Church leaders finally stand up to Franklin Graham

 

The Vancouver Sun reports…

“Metro Vancouver Christians are colliding over the coming crusade of televangelist Franklin Graham, who is known for criticizing homosexuals, Muslims and U.S. President Barack Obama.

Saying that Graham is often “incendiary and intolerant,” some evangelical Protestants and Roman Catholics are opposing his participation in the three-day Festival of Hope event at Rogers Arena in early March, 2017, that many of the city’s mega-churches are supporting .

“Rev. Graham is a polarizing figure … His ungracious and bigoted remarks have the potential to generate serious negative impact on the Christian witness in Vancouver,” says a statement from five prominent evangelical and Catholic leaders (see full letter at bottom).

“We … denounce the frequent incendiary and intolerant statements made by Rev. Graham, which he unapologetically reiterates,” said the letter, signed by Marjeta Bobnar of the Catholic archdiocese, City in Focus president Tom Cooper, Tenth Church pastor Ken Shigematsu, Calvary Baptist pastor Tim Dickau and First Baptist pastor Tim Kuepfer.

Franklin Graham, son of 97-year-old retired televangelist Billy Graham, has said homosexuals are “the enemy” and will “spend eternity in hell” if they don’t repent.

While attacking Obama, Graham has called Islam a “very wicked religion” and argued that Muslims shouldn’t be allowed into the U.S.

Some of the large, often ethnically mixed evangelical congregations in Metro Vancouver that are endorsing Graham’s crusade include Willingdon Church, Westside Church, Coastal Church, Broadway Church, Glad Tidings Church, Holy Trinity Church and Richmond Pentecostal Church.

Earning more than $1 million a year as an evangelist and head of the charity Samaritan’s Purse, Graham led a crusade in Toronto in 2014 that was attended by 40,000 people of diverse ethnic origins.

After the Toronto event, Samaritan’s Purse terminated a Canadian volunteer because she refused to sign a standard statement opposing abortion and homosexual marriage.

Rev. George Wong, head pastor at Evangelical Chinese Bible Church in Burnaby, one of many congregations training volunteers to work at Graham’s crusade, said “the last thing we want to do is promote hate.”

Graham “is not coming to Vancouver to preach against homosexuality, but to preach the gospel,” Wong said.

Saying he was unaware a Christian group is opposing Graham’s involvement in the Festival of Hope, Wong didn’t want to comment on Graham’s statements about gays and Muslims, other than to affirm “the gospel is for people from all walks of life.”

In North Vancouver, another endorser of the Festival of Hope, Valley Church Pastor Owen Scott, declined to comment on the controversy other than to say, “I know Franklin is not the same as his dad. His dad is a pretty gracious person.”

In an interview from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association headquarters in Calgary, David Ingram said his organization “never expects 100 per cent support for one of our festivals.”

Noting that a relatively small number of evangelicals and Catholics signed the dissenting letter, Ingram said, “I wouldn’t want a few people who are opposed to the festival to overshadow the wide support for it.”

Ingram said leaders of many churches and ethnic groups are backing Graham’s crusade. Maintaining that protest letters can be divisive, Ingram asked whether The Vancouver Sun and The Province planned to publish an article about the inter-Christian disagreement.

While the opposition statement was signed by Catholic ecumenical relations official Bobnar, Paul Schratz confirmed the archdiocese also formally declined an invitation to take part in the Festival of Hope.

“Initially we were supportive of next year’s event, since it was intended to draw a large number of people to hear the gospel and grow closer to Jesus,” said Schratz, spokesman for the archdiocese, which includes more than 400,000 Catholics.

“While we obviously acknowledge Mr. Graham’s zeal in preaching the Gospel we had second thoughts about participating when we noted that American evangelicals, whom we were trying to work with on this event, were criticizing Mr. Franklin for various comments and stances that didn’t promote religious tolerance.”

The formal letter of opposition to the Festival of Hope’s leadership committee was signed by Christian leaders in Metro Vancouver whom the Billy Graham Association had asked for endorsements, including Cooper, Shigematsu, Dickau and Kuepfer.

Cooper, president of City in Focus which specializes in ministering to business people, said those who signed the letter “were willing to provide suggestions for an alternative speaker. But the Festival of Hope leadership committee was content with having Reverend Graham give the major talks.

“We therefore, reluctantly, decided we could not endorse this event. We understand that we are just one of many evangelical and orthodox voices and there will sometimes be disagreement.”

From http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/vancouver-christians-collide-over-televangelist-franklin-graham

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One thought on “Church leaders finally stand up to Franklin Graham

  1. No time to argue – i’m too busy trying to get Trump elected.

    but….some food for thought for those (are there any here?) who are interested in science and research.

