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Billy Graham is now face to face with his leader
By Jeaneane Payne

  billy graham
  William Franklin Graham. Image courtesy of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Beloved evangelist Billy Graham was welcomed home this morning by his lifelong leader, Jesus Christ, with the words "Well done, my good and faithful servant". William Franklin Graham was born November 7, 2918 in Charlotte, North Carolina and passed at his home in Montreal, North Carolina on February 21, 2018 at the age of 99.

Billy Graham was one of the finest men that ever walked the earth. His reputation was impeccable. During his time as an evangelist, he preached to live audiences of nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories. Graham's estimated lifetime audience, including radio and television broadcasts, topped 2.2 billion.

Known as "America's Pastor" Graham was known as the most influential preacher of the 20th century. His annual Billy Graham Crusades, which he began in 1947, continued until his retirement in 2005.

Graham was a spiritual adviser to American presidents and provided spiritual counsel for every president from Harry Truman to Barack Obama. He insisted on racial integration for his revivals and crusades in 1953 and invited Martin Luther King Jr. to preach jointly at a revival in New York City in 1957. Graham bailed King out of jail in the 1960s when King was arrested in demonstrations.

During a 1953 rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Graham tore down the ropes that organizers had erected to separate the audience into racial sections. He recounted in his memoirs that he told two ushers to leave the barriers down "or you can go on and have the revival without me." He warned a white audience, "We have been proud and thought we were better than any other race, any other people. Ladies and gentlemen, we are going to stumble into hell because of our pride."

Christ has an answer to the social problems, wrote Billy Graham. He can meet them in His resurrection power and glory.

Billy Graham preached the gospel to more people in person than anyone in the history of Christianity. He was on Gallup's list of most admired men and women 60 times, more than any other individual in the world.

Graham refused to join Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority in 1979, saying: "I'm for morality, but morality goes beyond sex to human freedom and social justice. We as clergy know so very little to speak with authority on the Panama Canal or superiority of armaments. Evangelists cannot be closely identified with any particular party or person. We have to stand in the middle in order to preach to all people, right and left. I haven't been faithful to my own advice in the past. I will be in the future." [1]

Graham was the first Christian to preach behind the Iron Curtain after World War II, and has received both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal, America's highest civilian honors.

In 2001, Queen Elizabeth II awarded him an honorary knighthood.

Graham was a registered member of the Democratic Party.

In 1933, when he was fourteen, as Prohibition in the United States ended, Graham's father forced him and his sister Katherine to drink beer until they got sick. This created such an aversion that both avoided alcohol and drugs for the rest of their lives.[2]

After Graham was turned down for membership in a local youth group because he was "too worldly". Albert McMakin, who worked on the Graham farm, persuaded him to go and see the evangelist Mordecai Ham. According to his autobiography, Graham was converted in 1934 at age 16 during a series of revival meetings in Charlotte led by Ham.

After graduating from Sharon High School in May 1936, Graham attended Bob Jones College, then located in Cleveland, Tennessee. After one semester, he found it too legalistic in both coursework and rules. At this time he was influenced and inspired by Pastor Charley Young from Eastport Bible Church. He was almost expelled, but Bob Jones, Sr. warned him not to throw his life away: "At best, all you could amount to would be a poor country Baptist preacher somewhere out in the sticks.... You have a voice that pulls. God can use that voice of yours. He can use it mightily."

Graham pitched two old circus tents in a parking lot in downtown Los Angeles in 1949 and preached for eight weeks straight. His ministry continued until his retirement.

In A Classic Message from Billy Graham: The Power of the Risen Christ, Billy Graham said "The vast majority of the people around the world are looking to politics, science and education for the solution to life’s problems, and not to Jesus Christ. Why is this? What is happening?

Christ is a disturber! He did not come to bring peace; He came to bring a sword (Matthew 10:34). He came to divide even families. People reject that kind of Christ because it costs too much to follow Him in this materialistic, secular, pleasure-mad age.

We Christians must share the guilt.

Nazism blossomed in Germany only after the church had failed to fill the vacuum following World War I. When the church failed to present and declare a dynamic, living Christ, Germany was robbed of a Savior and gave birth to a dictator. When people reject Christ’s rightful place as Lord in any nation, tyranny takes over."

john pizzarelli
Millions gathered along a mile-long airplane runway used during the Korean War to hear Billy Graham preach. Here's Billy Graham with his wife, Ruth, in front of the crowd. Image courtesy of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

Graham's largest crusade ever was held in Seoul, South Korea on June 3, 1973 with an estimated 1.1 million people in attendance, most traveling by foot. More than 75,000 people submitted cards showing they made a decision for Christ because of that Crusade.

In his book Approaching Hoofbeats Graham stated "One day foreign flags will fly on American soil".

Vice President Mike Pence stated on Twitter "Billy Graham's ministry for the gospel of Jesus Christ and his matchless voice changed the lives of millions. We mourn his passing but I know with absolute certainty that today he heard those words, "well done good and faithful servant." Thank you Billy Graham. God bless you."

1. "Billy Graham: an appreciation". Baptist History and Heritage. June 22, 2006.
2. Nancy Gibbs & Richard N. Ostling (November 15, 1993). "God's Billy Pulpit".,9171,979573,00.html

Published February 21, 2018

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