Evangelist Billy Graham

(Photo credit: Principles for Life Ministries)

By Ryan Mauro

On November 8-9 anti-Israel activists held a “24 Hour Middle East Leadership Briefing” at a Wheaton College center named after evangelist Billy Graham, who has told Christians to base their vote on supporting Israel. The irony should serve as a reminder that evangelical support for Israel cannot be taken for granted and must be fought for. Evangelicals against Christian Zionism will make headway if they are ignored.

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association worked with Wheaton College to open the Billy Graham Center in 1980. Graham wanted it to be a “world hub of inspiration, research, preaching and training” for the church’s mission of evangelism. If Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding (EMEU) has its way, this hub will also be a platform to undermine Christian support for Israel. The organization’s anti-Israel advocacy is so strong that one of its founders and current advisory board member, Reverend Donald Wagner, is a featured speaker at American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) annual conference later this month. The AMP’s list of speakers includes at least 13 Islamists, most of whom are tied to the Muslim Brotherhood and have defended Hamas and acts of terrorism.

An email to the Billy Graham Center about the EMEU event was replied to by Lon Ellison, executive director of Billy Graham Center Ministries. Ellison explained that “We are not a politically associated organization” and that, though the event was held in the building, it is not sponsored by Billy Graham Center Programs/Ministries. Indeed, EMEU’s website says it sponsored the event with Wheaton College’s Biblical and Theological Studies Department and Dr. Gary Burge, a professor at the college, was one of the speakers.

“While my understanding of EMEU is not exhaustive, the experience with them I have had suggests that their primary concern is the welfare of the Palestinian people. I have not sensed they are however, anti-Israel,” Ellison said.

A spokesperson for Billy Graham declined to comment.

EMEU openly fights against Christian Zionism. Its website, for example, promotes a book by Norman Finkelstein titled, “The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering.” In 2010, he gave a speech at the University of New York where he reportedly urged Palestinians to not “concede” to Israel and to keep up “nonviolent resistance.” An article by Wagner that appears on the Institute for the Study of Christian Zionism website argues that Christian Zionism is motivated by a “prediction of a bloody Battle of Armageddon in the Middle East.” The website lists EMEU as one of its “friends.”

Read the full article here.


6 Responses to Wheaton College Hosts Anti-Israel Event at Billy Graham Center

  1. J S Lang says:

    Back in 2000, Wheaton, my alma mater, changed the athletic teams’ name from Crusaders to Thunder – claiming that “Crusaders” was “offensive” (to whom? not a lot of Muslim students there – in fact, NONE). Since then, there are more and more little efforts to drag the college into the Politican Correctness tent. This is nothing new – recall that Harvard and Yale were, at their foundings, centers of Christian orthodoxy.

    I’m sad, but certainly not surprised, that an anti-Israel rally is being held there, and of all places at the Graham Center. In a few years, who knows? A lesbian president of Wheaton, she and her “spouse” leading a Wiccan service in Edman Chapel?

    Thanks, IRD, for keeping us apprised of these matters – most of which don’t get mentioned in the glossy, sugary-sweet alumni magazine that we receive quarterly. Knowing what the college is up to simplifies my estate planning – I can cross off one more potential beneficary.

  2. dover1952 says:

    You know what J.S.? Them there “Jews returning to re-establish Israel” and “These ones is the end times” is two of the best evangelistic gimmicks weez ones is ever invented. If Israel were to suddenly disappear real quick like, the altar call counts at the Southern Baptist Convention would go way down.

    Did y’all git the order right? How many of y’all had yer baptism first and then yee got saved later? If that’s what happened, then yee need to git yer order right. Yee sposed to git saved first and then git yer dunkin’. Now, I want all y’all that’s done it backards to sign up on this here list fer yer new right order baptism next Sundee. The Lord won’t be a liken’ that yee got it backards cuz he’s a hard and mean stikler for even the smallest of things. Rules and punishments. Punishments and rules. Attan air izz whut its all abowt.

    And they wonder why 80 percent of their kids leave and never come back. I actually heard this crap at a 2000-member baptist church one time. People there were getting saved and baptized five times.

    • J S Lang says:

      If the ones who are bitter, angry, and resentful leave the churches, great. Good riddance. Who wants to spend Sunday morning with that type, people who have no moral compass, people who define themselves by their sexual practices? A church should be a fellowship of Christians, not a hen party for the Whiners and Victims and Easily Offended.

      Having non-Christians leave the church is a gain, not a loss. They are dead weight, spiritually speaking, nothing positive to contribute to the fellowship, fixated on their own petty grievances. Funny: the Christians leave the liberal churches, the croakers leave the Christian churches – the liberals lose the best members, the Christians lose their worst ones – not exactly “fair trade.”

      • dover1952 says:

        That’s funny J.S. because it works the exact same way from our perspective too. The more of you that leave our churches—the merrier. Frankly, I would like to see all of you walk—leaving behind only us real Christians as you put it.

      • We had a lesbian couple in our church, attended about 8 months. They were nothing but trouble from the word go – not because they were lesbians, they were constantly grousing over the “sexist” hymns, telling the pastor they would like him to call God “Mother” now and then so they would feel “included,” said they didn’t like to sing “Onward Christian Soldiers” because they were “offended.” They finally left, wrote a really long nasty letter to the pastor. I think they ended up with the Unitarians, which is a perfect fit. They were obviously enjoying their role as provocateurs in our church, probably now telling all the tree-hugger Unitarians how we “abused” them. At least the Unitarians don’t actually consider themselves Christians, I don’t think any tent is big enough to include me and those two.

      • Eric Lytle says:

        Two different religions, Christianity and liberalism – or to use a biblical term, Christianity and idolatry. The liberal doesn’t worship God, doesn’t really believe in God. He worships an idol – his own image.

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