I’ve wondered about the statements attributed to Billy Graham lately concerning politics. I was wondering if it was more Franklin and less Billy.
Why, after all these years of ministering to Democrats and Republicans, does he turn to these endorsements now?
In an interview with Billy Graham, they asked if he could go back and do anything over, what would it be? His answer is interesting:
Yes, of course. I’d spend more time at home with my family, and I’d study more and preach less. I wouldn’t have taken so many speaking engagements, including some of the things I did over the years that I probably didn’t really need to do—weddings and funerals and building dedications, things like that. Whenever I counsel someone who feels called to be an evangelist, I always urge them to guard their time and not feel like they have to do everything.
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.
Recent blog activity has been caught up in a discussion over the Manhattan Declaration. This is a statement coming from Catholics, Orthodox, and Evangelicals concerning three major points about our current culture in America. The debate is over whether this is just some right wing political move or it’s legitimate.
Some of the disagreement comes down to theology. How can an evangelical stand alongside a Catholic? Some objections (like from John MacArthur) raise up old lines of division that show the Body of Christ really has a hard time standing together for just about ANYTHING without an argument breaking out. (There’s a reason it’s called the “family” of God, I suppose.)
Some objections raised would be Catholics and Orthodox theology. Perhaps it’s also the veneration of saints and icons. There are fundamentalists and Evangelicals who have a serious problem with the saints and icons of the Catholic and Orthodox traditions.
This stirred my thoughts. In my own sordid sense of humor, I would present the idea that while we don’t have “icons” in the sense of the Orthodox Church, Evangelicals, Pentecostals, Charismatics, Reformed and other Protestants do have our own versions. We take the “high” road and say it’s not worship. But I would argue there are times we fall into celebrity cults in the Church.
It’s a serious issue I’ve seen raised since the days of Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker. Now, it’s even hit the Reformed movement. The likes of Mark Driscoll and others raise serious questions about our tendency to celebrate certain people. I am NOT saying Driscoll and others seek worship! I am saying we tend to set these guys up in places they do not belong.
I would offer (in a sense of humor kind of way) some of our Protestant “icons” through the centuries.
There are church fights, and then there are church fights. Sometimes there is a dispute that causes one to truly think about the issues.
This one baffled me a bit. Tullian Tchividjian, Billy Graham’s grandson, was elected new pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian where D. James Kennedy had been pastor for many years. This story details the issues, which I found hilarious. The REAL issue probably is, “He ain’t Dr. Kennedy!”
The issues they raised?
“Dissidents, including Kennedy’s daughter Jennifer Kennedy Cassidy, were upset that, unlike Kennedy, Tchividjian has shunned a clerical robe and chosen not to focus on political issues from the pulpit.”
What? He won’t preach politics from the pulpit? To which I say, “HALLELUJAH!”