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Billy: The Untold Story of a Young Billy Graham and the Test of Faith that Almost Changed Everything

Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780785298328
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/4/2011
  • Pages: 274
  • Sales rank: 1,123,478
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

William Paul McKay is an award-winning filmmaker and producer, and President of American Trademark Pictures. His documentary, Great Souls,was an award-winning television presentation in 2006. He is also the co-author, with George Barner, of Vital Signs.

Ken Abraham is a fourteen-timeNew York Times best-selling author known around the world for his collaborations with high-profile public figures. A former professional musician and pastor, he is a popular guest with both secular and religious media. His books include One Soldier's Story with Bob Dole, Payne Stewart with Tracey Stewart, Falling in Love for All the Right Reasonswith Dr. Neil Clark Warren, and Let's Roll! with Lisa Beamer.

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Read an Excerpt

Billy

The Untold Story of a Young Billy Graham and the Test of Faith that Almost Changed Everything
By William Paul McKay Ken Abraham

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2008 Solex/MATP Venture
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4185-7148-1


Chapter One

Toronto, Canada, Winter 2001

The gray hospital walls appeared unusually bland, a stark contrast to the elderly yet vibrant patient who occupied the lone bed in the private room. Outside, the chilly winter wind whipped against the room's window, frosting it over with a thin layer of ice, but the bright television lights and the press of busy people bustling around the patient threatened to raise the temperature inside significantly.

Charles Templeton, now in his early eighties, his physical and mental alacrity slipping away, had consented to be interviewed for a documentary film. A gifted author, popular Canadian TV broadcaster, successful sports columnist, consummate inventor, and former minister, Templeton ranked as one of the most intriguing characters of the twentieth century.

Once he was regarded as the world's greatest Christian evangelist, a close friend and role model to Billy Graham, packing in crowds of more than forty thousand people who came specifically to hear him speak. Now he was known as one of society's most outspoken atheists-though he preferred the term agnostic-having given in to his doubts about Christianity nearly fifty years earlier. He had encouraged Graham to do the same, but his friend had chosen a different path.

A kindly nurse fluffed Templeton's pillows behind him and respectfully prepared him for the cameras. She had already helped him shave and had attempted to comb his tangled gray hair into a style that at least appeared intentional. She then gently helped him push his arms into the sleeves of a burgundy robe that covered the top of his pajamas so he could look his best on camera. At eighty-three, Templeton was still remarkably handsome and charismatic, despite the debilitating effects of Alzheimer's disease. Though his body betrayed him more frequently these days, his voice remained a beautiful, mellifluous cross between John Huston and Walter Cronkite. No one at the hospital ever doubted that the person who possessed that voice had once stood before throngs of people, mesmerizing them with his eloquence and keen intellect.

Ever distinguished-dashing and debonair were aptly applied terms in his younger days-and meticulous about his appearance, Templeton exuded a sophistication and class that belied his blue-collar upbringing and lack of formal education. He had abandoned public school following completion of the ninth grade and hadn't returned until age thirty-three, when he was granted special admission to Princeton University-well after he had established a successful career. He rarely misspoke but instead prided himself on wooing with his words the admiration of the nurses more effectively than many a young suitor could have done, even with flowers, candy, or expensive gifts. Yet as quickly as Charles Templeton could turn on the charm, there were still brief moments when the cautious, well-rehearsed person seemed to disappear, revealing the frettings and mumblings of a deeply tormented soul.

"That light's too hot," the cameraman cautioned as he and a gaffer repositioned their equipment in the tight hospital room.

"This light?" the gaffer asked, pointing at a large photography light directly above Templeton's head.

Templeton didn't notice the light, the camera, or the young men in his room. Instead, he seemed obsessed and somewhat agitated. "Get away ... get away ..." he mumbled, looking wildly around the room as if following some invisible ghost.

"Sir?" the gaffer asked politely as he turned toward Templeton. "Is there anything I can do for you?"

The old man recovered quickly, shook his head slightly, and looked at the camera operator and gaffer as though they had just entered the room. "It's good to see you again, young man. I thought yesterday's interview was very productive."

The gaffer glanced toward the cameraman, who simply shrugged his shoulders. The gaffer turned back toward Templeton. "I'm pretty sure we'll be out of your hair by the end of the day," he said, pulling the overhead light a few inches away from Templeton's face as he spoke.

