I am interested in the life and ministry of Billy Graham. Even though I may not agree with some of his theology, at the same time I’ve seen him display a remarkable graciousness that I’m sure has alarmed his followers.
Barth liked him. Billy Graham and Barth had a meeting once when Graham was preaching a crusade in Europe. Barth enjoyed the conversation and respected the man. It was only when he went to hear him preach that he found his methods unsettling. Here’s the text from Eberhard Busch’s biography of Barth:
“The same frontier was evident in a conversation Barth had with Billy Graham, in August 1960. His son Markus brought them together in Valais. However, this meeting was also a friendly one. ‘He’s a “jolly good fellow”, with whom one can talk easily and openly; one has the impression that he is even capable of listening which is not always the case with such trumpeters of the gospel.’ Two weeks later Barth has the same good impression after a second meeting with Graham, this time at home in Basle. But, ‘it was very different when we went to hear him let loose in the St Jacob stadium that same evening and witnessed his influence on the masses.’ ‘I was quite horrified. He acted like a madman and what he presented was certainly not the gospel.’ ‘It was the gospel at gun-point . . . He preached the law, not a message to make one happy. He wanted to terrify people. Threats – they always make an impression. People would much rather be terrified than pleased. The more one heats up hell for them, the more they come running.’ But even this success did not justify such preaching. It was illegitimate to make the gospel law or ‘to “push” it like an article for sale . . . We must leave the good God freedom to do his own work’.”
But Franklin seems to be a whole other animal. Or apple. His recent attack on the LGBT community is a case in point. I do not hear grace in his voice, words, or actions.
So, hence the cartoon. Sometimes the apple can fall far from the tree.
Have you ever dreamed of becoming a patron of the arts? Help me out! Thanks.