Franklin Graham Appears on CNN’s Belief Blog: How Much Damage Has He Done?

Reuters reported Monday that political watchdog and secularist groups are asking for an investigation into the political involvement of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association during the 2012 election. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics filed a complaint with the IRS asking them to review tax exempt status for the BGEA. Franklin has taken a lot of heat for involving his father’s organization in the campaign to elect Mitt Romney, a practicing Mormon – here’s an article with several links.

Franklin spoke with the CNN Belief Blog and it was posted this morning. Here’s the interview:

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Franklin continues to tout the idea that his father was much more politically active than he was. When interviewed about his ministry by Christianity Today, Billy Graham was asked what he would do differently if he could go back and do it all again. Graham said, “

“I also would have steered clear of politics. I’m grateful for the opportunities God gave me to minister to people in high places; people in power have spiritual and personal needs like everyone else, and often they have no one to talk to. But looking back I know I sometimes crossed the line, and I wouldn’t do that now.” – Christianity Today, 2011

Graham, 94, has not spoken publicly to confirm or deny his involvement in the placement of full page ads in major newspapers, ads that have been characterized as thinly veiled support of the Romney campaign. My question is, how much damage is he doing to the future of the BGEA, and how much damage is he doing to his father’s legacy? I’m not a huge fan of fathers passing on their ministries to their sons. What do you think?

More than anything I have two problems with Franklin and the way he’s heading. 1) The gospel isn’t just about how to get into heaven when you die. It’s about the restoration of all things through Jesus. 2) There are many pressing moral issues that I wish he’d work on besides just gay marriage and abortion. What about poverty, immigration, racism, healthcare, sexual abuse, education, opportunity for kids in American who are living in poverty.

About Tim Suttle

Find out more about Tim at TimSuttle.com

Tim Suttle is the senior pastor of RedemptionChurchkc.com. He is the author of several books including his most recent - Shrink: Faithful Ministry in a Church Growth Culture (Zondervan 2014), Public Jesus (The House Studio, 2012), & An Evangelical Social Gospel? (Cascade, 2011). Tim's work has been featured at The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Sojourners, and other magazines and journals.

Tim is also the founder and front-man of the popular Christian band Satellite Soul, with whom he toured for nearly a decade. The band's most recent album is "Straight Back to Kansas." He helped to plant three thriving churches over the past 13 years and is the Senior Pastor of Redemption Church in Olathe, Kan. Tim's blog, Paperback Theology, is hosted at Patheos.

  • Gregg

    I would like to hear from some of Billy Graham’s other children. Where are their voices? I’m curious if they support what Franklin has been doing.

  • Yukio Strachan

    I grew up watching the Billy Graham Crusades. Seeing Franklin Graham seemingly take advantage of his father’s reputation for his own gain, especially for Mormonism which is dangerous not just theologically but emotionally according to members who have escaped, is quite frightening. It seems he wants to tear down what his father has spent years building.

  • http://dennisbarr.blogspot.com Dennis

    Tim, most churches in this country enjoy tax-exempt status. What would it do for the ability of Christians to speak forthrightly if that status were revoked? I’m somewhat ambivalent about this, but i wonder as a pastor what your thoughts on it are.

  • Tim Suttle

    For me it would be a pretty big deal for churches to be required to pay a monetary tribute to a gov’t of any sort because it causes an ethical issue. The church should be a witness for peace & the non-violence Jesus espoused when commanded us to love our enemies. I don’t think churches should be asked to pay taxes to a government with a standing military. Even the government itself should want a healthy and vibrant voice against violence (even violence done in the name of the state), just as a check & balance on state power. I think you can also make a case that churches are an essential part of the fabric of any peaceful society. Tax exempt ministries and churches do an awful lot of good things. I think a tax exempt status is appropriate to the role they play.

    That being said – I will not be surprised if this will all change in my lifetime, especially if folks like Graham continue to blur the lines & push party politics from the pulpit, wielding their influence for political power. Most likely they will ruin it for the rest of us. Still I’m not afraid. The church survives not because of gov’t tax breaks, but because God wants it that way. We will change and adapt.

  • Tom

    “My question is, how much damage is he doing to the future of the BGEA, and how much damage is he doing to his father’s legacy?” – None I promote candidates based on their Worldview also. A World View based on lies will bring more corruption and spiritual downfall. A Worldview more closely aligned with scripture is what’s best for this country.

    “I’m not a huge fan of fathers passing on their ministries to their sons. What do you think?” – I Agree, but I think Franklin has a different mission, to help the poor and needy and not just host huge evangelistic crusades.

    “1) The gospel isn’t just about how to get into heaven when you die. It’s about the restoration of all things through Jesus. ” – I disagree, it’s about how to meet and have a relationship with our Creator and Savior. Did you notice that Franklin got the salvation message into a secular TV program? I/We can not restore this world, only Christ can do that. The world continues it’s downward spiral and all we can do is try and reach as many as possible with the gospel, before time runs out.

    ” 2) There are many pressing moral issues that I wish he’d work on besides just gay marriage and abortion. What about poverty, immigration, racism, healthcare, sexual abuse, education, opportunity for kids in American who are living in poverty.” – True, but they’re all inter-connected. We reap what we sow, by sowing immorality, we reap poverty, hatred, sickness, etc. We cannot and should not try to change natural consequences, that puts us in conflict with God’s natural laws. We can only help alleviate the suffering and minister to those in need.

  • http://ChuckBrown.com/ Chuck

    Franklin Graham is not his dad. To all appearances, he lacks wisdom and sophistication in the political arena. He is given to ill-considered attacks on people and policies. Clearly, his father “stepped in it” a few times in his life, but he was quick to repent and to not repeat that mistake. I don’t see that same inclination in his son.

    I admire Franklin’s work with Samaritan’s Purse. But I fear that he does a ton of damage with his unwise comments in the political arena.

    • Steve Bailey

      Agreed. My respect for Franklin graham has plummeted. His behaviour is shameful


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