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Defending the FaithGlobal Histories of Apologetics and Politics in the Twentieth Century$
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Todd Weir and Hugh McLeod

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266915

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266915.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 27 July 2021

‘Communism Is a Religion That Is Inspired, Directed and Motivated by the Devil Himself’: Billy Graham’s Apologetics and the Cold War West

‘Communism Is a Religion That Is Inspired, Directed and Motivated by the Devil Himself’: Billy Graham’s Apologetics and the Cold War West

Chapter:
(p.141) 7 ‘Communism Is a Religion That Is Inspired, Directed and Motivated by the Devil Himself’: Billy Graham’s Apologetics and the Cold War West
Source:
Defending the Faith
Author(s):

Uta Andrea Balbier

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197266915.003.0008

Anti-Communism constituted a core feature of Billy Graham’s preaching in the 1950s. In Graham’s sermons Communism did not just stand for the anti-religious thread of an atheistic ideology, as it was traditionally used in Protestant Fundamentalist circles, but also for its opposition to American freedom and Free Market Capitalism. This article argues that the term Communism took on significantly new meaning in the evangelical milieu after the Second World War, indicating the new evangelicals’ ambition to restore, defend, and strengthen Christianity by linking it into the discourse on American Cold War patriotism. This article will contrast the anti-Communist rhetoric of Billy Graham and other leading evangelical figures of the 1950s, such as Harold Ockenga, with the anti-Communist rhetoric used by early Fundamentalists in the 1910s and 1920s. Back then, Communism was predominantly interpreted as a genuine threat to Christianity. The term also made appearances in eschatological interpretations regarding the imminent end-times. The more secular interpretation of Communism as a political and economic counter-offer by evangelical preachers such as Billy Graham will be discussed as an important indicator of the politicization and implied secularization of the evangelical milieu after the Second World War.

Keywords:   Cold War, Anti-Communism, Billy Graham, Evangelicalism, Fundamentalism, Apologetics

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