Billy Graham's grandson: 'Evangelicals hurt by their association with religious right'

Florida megachurch pastor says associating religion and politics is a mistake.

Published 19 July 2014  |  
Tullian Tchividjian

Florida megachurch pastor Tullian Tchividjian has said that the increasing association between evangelical Christianity and the religious right has had a negative effect.

In an interview published Friday, Tchividjian warned against bonding political views with religion.

"I think the impression that most non-evangelicals have is that [evangelicalism is] a political movement — it's a culturally warring movement," he told The Blaze.

"Closely associating the core message of the Christian faith with a political ideology has always been a huge mistake."

Tchividjian, who is the grandson of famed evangelist Rev. Billy Graham, said that the use of Christianity in politics has damaged the religion.

"My take on it having grown up in the evangelical world ... the sort of rise of the religious right and its close association between the church and politics has done big-time damage to the brand of Christianity in the public sphere," he stated.

Ask someone what it means to be an evangelical, he said, and their answer would likely contain views on political issues.

"As important as those things might be to discuss, that's not the central message of what it means to be an evangelical," Tchividjian said.

"Historically speaking, evangelicals were good news specialists and because we've become so closely aligned with political ideologies and culture warring issues, what's been lost is the core Good News message of the Christian faith."

The Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church also urged pastors not to discuss politics in their churches.

"I have lots of opinions ... on just about anything," he said. "I basically almost refuse to make any kind of public commentary on anything other than the gospel [from the pulpit]."

He concluded, "For the last 40 years we've talked more about what's going on in our culture ... than we have preaching Christ and him crucified."

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