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Is the Billy Graham Rule Above Reproach?

Is the Billy Graham Rule Above Reproach?

Summary | Is the Billy Graham Rule Above Reproach?

Is the Billy Graham Rule Above Reproach?

What do I mean by this question? It’s been suggested by many holding to biblical sexual ethic that the Billy Graham Rule is a prudential “rule of thumb” intended to mitigate the temptation for sexual sin.

But is this true? As I’ve discussed and interacted with Christians over the years, I’ve found there two basic interpretations of this rule. Either it’s a blanket, hard and fast rule, or it’s a good thing to consider in particular circumstances with particular people. The former interpretation comes from Billy Graham himself, and the latter comes from an assumption made about the content of the rule. This assumption is simply wrong.

Making prudential boundaries for oneself, to be used in particular circumstances with particular people is not at issue in this episode. By it’s very definition, boundaries require an act of discernment. The Billy Graham Rule, on the other hand, requires forgoing discernment and is from motivations that demonstrate it’s a rule not above reproach, and therefore un-Christian.

Main Points of Discussion

00:00 Introduction
01:27 What is the Billy Graham Rule? … and a thought experiment.
06:13 What does it mean to be “above reproach?”
11:38 Why Billy Graham created his rule and its implications
15:47 What the Billy Graham Rule is not
18:55 Concluding thoughts

Resource Links

What is the Billy Graham Rule? (According to Billy Graham) https://billygraham.org/story/the-modesto-manifesto-a-declaration-of-biblical-integrity/

Billy Graham Rule https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Graham_rule

Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) Biblical Qualifications of Elders https://www.opc.org/OS/html/V3/4e.html

The Tyranny of the Weaker Brother by R.C. Sproul

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Summary | Is the Billy Graham Rule Above Reproach?

Is the Billy Graham Rule Above Reproach?

What do I mean by this question? It’s been suggested by many holding to biblical sexual ethic that the Billy Graham Rule is a prudential “rule of thumb” intended to mitigate the temptation for sexual sin.

But is this true? As I’ve discussed and interacted with Christians over the years, I’ve found there two basic interpretations of this rule. Either it’s a blanket, hard and fast rule, or it’s a good thing to consider in particular circumstances with particular people. The former interpretation comes from Billy Graham himself, and the latter comes from an assumption made about the content of the rule. This assumption is simply wrong.

Making prudential boundaries for oneself, to be used in particular circumstances with particular people is not at issue in this episode. By it’s very definition, boundaries require an act of discernment. The Billy Graham Rule, on the other hand, requires forgoing discernment and is from motivations that demonstrate it’s a rule not above reproach, and therefore un-Christian.

Main Points of Discussion

00:00 Introduction
01:27 What is the Billy Graham Rule? … and a thought experiment.
06:13 What does it mean to be “above reproach?”
11:38 Why Billy Graham created his rule and its implications
15:47 What the Billy Graham Rule is not
18:55 Concluding thoughts

Resource Links

What is the Billy Graham Rule? (According to Billy Graham) https://billygraham.org/story/the-modesto-manifesto-a-declaration-of-biblical-integrity/

Billy Graham Rule https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Graham_rule

Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) Biblical Qualifications of Elders https://www.opc.org/OS/html/V3/4e.html

The Tyranny of the Weaker Brother by R.C. Sproul

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Kerry Baldwin
B.A. Philosophy, Arizona State University. My writing focuses on libertarian philosophy and reformed theology and aimed at the educated layperson. I am a confessionally Reformed Christian orthodox Presbyterian in the tradition of J. Gresham Machen (1881 – 1937)

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