    Like I’ve always said. There’s no scientific evidence for a lot of the nonsense that is paraded as fact. Also notice the amount of studies referenced and the qualification of those mentioned.
    ie John Hopkins vs some secret Bundaberg primary school

    No time to answer the swearing tirade that will no doubt be unleashed by the closet homosexual “teacher”.

    OH, and I haven’t got time to publish the latest killings by Muslims (whether Sunni, Shiiate, Salafi, Wahhabi or or or…whatever) yelling Allahu Akbar. But one of them ended up in a hick town in QLD. Watch the news tonight Bones and David
    So be careful arguing with Muslims (or people who say they are Muslims even though Bonehead will argue for hours that they aren’t)

    I’ll be here to debate with the Bonehead after November.

    A cross-discipline study has challenged the belief that human sexuality and gender identity are determined by biology and remain fixed, saying that there is no scientific proof of this. The study cautioned against drastic medical treatment for transgender children.
    The notion that sexual orientation is predetermined by biology is an important part of the current LGBT discourse. If a person has no choice over whether to be gay or not, society cannot demand that he or she be straight, so the argument goes.

    But regardless of its political worth, the “born this way” paradigm is not backed up by sufficient scientific data, according to a new paper published in the autumn issue of the New Atlantis, a journal focusing on political, societal and ethical ramifications of technological advances.

    The study does not claim that being gay is a choice, merely that stating the opposite may be wrong.

    The 144-page paper was written by Dr. Lawrence S. Mayer, an epidemiologist and biostatistician also trained in psychiatry, who is currently a scholar in residence at the Department of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and Dr. Paul R. McHugh, a renowned psychiatrist, researcher, and educator and former chief of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The paper’s three parts focus on sexual orientation, links between sexuality and mental health, and gender identity.

    Drawing on studies in fields varying from neurobiology to social sciences, the authors wrote that “The understanding of sexual orientation as an innate, biologically fixed property of human beings – the idea that people are ‘born that way’ – is not supported by scientific evidence.”

    The term ‘sexual orientation’ itself is ambiguous and is used to describe attraction, behavior or identity by different researchers. Sometimes it refers to things such as belonging to a certain community or having certain fantasies.

    “It is important, then, that researchers are clear about which of these domains are being studied, and that we keep in mind the researchers’ specified definitions when we interpret their findings,” the paper said.

    There are biological factors associated with sexual behavior, the paper acknowledges, but there are no compelling “causal biological explanations for human sexual orientation.” Differences in the brain structures of gay and straight individuals identified by researchers are not necessarily innate and may be the result of environmental or psychological factors.

    “The strongest statement that science offers to explain sexual orientation is that some biological factors appear, to an unknown extent, to predispose some individuals to a non-heterosexual orientation,” the paper said.

    LGBT individuals are statistically at greater risk of having mental health problems than the general population, the authors say. As a more dramatic example, “the rate of lifetime suicide attempts across all ages of transgender individuals is estimated at 41 percent, compared to under 5 percent in the overall US population.”

    The usually accepted explanation for this is social stress from discrimination and stigma, but the study said that those factors may not solely explain the disparity and that more scientific research on the issue is necessary.

    The paper added that the notion that gender identity is fixed and determined by biological factors is also not backed up by data.

    “In reviewing the scientific literature, we find that almost nothing is well understood when we seek biological explanations for what causes some individuals to state that their gender does not match their biological sex,” the authors said.

    They strongly advocate caution in resorting to drastic medical treatment such as sex-reassignment surgery for people identified or identifying as transgender. This is especially true in children, whose sexuality is mutable and for whom such treatments may do more harm than good, they warn.

    “There is little scientific evidence for the therapeutic value of interventions that delay puberty or modify the secondary sex characteristics of adolescents, although some children may have improved psychological well-being if they are encouraged and supported in their cross-gender identification,” the paper said. “There is no evidence that all children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behavior should be encouraged to become transgender.”

    “Sexual orientation and gender identity resist explanation by simple theories. There is a large gap between the certainty with which beliefs are held about these matters and what a sober assessment of the science reveals. In the face of this complexity and uncertainty, we need to be humble about what we know and do not know,” it said.

    The authors noted that their paper touches upon controversial issues and insist that first and foremost it is about science and the need for additional evidence in the field. Mayer said many people who contributed to the report asked not to be identified so as to distance themselves from the potential backlash.

    “Some feared an angry response from the more militant elements of the LGBT community; others feared an angry response from the more strident elements of religiously conservative communities,” he said. “Most bothersome, however, is that some feared reprisals from their own universities for engaging such controversial topics, regardless of the report’s content—a sad statement about academic freedom.”

    The paper was specifically written for the general public to draw attention to mental health problems of the LGBT community, the authors said. McHugh is an opponent of sex reassignment surgery for transgender people, arguing that it often fails to improve their well-being and instead does the opposite in the long run.

    Okay, if you read this far Bones…now you can post your filthy swearing tirades for a couple of months.

    Like

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