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Author of “America’s Pastor: Billy Graham & the Shaping of a Nation” to speak at King University, Bristol Public Library April 4

BRISTOL, Tenn., March 21, 2016 – Noted author of “America’s Pastor: Billy Graham and the Shaping of a Nation,” Dr. Grant Wacker, will speak on “Billy Graham and American Politics” at King University’s Memorial Chapel in Bristol, Tenn., at 9:15 a.m. on April 4. Later that same evening at 7 p.m., he will speak on “Billy Graham's Legacies in American Christianity" in Bristol, Va., at the Bristol Public Library. Wacker’s visit is part of the King Institute for Faith and Culture’s 2015-16 Lecture Series co-sponsored by the Bristol Herald Courier.

Dr. Shannon Harris, interim director of the King Institute for Faith and Culture, “We are delighted to have Grant Wacker on this year’s program. Billy Graham is a name most of us are familiar with here in the Tri-Cities region. One of my earliest memories of my grandmother is of her affection for the Reverend Billy Graham. Dr. Wacker’s excellent historical work on Reverend Graham will deepen our understanding of why Billy Graham mattered so much to so many people.”

Wacker is the author or co-editor of seven books, including “Heaven Below: Early Pentecostals and American Culture” (2001, Harvard University Press) and “America’s Pastor: Billy Graham and the Shaping of a Nation” (2014, Harvard University Press). From 1997 to 2004, Professor Wacker served as a senior editor of the quarterly journal, Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture.

As New York Times book reviewer Robert P. George points out, Wacker’s thesis in “America’s Pastor” — capably defended at every turn — is that the key to Graham’s success was his “uncanny ability to adopt trends in the wider culture and then use them for his evangelistic and moral reform purposes.” Still, even so impressive a skill as that would have been for naught had it not been for Graham’s deep and genuine faith, his integrity and his ability to make and keep good friends, including some, like the vocalist George Beverly Shea and his music master and program organizer Cliff Barrows, who loyally worked with him over almost his whole ministry. Wacker’s book is considered the most comprehensive and balanced analysis of Billy Graham ever published.

A native of Chapel Hill, N.C., Grant Wacker is the Gilbert T. Rowe Professor Emeritus of Christian History at Duke Divinity School at Duke University in Durham, N.C., where he has taught since 1992. He previously taught in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1977 to 1992. He specializes in the history of Evangelicalism, Pentecostalism, world missions and American Protestant thought.

Dr. Wacker received his Bachelor of Arts from Stanford University in 1972 and his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1978. He is a trustee of Fuller Theological Seminary.

Dr. Grant Wacker’s lectures are open to the public and free of charge. Visit http://faithandculture.king.edu or contact Dr. Shannon Harris, interim director of the King University Institute for Faith and Culture at svharris@king.edu, 423-652-4836, or 423-747-3524 for additional information.

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