(Disclaimer: I’m not a scholar on this issue. For more information, I suggest reading this: https://www.academia.edu/19789269/John_R._Rice_Billy_Graham_and_the_Dilemma_of_Ecclesiastical_Separation)
I grew up independent Baptist (fundamentalist), so the name Billy Graham was always familiar to me, but no one in my theological camp seemed to champion his preaching. It wasn’t until a church history class last semester that I realized why.
When I became Southern Baptist in college, few of my peers were having in-depth discussions of Graham, his impact, or theology, but it was understood that he was a big deal in our convention and the world at large.
I’m now, in addition to my role as a Southern Baptist journalist, a student at Southern Seminary, where we boast of having the only theological school named in his honor. Because of work opportunities, I’ve gotten to take a silly picture with his statue that used to be located at the LifeWay plaza in Nashville, and I’ve accidentally photo-bombed his son, Franklin, during his Decision America 2016 tour, while taking pictures on the job.
Nevertheless, I’d be lying if I said that I grew up on Graham. Still, he’s impacted my world.
But like I said, I grew up very independent Baptist, so much of my formative theological education was under John R. Rice’s followers. When I go home, I see a John R. Rice commentary on a bookshelf. When I decided I was called to Baptist journalism, my youth pastor’s wife advised me to work for Sword of the Lord. My pastor during my formative years was a staunch supporter of Rice.
So, don’t get me wrong, I was converted in the camp that follows Rice’s legacy, almost to a t. It was there I learned to take Jesus seriously.
But, I am a product of both men’s, sometimes cohesive, sometimes colliding worldviews. Continue reading “What Billy Graham’s split with John R. Rice means for me”