A Conversation With Franklin Graham

By James Robison Published on January 6, 2017

This week, Stream founder James Robison got a chance to sit and speak with Franklin Graham about the election, the impact of Graham’s 50-state Decision America Tour and the only thing that can truly “Make America Great Again.”

James Robison: How did you see God’s hand in this election? Do you consider what happened in some way to be a miracle?

Franklin Graham: Yes, in my opinion I believe God’s hand was involved in this election. I base that on going to all 50 capital cities and seeing the hundreds of thousands of people who came to pray. They didn’t come to hear me preach — they came from across their state to pray. They stood in rain, in snow, in the heat of summer to pray — confessing the sins of our nation to God and asking for forgiveness. Confessing their personal sins and asking for forgiveness. They prayed that God would bless this nation and that this nation would be healed and turned around from the direction it was going. I asked these people to start prayer cells in each community — to come together to pray for this country.

Decision America Lansing MI - 600

I believe in this election God’s hand was behind the scenes. I don’t have emails to pull out. I don’t have any kind of proof — it’s just something I believe in my heart because I saw what was happening in every state, and I think it was just the tip of the iceberg of what was going on across this country. Everywhere I went, people sensed that we were going the wrong direction and only God could turn it around. It wasn’t the Democrats or the Republicans that could save America, it wasn’t Donald Trump who could save America. Only God could do it.

James: I think it is not best for church leaders to endorse political parties or candidates, but to endorse biblical principles of truth — freedom’s principles. I have found that this approach keeps all candidates interested in what I might share and my prayers. It doesn’t cut them off from the biblical principles we try to uphold. Would you agree that this is a wise approach for most church leaders?

Franklin: Well, I think every person needs to make up their mind on it. For me, James, this past year when we went to all 50 capital cities, I would not endorse a candidate. When we started, the Republicans had more than 15 candidates, and I did not come out and endorse any of them. I think the Democrats had three at that time.

When it just came down to two candidates, I still did not endorse either of them. I did remind people as they considered who to vote for, that this election was not about bad language, it wasn’t about missing emails. That’s what the media wanted us to think. I stated that this election was far more important because it was about the Supreme Court. The next president was going to nominate a Supreme Court justice within a few days after taking office — and may get to nominate as many as five justices, depending on how many years they serve.

I reminded people to pray before they voted. But I would not endorse a candidate because I agree with you that I wanted to have the door open to talk to people who may be from a different persuasion than I am. I want them to be able to listen to me.

James: What did you learn from your dad about relating to political leaders, and is your approach similar or different?

Franklin: I think my approach might be different in the sense that we live in a different day. We are in a fierce culture war and it is having a negative effect, and even weakening the church. I am calling on pastors to stand strong and be faithful to the Word of God. America is a totally different country than it was even 10 years ago. The digital age has changed this country. The way we communicate has changed. You can reach more people on Facebook in one day than you can if you are on one of the major networks on a program. The ability to communicate with people is totally different today.

I think if God gives us an opportunity to communicate with any politician or government leader, we are there for a reason — and that is to be able to share the Word of God and let the politician know, “Thus saith the Lord.” If we don’t do that, I think we’ve failed.

James: Many Americans say “God bless America” almost as a closing statement or comment. Do you think that we Americans can expect God to bless America if we continue to hasten to shed innocent blood as it relates to abortion?

Franklin: No, I don’t — especially not long-term. I am hoping and praying that Donald Trump will appoint judges to the bench who will take a stand against abortion and that we can eventually see Roe v. Wade reversed. It’s going to take prayer because there will be a lot of pressure on President-elect Trump to nominate justices who will have different opinions and who might be soft on this issue. I believe God can bless America if America is moving in the right direction to correct the sins of its past.

There’s only One who can ultimately make America great again, and it’s not a political party or a politician — it is Almighty God.

James: Many cabinet nominees are being criticized by major media and the population because they have a gift that has enabled them to be productive and fruitful. Do you think they are assuming a risk to accept a position at this time when there is such intense animosity that they may have to engage in legal battles just to defend themselves? How do you feel about this situation, and how do we pray for them?

Franklin: If you accept any position in this Administration, you’re going to be attacked because the liberal left has an agenda. Right now, that agenda is being interrupted by Donald Trump. If they had won this election with Hillary Clinton, they would have been able to accomplish what they did not accomplish during the Obama administration. We need to pray for these cabinet members — that they will be strong and not give in, and that the president and vice president will not give in, but will stay strong and focused on making this country great again.

James: I think it is important that people understand you are referring to a very liberal left with a progressive secular agenda that is really anti-God. No matter how much they talk about God, they are committed to undermine the Constitution and the intention of the Founders, as well as the foundation stones of freedom. The hedge of truth must be put back in place. We are in a spiritual battle: light vs. dark, good vs. evil. As Christians, we must express truth with unconditional love, while not compromising the unshakable truths of God.

