“What Must I Do to Be Saved?” – Ken Chumbley

Ken Chumbley

The above was the title of a message given by Billy Graham in a televised “campaign” in 2003. The title gives an excellent starting point for a good Gospel sermon. However, the lesson that was given under that title fell far short of being a Gospel sermon and gave those who hear the message a false understanding of the Gospel and the many who responded to the message a false hope.

The text for the message was taken from Acts 16:31. Paul and Silas were in prison because of their preaching and teaching. While they were in the jail, there was a tremendous earthquake and the chains of all of the prisoners were released. The jailor assumed that the prisoners would have all escaped and was ready to kill himself with his sword as he was accountable for the secure holding of the prisoners. Paul called out, “Do thyself no harm: for we are all here” (16:28). The jailor sprang in and fell down before Paul and Silas, saying, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (16:30). Billy Graham rightly pointed out that the question had more to do with his being saved from the Roman authorities rather than his eternal salvation. However, Paul and Silas used the moment as an opportunity to speak of eternal salvation. They respond, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (16:31).

This was the extent of Billy Graham’s use of the passage. He called upon those there to believe on Jesus Christ indicating that all that was necessary for them to do was to believe. He encouraged those who would respond to thank God for their salvation and to come down and to be met by counselors who would help them as they began the Christian life. Billy Graham misled those who responded at the meeting and those who would respond to the television broadcast into believing that they were saved, that they were Christians and thus “in Christ.”

Had Mr. Graham chosen to tell “the rest of the story” he would have shown where what Paul and Silas stated was simply a starting point. The jailor did not know about Christ and His salvation, as even Mr. Graham had admitted, thus we see that having established the fact that what the jailor needed to do to be saved was believe in Jesus Christ, they then went on to teach him and his household what they needed to know and do as they spoke unto them, “the word of the Lord” (16:32). From verse 33, we note the jailor’s repentance, at the same hour of the night, as he washed their stripes which Paul and Silas had received from the beating that they had endured. Then we note that the jailor and his house were also baptized that same hour of the night “straightway.” After this the jailor invited Paul and Silas into his house and gave them food to eat. It is then that we are told that the jailor was rejoicing and “believing in God with all his house” (16:34).

Billy Graham’s message was such that he only indicated where salvation was to be found, not how to obtain that salvation. He was been around many years and was surely read the whole account but he chooses to only give a part of the message instead of the whole. He was been approached more than once about preaching the whole of the message, but he continued to proclaim “another gospel: Which is not another” and thus perverts “the gospel of Christ.” He will be accountable for that.

However, what amazes me was that there are those who proclaim to be the Lord’s church who will fellowship, endorse, and support Mr. Graham, his campaigns and his perverted gospel. They also will be held accountable for such and for leading souls astray.

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Author: Editor

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