BILLY GRAHAM: Evangelist to the World by John Pollock

BILLY GRAHAM: Evangelist to the World

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The second volume of an all-too-authorized biography. Pollock, who produced the first volume in 1966 (rev. ed., 1969), is a British freelancer with a number of virtues. He's sober, careful, and reasonably fair-minded. He allows Graham's critics to get an occasional word in edgewise, and he corrects the record whenever Graham has a public lapse of memory. But apart from this token display of critical distance, Pollock makes no attempt at a balanced, three-dimensional study of a mere mortal. This is pure hagiography, the hard sell of an American saint. We see Billy preaching to gigantic crowds all over the globe--60,000 in Durban, South Africa (an unprecedented multi-racial affair), 270,000 in Rio, and 1,120,000 in Seoul, perhaps the largest religious gathering in history. His planning is crisply professional, his co-workers are gifted and zealous, the Lord conveniently smooths out all last-minute hitches, and so every campaign on whatever continent invariably unleashes an avalanche of grace: thousands convert on the spot, local churches reap a lavish harvest, etc., etc. Pollock numbs us with relentlessly detailed accounts of the well-oiled Graham organization, endless testimonies of lives blissfully transformed, statistical proofs of divine success. He extols Graham's virtues and complacently ignores his weak points-such as political naivet‚ and intellectual mediocrity. Incense-laden propaganda for the undiscriminating.

Pub Date: June 6th, 1979
Publisher: Harper & Row