Nearly 2,000 Accept Christ at Franklin Graham Crusade After Some Wanted Him Banned From Preaching: "Stuff Like This Just Doesn't Happen in Western Canada"
News Staff : Mar 7, 2017
"Tears were flowing down my face. I needed a package of Kleenex ... For us, this is a historical event. I've never seen a crowd of people flooding the floor. Stuff like this just doesn't happen in western Canada." -Karen Assimes
(Canada)—[CBN News] Thousands flooded Vancouver's Roger's Arena last weekend to hear about Jesus. Worship and prayer filled the massive stadium as Rev. Franklin Graham preached the Gospel during his Festival of Hope crusade across the country. (Photo via BillyGraham.org)
Many attendees say their lives will never be the same.
"Praise God for an amazing encounter," attendee Destiny Kuo says. "I got emotional seeing so many people accepting our Savior!!"
Nearly half of the 1,900 people who responded to Graham's invitation to make Christ their Lord and Savior were under 18. Sabrina Hay was one of many parents who watched their children give their lives to Christ.
"Such an amazing night! So worth every minute! My daughter even asked the Lord to be her Savior! She has begun her walk," Hay said.
While thousands of lives were changed by the Gospel, many tried to stop Graham from preaching at the event.
Just days before the crusade, several city leaders and 14 ministers asked that Graham be banned from preaching the Gospel for what they call "extraordinarily derogative" beliefs about gay marriage and Islam.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and the ministers wrote a letter asking organizers to drop Graham from the itinerary.
"Why would they have invited this person in the first place, knowing that he's said these things about Muslims, knowing that he's said these things about the LGBTQ community?" said Councilor Tim Stevenson, Canada's first openly gay minister. "Why would they not invite a different evangelist, one that isn't controversial?"
Graham has always been honest about Biblical marriage, calling society's celebration of the homosexual lifestyle a "tide of moral decay." (Photo via BillyGraham.org)
He has also called Islam "evil" and a "danger to our security."
Despite the backlash, organizers told CBN News Graham's only mission was to tell Vancouver about Jesus.
"We made it very clear that Franklin Graham was not coming to incite hatred or violence, but to simply preach the Gospel to this city," Westwood Community Church pastor Giulio Lorefice Gabeli told CBN News.
Gabeli also made it clear that while some ministers may be wary of Graham's personal views, he and other organizers "are committed to pursuing the unity of the Church in Vancouver."