Letter: Do we know the same Jesus?
Billy Graham and I have been preachers all our lives; granted, he has 10 years on me, being almost 94. We each gave our lives full-time to spreading the good news of Jesus. But reading his full-page ad in the Sunday Monitor, I wonder if we know the same Jesus.
As I read the Scriptures, Jesus is preoccupied with the same issues as the Hebrew prophets before him, all about serving the poor, the down and out, and those who are outcasts in society. It is about the intimate connection between love and justice.
In writing this, I want to respect Graham’s right and that of the Evangelistic Association to preach as they do, and I long for a closer tie among our churches.
But the tenor of this political advertisement seems to have no place for other believers – Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and highly moral non-believers – who believe with equal faith in the sanctity of human life and covenanted marriage commitment by men and women who are not followers of Graham’s theology.
And we believe that religious freedom in the American tradition accepts the strict separation of church and state – or better, of religious organizations and the political process. Like Graham, I hope all believers pray for a closer walk with God, and deeper trust and respect for one another as we exercise our civic duty.
ARTHUR E. WALMSLEY
(The writer is the former Episcopal bishop of Connecticut.)