As it relates to making America great again, how do you think this can be accomplished?

Franklin: There’s only One who can ultimately make America great again, and it’s not a political party or a politician — it is Almighty God. For that to happen we need to do what God tells us in His Word: “If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” We need to turn back to Him. Instead of taking God out of things, we need His help and His wisdom. We need to pray every day for our leaders in Washington, that our new president and vice president will look to Him for wisdom and direction.

Making this country great again means returning to the foundations that this nation was built upon. The church had a huge part in these foundations. A hundred years ago, if a person was sick they went to a Presbyterian hospital in their community, or a Baptist, or a Catholic hospital, and if they couldn’t pay it was taken care of by the church. If your house burned down and you needed a place to go, you didn’t go to a local shelter — you went to the church. They would find someone in the community who could take care of you until you could get back on your feet again.

My prayer is also that the new president will empower the churches to once again take more responsibility in caring for the poor and the sick. Let the government focus on building the infrastructure we need to take care of our military and protect our borders, etc.

James: I don’t think we address any serious problem effectively without a compassion connection. You and I have worked alongside one another all over the world in difficult places and have seen what the power of love and compassion has done.

Franklin, you recently spoke at Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, about the responsibility of following Christ. Can you share how we as believers can assume our responsibility with greater commitment to kingdom purpose?

Franklin: The most important thing for all believers to remember is this: The gospel has been entrusted to us. Jesus’ last command was to go into all nations and make disciples, “baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” We have a responsibility to take this gospel message to this generation. It’s the most important thing on our agenda.

I don’t want churches or individuals to think politics is the most important thing. Let the politicians do what they do. Let’s try to influence them, let’s give them advice from the Bible — but let’s not get distracted from what God has called us to do, and that is to tell a sin-sick world that our only hope is the Lord Jesus Christ. He took our sins to the Cross, He died on the Cross, He was buried on our sins — but on the third day, God raised His Son to life, and Jesus is alive and coming back soon! We need to do all we can to tell this world what God has done for us and what Jesus has done on the cross to the best of our strength and ability that God has given us.

James: What I hear you saying to the church is that it’s time for Christians to start doing what He left us here to do. The problem is not with the harvest. Jesus said, “The fields are white unto harvest.” The problem is getting Christians to go forth as faithful witnesses. Pray the Lord will send out more laborers into the field. We must share God’s transforming truth in love because the harvest fields are ripe!

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  • WakeUp

    We respect both pastors whose views are revealed in this article. They have faith in God that is a gift from God.

    Other Christians also have faith that is a gift from God. Not just these two. Not just pastors and preachers. Not just denomination leaders. And certainly not just particular denominations. AND VERY CERTAINLY not just Protestant Evangelicals.

    Christians must share their stories of faith equally and mutually. We must be open to hear the diversity of experiences that each and every Christian brings into the conversation about our faith. That is how we allow the Holy Spirit to bring us into unity. NOT by authoritarianism. NOT by political power. NOT by ignorance or prejudice.

    We respectfully challenge some ideas in the article and ask the gentleman to respond:

    Speaking about wealthy and super-wealthy people in the new Administration:
    QUOTE
    they have a gift that has enabled them to be productive and fruitful
    UNQUOTE

    BUT all gifts from God are to be offered for God’s purposes rather than for selfish purposes. For example Mr Trump has a gift to convince people to buy things that they do not need that are over-priced and has a gift of saying one thing one day and the opposite thing the next day. Are those gifts from God? How are these gifts responsive to God’s purposes? How are we to know if they are used to Godly purposes or for selfish purposes when he has not released tax returns that he promised to release?

    Speaking about abortion:
    QUOTE
    I believe God can bless America if America is moving in the right direction to correct the sins of its past.
    UNQUOTE

    BUT why have you not spoken at all about the pervasive historical sin of America: White Supremacy. White Supremacy ideas and values – which are idolatry against God’s sovereignty! – have been put into American, state, and local laws and policies, American, state, and local social structures (schools and colleges – public and private and religious, hospitals – public and private and religious, libraries, voting procedures, banks and financing, law enforcement, etc … even movie theaters, golf courses, barber shops, etc ….) for hundreds of years! THIS IS SURELY the greatest, most persistent, most pervasive SIN OF AMERICA! You have not discussed the at all! Why?

    Speaking about using political power:
    QUOTE
    the new president will empower the churches to once again take more responsibility in caring for the poor and the sick
    UNQUOTE

    BUT ‘establishing’ political power through any particular religious establishment is UN-CONSTITIONAL! Surely you must mean to say that ‘the new president will empower the churches, the Hindu and other temples, the mosques, the synagogues and Jewish temple, the Unitarian congregations, the Buddhist assemblies etc … to once again take more responsibility in caring’? Or do you mean that the new president should abandon the Constitution?

