Why is Franklin Graham being turned away?

Paul Eddy writesFranklin Graham’s UK Tour sought to reach eight cities with the gospel in 2020.  As of today, three out of the eight venues, the O2 in London, Liverpool and now Sheffield have refused to sign contracts with Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA,) and others may well follow.

Is this an attack on the Gospel and free speech in our country?  Or, are there simpler, but significant lessons to learn from this for the Church, and indeed, for itinerant evangelists working with churches in the UK and further afield?

During the 1980s and 90s I had significant involvement with Billy Graham missions in the UK and Europe, and served on the national advisory group for Mr Graham’s Satellite relays.  I also worked closely for a decade with Maurice Rowlandson, Mr Graham’s UK representative for over 40 years, and with people like Harvey Thomas, who again, had decades of experience in BGEA missions, policies and procedures.

From the very start of his ministry, Billy Graham had a simple rule: he would only go to preach in cities after considerable prayer, and after invitations from a wide spectrum of churches in those cities.  Often it was not possible to get wide-support for an invitation, and even if there was, the BGEA team would often defer going until further prayer and united local support was established.  All his missions to England – especially his last major one, Mission England in 1984 had such support.  Whilst it is true to say that initial support was never united amongst evangelicals (mainly because Mr Graham would work with Roman Catholics), there was always a solid foundation of local church leaders actually ‘inviting’ him to work ‘with the local churches’ in mission.

Contrast that with the Franklin Graham 2020 UK Tour.  First, note the title.  This is not a bottom-up mission, based on what God is doing at grass roots, and the local church leaders believing that the gifts of an external evangelist were needed to help ‘harvest’ what had been sown, no.  This is a ‘personal tour’ – very different.

Franklin has been CEO of BGEA for over a decade now, taking over from his father when Billy Graham was not able to make day to day decisions.  His election to CEO was not without controversy, especially within the Graham family.  It is widely felt by those close to BGEA in the US that Anne Graham would have been the ideal lead evangelist and CEO but, in US evangelical culture, a woman running such an international ministry would not be accepted.  Sadly, in recent times, Anne has suffered with cancer, and so her health may not have been up to the demanding role in any case.

However, the change in leadership brought about a change in style – as is often the case.  Mr Graham always had a close circle of advisors around him whose opinion he respected and trusted.  He was always the one to finally ‘make the key decision’, and as William Martin, Graham’s authorised biographer (A Prophet with Honour) points out, he was known to make instant decisions against such advice, but he did have a team around  him in the US who were prepared to stand up to Mr Graham and speak truth.  It is not felt that Franklin has the same network as his father.

Here in the UK, the BGEA Board of Trustees used to be comprised of senior church leaders and, for every mission, Mr Graham would insist on an Advisory Group.  They advised the Board, when requested, and also Mr Graham on issues such as local context.  So much so that when Mr Graham preached during Mission England, he would ask them, and the local organising committee, for help with local sermon illustrations.  Such was his humility and desire to be relevant in each local context.  He knew that American illustrations and preaching in the UK what was the ‘norm’ to a church-based American audience would not work.  There is no such advisory group for the Franklin Graham 2020 UK Tour.

Within the past five years, the concept of waiting for an invitation from church leaders to conduct a BGEA mission anywhere in the world has changed.  Around a year after Billy Graham died, Franklin started on a worldwide preaching tour of usually, one-night (or afternoon) events, where his brand of ‘festival’ would include American gospel singers and he would bring a 25 minute message.  The cities/venues chosen appear to have been so because they fell on an anniversary date (usually a year) of a former Billy Graham mission.  But those close to BGEA were under no illusion: this was Franklin’s way of stamping his own position on the organisation as ‘lead evangelist’, and making it clear who now ran BGEA International.

Which brings me to the current UK tour and its issues.  The first thing those of us in the UK knew about the UK Tour was in an interview that Franklin gave to Premier Radio during his Blackpool Festival (October 2018).  He simply announced that he was coming back to the UK in 2020 – no details.  

Those of us with BGEA past history were in contact with the UK office and the US office for details.  We enquired who had sent an invitation, and how we may support. Silence greeted us.  Only the statement that “full details would be announced in the Fall (autumn)”.  

A number of organisations involved in Advance 2020, and UK evangelists invited by churches to certain cities also tried to find answers and details.  They were greeted with the same response, thwarting ‘bottom up’, local missional plans and making their coordinated work even harder.

Finally, a meeting was held in London towards the end of last year in which the cities were announced.  Had there been any invitations? No.  Was there a groundswell of local prayer support? No.  Had BGEA established an Advisory Group to assist Franklin Graham? No.  Maybe there wasn’t time to set these up or wait for invitations?  Well, no. 

I have it on very good authority that four years ago, at the Breakfast hosted by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association at the National Religious Broadcasters annual event held in the US, that the Vice-President of BGEA US announced a range of Festivals that Franklin would be conducting, worldwide.  Four years ago, he announced that Franklin would be conducting a multi-city festival event in the UK in 2020, including London!  A friend, who was present at the breakfast went to see the VP after the event and with enthusiasm, asked hm who had coordinated such an invitation to Franklin to come to London as, after all, recent attempts for the capital had failed.  The reply was staggering: “That’s not how we do things these days x”.  There was also comment that BGEA felt the UK church was also a lot weaker than it was in 1984, when Billy Graham conducted his historic Mission England.  My friend gave them a serious warning that coming to the UK to conduct festivals, without invitation, would undermine the church, its ongoing mission, and divide evangelicals.  Sadly, his words were prophetic. 

The Franklin Graham UK Tour has divided evangelicals.  There are those who would say that ‘any proclamation of the gospel’ was to be encouraged and so they, and their churches, will support.  Other churches believe that imposing a one-day event on a city, without invitation, is a distraction from the grass root evangelism going on and, will suck life and energy out of existing, locally planned missional events.

The three venues which, thus far, have pulled the plug on Franklin Graham preaching there have done so after protests by three different types of groups, on three different grounds. The first ground is Franklin Graham’s orthodox views on Sexuality.  

Most evangelicals, myself included, would be Biblically orthodox on issues of sexuality and marriage, but would not make it the number one priority on our agenda every waking moment in our ministry!  However, and it is perhaps the way that Franklin expresses his views—usually through US evangelical TV news channels—which cause many evangelical leaders unease, as well as the LGBTQI community.  Most evangelicals would say that having same sex attraction is not a sin, but actually having homosexual ‘sex’ is.  However, in ‘A letter to the LGBTQ community in the UK’ by Franklin Graham on 27 January, Franklin says: “The rub, I think, comes in whether God defines homosexuality as sin.  The answer is yes.”

Whilst he offers an open invitation to the LGBTQ community at the end of the letter to attend his events and find “God’s love and forgiveness”, if the letter was designed to clarify his stance in any nuanced, or culturally contextualised way, it was a spectacular PR fail!  Again, in previous decades such a letter would have been run through trusted UK advisers who would have seen the pitfalls of such a statement, and advised changes.  Billy Graham would have made such changes.

The second group which opposes the Franklin Tour are some Muslims, and some churches working in cross-cultural situations in our multi-faith cities. Again, whilst evangelicals would agree with Franklin that the only way to the father is through Jesus Christ, his on-line rhetoric about Muslims, especially linked to what is perceived as American Christian culture, is unhelpful to many Christians working in predominantly Muslim communities in the UK. Comments made by Franklin on-line after the Americans killed the Iran General last month via a Drone attack greatly upset some Muslim leaders in Milton Keynes, and other cities.

Which leads me to the third group of objectors – those who believe Franklin’s almost daily commendation of the President of the United States, Donald Trump, is an embarrassment to evangelicals.  

Now, I am no expert on US politics, or the US church scene, but it is clear to any observer that it is possible to ‘pray for those in authority’, and support good policies they make, without personally endorsing someone who quite evidently has strong views and attitudes towards women, refugees and others whom the vast majority of Christians would treat with respect and dignity.  Anyone with any knowledge of the history of BGEA will know of the lessons learned by Billy Graham and his personal friendship with Mr Nixon, the former president in the whole Watergate saga.  Again, William Martin’s coverage of this, and Billy Graham’s dealing with future presidents is well documented.  However, it would appear that Franklin Graham has not heeded the advice his father must surely have passed onto his son.

So, where does this all leave us?

Well, it may be that other secular venues will follow suit and not sign contracts with BGEA either.  It may mean that Franklin will end up preaching in large churches, and the festivals only attended by mainly committed Christians, with demonstrations outside by LGBTI groups and others, and relationships on the ground between evangelical churches, and their wider community, impacted.

But there is one way that BGEA can salvage something out of this mess.  It is for Franklin to humbly stand aside from the tour, and invite his son, Will Graham, to take the preaching engagements instead.

Will is a former pastor of a church and has a great ministry amongst fellow church leaders.  His style of preaching is gracious, and his invitation is one of a Prodigal father to a prodigal son, in contrast with what some have called the ‘John The Baptist’ style of his father, Franklin’s preaching.

Will Graham is younger, engages well with youth.  His messages are shorter than Franklins’. They are relevant to local context as he seeks local advice like his grandfather before him.  The  2020 Tour could also be the springboard for Will to a much wider, international preaching ministry.  

Will Graham is wise.  He does not comment on American politics, is humble, and works in partnership with local churches.  My prayer is that BGEA UK Board members, if they hold governance over the BGEA charity in the UK, will call on Franklin to pass on the baton to Will, and enable far more evangelicals to get behind the preaching of the gospel via this tour – for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Paul Eddy is the Vicar of St Denys Church, Stanford in the Vale, Oxfordshire. A former journalist, he is a member of the Charity Law Association and of the Ecclesiastical Law Society.

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205 thoughts on “Why is Franklin Graham being turned away?”

  1. As far as I can see, this is a well set out and reasoned article.
    Could it be suggested: prayer is needed from Christians who are for and against Franklin Graham, that the gospel Good News of Jesus) prosper, that the word breaks through and accomplishes God’s purposes (which may not be what we expect or hope for) rather than rely on analysis alone.

  2. Thank you Paul.

    Like numerous others have been involved with BG campaigns before. Though they had clear American culture parts (Captain of Counsellors…) they were well run and listened to others here. This campaign apple strategy and content seems not to have fallen close to the tree.

    Though I’m wary of the Franklin Graham approach I’m highly concerned about the partial approach to the freedom of speech of some of their own residents which local councils are taking.

    • @thank you for this which users helpfully and clearly set out. I am absolutely not aFranklin Graham fan but am really quite anxious about what seems to me to be a curtailment of freedom of speech and I have not seen much/anything from Christians about this which I find worrying.