"That's too bad," Templeton replied. He gazed intently at the men preparing the room for the interview. "I'll miss you. I'll miss all of you."

Deborah Matthews, an attractive though heavily made-up woman in her mid-fifties, paced anxiously on the other side of the room, talking on a cell phone, her back to Templeton. Matthews knew this was her chance, maybe her last chance, to get back in the flow of things at the network. For the past ten years or more, she had received fewer and fewer features as the producers increasingly leaned toward younger, slimmer reporters. The powers that be wanted more than fresh news; they wanted fresh faces, skin without wrinkles, eyes that still retained the sparkle of youthfulness. And more than anything, they wanted controversy, something with some sizzle and pizzazz. This wasn't just the news business anymore; it was entertainment dollars they were after, and if one news organization could not or would not provide the scandal and innuendo that audiences craved, another would soon replace it in the ratings.

Deborah Matthews had been relegated to second-rate stories for so long now that she had almost forgotten what sizzle felt like. But she still recognized a great story when she saw one, and this Templeton guy had an angle like no one she had ever interviewed. Nevertheless, after nearly two full days of shooting, she had produced about as much excitement as an obituary. Now her boss, Bradley Benjamin post, was on the phone, wanting to know why.

"I can't get a rise out of him," she whispered into the cell phone. "You were wrong-there's no dirt here about Graham. And if there is, we're not going to get it out of this Templeton guy. He's a professional charmer and-"

"Cut the nonsense, Deborah!" Post bellowed into the phone, so loudly that the sound man in Templeton's room heard him, glanced up from his control panel, and looked at Deborah quizzically. Deborah held the cell phone at arm's length, away from her ear, as though expecting another blast. The sound man nodded in understanding.

In New York, the quintessential "get me the story," chain-smoking, coffee-chugging TV news producer was rapidly losing patience with his former star reporter. "Look, Deborah," Post said hotly, "I've been protecting you for the past six months. You know that the network is reducing its workforce, and your job is on the line. The young girls are coming up-and they're hot-so if you don't get the dirt on Graham, I'll find someone else who will."

"But, Brad, it's not there!" Deborah protested. "Even Templeton himself says there's no scandal-no misuse of funds, no sexual dalliances, no lavish lifestyles-"

"Don't tell me it's not there, Deborah!" Post fumed. "It's got to be there! These evangelists are all alike. They can't keep their fingers out of the till or their hands off the adoring female fans. I know there's scandal in Graham's life somewhere. Templeton knows it too, and your job, Deborah, is to find it. Find it, or find yourself a new occupation."

Deborah Matthews turned pale as the ramifications of post's words hit her full force. She knew he was right about the aggressive young reporters. They were no longer nipping at her heels; they were tugging at her stockings. She knew, too, that Bradley Benjamin Post cared almost as little about loyalty to his staff as he did about the truth. What did he care that Deborah had been with the network longer than most of the debutante reporters had been alive? What did it matter whether or not any dirt Templeton might dish was true? all that mattered to Bradley Benjamin Post were ratings-ratings that Deborah had not been able to pull since the advent of cable news, with its bevy of brainless beauties doling out prepackaged ditties read straight off the teleprompters.

Deborah knew what Post expected; she was aware of the rules of the game. If there was no scandal to be found, at least give the impression that there might be. Slant the story, shape the questions, or tweak the lead lines in such a way as to imply something shocking to the public. Take some minor point out of context and bore into it; milk it; color it; make it into something with ... yes, with sizzle; and then keep throwing it out, louder, bolder, more frequently, until what started as a half-truth at best grew into a bold-faced lie. Soon, with the aid of the right camera angle and creative editing, that original, innocuous point could somehow be morphed into the "previously untold truth."

Deborah had been counting on Templeton as her hot ticket back to the big time, and frankly, so had post. That's why he had given her the assignment. They had been friends and colleagues for years, but Deborah knew she had to pull this story out on her own. Brad had gone to bat for her in New York one too many times, and although she had scored outstanding scoops and earned numerous accolades in her illustrious career, those days were long past. She understood that much, yet she had underestimated post's desperate desire to do what no other television or print medium had been able to do-successfully pin some scandal on Christianity's most Teflon hero, Billy Graham.

