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THE GRAHAMS, GOLF AND THE GOOD NEWS

By July 22, 2015 10 Comments

GRAHAMS GOLF AND GOSPELWhat would Billy  Graham say about same-sex marriage, same-sex Christians, Muslim immigrants or Obama’s religious orientation?

His son, Franklin, has made his opinions imperfectly clear.

The younger Graham had the entire LGBTQ community incensed because of his “Christian” stance against same-sex marriage and same-sex anything. He inflamed the Christian community because of his “un-Christian” stance on banning Muslim immigrants from America.

Give him credit – he accomplished a phenomenal amount of agitation in a short amount of time.

BILLY GRAHAM AND THE GOOD NEWS

Franklin’s father refused to be marginalized by becoming a lightening rod for moral issues like the pro-choice movement and segregation or spiritual issues like speaking in tongues.

Billy Graham was focused on preaching the Good News of Jesus. That didn’t mean he shied away from controversial subjects like judgement and hell fire but at least he didn’t intentionally set anybody’s hair on fire.

He was a confidant/confessor of American Presidents and was equally welcomed in capitalist and Communist countries. He was the unofficial chaplain to the nation’s power brokers. While the elder Graham didn’t have Social Media to reckon with, newspapers and books were largely Graham-friendly. William Randolph Hearst, the 1950’s media mogul, instructed his reporters to “puff” Graham and the resultant exposure made him a national and eventually an international figure.

Why?

Maybe it was his golf game.

graham golf4BILLY GRAHAM AND GOLF

Graham golfed with many of the U.S. presidents: Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, etc. Golf brought them together. In 1968 Billy Graham wrote a tract called “God and Golf.”

He was even made an honorary chaplain of a golf club in North Carolina.

Graham could be called “an evangelist” for golf – “There’s no game which opens a man’s personal life like golf. It illustrates an individual’s honesty, integrity, intelligence, and character. Golf demands control of temper, concentration, and integrity. You can tell a lot about a person by playing a round of golf with him. In golf, you cope with the same troubles as you do in life.”

graham golf3

NOT HIS FATHER’S GOLFING PARTNER

Franklin doesn’t like golf.

That may be one of the subtler ways he is at variance with his dad, and that may explain a lot. Franklin often sites the belief that his dad would be taking on the social issues of our day if this were his day. Franklin said, “…if my father were a younger man, he would be addressing and speaking out in the exact same way I’m speaking out on them.”

The jury’s out on that one.

In 1960, faced with the possibility of the nation’s first Roman Catholic president in John F. Kennedy, Graham at first helped Norman Vincent Peale mobilize Protestant leaders for Richard Nixon, but insisted on staying behind the scenes.

Then, 10 days before the Kennedy inauguration, he accepted an invitation to play golf with the president-elect in Palm Springs, telling a group of reporters, “I don’t think Mr. Kennedy’s being a Catholic should be held against him by any Protestant.”

graham golf kennedyTHE GRAHAMS, GOD AND THE GOOD NEWS

How would Dr. Graham address the divisive social and moral issues of our day? How would he engage CEO’s or the President?

Might the evangelist Graham play a round of golf with the President and talk about the obstacles, struggles, victories, conflicts, and blessings of life through faith in Jesus Christ?

Fore!

APPLICATION: Please leave a comment below. Thank you.


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Bob Jones

Author Bob Jones

Pastor at North Pointe Community Church for 27 years. Happily married to Jocelyn for 38 years. We have two adult sons, Cory and his wife Lynsey and their son Vinnie; Jean Marc and his wife Angie and their three gorgeous daughters, Quinn, Lena and Annora. I love being a pastor and inspiring faith in Jesus through communicating, blogging, counseling and coaching. I enjoy running, reading, writing and ball hockey. Fan of the Esks and Pats. Follow me on Twitter @bobjones49ers

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Join the discussion 10 Comments

  • Emmanuel Fonte says:

    Well played…

  • bob jones says:

    Gotta play the ball where it lies…

  • Emmanuel Fonte says:

    even better play!

  • bob jones says:

    If you’re in town this summer we should play 18.

  • Gary Myers says:

    Unfortunately, Franklin comes off as a little green compared to his dad. He seems frequently to be teed-off about something – drives me crazy. But seriously, it’s unfortunate that he has never learned that our focus must be on Christ, not politics; our home is in Eternity, not the USA; and our attempts to establish Christian morals in people without Christ, are counter-productive at best, and out-right sin at worst.
    Let’s pray that Franklin focuses on bring people to the Kingdom of God, rather than bringing the Kingdom of God to America.

  • bob jones says:

    Good golfing terms in your comment, Gary! And good focus on the Gospel.

    I admire Franklin and the good he has done for the Kingdom. Hopefully we can all admire Christians with feet of clay, just like mine. One thing about Franklin, he has engaged Social Media for good or bad. He comments everyday on something and generates a lot of conversation – wow dos he generate a lot.

    I like Billy Graham’s singular focus on the Gospel. For some, they saw it as avoidance. Some said a lack of courage. Sometimes it takes more courage to be misunderstood by influential people so you can be understood by those who need your influence the most. Jesus came to serve the “sick,” not the “healthy” ones of his day.

    That landed Him in the rough a lot.

  • Gary Myers says:

    You’re right, Bob, Franklin clearly loves God and loves people and has done a lot of good things for both. I tend to be rather critical of Christians who are outspoken and who steer the conversation away from Christ. I hope other people are not as critical of me as I am of them.
    For now, I’ll keep my trap shut, my head down, and try not to create any hazards for my readers.

  • bob jones says:

    We could probably putter around all day on this course of conversation. Good that you aren’t wedged into an unplayable position. Keep your eye on the ball!

  • Sheila Parlby says:

    Hi Bob,

    I do not generally respond to internet blogs as I increasingly prefer to keep
    my thoughts to myself. Iam tending to become more self conscious as I get older.
    However, I find Gary’s remarks rather callous or perhaps self-righteous is closer to the
    mark. Billy and Franklin are both Christian warriors fighting their
    respective battles in different times. Had I responded to Gary it would
    have been as follows:

    Sometimes it’s tempting for a spectator or a caddie to criticize or question a player’s
    performance or his choice of clubs. As the course changes, players must
    adapt or lose the game. Those who Billy played may have been more
    receptive to his life’s devotion. The recent release of a video allegedly
    showing Planned Parenthood officials eating salad as they haggled and bartered
    over the prices of baby parts makes me wonder if perhaps Billy shouldn’t have
    tried swinging a little harder and risking the occasional divot. I admire
    the work that both father and son have set out to accomplish. Both, I
    think, have led their share of searchers to God and will be rewarded when they
    complete the course.

    Cheers,

    Murray

  • bob jones says:

    Murray, thank you for stepping out of your comfort zone and entering the conversation. I love the way you continued the “golf” theme with your writing. Fully agree with your point on the Grahams and their personal influence for the Gospel.
    I hope you’ll step back in on future posts!

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