- (Photo: CNN)
A month after the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association removed an article describing Mormonism as a "cult" from its website, ministry head Franklin Graham clarified on Wednesday that he was unaware of the article's existence.
The evangelist told CNN that he did not write the article and that he was "shocked" to find the article on the BGEA website.
"We have 10,000 pages and I don't write the 10,000 pages. Other people have written it. There was a discussion as to what a cult was and they (the article) had a definition of a cult and then they gave some examples and when I found out there were examples they took them off. But I was shocked that we even had that on there," Graham said, as he described the "cult" reference as name-calling.
"If I want to win a person to Christ, how can I call that person a name? That's what shocked me, that we were calling people names."
The article was categorized under BGEA's "Looking for Answers" section where the question "What is a cult?" was posed. It defined a cult as "any group which teaches doctrines or beliefs that deviate from the biblical message of the Christian faith. It is very important that we recognize cults and avoid any involvement with them. Cults often teach some Christian truth mixed with error, which may be difficult to detect."
Providing examples of "cults," it listed Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, the Unification Church, Unitarians, Spiritists, and Scientologists.
The article was taken down in October shortly after Billy Graham, 94, met with Mitt Romney, a Mormon, at his home in Montreat, N.C. Graham was impressed by Romney's "strong moral convictions" and said he would do all he can to help the Republican presidential candidate. Romney lost the election to President Barack Obama last week.
The beloved evangelist drew some criticism for his seemingly increased involvement in politics this year. Along with calling on Christians to vote biblical values in the Nov. 6 election, he also supported the North Carolina amendment protecting marriage as between a man and a woman.
But Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, told CNN that his father has always been involved in politics and has known every president since Harry Truman. On why he threw his support behind a marriage amendment, the younger Graham said his father "never dreamed that in his 94 years of life that we would be discussing the definition of marriage.
"He just never dreamed that," he said. "So there was an amendment to give clear, biblical definition to the word 'marriage' and my father supported that."
Even with the election now over, Franklin Graham stated that the "cult" article will never be posted again.
While acknowledging the "huge" differences between Protestants and Mormons, he indicated that his priority is winning people to Christ and throwing around the "cult" term does not help that.
"I believe that the only way that I can get to heaven is through faith in God's son, Jesus Christ, who took my sins, who died on the cross and who God raised to life and if we're willing to confess our sins and repent and believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, God will forgive us and He'll heal our hearts. This is my message. I'm an evangelist and I want to reach as many people as I can," he stressed.
"If I'm calling them names, it doesn't work."