Archives For Billy Graham

The Briefing

Tragedy in Texas: Christian testimony in the face of evil
Albert Mohler writes in his commentary, “Christians have learned that sometimes we have to wait for an answer, and sometimes that wait goes beyond any answer we can get in this life. Charles Spurgeon, the great Baptist preacher of the 19th century in London stated this beautifully: ‘When we cannot trace God’s hand, we are simply to trust his heart.’”

Evil has an expiration date: On Sutherland Springs and Christ
Owen Strachan writes in his commentary, “You cannot deny Jesus what is his. He died a terrible death to purchase a people for himself. His atonement was successful. His victory is undeniable. If Jesus suffers the little children to come to him, they will come. He will welcome them to his home. He will take their fragmented, torn-apart bodies, martyrs from over all the face of the globe, and he will make them whole.”

Survivors recount horror of church attack
Witnesses say the gunman who killed 27 people Sunday at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, shot babies at point-blank range and targeted anyone who cried out during his rampage. At one point, he yelled, “Everbody die!” Twenty people survived the attack, and at least five remain hospitalized. https://world.wng.org/content/survivors_recount_horror_of_church_attack

Death sweeps across 3 generations of a single family gathered at Texas church
Houses of worship are among the few regular gathering places left for families, sometimes extended ones and sometimes across many generations. The First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Tex., is no different. And within those walls on Sunday morning, together as always, were three generations of the Holcombe family.

Faith helps mass shooting survivors
No one expects their church to become the target of an attack—especially not the kind of spare-no-one shooting that took place Sunday at a Southern Baptist church in rural Texas. For survivors and their neighbors, it’s the kind of unimaginable tragedy that will change their small single-stoplight town forever.

Billy Graham’s 99th birthday offers 12-day radio special
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) will host the Billy Graham Channel Nov. 6–17 as channel 145 on SiriusXM Radio, featuring sermons from Graham’s six decades of evangelism, as well as salvation invitations and reflections from family and friends, BGEA said. A companion website, TheBillyGrahamChannel.com, will offer companion resources.

Sources: AlbertMolher.com, Center for Public Theology, World Magazine, Washington Post, Christianity Today, Baptist Press

Very bold prayer

ib2newseditor —  July 13, 2017
John Knox

John Knox

“Give me Scotland, or I die!”

It’s a bold prayer for a man whose ministry is founded on the sovereignty of God, and it might seem contradictory to some. How can a theologian count on God to do as he alone wills, yet plead for the Sovereign to be so moved for the salvation of souls and the upheaval of his nation. But that’s how John Knox believed firmly—and how he prayed fervently.

What Martin Luther was to Germany, and Knox was to Scotland. And what John Calvin was to reformed theology overall, Knox was to Presbyterian doctrine in particular. Brave, he kept his head when others were losing theirs to Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots.

John Knox House in Edinburgh

John Knox house in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Born in 1514, three years before Luther nailed his 95 accusations to the church house door in Wittenberg, Knox grew up in the foment of political revolution and spiritual reformation. He was described as violent in the streets and fiery in the pulpit. Knox was forced to flee Scotland, at one point enslaved 19 months in galley ships. Later, he met Calvin in France. He was so impressed with Calvin’s school in Geneva, according to a Christian History account, that he called it “the most perfect school of Christ that was ever on the earth since the days of the apostles.”

Returning to Scotland, Knox led the Scottish Reformation, a movement that birthed the Presbyterian Church and ultimately ended the reign of the Catholic queen. “He lived in the 16th century, and much of modern Scotland is really the fruit of his labors,” said Jeff Tippner, a minister in St. Fergus and organizer of a post-Brexit evangelistic campaign with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

When Graham’s grandson Will preached at that series of crusade meetings in Scotland last year, he invoked the prayer of Knox, as his famous grandfather had in 1955. The elder Graham explained the sometime dichotomy of reformation theology and crusade evangelism this way: “I believe in a sovereign God who still performs miracles.”

