Kelly Ladd Bishop

Exploring issues of faith, culture, and spirituality with a focus on women in the church and world

Billy Graham’s Rule – Misusing it to Hold Back Women and Men of God

Billy Graham’s Rule – Misusing it to Hold Back Women and Men of God

I’m happy to be guest posting over at Tim Fall’s blog today.

Recently a reporter noted that vice president Mike Pence never dines with women alone, nor does he attend functions without his wife if alcohol is being served. This is a version of, what some call, the “Billy Graham rule.” The name for this rule refers to one of the rules Graham set for himself in the 1940s, when he was a traveling evangelist drawing crowds of thousands to stadiums to hear his preaching. The rule was part of a set of rules designed to protect the integrity of Graham’s ministry, as so many celebrity preachers had fallen to the temptations that surround them.

This particular rule, about never spending time alone with someone of the opposite sex, has been adopted and adapted by Christians over the decades. I have heard it many times from Christian men, particularly male pastors. To avoid any appearance of sin or temptation, many Christian men choose to never be alone with a woman. Since the report that Mike Pence follows a similar set of rules, the conversation has been back at the forefront of Christian discussion.

While there are times when it is appropriate for a person to set up boundaries that protect his or her marriage, it is not appropriate to make blanket statements or rules regarding the opposite sex – especially when it puts one sex at a real disadvantage in business, ministry, or life in general. It also doesn’t respect either men or women. It assumes that men can’t control themselves in the presence of a women who is not their wife, and that women are temptations that must be avoided. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we can do better.

Read the whole post at Tim Fall’s blog here!

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