Friday, May 6, 2011

Why Franklin Graham Failed.

I don't know much about Franklin Graham besides the fact that he is Billy Graham's son and an Evangelical preacher.

Below is his interview with Bill O'Reilly. Specifically notice the conversation about Rob Bell and Hell starting at about 2:50

I think Rev. Graham did a total face plant here. He let O'Reilly define the terms of engagement and lost. When O'Reilly starts questioning him over Hell, he makes certain presuppositions and assumptions that Rev. Graham doesn't address.

The assumptions are:

1) Christians teach that people go to hell because they reject Jesus.

This is the assumption underneath the objection, "What about those who have never heard of Jesus?" God sends some humans to hell because they are sinners, not because they have rejected Jesus. That's why those who never have heard of Jesus will go to hell, because they are sinners. This leads to assumption #2....

2) Some people are innocent and therefore don't deserve to go to Hell even if they've rejected Jesus.

O'Reilly makes this claim about the Jews in the Holocaust. However, this assumption fails to see the Christian position that everyone is born condemned by God's law. We are sinners by nature, by choice, and by our federal union with Adam. O'Reilly fails to see the doctrine of Total Depravity, or Original Sin. God sends people to hell because he is a Holy and Just God who will punish sin. All are under the power of sin, and therefore, all deserve to be condemned by God. There are no "innocent" people. All are guilty. All are unholy and evil. Everyone. That's why we need a saviour.

3) We have free will.

The assumption here is that the default position and setting for humans is "neutral", and that we have the free will to either choose good or evil. However the Christian position is that although we have a will and although we are not robots, our will isn't "free". We are not neutral. We have an "un-free" will, a will that is in bondage and slavery to sin. We love our sin and want to stay in it. Our nature is corrupt, and our nature powers our choices. We choose what we want, and what we want is sin. Our will is enslaved to sin.

So as you can see, Rev. Graham failed to see these assumptions. By not challenging these basic presuppositions, Rev. Graham has forfeit much of the argument already to O'Reilly. By not addressing these issues, O'Reilly has the high ground and will not see the validity of the Christian view of these issues.

1 comment:

Tony-Allen said...

Amen, on all accounts. That "innocent" people get sent to hell simply for not holding a singular belief is such a common straw man for the orthodox Christian position that I'm amazed more people aren't ready to answer it.

I believe it was B.B. Warfield who said, "It is not faith in Christ that saves, it is Christ who saves through faith." That needs to be instilled in everyone's mind in regards to this question of heaven and hell.