Book Review: Billy Graham: His Life and Influence

David Aikman’s book Billy Graham: His Life and Influence was a very interesting biography of the famous evangelist.  Aikman has an interesting writing style that comes from his experience working as a reporter for Time magazine.  The book focuses strongly on Billy Graham’s development with regards to the issues of race, communism, and theology itself.  Aikman continually focuses on what he perceives as Billy’s journey from fundamentalism to a more open an ecumenical version of Christian.  Aikman summarizes  the Christian message as dealing with both issues of truth, which he summarizes as judgment, and issues of love.  He describes Graham as changing from focusing on a message of truth and judgment to a message of love.  Aikman argues that Graham’s likability was one of the reasons for his success with regard to his influence on influential leaders including many American presidents.  Aikman argues that Graham saw himself as a pastor rather than a prophet. He wanted to support, encourage, and guide people and politicians rather than critique them and their decisions.  Aikman’s book places a large focus on Graham’s involvement in the lives of influential political figures of his time.  Aikman presents Graham as America’s pastor and the person who serves as a spiritual guide for many Americans during difficult times.  This is a very interesting and engaging biography of a man who has not merely shaped Christianity in America but also the influencers who have shaped America itself.