Vancouver church leaders oppose Franklin Graham crusade

A number of church leaders are opposing a crusade in Vancouver by Franklin Graham because, supposedly, he “regularly denigrates Islam, homosexuals, Democratic party politicians, and atheists”. Predictably, Anglicans opposed to the visit are represented by Peter Elliot, Dean of Christ Church Cathedral.

The fact that Graham is coming not to talk about Islam, homosexuals, the Democratic party or atheists but to preach the Gospel with the intent of saving souls is beside the point: he must be stopped because liberal inclusion simply isn’t inclusive enough to cope with a different point of view – diversity be damned.

Other prominent Christian leaders unwelcome in Vancouver churches include a chap with no surname calling himself Jesus, who alienated ecclesiastical panjandrums by calling them snakes and Saul of Tarsus who demonstrated a worrying, dehumanising insensitivity when he invited his opponents to remove their own testicles.

Thanks to the vigilance of Vancouver’s church leaders the city will remain a Christian free zone, a safe space for Islam, homosexuals, Democratic party politicians, and atheists.

If Franklin Graham is not allowed into immigration friendly Canada, he will have the singular honour of being just about the only foreign national prevented from entering our borders.

From here:

A growing number of Christians in Metro Vancouver want to stop controversial U.S. evangelist Franklin Graham from leading a major crusade next month in the city.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson recently met with evangelical, Catholic and mainline Protestant leaders to discuss concerns about the visit of Graham, who regularly denigrates Islam, homosexuals, Democratic party politicians, and atheists.

Provocative statements by Graham have become increasingly worrying to many Metro Vancouver Christians since the evangelist presided at the January inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump, who criticizes Muslim immigrants, and after a lone gunman was charged last month with murdering six Muslims in Quebec.

15 thoughts on “Vancouver church leaders oppose Franklin Graham crusade

  1. Somehow by mentioning the gunman in Quebec, the Province journalist feels free to damn Franklin Graham. Can’t really see the connection but then Douglas Todd often gets quite creative in his ‘reporting’.

    • Michael, is your point that Franklin Graham does not preach the Gospel of Jesus and he should be barred from entering Canada? That freedom of speech and freedom of religion should be dispensed with in his case and in the case of those organizing the crusade?

    • Franklin Graham might not be a Billy Graham but neither am I any duplicate of another person. Franklin Graham is definitely a solid Christian whereas many within the so-called Christian community have changed their worship of the God of Scripture to the gods – notice the small “g” – of political correctness or political expediency. Despite the general acceptance of homosexual activity in society the Scriptures are quite clear on that issue. Further, the suggestion that Islam is a peaceful religion is totally and completely false. In addition the “god” of the Muslims is NOT the same as the God of the Scriptures.

      Tragically we have political leaders in the western world that have absolutely no solid moral position and have led the public to reject the authority of Scripture. It is definitely true that governments cannot and should not force religious beliefs on individuals BUT the laws passed should definitely uphold the standards of Scripture.

      • When my grandparents in Holland risked death to protect Jewish refugees, they were doing much more than being politically correct. They were following the gospel. Likewise, when we stand for refugees, the vulnerable and the poor, we are following the gospel. I am blessed to work with Syrian refugees, Palestinian Christians, Muslim families, and many poor families through my work. Many have faced enormous hardships. I am inspired by them each day and glad to have each one of them in my community.

        Graham’s rhetoric against refugees is directly contrary to Christ’s teachings (and, coincidentally, also contrary to the stance taken by many Christian organizations, including major evangelical ones such as World Vision). Groups concerned with Graham’s message (and his invitation as head speaker at what was originally to be an ecumenical conference) represent a broad and diverse segment of local Christians, including the Roman Catholic archbishop and diocese in Vancouver, professors at Regent College, United and Anglican leaders (both ACC and ANiC voices), and several evangelicals.

