Mennonite Weekly Review‘s World Together Blog is running a neat post by Canadian Mennonite Brethren writer and historian Dora Dueck, about her tradition’s mid-century fascination with American evangelicalism’s golden boy, Billy Graham.
Here’s a taste:
I’ve recently been reflecting on how my denomination — Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches — got on board the Billy Graham train.
In 1962, in the MB Herald — the then brand-new English language magazine of Canadian Mennonite Brethren — there were no less than three articles on the rising evangelical star and an appearance on the cover, as well as other “notes” throughout the year. I gather from this coverage that there must have been some questions about how MBs might respond to the Graham phenomenon. Certainly public opinion about him varied.
The emphases of these articles can probably tell us something about MB concerns and values of the time. Three matters seemed especially important: his finances, his humility and his relationship to theological liberals.
Read the full post here.
Like the Brethren in Christ, the Mennonite Brethren were involved with mid-century evangelical institutions like the National Association of Evangelicals. The Canadian MB’s interest in Billy Graham reflects a similar interest within the Brethren in Christ. During the 1960s, the Brethren in Christ denominational newspaper, the Evangelical Visitor, re-printed a number of Graham sermons. Some church members wrote into the paper to describe their attendance at Graham evangelistic crusades. And the paper’s news section often described Graham events or speaking engagements. But unlike the Canadian MBs, I doubt the Brethren in Christ ever questioned Graham’s allegiance to theological orthodoxy.
Maybe some day I’ll get around to writing about the Brethren in Christ and Billy Graham a la Dueck.