Recent Magazine Articles

10 Oct 2014

Watershed: Los Angeles 1949

by Grant Wacker | Issue 111

IN 1997 BILLY GRAHAM was a year shy of his 80th birthday. He had lived an extraordinary life. In the previous half-century, he had grown from an obscure itinerant preacher into a national leader of the emerging evangelical movement and an international icon accustomed to golfing with presidents and dining with prime ministers. By many accounts he ranked as the most influential evangelist since George Whitefield in the eighteenth century. So on the eve of his 80th birthday, he agreed to the requests of many people and put it all together in...

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10 Oct 2014

“Go forth to every part of the world”

by Uta Balbier | Issue 111

ON MARCH 19, 1946, leading US newspapers published an image of five members of Youth for Christ (YFC) kneeling in prayer in front of an American Airlines plane. Among the five young men in the picture was 27-year-old Billy Graham. The plane took the young evangelist on his first missionary trip to Europe. It was the first ever commercial flight from Chicago to London, and the Youth for Christ team took advantage of the publicity surrounding this historic event. 

Together with fellow evangelists Chuck Templeton, YFC president Torrey Johnson,...

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10 Oct 2014

Confessor-in-chief

by Stephen Rankin | Issue 111

IN JULY 1950 31–year-old Billy Graham and three associates met with President Harry Truman. Unschooled in presidential protocol, they offended Truman by spilling the contents of their conversation to a waiting press. They then agreed to a much-photographed prayer session on the White House lawn. 

As Graham’s fame spread and Democratic leaders noted his influence, Truman persistently refused further contact. He referred to Graham as “one of those counterfeits. He claims he’s a friend of all Presidents, but he was never a friend of mine when...

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10 Oct 2014

Mama was “a real theologian”

by Anne Blue Wills | Issue 111

“RUTH AND I DON'T HAVE a perfect marriage, but we have a great one,” wrote Billy Graham in the closing pages of Just as I Am, his 1997 autobiography. 

Billy grew up on a dairy farm and moved from the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church into the raucous world of mid-twentieth-century Protestant revivalism. Ruth was born and reared on a Chinese mission field dominated by southern Presbyterians. As his wife of more than 60 years, Ruth shaped him in the myriad untraceable ways that any spouse shapes a partner. A close look at how these two...

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10 Oct 2014

Jesus Was not a White Man

by Edward Gilbreath | Issue 111

THERE WERE MANY SIDES to Howard Jones—musician, pastor, family man, missionary—but as an editor at Christianity Today some years ago, I wanted to interview him about his unique role in evangelical history: in 1957 he became the first African American leader to join Billy Graham’s organization. 

Howard Jones’s stoic demeanor when we met reflected the steely focus that carried him through the challenges of being a pioneer of racial progress in America. “It’s an awareness that you’re a living test, a human experiment,” he told me. “Your every...

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19 Aug 2014

What would Jesus do?

by David W. Miller | Issue 110

In 1995 David W. Miller shocked his friends in the corporate world when he left a successful career in international finance to study theology. He eventually became an expert on how Christians have tried to relate their Sunday faith to their Monday workplace over the past 150 years. Here are excerpts from Miller’s book and a glimpse into his story. (Our editor’s linking text is in italics.)  

About a hundred years ago, a businessman and a pastor each blew the clarion call for integrating Sunday and Monday. The businessman was interested in...

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