"Whatever you have to do, Deborah, do it! No one has ever before approached this story from this angle. Push every button; don't hold anything back," Post said quietly but emphatically. "I know Templeton has never betrayed his old friend Billy Graham, but there has to be some animosity in there somewhere, something you can use to pit them against each other. Templeton was the hottest preacher in the world till Graham came along. Even after Graham came along. But something happened. Find out, Deborah. Squeeze something out of the old man before he kicks the bucket. Why did Graham ascend to the top of the field, and why did he and Templeton part ways? There has to be more to this story than has been told. Find it, Deborah," Post implored, then added under his breath, "or else."

In her peripheral vision, Deborah caught a glimpse of Templeton waving his arms in the air, again at nothing. The reporter shifted her body slightly in his direction just as the man in the hospital bed cried, "Get away ... get away from me!"

She grimaced and raised her eyebrows. "Talk later, Brad," she said abruptly as she flipped her cell phone shut. Deborah turned toward the gaffer. "Slate it, Dave."

"But the light-"

"I said slate it, Dave. Now!" the reporter snapped.

The gaffer rolled his eyes and exhaled a puff of air. He picked up a documentary slate and held it toward the camera lens.

"Speed ... rolling," the cameraman said.

The gaffer spoke louder than necessary, as though trying to make a point. "'Faith Lost' documentary. Charles Templeton interview, tape three." He slapped the slate together and stepped to the side, allowing the camera to focus on Templeton and the ambitious reporter.

Deborah Matthews was already in Templeton's face, leaning toward him like a gambling addict staring longingly at a roulette wheel. "You said, 'Get away,'" she said. "Who do you want to 'get away'?"

Templeton responded as though he had not even heard her question, which, perhaps, he had not. "I like talking to you. Must you finish the interview today?"

Ms. ambition hedged, not wanting to drag out the interview longer than necessary, but unwilling to miss any morsel Templeton might drop. "We may be back tomorrow," she replied.

Templeton fussed with his collar. "That would be marvelous."

"Is there anything-anything at all-that you'd like to tell us about your ... er, shall we say, 'friendship' with Billy Graham?"

The old man's eyes lit up. He nodded his head and spoke quietly but with deep emotion. "Billy Graham ..."

"Yes, Billy Graham," the reporter pressed. "did you ever feel angry or jealous that Billy-"

"Billy was such a fine young man," Templeton said as much to himself as to the reporter. He seemed to be viewing his own mental motion picture as he spoke. "A farm boy, really. That's where we were, wasn't it, when we left off yesterday? We were talking about when he worked on the farm?"

"Yes, Mr. Templeton, and that is all quite interesting," Matthews said dismissively, "but I would love to hear more about your relationship with Billy. I've read some of your books and have heard some of your comments about Christianity and evangelists. I know that you two experienced some tension in your relationship. Tell me about that."

Templeton waved his hand in small circles. "All in due time, dear lady. All in good time. You must have patience. I will tell you everything-things you've never before heard about Billy and me-but this information is crucial to understanding who Billy was-and, of course, who I was, and who we had become by the time our paths crossed."

"Yes, sir, I understand that, but-"

"In due time." Templeton's voice rose in volume as he nodded. "You will not be disappointed, I assure you. Now, where were we?"

Deborah exhaled emphatically. "Whatever comes to mind," she said, making no attempt to conceal her exasperation. "Tell us how you feel about Billy."

Templeton's facial expression slipped into a quasi-smile. He had seen her kind before. He'd spent years dealing with reporters; he knew what they wanted, what they needed. "You want something"-he loved the word-"juicy, don't you?"

"No, I just ..."

Templeton smiled openly now. He waved his hand again as if swatting at a persistent mosquito. "I told you before. There's no scandal there," he said straightforwardly. "No embezzlement. Billy was ..."

Deborah's head snapped up from her notes, her eyes riveted on Templeton's. "Yes. What was he really?"

Templeton seemed to almost sigh as he said softly, "Billy ... was a sweet, good man. He just believes. End of story."

Deborah scowled but remained undaunted. She was close to a scoop. She could feel it. "All right. Let's go back. What about you? You were the star, not Graham."

"Me?" Templeton shrugged, and a hint of a smile crossed his face. "Well, you are correct, young lady. Before I was consumed with intellectual doubt, self-criticism, and an unending search for personal truth, I was a much better preacher than Billy. Much better! Just ask him." Templeton's eyes twinkled in the bright light. "He's an honest man. He'll tell you."

