More than 2,000 churches across the United Kingdom are cooperating with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association to share the Gospel in multiple cities this spring. That number has steadily increased in past weeks.
When Billy Graham made his first trip to the U.K. in 1954, many protested his visit, leaving Billy Graham to wonder if he would even be allowed off the ship after his transatlantic voyage. By the end of his time there, thousands had come to know Jesus Christ, and many today still share how God transformed their lives during those Crusades.
Now Franklin Graham plans to take the same Good News throughout Scotland and England beginning this May, and again protesters are threatening the outreach, specifically calling Franklin Graham’s Biblical views “hate speech.” Several venues have said they’re canceling.
In response, churches and everyday people from the U.K. have expressed their support of the eight-city Graham Tour, set to begin in Glasgow, Scotland, and end in London this October.
Here are some of their words of encouragement:
The importance of bringing Franklin Graham to Newport [near Cardiff] is not about hate but the absolute opposite. It is about the power of God’s love through Jesus Christ to rescue us from the power of darkness. … Imagine standing before God and saying, “I stopped people having the right to hear your message of the gospel. You sent your son but I stopped the people hearing the message.”
Read more from his letter to Jayne Bryant, a member of the Welsh Labour Party who called for Franklin Graham’s tour stop in Cardiff to be cancelled
On behalf of this nation, our church … wants to apologise to Franklin Graham and to ask for forgiveness for rejecting him and rejecting the standard of God he stands for. We choose to honour and welcome Franklin Graham into the UK, we choose to welcome the gospel he carries, and we choose to welcome God and His standard into this nation.
—Lydia and Jonathan
Covenant Fellowship Scotland, which represents hundreds of Church of Scotland ministers, elders and members across the country, believes the decision of the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) and its majority shareholder, Glasgow City Council, not to host the American evangelist Franklin Graham at the Hydro, to be deeply regrettable and alarming, and calls on all parties to reverse the decision in the name of religious tolerance and the right to freedom of speech and expression.
—Covenant Fellowship Scotland
Read more from their press statement
I am praying for Franklin’s trip to the UK that God will be glorified in this situation.
Franklin, I will pray intensely for you to preach the Gospel of Jesus in Europe, but this is extremely important! Please whatever you do, do not water down the Gospel in order to go to any of those places. The Holy Spirit will work in any place you go and it doesn’t have to be inside, just like your dad realized. A meeting can be in a tent or in a field. There are God’s people everywhere. … Jesus will show up no matter where you have the word of God being preached. … Remember to dust your feet off in that town where they won’t accept you, me or the Gospel and move on. “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town” (Matthew 10:14-15). Get a very spiritual team to go with you and be prepared for extreme spiritual warfare. We who support you will go with you as well. We are here for you.
Perhaps you should consider what John Wesley did—preach out in the nearby countryside. Cities tend (like the ancient city with the Tower of Babel) to nurture self-centeredness and the tendency to exalt man above God. If these venues do not repent, do not let that be a reason to not proclaim the Gospel in that vicinity. Personally, as one who has dealt with same-sex attraction … it was hiding God’s Word in my heart (from childhood) so that I might not sin against Him, that was my saving foundation.”
I listened to Franklin on Radio Scotland today and would like to add my name to any list supporting his visit to Glasgow. I have e-mailed [name omitted] and told him I strongly disagree with his protest, I’ve also called the venue who are reviewing Franklin’s visit. I am appalled and ashamed that a city who used to have a motto “Let Glasgow Flourish by the Preaching of The Word and the praising of His name” has come to this.
I have worked with both Franklin … and his late father Billy when he was last in Scotland. I drove him for the entire time he was in Aberdeen then took him and his wife to Glasgow for the mission at Parkhead football stadium. I must testify that these were the most blessed 8 days of my experience as a Christian. … I would pray that we commence some form of prayer chain for God to enable us to overcome this opposition amongst the … people in the UK. … We pray for progress and that God will lead and intervene in this Satanic attack of Christian work in this land once known as “the land of the book.” … God bless you all and praying for you.
Firstly to say how encouraged we were to see so many pastors and leaders attend the launch evening a few months back. … Clearly God is bringing the church together as we work towards the Graham Tour visiting Glasgow. … I am pleased to tell you the pastors and leaders we know are in full support of this event including all those in the Destiny Family.
—Destiny Church in Glasgow, Scotland
Read more from their open letter
Regarding the opposition you are facing in the UK. It reminded me of similar opposition that Reinhard Bonnke faced in Germany. … I am believing that your staff will be given strategies from heaven regarding the opposition in the UK. Those in the opposition are those that the Lord is drawing to Himself. May His Kingdom expand exponentially!
Writing from Glasgow in Scotland! I just want to say how much I was looking forward to Franklin coming to the UK and Scotland this year. I am apologising on behalf of many believers here who are being misrepresented by the media etc. We stand with what Franklin has said by simply sharing what is in the Bible, in love. Please join us in praying for those in this LGBT community that they would be led to Jesus who would then by the Holy Spirit convict them as he convicts us all in many ways! Also for our Scottish ministers who are condoning things that are unbiblical. We all need God’s wisdom constantly, for the rest of our life, so may we pray for that as well.
I want you to know that many thousands of UK Christians are praying for you at this time of unprecedented and unwarranted discrimination and persecution via effectively withdrawing free speech. Many are signing petitions but some of us are writing to our MPs [members of Parliament] too. … Keep on keeping on, dear brother. I owe your family SO much. My sister came to Christ through your Dad when she was in Cambridge. It was her witness that ultimately led me to repent and trust in Christ crucified and risen from the dead. … I stand with you dear brother, and so admire your stand.