  3. I think a key question is this:

    How far does what Franklin Graham says differ from what his father said?

    The answer is – not a great deal at all. That really should worry us. Why?

    Billy Graham visited this country first in 1954-5 and his visit was a phenomenon. The stadium was not small, yet prospects were not promising. There was extensive press correspondence, later collected as a booklet (which I possess), and contrasting counterblasts were issued entitled ‘Fundamentalism and the Church of God’ and (Packer’s answer) ”’Fundamentalism” and the Word of God’.

    In the event, the stadium was filled for months, momentum was built up for later missions notably 1955, 1966, 1984, 1989 – and there was somewhat of a social change. Out of the continuing depression of 1954 came (not just for this reason) the happiest year on record 1957 and Macmillan’s bon mot. Tube trains were flooded with chorusers of ‘Blessed Assurance’.

    The Queen gave her first Christmas message in 1957. She spoke strongly (having been impressed by Graham) against those forces in the UK that would work against the Christian gospel. I feel sorry for her now, to see how things have panned out.

    • With respect, if you’ve seen even a smattering of FG’s Facebook/Twitter posts, it’s pretty clear how different his message is to that of his father. He is a committed culture-warrior, a divider rather than a uniter, functioning with such a level of loyalty to a venal and unrepentant president that it cannot help but undermine any evangelistic message that he does bring.

      • Christopher. Just a very quick look at anything Franklin Graham has said about Muslims and his cheerleading for Donald Trump in the media, online etc. shows he has crossed a significant line that his Father never crossed. His support of Trump is known the world over. This is why he has forfeited the right to be invited by cities to be a spokesperson for United Churches.

    • This is interesting, and leaves me with some questions. Those questions are specifically about perception, and how people live. Now i am not old enough (27) to know a huge amount about B.Grahams life, but what i do know is that he was respected, he had grace, and he showed that often throughout his work and life. Contrasting that to what i see of F.Graham, he does not seem to have that same grace, infact i would say he is wholly controversial in how he lives, and that is divisive.

      The spirit calls us to unity in Christ, not to live divisive lives, and for leaders to be without reproach. What i know of B he did well (nobody is perfect though), whereas F is very openly divisive (maybe that is becasue social media makes that more accessible), seemingly it is part of his identitiy as a leader, i cannot find a sense of unity in his approach here. Within this spans what the article is saying well; B respected unity and sought that in his ministry in the UK, whereas seemingly, F is not doing that, but is bulldozing the church for the sake of his own ministry (my interpretation of this).

    • He is openly said homosexuality is a sin and this has angered LGBT groups including Christians
      It is something his father never stopped to the level of doing

      • His father preached in a time when LGBTQI was not openly accepted as it is now so we do not know if he would have commented on it or not. I rather suspect that he would but in the same way that I have heard Franklin Graham say that we are all sinners and need Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.

      • The quote that…”Most evangelicals would say that having same sex attraction is not a sin, but actually having homosexual ‘sex’ is”, is absolutely right. It is the same with any ‘temptation’, it may go through your mind, but thoughts are not sin unless dwelt on and CARRIED OUT! “You can allow birds to fly around your head, but do not let them nest in your hair!!!”.

        • Hi Cheryl

          I have to correct you here as what you have claimed in regards to temptation is incorrect.
          I will of course use scripture for the correction.
          Matthew 5-27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

          The lesson here is clear, the sin is committed upon even thinking about such impurity’s.
          To say it’s not sin until acted upon is to contradict the scriptures.
          I would say that in my opinion there are two main lessons to be learnt here, and I’m always open to hear of more from others if they align with scripture.

          1. Evil thoughts penetrate all human minds as a result of the fall and should be rebuked of and repented of in Jesus’ name upon thinking them and 2. Because of this fallen nature we all need the salvation that only Jesus Christ can offer.

    • It’s not just a matter of parroting the ‘right’ words of the Gospel. Tone matters, and how you yourself live it out. Here, Franklin is barely like his father. And surely the test of stadium evangelism is not the number coming forward on the night, but the number who are bedded into churches a year later? Again, nothing like his father, whose organisation ensured that the local churches were prepared to look after the new converts.

      • I agree totally about the local-churches principle.

        Franklin Graham is not a ranter, and his natural voice is softish and calmish.

        Billy Graham had some gestures and facial expressions and volumes shared with a ranter. But I scarcely care provided that the content is truthful. If people are passionate about truth, that is precisely what they should be. It is the people that fail to be passionate about life and death issues that worry one. Seriously worry one.

        OK Billy Graham (whom I certainly admire a lot) had more grace, but few had as much grace as he. Let’s not be so quick to criticise. The difference between him and his son is a matter of degree, not so much a difference of kind.

        • Had to smile at the word, ranter.
          There is a nearby old Abbey town with a wall plaque commemorating a meeting place of Methodist Ranters.
          Hardly an endorsement of contemporary discourse analysis, of blending with culture.
          There is a scriptural tension between being well regarded and disliked, even hated, as a Christian in the world. Winsomeness in the delivery is key today in some Christian quarters.
          Whereas,in scripture it can be said “the same flame that melts the butter, hardens the egg”. The word of God will soften or harden.
          The biggest impediment, to me, to FG, seems to be his perceived alignment with Trump the man as much as Trump the President and welding this to what it is to be Christian. It can muddy the message, when the man becomes the message. And we all know, particularly unbelievers, how a Christian should be, believe and behave and vote for.
          As it happens, I can recall having a figurative wrestle with God, when putting up some resistance, as I associated church and Christianity with “women in hats” and social climbing and standing, (and my perceived hypocrisy of it all) and I didn’t want any part of that.
          It’s been said that FG will be mostly speaking to Christians, but it’s worth recalling this from Billy Graham, ““When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” Maybe this is apposite today in the church.
          Locally churches are gearing up for the visit, with training for those who wish to get involved in the ministry at the end of the meeting. I’ve heard of a number of local ministers who were converted under Billy Graham’s ministry as he spoke at a soccer stadium.
          Do it again Lord, even in the face of opposition. Sometimes the local church is concern with Kingdom, not empire building and is humble enough to recognise a need for help, when it is seem that growth may have stagnated and they are running on empty.

          • Though we should not seek it, Jesus said that if they hated Him, we would be hated in the world too. There is talk about being divisive by afew on here.

            Whilst the heart of God longs for us to have unity I would say that the unity He desires is firstly in relationship with Him. True unity amongst believers comes through surrender to Jesus, heart surrender. Straight away that puts us at emnity with the spirit of the age. We ARE in a battle not with people but with powers and principalities who want to minimise our voice in the world, play on fears, actually put fwar within us and who hate God, His Son, the Holy Spirit and us because we are made in His image.

            Trump for sure has a chequered past but Ibelieve that he is God’s placement in the Whitehouse right now. He us pro life, he has many Christian advisors around him and if you care to look it up there is a prophecy on line by the late Kim Clement from 2008 I think that clearly states Trump’s prcedency. If we are to judge a man by his past how much would God judge us? The prophecy clearly states that Trump would go into the highest office in the lands ‘whispering My Name’ but that whilst in office God would fill him with His spirit. The spirit of the age would try to bring in a UN holy new world order.

            I believe that Trump and Brexit are a trump card to that and that in actual fact the Lord of the harvest is delaying end time scenarios so that a great harvest of souls may come in.

      • As someone in a local church, I can tell you the effort being put in to integrate this mission with our local churches is immense, esp the long term outcomes. I hope it goes ahead because it’s been a real boost for us and many others and if it is cancelled or banished from public spaces, then we too will feel cancelled and banished, and I would think that a bad move for our nation.

      • John, Franklin came to Australia last year, His team trained local churches and now, a year later, we have almost all who came into our churches still following Jesus. About 3,000 went forward. About 1,200 were new commitments.

    • It’s not what he says from the pulpit on the day that’s the concern, it’s what he says elsewhere. He’s created the problem. If he wants to be a political commentator, and a poor one with some extremely clunky statements, including one in which he declared during that Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court Nominations that “attempted assault is not a crime” (it is), then he has to bear the consequences of a hostile secular culture looking for any excuse to ban him. Personally, I would be nervous asking a non-Christian to attend because if the googled him they’d wonder whether the good news is the liberty and freedom that Jesus brings, or the GOP. Oh, and I wrote about it when he was announcing he planned to come to Australia. https://stephenmcalpine.com/australian-christians-its-not-too-late-to-ask-franklin-graham-not-to-come/

    • Amen to all this, and I remember so well the 1950’s. I was saved in 1955 when such was the swell of new born Christians following Billy Graham’s rally’s, that churches were being planted. In 1954 over 40 people were baptised in the Kidderminster swimming baths. I still have a newspaper article and photograph of it, and Elim planted a church in Kidderminster where I grew in my faith and bible knowledge throughout my teen years. It was not unusual to hear people singing choruses and hymns, and my baptismal hymn was Blessed Assurance. I still love those words.

      Apart from the Shoe Box appeal I don’t know much about Franklin Graham, but it sounds as though he is a bible believing Christian like his father was. St. Paul didn’t mince words. Romans chapter one is clear enough! Doubtless Paul would also be banned if he were still living today. I live in South Wales where many of us have been devastated to hear Franklin has now been banned. Perhaps it is not surprising since Newport now has its first woman bishop who is living in a gay relationship! One day we will all stand before God and He will not be mincing words! He is Holy and Righteous in all His ways, and He will not tolerate unholy sexual activity among those who profess to know Him. I will always stand on His Word whether it offends or not. But His Word does warn that the days will come when people only want those who tickle their ears with what they want to hear!

      The problem today is that doubtless Jesus Himself would be banned if He was still here in bodily form, because there would be those who thought His sermon on the mount was too extreme!

      • Marian, it is absolutely certain that Paul would be among the first to be banned, preceded only perhaps by Jesus.

        As the Lord himself said ‘because you did not know the time of your visitation’.

        Churches that have no regard for holiness are insipid and/or wither.

        • As far as I am aware, please correct me if I’m wrong, Graham has not been banned from churches but from secular venues.

          • The venues are not secularist however. We need to define terms. Secularists are a small minority. These venues, by complete contrast, are commonly-available venues for the whole populace.

          • Christopher

            I don’t quite understand your distinction.
            Secular venues have to abide by the law (I assume).
            Secular venues are commercial ventures – if people complain about an event, they are likely to cancel.

          • The distinction between secular and secularist is not only straightforward but large.

            The truth is that one person kicking up quite a fuss is what usually happens.

            Supposing they did a straw poll. For some reason – which someone must explain – 50%+ of people wanting a thing is regarded less important than one of ‘the right sort of person’ kicking up a fuss. It is back to the bad old days of aristocracy and establishment.

