Evangelist Franklin Graham had made his position clear. “I have absolutely no faith in the Republicans or the Democrats. Our hope is in Christ alone.” When pressed for an endorsement in the 2016 presidential race, he has insisted on remaining neutral – until now.
For several months, Graham has been visiting each state’s capitol for Saturday prayer gatherings. The focus is on revival and prayer. During these meetings, Graham has preached on rising up and serving in the local community. His message is that Christians need to run for mayor, city council, and the school board. As for the 2016 presidential race, he has insisted on remaining neutral – until now.
Tuesday, Donald Trump met with 1,000 evangelical leaders from across the country. Franklin Graham was there. And he seems to have changed his mind. After a private meeting with Trump, Graham reportedly told evangelical leaders, in the absence of the media, that Trump would make a better president than Hillary Clinton. He said that he has prayed and sought God’s will on the matter. And these were his conclusions.
1. Our choice is between two sinners. “We don’t get to pick between the perfect good and the perfect evil,” he told the crowd. “We must be willing to forgive the imperfect,” he asserted. “Then, we must pick the candidate who is at least inclined toward the possibility of doing what is best for the country.”
2. One candidate offers no hope. Bishop E.W. Jackson of Virginia, the founder of the conservative nonprofit group S.T.A.N.D., recalled that Graham suggested Clinton offers no hope for America. “Nobody left the room wondering where Graham stands,” said Jackson. “The fact that Graham showed up tells you where he stands.”
3. God uses imperfect people the most. Terry Schilling, executive director of the conservative think tank American Principles Project, told The Christian Post that Graham explained that the Bible is full of God using flawed leaders, such as Abraham, Moses, David, and Paul.
4. Trump believes in Jesus. Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. said, “He is one of us. I have talked to him about his faith. He believes in Jesus. Don’t judge him by your own standard of what you think a Christian should be but really just judge him by the biblical standard that he has put his faith in Jesus Christ.” Falwell indicated that Graham completely shared his sentiment.
Franklin Graham won’t issue a formal endorsement. But his presence at the evangelical gathering and private meeting with Trump speak loudly. Is Donald Trump the best person we could have hoped for? Clearly, Graham would say no. But is Trump the best candidate we have for 2016? Apparently, Graham would say yes.