Archives For Franklin Graham

The Briefing

Trump to Liberty grads: Follow Christian convictions
In front of a record-setting crowd of about 50,000 attendees, the newly minted politician winked to his support from evangelicals—repeatedly bringing up religious freedom and identifying with their position as Washington outsiders. “In America we do not worship government, we worship God. We do not need a lecture from Washington on how to lead our lives,” he said to the graduates.

La. Executive Board concludes study of ERLC
The Louisiana Baptist Convention’s Executive Board has concluded a study of “issues of concern” related to the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and issued a letter commending ERLC President Russell Moore for “confessing his failings.” The letter, addressed to the ERLC president and trustees, also urged Moore “to listen carefully and respectfully to Southern Baptists even as we listen to him.”

Graham calls persecution of Christians ‘genocide’
Franklin Graham, son of the famed evangelical preacher Billy Graham, urged fellow Christians to struggle against a “Christian genocide” that he says has killed in greater numbers than most believers can fathom. Graham spoke May 10 at a conference aimed at highlighting an issue many feel is ignored by politicians and the media.

Court sides with Christian print shop
The owner of Hands on Originals, a Lexington, Ky., print shop, did not violate a local nondiscrimination ordinance when he refused to create T-shirts for an annual gay pride festival, the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled. The 2-1 decision is the second to uphold Blaine Adamson’s right to engage in “viewpoint or message censorship.” A local gay and lesbian advocacy organization asked Adamson to create T-shirts promoting the organization’s 2012 Pride Festival. Adamson declined, saying he could not promote that message as a Christian.

Majority of Protestants support gay marriage
Sixty-four percent of U.S. adults say same-sex marriages should be recognized by the law as valid. Although not meaningfully different from the 61% last year, this is the highest percentage to date and continues the generally steady rise since Gallup’s trend began in 1996. However, U.S. Protestants, including all non-Catholic Christians, are now about twice as likely to support gay marriage as they were in 1996 (55% vs. 27%). This year’s poll is the first-time Protestant support has reached the majority level.

Sources: Christianity Today, Baptist Press, Religion News, World Magazine, Gallup

The BriefingGraham urges ‘Beast’ boycott
Franklin Graham has called for a boycott of Disney over the company’s inclusion of a gay character in the upcoming Beauty and the Beast remake. “They’re trying to push the LGBT agenda into the hearts and minds of your children—watch out!” Graham wrote in a Facebook post.

Christian bakers appeal $135K fine
Christian bakers who lost their store and were fined $135,000 for declining to make a cake for a same-sex wedding brought their case before the Oregon Court of Appeals in an attempt to overturn the judgment. Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Gresham, Oregon, said they simply want the freedom to live by the tenets of their faith.

High court vacates pro-transgender ruling
The U.S. Supreme Court set aside March 6 a ruling in favor of a transgender high school student and returned it to a lower court for reconsideration in light of the Trump administration’s recent withdrawal of a directive issued under President Obama. With the change in administration guidance, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals will have to weigh its April 2016 decision that the school board of an eastern Virginia county violated federal law by refusing to permit a transgender high school student — who is a female biologically but identifies as a male — to use the boys’ restroom.

Muslim chaplain to head Army division
After a ceremony this summer, Lt. Col. Khallid Shabazz will become the first Muslim division-level chaplain in the history of the U.S. military. In January, he was offered the job of chaplain for an entire division, an honor for anyone in his field but a milestone in his case – a Muslim spiritual leader for more than 14,000 mostly Christian soldiers.

Americans warm to religious groups—except evangelicals
Fewer Americans say they know an evangelical Christian. Potentially as a result, evangelicals were the one religious group that didn’t experience an increase in warmth among Americans. Pew Research asked Americans to rate their feelings toward major faith groups on a “feeling thermometer,” ranked from zero to 100—the higher the ranking, the more positive the impression. Overall, Jews (67 degrees), Catholics (66 degrees), and mainline Protestants (65 degrees) were rated warmest.

Sources: Time, The Washington Times, Baptist Press, McClatchy DC, Facts and Trends

Jaide Soppe, 8, makes a fleece blanket for a Springfield shelter on Children's Ministry Day March 15.

Jaide Soppe, 8, makes a fleece blanket for a Springfield shelter on Children’s Ministry Day March 15.

THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

For the fourth consecutive year, kids and their leaders served across Illinois  through Children’s Ministry Day, a one-day missions experience that culminates with a celebration service at each project site.

Created by national Woman’s Missionary Union, the day of service for kids has taken on a life of its own in Illinois. Nearly 1,100 children, leaders and volunteers representing 75 churches served at nine locations around the state on March 15.

This year’s theme, “Make a Splash,” came from Matthew 10:42, where Jesus says, “And whoever gives just a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple – I assure you: He will never lose his reward!”

Children’s Ministry Day is now IBSA’s most successful mission involvement activity, said Mark Emerson, who leads the organization’s missions team. The event has grown in number of locations and participants each year since 2011, when he organized the first set of projects in Springfield. Local associations began hosting the projects last year, and the service day expanded to nine cities in 2014, including first-time locations Bridgeport, Chicago, Decatur, Granite City and Peoria.

“I think more churches identify that this is a high impact project with an easy engagement possibility,” Emerson said. “The logistics of the day are already complete, so all the church has to do is to figure out how to get the kids enlisted, and get the kids to the event.”

