BILLY GRAHAM, EVANGELIST TO THE WORLD, DEAD AT AGE 99

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CHARLOTTE, N.C., Feb. 21, 2018—Evangelist Billy Graham died today at 7:46 a.m. at his home in Montreat. He was 99.

Throughout his life, Billy Graham preached the gospel of Jesus Christ to some 215 million people who attended one of his more than 400 Crusades, simulcasts and evangelistic rallies in more than 185 countries and territories. He reached millions more through TV, video, film, the internet and 34 books.

Born Nov. 7, 1918, four days before the armistice ended World War I, William Franklin “Billy” Graham Jr. grew up during the Depression and developed a work ethic that would carry him through decades of ministry on six continents.

“I have one message: that Jesus Christ came, he died on a cross, he rose again, and he asked us to repent of our sins and receive him by faith as Lord and Savior, and if we do, we have forgiveness of all of our sins,” said Graham at his final Crusade in June 2005 at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in New York.

While Graham’s primary focus was to take this message to the world, he also provided spiritual counsel to presidents, championed desegregation, and was a voice of hope and guidance in times of trial. In 2001, he comforted his country and the world when he spoke at the National Cathedral in Washington, following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. At three global conferences held in Amsterdam (1983, 1986, 2000), Graham gathered some 23,000 evangelists from 208 countries and territories to train them to carry the message of Jesus Christ around the world.

During the week of his 95th birthday in 2013, Graham delivered his final message via more than 480 television stations across the U.S. and Canada. More than 26,000 churches participated in this My Hope project, making it the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s largest evangelistic outreach ever in North America.

Preferred Baseball to Religion

Graham, a country boy turned world evangelist, who prayed with every U.S. president from Harry S. Truman to Barack Obama, was raised on a dairy farm in Charlotte. Back then, “Billy Frank,” as he was called, preferred baseball to religion. “I detested going to church,” he said when recalling his youth.

But in 1934, that changed. At a revival led by traveling evangelist Mordecai Fowler Ham, 15-year-old Graham committed his life to serving Jesus Christ. No one was more surprised than Graham himself.

“I was opposed to evangelism,” he said. “But finally, I was persuaded by a friend [to go to a meeting]…and the spirit of God began to speak to me as I went back night after night. One night, when the invitation was given to accept Jesus, I just said, ‘Lord, I’m going.’ I knew I was headed in a new direction.”

Several years later, Graham’s “new direction” led him to the Florida Bible Institute (now Trinity College of Florida), and later, Wheaton College in suburban Chicago, where he met fellow student Ruth McCue Bell, the daughter of medical missionaries in China. The couple graduated and married in the summer of 1943. Mr. and Mrs. Graham and their five children made their home in the mountains of North Carolina. They were married for 64 years before Ruth’s death in 2007.

After two years of traveling as a speaker for the Youth for Christ organization, Billy Graham held his first official evangelistic Crusade in 1947; but it was his 1949 Los Angeles Crusade that captured the nation’s attention. Originally scheduled to run for three weeks, the “tent meetings” were extended for a total of eight weeks as hundreds of thousands of men, women and children gathered to hear Graham’s messages.

On the heels of this campaign, Graham started the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, which was incorporated in 1950. Since 2000, Graham’s son, Franklin, has led the Charlotte-based organization, which employs some 500 people worldwide.

Billy Graham may be best known, however, for his evangelistic missions or “Crusades.” He believed God knew no borders or nationalities. Throughout his career, Graham preached to millions in locations from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to Zagorsk, Russia; and from Wellington, New Zealand to the National Cathedral in Washington. In 1973, Graham addressed more than one million people crowded into Yoido Plaza in Seoul, South Korea—the largest live audience of his Crusades.

Breaking Down Barriers

Preaching in Johannesburg in 1973, Graham said, “Christ belongs to all people. He belongs to the whole world.…I reject any creed based on hate…Christianity is not a white man’s religion, and don’t let anybody ever tell you that it’s white or black.”

Graham spoke to people of all ethnicities, creeds and backgrounds. Early in his career, he denounced racism when desegregation was not popular. Before the U.S. Supreme Court banned discrimination on a racial basis, Graham held desegregated Crusades, even in the Deep South. He declined invitations to speak in South Africa for 20 years, choosing instead to wait until the meetings could be integrated. Integration occurred in 1973, and only then did Graham make the trip to South Africa.

A 1977 trip to communist-led Hungary opened doors for Graham to conduct preaching missions in virtually every country of the former Eastern Bloc (including the Soviet Union), as well as China and North Korea.

