In this issue, #111, Christian History magazine's guest editorial consultant, Grant Wacker, a Duke Divinity School professor and author of America's Pastor: Billy Graham and the Shaping of a Nation, leads a team of distinguished historians and writers who tell the epic story of Mr. Graham's life and career, a unique contribution to the character and spirit of the evangelical church, the United States of America and the world. Spanning the past 96 years, the issue's 10 articles, rare archive photos and intimate writing style documents the life and family of the man, Billy Graham, who has personally shared the salvation message of Jesus Christ with more people than any other individual in history.
Guest editor, David Neff, former editor of Christianity Today, has assembled the talents and expertise of several leading historians and writers, to capture the essence of the life and times of America's most prominent religious figure, Billy Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association ministry (BGEA). Outstanding among many central themes associated with Mr. Graham in the issue, and lasting throughout his career, is his core preaching message focused on belief in Jesus and the believer's life, lived in faith and holiness.
In addition to Graham's primary spiritual message, the issue's contributors have identified and examined many of Graham's famous milestones and associations that have helped to shape the Graham legacy. These themes include:
- The 1949 Los Angles tent revival, that garnered the attention of the newspaper magnate, William Randolph Hearst, who urged his editor to pay attention to Graham
- Graham's use of television and radio that positioned him in the living rooms of millions of Americans, where he introduced the values of evangelical Protestantism
- His commitment to world evangelism that took him throughout Europe, the Far East and Africa as an ambassador of Christ
- His interest and gift as a confidant to presidents, prime ministers and statesmen that made him a cultural influence in over 150 countries, 49 of which hosted his mass meetings that reached, in the aggregate, billions of listeners and millions of believers
- Graham's marriage to Ruth Bell which inspired men, women and families to a deepened personal faith life and encouraged future family and relationship ministries
- His intellectual engagement with education leaders and students that spawned seminaries, colleges and universities, helping shape a worldwide evangelical movement and revival
- His pioneering vision for racial integration that inspired the American civil rights movement - in 1953, he shockingly removed ropes that separated his audience by color - and in association with Howard Jones, a full-time BGEA associate
- Graham's uncompromising stand for ethics and morality, setting strict rules for his own behavior and that of ministry associates, which helped prevent moral scandal and compromise that destroyed many other ministry leaders and organizations
"No man has had more personal, one-on-one, impact for faith in Jesus Christ than Mr. Graham," said Michael Austin, a Christian commentator and spokesperson for ChristianHistory magazine. "He and his family are a living testimony to the faithfulness of the Biblical message he so clearly delivered from the start of his ministry to this day. Billy Graham's impact for good in this world is incalculable."
Organizations, mentioned and profiled in the issue, which played pivotal roles in shaping Billy Graham, as well as the BGEA ministry, include: Youth for Christ; ChristianBusinessmen's Committee; Navigators; Christian Endeavor; Decision Magazine and Christianity Today, both of which Graham helped found; National Association of Evangelicals; Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, more commonly known as The Lausanne Movement; Samaritan's Purse (directed by Graham's son, Franklin Graham, CEO, BGEA); Fuller Seminary and Gordon-Conwell Seminary (both co-founded by Graham). These Institutions demonstrate and promote, with passion, the themes Graham expounded throughout his ministry career - living a life of faith and holiness - the pathway to eternal salvation in Christ.
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Christian History Institute (CHI) is a non-profit Pennsylvania corporation founded in 1982. CHI publishes Christian History magazine and also produces books and videos featuring important Christian history, including Torchlighters®, an animated history series for children. CHI is a donor-supported organization that provides church history resources and self-study material aiming to make Christian history accessible to the widest possible audience, through video and the internet. Contributions may be sent to Christian History Institute Box 540, Worcester, PA 19490.
Source: Christian History Magazine