        At issue is not political correctness (a term that the current president in the United States has popularized to berate almost every value that we used to view as simple, common decency) but Biblical faithfulness. How we are to treat the “other” (ie. the stranger, the prisoner, the hungry, the poor) is directly outlined in many passages, including this one from Matthew 25:

        34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

        37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

        40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

        41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

        44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

        45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

        Yes, Christianity is different from Islam, but it ought to be reflective of Christ. As for Islam being inherently violent, the Muslim faith includes thousands of adherents and branches from many countries and cultures (like Christians, they are not all alike). Of course, violence has been perpetrated in the name of Islam; it has also been perpetrated in the name of Christ. Nevertheless, it is also true that it has often been a religion of peace. My father-in-law, who has worked with Muslim refugees on many occasions, counts many of these families among his dearest and most faithful friends. He receives meals each week from a Muslim Palestinian family. These are not people to fear or despise. If there are passages that condone violence in the Islamic scriptures (as there are in the Old Testament), there are also passages such as this one: “None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.”

        May I argue that, in genuflecting to Trump — a president who lacks almost every quality of leadership listed in 1 Timothy 3 (faithful to his wife, temperate, self controlled, gentle, not quarrelsome, hospitable, not a lover of money, good reputation with outsiders and — just in case anyone wants to argue it — not a recent convert) — Franklin Graham is the one being politically expedient?

        Unlike Graham, Christ did not stand with power against the poor. Nor did Christ teach that we can separate faith from integrity, justice and kindness for our neighbours. One of the first verses I learned back when Mom lead our girls’ group was Micah 6:8: “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

        If we separate those three — if we give up on justice and mercy for other people, including those unlike us in faith, race or economic status — how can we claim we are walking according to Biblical teaching or God’s purposes? We are not called to walk by fear but by faith, in the love of God and each other.

        • Andrea, many thanks for your helpful comments! I think Billy Graham regretted his association with Nixon. Perhaps, his son will regret his association with Trump, who may have a short presidency.

        • Andrea,

          and his invitation as head speaker at what was originally to be an ecumenical conference

          As far as I can see, the organiser of the event is the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada not the groups you list above.
          Considering that, it’s not particularly surprising that Franklin Graham, whose political views you may or may not agree with, is the lead speaker.
          Add to that the fact that he is coming to preach the Gospel, not give political speeches, then it seems to me that those opposing his speaking are setting temporal fashions over the eternal destination of souls and are exhibiting the very intolerance and bigotry they claim to oppose.

  2. What is truly depressing is the number of folks who believe that it is a desirable thing to tell people that they may not say what they want to say, In other words, they insist on hearing only opinions of which they approve.
    That people are barred from a place because they might say something that other people don’t like is the very face of backwardness and tyranny. If Franklin Graham or Imam Mohammed or the Dalai Lama express unwelcome ideas, it isn’t necessary for anybody to listen. Silencing people is never the way to go.

  3. Another instance of those professing, but not practising, tolerance signaling their virtue by being intolerant of those who point out the threat to the tolerant from the intolerant.

    We live Down the Rabbit Hole.

  4. When reading the newspaper story, I am struck by the lack of actual evidence of the criticisms directed at Franklin Graham. I am also sympathetic to the arguments made by Andrea Marie based on Matthew 25. However, I don’t understand why a group of Christian leaders is going to the mayor of Vancouver about the upcoming event. Unless the event is being staged in a way that goes against the law, the mayor has no role in endorsing the event or not. If the Christian leaders have issues with the Billy Graham Association, a fellow Christian organization, then they should take them up the Association, not a government representative.

    • I am also sympathetic to the arguments made by Andrea Marie based on Matthew 25

      Possibly, but consider the fact that Samaritan’s Purse, which Franklin Graham heads, does do what Matt 25 requires. Scripturally I think a government’s God-given role is to restrain evil, maintain order and protect its citizens. Matt 25 is more for the church than the state.

      I suspect this is yet another symptom of latent Trump hatred.

      Nevertheless, I do also think this might be an illustration of why a Christian minister should not align himself with any particular political agenda. Sadly, of course, liberal Christians do little else, so Franklin Graham’s political biases don’t even begin to counter-balance those of our beloved liberals.

      On a purely secular level, I am thoroughly disgusted by this shameless attempt – dressed up as it is in hypocritical, condescending, ecclesiastical piety – to stifle free speech.

  5. I prefer not to listen to sermons preached by pro-gay clergy. And I prefer not to listen to sermons preached by pro-Trump or pro-Clinton clergy either.

    • And no-one is compelling you to do so. The protesters of Graham’s appearance, on the other hand, seem to think it is their moral duty to compel you not to listen to a sermon by a Trump supporter.

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