so I’ve seen the talking cow…

at the Billy Graham Library…

Corny? You bet.BGTix I am quite astonished, actually, at the way the display starts at the library. To each his own, I suppose. It just seems quite out of keeping with the purpose and general professionalism of the whole exhibit.

In our recent trip south, we flew in and out of Charlotte, NC, home of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the Billy Graham Library. We had a little time at our disposal Tuesday afternoon and the admission is free, so we decided to take the exhibit in.

The exhibit itself consists of some 13 or so galleries, some with video, audio, or slide presentations, each done up to portray various aspects of Billy Graham’s ministry over the years. Without a doubt, Billy Graham is an influential man and worthy of our attention, even though we are critical of his philosophy and methods.

Our time was limited, so I skipped part of the galleries (to the chagrin of the staff, I think). I wanted to get to the bookstore. The galleries began with a short video presentation with four or five individuals talking about their testimonies. These preliminary testimonies talked about the pain the individuals had suffered in various life situations – abuse, ghetto upbringing, loss of a child, etc.

In the subsequent galleries, we saw bits and pieces of Billy’s ministry, including some video from his early Los Angeles Crusade where he was a fiery preacher, calling for repentance from sin and submission to Christ. In general, however, the emphasis on repentance was muted and short. My sons reported on the last gallery with its video presentation. It basically answers the painful circumstances testified to in the first gallery with the notion that Jesus will make your life wonderful, no matter how painful it is.

No one denies the genuineness of these painful circumstances nor the power of Jesus Christ to heal the wounds they cause. But the gospel is no guarantee of a painless life, it is a guarantee of a sins-forgiven and sinful-nature_conquering life.

Overall, the impression of the presentation was about what I expected, as was the bookstore. I was interested to see the titles on the shelves. They were quite an eclectic mix, aside from the expected Graham titles:

  • Three different titles from A. W. Pink
  • Luther’s Bondage of the Will
  • Hannah Whitall Smith’s The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life and The God of All Comfort
  • Several volumes by Andrew Murray
  • A biography of Charles Finney with a subtitle “America’s Greatest Evangelist” (!)
  • Several books by Piper, including his book on missions
  • Several books by MacArthur
  • Quite a few prominently displayed titles by Greg Laurie

All in all, the titles seem to convey the broad-minded philosophy of Billy Graham, where simple confession of Christianity seems to be enough, the finer distinctions need not apply. Some of these titles may be beneficial, but others are appalling. I leave it up to you to determine which is which!

For myself, I picked up two books here. One is D. L. Moody On Spiritual Leadership by Steve Miller. I’ve read the first chapter and it looks quite valuable as not only a summary of Moody’s views but as a tool for discipleship. I may have more later when I finish the book. The second book is The Life of Matthew Henry and the Concise Commentary on the Gospels which includes the 1828 biography by J. B. Williams and an abridged version of Henry’s commentary on the four Gospels. I am looking forward to someday actually reading this one. I am notorious for buying and stacking good books. One of these days I’ll actually read some of them.

Finally, as we left the Library, we picked up a copy of the current Decision magazine. For fundamentalists, there is one particular article of interest. I will blog on that later.