The worldwide head of the Catholic Church has been taken to task by a well-known evangelical leader for endorsing same-sex civil unions. Rev. Franklin Graham says by taking that stand, Pope Francis is essentially saying the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality is false.
The pope's comments are featured in a just-released Italian documentary called "Francesco." Translated, the pope says: "Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered."
In a Facebook book post last week, Graham stated that he finds those comments "unthinkable in light of the Word of God." The president of the Billy Graham Evangelical Association pointed out that “the Bible teaches that when God created the human race, ‘He created them male and female, and blessed them' [in] Genesis 5:2."
He continued: "The first family consisted of a male husband and a female wife, then their children, which is how God defines society’s most basic social unit, the family.”
Homosexuality, Graham explained, was a result of humanity falling away from God’s design for sexual relations between men and women inside the context of marriage.
“Women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another …” Graham quoted Romans 1:26–27.
Trivializing sin and the cross
The son of Billy Graham challenged the pope's portrayal of the Bible's condemnation of homosexuality as being rejection or hateful, emphasizing instead how God wants to embrace those who repent after abandoning His design for sexuality.
“Graham stressed that God’s love is ‘completely inclusive’ and that sinners can come to Him by turning to His Son Jesus Christ in faith and repentance,” Milton Quintanilla recounts on Christianheadlines.com. “The evangelist asserted that the pope’s approval of homosexuality ultimately distorts the Word of God and diminishes Christ’s redemptive work.”
Graham weighed the serious nature of the pope’s stance on homosexuality,
“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,” Graham argued on Facebook. “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.”
He explained how God doesn't reject man but extends His hand to those who turn from their worldly ways and repent.
“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,” Graham quoted Acts 3:19.
He then called all his readers – including those who believe homosexuality isn't a sin but something to be embraced, as suggested by the pope – to stop rebelling and submit to God’s plan for their lives.
“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,” Graham brought his post to a close. “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.”