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The answer to the "Who Said This?" and the full quote.

Monday, April 27, 2009

My recent "Who said this?" post was raised to see what type of guesses I would get. I was kind of curious if the automatic assumption by the "Young Fundamentalist" crowd would be that this kind of thing had to have been said by some "mean, old, ‘Type A' Fundamentalist".

However, judging by the response, I would guess the following things to be true:

1. I think I may have lost most of my "Young Fundamentalists" readers. I guess that is what I get for not posting regularly.

2. If I do still have some of them, they were not taking the bait.

3. This type of statement regarding Billy Graham apparently could have been uttered by many. For instance, I found this quote by Dr. Bob Jones, Jr. after Pastor Wagner mentioned him as a possible source for the quote of the "Who Said This?" post.

"For a long time I believed that Billy was doing more harm than any other living man. What a tragedy to see him building the church of Antichrist, masking the wickedness of popery, and providing a sheep's cloak of Christian recognition for the wolves of apostasy."

However, the answer to the question is probably a little difficult because of the relative obscurity of the person who said it - at least relative obscurity until his son chose to write a book about him and bring him to the attention of a lot of people who otherwise would not have heard of him.

The person who made the quote is Pastor Tom Carson, a long-time missionary/pastor in French Quebec. The particular context of the quote reveals the particular damage done by the compromising ministry of BG in relation to his promotion of and failure to separate from the errors of the Roman Catholic Church.

"I heard a priest being interviewed on a French [radio] station at the time of the Billy Graham crusade, and he was asked point-blank why the R. C. authorities did not come out and denounce it as presenting much that could be construed as against Roman Catholic teaching, though not verbally stated. He hemmed and hawed, but said in effect it was better to leave the crusade alone. I could have told them why: because this upright man that is Billy Graham, his personal life beyond reproach, is the Roman Catholic church's best ally, since he welcomed them as evangelicals at his services. Graham is Jehoshophat with Ahab." (Quoted from Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor: The Life and Reflection of Tom Carson by D.A. Carson, p. 142)

I recently finished reading the book, Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor: The Life and Reflection of Tom Carson by D. A. Carson (his son) and found this quote to be interesting. Pastor Don Johnson in Canada (among others) alerted me to the book with his review of the book, here.

I plan on writing a review of the book shortly, but I would like to make a couple of quick comments regarding the quote.

1. I appreciate the insight that Pastor Carson displays. While it is not unusual to hear such denouncements from Fundamentalists, it is refreshing to hear it from someone who was most likely not a Fundamentalist (although I am not really sure, since D. A. Carson does not really explore that issue in the book.)

2. It seems as though a statement like this would be attacked by the "YF" crowd if it were by a self-identifying Fundamentalist. It makes me curious that while I have read a few reviews of Carson's book (including some reviews from non-Fundametnalists), no one has seen fit to bring this out and attack Tom Carson for the comment. I cannot imagine a favorable biography of Dr. Bob, Jr. that included the quote above not garnering criticism in the blogosphere, but maybe I am just cynical. (Witness the multiple pages of posts at SI when the FBF dared to issue a very mildly written warning about Piper.)

3. While I recognize that the day of Billy Graham is essentially past, why do men like Mohler not recognize the issue that is so obvious to those like Pastor Carson, who have served on the front lines and seen the devastating effect of the compromise?

Just my thoughts,



Don Johnson said...

See, I knew I had seen that quote recently! (And I thought of my uncle when I read it the first time, too.) We even discussed that very quote in our discussion group (four pastors reading the same book together, getting together for lunch, discussing book, etc. ... Aniol is next, look out!)

You gave me a pretty big hint on it as well, but I just couldn't bring it back!

Thanks for the quote and your observations. They are spot on, I'd say.

BTW, Tom Carson was a man in a transitioning group at a transitional time. He went to TT Shields school, but sided with the more moderate side, partly over a funding debacle with his own mission work. D. A. Carson presents a somewhat one-sided picture of Shields in his book, although one has to admit that Shields was a pretty harsh character when crossed.

The group Carson went with has continued to drift and although still one the more conservative side of things in Canada, recently faced the challenge of ordaining women. It was voted down, but a significant minority (about 35%) is still in favour of it. They are just biding their time, I think.


Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Andy Rupert said...


I have often wondered why there is little said (or perhaps recognized) about Graham's bad influences. Perhaps it is because the good things are deemed to outweigh the bad?

There certainly can be an emotional high for many praying Christians when they see so many respond to the invitations. From their vantage point, they can overlook the deficiencies as long as decisions are made.

I also think of what some on Billy Sunday's ordination council said about his lack of knowledge. It was something like, "C'mon, this man has led more souls to Christ than all of us put together. Let's just ordain him."

Frank Sansone said...

Pastor Johnson,

Thank you for visiting and thanks for your comments.

I thought you might have read my hint and wondered - "How could he know what I read recently?"

Thank you for your comments - and thank you for filling in some of the details regarding Pastor Carson. While I enjoyed the book, I was left wondering about the nature of Carson's beliefs in a lot of areas.

I would love to be able to have a group of like minded Pastors for a discussion group like you mention. When Chris started his online study through Ryle's Holiness, I liked the idea and wanted to participate, but was unable to do so. I have thought of trying to do one on here with something like "An All Round Ministry", but would need to be committed and have a few others who would be interested in participating.

Frank Sansone said...


I think you have nailed down at least a major reason that little is said - pragmatism. How dare any one question this man - after all, what he is doing (has done) WORKS.

Unfortunately, this has not only been the case in New Evangelicalism, but has sometimes been the case in Fundamentalism, as well. It is easy for all of us at times to see results and overlook methods because we like the results.

Too often, we have to see the negative results of an Uzza being slain before we ask the important question - "HOW shall I bring the ark of God home to me?" (1 Chronicles 13).


Don Johnson said...

Hi Frank,

Yes, a reading group is a great blessing. We got the idea for it when my brother was down at one of Minnick's Whetstone conferences. For us, we have a challenge geographically. My brother and I are on Vancouver Island, three hours apart. The other two pastors in our group are on the mainland, separated from us by the Strait of Georgia and our exorbitant ferry system. So our discussion days involve a good bit of cost and travel, but they are well worth it. If you could assemble a similar group, even one separated by significant miles, it might be worth it. Our wives are now agitating for occasionally having their own parallel meeting. (We're just worried about where they would meet. There are malls in all locations.)

Online alternatives might be helpful, but probably would work better as a closed YahooGroup where a limited number of guys join together to do a similar project. I would suggest that it be limited and closed so that you don't get overwhelmed with too much discussion, and also that as a smallish group (say max 8 or so) you can develop friendships and trust and really get some profit out of the discussion.

But face to face would be best if it can be worked out. We meet about 4-5 times a year. (I don't always finish all the books!)

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3