Franklin Graham, the hideous but logical outcome for a false gospel
Unfortunately I don't have time right now to do diligent research or explore this adequately but I just want to put my thoughts down with a view to giving this the time it deserves at a future date.
Billy Graham holds the distinction of preaching the Gospel to more people than any man in history. On both sides of the pond he has drawn massive crowds to hear a no-nonsense, down to earth Gospel message. Well planned organisation and follow-up meant that he was no hit and run preacher and he was certainly no snake oil salesman.
By all accounts he was a loving, caring family man who lived by his principles. I have no doubt that he lived by his word and didn't seek financial gain from his ministry but he did - and handsomely. As far as I'm aware, Franklin was no prodigal son but rather the junior partner in Graham and Son who has simply carried on the family business. So what did (or would) his father have thought of Franklin challenging Obama's claim to be a Christian based certainly on political grounds but who knows what other considerations?
To misquote John Wesley (but hopefully be in the ball park), he said that if he died with £10 in his pocket he could be called a liar and a thief. By all accounts Wesley neglected his family for the Gospel. There is a suspicion that Martin Luther King Jnr strayed from the marital bed. The 'family values' ethic of Franklin Graham would no doubt make much of such awful transgressions, disregarding Jesus' lack of condemnation for the woman caught in adultery.
In contrast, Jesus' condemnation of the scribes and Pharisees is severe for those who live 'moral' lives while robbing widows and orphans and loading ordinary people with burdens these men conveniently relieved themselves of. It's no secret that Franklin pocketed a great deal of money from his Samaritans Purse initiative. And you only have to look at his lifestyle to see he is no disciple of Jesus. Let's not get into his vile bigotry and hate speech that has led to petitions to ban him from entering Britain.
I would be slow to lay any blame on a father for the ways of his errant son but in this instance I believe there is a case to answer.
Graham's final message to America contained some wonderful council: to live our faith so that the gospel can be seen as well as heard; to love and be considerate. But his call to the restoration of a Christian nation has sinister undertones. Not only does it ignore Jesus' insistance on God's kingdom not being of this world, its based on lies that the evangelical church in America insists on perpetuating.
Graham's insistance that the American nation was built on prayer and Christian values is not only pretty insulting to native Americans it also has no basis. The founding fathers had no common faith and the Constitution is largely based on Magna Carta and the the English Bill of Rights. Evangelical Christians might insist on it being based on the Ten Commandments but nothing could be further from the truth.
Even considering 'thou shalt not steal' being equivalent to laws on theft, the whole reading of the Ten Commandments begins "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God…" yet the constitution fundamentally separates state and religion. The American Constitution is strictly secular so how can it be based on a religious text? To take it further, Jesus said that the Commandments could be summed up in 2 rules: to love God and your neighbour. Then James (brother of Jesus) declares that if you break 1 commandment you break them all.
So it's check mate on that point. Then if you look into the "One nation under God" nonsense you will find that the Christendom of America, in realty, goes back to the 1950's, the time when Billy Graham burst onto the world scene. It was the age of McCarthyism and irrational fear of communism and secular humanism. It was an age when women knew their place and it was up for debate if black people should be considered fully human.
Billy Graham's insistance on a personal saviour, a personal faith and personal repentance echo the "I did it my way" mentality that has relegated American health care to below all other developed countries. None of these points is worrying on its own but the whole deal certainly raises concerns. Proclaiming a Gospel in which Jesus defines himself as "The Way the Truth and the Life" should assume that the preacher would check up on his erroneous assumptions about the founding of modern America. When Jesus launched his mission declaring good news to the poor you'd think that would feature more highly in Graham's message.
Franklin Graham not only enjoys the privilege of the Graham dynasty he also heads the Billy Graham Evangelism ministry which he shamelessly exploits politically and financially. His bigotry stems, in part, from a literal and legalistic reading of his Bible and a demagnetised moral compass. The distinguished Graham name that has stood for integrity and certainty is little more than a front for his perverse message and lavish lifestyle.
Let's not forget the shocking recorded conversation with Richard Nixon in which Billy Graham mentions that he has friends in the media who are Jewish, saying they "swarm around me and are friendly to me" and "They don't know how I really feel about what they're doing to this country." Billy Graham later said that he didn't recall the conversation.