As Americans gather with their families to celebrate Christmas, the Rev. Franklin Graham decries the continuing cultural “war” against Christ and his believers.
The campaign against Christianity rages “not just in America, but in many countries around the world,” the noted evangelist and son of world-renowned preacher Billy Graham declares during an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV.
Also during his Christmas message to America via Newsmax, Graham reveals that his inspirational father fully intends to return to the pulpit. The last time the elder Graham preached was in July 2006, during a revival at Baltimore’s Camden Yards. But Franklin says his father’s joy during the Christmas season remains undiminished.
“My father loves Christmas because we’re celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, and my father, his entire life has been about sharing this wonderful message of God’s love for the world,” he says.
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That love is lost on much of the world, Franklin says. “Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ,” he says. “And Christians around the world want to celebrate that. And yet the secularists are wanting to take Christ out of our society, take him out of any public event.”
Graham also strongly chastised the U.S. military, which has restricted Christians displays of faith.
“Chaplains in the United States military are not allowed to pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Isn’t that a shame that a chaplain in the Christian faith is not allowed to pray in the name of Christ? So yes, there is a war, no question about it.”
Franklin Graham himself has felt the sting of the hostility, when Pentagon officials excluded him from participation in this year’s National Day of Prayer event, citing his controversial comments about the dangers of radical Islam.
Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, also heads Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief organization that distributes Christmas presents to 8 million children in 110 countries.
“Christmas is about God’s son, Jesus Christ, coming to this earth,” he says. “The Bible says that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosover believeth on him shouldn’t perish, but have eternal life. Christmas is about God’s love. And that hasn’t changed.”
However, Graham acknowledges, Christmas has become increasingly commercialized.
“We spend a lot of time going to stores or shopping, giving gifts, exchanging gifts. But we do that because we are reminded of the greatest gift that has been given, and that is God giving his son to take our sins . . . He can come into each and every heart that invites him. And so Christmas is about God’s love for us.”
As for his world-renowned father, Graham says: “My father at 92 still has the desire to preach. And he’s hoping to preach one more time this next year. And we’re working to get him to hopefully get him enough strength where he can do that.”
Billy Graham still shares “God’s love with everyone who will listen,” Franklin says. But the elder Graham, whose sermons have been viewed in person by an estimated 215 million people, deeply misses his wife, Ruth, who died in June 2007.
“He misses my mother, and she was such a big part of his life,” the younger Graham tells Newsmax. “She passed away three years ago. And he knows that it won’t be long that he will join her in heaven in the presence of almighty God.”
Other highlights from Franklin Graham’s Newsmax interview: