Bishop of New Westminster joins in petition to prevent Franklin Graham speaking in Canada

Bishop Melissa Skelton has added her voice to those attempting to stop Franklin Graham’s Vancouver crusade.

Read it all here:

I’m writing to let you know that I have signed on to a letter from a group of concerned civic leaders and clergy about the upcoming visit of Franklin Graham to Vancouver as a part of The Festival of Hope. This group, of which I am a part, sent the letter in advance to Franklin Graham. He responded in writing yesterday.  I thought you might appreciate knowing the reasons why I, along with the leaders of our group, still believe that we should release the letter linked here.

The letter contains this little gem of hypocrisy:

Such blending of politics and religion is dangerous. First, it comes close to aligning the power of the church with the power of the state. Second, it does so by seeming to develop a false religious narrative to support an exalted and troubling American nationalism. Third, it can divide Christians who do not view things the same way as Mr. Graham. Fourth, we are concerned that some of the policies of the Trump administration have introduced unprecedented structural shifts that put the most vulnerable in our world at risk of greater harm. These policies may jeopardize refugees and reinforce prejudice.

For decades the Anglican Church of Canada has been “aligning the power of the church with the power of the state”. Not that the ACoC has much power but, insofar as it has any influence, it exerts it on behalf of liberal-leftist politics. Here, for example is the letter of congratulations to Justin Trudeau on his election to Prime Minister from Bishops Fred Hiltz and Susan Johnson, awash with more breathless sycophancy than could be gushed by a couple of teenage girls over Justin Bieber’s haircut:

Dear Prime Minister:

On behalf of the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), we extend our heartfelt congratulations to you as our new Prime Minister.

You have set a bold vision for our country. The times in which we live call for visionary leadership in Canada and in the world so that we may build a truly just, healthy and peaceful world.

We welcome your approach to governance and your commitment to work closely with all levels of government on issues such as homelessness, lifting children and seniors out of poverty, improving our welcome of refugees, and refocusing development assistance to the poorest and most vulnerable. Anglicans and Lutherans from coast to coast to coast share a deep concern and profound hope for justice, peace and the well-being of creation. Your invitation to Provincial Premiers and to representatives of other political parties to participate in the Climate Change Conference in Paris is an important sign of the kind of partnership needed to address critical issues.

18 thoughts on “Bishop of New Westminster joins in petition to prevent Franklin Graham speaking in Canada

  1. This is utter garbage. These bishops of the ACoC are behaving like teeny boppers, re Trudeau, and, re Graham, like people with the intellectual maturity of a ten year old: scandalous. Definitely, the ACoC is now the far left at prayer (or what they imagine to be prayer). Scrap the weasel words about caring: that over 100 000 Canadian human beings, “made in the image of God [Whoever that might be]”, are brutally slaughtered by abortion each year, minus a peep from this progressive social club, altogether belies its vacant virtue signalling. These SJWs in collars are, no doubt, also scandalised by Trump’s wall, which will keep out vicious drug lords, but, in effect, are asking that a wall of opprobrium be set up to keep out an authentic disciple of Christ, who, with his father, have done far more to preach and practise the Gospel than these false shepherds of the sheep. May our Lord have mercy on these impostors.

  2. While I am no supporter of the Bishop of New Westminster, I believe that the States is indeed a divided country as far as the conservative Christians are concerned. Some conservative Christians support Trump, while other conservative Christians oppose him. My American relatives and Chinese Christian friends are equally divided regarding the 45th U.S. president. I am afraid that a divided country will not be number 1 superpower for too long. The Travel Ban affects many people. For example, on February 7, 2017, the son of Muhammad Ali was detained for hours by immigration officials at For Lauderdale-Hollywood airport because of his Arabic-sounding names. Please note that Ali, born in Philadelphia in 1972, holds a valid U.S. passport when he returned home from Jamaica. Perhaps, the coming of Franklin Graham may import divisions into Canada.

    • The issue of the support or non-support of Donald Trump has nothing to do with the Gospel message that is presented by Franklin Graham. The so-called bishop of New Westminster is in the same class as the primate. Neither accepts the authority of Scripture and neither truly believe in the Gospel. They worship the god of political expediency.

      • Sadly, I agree with you. I made my way out of the ACoC some time ago, when what you say was abundantly clear to me. An “inclusive” church? Only if one choses to stand outside “the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church”. All others seem to be welcome.

  3. Yesterday, a group of evangelicals has joined local Christian leaders asking Graham not to come to Vancouver next week. The statement was signed by leaders including pastors from Baptist, Reformed, Foursquare, Vineyard, and nondenominational churches.

    Ken Shigematsu, pastor of the large Christian & Missionary Alliance Church, was a sponsor of the Festival of Hope, and knows its organizers through his mentor Leighton Ford. He decided to withdraw his involvement and said Graham’s political positions, particularly on refugees and immigrants, were at odds with his “church’s vision and ethos”.

    The evangelicals opposed to Graham’s coming suggested organizers try for another member of Graham’s family, e.g. Anne Graham Lotz or Will Graham.

    Brian Stiller, an ambassador with the World Evangelical Alliance, said: “What we do want here … is that the message of Jesus be clear and unadorned with political and economic trappings”

    For more information, please read Kate Shellnutt’s “Evangelical Critics: Franklin Graham’s Evangelism Won’t Work in Vancouver” (Christianity Today, February 25, 2017).

    • Michael, I appreciate your desire to present a balanced view on some of these matters where you seem to fall somewhere between the ACoC positions and these positions taken by this blog.

