April 12, 2020 | Reading Time: 2 minutes
A believer explains why Franklin Graham is anti-Jesus
I know the Easter holiday is winding down, but I wanted to share this letter before it came to an end. Ibukun Olumuyiwa is a subscriber to the Editorial Board. He’s also a man of the Christian faith, a believer. He wrote in response to Wednesday’s edition in which I said that Franklin Graham and…
I know the Easter holiday is winding down, but I wanted to share this letter before it came to an end. Ibukun Olumuyiwa is a subscriber to the Editorial Board. He’s also a man of the Christian faith, a believer. He wrote in response to Wednesday’s edition in which I said that Franklin Graham and other white evangelical Christians who are the president’s strongest supporters are not only anti-moral but also anti-Jesus Christ.
I made this argument not as someone who believes in Jesus as the son of God and the savior of mankind, but someone who does indeed believe in Jesus’ teachings in which equality between and among human beings, and the love and respect our humanness alone can elicit between us, can be, when they’re put in action, an embodied holiness.
I suspect that Ibukun and I would disagree in theistic terms, but we apparently agree as to why Franklin Graham and his ilk are anti-Jesus Christ. Ibukun’s letter below is a great example of how much richer the debate over religion and politics is when it isn’t refereed by a press corps that tends to minimize complexity and maximize conflict.
Many thanks to Ibukun for permission to republish his letter. Stress below is mine.
Your initial statement is correct, but not for the reasons you specified in your article.
Franklin Graham is anti-Jesus because his statement about the pandemic being punishment from God upon the world is, on its face, an outright rejection of Jesus Christ himself.
Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. The Bible says in 1 John 2:2 that Jesus was the full payment for the sins of everyone, believers and unbelievers—the whole world. Biblically speaking, sin is no longer the issue between God and humanity, because Jesus has already paid the price for all of it.
The only question is whether humanity accepts that substitute payment by believing in Jesus Christ. Does that mean God is OK with sin? Certainly not, because otherwise a sacrifice for sin would not have been necessary in the first place. Certainly He wants us to be like Himself, holy and blameless, free from evil ways. But the point is that a God who is Love himself and paid the ultimate sacrifice to reconcile all people to himself would not then turn disease on the world as punishment.
Why would there be further punishment if the ultimate sacrifice has already been paid? God cannot force anyone to accept His Son, but the gift of salvation is always offered freely. Regardless, we live in a world that is the way it is, and evil that we see in the world is either natural, a product of men’s machinations, or the work of Satan. It is never from God, who wants nothing but for all men to be saved, always.
So therefore, it follows that anybody claiming that God is punishing the world for something He doesn’t like is ipso facto stating that Jesus is not enough, and the terrible price he paid was still insufficient, and his entire sojourn on earth was a waste of time.
It is not Biblical, and it is anti-Jesus.
It is an especially grotesque statement to make in the season when we remember His suffering, death and resurrection.
Blessings to you, brother,
I’m lifting the paywall for the duration of the pandemic.
I think that’s the right thing to do.
Another right thing to do? Subscribing! Or tipping! Thanks! —JS
John Stoehr is the editor of the Editorial Board. He writes the daily edition. Find him @johnastoehr.