Pastor David Brown has led kids from his church, Dow Southern Baptist, to Children’s Ministry Day each of the last four years. Standing outside an urban ministry center in Springfield, he recalled each of their projects: making baby blankets, baking cookies for police officers, visiting with nursing home residents, and this year, raking leaves and sorting donated supplies.

“This is one of the best events that we can do, because we’re starting at a foundational age,” Brown said. His fourth grade daughter, Cameryn, accompanied him to Springfield this year and has participated in every Children’s Ministry Day.

“And if they fall in love with serving when they’re kids,” Brown said, “they’re going to keep serving when they’re teens, and hopefully when they’re adults and grandparents. It’s foundational; it’s what the church is all about.” Read more here.

Other news:

Franklin Graham on Putin’s policies
America has “abdicated our moral leadership,” Franklin Graham wrote in this month’s issue of Decision Magazine. The son of evangelist Billy Graham said that converse to the current U.S. administration, Russian President Vladimir Putin is right to want to protect his country’s children from a homosexual agenda. (Graham’s comments came before Russia’s controversial action in Crimea.)

“To be clear, I am not endorsing President Putin,” Graham wrote. “…His enemies say he is ruthless. To some, he is a modern version of a czar. His personal life has its own controversies.

“Isn’t it sad, though, that America’s own morality has fallen so far that on this issue – protecting children from any homosexual agenda or propaganda – Russia’s standard is higher than our own?” Read the full story at BillyGraham.org.

KJV is king of translations
Americans read the King James Version of the Bible more often than any other version, according to a new national survey on “The Bible in American Life.” The research, from the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture, found just over half of Americans (50.2%) read Scripture in the past year, and 17% of those did so daily. The KJV was read most often by 55% of respondents, followed by the NIV at 19%. Read more findings here.

Bible Drill for the digital age
There’s an app for that – Scripture memorization, that is. The Georgia Baptist Convention has developed a Bible Drill app for smartphones and tablets designed to help kids learn verses and review Bible books. “We hope to have a whole new generation of children who will have a passion for studying God’s Word,” said GBC state missionary Maria Brannen. The app is available from iTunes for $0.99. Read the full story at BPNews.net.

Your mood in tweets
Twitter can tell us a lot about how people are feeling, according to data released by the social media giant this month. The network analyzed words used in tweets throughout 2013, noting when “feeling sad” occurs most often (December Sundays and October Mondays), as well as when users are “feeling happy” (Tuesdays in December or January).

Twitter measured tardiness too: Users were most likely to tweet “late for work” on Wednesdays and Fridays in January, and Monday through Wednesday in July. Read more at Twitter’s blog.

LifeWay_storeTHE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

LifeWay Christian Stores opened its third Illinois location August 1 and will celebrate with grand opening festivities throughout the month. The Wheaton store, located in the Town Square Wheaton on South Naperville Road, is formerly a Johnsen & Taylor Bookstore operated by Tyndale House Publishers.

“I’ve heard from many individuals and churches who are excited about LifeWay Christian Stores being here,” said store manager . “We are grateful to see the continuation of the ministry started by Johnsen & Taylor.”

LifeWay also operates stores on the campus of Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and in Carterville, Ill.

Other news:

‘Wrath of God’ too much for hymnal
The Presbyterian Church USA chose not to include the song “In Christ Alone” in their new hymnal, all because the song mentions the “wrath of God.” On ChristianCentury.org Mary Louis Bringle, chair of the committee that made the decision, wrote that the song propagates “the view that the cross is primarily about God’s need to assuage God’s anger,” and that view could be harmful to future generations of worshippers.

Southern Baptist leaders, including Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore, have weighed in on the decision. Read his commentary on The Washington Post’s On Faith blog here.

Most churches still do VBS
A Barna study found 68% of churches held a Vacation Bible School last year, including 91% of Southern Baptist churches. The research also found that churches in the South are most likely to host VBS, along with churches with larger budgets and more adult worship attenders. And churches with “Buster” pastors, those aged 30-48, are the most likely to participate in VBS, according to Barna. Read more findings here.

Street preaching resumes on Bourbon St.
The city of New Orleans has revised an ordinance that prohibited street preaching on Bourbon Street, ChristianPost.com reports. The ban, enacted in 2011, controlled preaching from sunset to sunrise and forbade individuals or groups from gathering “for the purpose of disseminating any social, political or religious message…” Several preachers are suing the city after being arrested or threatened with arrest for preaching during last year’s Southern Decadence Festival, an annual pro-gay event. Read the full story at ChristianPost.com.

Graham calls for prayer for Abedini

Franklin Graham is urging people to pray for Pastor Saeed Abedini (right), an American imprisoned in Iran since last September. Graham, the son of evangelist Billy Graham and president of Samaritan’s Purse, spoke to FOX News about Abedini’s plight and the prayer vigil scheduled for Sept. 26 – the one-year anniversary of his captivity. He also questioned President Obama’s response: “President Obama has been silent on the issue as an American Christian endures the horrors of Evin Prison,” Graham said.

“Many in the international community are expressing outrage over this blatant example of religious intolerance,” he said. “I ask that our government do the same and demand that Pastor Saeed Abedini be released and allowed to return home to his wife and family in the United States.” Read more on reporter Todd Starnes’ FOX News page.

 

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.