– Eric Reed

The BriefingSenate lets states defund Planned Parenthood
For more than 40 years, the federal government has made funds available through Title X grants for organizations that provide family planning services. Through this program, the federal government can fund healthcare organizations directly or award grants to states, which choose money recipients. Days before President Barack Obama left office, he ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to block 13 conservative states from denying Planned Parenthood Title X funding. The Senate voted to rescind that order March 30.

VP Pence’s ‘Billy Graham Rule’ angers Internet
One line from a Washington Post profile of Second Lady Karen Pence is garnering reactions from many on social media. Ashley Parker’s profile of Indiana’s former First Lady cites a 2002 Mike Pence interview with The Hill. In it, the former Indiana congressman and governor said he never eats alone with a woman other than his wife, Karen. Pence also said he wouldn’t attend an event where alcohol would be served without her by his side.

Reprimand of Air Force colonel sparks protest
U.S. Air Force Col. Michael Madrid was reprimanded in 2016 for his Christian religious beliefs about marriage and sexuality. The Air Force originally cleared him in 2014 of charges that he made unsubstantiated derogatory comments against homosexuality to an openly gay airman. But when Madrid was placed under the command of Maj. Gen. John E. McCoy two years after the case was closed, McCoy accused Madrid of having lied during the investigation and disciplined him without any new evidence.

Judge grants man right to become genderless
A 27-year-old video game designer has become the first American to gain legal designation as “genderless” following a ruling by an Oregon judge. The game designer known as Patrick Abbatiello who is now legally designated agender, also got legal approval to become mononymous — meaning only having one name instead of a given name and a surname — and is going by the name “Patch.”

Polar bear ‘prays’ next to cross
Jessica Andrews was scanning through dozens of photos she took of a polar bear roaming around her backyard when she came across one that stopped her in her tracks. The large animal was squatting beneath a white cross, its paws together and raised skyward as it looked up in a seemingly reverential pose.

 Sources: World Magazine, Indy Star, Baptist Press, NBC News, Toronto Sun

The BriefingExplaining the evangelical vote for Trump or Clinton
Last week, Donald Trump said that if evangelicals vote, he would win the 2016 presidential election. But while he commands a clear lead over Hillary Clinton for their support, surveys also show American evangelicals are much more divided this year compared to previous elections. Recent survey findings show how evangelicals are voting in 2016 and why.

High court accepts transgender case
The Supreme Court announced Oct. 28 it will review a lower court opinion regarding the right of a student to use the public school restroom that matches her gender identity rather than her biological sex. Oral arguments in the case likely will take place in early 2017, and an opinion is expected before the court adjourns next summer.

Danger follows Christian refugees to Germany
The situation of Christian refugees in German shelters is “unbearable” according to an updated report released this month and co-authored by Open Doors Germany. The report documents 743 cases of discrimination, death threats, and physical assaults against Christians by Muslim refugees between February and May of this year and claims the findings are only “the tip of the iceberg.”

Hatmaker books pulled over LGBT views
LifeWay Christian Resources has discontinued resources featuring bestselling Bible study author Jen Hatmaker just days after she voiced approval of gay marriage and the gay lifestyle. The Southern Baptist Convention entity has published several resources by the popular speaker and reality television star, including the bestselling B&H Publishing book, “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.”

The remarkable Billy Graham
Evangelist Billy Graham turned 98 November 7. Graham’s most obvious legacy is the three million men and women who registered commitments for Christ at his crusades. Graham’s legacy has also taken forms that are hard to measure but important to remember. We see them especially in the realms of evangelical beliefs, everyday life, American politics, and Christian hope.

Sources: Christianity Today, Baptist Press, World Magazine, Baptist Press, Christianity Today

The BriefingInterVarsity backs #BlackLivesMatter at Urbana 15
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (InterVarsity) devoted an evening at its Urbana missions conference to the group Black Lives Matter and called on the 16,000 students present to support the movement. InterVarsity’s support for the group caused controversy in part because of the  speaker’s anti-police rhetoric and comments which were seen as critical of the pro-life movement. InterVarsity has since issued a clarification.


