Religion Scholar Comments on Billy Graham as 'America's Pastor' Gets Ready to Turn 95
Source Newsroom: Wake Forest University
As Billy Graham’s 95th birthday approaches (Nov. 7), Wake Forest University Divinity School Professor Bill Leonard says Graham remains “an American phenomenon, the most enduring and perhaps the most beloved preacher in American religious history.” Leonard is available to talk about the impact Graham has had on American religion and culture.
Leonard says: "Graham is a major historical figure, not merely to American evangelicals, but to American Christianity in general. Although not so well known among a younger generation of evangelicals, he remains the closest thing to a national Protestant chaplain that the U.S. has ever had. There really is no one successor. Unashamedly Christian, he demonstrates a graciousness that extends to persons inside and outside the church.
In a sense he remains that most famous and the last great American national revivalist. He also pioneered a variety of religious engagements with modern culture--radio, TV, film, syndicated programming, crusades – many of the first elements of what became media religion in the United States."
Leonard, the James and Marilyn Dunn Chair of Baptist Studies at Wake Forest, studies American church history and has closely followed Graham’s career. Widely recognized for his work in American, Southern and Baptist religious studies, Leonard is the author or editor of some seventeen books including “The Nature of the Church” and “Becoming Christian: Dimensions of Spiritual Formation.”