Bob Jones III talks about Billy Graham, Ecumenical Evangelism, and the Current Theological Landscape

By Kevin Mungons

The 1950 photo hints at a complicated story, full of colorful personalities reduced to a typical mid-century palette: black and white.

Historians haven’t helped much, telling and retelling the tale with stock characters from a cowboy movie: the bad guys (fundamentalists) chase the good guys (everyone else). When the fight breaks out, we already know who will lose.

The photo, however, serves as an interesting wrinkle. Apparently these men were friends. Bob Jones Jr. stands with Billy Graham on his right and Cliff Barrows on his left, surrounded by other members of the Graham team, their spouses, and a senator thrown in for good measure. Plus the 11-year-old boy, the namesake. Heir apparent.

Perhaps our interview with Bob Jones III would start better if he could remember a snappy anecdote from that day Billy Graham visited his house. But he can’t.

“I think that’s the only time I ever met him,” Bob Jones says, laughing, “and except for the photograph, I can’t even remember the event.