Evangelist to over 210 million peopleby Rit Nosotro First Published:: 2003
Billy Graham is and was an amazing Christian and a superb evangelist. He has preached live to more people than anyone else that has ever lived; in total more that 210 million people. He has advised many United States presidents on important decisions from communism to the Gulf War. Of course he is not perfect but through his age and experience, he has gained wisdom and been able to lead many people to God through Jesus Christ.
William Franklin Graham Jr., was born on November 7, 1918 in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was raised in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church by is parents, Morrow Coffey and William Franklin Graham. Billy got saved in a 1934 conference led by Mordecai Ham. After graduating high school in 1936, Graham went to Bob Jones College (now Bob Jones University), in Cleveland, Tennessee. After a semester, Graham transferred to Florida Bible Institute because of their more loose rules. (Wikipedia)
Eventually, Graham graduated from Wheaton College in Illinois with a degree in anthropology. In 1943, He married a classmate of his from Wheaton, Ruth Bell. He describes their first meeting at the college, “I saw her walking down the road towards me and I couldn’t help but stare at her as she walked.” Two months after graduation, they married and moved to the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. (Wikipedia)
Graham was ordained as a minister in the Southern Baptist group in 1939. After a few short years as pastor of a local church, Graham took over “Songs in the Night” which was about to be canceled due to financial reasons. His radio ministry flourished for many years, but after one year passed, Graham decided to leave and he became the president of Northwestern College in Minnesota by 1948. (Wikipedia)
Graham then had plans of becoming a chaplain in the army, but it seemed that God had other plans for him as an untimely case of the mumps prevented him from a commission. After this, Graham went on to co-found Youth for Christ with Charles Templeton. He traveled through Europe and the United States evangelizing. (TIME)
In 1949, Graham had a series of revival meeting in Los Angeles set for three weeks. The length of these meetings was expanded greatly due to the publicity of William Randolph Hearst, who believed that Graham could help promote his anti-communist, conservative ideas. The conferences went on for eight weeks total, five weeks more than scheduled. During the Los Angeles revival meetings, Graham was accused of setting religion back. Grahams reply was that he wanted to set religion back to the time when the book of acts was written, “When first century followers of Christ were accused of turning the Roman Empire upside down.” (Wikipedia)
Graham was later offered a five million dollar contract for five years from NBC, but he turned down the offer in order to continue his touring revivals. He did missions in London, New York City in 1957, and Australia in 1959. In the 1960’s, Graham was against segregation and didn’t speak in segregated arenas. On one occasion, he tore down the rope that served as the barrier for a segregated audience. Graham also paid Martin Luther King Jr.’s bail money when he was arrested during the 1960’s civil rights movement, and before that, King and Graham shared the pulpit in Graham’s NYC, MSG, Yankee Stadium Meetings in 1957. (Wikipedia)
Later, during the Cold War, Graham was the first evangelist to speak behind the iron curtain of Communism; calling for peace. He also refused visiting South Africa until they would allow desegregated audiences. At a revival in South Korea, Graham preached to a million people in one service. He also preached in China in 1988, and in North Korea in 1992. Since then, Graham has done many things within the U.S. These things include leading a prayer and remembrance service for the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, and the September 11th attacks, his crusade in Flushing Meadows Park in 2005, and the Festival of Hope in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2006. (Wikipedia)
Unfortunately, Graham had Parkinson’s disease for over fifteen years, later accompanied by fluid on the brain, pneumonia, broken hips, and prostate cancer. (Wikipedia)
Throughout his life, Graham has advised presidents on many different occasions. His first visit to the White House was in 1950, when he advised Harry Truman against communism. Graham also counseled Lyndon B. Johnson, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and the Bush Family. But the closest president to Graham was his good friend Richard Nixon, whom he met while golfing with Dwight Eisenhower. Nixon even offered Graham the ambassadorship to Israel; which Graham declined. The Watergate incident helped Graham decide to stay out of politics from then on, but the friendship between Nixon and Graham continued after Nixon’s resignation. (Wikipedia)
Graham has received many rewards and honors over the years including the Congressional Gold Medal from the United States Congress, and America’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Reagan. He also received Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire, for his world-wide contributions. (Wikipedia)
Graham has evangelized to more than 215 million people in his 89 years of life, he has advised many presidents, and brought countless people to Jesus Christ through television, video, film, and the Internet. He has indeed done the Lord’s work in the world.