As noted in my above-mentioned post, Billy Graham is guilty of inclusivism. He believes that God is able and willing to save people in different religions—most notably, Islam. Today’s politicized evangelicalism displays a marked antagonism, often a militaristic hatred, for Muslims. Billy’s own son, Franklin, is one of the most outspoken anti-Muslim Christian leaders in his regular, vitriolic Facebook rants against the religion. In place of his father, he has become something of a spokesperson for modern evangelicalism.
Recently, Franklin controversy surrounding former Wheaton professor, Larycia Hawkins’ decision to wear a hijab in solidarity with Muslims, Franklin rebuked her for suggesting that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.
Franklin’s rhetoric is no anomaly in modern evangelicalism. More than half of self-identified evangelicals view Islam as “essentially a violent religion” and he successfully rallied his followers to shut down Duke University’s plans to issue a call to prayer for its Muslim students. No small feat.In short, his words are typical of modern evangelicalism, but a far cry from his father’s.
“I think that everybody that loves or knows Christ, whether they are conscious of it or not, they are members of the body of Christ….[God] is calling people out of the world for his name, whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world or the Christian world, or the non-believing world, they are members of the Body of Christ because they have been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus but they know in their hearts that they need something that they don’t have, and they turn to the only light they have, and I think that they are saved and they are going to be with us in heaven.” (This statement starts at 1:18 in this video)
Elsewhere, Graham reaffirmed his belief in a wideness in God’s mercy when he said that salvation is between a person and God. “I think we are told to proclaim Jesus Christ as the way, the truth, and the light, but God will decide who is saved and who is lost.”
Where Franklin and most other evangelicals believe Islam is an inherently evil and violent religion that worships a different god, Billy sees it—and others—as a possible venue through which God can reveal himself.