Letter writer misunderstood issue taken with Graham
Published 7:31 am Saturday, January 28, 2017
In his letter (Jan. 24) taking issue with my column on Franklin Graham’s post-election comment, Tom Ellis has misunderstood my differences with Graham. I had no intention to “excoriate” him for youthful indiscretions, which he acknowledges in his autobiography, “Rebel with a Cause.” I simply observed that the prominence he assumed as a Christian leader after his conversion at age 22 might have surprised those who knew the younger Franklin, echoing another recent reference to him. It is not my place to condemn him for his past or to suggest that it disqualified him to preach the Gospel, which Mr. Ellis thinks I did. It can be argued that no one is qualified to preach the Gospel on her or his own merit, but that was not my point.
When I referred to Mr. Graham’s blanket condemnation of Islam, I might have added that his famous father, Dr. Billy Graham, also disagrees with him. Another member of the Graham family has called “bad theology” Franklin’s suggestion that President Trump’s election meant that God had answered the country’s prayers. So apparently I have some Graham family support for my objection to Franklin Graham’s indictment of avowed Christians Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as representing such an evil agenda that God had to intervene to stop it.
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It is hard for a democracy to flourish if your opponents, even Christian opponents, are objects of demonization instead of disagreement. Mr. Ellis seems to imply that disagreement with Mr. Graham in his assessment of God’s role in the election means that the critics cannot have “accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior” as he has. If that is his claim, he is mistaken.