Graham authored 34 books, including his memoir, Just As I Am (Harper Collins, 1997), which remained on The New York Times best-seller list for 18 weeks.

In 1996, Graham and his wife, Ruth, received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award Congress can bestow on a private citizen. He was also listed by Gallup as one of the “Ten Most Admired Men” 61 times—including 55 consecutive years (except 1976, when the question was not asked). Graham was cited by the George Washington Carver Memorial Institute for his contributions to race relations and by the Anti-Defamation League of the B’nai B’rith.

Throughout his life, Graham was faithful to his calling, which will be captured in the inscription to be placed on his grave marker: Preacher of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

“There were a few times when I thought I was dying, and I saw my whole life come before me…” said Graham at his Cincinnati Crusade on June 24, 2002. “I didn’t say to the Lord, ‘I’m a preacher, and I’ve preached to many people.’ I said, ‘Oh Lord, I’m a sinner, and I still need Your forgiveness. I still need the cross.’ And I asked the Lord to give me peace in my heart, and He did—a wonderful peace that hasn’t left me.”

Billy Graham is survived by his sister Jean Ford; daughters Gigi, Anne and Ruth; sons Franklin and Ned; 19 grandchildren; and numerous great-grandchildren. His wife, Ruth, died June 14, 2007, at age 87, and is buried at the Billy Graham Library. A private funeral service is planned at the Billy Graham Library, on a date to be announced. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the ongoing ministry of evangelism at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, online at BillyGraham.org or via mail, sent to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, NC 28201. Notes of remembrance can be posted at BillyGraham.org

About the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is a nonprofit organization that directs a range of domestic and international ministries, including: Franklin Graham Festivals, Will Graham Celebrations, The Billy Graham Library, The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, SearchforJesus.net, the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team of crisis-trained chaplains, My Hope with Billy Graham TV ministry and others. Founded in 1950 by Billy Graham, the organization has been led by Franklin Graham since 2000. The ministry employs some 500 people worldwide and is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, with additional offices in Australia, Canada, Germany and Great Britain.

“HE WHO HEARS MY WORD AND BELIEVES IN HIM WHO SENT ME … HAS PASSED FROM DEATH INTO LIFE” (JOHN 5:24 NKJV).

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41 Comments

  • Reply February 23, 2018

    Varnel Watson

    IS THIS the prophecy everyone is talking about? Alan Smith Joseph D. Absher Scotty Searan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5SY7D2t-ZY

  • Reply February 23, 2018

    Joseph D. Absher

    Billy Graham brought the fire back in the day. It will be interesting to hear all the stories about how he influenced our country and the world for Jesus Christ and our good. I haven’t seen this video yet sorry. I got a gospel presentation in a few hours. I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

  • Reply February 23, 2018

    Varnel Watson

    Joseph Castillo had a good comment on this What ways? Joseph D. Absher https://www.facebook.com/BennyHinnMinistries/videos/10156198529666450/

  • Reply February 23, 2018

    Varnel Watson

    Emanuel Rodriguez This is what Piper said about his Concern with Billy Graham’s Influence but he dont know jack https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/on-the-day-billy-graham-died

    • Reply February 23, 2018

      Joseph D. Absher

      I’m wondering if I heard correctly. Did John P. indict Billy Graham for American cultural bigotry? saying also “He’s the reason the church has lost its prophetic power?”

    • Reply February 23, 2018

      Varnel Watson

      Yes Correctly What does Piper a hard core cessation fanatic knows about prophetic power in 21st century? Emanuel Rodriguez

    • Reply February 23, 2018

      Emanuel Rodriguez

      Troy Day not sure what Piper would say (not a fan) I’ve heard him say that he prays for those things actually, I wouldn’t qualify Piper as a cessationist. He isn’t really one

    • Reply February 23, 2018

      Emanuel Rodriguez

    • Reply February 23, 2018

      Varnel Watson

      yeah he’s got some strange ideas like Washer

    • Reply February 23, 2018

      Emanuel Rodriguez

      Troy Day I’d say Paul Washer is a better holiness preacher than Piper

    • Reply February 23, 2018

      Emanuel Rodriguez

    • Reply February 23, 2018

      Joseph D. Absher

      Presbicostal much?