          • Oh Christopher, how sweet. I think you’ll find that quite a few people kicked up a fuss, both secularists and Christians.

      • You say you don’t know much about him. So perhaps you should find out. The article we are commenting on should suggest that.

        You and others make many comments about his father. But Franklin Graham is not Billy Graham. They are very different.

        Yes Paul said some unpopular things as indeed did Jesus, but their lives showed the truth. Some of FG’s words we would no doubt agree with, but other aspects of his life show forth the opposite.

    • Small point here, but thanks, Christopher, for clarifying that there was a indeed mission at BG in 1989 which I understand to have been a major one. It was not mentioned in Paul’s article – and I’m not sure why, given it was held in several cities in England. In London alone there were several nights at West Ham’s ground at the time, a few at Crystal Palace athletics stadium, almost a week’s-worth at Earls Court 1. In addition, there was even a surprise extra gig at Wembley Stadium on a July Saturday afternoon, which I believe attracted around 72,000.

  4. Thank you for your clarity.

    I am would be interested in hear your views on , what I see, as another American ‘invasion ‘ Hillsong. A group is established in my city, Reading ,they have events in Readings largest Anglican Church. I am pleased that some young people from my Anglican Church are attending .I think to be part of a large praising congregation is a good experience for them

    Is there any thing I should know about the Hillsong operation which could inform my prayers please.

    • Janice,

      Hillsong is Australian and therefore not from the US. The whole Hillsong-like explosion (music as the message) began (I think) with Chuck Smith’s Calvary Chapel’s Maranatha Music label and has morphed from a side project to the main tent–While Vineyard (an offshoot of Calvary) blew up the Christian Music scene with its worship music, Bethel, up in Redding, CA sent out its worship team, Jesus Culture, to plant a church in Folsom, CA; however, Jesus Culture was already a travelling outfit well before this move–and it still is.

      Not to say that music makes things all touchy-feely because as Ian Paul has written, they also have a theological bent/bite that is pretty firm (so much for those Maranatha free-wheeling days!).
      Personally, I’m not a fan of Bethel or of its pastor, so even though Jesus Culture appears to be a kinder, gentler version without the hard bias, I know that one serves the other. The same is true of Hillsong, so read for the theology/missional outlook before falling in love with the music/experience.

    • Hillsong originates from Sydney, Australia. One of the most prominent worship leaders over many years in Hillsong was Darlene Zscech who wrote the song ‘My Jesus My Saviour’ a much loved song all over the world in Christian churches. I have been very blessed by much of their worship music.

  5. I think the issue about Graham’s view of ‘homosexuality’ being sinful as opposed to a sexual relationship being sinful is pretty much irrelevant. Secular organisations would generally not want to be involved with anyone who condemns same-sex sexual relations as sinful, particularly now in the UK with gay marriage being legally recognised.

    Unfortunately Graham comes across as the typical hard line right-wing American Christian fundamentalist who has never heard of nuance. Personally I wouldnt want to listen to him, and Im no ‘progressive’! As for his evangelism, I think his father definitely had that gift, but there seems to have been an assumption made about his son.


  6. The ‘Is homosexuality a sin?’ question requires strict definition.

    (1) We are speaking of an orientation not an action.

    (2) The orientation is towards a sinful action and involves sinful desires. Are sinful desires the same as temptations? We need strict definition again in saying that desires and thought-life can, dominically, be sinful. Whereas temptations or testings, on the other hand, would fall into the category of things that are waved before us that can still be rejected by us without sin.

    (3) If one *owns* an orientation called ‘homosexuality’ then that is the same as *owning* an orientation towards stealing or lying. One could as easily suffer the same degree of testing and still reject ownership of the orientation. In fact, ownership and non-ownership are 180 degrees different from one another.

    (4) Again one must be careful. If one says ‘I am an alcoholic’ one is only saying not that one defines oneself that way, nor that one approves of the said thing, nor even that one enjoys it, but that hitherto one has not been able to shake off the behaviour or the knowledge that one might easily succumb to the behaviour. This is not a definition of one’s identity, which is in Christ and is positive in content. In this limited sense someone tempted in this way could say ‘I am homosexual’. But you see the ambiguity thus created. That could easily be avoided by saying ‘I am [now] prone to being tested in the area of alcohol / homosexuality.’.

    (5) The Living Out approach, if it *affirms* a *fixed* same-sex attraction (the idea is not that this should or will or can disappear) is therefore controversial from a biblical point of view – I do not know any precedents. This degree of affirmation of a besetting sin could seem like the start of a slippery slope, and that is how it seems to me. If however Living Out types are just the same as those who acknowledge that they have found (and still find) it difficult to shake off some besetting addiction, then that admission and their willingness to deal with it seem to me thoroughly positive.

    This unevidenced affirmation of something (let alone something negative!) as fixed or irrevocable and unhealed till our dying day – that is utterly key. In the case of divorce, it lies at the heart of why the Christian perspective is so very opposed to it.

    So we need to be clear in our definitions.

  7. Please stop repeating the hateful rhetoric of the leftist media regarding the president of the United States. His treatment of women in years past may have been shameful at best but more recently he has shown a great amount of respect and care for women in general. His treatment of immigrants has been as it should be- welcoming to individuals that proceed lawfully and unwelcoming to criminals and terrorists. Choices that the president has made for judges, law and economics has shown support for the constitution and intent of founding fathers as well as a love for America.

  8. Franklin Graham is obsessed by homosexuality and seems to confuse orientation with action.
    It’s frankly disgusting.

    Recently Franklin Graham posted a comment on Facebook which stated that “It is said by some that I am coming to the UK to bring hateful speech to your community. This is just not true. I am coming to share the Gospel, which is the Good News that God loves the people of the UK, and that Jesus Christ came to this earth to save us from our sins. The rub, I think, comes in whether God defines homosexuality as sin. The answer is yes. But God goes even further than that, to say that we are all sinners—myself included. The Bible says that every human being is guilty of sin and in need of forgiveness and cleansing. The penalty of sin is spiritual death—separation from God for eternity”.

    This narrative implies that gay people choose to sin if they remain gay. Gay people do not choose to be gay, no more than people choose their gender, ethnic origin, or whether they have a disability. It is something that they just are.

    Franklin Graham has repeatedly publicly promoted his homophobic beliefs including, but not limited to branding homosexuality as a ‘sin’, claiming Satan was the architect of same-sex marriage and LGBT+ Rights, claiming that gay people existing are causing a “moral 9/11”, declared that gay people are the enemy of civilisation and advocates the abusive and damaging practice of gay conversion therapy (at the time of writing this letter, 19 US States have now banned this highly controversial practice and the UK Government are in the process doing the same).

    I believe that these statement far exceed freedom of speech and are direct hate speech and incitement to violence against LGBT+ communities and individuals which should neither be welcomed or tolerated.

    The UK has seen an increase of 25% in LGBT+ hate crime (Stonewall 2019) since 2018, as well as daily reports of violent assaults against the LGBT+ communities and individuals for simply existing. Therefore providing a platform for such hateful ideologies simply is not a matter of free speech or a difference of opinion, but will directly cause harm and increase the risk, fear and violence that LGBT+ people already face.

    Thankfully there are many churches in the UK which now welcome all, and wish to be open and inclusive to LGBTQIA+ people. There are also thousands of LGBTQIA+ Christians who regularly attend Church.

    God is love. Love is love. People that spread hateful messages do not do so in his name.

    • There are a lot of things wrong in what you say:

      (1) Gender, ethnic origin, disability are all *both* 100% things *and* endemic or inborn.

      Sexual orientation on the other hand is fluid, partial (since self-styled gay people impregnate and are impregnated, when young, at substantially higher than average rates) and not inborn.

      Quite a difference!

      A Ganna et al., Science 30.08.19 just shows in detail what has been known for decades, that the endemic aspect of homosexuality is a small minority compared to the cultural aspect. When will people stop lying about this?

      People repeat the mantra ‘age, gender, disability, sexual orientation…’. The latter is not even remotely in the same category as the first 3, least of all the first 2.

      Once sexual orientation has been adopted in action, then I agree it becomes somewhat hardwired (as do any number of behaviours if they are followed through and become habitual), but that is a later development that says nothing about who that person is endemically nor genetically nor in their pristine state.

      (2) God is love? Yes. The individual who said so, John, also said a lot about light and darkness, judgment and so on. Anyone can cherry pick, but to cherry pick is to lose authority.

      (3) Love is love? What does that mean? – because to most people it is obvious that the word love has several meanings, and that you wish to get away with hiding this. Yet do you actually prefer imprecision and vagueness to clear definition? It is obvious that the former is worse and that the latter is better. The Greeks had four words for love precisely because the word love covers various quite different and separate bases. Just saying ‘love is love’ seems so facile. Zero thought is behind it. It gives one no respect for the intellect nor the effort of the speaker.

      Erotic love is not a lot like affection for an auntie. Not at all. But if I understand you correctly, in your world (or way of looking at things) they are exactly the same.

      Self-sacrifice (altruistic love) is not the same as love for a teddy bear. But in your world it is?

      So: the problems faced by the position ‘love is love’ are insurmountable. But this has been frequently said and frequently ignored. The ignoring gives people a low opinion of the ignorers’ honesty.

      • Where have you come up with your facts? You appear to be saying that LGBT is a habit? I’ve known that I was not attracted to girls since I was 7 years old. I did not know there was a word for being gay. In therapy as an adult – I was told that 7 is around the time that children understand that they are different and become more aware of their bodies.

        I’ve always known. My parents tell me that at school I got into trouble as a result of conversation at my catholic primary school – where I could not be told that marriage was only between a man and a woman. I did not understand the reason why. Fast forward 35 years – I still don’t understand!

        There may be some people for who sexual orientation is fluid, but there also many for who they have never had a relationship with the opposite sex or wanted to because that attraction has never been there.

        You may try and use science or research to argue your point, but frankly Christopher your points come across as patronising. I’m guessing you are not gay, so you would not know how many of us are or feel. You don’t choose your sexuality, it chooses you.

        • (1) If one does *not* use science or research to argue points, what is it that one *does* use?

          (2) The idea that we can throw out science and research is quite a demand – why ought we to comply with it? And who has the authority to say that we should? And for what reasons? We don’t throw them out normally. Normally we actually prioritise them.

          (3) LGBT is not a phenomenon. It is the lumping together of separate phenomena.

          (4) The main correlates of people so self-identifying have to do with family set-ups and circumstances. This is presumably why such self-identification has increased since family life has become disrupted from children’s early years, in the wake of the sexual revolution and the unnecessary multiple hundred percent increase in family break-up. If estrangement/disaffection rather than natural biological security lies at people’s very roots, of course they cannot grow up in a happy, healthy way.

