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Meditation 808
Billy Graham says "God doesn't hold us accountable for situations we don't control."

by: JT

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Once again a Billy Graham column[1] has caught my attention, largely because I wrote on the subject earlier this year in The Church Ladies Meet The Bastard. A woman wrote to Dr. Graham after discovering she was illegitimate.

Q. I'm in my 50s and recently found out that my parents weren't married when I was born (they put me up for adoption and I never knew them). Now I'm even wondering if God will reject me for being illegitimate. Is this possible?

And Billy Graham answered:

A. No, you don't need to fear this. God won't reject you because your parents weren't married when you were born. After all, you weren't responsible for what they did and God doesn't hold us accountable for situations we don't control. We're only responsible for our own sins, not the sins of others.

and eventually he goes on to quote 1 John 3:1 which tells of God's love - and that's the only Bible passage Dr. Graham references.

It strikes me most probable that the woman had this concern because she thought that somewhere in the Bible there was a passage on illegitimacy, and yet Dr. Graham - who surely is fully aware of Deuteronomy 23:2 did not even mention it - not even to explain that it was a dead issue in Christianity. By not addressing this issue, his answer falls short.

But more astoundingly, consider "God doesn't hold us accountable for situations we don't control." Surely Dr. Graham is aware of the many instances in the Bible where God does indeed hold people accountable for situations outside their control. Consider the 10 Commandments, for example.

Deuteronomy 5

8 Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth:

9 Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,

Perhaps Dr. Graham could explain how the third and fourth generation were in control of the situation? I don't think he can. Dr. Graham is providing a theologically unsound answer.

Also, Graham is a Southern Baptist. Sountern Baptists believe in original sin.[2] What part of being born is in the infant's control?

If Billy Graham is going to state "God doesn't hold us accountable for situations we don't control," he needs to explain why he is rejecting the very words of the Bible and core Baptist theology. He does not.



  1. Woman worries illegitmacy barrier to God's love, Billy Graham, The Calgary Sun, Sunday, December 6, 2009 p. 39
  2. One long-term result of "the fall" was that all of [Adam & Eve's] descendants were born in a state of "original sin". One consequence of original sin is that every person's normal destination at death is Hell, where they will be eternally punished without any hope of mercy or relief. Another result had been an unbridgeable chasm between God and humanity; reconciliation and avoidance of Hell can only be achieved through the individual becoming "saved." Teachings by Southern Baptists and other conservative Protestant denominations ReligiousTolerance.org


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