Divinity professor says America’s pastor generally stayed ‘on task’

Ideologues fight to own Billy Graham’s legacy

In an email interview with writer Becky Garrison for Salon, Bill Leonard, Dunn professor of Baptist studies and church history at Wake Forest University, wrote about Graham’s legacy. “I think Billy is the last and the most successful of the Protestant ‘chaplains’ in America. There may be multiple chaplains in contemporary culture, but not with the consensus that Graham developed. He is also perhaps the last of the national revivalists in the U.S. who pioneered evangelical use of media including radio, TV, films and direct mailings.  He generally stayed ‘on task’ with a primarily conversionist/evangelist calling to move persons toward ‘personal faith in Jesus’ but was occasionally distracted by his infatuation with American presidents, most evident in his association with Richard M. Nixon.

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