          (5) I already said that a minority of LG self-identification is genetic. The majority is smallish, but everything is interlinked including physiognomy, and different configurations will always bring different likelihoods.

          (6) Something being a natural impulse is insufficient. It is quite clear from internet search engine figures how natural an impulse it is for men to be attracted to the young and under-age – but that is quite a different question to whether this will bring a good or bad outcome for individual lives and for society. Hence, the need for maturing and for civilisation.

          (7) Where have I come up with my facts? I try to be as comprehensive as possible in finding the consensus between as many different studies as possible, and prioritising those that are not self-selecting, those that cover the largest numbers, those that are most up to date, those that do not make methodological errors, etc..

          ‘Come up with’ suggests a random, hit-and-miss process!!

          • Christopher
            As I have asked on another thread: why bring science into the aetiology of homosexuality at all? Except to pathologise it. Science has not proved whether being gay or bi is innate or not. And if it did, or could, science can tell us nothing about the morality of sexuality.
            The authors of church reports seem to accord some authority to science. It is a queer modern obsession.

          • Science can tell us a lot of things…

            …and the things it tells us are not to be summarised in too simple a manner, as you are very much doing. (You present a binary yes/no on innateness, knowing that the percentages seesaw is very much against it.)

            ..nor has it any competitors for precision, and therefore for truth. How could it have? You speak as though there were other competitors in the marketplace. Given that science is one and the same as the investigation of phenomena, how could there be other competitors on that playing field?

            We can learn from science and from social science:
            (1) what has biological purpose and what does not
            (2) what is universal and what it cultural
            (3) what comparative rates of STIs and promiscuity and early death are between different ages, cultures, ‘sexualities’.

            Everything we learn is something positive. So the ‘science, schmience’ attitude is jettisoning a high proportion of what it should, in the interests of truth and accurate information, be devoting its mind to.

          • Christopher
            Your view that science is completely disinterested and purely objective is just that; a view.
            But you missed my point. Even if science or social science could ‘tell’ us something about the aetiology of homosexuality, what would that prove? Science cannot demonstrate the morality of being gsy gi or bi. It is a red herring.

          • I entirely disagree. How does one decide what is moral in the first place unless by (or in the context of) natural law? This point has repeatedly been made.

            Science is a very queer modern obsession. Who can account for it? Science has only produced almost all our advances in understanding and medical and industrial progress? Boo to science? It’s an eccentric minority pursuit/fixation? Churches should be ashamed of according even ‘some’ authority to it? Does anyone agree with Penny here?

            My other points you have not answered:

            You think that anything that has not been proven can safely be discarded. Yet few things are in the realm of proof in the first place (mathematical and to an extent scientific things. Tautological things).

            If science tells us about the fruits on average of male-male sexual behaviour by comparison, then the morality or lack of it is for all to see.

            And finally and yet again (please acknowledge this point) you are being incorrectly binary in saying innate/non-innate rather than looking for a percentage. As I said Ganna et al agrees with former studies and meta-analyses in according genetics and innate factors a low percentage, far lower than for circumstantial and cultural factors, but considerably higher than zero.

          • Christopher

            Science is a very wonderful thing. Without medical science you and I might not be alive. What I am questioning is the Church’s obsession with medical and biological science, since whatever it can ‘tell’ us about orientation and practice, throws no light on Christian ethics. I suspect that science is being used by the Church to pathologise homosexuality, to make the study of being LGBT respectable. The Church never asks what is the aetiology of heterosexuality because being straight is perceived as, and thus mandated as, normative.
            Of course, the experience of being gay or bi, or the reasons why people have these orientations is not binary, but the Church’s attempts to make homosexuality a nature/nurture question simplifies the scientific approaches into a binary and serves to police non-normative bodies.
            As I said before, I care little what the aetiologies of homosexuality are (except so far as they can harm gay bodies). I do care what people do with their bodies, whether they are gay, straight, bi or pan.

          • I do not remotely believe that science is objective and disinterested. There are plenty of large counter examples.

            When did I say that anyway?

            What I do believe is that it is more objective and disinterested than the alternatives. If we abandon the best alternative of all, we really are in the soup.

            I am also perplexed as to what the alternatives to science are. What are their names?

          • ‘Bi’ and ‘Pan’ are not friendly little things to be given cosy little nicknames. This continues the bad old tradition of so-called ‘E tablets’ and so-called ‘porn’. You don’t treat deadly enemies as though they were sweet. To do so is a giveaway that one does not take things seriously enough, does not realise that some things are life-and-death.

          • Christopher

            Are you being deliberately obtuse?
            Why should there be an alternative to science?
            It does what it does.
            It does not determine morality.
            As I keep saying.

          • Christopher
            Who said being bi or pan were sweet little things? Why would anyone say that?
            They are are experiences, justvas being gay or straight are.
            What have they to do with what you call ‘E tablets’ or so called porn?
            Most porn is, I believe, heterosexual.

          • I am talking about your pet mini-names for them. One only gives pet mini-names to things one considers cute or lovely.

          • Um..Christopher, they are not my ‘pet mini names’. Bi is just short for bi sexuality and pan for pan sexuality. I’ll make sure to use the full terms in future exchanges.

    • EJW you speak a lot of sense – particularly that gay people do not choose to be gay any more than straight people choose to be straight. It is surely more despicable when gay people “choose” to be straight since this is not only an insult to gay people but a denouncing of the way which God made them. God has God’s reasons for creating gay people and other reasons that are difficult to understand. For example some say “Why does God allow wars?” but to disallow would be removing our right to choose that which we believe. In other words banishing our Free Will.

      • I am not sure many people ‘choose’ their sexual feelings—but like all desires, they can be fed and indulged or managed. Appetites generally grow stronger when you feed them—I suspect we all know this from experience.

        For all of us, we can decided whether or not we act on our desires.

        • I am really confused by your comment Ian. You seem to be describing attraction as some sort of foodstuff. Clearly, you have no idea of just how many people have tried or actually succeeded in killing themselves because they felt that they could not be their authentic self within their immediate or Church family.

          Why is the Church obsessed with sexual activity in loving gay relationships I do not know. There is also an assertion that all LGBTQIA+ people have sex. Some people choose not to have sex. Do we really have to all go round saying “I’m a gay but its OK, I don’t have sex!” Why are their so many assumptions?

          Do we have that same conversation with people in straight relationships? – No! I have known many people who attend church and live with their partners and are not married. Where is the Church’s focus on them? It is completely ignored!

      • Billy Graham told the story of 2 dogs in a dogfight. Their owner made a lot of money by taking bets on which would win. Because different dogs won different times, the punters continued to punt. But the owner always knew which would win.


        The dog that had been fed won. So it is with our appetites, was the point.

    • I think that this is dangerous :

      “I believe that these statement far exceed freedom of speech and are direct hate speech and incitement to violence against LGBT+ communities and individuals which should neither be welcomed or tolerated.”

      You may well believe this. I’d support you in believing and saying it. But I don’t agree with your analysis … nor with FGs approach. What gives you the right to judge which beliefs can be spoken out?

      Isn’t the censorship of opinions a foundation of tyrannical government? What goes round tends to come round.

      • I’m all freedom of speech Ian, but that freedom comes with responsibility.

        The foundation of tyrannical government is probably people in leadership positions saying what they feel like and not thinking of their impact on others!

  9. A thorough article. My wife also worked for BGEA, closely with Maurice Rowlandson. She does not recognise in Franklin the grace or humility of his father, either his earthly or heavenly one.

    I don’t think any single article could expose the spirit behind Franklin Graham. For those who closely study American politics and current religious ideology, (we cannot stoop to calling much of it ‘theology’) the role of Franklin Graham and the likes of golden boy evangelical Pence in championing rather than denouncing Trump is one sure sign of the prostitution of their faith.

    Their role in scapegoating the LGBTQIA community could be said to be negative eugenics, not dissimilar to fascism.

    Right wing fundamentalists like Graham have a stated agenda to erase transgender people from America.

    They are doing this through religious rhetoric and the religious right campaigning to remove all transgender rights by legislation; see the recent laws passed in some states that make it illegal to offer medical help to transgender youth. Christians are driving this legislation through. This is chilling.

    Some are calling the spirit behind Graham and Pence, Christo-fascism.

    As someone who has been transgender since my earliest memories, I understand transgender identity and I also understand Graham’s role in seeking to erase us from American society.

    Some might think I am being melodramatic, to you, I encourage you to exercise due diligence and research the facts, they are there for all to see.

  10. Well, as a French person, converted in London many decades ago, all this only confirms how far Britain has gone towards being a land where free speech is no longer possible, whether on university campuses or big venues like the O2. I don’t know Franklin Graham and have little faith in big crusades such as his father was well-known for, but to each his own, God can use any means to bring people to him, which is why I’m totally shocked that evangelicals for whatever reasons could oppose FG crusades.

    It’s sad that this article purports somehow to justify them by a stream of criticisms against FG, and comparisons to his father. Is there only one style of evangelisation?
    The Apostle Paul could say: “But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.” And by the way, if Paul came to preach in the UK, he surely would be refused! He wasn’t afraid of polemics! And what about Jesus calling Pharisees white tombs, and vipers? Wasn’t that strong language? Wasn’t it “divisive”? Wait a minute, didn’t he also say he came to bring a sword in this world? All this talk of not offending the culture and so on, is just compromise with the world.

    Many people, myself one, became Christians through being violently confronted with the truth. This is political correctness and “safe spaces”, and “trigger alerts” being brought into the church. No wonder the UK church is in such steep decline.

    Perhaps God has taken away his lampstand from the church in the UK because this church is compromising with the world. Martin Lloyd-Jones once called on evangelicals to leave the CofE and they did not, and this is the result. It’s lucky that in other parts of the world, South Korea, or Africa, Christians are not afraid to stand up for Christ, even when it means being persecuted for their faith as in Africa. This is where the gospel is flourishing now.

    • I’m with you on that Lothloria. Even if every criticism of FG is valid, there’s no obligation on any of us to agree with him or to attend his events. But that we can live in a land where no-platforming of unpopular opinions is becoming standard, that’s what is truly shocking.

    • Having said which, I support the right of Ashers Bakery to no-platform views – “Support gay marriage” – they disagree with. So maybe my opinions are not altogether consistent ….

      • Ashers Bakery did NOT “no-platform” the view at all, they just politely pointed out that there were many, many other bakeries that would do such cakes for them.

