Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Billy by William Paul McKay and Ken Abraham

Today I'm pleased to feature a book about Dr. Billy Graham's early years.

Here's the back cover copy:

The remarkable true story of a young Billy Graham and his best friend who walked away from the faith.

We all know how the story ends but how did it begin? Before he became a household name, and "America's Pastor," he was simply known as Billy. When he wasn't playing baseball, he was discovering his love for Christian ministry. His best friend, Charles Templeton, was already on track to be a highly successful evangelist and the two young men began strategizing on how to win the world for Christ. That plan takes a drastic turn, however, when Templeton deserts the faith and becomes an atheist. The impact of this decision on a young Billy Graham is immeasurable and agonizing. Charles would later become the great intellectual architect for agnosticism and atheism. Billy would become the single greatest messenger for the Christian Gospel. It is one of the great untold dramas between friends - Atheism vs Christianity, betrayal and hope.

And here's my review:

“Billy” gives readers a peek into the life of a young Billy Graham as he made decisions regarding school and whom to marry. We see his response to his call, and how he overcame faith questions to become the iconic preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ for our generations. I already had great respect for Dr. Graham before reading the book; that respect has increased.

We also get a deep look at the life of Dr. Graham’s contemporary, Charles Templeton. This exploration of “Chuck’s” life was just as interesting as that of Billy’s. As a Christian, you grieve the fact that when Chuck had doubts (and everyone does at some point), he went to the secular “experts” for answers, rather than humbling himself before the all-wise God. You watch him struggle as a dying man against demons only he can see as he recites the story of his past with Billy Graham. You watch his pride rob his faith and leech away his joy, while derailing him from his purpose in life as a great preacher of the gospel. The story doesn’t leave you hopeless, though, where his eternal destiny is concerned. (Read the book to see what I mean.)

This novelization of the early life of Billy Graham will inspire readers, whether they are seekers or are already firmly grounded in their faith in Jesus as the Savior. “Billy” will exhort Christians to live lives of integrity and purpose. And nonbelievers will discover kinship in the real questions the two main characters faced. Readers will see how a crisis of faith ended in two different paths, and they’ll find hope to face their own turning points.

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