CNN on Franklin Graham’s Call to Prayer for Donald Trump

Trump Graham

Daniel Burke has it covered at CNN.  He talked to Franklin Graham, Peter Wehner, Warren Throckmorton, Michelle Margolis, and your truly.

The most revealing part of this article is when Burke asked Graham to respond to Christians who think Trump hurts the church.  Burke writes: “Asked how he would answer critics who say that Trump and his evangelical allies are actually a threat to the church, Graham declined to engage the question. ‘I wouldn’t even answer a person like that. I don’t think it’s valid at all.'”

This is yet another example of the current divide in American evangelicalism.  Graham is incapable of understanding that there are people who share his faith and also believe Trump is damaging the witness of the Gospel.  And if such people do exist (and they do), he seems to suggest that he has nothing to say to them because they are wrong.

Here is a taste of Burke’s piece:

Because of his charity work and family name, Graham carries immense influence over American evangelicals, said John Fea, author of “Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump.”

“What he says politically is going to sway how many American evangelicals vote and pray.”

But Fea is among the evangelicals critical of Graham’s pro-Trump prayer event.

The historian notes that Graham ended his Facebook post with a dark biblical warning about the array of spiritual forces aligned against contemporary Christians.

“That’s a code verse,” Fea said. “It sends a clear message to his followers that there is something at work here beyond politics. He’s saying that America is under spiritual attack and equating the attacks on Trump with that.”

Graham said he doesn’t agree with all of Trump’s policies and that God commands Christians to pray for their secular leaders. “If he’s a good President, it benefits every American of every race and gender.” Still, Graham acknowledged that Trump has been an especially attentive patron to his evangelical base, calling him the “most pro-Christian President in my lifetime.”

But other evangelicals have noted the obvious: That Trump’s actions as President have not, and likely will not, benefit everyone.

Read the entire article here.

23 thoughts on “CNN on Franklin Graham’s Call to Prayer for Donald Trump

  1. David, you think Falwell was trying to convert the pool staff? And wound up giving him hundreds of thousands of dollars? Do you think the young man converted and this was a reward or he resisted and it was an effort to save his soul?

    I can only assume you’ve never been to South Beach.

    And of course I talk to staff, but that’s not a “personal relationship.”

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  2. I was going to read your article to either confirm or deny the position of James. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it beyond this statement: “… can’t say I’ve ever had reason to have personal interactions with the pool staff.” So you never had a “reason” to talk to the pool staff? You’re writing about someone who is an Evangelist and condemning them for praying for a President and you never, ever were prompted to start a conversation with someone who is most likely separated from God. Then, while scrolling down to find the last comment to make a reply, I noticed that you are also willing to charge Christians for guidance.

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  3. I’m not offering guidance for Christians. I mean, I would if someone pays me, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

    Beyond that, I just told you what my principles are. They are about the common good and treating others with empathy and respect. Why doesn’t that satisfy you? Because you as an evangelical and in your world how you treat people is irrelevant (aka “works”) because what matters is points of theology (“faith”). And that’s immoral in my view.

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  4. Paul,
    I am just trying to understand the universals which are driving the guidance you offer to Christians.

    James

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  5. James, yes I have opinions, but there is no monarchist question other than that you keep wanting to create one.

    As far as how to comport oneself politically, I don’t think there is a “Christian” way. Have empathy for others, think about the common good, make policy choices based on facts and not ideology or the supposed imaginings of ancients who had no access to science, and don’t be racist or bigoted, or support someone who is.

    And you’re going to say, “well, I agree with all that and I vote for Trump,” so we live in different realities.

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  6. Paul,
    Your opinion on the monarchist question is valuable in this discussion because you have made strongly worded remarks about Christians who take political positions. I am simply trying to discover how you believe Christians should comport themselves politically in view of the Bible or other Christian precedents. In other words, is there a legitimate political yardstick for Christians?

    James

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  7. James, why would the opinion of a “secular” person (as you call me) have any bearing on what Christians should do?

    And what logic would lead me to say anybody should be a monarchist? I’m happy to live in a democracy/republic (which is in danger).

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  8. Sorry for the delay, Paul. I had a few speed bumps with my wife’s medical needs.

    In answer to your question, I do not think you are in favor of theocratic government in the USA——-far from it. You have expressed a rather secular worldview on these pages. I was asking you, however, if you think it is logical that American Christians should be monarchists in view of the fact you stated that Jesus advocated a kingdom?

    James

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  9. James,

    C’mon, can you point to one sentence, even a fragment, in my piece that says anything to that effect?

    Is there anything I have said in all my comments here that give you the impression that I believe that American governmental policies should be based on the Bible?

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  10. Paul,

    My basic question for you is this: If Jesus taught the need for a theocratic kingdom, do you believe it follows that Christians in 2019 should work for that end?

    James

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  11. Are you for real? Seriously, this is getting into parody territory.

    Fact: Jesus, like most religious Jews of his day, thought that a theocracy led by a combination of Messiah/priest was in the near future. Hence his focus on the coming Kingdom of God.

    Fact: nothing Jesus is recorded as saying would have anything to do with voting, democracy, industrial policy, health care, marginal taxes rates … or anything remotely connected to modern politics.