      I’m not familiar with some of the names you’ve mentioned here, but my two cents is that Christianity Today has veered wildly to the left in recent years. I would not consider it to be unbiased, and most of the people that I know whose faith-walk I respect, no longer read the publication (although many did at one time).

      The truth is, as many of the names in your post bear out, a broad swath of evangelical and emerging churches are heavily influenced by cultural narratives and want more than anything to be different from the generations who went before them… and as a result a substantial chunk of them morphing in a similar direction to that of the Anglican church. For me, it’s sad to witness.

      • The proclamation of the Christian Gospel through the power of the Word of God and the work of the Holy Spirit will result in repentance and faith. The Gospel is the power of God. But, very often it is our preconceived judgmental attitudes, legalism, hypocrisy, insensitivity, and intolerance, not the true Gospel, that turn some people away.

        Today is Ash Wednesday. The Christian Church must point people to Jesus. The Church must attack the materialism of our culture. The principal conflict today is not that between China and the U.S., or that between science and religion. It is between faith and unbelief, light and darkness, salvation and sin. By the power of God, we can fight against any incorrect teachings inside and outside the Church.

        The past is God’s, the future is God’s, and His power is greater than all. Let us observe a Holy Lent!

  4. Franklin Graham presents the saving message of Jesus Christ every time he speaks. The ACoC does not. I know who I would pick.

  5. Whatever happened to freedom of speech? I would proclaim out loud and publicly that none of those “Christian” leaders speaks for me. (Actually, it’s great publicity for the Graham crusade and could have better results than we expect.)
    I also second what oriana88 said.

  6. Our Lord Jesus has come to divide the world into two groups of people – believers and non-believers. Never mind the non-believers or so-called Christians, before the arrival of Franklin Graham in Vancouver on March 3, there is already a division among conservative Christians in Canada. I can accept the fact that Muslims, Hindus, liberal or phony Christians would not like Graham to come to Canada. I understand there are always people who oppose the Gospel; they are followers of Satan, the prince of darkness.

    Then, why some of our Bible-believing conservative Christians oppose the coming visit of Graham? They oppose Franklin Graham because he portrayed the policies of the 45th U.S. President as aligned with the Christian Church. To them such blending of politics and religion is dangerous. If Trump represents Christian values, then those values mean nothing, and truth and character are out. Any association with this commander-in-chief has already harmed the Church’s witness in the unbelieving world.

    The Church must rise above its culture, if it is to be a lamp rather than mirror to its society. By the power of God, we can transform society, not the other way around. We should never allow our faith to be prostituted by communism, capitalism, militarism, nationalism, or any other ideology of humans.

    Please note that Franklin’s father Billy Graham said in 2011 that if he could go back in time, he would have stayed out of politics. On another occasion, he said that he would have become an evangelical Anglican. He would have studied more and travelled less around the world. Mind you, he remains a faithful follower of our Saviour. Also, he believes in unity among churches, often drawing criticism from fundamentalist Christians.

    • Then, why some of our Bible-believing conservative Christians oppose the coming visit of Graham? They oppose Franklin Graham because he portrayed the policies of the 45th U.S. President as aligned with the Christian Church. To them such blending of politics and religion is dangerous. If Trump represents Christian values, then those values mean nothing, and truth and character are out. Any association with this commander-in-chief has already harmed the Church’s witness in the unbelieving world.

      If clergy who align the Christian church with a particular brand of politics should be banned from speaking in Canada, then just about every ACoC bishop and priest should be silenced.
      Clergy are only protesting Franklin Graham’s visit because he supports political positions that differ from their own – and that includes supposedly “Bible-believing conservative Christians” who are frequently on the political left these days. They are shameless hypocrites.

      • Perhaps, it is okay to call most Anglican bishops or priests “hypocrites”. But, please do not call Pastor Ken Shigematsu or other Alliance pastors “hypocrites”.

  7. Re Graham and Trump: the only other choice was the pro-abortion criminal Hillary–e.g., illegal email server and, on her watch, responsible for the slaughter of four Americans in Benghazi, which, as usual, she lied about. (In fact, quite openly, she has transgressed nearly all of the Ten Commandments.) She was also, like Obama, quite prepared to use the courts to single out and deny observant Christians their Constitutional rights. If I’d been an American, I’d have voted for Trump too.

    My main issue in the 2016 election was appointments to the Supreme Court: if Hillary had become president, the SCOTUS would have been filled, for generations, with secular, anti-Christian cultural Marxists: a complete disaster for Christianity and observant Christians. As it is, Trump has nominated a fine judge, Neil Gorsuch, to take the place of Antonin Scalia, who did not consider the Constitution a “living tree” to be twisted according to the whirlwinds of the Zeitgeist. Gorsuch is just the kind of judge that authentic Christians should want.

    A really fine example of observant Christianity is the homily by Antonin Scalia’s son, Fr Paul Scalia, at his father’s funeral:

    In Hillary’s Democratic Party, there is NO ROOM AT ALL for the kind of beauty and light expressed in this homily. I’m with Franklin Graham.

  8. I have to believe that these folks are only painting themselves in an unflattering light by criticizing the son of Billy Graham; a man who has spent his entire adult life following in the footsteps of his esteemed father and providing leadership to Samaritan’s Purse – a broadly respected charitable organization. It seems to me that even secular Canadians who have never previously heard of FG, would be inclined to raise an eyebrow, and find the people making the noise to be rather farcical. Perhaps by carrying on in this way, they are making clear – not that FG is unworthy to be in their company – but that that they are unworthy to be in his.

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