America's Pastor: Billy Graham and the Shaping of a Nation by Grant Wacker

By Grant Wacker

During a occupation spanning sixty years, the Reverend Billy Graham’s resonant voice and chiseled profile entered the residing rooms of thousands of usa citizens with a message that known as for private transformation via God’s grace. How did a lanky farm child from North Carolina turn into an evangelist hailed by means of the media as “America’s pastor”? Why did listeners old and young pour out their grief and loneliness in letters to a guy they knew merely via televised “Crusades” in far flung locations like Madison sq. backyard? greater than a traditional biography, provide Wacker’s interpretive research deepens our figuring out of why Billy Graham has mattered lots to so many.

starting with tent revivals within the Forties, Graham remodeled his born-again theology right into a ethical vocabulary shooting the fears and aspirations of standard american citizens. He possessed an uncanny skill to acceptable developments within the wider tradition and engaged boldly with the main major advancements of his time, from communism and nuclear hazard to poverty and civil rights. the long-lasting which means of his profession, in Wacker’s research, lies on the intersection of Graham’s personal inventive service provider and the forces shaping smooth America.

Wacker paints a richly textured portrait: a self-deprecating servant of God and self-promoting media magnate, an easy kinfolk guy and confidant of presidents, a plainspoken preacher and the “Protestant pope.” America’s Pastor reveals how this Southern fundamentalist grew, fitfully, right into a capacious determine on the heart of religious lifestyles for thousands of Christians round the world.

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Extra info for America's Pastor: Billy Graham and the Shaping of a Nation

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From first to last, Graham displayed an uncanny ability to adopt trends in the wider culture and then use them for his evangelistic and moral reform purposes. To be sure, successful evangelists from George Whitefield in the 1730s to Billy Sunday in the 1930s had followed pretty much the same strategy. The difference was that Graham did it with greater skill for six decades and, despite innumerable opportunities for slipping, comparatively few missteps. 76 In most cases it is hard to tell which was which, and probably it does not matter very much if we could.

One came to be known as liberal or modernist, and the other as conservative or fundamentalist. 28 But just when it seemed that everything had settled into this neatly bifurcated pattern, the turmoil of the post–World War II era reconfigured the landscape once again. The older liberal and conservative currents started to rearrange themselves. Billy Graham turned his hand to cutting a third channel for powerful surges of religious and cultural energy. Graham’s achievements took multiple forms. Attendance statistics at his meetings piled up like snowdrifts.

In 1997, HarperCollins’s first printing of Graham’s autobiography, Just As I Am, totaled one million copies. Altogether Graham and his editorial assistants would author thirty-two books, translated into fifty languages. The syndicated advice column “My Answer” (1952) appeared in two hundred newspapers with a potential readership of twenty million. Graham’s devotional monthly, Decision (1960), eventually posted a circulation of six million and saw publication in six languages and a braille edition.

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