    Fact: none of the above has anything to do with my views of politics or the economy.

    What’s the question again?

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  12. Paul,
    I cannot follow your logic on the necessary Republican connection to Jesus. In your article, you state that Jesus was a theocrat——-not a modern category such as Republican, Libertarian, Democrat, Green, etc. Accordingly, wouldn’t Christ fit more closely within the Monarchist Party?

    James

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  13. Hello Paul,

    You state that Jesus was in favor of theocracy. I am not disputing that fact totally. Does it not follow that Christians in 2019 should be theocratic?

    James

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  14. Another thing, James, thanks for the lesson on the historical method of most churches.

    A: I am a Republican.
    B: I like the Bible and believe in Jesus.
    C: therefore the Bible and Jesus must teach Republicanism.

    You can trade Republican for any political ideology. But that’s the way people have generally treated religious thought over the centuries.

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  15. I am the author. Like many religious Jews of the time, Jesus in fact taught theocracy. There is no record of him talking about voting. If you get out of that piece that I am advocating theocracy, then you need a lesson in reading comprehension.

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  16. Paul,
    The author says Jesus was a theocratic. Accordingly, Christians should presumably follow. Is that your belief, also? It would necessitate a union of church and state.
    James

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  17. Harry,

    As someone who clearly recalls the Jesus Movement among former hippies, I agree with you about its emphasis at that time. There was a refreshing, idealistic quality to it but it was not without its its failings, the most obvious was probably lack of doctrinal and ecclesiastical discipline. It is no surprise that the movement faded in a few years.

    Your remarks about the movement’s primary emphasis upon spiritual rather than secular goals is accurate. Today’s Evangelical emphasis upon both sets of goals is, however, understandable in light of monumental changes in society and the general moral coarsening of the country. There is a legitimate debate among evangelicals about how to respond to these quantum changes; some of that debate is waged on The Way of Improvement Website.

    Finally, I am not sure I understand your point about Trump and military veterans. As an army veteran who remains in dialogue with others, I can tell you that veterans do not see Donald Trump as a nemesis. His remarks about the late John McCain and the elder Mr. Khan had nothing to do with other veterans or their service but were specific to these two individuals.

    James

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  18. Paul,
    The article is about Falwell, Jr. and barely mentions Franklin Graham. Furthermore, the article seems to advocate a tacit union of church and state as normative for Christian doctrine. I trust you do not believe that?

    James

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  19. When you get my age you tend to overlook the knee-jerk answers and think, “I wonder what we’ll say about this in twenty years”. When I was a Jesus hippie in the 1970s, positive Evangelical thought was all wrapped up in Jesus. Sure, there were awful things going on. I wondered whether Vietnam would still be raging when I came of age in a year or so. Rapture preachers tried to assuage us with thoughts of our being snatched out of our skivvies before anything really crappy went down. Nevertheless with most evangelicals it was about the teachings of Jesus and not any earthly political agenda. Those days are but a memory.
    In 2016 I saw friendships from over 30 years dissolve over Mr. Trump. It wasn’t merely a matter of my disagreeing with him. I was lambasted because I dared to believe Mr. Trump wasn’t exempt from criticism. He certainly proved that he disrespects veterans purely on the basis of politics. He told the Gold Star Khan family that they had no right to criticize him when they expressed their objections to some of his ideas. For the love of Almighty God, these people were mourning the loss of their son and the egotistical and egregious president couldn’t put politics and arrogance aside to empathize with them. The beef with John McCain harks back to when the Senator was part of a committee that pointed out legality issues with a Trump building project. Senators Bob Dole and Dan Inouye were on opposite sides politically, but their veteran status, together with their respective injuries, placed them in a brotherhood the likes of which Mr. Trump cannot comprehend. As far as I can see, he recognizes two kinds of persons-sycophants and enemies. That a significant portion of Evangelicals are fawning over this man and repeatedly make excuses for his behavior and policies. In twenty years what will these fawning sycophants be saying? Will they have sobered up by then or will they have become part of a Christianity which is indistinguishable from any secular PAC or white nationalist organization? Demographics are changing. Old boomers like me are fading fast. In all
    likelihood a Trumpist base won’t exist in twenty years. I say that with trepidation because I don’t know exactly WHAT we might have. Precedents can be as cruel as Presidents. We’ll see how our history books read in twenty years and also see how the face of Evangelicalism has been changed-for good or not so good.

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  20. The historian notes that Graham ended his Facebook post with a dark biblical warning about the array of spiritual forces aligned against contemporary Christians.

    “That’s a code verse,” Fea said.

    Remember that a Mass Movement does not need a God but DOES require a Devil. (And the Minions of the Devil, those WITCHES hiding among us, in every closet, under every bed, who must be smelled out.)

    P.S. I was heavily into Dungeons & Dragons when The Satanic Panic hit in the Eighties. The wedge that drove between Christians and Gamers continues to this day.

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  21. Personally, I don’t understand why Franklin Graham refused to answer the question about Trump and his evangelical allies being a supposed threat to the Church. The basic question is nothing but a rhetorical parry and should have been handled as such. After all, the Church is constantly confronted with threats; this has been the case since Pentecost.

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