"Then how did a farm boy become more popular than you? How did a fellow who was not as smart as you, not as articulate as you, and ..." Matthews paused and cocked her head coyly, "I might add, not nearly as handsome as you ... how did he become the famous evangelist Billy Graham?"

Templeton's voice increased in volume. "Billy Graham!"

"Yes, sir. I've researched your life and his too. I know you used to be close friends. I've read about the two of you preaching in America and in Europe together. I know how those two prostitutes in Paris tried to seduce you and Graham when you were both virile young men."

Templeton smiled again. "That could have happened yesterday, young lady. Prostitutes? Who said anything about prostitutes? They were fine, wholesome young women ... much like yourself."

"Ahem," Deborah cleared her throat and shifted uncomfortably in her chair. "Yes, do you really think Billy ran away from that naked woman?"

Templeton leaned forward in his bed, suddenly energized. "Billy Graham? I thought you wanted to talk about me. I'm the one who's dying. I'm the one who is soon going to need the epitaph. His story is dull! Mine is the story you should tell. Billy? There's nothing juicy there. Okay, give him a medal for being a Boy Scout, but that's all. Dull. Dull as butter."

"If that's the case, why does everyone know who Billy Graham is, but no one knows who Charles-"

"I'll tell you the truth: I don't get it," Templeton interrupted, sitting up straighter. "No, sir. I don't get it. Any intelligent man, any person with half a brain at all looking around at the world today would have to come to the conclusion that there could not possibly be a loving God."

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Billy by William Paul McKay Ken Abraham Copyright © 2008 by Solex/MATP Venture. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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  • Posted November 29, 2008

    Two Men, Two Roads Taken

    Title: Billy: The Untold Story of a Young Billy Graham and the Test of Faith That Almost Changed Everything<BR/>Authors: William Paul McKay and Ken Abraham<BR/>Published by Thomas Nelson, 2008<BR/>264 pages<BR/><BR/>Billy is an unauthorized, true account of young Billy Graham, picking up when he is about 15 years old. It is as much a story of the man who became, for some years, his best friend: Charles Templeton, who, by his own account, was better looking, more articulate and a better preacher than Billy Graham. A popular evangelist, Templeton could command audiences of tens of thousands, when Billy could hope for only a few thousand, on his own. Yet, the two men took different paths in response to severe testing of their faith. Their stories, separate and joined, bring to mind that classic poem by Robert Frost, "The Road Not Taken":<BR/><BR/> Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--<BR/> I took the one less traveled by.<BR/> And that has made all the difference.<BR/><BR/>As the book opens, Templeton is in his early 80's, hospitalized with Alzheimer's. Deborah Matthews, a middle-aged, has-been reporter, is under orders to interview Templeton to "get the dirt" on Graham. Matthews' boss will not accept her assurance that there is no scandal to dig up, and she knows her job is on the line. Throughout the book, her interview provides a springboard for stories from Graham's life, including his awkward attempts to communicate coherently with girls who had caught his eye and his heart; his conversion and growing sense that he was called to preach the gospel; and the beginning and maturing of the love between Billy and his life's mate, Ruth Bell.<BR/><BR/>Both through Templeton's responses to Matthews' questions and in the narrative of the story, we read of the friendship that developed between Templeton and Graham, as they traveled and preached together. Their unity began to unravel as their evangelistic efforts in post-WWII Europe brought Templeton's pre-existing doubts into sharper focus. His response to those seems tragic; in contrast, how God blessed Graham's evangelistic efforts serves to show how God blesses those whose faith is in Him, at all costs. Matthews' questions often trigger outbursts of Templeton's frustration, as he looks back on all that he has lost: the wide acclaim he once enjoyed, the intellect that he had relied on at the expense of his faith, his two failed marriages, and the astounding success of the man he had called his best friend, the man whose intellect, eloquence of speech, and preaching Templeton still considered inferior to his own.<BR/><BR/>Near the end of the book we read of Templeton's emotional crisis as he faces his demons. Reading of his breakdown before the reporter and her crew, confessing (speaking of Jesus) that "I miss him," we want him to reclaim that faith in God that he had renounced, so long before. Then, as Templeton struggles to regain control, Matthews tells him someone wants to say, "hello." Billy Graham enters the room and in their reunion, Templeton seems to respond to the unconditional love, forgiveness and grace of God, shown through his old friend.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 17, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    How the most valuable thing you have can disappear...

