There is a kerfuffle about Franklin Graham being excluded from some upcoming government-sponsored events because of his criticism of Islam as “evil” (not my scare quotes; I unequivocally believe in evil). For instance, testosterone-crazed Doug Giles rails here against the political correctness of it all.
I doubt not that Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse is a reputable enough charity, but the younger generation Graham, like the younger generation Frank Schaeffer, far surpasses his father in delusions that he has been given a prophet’s mantle, rather than the more modest platform of an evangelist. His mouth too frequently shoots off about matters of which he is ignorant.
He has, for instance, gently calumniated Orthodox Christianity, as in his 2007 Ukraine crusade, with charges of which it is entirely innocent. The gist was that the Orthodox Church, despite its antiquity and grandeur, doesn’t teach a personal relationship with Christ. (I believe, but cannot track down, that he has said much worse of Orthodoxy in the past.)
His comments about Islam are certainly undiplomatic. I’ll leave it to others to debate whether Islam is evil – the kinds of people who get suckered into other debates where the key terms are too equivocal to invite anything more than a shouting match. But on Orthodoxy, Graham is deeply wrong. As is so often the case, Father Stephen Freeman says it better than I:
The salvation into which we are Baptized is a new life – no longer defined by the mere existence of myself as an individual – but rather by the radical freedom of love within the Body of Christ. To accept Christ as our “personal” savior, thus can be translated into its traditional Orthodox form: “Do you unite yourself to Christ?” And this question is more fully expounded when we understand that the Christ to whom we unite ourself is a many-membered body.
Read the whole article.