Foreword

Sherwood Eliot Wirt always rated high on my list of People to Be Watched. He is unpredictable, can believe six impossible things before breakfast, and gets away with audacious utterances. I was intrigued, then, when he told me about this book. Could we entrust Billy Graham to him?

    We could, as it happened. Dr. Graham was in safe hands. His approach throughout resembles that of one Scottish Covenanter who said of a colleague, "I could never get my love off that man. I think Jesus Christ has something to do with him."

    Right at the outset Dr. Wirt points out that Billy Graham is in human terms inexplicable — much more than the sum of his parts. Wirt promises to tell readers things about the evangelist they may have missed, and he does just that. Here are unique insights and little asides from seventeen years of company-keeping and shared ministry at home and abroad, supplemented from the continuing friendship since Wirt's retirement as editor of Decision two decades ago.

    In this project he necessarily selective, averaging four pages for each year of a crowded and eventful life and presenting his observations with infectious enthusiasm. He properly gives credit to the significant

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and sacrificial contributions made to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association by team families and by staff members. When he dons his journalistic hat, I sense Wirt's "sheer hopeless veracity" (I owe the phrase to Jerome K. Jerome). As an observer on the sidelines of some of the events he mentions, I hail him as a faithful scribe.

    I enjoyed reading this book. It displays generally the whimsical eccentricity so well known to those who have benefited from his fellowship over the years. He reminds me of that character in The Little World of Don Camillo who said, "I was absurd from the very beginning. Thanks be to God." I mean that in the nicest possible way.

— DR. JAMES D. DOUGLAS          
Author, editor, litterateur            

Acknowledgments  ||  Table of Contents