    Or what do you mean?

    We are well informed about the history of the early Christian communities in the ancient world. We know that the evidence shows that one reason for the Roman oppression of early Christian communities is that many set up charitable services that became a powerful base of support that some Roman leaders thought a challenge to their authority. AND, that eventually, by the time of Emperor Constantine, there were so many Christians – who had been over the previous century actively converting among slaves, working classes, and also noble classes – who had set up so many important social care institutions – that the Christians were asked to become a recognized part of social authority.

    Are you seeking to abandon the Constitution and set up Trump as Emperor, who would make you the leaders of a state religion? And what do you think would happen if you tried to do that?

    • FO

      Disclaimer, I am not white. With that said, as someone who grew up in a so called tyranny, I do not believe that DT administration will be “emperor” like. You have valid points, but also seem to neglect the bigger picture. To me personally, the election is about what can be passed down to our next generations. Obama administration, together with democrats, have robbed us the very value that is dear to the American.people. Additionally, the increased influx of the people from the islamic nations are dangerous for the future of the country, to put it mildly. At the end of the day, I, as a Christian, can no longer side with the democratic party, as they have chosen their values which are not corresponds with the Christian values. Republicans are also corrupt to a certain degree, but the values that they hold are still closer to my Christian values.

      • WakeUp

        Thank you. We appreciate your kind care in responding and responding in a personally authentic way (unlike the stupid name calling and blah blah blah in most blogging).

        I was raised – in rural Southern America, not distant from the formal White Supremacy of ‘whites only’ signs – in a rural church with plain farming folks. Our nearest neighbor were a Black family who had to work hard on their land just as we had to work hard on our land. Sometimes we did things together: getting the hay in before a thunderstorm, etc. If our Black neighbors were hired to help they were paid exactly the same as anyone else; White and Black guys worked hard together, sweating together, drank from the same water bucket and we all ate the same bologna and mustard sandwiches! So I did see, from a young age, the structures of White Supremacy and was taught the Constitutional values of treating people equally and the Godly values of treating each person as God’d dear child, made in God’s image.

        So, from these Constitutional and Godly convictions I cannot endorse your statement of ‘belief’ which you portray as ‘fact’:

        QUOTE
        increased influx of the people from the islamic nations are dangerous for the future of the country
        UNQUOTE

        FACTUALLY, the country has accommodated many waves of new immigrants with new values. These waves often confronted irrational prejudice. e.g. Quakers – who were among the early advocates for treating slaves with Christian compassion and abolishing slavery – were treated as seditious. Roman Catholics were accused of secretly feeling to overthrow America, especially when they worshipped in a FOREIGN LANGUAGE, Latin. During the run up to WW1 German-speaking Americans were ‘registered’ by the government! and in one known case a man who offered a prayer in German language to a dying old woman was take to court as a ‘spy’. Many German-Americans were tarred and feathered. Do I need to tell you how Blacks have been treated? Or Chinese? or others! Not the mention that the Mormons were subjected to such wild claims and violence that they had to flee into the desert of the Great Basin!

        To BE SURE that White Supremacy – an irrational prejudice! – and a grotesque idolatry against God! – has NOT PART of any decision making about law and policy we MUST examine this history in America. We implore you, your family, and your church to do!

        We have many Black friends who support the Republican ticket each election: here in Virginia are many very traditional Black families/communities who still respect the Republican Party for Lincoln’s Emancipation. Juneteenth is important. THEY – and WE – pray that Mr Trump will succeed with strengthening the health, wellbeing, and safety of the US FOR EACH AND ALL AMERICANS! White Supremacy can have NO PLACE in the Trump Administration for that to be so. We’ve heard Trump and that Administration claim that ‘it’ll be GREAT’ for all Americans! And they say so for Black and Brown and other Color Americans! THEY MUST PROVE that they are telling the truth! We are glad to wait to see. But things are not looking good because of the bold-face LIES, ignorant tweets, and deceptions, distractions and FAKE NEWS coming out of their camp!

        AND ESPECIALLY because Putin is a GREAT SOVIET SATAN; he is a $70Billionaire who cares nothing for his own people, really; he invades other countries and steals what is not his; he oppresses Christians and Jews and others.

        • FO

          Hi, as I mentioned, you did have some valid points (such as white supremacy), however the number of whites that still fall under the supremacies are not big by any means. On the other hand, the increase of islam around the world cannot be ignored and poses a much greater danger. Over the last 20-30 yrs, Europe has received a large number of refugee/immigrant from islamic nations, and they started seeing the result of those influx. In the US, Obama has accelerated those process as well, and before you know it, they will grow in numbers and exceed those of even hispanics, may be in a couple of generations. I for one, are not categorizing islam with other religions such as christianity, jewish, hindu, budha, take your pick, as I’ve lived under one as minority. Also, please name any country where islam is the majority where there is a free speech. There is none, and the reason is when it became the majority, it will want to impose sharia law or to a minimal degree, democracy with sharia law in place.