    Faith is the one thing no one can take from you...except yourself. <BR/><BR/>Earl Nightingale said often that the most valuable things in life were given to you free and you couldn't pay to get them back - such as your health and your capacity for thought.<BR/><BR/>Faith, as laid out by McKay and Abraham in their new book "Billy" - faith is one of these precious and incredibly valuable items which only you can put there and only you can take away.<BR/><BR/>This story starts and ends with the problems that one of the best friends Billy Graham ever had - he lost his faith and became an agnostic/atheist for the rest of his life. Through an interview on what later became his deathbed, we see the life of Billy Graham from his beginnings on a dairy farm through his decision to follow his call to the ministry and also to the most important incident of his life.<BR/><BR/>By comparing these two individuals, McKay and Abraham do not tell a cloying, over-pious, up-on-a-pedestal version of Graham's life - but they tell a story of that individual who was as human as the rest of us, warts and all.<BR/><BR/>Through the eyes of Charles Templeton, we see that talent plays no favorites - that a person of immense talent can yet ruin his own life through the different choices he makes in life. Talent doesn't prepare one for the depths of personal doubts and doesn't prevent anyone from the pitfalls each of us face.<BR/><BR/>But luck can fall to those who aren't as gifted or talented or brilliant. In Graham's case (as related by the authors through Templeton) the most average among us can live incredibly lucky lives and have all sorts of good fortune shine down on us. Templeton was gifted, physically and mentally - capable of putting women into a swoon and grown men into immediate respect, all with a glance and a word. He also had a native talent for illustration and as an athlete.<BR/><BR/>Graham and Templeton were best friends and lived through many adventures as up-and-coming evangelists. Why Graham went on to international fame and Templeton to relative obscurity is the question this book raises.<BR/><BR/>And perhaps the answer is too simple, too pat. But you don't see what this answer is until the end pages of the book. Skilfully drawn through the pages by the narrative, I found myself immersed in the life of Billy Graham and his counterpart, Templeton. Of course the story is all about Graham, but you also find the story of Templeton. One succeeds - and endures that same night on the mountain much as Jesus did, finding that his faith was paramount to all obstacles. The other finds that his faith fails him and so turns his back on his success, his wife, and his friends - to go seek an intellectual reasoning for the world around him.<BR/><BR/>Templeton has no real explanations for the lucky breaks Graham had - and how he rose to incredible fame and success. Instead, Templeton grouses about these breaks over and over.<BR/><BR/>I haven't seen the movie, but I can see why someone wanted to make it into one. This is an incredibly powerful narrative and one which has lessons for anyone in our modern times - where we are presented with all types and kinds of opportunities. As well, we are presented with every trial that can be faced by any person living on this planet.<BR/><BR/>Each one of us can be - and has been - tried in our faith as these authors describe the ordeals Graham experienced, and as well those of his best friend Templeton. <BR/><BR/>Only you, or I, can lose our faith - this book helps you through that.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2010

    Billy

    Since I deal with doubt and wondering when it comes to my faith - I thought Billy would be a good read for me. In many ways, it was. Told from a unique perspective, the book gives you a glimpse into what life was like for Billy Graham, and a few of his friends along the way. It speaks of a time different than ours. Tent revivals. Farms. Door to door salesmen. The book does a good job of telling us where Billy, and his evangelist-turned-atheist friend Charles, come from. And I, for one, enjoyed this glimpse into times' past.


    It's a story about friendship, life, and how the two intermingle. It's about callings, faith, and seeking truth. It's a love story....between Graham and Ruth ( Billy's wife) - but more importantly it's a love story between Graham and God.


    While the book has certainly made we want to learn more about Billy Graham and his life - it left me wanting a bit more. (Maybe I should pick up an autobiography on him or something.) However, the book has certainly peaked my interest, challenged my methods of securing a sound faith, and encouraged me to seek Truth. From what I understand, there is also a movie that tells the same story. I think I might have liked the movie a bit more. Either way - it's interesting, enlightening - and will certainly pull you in.

