I grew up with Billy Graham, I can remember watching him on the tele when I was but a wee little lad. It was not until later in life (in my late teens) that I realized that some Christians did not like Billy Graham — at least they did not like his theology and approach to evangelism, and maybe even the Fundamentalist ‘sub-culture’ that produced him. Some Christians, even ‘Fundamentalists’ believed that Billy was a “compromiser,” because he associated (or worked along-side) with certain mainline-liberal denominations; and even (for goodness-sake) with some Roman Catholics. Beyond this, some hyper-Calvinists (and even some ‘calm-Calvinists’ 😉 ) did not like Graham because they believed Billy to be a “free-willer” (or semi-Pelagian); and maybe his theology does lend itself in that direction. Some folks did not like Graham because they just do not think altar calls are “how” someone appropriates salvation (becomes saved) — e.g. they believe salvation comes when someone, in their heart, believes that Jesus is the only way; thus altar calls are unnecessary, and maybe even confusing.
I am sure I missed a few reasons on why folks dislike Graham. There is one thing, among many, that I really have appreciated about him for all these years; and that is, is his consistent and clear proclamation of the Evangel. He always presented the same message of salvation, never mincing words, never leaving out the essentials of what it “takes” to become a Christian. Now would I advocate an approach that makes Billy an ‘untouchable’? Of course not! But I do think that he should be esteemed highly amongst all Christians, at least for his obedience to Jesus’ Great Commission! And if there is going to be criticism of this man, then it better come from the right motives; and it better be done with the right tone!