The Christian Science Monitor

Billy Graham: a counselor of presidents who eschewed politics

In 1957, when celebrity evangelist Billy Graham was gearing up for four months of nightly revival meetings at New York’s Madison Square Garden, his fellow conservative Christians warned he was playing with fire – and not in a good way.

Fundamentalists said he was making a mistake by partnering with liberal New York Protestants, who in their view would corrupt the crusade. But Graham didn’t listen. He teamed up with a diverse coalition and preached the gospel to 2.4 million.

“Graham’s view was that if people wanted to help promote the revivals… then find ways to bridge theological differences,” said Barry Hankins, a Baylor University historian and author of “American Evangelicals: A Contemporary History of a

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