I’m somewhat familiar with the evangelist Billy Graham, but I didn’t know much about his son, Franklin, before picking up this book. Regarding the Graham family, it seems that while they are still a great, God-honoring dynasty in the minds of most evangelicals, the fundamentalists haven’t claimed them for decades. This broken relationship stems from the Grahams’ inclinations to rub elbows with various non-evangelical groups, but I think it’s only fair to judge the family by their fruit, not their associations. For generations, these men have brought the Good News to hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of hungry souls. They’ve supplied the world with strong books on Christian living that have encouraged countless believers. And just consider the courage it took Billy to give preach those hard truths in prime-time TV in his “Message to America” a while back. These men have shared the Word of God across the globe, and it seems they’ve been driven to do so for the sake of one thing: The Name of Jesus.
With an inherited chip on my shoulder, though, I entered the book a bit warily, not sure what to expect. But I was pleasantly surprised at the content: solid doctrine and a massive list of God-honoring ministries that Franklin’s a part of all over the world. Each chapter of the The Name relates somehow to either Billy Graham Ministries, Samaritan’s Purse, or to Franklin Graham himself. It might seem prideful to some, a book of this kind fitted with a bunch of shameless plugs for promoting their ministries, but I’d disagree. This is nothing more than a method of publically documenting their tireless efforts to get The Name out there to places that might have never heard its sweetness.
I found the book informative, as I’d never before heard of Samaritan’s Purse and “Operation Christmas Box” before. Missions and ministry are all about glorifying God by reaching out to the lost and helping the poor, the fatherless, and the widows. These groups (and countless others) are out there every day obeying the mandates of Scripture, often unrecognized yet still forging new paths for the Gospel to spread in many creative and effective ways. Overall, Franklin’s writing was adequate. I really enjoyed his short history of the Jewish nation, which focused a good deal on the post-New Testament Israel, giving me info that I can’t get straight from the Bible, which was educational.
While I’m not chomping at the bit to read something by Franklin again, I wouldn’t overlook another offering of his. For someone looking to know a little more about how parachurch ministries function and reach out, this might be a good intro for you.