  11. I think there is a simple reason for refusing Franklin Graham to preach at the 02, Sheffield and Liverpool arenas. It could be that the days of stadium crusade events are over! It is the focus on reaching the Gospel to smaller communities through local events. The success of Alpha has shown that. People don’t want to travel to such large arenas especially now of the influence of the internet, streaming and the social media.

    • Someone I can’t remember has prophesied recently that there will be less big name preachers & more 1 to 1 sharing the good news in the communities where we live. I will be happy with that in the time we have left. Some of the information on the comments here is way over my head. My simple view is, it is not wise to attack/criticise the people we want to reach out to. When asked about controversial issues, I do not totally avoid what the Bible says, by saying no one who has ever lived including everyone in the Bible was perfect, except Jesus. I prefer to follow what Jesus commanded with The Helpers help. Unlike intellectual theologions who I respect, I am late diagnosed Autism etc at age 65, 7 years ago so I prefer to share the basic good news of Jesus. Think I will be misunderstood. I am getting used to it.

  12. I went as a twelve year old to hear Billy Graham in Harringay arena. Subsequently, my father, who was rector of St. Aldates in Oxford, invited Billy Graham to his pulpit on three occasions and I attended and collaborated with all his subsequent missions. My cousin, Richard Bewes, was a personal friend of Billy Graham. It was Billy’s extraordinary graciousness that got through -as indicated in that retelling of his visit to our queen, as interpreted by the Netflix movie, THE CROWN. In addition to Paul Eddy’s Paul’s reasons for disquiet about Franklyn Graham -his anti-gay rhetoric, his insensitivity to muslims and his overt support for Trump- I would add a fourth, which is the obscenely large salary he draws from his headship of BGEA and Samaritan’s Purse

  13. Forgetting for the moment that there’s no biblical proof of homosexuality being a sin. Forget about how there is a tonne of evidence that suggests that our current translations are wrong on these things. Just focus for a moment on how Franklin Graham acts towards the LGBTQ community, and the Christian LGBTQ community (my communities). Paul says that it’s “a spectacular PR fail” and I have to say that the way Mr Graham speaks and acts if more than that. Please why can’t you just say it as it is, he’s persecuting the community and is using proven hate speech formulas to do so. He’s a monster.

  14. Franklin Graham does not serve Jesus. He serves Empire. He has burned his incense to Emperor Trump and subordinated the Gospel to the Republican Party.

    He is the spiritual descendant of the Deutsche Christen apostates who subordinated the Gospel to Naziism and against the Bekennende Kirche (Confessing Church) of Bonhoeffer.

  15. We are not getting involved in his visit to Newcastle despite a really hard sell by his organisation’s phone marketing department, from which we had to ask them quite bluntly to desist, as a polite “no thank you” did not suffice.

    It’s interesting to read that this campaign did not come from an invitation from a united, praying church. Newcastle is an hour’s drive away so I’d think long and hard about being involved anyway even if it was his dad speaking.

    However, even if Franklin Graham was preaching 5 minutes away I would think twice about partnering with it before probably deciding against.

    I happen to agree with his perspective on human sexuality (it was after all uncontroversial and unchallenged Christian doctrine for about 1950 years). I think he expresses his views clumsily and unwisely though. You do that just once in the current environment and you are saddled with it forever being The Message That Defines You even if you later qualify or retract it. Transgressing today’s secular blasphemy laws is an unforgivable offence.

    Basically, I cannot support any evangelistic campaign in which there is a clear endorsement of any political party or figure, especially one as divisive and toe-curling as Donald Trump.

  16. Thanks John, you do not say who the “we” are in Newcastle. I presume there will be some church leaders who will welcome Franklin? As co-director of Mission:England in the North-East (1982-5), I add one comment: I wish Franklin would not talk about all Muslims as he does. I know many who are tolerant in their reading of the Qur’an, and I believe very open to a sympathetic presentation of the Gospel. As a curate in Elswick Newcastle, even further back in pre-history, we had good relations then with the local mosque. What a great opportunity there would be for a gospel presentation that is sensitive to where Muslims are coming from. St Paul spoke about those who are near and those who are far away, of course we all need to hear the Gospel of our Saving God…..
    Thank you Ian and Paul Eddy…

    • “I wish Franklin would not talk about all Muslims as he does. I know many who are tolerant in their reading of the Qur’an, and I believe very open to a sympathetic presentation of the Gospel.”

      I quite agree – at the moment there is so much racial hatred that a so called church leader stoking it up further would send out message that would contradict any ‘sound preaching’ of the gospel he might give.

      If his way of life does not present a Christ-like image then his words are of no value.

      As for those venues that have refused to provide a place for him to preach, I do not think that is censorship. They have their own values and are entitled to refuse a stage to someone who is contrary to those values.

      Would any of us let out our church hall to someone who we considered might cause racial tensions locally.

  17. Dear Paul,

    Thank you for addressing some of the issues perceived by some in the UK regarding Franklin Graham. I appreciate you sharing an English view of the upcoming events. I am also glad you admit you are not an expert of US politics…it seems many in the UK pretend to be. In the US, politics, religion, and civil rights are more seamlessly approached. It is not uncommon for someone to voice an opinion regarding religion and politics in the same sentence. What is uncommon is to call for public censorship of someone voicing an opinion that differs from your own. The idea of banning someone from a local venue because their views are “incompatible” with yours would be unheard of and illegal. The venue would likely be successfully sued for millions of dollars

    I’ve listened to Franklin Graham many times and I can say one thing unequivocally, Franklin’s number one priority is definitely not LQBTQ issues…it is clearly the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you were under any other preconceived notion, you have obviously not followed him long. Franklin is not ashamed of the Bible or biblical views. He speaks truth and sometimes people are offended by it as Jesus said they would be.

    I would also say I have never seen the upcoming tour called the “Franklin Graham Tour UK”. It is always called “Graham Tour UK”. I think you took liberty to add Franklin to the title to support your viewpoint.

    Also, how could he speak at a large church (if you successfully get venues to cancel their contracts) if no one invited him? It sounds like you already know there are 1000’s of churches supporting this tour.

    In summery, if you believe in the Biblical message of salvation, I think you would agree that no one saved at any of the 8 events will complain about the messenger. They will be grateful someone from America spent countless hours and millions of pounds, to share the Good News with them despite continual criticism from “Christian” peers in the UK.

    God Bless


    • As Ann Widdecombe said the other day. Christians are not obsessed by sex, those who say so are obsessed, since it was they, not the Christians, who brought the subject up.

      Second, it was they (not the Christians) who moved the goalposts, forcing the topic to be broached. One does not exactly fail to talk about topics whose goalposts have been moved, so why are they expecting that? More likely they are hoping for it.

      She continued that the topics covered are a percentage of 1% of the catechism. All pages of the catechism are avidly scoured.

      When it comes to the nonChristian world, however, things are very different. For them, it is as though these few paras are the entirety of the catechism, since they are the only ones they show any interest in. Any new Pope, any Church synod or news, that is what they will bang on about. Likewise with the 7 passages on homosexuality in the Bible.

      So who has the one track mind?

    • Frankly someone who chooses to use comments such as Homosexuality is moral 9/11 (A terrorist event) is despicable. How dare he use such an analogy which drags in 3000 souls who were lost in an awful terrorist event. It is disgusting. He also declared that gay people are the enemy of civilisation and advocates gay conversion therapy as being acceptable, despite many governments choosing to ban it.

      I don’t think any LGBTQIA+ people are offended by people wanting to share the gospel, and they it is not even about them people having a different view or opinion. We are all entitled to ours. Its when people use language that compares being gay to a terrorist event that it has become unacceptable.

      He could have chosen to focus on the message of the gospel when the first event was cancelled. However in the message on his Facebook page, he spends one paragraph talking about his message and another which talks about homosexuality being a sin as if homosexuality it a choice. He then says “The penalty of sin is spiritual death—separation from God for eternity”. This narrative tells LGBTQIA people that they better make the choice to change.

      In the UK and Europe, we have strict laws on anti-discrimination on the basis of age, sex, sexual orientation, religion or belief, and disability. These laws have been shown not to trump one another. Its fine for someone to have firm held belief or opinions but they cannot make discriminatory comments that undermine and belittle people on the basis of their belief. Franklin Graham chose to go beyond what was necessary and that is the basis on which many venues have chosen not to host the event.

      There are many Christians in the UK that are praying that those in the US will be more compassionate towards many minority groups in the US which are suffering from the implementation of laws in the US which would be considered discriminatory here.

      • So I understand you saying “….and another which talks about homosexuality being a sin as if homosexuality it [is] a choice…”

        Yet ordinary, decent people are faced with a Mainstream Media and a Parliament of politicians who hammer on two points:
        1) Being G@y is Immutable
        2) A man or a woman can change because of what they simply feel like.

        Almost every decent knows BOTH are blatantly untrue. 1) is a direct contradiction of 2 and 2) is untrue. Being a man or a woman is a BIOLOGICAL FACT and the number of people who are genuinely inter-sex (not all the bizarre political overtones in transgender) are such a very tiny percentage that they are to be simply respected and helped.

        • Clive
          Shouty caps don’t really help your case.
          MSM does not claim that sexuality is immutable.
          Nor that gender is a choice.
          Transgender people do not believe that gender is a choice.
          Trans has nothing to do with people who have VSC. VSC people are not a tiny minority (as prevalent as red hair) and why do they need ‘help’?

          • The media and politicians do not care how many decent commonsensical people and families they force into the closet.

          • Dear Penelope

            I despair of you lack of rationality. Simply looking up “Born g@y” on the internet revealed 36 entries with an offer to show even more, so I didn’t bother. This is the internet so it is dominated by MSM and Social media and so on (i.e. there is less actual science on it, but you’ve already said science is not important to you).

            If you really believe that “MSM does not claim that sexuality is immutable. Nor that gender is a choice.” I can only conclude that you don’t get out much (and this is the closest I have come to being rude to you and I still haven’t used any expletives or anything like it).

          • Clive

            You are always being rude to me.
            Clearly I read far more newspaper articles on transgender people and homosexual aetiology than you.
            Clearly you have no answer for my observation that being trans is not a ‘choice’ and that being VSC is not a tiny minority.
            Clearly I am not, thank God, a decent person.
            Clearly I didn’t say that science is unimportant. I said that it is a product of culture and that, more importantly, the Church is in thrall to it. Science tells us stuff but it does not tell us if stuff is moral. the Church’s obsession with the science of homosexuality is no doubt to pathologise it.

          • Dear Penelope

            You wrote “…Clearly you have no answer for my observation that being trans is not a ‘choice’ and that being VSC is not a tiny minority….” except that I have answered your inaccurate observation fully – you simply do not like reality.

