A Life of Integrity

Just As I Am is the biography of a humble man. While outlining the development of his ministry, Billy Graham’s biography is anything but an exercise in self-glorification. He describes his evangelistic crusades from their early beginnings in tent meetings in Los Angeles to "the more recent massive gatherings in sports stadiums." He tells about his encounters with powerful heads of state. He recounts his special friends who made up the support group that kept him faithful to his mission and nurtured an integrity that even those who reject his message respect. Graham takes us with him as he meets with presidents over nine administrations, amusing us as he describes his brash holier-than-thou attitude in his first meeting with Harry Truman, and inspiring us as he describes his compassionate pastoral attitude toward Bill Clinton.

Through it all he critiques himself in ways that will help those who would make him a role model to escape his pitfalls. There is a kind of self-deprecation in this autobiography that only serves to enhance his stature.

Particularly interesting are the roles that he played in facing the pressing social concerns that have troubled the nation over the last half-century. Critics might attack him for not expressing opposition to the Vietnam War or being more specific in supporting civil rights legislation, but his autobiography reveals that he accomplished more to further social justice causes than these critics might imagine.

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Sojourners Magazine July-August 1998
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