          I am not saying that DT is a good guy, but given the available choice, I will still go with him, as the other option will result in a faster destruction to the country. Unfortunately, we have no mother Teresa running for president.

      • HomerTh

        Well FO, it is certainly clear that your values match those of the racist, bigoted Republican who just got elected.

        • FO

          Why don’t you let go your american citizenship, apply for an Iranian citizenship, be there for a decade, come back and let me know if you still have the same perspective or not. You can talk all you want, but until then, it is a moot point.

          • HomerTh

            You sort of people always enjoy telling people to leave the country.

          • FO

            Nothing like 1st hand experience when your life depend on it. In my experience, majority of people that accused others of being bigots, racists are themselves all of the above.

          • HomerTh

            As a gay man, one who has dated men of various races (although the whole concept of race is an artificial construct that is really meaningless in terms of the DNA we possess), who works as an anthropologist, I find it amusing that you think I am a racist.

          • ewe …

            Why don’t you take your own advice and book it on outta here.

      • Sonnys_Mom

        Rev. Franklin, being a minister, is not directly involved with the political side if things. As you may know, his work is largely humanitarian through the worldwide Christian charity, Samaritan’s Purse. I think this accounts for his comments downplaying the importance of political action.

        • FO

          I agree. I was responding to someone whose comments is now deleted.

      • ewe …

        You are a self centered egomaniac that thinks your delusions are for everyone .

  • hdtex

    Dear lord, please deliver us from this man who has never had a sex scandal in his entire political career or life, with his lovely family and give unto us the pussy-grabbing adulterer. In Jesus name we pray. Checks, Visa, MC, AMEX accepted.

  • Rob T

    The main thing here seems to be Franklin Graham glorifying his ego by explaining how much pull he has with God.

    • WakeUp

      Well we have a VERY CLEAR TESTIMONY DIRECTLY FROM the LORD JESUS CHRIST about what Jesus had to say about such self-righteous, power-mad, morally-compromised ‘leaders’.

  • HomerTh

    Oh yes, Franklin Graham’s god picked a man who boasted about sexually assaulting women, cheated on his first two wives, refuses to pay contractors, and has a bizarre hairdo. Ummmmm… really? What a nice god. Just lovely.

    • faithntrust

      Compared to Bill & Hilary Clinton (if we are into comparisons) PEOTUS Donald Trump is an altar-boy! Now, Homer, tell us all about God’s pick in Adam, Noah, Abraham, Samson, David, etc.

      • ewe …

        It’s called storybook fantasy

      • Michael Hampton

        He embodies sloth, greed, pride, envy, gluttony, and wrath and lust on a daily basis.

        • ewe …

          Franklin graham certainly does.

    • ewe …

      It does make perfect sense to me that the gODD of Franklin graham is evil. Franklin graham and Donald tRUMP are bothe the resulting spoiled spawn of evil men who ripped people off. Of course they relate to one another’s. They are dispicable people.

      • Red Ruffensor

        Hey, I’m a despicable person, and I don’t appreciate being associated with these guys.

        • ewe …

          I take it you are making a funny?

          • Red Ruffensor

            Mostly, but I can get a little despicable at times. . .

  • Red Ruffensor

    The Lord works in mysterious ways, considering the way he got Vladimir Putin to influence the election.

    • Liz Litts

      Go ajust your tinfoil hat

      • Red Ruffensor

        Me? Tinfoil hat? That’s a hot one!

  • ewe …

    Crackpot

  • Liz Litts

    I have never seen such an army of trolls in my life. Apparently none of you believe that God can change people , nor do you have the faith to believe that no matter who is the President Jesus is still king. Also you seem to hate the fact that God is in the business of changing hearts and minds—with out your permission I might add. He sit in Heaven and laughs(See Psalm 2) . God is always in control and he does not work on our agenda–and with out our approval . Deal with it!

    • Red Ruffensor

      It’s hard to take God seriously when he has PR men such as this one.

    • Reasonable?

      Lez, your attention to the girls in the youth group is a well known secret.

    • ewe …

      You are seriously deranged

  • ewe …

    What would these heathens do without stupid people? Ching Ching!

  • Michael Hampton

    Grifters are gonna grift. I guess the most important thing Franklin learned from his father is how to get dumb and easily frightened people to fork over their hard earned money to a charlatan and how to not have to pay any taxes on those ill-gotten gains.

  • Reasonable?

    The Stream. Oh, I get it. It’s a site for water sports enthusiasts.

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