Standing on the Giant’s Shoulders: A Tribute to Reverend Billy Graham

The old Graham family home on the grounds of the Billy Graham Library, Charlotte, North Carolina. It was here that the great evangelist’s body lay in repose during visitation by the public, February 26-27 ,2018.

In the summer of 1982 I crossed the Pacific Ocean for the first time to spend some time in Japan and China. The occasion was a Christian missions trip. After six weeks of ministry work in Tokyo, we concluded the trip with a few days of sightseeing in Hong Kong, Guangzhou, and Beijing. I thoroughly enjoyed China, but it was somewhat surreal walking around Tiananmen Square, through the Forbidden City, and over the Great Wall. As one of my companions said at the time, we wouldn’t fully realize until we were back home in America that we had been all the way on the other side of the world.My companion was right. We don’t appreciate experiences at the time nearly as much as we appreciate them years later, when we can see the impact they had on us and how they shaped the course of our lives. It’s the same with people. We don’t know how important they have been to us until years later. Maybe even decades or centuries later, when the full tale of their story can be considered in context.

A flyer used to get the word out about the 1972 Alabama Crusade. (Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, http://www.billygraham.org.)

The full tale of Billy Graham’s impact on my life is not yet told, but I have an idea what it encompasses now, nearly 50 years after I first saw him. That occasion was in the spring of 1972, during his second visit to my hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. It was just before my 11th birthday, and I had no idea at the time what a tremendous effect Reverend Graham had already exerted on my city. For some reason, my parents deemed it best to shield us from the momentous societal transformations wrought by the Civil Rights Movement. All I knew in my childhood was that Billy Graham, like me, was a Southern Baptist, that he loved Jesus like I did, and that he was a very important preacher. I did not know that it was he who insisted on having an integrated choir in his first crusade in my divided city in 1964, and that the crowd gathered at Legion Field in that year was the largest integrated audience in Birmingham history. He addressed a deep, deep wound with the healing admonition of Jesus Christ – one of many ministers of reconciliation the Almighty used in that era to right grievous wrongs, curb the worst of abuses, and prepare the next generation to carry the progress forward.
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Picture of the Week 11/15/17

Perhaps the greatest lesson in studying Scripture is questions asked in one part of the book have answers and echoes in other parts – but the sound doesn’t come through clearly unless we lay down our preconceived notions and listen as a little child.


© Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog, 2017.  Permission to use and/or duplicate original material on The Barking Fox Blog is granted, provided that full and clear credit is given to Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Picture of the Week 11/08/17

If we would study our Bibles the same way we studied for an exam in school, we might be amazed at the things that we never knew were there.


© Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog, 2017.  Permission to use and/or duplicate original material on The Barking Fox Blog is granted, provided that full and clear credit is given to Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Why Dylan’s faith is so misunderstood – Joseph Farah

What is the most significant indication that the Torah Awakening among Christians is becoming mainstream? How about when the founder and CEO of the world’s largest Christian web site publicly proclaims and acts on his opinion that the Torah (law, teaching, commandments) of God still apply to Christians?

That is the precisely what is happening with Joseph Farah, founder and CEO of WordNetDaily.com, the internet’s largest independent news site. He has even written a book about it called The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians, and the End of the Age. Farah’s book will be featured in an upcoming review on The Barking Fox. For now, consider this piece Farah recently wrote about another well-known person with a surprising faith journey.


Why Dylan’s Faith Is So Misunderstood

Exclusive: Joseph Farah identifies key to unraveling the mystery of famed songwriter
Joseph Farah
Published in WorldNetDaily, July 6, 2017

I was blinded by the devil, Born already ruined,
Stone-cold dead as I stepped out of the womb.
By His grace I have been touched, By His word I have been healed,
By His hand I’ve been delivered, By His spirit I’ve been sealed.
I’ve been saved by the blood of the lamb …

— Lyrics to “Saved” by Bob Dylan

It’s amazing to me how Bob Dylan’s faith is still so misunderstood. Thirty-seven years after he wrote and recorded the words above, I still hear people talking about this superstar songwriter’s spiritual beliefs as if there is some ambiguity about them.

Maybe, some suggest, Dylan went through a Christian “phase” in which he wrote and recorded dozens of fiery gospel songs and then moved on to other pursuits.

Yet, only those who have not really followed his career since could possibility come to such a conclusion, because those songs have continued to be part of his performance repertoire for the last four decades, during which he has continued to produce dozens of new songs that leave little doubt about where he stands.

