Asked in 1972 if he believed in miracles, Billy Graham answered: Yes, Jesus performed some, and there are many “miracles around us today, including television and airplanes.” Graham was no theologian.
Neither was he a prophet. Jesus said “a prophet hath no honor in his own country.” Prophets take adversarial stances toward their times, as did the 20th century’s two greatest religious leaders, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Pope John Paul II. Graham did not. Partly for that reason, his country showered him with honors.
So, the subtitle of Grant Wacker’s 2014 book “America’s Pastor: Billy Graham and the Shaping of a Nation” is inapposite. When America acquired television and a celebrity culture, this culture shaped Graham. Wacker, of Duke University’s Divinity School, judges Graham sympathetically as a man of impeccable personal and business probity.