Among Billy Graham‘s countless accolades rests one few have yet to master – diplomacy.
It’s quite the understated trait these days. While we are consumed with “Keeping It Real” and “Staying True to Self,” Dr. Graham has this uncanny ability to speak his mind while listening to matters of the heart.
From a venue of thousands to a room with a president, I doubt this man has ever truly offended anyone intentionally.
So, while the world was planning for the rapture last week, Franklin Graham was looking to become a ghost with his latest comments regarding President Obama. Thanks to closet eschatologists, the news didn’t get quite the hubbub it could have.
Here’s the rest of the story:
One fine day, (Franklin) Graham told the media that he believes President Barack Obama was born a Muslim and that those religious roots affect his governance today. In a recent ABC News story, he shared that although Obama says he’s a Christian, the “seed of Islam” is in him and “the Islamic world sees the president as one of theirs.”
So much for carrying Dad’s sterling record of diplomacy.
Evidently, this struck a cord with several well-known ministers of the Gospel, including Bishop T.D. Jakes, who was quoted in Dallas South News via an interview with Roland Martin. When asked about the reason of questioning Obama’s faith, Bishop questioned the rationale:
I find it insulting. We didn’t question the Christianity of President Bush when he said he accepted Christ, and I’m disappointed in Rev. Franklin Graham in that regard. I wish he had the diplomacy of his father, who brought the gospel to people without being nuanced by politics because when you do those things you offend people that you are actually called to save and to serve.
And I would hope that he would see the rationale in apologizing for such statements – because if the President’s faith is suspect then all of our faiths are suspect, because the Bible is quite clear about what it takes to be saved and the President has been quite open about his accepting Christ and him openly confessing it before men. And if it’s good enough for the Bible it ought to be good enough for the rest of us.
Ouch. And amen!
What a difference a day makes. Now that Graham realizes zombies will not rescue him from this kerfuffle, he has clarified those comments through FOX News and Sean Hannity:
So I think for millions of Americans, what church they belong to, for them the definition, well that makes me a Christian. But the Bible has a very clear definition as to a follower of Christ. For me as a minister, I want to — I’m an evangelist. I want to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that who so ever believe in him shouldn’t perish, but have everlasting life…
…It’s troubling and I wish the president could come under some good, sound biblical teaching. That’s what he needs. You know, the president is a nice man. I know, Sean, that if you met him, you can’t help but to like the man. He’s a very gracious, gentle person.
What’s the adage? Just because your cat had kittens in the oven don’t make them biscuits.
While this is true, there’s a lot to be said for people who are really saved, really have a relationship with the Lord and really just don’t go to church. The Bible commands us to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, but for some, it’s not forsaking… it’s life.
Know anyone who works midnights? What about six days a week? Been burned in church recently? How about leading the free world?
I would think if I ran the entire country, I would be pressed for time on a Sunday morning for a bible study and a fish fry. But that’s just me.
It’s been recorded many times that President Obama isn’t the most, shall we say, tenured church attendee. However, given the guy’s schedule and with all the drama in the world lately, I would do the guy a solid and mail him some CDs or something instead of plastering misguided thoughts regarding flock ineptitude on national TV.
While this story will fade away and the men in question will remain friends (and they are), there is a chasm here that has yet to be bridged – do you know someone that says they are truly saved; yet, hasn’t seen the inside to a church in a few Easters?
Does that make them any less righteous than you? No.
Perhaps we should begin questioning the why instead of the what. Relationships with Jesus Christ are a personal thing to be celebrated publicly. It’s a fine line when you think about it, and maybe a lesson in diplomacy would do us all some good to learn how to walk it.
Next up in the diplomacy corner, we tackle people who are unemployed and the tools at church that judge them for not tithing. (Oh, did I say that out loud?)