Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, TX came out in support of Donald Trump’s acceptance of Vladimir Putin’s assurance that Russia didn’t meddle in the 2016 U.S. election. Trump said this in response to a question about who Trump believed: our intelligence community or Putin.
In contrast, fellow Southern Baptist Russell Moore had this to say after the Helsinki press conference:
Vladimir Putin ruthlessly persecutes those who preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, holds orphans hostage from waiting families for his political purposes, murders dissidents and journalists, attacks democratic institutions and nations.
Currently, Jack Graham is blocking followers who disagree with his tweet.
These tweets from the court evangelicals come from the White House talking points after today’s press conference.
WH sent out these talking points to surrogates. One line from the WH: “For over a year and half, the President has repeatedly said he believes the intelligence agencies when they said Russia interfered in American elections.” (Fact check: this is not believable after Helsinki) pic.twitter.com/qhMZSSacRa
The American Association of Christian Counselors hosts a regular conference in September which is often as much glitz as professional development. Contemporary Christian music artists sing (Mercy Me this year) and big name speakers speak (e.g., Eric Metaxas). There are also professional workshops and training sessions and materials to buy galore. Full disclosure, I have presented workshops at these conferences and once upon a time was on the AACC advisory board even though we rarely advised anyone about anything.
This year’s conference looks almost like a meeting of President Trump’s court evangelicals and religious defense team. Eric Metaxas is a keynoter and the leaders just added Jack Graham and Jay Sekulow. AACC owner Tim Clinton is right in the middle of the court in the image to the right.
See below for the Trump court evangelicals just added:
I got this information from an AACC member who is tired of how politically focused AACC has become. Although I don’t think a mass exodus is coming, I am hearing rumblings that at least some counselors have dropped membership and others are considering it.
I hope there will be a session on healthcare reform and the persistent demand of Republicans to drop basic benefits like mental health coverage which many of the AACC members rely on for their livelihood and their clients need to get treatment. I also hope there is a session on narcissism and that it is well attended.
Perhaps, Trump’s new Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci can give a session on clean communication and dealing with the press. Court evangelicals would just eat that up.
Once upon a time Prestonwood Baptist Church’s lead pastor Jack Graham endorsed K.P. Yohannan and Gospel for Asia. Now those endorsement pics and videos are missing. Other pastors who came to GFA via Graham (e.g., Rob Wilton) also are missing.
The current page is here.
As of about week ago, the bottom of the page looked like this:
Prestonwood Baptist Church has not responded to requests for comment about their current stance toward GFA.
Yesterday, Gateway Church Senior Pastor Robert Morris announced a mega-deal between two megachurches in Dallas, TX. Robert Morris’ Gateway Church has agreed to acquire Prestonwood Baptist’s Hillcrest campus near I-635 and Hillcrest Road in Dallas. Prestonwood Baptist’s lead pastor is Jack Graham. Officially listed as 6827 Willow Lane, the Hillcrest campus is valued at $20.7 million according to Dallas Central Appraisal District. Morris did not disclose the purchase price.
The video announcement from October 17, 2015 is at the new Dallas.gatewaypeople.com website. You can watch the video at that site. The transcript is below:
Hey everyone. I have some extremely exciting news for you. You know we’re always praying about where to open our next campus. Well I’m going to tell you today. We are going to open our next campus this spring in Dallas. In Dallas. We have been praying about it. And I wanna tell you how this came about. Years ago, there was a church, it was called Hillcrest Church and Prestonwood bought that facility in 2011. And they’ve had a campus there. But they have felt led to go in a different direction. And Dr. Graham called me and said, ‘we would like to sell this campus to Gateway Church.’ And Dr. Graham and I are great friends. We’ve done things here in the city for the Kingdom. We’ve done things in our nation for the Kingdom. But I wanna commend Dr. Jack Graham and Prestonwood. They are so Kingdom minded that when they felt led to go to a different direction, they said, ‘we want Gateway Church to have this campus.’ So we’re in the process right now of buying that campus, 635 and Hillcrest and will open some time this spring. I’ll let you know when. But we’re gonna have a campus now in Dallas, Texas. Thank you Lord.
Earlier this year, Morris, in the 2014 annual report, signaled a move toward North Fort Worth and/or Frisco. With the Hillcrest purchase, Gateway may, like Prestonwood, be moving in a different direction.
The Hillcrest property was first built in 1990, and has over 150,000 square feet with a combined seating capacity of 2,900. Prestonwood paid $18 million for Hillcrest in 2011. At the time, Jack Graham assured his congregation and Dallas’ WFAA Channel 8 news audience that attendance would grow from under 1,000 to over 6,000, and would require 2-3 services per weekend. Apparently, Graham’s attempts to grow the Hillcrest location did not work out.
Gateway’s Lead Executive Senior Pastor Tom Lane has been assigned as the campus pastor for Gateway Dallas.
The Hillcrest Dallas purchase transaction is expected to close December 4, 2015. Gateway will remodel the children’s area, and add a bookstore and café, and plans to launch regular weekend services in March 2016.