Saturday, May 31, 2014
The three Grahams cast a shadow over our world
I grew up with Billy Graham Evangelistic Crusades. I remember sensing conviction of sin when he gave invitations on our black and white TV in Troy Alabama, and having to leave the room to avoid responding. I remember that clear voice of authority and the mesmerrizing spell his preaching cast upon a generation. When Christianity began to be ruled by shysters in the 80s his organization stood for accountability and integrity. I got up in the middle of the night during college to hear him in person preaching from a platform in Biscayne Bay to an early morning crdwd of Easter sunrise worshippers. Wow, what memories. Yet Billy was always an object of others anger in the inclusive way he welcomes ministers from all persuasions to participate in his crusades. To this day he has enemies in the fundamentalist faith who clain no one was ever saved at a Graham Crusade?!
I like the relief efforts of Franklin Graham mercy organization, Billy's formerly prodigal son come home to the faith. We support the way he responds in mass to human tragedy and need all over the globe. But Franklins participation in the culture wars makes me sad as it sounds like he is more concerned with who we should dispise rather than who we should help. I know he believes this will make things better for America but I think his much older and wiser father stayed out of such battles and lifted an experience of grace and forgiveness higher for all to come forward and receive.
Now Tullian T. Billys Grandson, has distinguished himself by standing against his own reformed gospel traditions about sanctification and has declared along with the Apostle Paul that grace is a declaration, not an offer. That it goes to sinners while they are trapped in their sins, and that this unconditional love of God is the very thing that works the inner transformation that creates not proud former sinners who have cleaned up their act, but compassionate and merciful forgiven sinners who understand the power of sin and can offer grace that transforms without kicking people out of the boat who are not culturally acceptable.
Now that TT has formed a following of churches that put a priority on the message of grace, the theologians are circling and swarming to bring him back to the fold, to shame his extravagant understanding of God's love in Christ extending to all the world, including sinners.
Talk about growing up with the Grahams, we all have. And they prove that our world is changing, that we are being challenged to bring the wheat from the chaff of religion.