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World News

Franklin Graham slams 'shameful' sermon which suggested Jesus might have been trans

by Alex Collett

US evangelist Franklin Graham has criticised a Cambridge University Dean and student after they made comments that Jesus Christ could have had a "trans body".

Worshippers were reportedly left in tears last weekend, after junior research fellow Joshua Heath, spoke at a service last Sunday at the University of Cambridge's Trinity College chapel evensong and explained how Jesus could have been transgender.

Showing the congregation three Renaissance and Medieval paintings of Jesus on the cross, including artist Jean Malouel's Pietà, Heath pointed out a side wound that he proposed looked like female genitals. He also used the 14th century Prayer Book of Bonne of Luxembourg to defend his point.

His comments were then said to be supported by Dr Michael Banner, the Dean of Trinity College.

In response, Mr Graham said the comments were "repulsive and shameful".

Writing on Facebook, he said: "To insinuate that Jesus Christ, the Holy Son of God, is transgender or to sexualize in any way his sacrificial death on the Cross for the sins of mankind is utter heresy. 

"No wonder parishioners at the Trinity College, Cambridge chapel said they were disgusted, in tears, outraged, and distressed after hearing this blasphemous message. 

"The Bible warns us about false teachers. This speaker and the dean at the University of Cambridge who defended him, are false teachers, preaching heresy."

Dr Banner defended the sermon in a response letter, writing: "For myself, I think that speculation was legitimate, whether or not you or I or anyone else disagrees with the interpretation, says something else about that artistic tradition, or resists its application to contemporary questions around transsexualism."

Trinity College also stood by Heath's sermon. A spokesman said: "The sermon explored the nature of religious art, in the spirit of thought-provoking academic inquiry, and in keeping with open debate and dialogue at the University of Cambridge."

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