Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Book Review --Billy Graham: His Life and Influence--by David Aikman
In Billy Graham: His Life and Influence David Aikman contextualizes Billy Graham's rise as "America's Pastor" within the changing historical, political and religious climate of Graham's life. While Aikman touches on Graham's personal life, this book settles on the intersection of Graham's religious and political rhetoric, tracing changes in Graham's viewpoint and style across his lifetime. Aikman depicts the trajectory of Graham's theological rhetoric as "softening" and illustrates this with examples from Graham's approach to theology and communism, among other issues.
I enjoyed Aikman's account. He depicts the experience-rich history of Graham's life in a manner calculated to provoke a thoughtful understanding. While Aikman does point out the controversy attendant to the shifts in Graham's thinking, he does so in a way that is sensitive to Graham's immense--and largely positive--legacy on Christianity and on the world at large. If you are interested in the life of Billy Graham or in a deeper understanding of Christianity's impact on recent American politics, this is definitely a worthwhile read.