          • Oh dear, Clive, do tell me why you persist in thinking VSC people are a tiny minority? Might it be ideological?
            And why do you believe being trans is a choice? Might that also be ideological?

        • Clive, I do believe there is a spectrum of sexuality and it may be fluid for some. For many that is not true. I’ve never had any form of attraction to the opposite sex ever. Not in school, not in college, not in University. In my case, my orientation is immutable. So what gives you the right to tell me that my life and the way I feel is blatantly untrue?

          • Dear EJW

            In the Christian view we are all created equal and we care for others and welcome others including strangers and foreigners. Christians do, however, expect people to become better (to constantly change for the better). That fundamental concept, that we are all created in God’s image, is then used throughout the Bible. If we are all created in God’s image then we are all equal and all equally valuable.

            I do often understand the koine greek as saying we all have something of the image of God because in modern English saying that the image of God is in us can be mistaken as saying that we are all God when, like even St Paul, none of us, certainly not me are so good that we are God at all.

            So just because your feelings are stronger than mine doesn’t make either of us wrong and nor does it make me wrong for constantly seeking truth and believing there is a truth,

          • Clive
            Perhaps EJW is endeavouring to become better. Have you any evidence that they are not? I think you are making assumptions that some sexualities and some sexual practices are sinful.
            1) you know nothing of EJW’s sexual practices.
            2) your view of what sexual practices are sinful is just that – a view.

          • Clive

            I agree “So just because your feelings are stronger than mine doesn’t make either of us wrong and nor does it make me wrong for constantly seeking truth and believing there is a truth” is a baseless assumption about EJW; and impertinent.

          • Clive

            It seems you are now suggesting, I am not a Christian. I am! There are many gay Christians. One point I do agree with you. We are all made in his image and his love. God made me. God made me gay. God loves me for who I am. God wants us to be treated equally.

          • But why does that read so differently from the biblical worldview? And also from the universal or shared Christian worldview?

            The concept ‘Christian’ comes from a very different stable from the concept ‘gay’. The attempt to marry them is not a success. Least of all because the latter concept has been accepted without question when it begs so many (is it a born state? a pathology? a behaviour?). Your call is that we should simply accept one of these 3 without doing any investigation. That is no way honest and no way smart. It is pure and seemingly lazy capitulation to the Zeitgeist. But leaders of thought and admirable people through the ages (as opposed to appeasers and those who want to be popular in a transient way or to virtue signal) have never seen any intrinsic merit in the Zeitgeist. It surely is difficult to see how the mere Zeitgeist per se could have a scrap of *intrinsic* merit.

          • Christopher, I have no idea why somethings in the world happen. I, like many people, have tried, not to be gay. It is something that I am and after many years have accepted.

            Who are you, to decide whether being gay and being a Christian can co-exist? I am not asking you to understand or even approve of anything, but I am asking you to accept that I and other people like me exist.

  18. In local newspaper today, opposition is being mounted by the usual suspects and leader of the Council, who is gay, I believe. The privately owned venue owners are quote as assessing the situation, to come to a measured decision.
    There is a Facebook quotation from this week, from FG which in summary says that the Bible says homosexuality is a sin, but he’s coming to bring the love of God in Good news in Jesus for everyone, that we all are sinners in need of forgiveness and cleansing.

      • BTW,
        The newspaper article makes no mention of objections from a sizeable Muslim community ( not that this means that there aren’t any) nor does it mention any objections due to FG endorsement of Trump, or any political connections. Maybe, just maybe, US politics, in not relevant in the daily lives of locals. The local newspapers, rarely mentions US politics.

        • You’ve forgotten the paragraph where he says he spends one paragraph talking about his message and another which talks about homosexuality being a sin as if homosexuality it a choice. He then says “The penalty of sin is spiritual death—separation from God for eternity”.

          If I may paraphrase – you best choose to change or y’all going to hell!

          • Christopher, you are missing the point. If Franklin Graham was really being welcoming to LGBTI+ people then he would do so unconditionally. He has not done that. He talks of spreading love. He is not. When he talks of his moral 9/11 he is just being insulting.

            This passage today really spoke to me about this issue. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.”

          • You are intolerantly requiring him to affirm that there is such a category as ‘LGBT people’. There is not a common category of ‘people who are tempted to lie’ or ‘people who are tempted to steal’. By creating such a category one gives it credibility – but this is the idea.

            If one is tempted in a certain direction, as we all are, the idea is to find ways of counteracting the temptation. Categorising oneself according to that temptation (!) will, apart from being negative and somewhat shameless as well (since some things ought not to be mentioned more than is necessary) quite obviously have the exact opposite effect.

          • I’m being intolerant…? I’m definitely sure that is not the case.

            I have no problem with people having a different viewpoint to me. It is the hate (such as FG’s comparison to terrorism) I have an issue with.

            I know that some Christians will not approve of gay people but many accept that they exist, that there are many gay Christians also and will choose to be kind and not say hateful things. There are more references in bible to Jesus instructing people to love and not hate than there are about homosexuality.

          • …which doesn’t engage with any of the specific points I raise.

            You speak of having different views. Yet what do you think is the virtue in being ‘different’? None at all. It all depends which ‘views’ have evidence in their favour.

          • He’s affirming that there is such a category as heterosexual people. Is that intolerant?
            And what is LGBT temptation?
            I suppose we are all subject to sexual temptation.
            The remedy is to marry, whether gay or straight.
            There will still be temptation, but the married person – whether gay or straight – will endeavour to avoid it.
            Sometimes they fail – both straight and gay.

          • There would not be said to be a category of ‘heterosexual people’ unless as a result of formerly positing a category of people who are in a supposed fixed/innate state called ‘homosexual’.

            For that reason, as is well known to you, most cultures have never had such a word as heterosexual. How long have humans been here? How long has that word been here? Compare the 2 answers.

            Further: Why should we be forced to adopt a very new and different and minority definition of marriage?

          • Christopher

            As you know, both homosexuality and heterosexuality are relatively recent terms; the latter being most recent and when coined, not meaning what it does now. Which is why it is ridiculous (and ignorant) to speak, as Graham does, of homosexuality being a sin, according to the Bible. Scripture is heteronormative, but it is not heterosexual.
            It is Graham who affirms that there is such a category as LGBT people by telling ‘them’ that ‘they’ are welcome at his meetings.
            No-one is forcing you to adopt a new definition of marriage. You are required to observe that it is the law of the land and to disagree with it if you like. I, however, am free to believe that marriage is the remedy for lust (though I have a rather more positive theology of marriage than that) and to rejoice that this ‘remedy’ is now available to mixed sex and same sex couples, to love and live in generative, faithful companionship. And hes, that is innovative: in scripture and christendom love was never (rarely?) a part of marriage.

          • Christopher. Actually the words ‘homosexual’ and ‘heterosexual’ were coined together by a writer called Karl-Maria Kertbeny which he published in a study in Germany in 1869.

          • Exactly. The fact that they were coined together speaks volumes. There would never have been need for an odd word like ‘heterosexual’ had it not been that ‘homosexual’ created that need.

            But to speak of ‘homosexual’ one would need to believe in an innate rather than acquired state. Hence the lack of such a word before.

            In addition the fact that the 2 words are designed to look so much alike is cunning. It means that they will be viewed as 2 equal options, thus sidelining the whole of biology.

          • Interestingly, the words were not coined as equal options.
            Heterosexual originally designated someone who was morbidly or obsessively attracted to their own sex.

          • You may be surprised to find that I agree with you. Though, of course, I believe that all sexualities are equal (whatever that means) as observed in nature.

          • Well, they all have the property of being observed in nature. But that is empty – for what doesn’t have that property? If everything has a property, that property is of no interest.

      • That is sophistry. One can always configure one’s way of looking at things in a different way from the Biblical writers, and then say ‘Aha! They never mention the 20th century concept in question.’ Well of course they don’t. They don’t speak in English either.

        To claim a settled state which is at variance from the natural created order is sinful in that it is inaccurate. First, you can’t claim something is settled when you don’t know whether it is or not. Second, if it seems now to be settled (at this late point in time, when all this water has flowed under the bridge), that may be because you have actively bedded it in or fed it, or been the victim of circumstances or of an unsupportive culture, etc.. The test is whether it is innate or essential to you, or not.

          • All specific sinful states (as opposed to an inbuilt tendency to sin and selfishness) are at variance from the way we were created.

            No-one was created a smoker, for example. everyone has a day, long after their birth, when they tell their first lie.

            Does science tell us any different from that? I was not aware that it did. Your point about science I didn’t get.

          • My point about science is that it doesn’t tend to say much about the ‘natural created order’, that being a religious belief and not a scientific observation.
            You appear to believe that homosexuality is a ‘sinful state’, at variance form the way we were created. What is your evidence for this?
            Scientific research demonstrates that homosexual behaviour is normal and natural in many species.
            Science does indicate that some people are born with a propensity to smoke or to tell lies. just as some are born with a propensity to altruism. But science attaches no vices or virtues to these observations: altruism may, for example, help an individual or a species to survive; it is not a moral and disinterested choice.

          • This point has been made for 30 years or so. When will it be digested or fail to be unjustly ignored?-

            Point: For something to be normal and natural does not make it good. A tendency to selfishness is normal and natural.

            No-one, surely, can disagree with that.

            This is a separate point from the natural-law point about nothing unnatural being likely to be in line with what a species is made or designed for.

          • Christopher
            You really can’t have it both ways!
            I agree that designating something as natural says nothing about its morality, but claiming that nothing unnatural is likely to be in line with what a species is ‘designed ‘ for is a statement of philosophical or religious belief. It is not scientific.
            The idea of design presupposes a creator, a purpose. Evolutionary biology eschews purpose beyond survival.

          • Maybe I was using ‘design’ loosely. I didn’t use it to imply a creator, only to say that people and things are constructed in a certain way that makes them better able to perform certain tasks.

          • Christopher

            You mentioned the created order. That is a religious belief, not susceptible to scientific proof.

          • Which is why I said – cut that bit, and replace ‘the created order’ with ‘the world as it is’.

            Including any clever-looking design, whether that clever-looking design be created, evolved, or both.

    • Doesn’t really matter what sexuality the Leader of the Council is. If Graham’s appearance contravenes equality legislation, then the venues are wise to cancel him.
      You can’t have it both ways. The Asshers are free to discriminate against gay people, but venues aren’t free to discriminate against Graham!

      • Asher’s free to discriminate? You don’t appear to understand the ratio decidendi of the Court decision.
        It appears that you are putting out false info, based on your presuppositions and prejudice.
        Compare Peter Tatchell support.
        But this is so old hat, which drew your comment at that time and the decision stands and your opinion is irrelevant to the case law.

