UK – Following news that all eight venues have cancelled their bookings for Franklin Graham’s UK tour, the evangelist says he won’t let that stop him preaching the good news across the nation this summer.
All eight arenas have cancelled, citing the division that his appearance would cause, following concern linked to previous comments Graham has made about homosexuality.
However Franklin says they are now challenging that decision as he believes this has become a major Gospel freedom issue for the UK.
Franklin Graham has vowed to press on with his upcoming tour of the UK starting in May this year, following unprecedented cancellations of all eight city venues after opposition to his visit from a number of lobby groups including the LGBT community.
The US evangelist says the tour will go ahead and added they are taking legal action as this has now become a much wider issue:
“We did have a contract signed with these venues and they’ve breached the contract. I haven’t broken any laws and I’m not guilty of anything. So I think we just have to look at what our options are and realizing that even though we can find other venues, which we’ll do, I’m thinking of the church in the future. We need to do something to try to protect them.”
Many Christian groups have also highlighted the fact that the freedom to declare the Gospel is at stake in the UK at this time, including the Christian Institute’s Ciarán Kelly:
“Christians are right to be concerned when Franklin Graham or anyone else is prevented from sharing the Gospel. What he has said is mainstream Orthodox Christianity. He’s said that marriage is between a man and a woman. He has said there’s no place for sex outside of that marriage relationship. These are mainstream Christian beliefs that a few activists have tried to shutdown. So Christians are right to be concerned and they’re right to raise these concerns with the venues involved.
However a number of Christian leaders have also voiced concerns over the evangelist’s views like the Bishop of Sheffield who is encouraging churches not to attend saying his visit represents a risk to the social cohesion of our city”.
Liverpool based evangelist Liam Moore explains why he agrees.
“When Franklin Graham has been such a staunch support of President Trump and also as well a kind of controversial figure against LGBT community, I just don’t think it’s the right setting Liverpool Arena, you know it’s a diverse city.”
But Reuben Morley, Liverpool coordinator for the Franklin Tour says despite the challenges they’ve faced they are continuing to work alongside hundreds of local churches to mobilize Christians to reach this nation.
“We have classes taking place across this nation, courses that will train Christians in how to be an effective witness, how to share the Gospel confidently, how to follow up with new believers. We have many courses taking place across Liverpool but also in the eight cities. And we’re just excited for what God is going to do.”
About Franklin Graham
Franklin Graham is the oldest son of the late Ruth and Billy Graham. Like his father, Franklin Graham has devoted his life to proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He serves as President and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) and Samaritan’s Purse. He has spent the past three decades spreading the Good News by holding evangelistic Festivals across the U.S. and around the world.
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- Global News Alliance, Franklin Graham UK Tour Pushes Ahead Despite Major Venue Cancellations
- Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Official Website