“His last album, Losing My Religion, I think was a statement and a challenge not only to the Gospel community but to the Christian community as a whole,” Gray, the 30-year-old musician signed to Franklin’s Fo Yo Soul record label, told Parlé Mag. “And he’s the one that could make that statement so I think me being a little bit younger and representing the next generation I can continue to carry that message.”
Franklin, 46, previously told ABC News 13 in Houston, Texas, that he believes his decision to spark the controversial conversation concerning religion was needed.
“When you look at the decline of church attendance in America, or when you look at the decline of millennials that are not going to church in America, you want to have the conversation that a lot of times people are hit more with religion and rules and the systems than they are with the love of God and having a personal relationship with Christ,” Franklin said while on his “The 20 Years In One Night Tour.”
In promoting his 12th studio album Losing My Religion, Franklin was bold in his decision to talk about the controversial subject.
“Religion, throughout the years, has become a very oppressive thing that doesn’t allow people to get to know the God it was created to try to lead them to. So basically, it’s just like marriage cannot guarantee intimacy, religion doesn’t guarantee relationship,” the recording artist, songwriter and producer said on the “Tom Joyner Morning Show” last year. “It doesn’t guarantee you’re going to have a loving, relationship with God. So God becomes this distant person that’s always pointing at my sins, always beating me up and you never know Him as a friend and as a father.”
“I would never say that claiming you’re a Christian is wrong. I understand that there is a human aspect of being able to identify people whether it’s African American, Hispanic or Asian,” he told the christian post. “But the definition doesn’t define the relationship, meaning you can be married and still not know intimacy. You can be religious and not know relationship.”
According to the songwriter and former choir director, people should not be relying on man to determine their personal relationship with God.
“We think we need man and these systems to make us right with God and it’s not that. It’s when we accept His gift, we’re right, right there and then, we’re right,” he said. “We’re getting rid of the systems and all the rules, and the processes, and it’s like, let’s fall in love with the Father and see Him as a father that loves us as flawed as we are.”