        • Asshers won their case and are able to discriminate (I disagree with Tatchell on this case.) Secular venues are lawfully free to ban Graham. D.G.

  19. It’s been a roller-coaster week in church and state. And the lows have involved the church. Not least has been the hatchet job, evidenced on this page, on Franklin Graham.

    It’s true to say that evangelism is not for the fainthearted; and the kind of evangelism in which Franklin Graham works demands a particular kind of person who is unlikely to tick everyone’s approval boxes: think John the Baptist, Jesus of Nazareth, St Paul.

    The cultural differences between the USA and the UK are much more profound than some of the commenters here seem to appreciate. But the anti Trump (and therefore anti Graham) sentiments probably owe a great deal to the British MSM which is now so ‘woke’ as to be entirely inadequate if you’re looking for objective reporting. For all his faults, Trump is far from being the personification of evil which best describes far too many of the characters to be found in the swamp of American politics today.

    And there seems to be a fundamental misapprehension about the aim of Gospel preaching. Amongst any large group of people (audience/congregation) there will usually only be a very small number to whom the preacher is actually speaking: those who at that point in time are ready and open to hear the call of God. The great majority will either already be Christians or will not yet be in that spiritual place. Words aimed at winning them round (by being inclusive or politically popular or nuanced to include every cultural ‘victim’) will be wasted at the expense of those who are ready to hear the radical message of sin, redemption and a revolution in their lives. And so the concerted prayer effort is towards the Holy Spirit’s preparation of that select group of people (we don’t know who they are) for whom the miracle of new birth is soon to happen.

    And that’s why the Franklin Graham endeavour treads on a lot of toes. It’s focus is relentlessly on winning souls for Christ; it’s not there to make friends, or to entertain and please crowds. Some people may turn up for spectacle but the important audience is going to receive something very different. No wonder he’s up against it in today’s Britain. No wonder his comments, affiliations, and personal style are being trawled for anything that might not sit well within our increasingly tyrannical social restrictions.

    We should all deplore his ejection from British venues but we must recognise it is entirely in line with what you would expect in our present sad and intolerant society. It’s a stark demonstration of the reality of the spiritual battle that is raging in Britain today. Even if we are not all Franklin fans, we Christians at least need to be sure we are not fighting for his enemies.

          • ‘Tis an idol, from the the idol factory of the human heart, a human construct that replaces, supplants, the first commandment.
            It’s not a gospel indicative, nor imperative.
            Come on Penelope, what is the Gospel?

          • Well, Geoff, it’s loving your neighbour as yourself.
            It’s not making an idol of Caesar, Mammon, or the National Rifle Association.

          • Ah, Penelope, so you don’t know the Gospel indicative. And you are an idolator, removing the first commandment completely, replacing it with the second, which on its own, as a stand alone, is idol worship. You have outed yourself. It is sub-Christian.

      • Hi, Penelope,

        It’s a point which is rather well worn but still true: plenty of the people in the Bible through whom God chose to work were far from being pure as the driven snow. You might say God had to work with what was available. And there’s no reason to suppose it’s any different today. I don’t doubt Franklin Graham has his faults – I’m sure he’d be the first to accept that he’s a sinner. But perhaps he’s all that’s on offer right now for the particular evangelistic role that he plays; perhaps God sees, and knows, but still uses him. Perhaps he does exactly that with you and me too: and that’s probably not a point either of us feels comfortable about pondering for very long!

        My question to you and those who seem so ready to attack him is this: what if fighting for Franklin Graham’s enemies means that you are unintentionally fighting God? What if you are denying people a genuine chance to hear the gospel? Your take on money and politics and guns may be above reproach but those things are ultimately temporary issues, whereas the salvation of souls has eternal consequences.

        Unless there are specific charges of corrupt behaviour or that he presents a fake gospel, I think we should either get behind Franklin Graham or quietly surround him with prayer, and leave the rest to God.

        • Don,
          Your contributions here, have an even tempered balance and analysis about them, with, to me, irrefutable conclusions. They generate light, not heat.
          I wonder what cost/benefit/analysis, Jesus puts one sinner who repents. “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.
          There is profound wonderment in the rejoicing before the angels over one sinner who repents. Would that we would enter into that joy.

        • Hi Don

          Thank you for your response.

          I am a little wary argument that God uses sinful men [sic], except that we are all sinful of course. I find likening Trump to Cyrus particularly risible.
          I do think Graham preaches a false gospel: the worship of Caesar and Mammon; the exclusion of certain religious and social groups; white supremacy; and being pro-birth, rather than pro-life (no one who supports the NRA can call themselves pro-life). I believe that receiving this false gospel could be injurious to potential followers/converts.
          I also believe that, as Jesus taught, the love of Mammon and worship of Caesar have eternal consequences. That is a part of ‘saving souls’ (or salvation). I don not think that a false teacher can bring salvation (of course, only Christ can do that), but false teachers can lead people astray, as Paul warned.

  20. Just an observation:

    1) Franklin Graham has been criticised not just for his views on LGBTQ+ issues but also on alleged racism towards Muslims. Both issues were addressed by the article.
    2) The comments on this board seem to only respond to the LGBTQ+ issues and almost none about the alleged racism.
    3) Other issues were also raised in the article.
    4) People say the Church is obsessed about sex.
    5) Discuss

    • In the present climate, it has been the case for some years that if one even disagrees with even one aspect of LGBTQ or of Islam, that is classed as ‘hate’. (Hate is actually an emotional thing, whereas disagreement is rational. They could not be more different. People less trained in rationality tend to be more likely to see everything as emotional by nature, but that is a tendency more likely to be found among the less mature – e.g., children are less rational and more emotional.) But by the law of averages one would disagree at least slightly with about 50% of the aspects of *any* community. Enough said.

      • What does it mean to say that you disagree with an aspect of LGBTQ? What is there to disagree with?
        Of course, you may disagree with some Islamic beliefs and practices, as you may disagree with some Jewish and Christian beliefs and practices. This does not make you Islamophobic, anti Semitic or anti Christian.
        Graham’s speech is hateful because he is relentlessly homophobic and Islamophobic. He loves Mammon and Caesar more than God and shews nothing of Christ.

        • What is there to disagree with? The idea that the discussion about whether we are talking about (a) an innate state, (b) a pathology, (c) a behaviour – should simply be closed down in a lordly/superior manner. Or worse, ‘decided’ in advance on the side opposite to that taken by the science. And ‘decided’ by officials, politicos and journalists who have never researched the matter.

          That is, and remains, an awful lot that one cannot but disagree with.

        • Christopher

          I’m confused. One minute (and on this thread) you don’t believe LGBT is a category, next you are claiming that it is a category which ought to be discussed. And, to reiterate, if ‘it’ is an innate state, a pathology (shudder), a behaviour, so what?
          Does this tell us what the morality of being LGBT is? Should we even be asking this question, unless we are to forensically examine all sexualities and genders. I cannot see where that would get us, but it might at least provide a level playing field.

          • You inaccurately represent what I say (LGBT is a concocted and portmanteau category, true – but it can still be deconstructed, and it does refer to present real ways of life)…

            …and then say ‘so what?’ to the key issue.

            So what? So if it is not innate it should not be lumped with race and gender as is standard. Since you consider the matter is in the balance (and here is where you’d need to refer first to the summary in Ganna 2019), would you want to withhold any lumping together of something called ‘sexuality’ with race and gender? Or would you want to continue jumping the gun here? If the latter, then with what morality or integrity? Thanks.

            If the present states you call LGBT are to any extent the result of bad choices or bad upbringing or bad experiences, then in each case morality is clearly involved.

          • Christopher

            I am glad you agree that LGBTI + refers to present real ways of life. We are making progress.
            Yes, I would be quite happy to lump LGBTI+ with race, notwithstanding the clear differences. BAME and LGBTI+ people share a n experience of being marginalised and pathologise.
            The so what stands. Of any of our sexualities are the result of bad upbringing or bad choices (there is little evidence that being gay is, but that is your view), they can yet be redeemed. The difference is that you would see homosexual bad choices as requiring renunciation, while heterosexual bad choices simply require finding the right partner and getting married.
            It’s not an equal playing field.

          • We are not making progress, since I never denied that, nor can you find a place where I did. Of course all sorts of things are present lifestyles. Good things and bad things. If you can find a place where anyone has ever denied that, show me.

            In addition, the way you speak of progress is patronising.

            And thirdly, you envisage progress to be the same as a move towards your position, as opposed to either my position or the truth.

            You are not lumping race and ‘sexuality’ together. You are merely admitting the truth that there are both some ways in which they can be lumped together and also some ways in which they cannot! As they say, big deal. The same applies to any random pair of concepts. No-one is going to disagree with that.

            The point remains that the main way that we are encouraged to lump them together (gender, race, disability, sexuality) is bogus because it gives the impression that all are endemic, even (unbelievably) all equally endemic!

          • Christopher

            I have no idea what you mean by endemic.

            I repeat that BAME and LGBTi+ people share the experience of marginalisation and discrimination.

          • You’re only repeating the bit which you know I already affirmed.

            And ignoring the other bits.

            Endemic is – as you also know – a word in common usage. It means (a) part of a person’s essence, and/or (b) something that has got into a person’s bloodstream, as it were. Thinking about it (a) and (b) are too dissimilar to make ‘endemic’ a clear word. I should stick to ‘inborn’.

      • No, no, no Christopher. No one is saying that disagreement is hate.

        I can’t speak on behalf of all but most LGBT+ accept, that there part of the Christian community who do not agree with us. It is perfectly possible to have views based in Christianity that don’t support same sex relationships without being so hurtful about them. Because those people behave with grace and love and respect for others, and not to be so unkind to them.

        The issue with Franklin Graham – which you’ve never answered – is he likened homosexuality to terrorism – which is hate speech and therefore he was rightfully told to do one from many venues.

        • I think it unlikely that there is only one issue with FG as you imply, but it would be good to analyse his actual words here.

    • So Islam is race now, is it, not a belief system?
      Immune from criticism, immune from deconstructing the beliefs, compare and contrast with the God of Christianity, the Bible and Quran.
      Christians are a race, are they?
      Inconsistency: a City centre theatre, in which the Local Authority is a stakeholder, supported the staging of Jerry Springer, in the face of opposition from churches. Opposition was met with an implacable, 1000 mile stare.
      There is little doubt what would have happened if Islam, Mohammed, were ridiculed in a similar manner.

