Monday, December 16, 2002

The Next Graham- Interesting piece on the Graham clan and the history of the modern evangelical movement in US News-not much real news there for anyone who's followed the family, although I didn't know the Anne Graham Lotz story until her Just Give Me Jesus tour hit Tampa this fall. I'm not sure if Billy is a unifying figure more than he's a figure that most evangelicals (save the hyperseperitists) respect. Billy also has a combination of Biblical directness with a diplomacy about tangential issues that keeps him out of trouble. If you have trouble with what he's saying, you're having trouble taking the Bible at face value. The media want a largely apolitical Mr. Evangelical to look to as the nation's chaplain and wonder who will be his successor. Franklin Graham has come into his own in the last few years enough to earn fatwas from the Middle East. He's staking out some ground on the left edge of evangelicaldom with an emphasis on AIDS and on poverty-fighting. If he's not careful, it could turn into a social-gospel thing that will leave the salvation gospel behind. If he plays his cards right, his Samaritan's Purse organization could be able to get to the Salvation Army level, where secular folks will help out even though there is an underlying evangelical message.

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