Franklin Graham, evangelicals condemn Pope Francis’ support for gay civil unions
October 27, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis’ pronouncement seemingly supporting the legalization of homosexual civil unions has not only caused confusion and recoil among many Catholics. It also invited criticism from Protestant leaders who see him departing from Bible truths.
“The news has reported that Pope Francis said in a new documentary that ‘homosexuals have a right to be part of the family’ and is calling for civil union laws for same-sex couples,” noted Evangelist Franklin Graham, son of the late Rev. Billy Graham. “I find these comments from the Pope unthinkable in light of the Word of God.”
“For Pope Francis to attempt to normalize homosexuality is to say that Holy Scriptures are false, that our sins really don’t matter, and that we can continue living in them,” said Graham in a Facebook post. “If that were true, then Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection wouldn’t have been needed. The cross would have been for nothing. No one has the right or the authority to trivialize Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf.”
Yes, God makes it clear that He loves us and does want us to be part of His family, but He also tells us how that can happen. The Bible says, “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).
I want everyone to know the truth and to find the peace that comes only from fully surrendering our lives to Him and His commands. The consequence of an unrepentant, unbelieving heart is also clear in the Word of God — eternal death. Unless we repent and receive His offer of forgiveness, surrendering our lives to Him, we will spend eternity as part of a different family when we leave this earth — the family of the condemned.
In light of the pontiff’s surprising endorsement of same-sex civil unions, Southern Baptist leaders felt compelled to restate their commitment to the authority of the Bible’s teaching about sexuality and marriage.
“No matter what a pope, pastor or elected official says, we do not get to define sexuality or the family,” said Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) President J. D. Greear, who is also pastor of The Summit Church in the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, area. “The Creator does, and on this His word could not be more clear.”
“Our authority does not come from a man or a group of men and women, but from the Bible alone,” said Ronnie Floyd, president and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee. “When the Bible speaks, God speaks. The Bible teaches marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime.”
“Other faiths may choose other authorities to determine their beliefs on marriage, family, sexuality and other matters of life. However, as Baptists we believe the Bible has God for its author, salvation for its end and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter,” continued Floyd.
“Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy,” said Floyd. “We need not add anything to the Bible about marriage, family, sexuality or anything else because the Bible is God’s perfect treasure of divine instruction.”
“Every wing of the church — Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox — has for 2,000 years affirmed Jesus’ view of marriage — that marriage is, from the beginning, a union between a man and a woman in covenant fidelity to one another,” asserted Russell Moore, president of the SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
“We ought to treat everyone justly and with compassion, including those with whom we disagree, but no church has the authority to put asunder what Christ has joined together in the Word He has given to us,” said Moore.
At the Vatican’s November 2014 ecumenical colloquium on the Complementarity of Man and Woman, Moore spoke eloquently and compellingly, outshining many of the Catholic speakers, including Pope Francis, who had addressed the gathering of 300 leaders from various faith traditions around the world.
“People are looking for a cosmic mystery, for a love that is stronger than death,” said Moore. “They cannot articulate it and perhaps would be horrified to know it, but they are looking for God.”
Moore explained what is at stake if Christianity supports anything other than the complementarity of man and woman.
“What is disrupted when we move beyond the creation design of marriage and family is not only human flourishing, although it is that, but also the picture of the very mystery that defines the existence of the universe itself — the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” warned Moore, presciently, against the future remarks of the Pope, who had invited him to speak at the Vatican event.
“We will not capitulate on these issues, because we cannot,” declared Moore.
In a new documentary first shown last Wednesday, Pope Francis was quoted as saying, “Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it.”
He also said, “What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered. I stood up for that.”
The Catholic News Agency has since reported that “several sentences spoken by the pope in the documentary were spliced together, out of context, from [a] 2019 interview, and journalists have since then asked questions about the precise nature of the pope’s remarks on civil unions.”
The Pope himself, or the Vatican’s press office, has yet to clarify the remarks.