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Dear Old Dad

January 29, 2016

Billy Graham was arguably the greatest evangelist of the 20th century, devoting his entire life to the cause of winning people to Christ.  Along the way he made many friends and a fair number of enemies.   Toward the end of his career, in the 80s and 90s, he was far and away the most respected evangelical in the country.

In fact, by the mid-90s his favorability rating among non-Christians was higher than among Christians.  Not only was he respected by well over 50% of non-Christians he was the only Christian who managed to get more than a 20% favorable rating.  No doubt this positive acceptance was a key factor in why many evangelicals were suspicious.

While the elderly Graham is still with us he has largely retreated from public view.  I suspect that if you asked people under 25, Christian or not, what they thought of him you would frequently get a blank stare.  Meanwhile, his son Franklin has taken over the leadership of his dad’s ministry and is their public face.  His public statements however don’t quite sound like dear old dad.  I read one of the most appalling this past week, talking about whether we should try and befriend gay children.  Here it is:

“We have allowed the Enemy to come into our churches. I was talking to some Christians and they were talking about how they invited these gay children to come into their home and to come into the church and that they were wanting to influence them. And I thought to myself, they’re not going to influence those kids; those kids are going to influence those parent’s children. 

What happens is we think we can fight by smiling and being real nice and loving. We have to understand who the Enemy is and what he wants to do. He wants to devour our homes. He wants to devour this nation and we have to be so careful who we let our kids hang out with. We have to be so careful who we let into the churches. You have immoral people who get into the churches and it begins to [affect] the others in the church and it is dangerous.” 

While the whole post was chilling, this line was the worst of all:

“We have to be so careful who we let into the churches”.

Read that again:

“We have to be so careful who we let into the churches”.

So there it is, the son of one of the greatest evangelists in history has declared his new outreach strategy, namely, don’t let any sinners into your church.  Yeah, that will work.  I doubt he got that plan from dear old dad.

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From → Christianity

2 Comments
  1. I haven’t followed this man’s career or statements, and the one you’re lifting out certainly sounds “exclusive” on the surface. However, I’d probably give him the benefit of the doubt here and assume he meant to say “who we allow into positions of authority in our churches.”

    I heard of one local pastor who had serious issues with pornography; his previous church warned that he shouldn’t be working with young people, yet the church that hired him made him youth pastor. of course it didn’t work in the long run. In that sense all churches do indeed need to be careful who they allow into management of their churches.

    If Mr Graham intended this statement as literally as it sounds — as literally as you’re taking it — then yes. Wow. It would be anti-evangelism.

  2. I wish I could agree that this is an exception but it isn’t really. He says alarmist statements so often that I know of one Christian who has an entire series of posts entitled “Things Franklin Graham is Wrong about Today.” Graham touches upon an issue that is a worthwhile discussion, namely, what are the “rules” on engaging with unbelievers and who will cause the other to drift their way. With children and teens this is a serious issue and parents rightfully struggle with it. But it is way more nuanced that Graham makes it with his “shut them out” mindset.

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