That’s why I was so excited more than a year ago to read the manuscript for “Bob Dylan: A Spiritual Life” by Scott M. Marshall, one of the newest releases by WND Books.

As an admitted Dylan-phile, it had been a source of frustration for me for years that while there are many enigmatic qualities to America’s troubadour, there has been a rock-solid consistency to his publicly expressed view of God and man since 1979 when he released – to the shock of many of his fans – his “Slow Train Coming” album along with one of his biggest hit songs ever, “You Gotta Serve Somebody.”

And it was true, as the author of the new spiritual biography on Dylan shows, before that album. Dylan was searching for truth. Just look at the lyrics of one of my favorite, and shortest, Dylan songs before his “Christian period.” It’s called “Father of Night,” and he recorded it in 1970.

Father of night, Father of day
Father, who taketh the darkness away
Father, who teacheth the bird to fly
Builder of rainbows up in the sky

Father of loneliness and pain
Father of love and Father of rain
Father of day, Father of night
Father of black, Father of white

Father, who build the mountain so high
Who shapeth the cloud up in the sky
Father of time, Father of dreams
Father, who turneth the rivers and streams

Father of grain, Father of wheat
Father of cold and Father of heat
Father of air and Father of trees
Who dwells in our hearts and our memories

Father of minutes, Father of days
Father of whom we most solemnly praise

Dylan has written some of the most touching and powerful hymns of the 20th and 21st centuries – and people still don’t understand him.

Here’s the key to unraveling the mystery, in my opinion: Dylan was, is and always will be, a Jew. That’s the way he was born. He was, in the tradition of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, circumcised. He studied Hebrew so he could be bar mitzvahed. And, of course, he never renounced his Jewishness, nor did he need to.

That’s because Jesus was and is the Jewish Messiah. All of Jesus’ original disciples remained, throughout their entire lives, Jews. Some of them, including Simon Peter, were surprised to learn fairly late in their lives that this messianic faith they followed could be shared with non-Jews. All of the early “Christians” were Jews. And they were only “Christians” in the literal sense of that Greek term – which means followers of Messiah.

I have to admit that even I had doubts about Dylan’s spiritual journey back in 1983 when he saw his son, Jesse, bar mitzvahed in Jerusalem. At the time, many speculated that Dylan had “gone back” to Judaism.

Bob Dylan at the 1983 bar mitzvah of his son, Jesse.

It was only years later, as I studied the Jewish roots of my own Christian faith, that I realized this was a perfectly natural and appropriate thing for a messianic Jew to do. No Jew needs to embrace the “Christian” traditions and culture to follow their Messiah. In fact, I’ve come to believe those traditions and that culture can actually be a barrier and stumbling block for non-Jews who seek to follow the Jewish Messiah. They certainly were for me.

This is, in fact, the essence of my latest book, The Restitution of All Things Israel Christians and the End of the Age Christians and non-Christians alike are often confused by church traditions and the essential gospel message that brings all people – Jew and gentile alike – to the saving blood of the Lamb.

While he doesn’t like to give many interviews and he doesn’t seem entirely comfortable speaking publicly, I’m convinced Bob Dylan gets it.

Scott Marshall has done an amazing job comprehensively tracing Dylan’s performances, albums and interviews through the decades and showing there is a consistency in his devotion to God and His Son that cannot be denied. If you’re a Dylan-phile like me, you will find this book hard to put down. You will be surprised at how Dylan was treated by the church. And you will be appalled at the way he was treated by his fans when he embraced Messiah.

There are few musical superstars who rival Bob Dylan – as a songwriter, in fame, in longevity, in influence. This new spiritual biography will help you appreciate him even more.

Source: Why Dylan’s faith is so misunderstood


Joseph Farah is founder, editor and chief executive officer of WND. He is the author or co-author of 13 books that have sold more than 5 million copies, including his latest, “The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians, and the End of the Age.” Before launching WND as the first independent online news outlet in 1997, he served as editor in chief of major market dailies including the legendary Sacramento Union.


© Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog, 2017.  Permission to use and/or duplicate original material on The Barking Fox Blog is granted, provided that full and clear credit is given to Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Picture of the Week 05/02/17

Israel and Judah had a lot of bad kings, but how many of them got what they deserved?


© Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog, 2017.  Permission to use and/or duplicate original material on The Barking Fox Blog is granted, provided that full and clear credit is given to Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.