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  • Posted November 30, 2008

    Bringing Larger Than Life to Everyday Understanding

    I loved the book. Billy Graham is beloved by many in Christendom and I think could rightfully claim to be a modern day apostle for the Lord. I met his daughter Anne, someone I have respected ever since becoming a Christian, when she spoke at our Exodus conference last summer. While I have had respect for the Graham family and knew a little about Anne, I didn¿t know a whole lot except that Billy was extremely famous.<BR/><BR/>It was a great delight to learn more about him. When it came to his integrity, innocence, perseverance and lack of controversy ¿ what a breath of fresh air! In this day and age with everything seeming to be falling apart at the seams, Billy Graham lived through the depression, World War II AND the baggage that comes with being famous ¿ and yet he has remained faithful.<BR/><BR/>I loved the story of him standing up to *the* Dr. Bob Jones (Bob Jones University) and proving him wrong. I really enjoyed learning about his first sermon. I won¿t describe it but I laughed through the whole thing. The surprise ending had me laughing out loud. It was awesome.<BR/><BR/>The part that really moved me was his relationship with Ruth. His relationship with her was very sweet and pure. I loved his passion for the Word and his devotion to study and prayer was very inspiring. I also was not aware of his efforts to combat racism and was deeply moved to hear that he himself jumped off stage to go break down the barriers in the crowd that separated the white¿s only seating from the black¿s seating. This made his events one of the first public events to become integrated. He also worked with Dr. Martin Luther King as well.<BR/><BR/>The main plot of the story was about how his best friend, Charles Templeton, and he both had a crisis of faith. Where Charles fell away and caustically challenged Billy ¿ Billy had a profound ¿dark night of the soul¿ and did not fall away. Of course, knowing who he is ¿ that isn¿t much of a spoiler. However, learning the details made Billy more accessible as a regular person facing doubts and fears concerning placing faith in Jesus Christ. I also loved Billy¿s response to his friend¿it was always unconditionally loving and never disrespectful. Even when Charles was very rude to him ¿ Billy grieved and did not lash back. That sounds like Jesus to me.<BR/><BR/>I won¿t tell you what happened at the end of the book between these two old friends but let¿s just say it left me speechless.<BR/><BR/>I would highly recommend this book to just about anyone. It¿s an easy read and gives a glimpse into one of our living ¿fathers¿ of the faith. I think just about anyone would appreciate this good story but I think young people will find it especially intriguing. Billy¿s young adult world was very different than today but some of the basics of ¿coming of age¿ never change.

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  • Posted November 14, 2008

    A great read about a great leader!

    Billy follows the lives of two great evangelists, Charles Templeton at the height of his career; Billy at the beginning of his. They both faced crisis moments in their journey, yet at the point of decision each chose a different path.<BR/><BR/>Billy is well written and captivating. I devoured it, finishing the book in four nights. The story line moved with well balanced moments of humor and poignancy. Of course a biopic of this sort can lend itself its own share of cheesy, melodramatic moments, and at some points I felt that the authors tried too hard to create a moment; however I must stay that the love story between Ruth and Billy was handled with great care.<BR/><BR/>I was engrossed in the inner turmoil they faced. I appreciated the authenticity with which the authors portrayed Billy¿s life, the choices he made, and the ministries he leads with integrity. I was also comforted to know that even the greatest of Christian leaders face moments of doubts.<BR/><BR/>I recommend Billy to church leaders and Christians alike. This is a great gift for those who lived through those first crusades in LA and NYC and would bring them back to the excitement.

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  • Posted November 11, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Remarkable Relationship

    Charles Templeton was one of the most noteable preachers of the mid 20th century. He was also a friend and a mentor to the young Billy Graham. In the book, Billy, authors William P. McKay and Ken Abraham tell the story of the young Graham, from the perspective of the dying Templeton.<BR/>The story, while not a strict biography, details Billy Graham's early years, meeting Ruth, and his early evangelism. And, it more than truthfully details the relationship between the two men. One a foundling evangelist, the other in the early stages of becoming an atheist.<BR/><BR/>The story reads a little like a movie script and I think that's just the way the authors want you to feel. (as though you're in a movie) Clearly, Billy was never pegged for success, but the blessings from God that brought him success and the plans to bring Christ to the world and win it for HIM are stunning wittness to the lives and faith of both men. Together they had great plans in 1949 for an evangelism campaign to win the world for Christ. What began in Los Angeles on that day, certainly wouldn't have succeeded had it not been for divine intervention and a wife, friends and family that stood beside the evangelist every step of the way.<BR/><BR/>If you're looking for a biography of Billy Graham, there are more than a few to choose from. And if you're searching for a true biography, this book isn't what you're looking for. But if you want an inside look at Billy and the crisis of faith spurred on by his relationship with Charles Templeton, then you're going to find this book quite a read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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