Over at First Things I have a piece reflecting on evangelical Christianity after Billy Graham, and whether there will be another evangelist like him. Here’s a sample:
As soon as word broke about the death of Billy Graham, the most influential Christian evangelist of the twentieth century, scholars and admirers began asking: “Will there ever be another Billy Graham?” The consensus seems to be “no.”
Scholars note that evangelical Christianity and our dominant media culture are both too diverse for anyone to take on a singular role like Graham’s again. Admirers contend that Graham’s relentless devotion to Christ and to the gospel also made him a unique figure.
Were Billy Graham around to hear this discussion, I am confident he would remind us that God made Graham into the titanic figure he was. Thus, if God chooses to raise up “another Billy Graham,” then there will indeed be another.
But commentators on Graham’s uniqueness are missing another, more mundane point. Some scholars say that our media environment is too diffuse for someone like Graham to capture its attention. But we could turn that argument on its head. Perhaps all we need is another evangelist with Graham’s hard work and savvy for tomorrow’s media, and he or she could become a sensation like Graham, too. Such savvy presumes a forward-looking, entrepreneurial aptitude. We don’t know what a future Billy Graham would look like. Great entrepreneurs are hard to anticipate.
Read the rest here.