In the span of just eight years (1949 to 1957) Billy Graham -- who died in 2018 age 99 -- moved from local itinerant evangelist to national celebrity to international icon. What personal and social factors propelled his rapid rise to international fame? How did he shape the American and international evangelical movements? What did his career teach both evangelical Christians and others about the rewards and challenges of being, as one biographer put it, “the least colorful but most influential preacher in the world?” Will there ever be another Billy Graham? Historians have offered an array of answers to these questions. This lecture will suggest that at least one answer lies in Graham’s unique combination of personal gifts and the distinctive configuration of social and religious needs of the age in which he lived.
Recommended Reading: “Graham, William Franklin, Jr.” in American National Biography (2022), on-line (Oxford University Press); One Soul at a Time: The Story of Billy Graham, Grant Wacker (Eerdmans, 2018)
Registration deadline: Nov. 27
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