Friday, September 27, 2013

Graham has solid place in history

Wonder how it feels to be treated like a historical figure while you’re still alive.

President Barack Obama and his living predecessors could tell us. And civil rights legend John Lewis could, too. Ditto, Mikhail Gorbachev, the final Soviet ruler.

It’s a pretty exclusive club. And it’s clear, as his 95th birthday approaches, that Charlotte-born Billy Graham is a member.

Who else but ex-White House occupants have anything like the Billy Graham Library – a presidential-style museum filled with mementos of his decades-long career?

And this week, Wheaton College in Illinois has been hosting a four-day conference on its most famous alumnus, with speeches, roundtable discussions, and even a Billy Graham Film Festival featuring clips from some of his more famous crusades.

Other recent signs that Graham, who will celebrate another birthday Nov. 7, has achieved larger-than-life status: Popular Christian singer Michael W. Smith has written a song, “Take Me Home,” about Graham’s longing for heaven. And grade-schoolers can now dip into a new biography of Graham that’s tailored to young readers, 9 to 12.

The lasting influence of Graham – pastor to presidents, America’s evangelist-in-chief and preacher to millions around the globe – was the theme of many of the scheduled Wheaton lectures from scholars around the country.

Grant Wacker, a professor at Duke Divinity School, was to speak about “Billy Graham and American History.”

“Billy Graham and the Enigma of the Modern South” was the theme from Webster University’s Steven Miller, who authored a well-reviewed book about Graham’s role in the rise of the Republican Party in the Bible Belt.

One scholar’s focus was Graham’s visits to the Soviet Union – controversial at the time, but now considered part of the bigger story of communism’s collapse.

Also on the agenda: Graham’s relationship with race. He promoted integration and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1950s, but kept his distance from the civil rights marches in the 1960s.

And a panel scheduled for Saturday was to include not only Charlotte evangelist Leighton Ford and wife Jean Ford, Graham’s sole surviving sibling, but also Martin Marty, perhaps the country’s leading expert on American religion.

Meanwhile, Smith’s song will be out soon. It’s a conversation Graham might have with Jesus when he gets to heaven. “Hello, old friend,” it begins. “You’ve walked beside me all these miles.”

Graham’s take on his fame and his hopes for heaven are covered on the final page of the new biography for kids – “Prophet with Honor,” Christian publisher Zondervan’s adaptation of William Martin’s definitive biography.

“I want to hear one person say something nice about me, and that’s the Lord, when I face him,” Graham says on page 144. “I want him to say to me, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant.’”

-- Tim Funk


Clay said...

Thi$ guy i$ one of the bigge$t religion hu$tlers$ in hi$tory.

And hi$ off$pring will continue to milk the family bu$ine$$ for all it'$ worth.

God Ble$$!

Bill said...

If Billy is truly "longing for heaven" then why on earth is he doing everything he possibly can not to die and live longer?

Everything is perfect in heaven.

He'll be reunited with his beloved wife again,etc.

You would think he would be in an extreme hurry to get to heaven, not delay it.

DG said...

Billy Graham and his son are icons of bigotry and ignorance.

Anonymous said...

DG and Clay.... Good luck in Hell

Anonymous said...

This man and his son are two of the biggest shills in the history of profiting off religion for personal political purposes.

Joe said...

For God's sake Anonymous 11:35 grow up!

Billy Graham is a shameless huckster and God knows it.

If anyone is going to hell it will be Billy and people like him that use religion for their personal glory and financial gain.

Rick said...

Cowards and Idiots who know nothing of how many people Billy Graham helped. what would you do if you didn't have your anonymous or your stupid screen name to hide behind. You are the ones who will be judged. God, please forgive these ignorant jackasses.

Sam said...

Hey Rick, I don't see your name and contact info posted with your very rude, angry, name calling, ranting comment.

God won't be pleased with your nasty attitude and will certainly judge you for it.

Anonymous said...

Best con man in history.

par said...

Class guy. Regardless of the comments about a "con". They should have done 5% of what Graham has done for the and other countries.

Anonymous said...

In Billy Grahams defense all Christians are cons

Anonymous said...

As a child and a young man I hung on his every word, only to realize as a man that he was just a political shill for the Republican party. You can see through his son what he really is. If he had stood by MLK's side it would be a different world now. But he toed the party line, just like the wealthy that he served.

Anonymous said...

Why or why is there such hatred in these comments about a true follower & believer of Jesus Christ? Dr. Graham, one day will stand there with God' finest teachers: Paul, David, that glorious King, the Disciples, Jesus Christ the Son of God, also Moses, Noah, John the Baptist, on and on. I'll see it, I hope you, do as well.

Sam said...

@ October 5, 2013 at 10:58 PM

You forgot to mention Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, Big Foot, The Loch Ness Monster, Robin Hood, Hercules and Humpty Dumpty.