Book title: Billy
Authors: William Paul McKay & Ken Abraham
Nashville, Thomas Nelson, 2008
Billy is the life story of Billy Graham as told to a reporter by outspoken atheist, Charles Templeton. A has-been reporter, Deborah Matthews, is sent to Templeton on his death bed with one assignment: get dirt on Graham. Matthews is pressured and threatened by her editor with an ultimatum: deliver scandal or hit the bricks.
The story is told from Templeton’s point of view. Charles Templeton and Billy Graham were close associates in the early years of Graham’s ministry. Charismatic evangelists, both, were filling venues with folks hungry for the gospel of Jesus. Despite success and an incredible ability to influence people, Templeton grows skeptical and finds himself at a crossroads; a crisis of faith. He is plagued with doubts and questions. If God exists, how could he allow the evil of Auschwitz and Nagasaki? Can modern science and the Bible exist in harmony? Is Jesus of Nazareth really the Son of God? These unanswered questions left a vacuum of doubt in Templeton so great that he would no longer preach a Bible he couldn’t believe.
Templeton’s departure from ministry and the faith shakes Billy to the core. Graham, himself, is at a crossroads. Can he preach if he can’t provide answers to Templeton’s challenges?
Few in American culture are ignorant of Billy Graham and his success. McKay and Abraham weave the story of Graham’s journey masterfully. They develop their characters endearingly – Billy, Ruth Bell, Templeton, and Matthews – in a way that readers grow affectionate toward each one.
Billy is one of the best biographies I’ve read in a long time. I’m looking forward to being disappointed by the movie because the book is always better.
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