Franklin Graham to tour Australia
Franklin Graham, son of legendary American evangelist Billy Graham is set to follow in his father’s footsteps on an Australian tour. Not everyone is happy with this news, however.
Set to take place in February 2019, Rev. Graham’s tour will take in many of the same locations where his late father’s legendary crusades rallies took place, including Perth, Darwin, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Sydney.
The tour marks the 60th anniversary of Billy Graham’s 1959 tour.
“I first went to Australia in 1975 with my good friend Bob Pierce, who founded Samaritan’s Purse,” Graham said in a statement on his website.
“Since then I’ve had the opportunity to preach in many locations across this incredibly beautiful nation. I’m looking forward to returning next year to share with the people of Australia that God loves them.”
Ridley College’s Dr Mike Bird is one prominent conservative evangelical scholar who says he will not attend Graham’s tour. Writing for the ABC’s Religion and Ethics blog, Dr Bird criticised Franklin Graham for his close relationship with US President Donald Trump.
Rev. Graham, Dr Bird argues, has “messianised” Trump and has been “idolatrous” in his devotion to the President:
Franklin Graham’s Christianity is thoroughly implicated in a particular political vision, a peculiar agglomeration of policies about America’s place in the world; it is tied to troubling form of pugnacious nationalism, centred on the anxieties of the white middle class, and seeks political influence at the expense of faithfulness to the gospel. Graham’s god looks like an apotheosized version of Ronald Reagan; his Jesus comes with an endorsement from the NRA; and his Holy Spirit is the presence of American military power in the world.
While Graham has been broadly supportive of Trump, he has criticised the President’s prior policy of separating children from their parents at the US border.
Billy Graham passed away earlier this year at the age of 99. He refused to endorse or support political candidates. This policy came about after he endorsed Richard Nixon as president: a decision the evangelist would go on to regret.
For more information about the 2019 Graham Tour of Australia, visit GrahamTour.com.au.
Image by Matt Johnson
Jonathan Foye is Insights’ Editor