Franklin Graham calls on the Church to respond to Alaskans’ needs



As the keynote speaker for the 2019 Alaska Governors Prayer Breakfast in Anchorage, Rev. Franklin Graham had a message that included a faith-centered way of addressing the State of Alaska’s budget crisis.

His core themes included the importance of reconciling with God and not settling for “normal faith or one that keeps Christ only on the edges of our lives.”

Graham,  the CEO of the relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, then called on the faithful to fill in the gap to help the poor and suffering across the state. It’s something Christians are called to do by the Gospel, he reminded the gathering at the Dena’ina Convention Center.

“Some would say that it’s the governor and the State’s responsibility to care for everyone. But actually, God’s Word makes it quite clear that it’s our job as Christians to take care of the widows, the orphans and those who are hurting,” Graham said in his sermon.

“With tight budgets, we have a unique opportunity as a church to help fill some of the social gaps that may be in our community,” Graham said.

Graham described how the church has historically had that role, but in the last 100 years, people have come to expect government to take on more and more of social services.

He acknowledged the brokenness of the world, with poverty, addiction, constant strife, and despair that is found in Alaska and across the globe.

“There is one thing government can do — build the roads, defend our state, and those kinds of things. But when it comes to caring for the widows and the orphans and those who are hurting, the church can do it better than the government any day, I promise you that,” he said.

Graham went on to encourage the faithful to speak to the Office of the Governor to see what more can be done in communities by faith-based organizations and churches.

[Watch the entire prayer breakfast on Facebook at this link]

The 66-year-old evangelist and missionary, who is known for not shying away from political commentary, first came to Alaska in 1971, and returns every year to his home on Lake Clark. Samaritan’s Purse has an office in Soldotna, where it has several airplanes, pilots, mechanics, and other staff stationed.

Every summer the organization, based in Boone, N.C., leads constructions projects around Alaska — sometimes in response to disasters, such as the 2009 Yukon and Kuskokwim River floods, and sometimes for the purpose of building up the faith culture in villages.

The group is currently building a church in Ruby and another in Dillingham, he said. It has a global presence and works side-by-side with governments and church organizations to rebuild after natural or manmade disasters.

Graham spoke at the Dena’ina Convention Center, to a crowd of 1,100 people. Gov. Michael Dunleavy also spoke to the crowd, which received him warmly.

“I am blessed. I’ve got  a wonderful wife of 31 years, and three beautiful daughters who are doing well, and we’re so proud of them. When you are in politics or any endeavor that you find yourself in the public light … there are some people who may not agree with you. I said that to somebody the other day, and they said ‘Do you read the paper at all?’ and I said, ‘Not really.'” The audience laughed with him.

Gov. Michael Dunleavy poses for a photo with a group attending the Governors Prayer Breakfast on March 23.

“[Prayer] is going to be one of the most crucial elements that I’m going to I need over the next several weeks,” he said, acknowledging the intense debate that is occurring in Juneau and across the state over the state government’s budget, which has been exceeding its revenue for several years.


  1. Yes, the churches across the state can take care of the needy by donations and helping hands. Not the state, grants and tax dollars.

  2. Bravo to Franklin Graham for publicly stating, and reminding what the Bible tells the church to do and what government should do. While I’m aware the Bible does not tell government to build roads, that is not something the church can do.

    One can only hope that a light will go on for the SJW’s who want cradle to grave care. It’s called communism and has never made life better for anyone.

  3. I was there, Susan.

    And came a away proud of our Governor and of Mr Graham as a Church representative who was doing the opposite of the misguided folks who run the Catholic Social Services mentioned in your other current news article here. The business of “the Church” standing with a hand out to government as though it was called to be a surrogate beggar for the “poor and needy” is both absurd and antithetic at the same time. The Creator that this Church espouses has clearly called the Church to be the one filling needy human hands as His agent among humans. (And I am not weighing the Church down with this call as as external self-righteous voice anxious to absolve itself of responsibility. I am neck deep in “the Church” and accept the call – in no small part because it comes commensurate with promises of the Creator’s provision to meet these needs surrounding us if those promises are properly relied upon.)

    Moreover, it is also clear across both cultural politics and Church polity that the business of Church dependence upon government largess is now seriously impinging on the Church’s ability to fulfill its calling of speaking authoritatively with “self evident truth” to the evils of government when it actually begins to erode and destroy the Creator’s divine image and innate value that each human carries. And some folks a lot more eloquent and more knowledgeable than I are saying this. Check our this video link of an interview with Catholic John Zmirak –

  4. Honestly, detached from reality. Most churches just scrape by financially as it is. Passing the buck to them is impossible, but it is a quite convenient way to rationalize one’s desire not to pay taxes.

    • Faith based as well as private enterprises can access much the same as public funding; medicare, medicaid, Denali Kid Care, Vocational Rehabilitation, Veterans etc.

    • Private, Public and Faith Based organizations can access the same funding sources; state monies, Denali Kid Care, Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans.

  5. Furthermore, I guess the premise of this article therefore implies that those who don’t participate in religious activities are freed from the obligation to help the needy, as the Church has it covered. I may not be religious (anymore), but I do remember the Golden Rule, and find it a good rule to live by. Helping those in need should be everyone’s moral obligation, and the most efficient way to spread the burden is via the Government, using its powers of taxation.

    • As a representative of a Christian organization, he likely wouldn’t want to speak for atheists. They have their own reps … who are busy attacking Christian organizations.

      Graham’s point was more directed to Churches. However, his points work nicely, by extension, for other private orgs as well.

  6. Wonderful article and Bless Rev. Graham and our Governor for speaking to Truth.
    Too, in the early past, local lodges, Elks, Moose, Eagles, VFW, American Legion, to name a few, participated in working along side Churches to meet the needs of the needy and handicap. Not so much anymore, as the article states, society has seeded and now looks to government to assume responsibility. While the government does what it dictates, the cost is often way out of line of what religious and fraternities operated for.

  7. One does not have to be “religious” to know that charities, specifically set up to help the needy, are much better at helping those in need than government. Reverend Graham is correct that Christians in a relationship with the living Jesus (not specifically “religious” people, it is a metaphysical relationship, not a religion), otherwise known as the church, are called upon to assist the widows, orphans, and others in need directly, not through a government agency. Legal theft (taxation) to forcibly take money from one person to give to another person is unethical at the bare minimum and works its way up to evil from there. If one does not care to assist someone else in need, then one should *never* be forced to do so. The power of taxation should be use sparingly and for those things government is best at doing. Never for “charity” by a government.

    While discussing this I am reminded of an anecdote about Davy Crockett. It is worth reading and applies to this discussion:

    • Ah, the Christianity is a “mental illness” fallacy rears its ugly head. In your *opinion*, how should Christianity be “practiced”? 😀

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