      • BTW,
        For those who have had the stamina to follow this thread, the leader of the Council who now opposes FG was the leader at the time of the Jerry Springer staging at the City Centre Theatre.
        That’s equality of freedom of speech in action within the public sector for you.

  21. For those who are saying this is censorship. I say be careful what you wish for. If organisations do not have a choice as to what bookings they take then we might be forced to take a booking at our church hall for an occult group!

    • Yes… But isn’t there a difference between a privately owned venue (as per the church) and a public building… Which isn’t or shouldn’t ban a section of the public that doesn’t suit some?

      • I am not sure whether there should be a difference. They should have good reasons and this should be transparent, but are public bodies not allowed to have values?

        However, only one of the venues (Liverpool) is actually publicly owned. O2 is owned by a private company and Sheffield by a charitable trust.

        They all have sponsors with naming rights who might also have a say (if only by withdrawing their sponsorship) if the venues do not accord with their values.

  22. Sensible words. The modus operandi of BG was problematic enough. The fanatical style of FG and the bigoted prejudical hatred he spouts is way beyond the pale. May more places refuse to sign up!

  23. Don,
    Your contributions here, have an even tempered balance and analysis about them, with, to me, irrefutable conclusions. They generate light, not heat.
    I wonder what cost/benefit/analysis, Jesus puts one sinner who repents. “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.
    There is profound wonderment in the rejoicing before the angels over one sinner who repents. Would that we would enter into that joy.

  24. Ah, Penelope, so you don’t know the Gospel indicative. And you are an idolator, removing the first commandment completely, replacing it with the second, which on its own, as a stand alone, is idol worship. You have outed yourself. It is sub-Christian.

      • Agreed David,
        It is an argument from silence and omissions. It is a conclusion drawn from the manner chosen to respond to the question, what are the Gospel indicatives? The response was an imperative.

    • Geoff

      What an extraordinary and, if I may say, offensive statement. And do you mean Gospel imperative?
      Where did I say that I do not worship God?
      Did my belief that Graham worships the false gods of Mammon, Caesar and guns, lead you to that conclusion?

      • Follow the thread of our comments above, Penelope, to be reminded of what you seem to have forgotten.
        The pride of offense is pervasive.
        Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you: rebuke a wise man and he will be wise still. Instruct a wise man and he will be wise still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9

  25. Bill Graham wrote ‘Approaching Hoofbeats’ about the 4 horsement of the Apocalypse, in the context of 1970s cultural developments.

    That would certainly have got him banned today.

    So you’re banning the greatest culture-changer for good.

    It’s back to AD 30.

    • I don’t want culture changed to the way Franklin Graham wants it changed.
      I have no desire to support homophobia, Islamophobia, worship of Caesar and Mammon and opposition to gun control.
      These things do not shew me Christ.

      • Yes, but my comment was about Billy Graham, not about Franklin.

        The person who is no.1 among Christians today who have a particular individual to thank for being Christians today.

        Is the idea that you would subtract his influence from the past 70 years and say we would then be in a better state.

        • Christopher
          Yes, Billy was, no doubt, ‘successful’, but I doubt very much that he won more souls for Christ than the number of faithful Christians, lay and ordained who bring people to Christ every year.
          Graham won much acclaim, but how many of those who came forward, in the excitement of the moment, are still practising Christians?

          • This is vast generalisation. You say that one person was not more successful than a cohort of people. Well, have a heart. How can one person be more successful than a cohort. The fact that he is even being compared to a cohort tells one all one needs to know.

            Moreover the main builders of large churches post Harringay, together with the main evangelists of that period, were Billy Graham stalwarts and aficionados. As the parable says – where the seed/embedding is good, you get 30-60-100fold.

            Supposing that one person of the thousands who came forward at each crusade is still following Christ. (A vast underestimate.) Given the number of crusades, and the diligent nature of the follow up or assignment to churches, how does that compare with the numbers won by you or me.

            And our next step is to criticise?


          • No doubt some have fallen by the wayside….

            But… a large contingent of ordained ministers in the CofE was the result of BGs early years. I have friends who laboured faithfully from their conversions until they died.

            And on the excitement… a) excitement can be sincere joy. b) The conversions at these campaigns were never claimed by BG or the organisation as their sole work. According to them… People had heard the Gospel 6 or 7 times before they responded to BG. They gave “credit” to others and the glory to God.

  26. My only direct experience of BG was when he came to Cambridge in 1980 to be the main missioner for the CU’s triennial Mission. (I’m not sure he did much else in the UK, although Michael Green, then rector of St Aldates did get his to do some addresses in Oxford.) This was at the invitation of the CU, of course. Why did BG agree? Perhaps as a feather in his cap. But perhaps because he was told that the Mission was much more than the main addresses. Each college CU had its own missioner in residence. The members of the CU would organise other events, and would have been inviting their friends.

    The main addresses were in the University church, ‘Great’ St, Mary’s. I don’t know how many this would hold, but it would be 2000 at most. So, the audience was quite modest, as was the response, if memory serves.

    Would FG accept such an invitation today? If large venues appear to be rejecting him, would he come to a large church building which seats 1500-2000? Or is his desire only to speak in large venues? Does he have the humility of his father (his salary would suggest not), or his father’s desire to preach the good news wherever possible?

    Is the role of an evangelist akin to that of a salesperson? If so, then before the message can be put across, the evangelist needs to, as it were, sell themselves. Paul suggest that this is the case as he says he becomes X to reach X. If someone is disliked for who they are, then that is an impediment to the Gospel message.

    Is it right for an evangelist to point out (only) certain sins which are those of a minority? Or is that what FG says about the sins of ordinary Americans, e.g. greed and materialism, endemic racism, casual attitudes to marriage and divorce, is just not heard? It seems to me that he is pressing the hot button topics of his constituency rather than speaking prophetically to society as a whole (even if speaking prophetically is the role of an evangelist).

    I short, I think there is a case that FG is himself an obstacle to the Gospel.

    • Good points. I think that if BG wrote Approaching Hoofbeats today, he would be disliked and disinvited. I think too that if he took anything close to the biblical view on same-sex matters, he would again be disliked and disinvited. I could be wrong.

      On finance you are right. The BG foundation was above reproach and they never did offering-appeals.

    • Yes. They frequently met, and got on very well. See her first Christmas TV broadcast in 1957 – probably a window onto her soul even today, though I am sure she would not be allowed (by the self-appointed higher powers) to express herself so strongly today against anti Christian forces.

  27. Dear Ian Paul,

    Like you, I think very highly of Billy Graham, Anne Graham and Will Graham. However, I also think very highly of Franklin Graham. In my humble opinion, the difficulties that Franklin is having in the UK are not due to Franklin’s managerial style, but are due to the increasing normalization of LGBTQ in the UK vs the clear teaching of Scripture in this area, and due to Franklin’s support of President Trump. I think that Franklin is right to support President Trump. Theologian Dr. Wayne Grudem agrees and he makes his case here:

    I heard Franklin being interviewed yesterday by Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. Franklin still plans his campaign in the UK. If certain venues closed to BGEA, he prays and hopes and believes that God will open new venues. I pray with him. He is standing firm and going to the UK, not in any way out of hate, but only out of love for God and for the people of UK and for his desire to spread the simple but glorious message of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    D. Gibbs
    Houston, TX

    • Thanks for your comment. I agree there is a complex of reasons. But I am curious that the *only* virtue that seems to matter to some is that of ‘standing firm’. Paul’s point in the article is that other virtues, like humility, collaboration, respect and flexibility, were evident in Billy Graham, and appear to now be less valued.

      • Ian,
        This is a reduction too far, as you know, to an “only” virtue. Being snubbed, overlooked, offended as a result can be dressed up in the language of humility, collaboration, respect, flexibility. The organisation has been working with churches.
        The matter of “no-platforming” FG has been raised in Parliament by MP Fiona Bruce, with a response from Rees-Mogg.

        • But even today, I heard from a state school 6th former (CU lead) that the FG visit and cancellation had drawn comment and presented an opportunity for the gospel: no hierarchy of sins, no race to the bottom, as it were. The gospel is needful for all.
          How is the CoE responding-like the 6th former? Or is it still sniffily huffy in large parts?

  28. Someone suggested “The Queen” (Netflix?) gives some insight into the influence. Not seen it, don’t have it.
    Would that the influencers in the CoE be as publicly robust in their extraordinary ordinariness, matter-of -factness in expressions of their faith in Jesus, as our Queen. His distinctive name is rarely mentioned by the hierarchy; contra her Majesty. The sense of indebtedness, of humility, as she brings him into her no doubt well vetted Christmas day speeches, is visible and deep.
    In contrast the church leaders, to me, come across as contemporarily, sound-bite-bland.
    Billy Graham, in his obedience, had a lasting, in eternity, instrumental influence on the Church, on our nation.
    While the world continues to look for false saviours, Obama being one who was raised high, in misplaced transient, fickle hope, Billy Graham pointed to the only risen, eternally inextinguishable, risen Saviour of the world: a distinction redeemer rebellion movement in Jesus Christ, hope of the nations.
    We need to be brought to our knees in our need even while the supercilious smirk in self-reliant contempt.

  29. The high-handedness of the anti-democratic powers that be, that somehow feel no guilt in cancelling the wishes of 2000 entire church communities (330 in Glasgow alone) is of the excoriatingly awful level we have learnt to expect.

    ”Who cares about the (exceedingly numerous) plebs?” seems to be their attitude. An entitled, elitist, aristocratic, oligarchic attitude. But not one based on a lot of knowledge of Christianity. An ignorance that they seem determined to universalise.

  30. Christopher,
    You’ll be aware that Fiona Bruce MP, raised the question of free speech, in Parliament in relation to FranKlin Graham, with a Government response from Rees-Mogg.
    There was a video or recording when it but it is no longer there:
    There is a reference to it here:
    From which this is taken:
    “The Leader of Britain’s House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, condemned Graham’s “no-platforming” as a “particularly disagreeable modern trend” and stressed that freedom of speech was of “fundamental importance” for British society.

    Speaking in Parliament on Thursday, Rees-Mogg warned that the service providers running the seven tour venues were in danger of discriminating against Graham “unlawfully on grounds of religion and belief.”
    “The U.K. has robust protections for freedom of speech and freedom of religion, and the price of living in a free, plural society is tolerating views and beliefs that we disagree with or are even offended by,” Rees-Mogg told members of Parliament.

    Alluding to liberal Anglican bishops who called for Christians to boycott Graham’s evangelistic meetings, Rees-Mogg lamented the “sad truth that many people who tout themselves as being liberal are liberal only about what they like and are very intolerant of the views with which they disagree.”
    There is a recording of at least part of it here, from approx minute 3:57 – 5: 05:


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