WASHINGTON (BP)–Billy Graham declined to defend the Southern Baptist Convention’s efforts to reach Jews and Muslims during a planned evangelism campaign in Chicago, according to comments he made on the Jan. 2 broadcast of Fox News Sunday.
Graham was asked whether or not he supported the SBC’s evangelical efforts. “I normally defend my denomination. I’m loyal to it,” he said. “But I have never targeted Muslims. I have never targeted Jews. I believe that we should declare the fact that God loves you. God is willing to forgive you, God can change you, and Christ and his kingdom is open to anybody who repents and by faith receives him as Lord and Savior.”
The SBC’s evangelism efforts are part of the “Strategic Focus Cities” initiative in Chicago. The initiative has drawn fire from the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago who claim that “hate crimes” might result from an SBC evangelistic outreach in the city.
The committee had asked the SBC to reconsider plans to proceed with the evangelism effort.