by Bob Smietana
Is it the baby or the bathwater?
by Samuel Wells
As the years passed, Graham’s list of doctrinal dealbreakers got shorter. He kept preaching his simple, nonsectarian call to faith.
by Grant Wacker
Can we begin to incorporate the best practices of decency and truth in our new media? Can we become more adept at incorporating social media into our larger plan as we hold propaganda machines accountable?
In his recent biography of Billy Graham, Grant Wacker nicknamed the Baptist preacher “America’s pastor.” Owing to a prolific career that began in 1949 and has now spanned nearly 70 years, which saw him as the spiritual advisor to multiple U.S. presidents, the moniker is arguably fitting.
Graham began his career at a pivotal time in American history, as Cold War anxieties pitted American piety against “godless communists.”
Imagine having a conversation about the gospel, and then bringing an account of this conversation to a group led by an experienced supervisor.
Living in San Diego and having family in Norfolk, Virginia, I probably hear more sermons that involve military life than most Americans. I thought little of it this past Sunday when a video of a naval officer's account of war and call for church members to help those in combat and their families ran across the church televisions. But then we prayed for service women and men. And the pastor had all "retired and active" service people stand. It seemed a bit excessive. Then I realized it was Memorial Day weekend.
It reminded me of the sermons of Gilded Age evangelist Dwight Lyman Moody.
Our age doesn't need theoretical answers to intellectual challenges of belief. It needs personal responses to people's spiritual problems.
"People need to hear the good news," says Katherine Willis Pershey of First Congregational Church in Western Springs, Illinois. "If the church doesn't take on this mission, I'm afraid—well, that's where that sentence can end. I'm afraid."