‘Trying to edit what the Word of God says’: Franklin Graham accuses UK Methodists of banning terms ‘husband’ and ‘wife’

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Franklin Graham, an American Evangelist has blasted against The Methodist Church in the United Kingdom. This stems from the church's release of an "Inclusive Language Guide," which advises Methodists to refrain from employing gendered terms such as "husband" and "wife." This directive, viewed as an attempt to alter biblical language to align with contemporary societal shifts, has sparked sharp criticisms.

This move has drawn strong criticism from figures like evangelist Franklin Graham, who accuses the church of "trying to edit what the Word of God says" and compromising its core values. He argues that using terms like "husband" and "wife" is essential to upholding biblical truth and that Christians should focus on sharing God's word, not on appeasing cultural trends.

“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,” Graham said in his X post on Tuesday.

However, the Methodist guidance, released in December, argues that gender-specific terms could be "offensive" as they make assumptions about personal and family life that might not align with reality for many individuals. It encourages the use of more neutral terms like "parent," "partner," "child" and "carer" and emphasizes the importance of adopting language inclusive of LGBT+ individuals.

The denomination claims that using inclusive language fosters positive engagement with diverse communities, aiming to prevent unintentional exclusion or harm caused by language.

This development comes amidst a larger debate within the Methodist Church, both in the United Kingdom and the United States, regarding the acceptance of LGBT+ individuals within the clergy and same-sex marriage, despite the denomination’s Book of Discipline’s prohibition on same-sex marriages and LGBT-identified clergy ordination.

In the U.S., there has been a schism within the church over these issues, leading to the departure of thousands of congregations and the establishment of alternative denominations like the Global Methodist Church.

The potential consequences of this linguistic shift are a matter of concern for some. John Lomperis, an observer of global Methodism, warns of a "slippery slope" where continuous adaptation to cultural trends ultimately dilutes the church's core message. He argues that simply echoing secular values is not a compelling reason for people to attend church.