Tullian Tchividjian (pronounced cha-vi-jin) is the senior pastor of the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and author of One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World. He was recently interviewed on “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV talking religion and politics.
He is also the grandson of Billy Graham who has been preaching the gospel worldwide since the late 1940s. The elder Graham gained recognition when William Randolph Hearst sent a memo to his newspaper editors to “puff Graham.”1 Hearst had liked Graham’s anti-communist message. But for Graham it was more than anti-communism, it was anti-godless communism.
Graham also led the fight against racial discrimination, which was also a political move.
“During the civil rights movement, he began to support integrated seating for his revivals and crusades; in 1957 he invited Martin Luther King, Jr. to preach jointly at a revival in New York City, where they appeared together at Madison Square Garden, and bailed the minister out of jail in the 1960s when he was arrested in demonstrations.”
Billy Graham saw that there was a relationship between the Christian faith and everything else. Politics is certainly not the priority, but it does come under the impact of the gospel. A changed life should manifest itself into every area of life.
Tchividjian told Malzberg:
“The church got off track . . . the evangelical church, by becoming so associated with politics, and specifically conservative politics. Conservative’s fine but the church became so associated, the evangelical, [with] the Moral Majority and the Religious Right, that they made a lot of enemies and one of the reasons they made those enemies is because they got off message.”
Does Tchividjian think Christians should associate themselves with liberal politics for balance or not to be involved politically in any way?
Jesus made a lot of enemies, so much so that religious interests worked overtime to have Him murdered by the State (John 19:7, 15). They had even tried to do it themselves (Matt 12:14; John 8:59; 10:31; 11:8).
Our present government is enslaving the people through corrupt economic policies, supporting the killing of unborn babies, and promoting the civilization-destroying lifestyle of homosexuality. How can the church remain silent when the Bible is not silent on these issues?
Is it too much to ask the ministers of the gospel to inform their congregations on what the Bible says about political arrogance (e.g., 1 Sam. 8)? I realize that many people have personal problems that need attention, but ignoring these national problems can have a devastating impact on the nation as a whole that could dwarf personal problems.
Look what’s happening to the minority Christian population in a Muslim nation like Egypt. “Dozens of Coptic homes and businesses were . . . attacked, looted, and torched. In the Sinai, a young Coptic priest was shot dead in front of his church, while the body of Magdy Lam’i Habib, a Copt, was found mutilated and beheaded. Four other Christians were slaughtered by Muslims in Luxor province. Whole towns and villages have been emptied of Copts, including more than 100 Christian families from El Arish in the terror-infested Sinai.”
Tchividjian said that the “church needs to be a place where we hear once again that Jesus has come to do for bedraggled train wrecks like me . . . what I could never do for myself.” Then what? After this message is embraced, what does a church-going member do for the next 40 or more years of his life?
- Marshall Frady, Billy Graham: A Parable of American Righteousness (Boston: Little, Brown, 1979), 201. [↩]