A crowd of approximately ten thousand individuals congregated at the London ExCel on Saturday night for the highly anticipated ‘God Loves You’ event, led by prominent evangelist Franklin Graham.
This year’s attendance has reportedly exceeded that of the previous year by several thousand attendees, as confirmed by event organizers.
According to a report by Premier, Reverend Franklin Graham shared in an interview his profound mission of spreading the Gospel to the people of London. He emphasized that the event was not a means to solicit money, with all seats being made available free of charge. His primary aspiration for the event was to inspire a significant number of individuals to place their trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Notably, last year’s event series took the evangelist to multiple cities including Liverpool, Newport, Sheffield, and London. This marked his first return to these cities since his 2020 tour was initially cancelled due to controversies surrounding his stance on homosexuality, which some labeled as homophobic.
Subsequently, Reverend Graham pursued legal actions against several venues that had cancelled his bookings due to concerns about potential Islamophobic and homophobic comments. These legal efforts have borne fruit, allowing him to hold events in the same venues that had initially refused him. The upcoming engagement planned for 2024 at the OVO Hydro Glasgow, one of the venues embroiled in the controversy, is seen as a significant milestone in the culmination of a three-year-long struggle.
Addressing the concerns raised by critics about his comments, Graham clarified his perspective in the interview, stating, “There are people who don’t want to hear what God has to say, on some issues. And one of the big issues is homosexuality. And of course, the Bible loves all of us. He loves the homosexual. But we cannot continue in homosexuality if we come to God; we have to turn from that. So, it’s just this group of people did not like it and they went to the venues and got them to cancel the contracts.” He went on to emphasize that his words were drawn from the teachings of the Bible and not his personal opinions.
Graham continued, “Well, Covid came, we couldn’t have had the meetings anyway. And it gave us time to get our solicitors and get ourselves organized. And we fought back because it was a freedom of speech issue and a freedom of religion issue. And so, we have won in every case so far. And it’s not just a win for Franklin Graham; that’s not the course. It’s a win for the church.”
The ‘God Loves You’ events have been a collaborative effort involving over 1,000 local churches, united in their desire to bring people together and share messages of faith and hope.
The gatherings, which are open to the public at no charge, have provided a platform for individuals from all walks of life to come together and explore matters of spirituality and religion.
Looking ahead, Franklin Graham’s ‘God Loves You’ Tour is set to make its first-ever appearance in Birmingham next year.
In a Twitter post, the renowned evangelist Franklin Graham expressed his deep gratitude for the collaborative efforts of more than 1,000 churches, partnering with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), to bring the recent God Loves You Tour event to fruition. In a statement, Graham extended his appreciation to all those who dedicated their time, prayers, and efforts to organize and invite attendees to the event.
Graham also extended his thanks to several notable figures who contributed to the evening’s impact. He expressed gratitude to Michael W. Smith, CeCe Winans, Newsboys, Dennis Agajanian, and the Tommy Coomes Band for delivering a profoundly moving night of music.
People from over 1,000 churches partnered with @BGEA to make yesterday’s God Loves You Tour event possible. I am so grateful to each one who worked, prayed, prepared, and invited people to come. I also want to thank our friends @MichaelWSmith, @CeCeWinans, @Newsboys,… pic.twitter.com/FPAjbjMvsk
— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) August 27, 2023