Scalia: Presidents Honoring God Is Constitutional
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said the U.S. Constitution doesn’t prohibit presidents from honoring God or the government from placing religion above secularism, though added that one denomination cannot be favored over another. Scalia, told the audience at Archbishop Rummel High School in New Orleans that there is no reason to believe the Constitution dictates state neutrality between religion and its absence.


Catholic school ordered to hire gay employees
A Massachusetts state court ruled in mid-December that a Catholic school may not deny employment to a homosexual. Fontbonne Academy offered Matthew Barrett a job as a food service director in 2013. But when Barrett filled out a new employee form and listed his “husband” as an emergency contact, school administrators rescinded the offer, citing Catholic belief that marriage is between a man and woman.


NC pastor disarms man during service
A man carrying a semi-automatic assault rifle walked into the New Year Year’s Eve service at Heal the Land Outreach Ministries in Fayetteville, NC. “I asked him, ‘Can I help you?'” Bishop Larry Wright shared. “He said, ‘Can you pray for me?'” Wright disarmed the man and began to pray.


Billy Graham makes ‘Most Admired’ list for 59th time
Gallup released it list of most admired people in 2015 with Billy Graham rounding out the top ten. It is the 59th year Graham has been named to the top ten list.  According to Gallup, “Graham has been among the top 10 most admired men every year since 1955 except for 1962, in addition to 1976 when Gallup did not ask the question.”

Sources: Baptist Press, Billy Graham Evangelical Association, Christian Post, Christianity Today, Gallup, NBC News, and Religious News Service.

THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

GuideStone Financial Resources has joined a long list of organizations suing the federal government over the abortion/contraceptive mandate within President Obama’s healthcare reform package.

GuideStone, the Southern Baptist Convention’s health and benefits entity, filed suit Oct. 11 along with two other organizations – Oklahoma-based Reaching Souls International, and Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland, Ga. Baptist Press reports:

The suit contends the religious liberty of the entities and other non-church-related organizations covered by GuideStone’s health plan, is violated by a rule issued by the Department of Health and Human Services to implement the 2010 health-care law. The HHS regulation requires employers to pay for coverage of workers’ contraceptives, including drugs that can cause abortions, but does not provide an exemption for entities like those that filed suit.

“GuideStone plans do not cover drugs or devices that can or do cause abortions,” GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins said in a written release from the entity Monday (Oct. 14).

“We reluctantly take this step because we are committed to protecting the unborn and preserving the religious freedom that is guaranteed under the laws of this nation,” he said. “This mandate runs rough-shod over these foundational principles.”

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is representing in GuideStone in the suit, which is the 74th such complaint filed against the mandate. Read more at BPNews.net.

Opposing voices in Illinois marriage debate head to the Capitol
People for and against same-sex marriage will rally in Springfield this week in hopes of swaying the votes of lawmakers back in town for the fall veto session. It’s not clear whether sponsors of the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act have the votes needed to pass the measure (it stalled in the House last May), but same-sex marriage supporters are planning a rally and march around the Capitol today, October 22. On Wednesday the 23rd, the Illinois Family Institute will host a prayer rally and “Lobby Day” at the Capitol.

Southern Baptist task force addresses baptism decline
A group of leaders assembled by the North American Mission Board will meet over the next few months to discuss the decline in baptisms across the Southern Baptist Convention. “Our baptismal trends are all headed in the wrong direction,” NAMB’s vice president for evangelism, Al Gilbert, told Baptist Press. “With a burden to penetrate lostness in North America, we must pray and think through what we can and should do to turn around this decline.”

According to the 2012 Annual Church Profile, Southern Baptist churches baptized fewer than 315,000 people last year, the first time baptisms dropped below that number since 1948. The 2012 total was 5.5% less than the previous year.

Gilbert and Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, will facilitate meetings for the group, which consists of 15 pastors and leaders from Southern Baptist entities. Baptist Press reports the task force hopes to conclude their work in May 2014. Read more at BPNews.net.

Graham’s ‘My Hope’ event set for Nov. 7-10
Billy Graham’s next evangelistic event could be his largest crusade ever. More than 25,000 churches have signed up to take part in My Hope America, which asks Christians to invite non-believers into their homes and churches to watch Graham preach on the power of the cross. His message will be broadcast Nov. 7-10 on various outlets; go to myhopewithbillygraham.org for a full list and schedule.

