By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
October 18, 2019
Evangelist and humanitarian Franklin Graham preached the Gospel to some 65,000 people during his two-week Decision America Tar Heel State Tour that kicked off Oct. 1. Steadily pointing the crowd toward his savior, Graham made it clear that he believes our nation is in trouble, and he didn’t shy away from moral issues that some consider political hot potatoes.
“It’s easy to discern that Graham’s overall message was the Gospel, salvation, the need for people to experience the forgiveness of their sins by way of the cross,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “But before the meetings, the media asked Graham various questions related to politics, and he was quite forthright.”
Graham spoke out on abortion, secularization, race relations, immigration and marriage, bringing a biblical worldview to each topic.
“I see our country not going forward, but I see our country going backward, and I think the only person that can solve the problems is not politicians … it’s God,” he told the opening-night audience in Fayetteville, home to Fort Bragg, as he preached from 2 Kings the story of the commander Naaman. In Greenville, he opened with a prayer for the nation’s officials.
In Wilmington, Graham told the media that impeaching the president would prove to weaken the nation, and he called on the crowd to pray for President Trump, Nancy Pelosi, and others in Washington.
Graham told Raleigh reporters that “Washington is a mess,” and prayed for unity in our government as well as accountability from elected officials.
“We need to fix the problems, and I think that’s what the American people expect from our politicians,” he said. “Let’s fix the problems. And when the next election comes, if you don’t like the guy, you can vote him out and get somebody else in there.”
Often criticized for backing President Trump, the president and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse clearly expressed his own opinions regarding immigration.
“We have so many people that are in this country that have come in in the past illegally, that have been living here for 20, 30 years, that have been working hard, paying taxes,” he said during his Greensboro stop. “You just can’t throw them out. You’ve got to find a way to give them an opportunity and a path to eventually become a citizen.”
In Greensboro, he also spoke up for the unborn and for children in schools where even a mention of God is unwelcome. The crowd cheered when he addressed creation as an act of God, involving only two genders.
“There’s no transgender. This is just a lie,” Graham said. “Many politicians have bought into this lie. We’re made male and female.”
He went on to say that God wants us to enjoy sex in a marriage relationship involving one man and one woman.
In Charlotte, preaching from the story of Blind Bartimaeus, Graham once again addressed the sanctity of life.
“Some of you have had an abortion, and it’s haunted you every day of your life,” he said. “I’m here to tell you tonight; you can be forgiven.”
He made no mistake about where that forgiveness comes from as he addressed the crowd in Asheville, his birthplace, and the tour’s final stop.
“There are not many roads to God,” Graham said. “There is only one road, and it goes through the Cross.”
Taking time out before the Asheville rally, Graham told the Smokey Mountain News that he has a right and a duty to weigh in on moral issues.
“God would want us to speak on those issues,” he said. “Abortion is a moral issue, and for some, it’s a political issue. LGBTQ, sexual orientation — it’s a political issue, but it’s also very much a moral issue, and so I may address some of those issues, and I think those are important.”
Rev. Creech said that although some people argue that Graham’s famous father was never political, they are mistaken.
“On some occasions, he was quite blunt about political matters himself. Moreover, Billy Graham once made what I thought was a profound statement that speaks to our current day. The elder Graham said, ‘Christianity grew because its adherents were not silent. They said, ‘We cannot but speak the things we have seen and heard.’ [That’s evangelism.] Nor did they stop with expressing the great faith they had found. But they stormed against the evils of their day until the very foundations of decadent Rome began to crumble. [That’s politics.]’”
“When it comes to faithful preaching, clergy don’t have the luxury of choosing just one or the other (only the Gospel or only politics). Sometimes it must be both. Many times throughout history, great advances of the gospel started as controversial public crusades,” Creech said. “In previous mass meetings under John Wesley, William Wilberforce, William Booth, and many others, it was their combination of evangelistic zeal and social action which resulted in literally thousands upon thousands of people coming to faith Jesus Christ.”
He said that speaking to politics from the Bible, from a strong Christian worldview, does not hinder the Gospel, but becomes the springboard for presenting the issues of sin, righteousness, judgment, and the forgiveness that God offers in Christ.
Graham’s eight-city tour of his home state wrapped up on Oct. 13. Learn more about each stop here.