    • Reply February 23, 2018

      Emanuel Rodriguez

      Joseph D. Absher I think so

    • Reply February 23, 2018

      Joseph D. Absher

      Well it seems the conversation has gone a bit wide. None of those people are Pentecostal. In fact I think they’re kind of against us. Especially saying things like tongues is just emotionalism. Might be big trouble for them “down the road” so to speak

  • Reply February 23, 2018

    Philip Warstler

    May God comfort his family.

  • Reply February 23, 2018

    Varnel Watson

    This is fir first thing Benny said Scotty Searan Joseph D. Absher Joseph Castillo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1ztEiBTXtE

  • Reply February 23, 2018

    Joseph D. Absher

    I can only hope that we do our part.

  • Reply February 23, 2018

    Varnel Watson

    So here’s me getting in trouble again Alan Smith and with my c2 like David Lewayne Porter always likes to say

    Mr. Graham is not even buried yet and Mr. Hinn is quick to explain his prophecy on top of prophecy as well as some other somewhat prophetic interpreters and this dynamic is used for the cheap shot by no other but Christianpost [come on William DeArteaga] to comment on Mr Hinn’s repentance from prosperity or whatever – is this a PR stunt or what?

    BTW Mr. Graham will be placed in the Capitol in honor and then
    Funeral arrangements will be in his home state NC under a big evangelistic tent. It will be an evangelistic funeral. ALL non-saved and not entirely sanctified folk in this group should plan to attend https://www.christianpost.com/news/televangelist-benny-hinn-admits-going-too-far-with-prosperity-gospel-in-wake-of-billy-grahams-death-219011/

  • Reply February 23, 2018

    David Lewayne Porter

    I believe that mr hinn is simply trying to position himself to be the next “America’s Evangelist”.

    And Troy Day
    All/the only thing that any of us do is give our 2cents.
    We will not actually know who is right or closest to right until we get there.

  • Reply February 23, 2018

    Varnel Watson

    David Lewayne Porter if I could only get a dollar every time someone told me that Alan Smith

  • Reply February 27, 2018

    Varnel Watson

  • Reply February 27, 2018

    David Lewayne Porter

    That should tell us something.
    (Older Bush, I understand), but the others???

    • Reply February 27, 2018

      Scotty Searan

      I can understand Jimmy Carter also not attending. Both Carter and HW Bush are the same age and health problems also Jimmy Carter is almost antisemitic

    • Reply February 27, 2018

      Varnel Watson

      well Joseph D. Absher and myself not going wither because David will not have us 🙂

    • Reply February 27, 2018

      Joseph D. Absher

      I had a few hundred rejections today already. You get over it… lol

    • Reply February 27, 2018

      Varnel Watson

      well we’ll go see Daniel instead then 🙂

    • Reply February 27, 2018

      Joseph D. Absher

      have you been singing them old songs again?

    • Reply February 27, 2018

      Varnel Watson

      doing my thing singing my song all the day long

    • Reply February 27, 2018

      Joseph D. Absher

      At least I don’t owe my soul to the company store. No more no more…

    • Reply February 27, 2018

      Joseph D. Absher

      Sorry I can’t go. I been waiting all my life to be in the right place at the right time. I ain’t going nowhere till I get a green light from heaven. Except the store. And work and church and Bible study and prayer meeting and the streets to witness but I think you know what I mean lol

    • Reply February 27, 2018

      David Lewayne Porter

      Mr carter,,,, oh yes.
      Moving right along….

  • Reply February 28, 2018

    Joseph D. Absher

    Would it be God to give Cyrus the old evangelist mantle? That would be a hoot. A late night visitation? Joel 2! It would serve all the holier than thou preachers right. Lol

    • Reply February 28, 2018

      Scotty Searan

      You can be sure that he will not use those that are already in the limelight, not that he couldn’t.
      But God has always seemed to pick the least likely to perform his callings throughout history..
      Think about it.
      Would we have chosen the twelve disciples that Jesus chose and apostle 13, Paul who was murderer consenting to murdering the Christian? Would you want those men on your pastoral council or board of directors?

    • Reply March 1, 2018

      Joseph D. Absher

      To say God will not use those already in the limelight is ridiculous. A lot of famous people have gotten saved over the years. And given wonderful testimony to God’s grace and power.
      But truthfully I just thought I would mention it. It is far fetched but crazier things have happened. One glimpse of that heavenly realm can set a man on fire. That’s why I mentioned Joel 2:28 “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:”

    • Reply March 1, 2018

      Joseph D. Absher

  • Reply March 1, 2018

    Varnel Watson

    Only one living U.S. president will be attending the Rev. Billy Graham’s funeral this week. Bids the question – how many of the not-living ones?

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