By David Tulis / Noogaradio 1240 AM 92.7 FM
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Evangelist Franklin Graham spoke Monday in Chattanooga to a crowd of 2,000 that rallied in a park along the river as part of his Decision America tour through Tennessee.
The son of famed evangelist Billy Graham presented the enthusiastic audience with a biblical analysis of the U.S. cultural decline, the fruits, he argued of de-Christianization of the country. Graham proposed Godly remedies for the country.
Graham will be in Clarksville May 18, Jackson May 19 and Memphis May 21.
A rock band, the Afters, gave a popular flavor to the gathering with its thundering technical effects and appeals to emotion. The raising of hand in the air, palms open to the sky, during the musical prelude indicated nearly everyone present was a practicing Christian.
“Father, I pray that you would forgive the sins of our country, that you would heal our country, that you would bring us together spiritually, morally, politically at every level. But Father, it’s not going to happen unless we repent of our sins as a nation and turn to you and to your son, Jesus Christ,” Graham said.
He prayed for “this community, the political leadership of this community, for the state, we pray for the governor, for all those in leadership here. . . We pray for the president, for all those in authority in Washington,” including the federal congress. “We pray that you bring unity and healing to all our politicians. We thank you for your church.”
He invited the audience to pray among themselves over the sins of “the nation.”
Graham presented a talk is much like his famous father’s, bent upon the individual soul. His presentation contrasted the fruits of the fall — abortion, cheating on one’s spouse, thievery, pornography (hit twice) — with the promise of forgiveness and life eternal in God’s graces.
He laid out the plan of salvation.
“God wants to forgive you, he wants to heal your heart. You can have a new life and a new beginning, and tonight I am going to give you an opportunity to open up your heart to say yes to God and to invite his son Jesus Christ into your life,” the evangelist said.
Graham also compared the non-believer to a person flying an airplane without instrumentation, suggesting that as pilots in a fog don’t know up from down, so, too, are human beings disoriented and set to crash when they reject God.
He cited the encounter between the Lord Jesus and the blind man, Bartimaeus, who cried out for Jesus to heal him, as recorded in the 10th chapter of Mark.
He also pointedly criticized the poison of political correctness that has infected the house of God.
“Many Christians today are in churches that are in a spiritual fog, and they don’t know it. They are being blinded by the godless, corrupt culture of tolerance and political correctness. It has destroyed our churches. Christians are trusting in their feelings today instead of trusting in the God of the Bible,” Graham said.
The instrument God gives people his the holy Word, the 10 commandments, which he said “are the same, yesterday, today, tomorrow, a million years from now. His standards are the same.”
“God is a God of love — but He is also a God of judgment.” Others will get hurt, he told the crowd, if you don’t “pay close attention to God’s plan.”
He also warned against the love of pleasure, drugs, illicit sex and adultery, and homosexuality.
“We need to take sin seriously. You see, there is a judgment, and God is going to judge all sin,” he said
While the human condition brings hopelessness, Graham said, God by His grace lifts up sinners. A man is saved by God’s grace through faith alone, he explained.
Like his father, Graham holds that men choose God, not vice versa. God doesn’t force anyone to believe, he insisted.
Graham closed the hourlong program with an invitation to Christ.
“I want you to know tonight that God loves you and is willing to forgive you. But you’ve got to be willing to accept Him by faith. And if you are willing to do that tonight, God will forgive your sins and heal your heart. And you can leave here tonight, forgiven, and know that your soul is secure in the hands of almighty God. But it’s a choice you have to make. No one else can make it for you. Only you can do that,” he said.
David Tulis is editor of Nooganomics.com and hosts a 9-11 a.m. talk show on Noogaradio 1240 AM 92.7 FM, covering local economy and free markets in Chattanooga and beyond.