Franklin Graham has praised the Anglican Communion for suspending the Episcopal Church due to its embracing of same-sex marriage and expressed hope that the move will prompt the church to return to Biblical principles.
On Sunday, the 64-year-old president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse took to Facebook to share his thoughts: "The Episcopal Church in the U.S. has just received a major scolding," he wrote. "The worldwide Anglican Communion voted to suspend the entire U.S. Episcopal Church this week because it has embraced same-sex marriage, allowing the election of homosexual priests and allowing same-sex marriages to be performed."
He continued, "They deserve to be called out for this-it is wrong and is against what Almighty God clearly teaches in His Word. I hope this will cause the Episcopal Church here in America to realize the seriousness of the steps they've taken contrary to the Bible and cause them to turn back to following what God's Word tells us."
Last week, Anglican Communion representatives revealed they are suspending the group's U.S. branch for three years from key voting positions in response to the Episcopal Church's decision to allow its clergy to perform same-sex marriages less than a week after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage last June.
The Washington Post notes that the suspension specifically stipulates the Episcopal Church can no longer represent the Anglican Communion on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee or take part in overall decision-making.
"The traditional doctrine of the church in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds marriage as between a man and a woman in faithful, lifelong union," the leaders of the Anglican Communion, which represents 44 national churches, said in a statement during the meeting in Canterbury. "The majority of those gathered reaffirm this teaching."
"It is our unanimous desire to walk together," the Primates clarified. "However given the seriousness of these matters we formally acknowledge this distance by requiring that for a period of three years The Episcopal Church no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or policy."
The Primates asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to appoint a task group to maintain conversation among themselves with the "intention of restoration of relationship, the rebuilding of mutual trust, healing the legacy of hurt, recognizing the extent of our commonality and exploring our deep differences, ensuring they are held between us in the love and grace of Christ."
They stated they developed this process so that it can also be applied when "any unilateral decisions on matters of doctrine and policy are taken that threaten our unity."
The Primates went on to offer pastoral care and loving service irrespective of sexual orientation: "This conviction arises out of our discipleship of Jesus Christ," the statement concluded.
Archbishop Justin Welby, the leader of the Anglican Communion, insisted that despite the suspension, Anglicans remain committed to battling "homophobic prejudice and violence."
"For me, it is a constant source of deep sadness that people are persecuted for their sexuality," Welby said at the end of the meeting last week.
He expressed "how sorry I am for the hurt and pain in the past and present that the church has caused and the love sometimes that we have completely failed to show."