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'The gospel will be preached and many lives will be changed': Franklin Graham tour organisers undeterred despite more venue cancellations

by Marcus Jones

Organisers of Franklin Graham's tour of the UK this summer say they are undeterred by petitions against the evangelist and more venues cancelling his booking.

The FlyDSA Arena in Sheffield and Glasgow's Hydro became the latest to stop Graham from preaching.

Earlier this week the ACC in Liverpool said it was concerned over the divisive impact on the city.

There are question marks too over a potential booking at London's O2 Arena.

Speaking to Premier on Wednesday, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association said it was working through the complications, but there was no chance the tour would be cancelled.

"We're excited the gospel is going to be preached and many lives are going to be changed," spokesman Reuben Morley said. "No matter what the media says, we are confident that the tour is going ahead. We've been speaking to many church leaders on the ground and they are excited for what's to come."

Franklin Graham, the son of legendary Billy Graham, announced an eight date tour of the UK last year.

Starting in Glasgow on 30th May, it'll finish in London in October.

The tour has received much opposition, mainly connected to comments Graham has previously made about Islam and homosexuality.

On Tuesday, the FlyDSA Arena said it wouldn't allow him to preach claiming the booking would "create divisions".

Shortly after Glasgow's Hydro followed suit. In a statement, a spokesman said: "The booking for this event was processed in the same way we would for any religious concert of this nature and as a business we remain impartial to the individual beliefs of both our clients and visitors.

"Following a request from our principal shareholder the matter has been considered and a decision made that we should not host this event."

Addressing the opposition, Morley said: "Whenever the gospel is preached, there will be opposition. 

"When Billy Graham came to the UK in 1954, he was met with opposition when he was on his boat even coming into Southampton, there were people that did not want him. There were people that did not want him in the venue. 

"We are in a place where no matter what we're told from the venues, no matter what else happens, no matter what people's opinions are, we will still preach the faithful message of Jesus Christ."

Premier understands local church leaders are talking with venues to ask them to reconsider, while the BGEA are also looking at alternative venues.

"We have many Christians and church leaders that are on the ground that are concerned with what's taking place," Morley said. "The message that Franklin Graham preaches is not a new message. It's actually a message that has been proclaimed by faithful Bible believing Christians for hundreds of years so we are working with and talking to the venues."

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