Spokesperson Brent Rinehart told The Christian Post, “Woven within Graham’s message are the faith stories of two popular musicians: rapper LeCrae who overcame addiction and the pull of the gang lifestyle to see his life changed by an encounter with Jesus; and former Flyleaf lead singer Lacey Sturm who fought depression, hopelessness and suicidal thoughts only to be rescued by the love of a Heavenly Father and the hope that comes through a relationship with His Son.”

The event’s website also includes additional evangelistic videos and online training materials for those who sign up for the outreach.

From alien to understood
Brant Hansen writes about growing up in church with Apserger’s syndrome on CNN’s Belief blog. The Christian radio host’s experience is specific to his circumstances, but probably will encourage anyone who’s ever felt like an outsider. Hansen writes of his earlier church experiences: “I wondered if I was so broken, such a misfit that God simply took a look at me and decided to move on.” But “…Jesus himself finally reached me.” Read more at CNN”s Belief blog.

BREAKING_NEWSNEWS |

The ministry founded by famed evangelist Billy Graham and a 180-year-old Baptist newspaper, the Biblical Recorder, say they were targeted by the Internal Revenue Service.

The revelations involving the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Samaritan’s Purse and the Biblical Recorder newsjournal of the North Carolina Baptist State Convention seem to indicate the IRS was targeting more than just Tea Party groups and conservative political organizations, Fox News reports.

Franklin Graham wrote in a letter to President Obama on Tuesday (May 14): “I am bringing this to your attention because I believe that someone in the Administration was targeting and attempting to intimidate us.” Graham described the IRS audits as “morally wrong and unethical – indeed some would call it ‘un-American.'”

Graham is president of the ministry his father founded as well as the international charity known as Samaritan’s Purse. Both organizations were notified of the IRS audits on the same day – not long after BGEA ran advertisements supporting North Carolina’s marriage amendment.

The ads encouraged voters to “cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel.” The ads concluded with these words: “Vote for biblical values this November 6, and pray with me (Billy Graham) that America will remain one nation under God.”

“I do not believe that the IRS audit of our two organizations last year is a coincidence – or justifiable,” Graham wrote in his letter.

The Internal Revenue Service did not return calls seeking comment.

Mark DeMoss, a spokesman for Graham, told Fox News it was the first time the ministry had been audited in its history.

“These certainly appear to be politically motivated since the ministry had run some newspaper ads – not mentioning any candidates – simply urging people to vote for candidates with biblical values,” DeMoss said.

The Biblical Recorder, the official newsjournal for North Carolina Southern Baptists, found itself in the same situation in March.

The newspaper garnered national attention last summer after editor Allan Blume published an interview with Chick-fil-A’s president, Dan Cathy. In reference to his support of the traditional family, Cathy said he was “guilty as charged.”

The Biblical Recorder also published the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s ads supporting North Carolina’s marriage amendment. And then came the telephone call from the Internal Revenue Service.

“It raised some red flags and made me wonder why we were being targeted for an audit when we have been around since 1833 and have never been audited before,” Blume told Fox News. “Putting it all together made me wonder.”

Blume said the timing may have been coincidental – but “it didn’t seem that way.”

“There seems to be a very anti-Christian bias that has flowed into a lot of government agencies – oppression literally against Christian organizations and groups,” Blume said. “It makes you wonder what’s going on.”

Blume said the newspaper was eventually cleared, but the audit consumed time and money.

“It was a lot of time and energy that we didn’t have,” Blume said. “It took some of our staff literally several weeks of doing nothing but that [audit],” he said.

The IRS eventually cleared both the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse but Graham noted that the audit cost the ministries money.

“Unfortunately, while these audits not only wasted taxpayer money, they wasted money contributed by donors for ministry purposes, as we had to spend precious resources servicing the IRS agents in our offices,” Graham wrote in his letter to Obama.

Reported by Todd Starnes, host of Fox News & Commentary, heard daily on Fox News Radio stations around the nation.