Evangelist Franklin Graham has criticized The Methodist Church of Great Britain for what he perceives as an attempt to modify the teachings of the Bible in order to avoid causing offense. Graham’s strong objection follows the church’s release of an “Inclusive Language Guide,” which advises leaders to steer clear of gender-specific terms like “husband” and “wife” due to the belief that they do not reflect the reality for everyone. Instead, the guide suggests using neutral terms such as “parent,” “partner,” and “carer.”
The church’s directive also includes a call for leaders to repent for using language that may have been hurtful in the past. The guidance emphasizes the church’s commitment to rectifying harm done to marginalized groups, both by society at large and, at times, by the church itself.
According to the guidance, updated every six months, leaders are encouraged to adopt inclusive language when addressing their congregations. Terms like “men” and “women” are discouraged, with suggestions for more neutral alternatives such as “folks,” “teammates,” “friends,” “colleagues,” or simply “people.” The guidance also advises against using the word “man” as a verb to avoid making individuals feel excluded.
Additionally, the Methodist Church recommends that leaders share their pronouns to foster a safe and authentic environment for individuals to express themselves.
Franklin Graham strongly criticized the guidance, expressing his disapproval on social media. He accused the Methodist Church of attempting to alter the biblical teachings to align with societal trends. In a Facebook post, Graham stated, “Shame on the Methodist Church,” emphasizing that terms like “husband” and “wife” are deeply rooted in biblical truth, with the word “wife” appearing in numerous verses across various books of the Bible.
On another platform, Graham reiterated his stance, declaring, “The Methodist Church in the UK is trying to edit what the Word of God says to be more appealing to the changing whims of culture. As Christians, we aren’t called to avoid what might offend people—we are called to share the Truth of God’s Word.”