Evangelist Franklin Graham Criticizes Christianity Today Over Article Claiming Jesus Was Asian

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Photo: Screenshot from Twitter Video - Franklin Graham

In a recent article by Christianity Today (CT), art curator Victoria Emily Jones stirred controversy by asserting that Jesus Christ was Asian.

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Published on December 18, the piece titled “How Asian Artists Picture Jesus’ Birth From 1240 to Today” explored depictions of Jesus by various Asian cultures. Jones argued that Jesus was born in Asia, but the prevalence of European representations in Christian art has shaped the perception of Jesus as Western.

Jones claimed that nine artists featured in the article aimed to bring Jesus back to Asia, reframing the birth narrative within their cultural contexts. She highlighted the significance of artists portraying Jesus as Japanese, Indonesian, or Indian in conveying a sense of God’s immanence for their communities and emphasizing the universality of Christ’s birth. Jones also acknowledged contributions from Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist artists in depicting Jesus in the 20th century.

Responding to the article, Franklin Graham took to social media to express his disagreement, questioning why CT would publish something “so far off base.” He emphasized the importance of the Bible’s specific details about Jesus’ lineage and birthplace, asserting that Jesus was Jewish. Graham cautioned against undermining the authority of the Bible and rejected attempts to reshape God in human images.

The article faced criticism on social media, with accusations of CT “going woke” – a term often used to describe organizations embracing progressive or social justice causes. Graham, who has previously criticized CT, accused the publication of aligning with the “elitist liberal wing of evangelicalism” and being used by the left for political agendas.

This isn’t the first time Graham has clashed with CT. In 2019, the publication, under editor-in-chief Mark Galli, called for the removal of then-President Donald Trump from office during his first impeachment. Galli argued that Trump’s actions were inconsistent with the principles of the Ten Commandments, urging Christian supporters to consider the impact on their witness to their faith.

At the time, Graham expressed disappointment, asserting that his father, who founded the magazine, would have been against CT’s editorial stance. Graham accused CT of moving to the left and representing the liberal wing of evangelicalism, criticizing its alignment with the political agenda of the left.

In the recent social media statement, Graham reiterated the importance of adhering to the Bible’s teachings and resisting attempts to reshape the image of God. The clash between Graham and CT reflects broader tensions within evangelical circles over issues such as theological interpretations, political affiliations, and social justice.

As debates continue over the portrayal of Jesus and the role of Christianity in contemporary society, this controversy underscores the challenges faced by religious publications in navigating diverse perspectives within the broader evangelical community. 

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