

Like Jehoshaphat, Billy Graham has done much that is good. He preached the Word of God. Those who accepted the Lord because of the preaching of Billy Graham are eternally grateful for that preaching. Those who receive the material benefits of Samaritan’s Purse, headed by Franklin Graham, are thankful for the good he is doing.
But Billy Graham has frequently put status and prestige above purity. He allies with those who hate the gospel in order to get a larger audience. Those who came forward in his crusades were sent to churches which denied the gospel. Billy Graham was a champion of the separation of Church and state. He artificially divided the Word of God from humanitarian aid in order to win the approval of men.

Billy Graham habitually loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. Billy Graham clearly understood that if he preached the whole council of God that he would lose some media respect and access to some very important and influential people. So he chose to not preach the whole council of God.

2 thoughts on “Billy Graham: “The Jehoshaphat of our Generation”

  1. I think there is some legitimate parallels to what you are saying about Billy Graham. I think of him as a prophet for our time and not a king. I was influenced and accepted Christ in part because of one of his no nonsense powerful messages. I prayed and God put me in a strong fundamental preaching church where I grew and later went to a strong Bible college. I’ve never lost my affection or admiration for Billy Graham and if fact over the years it has grown. I don’t think he has compromised his message which is the most important aspect or his belief in the Word. He can’t control the world around him. What I found for several years in the fundamentalist camp was that the preachers I knew, some I could respect, many not so, because what I learned was that self-righteous, egotism thrived in a fundamentalist culture where the personality dominated the church. And if that dominate personality faltered, so did the church. The talk was always about how Jesus was the important one, but being on the inner cirlce with some of these characters I learned the hard way that often it was their way or the highway, and it was often about themselves! With Billy Graham, he has been a consistent true and humble leader annointed by God, I would be a bit scared to name his faults, because I have met some real wacko’s in the fundamentalist camps over a thirty years span as a Christian. I’ve moved on and learned to forgive and have left all that bitterness behind. Often when those little churches never grew and souls never got saved. They’d blame it on the devil, blame it on being uncompromising and how it was God’s will to stay small. I don’t have much respect for those preachers who for years mocked soul-winners and alway wore a constipated look on their face because they thought themselves so holy they were afraid think one step ahead let alone believe that God was much bigger than their tiny pulpit.

    1. First, thank you very much, Stan Bednarz, for commenting on our blog. I mean this as a sincere complement. It is often very difficult to know what our readers think because they do not post anything.
      Second, this is a blog about Billy Graham and not anyone else. Assuming everything you said is completely factual, two wrongs do not make a right.
      Third, to repeat a line of the blog “Those who accepted the Lord because of the preaching of Billy Graham are eternally grateful for that preaching.” I sincerely mean that. I rejoice, as Paul did, that the Gospel is preached.
      Fourth, the far reaching consequences of Jehoshaphat’s alliance with Ahab eventually led to the downfall of Judah. This is not anything to boast about. It is a matter of great sorrow. So let us carefully examine some of Billy Graham’s public positions.
      1) “…we have happily found that true science is compatible with a deep religious faith. So Christianity is what we might term: supra-scientific. There are highways beyond science that lead to truth.” This statement comes from Billy Graham’s Daily Devotional.
      Billy Graham has made many comments like this for decades. It is one of the most destructive heresies being preached today.

      “I don’t think that there’s any conflict at all between science today and the Scriptures. I think that we have misinterpreted the Scriptures many times and we’ve tried to make the Scriptures say things they weren’t meant to say, I think that we have made a mistake by thinking the Bible is a scientific book. The Bible is not a book of science. The Bible is a book of Redemption, and of course I accept the Creation story. I believe that God did create the universe. I believe that God created man, and whether it came by an evolutionary process and at a certain point He took this person or being and made him a living soul or not, does not change the fact that God did create man. … whichever way God did it makes no difference as to what man is and man’s relationship to God.” – See more at:
      Billy Graham: Personal Thoughts of a Public Man, 1997. p. 72-74
      2) Billy Graham frequently and publicly praised Pope John Paul II as a spiritual leader.
      3) In 1959 Billy Graham opened his San Francisco crusade with the notorious heretic Bishop James A. Pike leading in prayer.
      4) The policy of the Billy Graham crusades since 1956 has been to send everyone who comes forward to the nearest sponsoring church. This is based on the address the convert gives. These have frequently been heretical churches. In 1956, most of the sponsoring churches were conservative. By the 1980s, very few conservative churches sponsored the Billy Graham crusades. One of the saddest results of this policy is the large scale inoculation of Billy Graham converts against the Gospel. I do not pretend to understand the spiritual condition of many of these converts when they come forward in the Billy Graham crusades. But follow up after follow up have found that these people 2-5 years later no longer attend any church yet they feel that the decision they made in a Billy Graham crusade is all they need.

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