Billy Graham

Billy Graham
Graham in a suit with his fist clenched
Graham in 1966
William Franklin Graham Jr.

(1918-11-07)November 7, 1918
DiedFebruary 21, 2018(2018-02-21) (aged 99)
Resting placeBilly Graham Library
ReligionChristianity (evangelical Protestantism)
(m. 1943; died 2007)
Children5, including Anne and Franklin
SignatureBilly Graham Signature.svg
ChurchSouthern Baptist Convention[1]
Senior posting
President of Northwestern College
In office
Preceded byWilliam Bell Riley
Succeeded byRichard Elvee
President of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
In office
Preceded byPost established
Succeeded byFranklin Graham

William Franklin Graham Jr. (November 7, 1918 – February 21, 2018) was an American evangelist, a prominent evangelical Christian figure, and an ordained Southern Baptist minister who became well known internationally in the late 1940s. One of his biographers has placed him "among the most influential Christian leaders" of the 20th century.[2]

As a preacher, he held large indoor and outdoor rallies with sermons that were broadcast on radio and television; some were still being re-broadcast into the 21st century.[3] In his six decades on television, Graham hosted annual "Crusades", evangelistic campaigns that ran from 1947 until his retirement in 2005. He also hosted the radio show Hour of Decision from 1950 to 1954. He repudiated racial segregation[4] and insisted on racial integration for his revivals and crusades, starting in 1953; he also invited Martin Luther King Jr. to preach jointly at a revival in New York City in 1957. In addition to his religious aims, he helped shape the worldview of a huge number of people who came from different backgrounds, leading them to find a relationship between the Bible and contemporary secular viewpoints. According to his website, Graham preached to live audiences of 210 million people in more than 185 countries and territories through various meetings, including BMS World Mission and Global Mission.[5]

Graham was a spiritual adviser to U.S. presidents, and he provided spiritual counsel for every president from Harry S. Truman (33rd) to Barack Obama (44th).[6] He was particularly close to Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson (one of Graham's closest friends),[7] and Richard Nixon.[8] He was also lifelong friends with another televangelist, the founding pastor of the Crystal Cathedral, Robert Schuller, whom Graham talked into starting his own television ministry.[9]

Graham operated a variety of media and publishing outlets.[10] According to his staff, more than 3.2 million people have responded to the invitation at Billy Graham Crusades to "accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior". Graham's evangelism was appreciated by mainline Protestant denominations, as he encouraged those mainline Protestants who were converted to his evangelical message to remain within or return to their mainline churches.[11][12] Despite his early suspicions and apprehension, common among contemporaneous evangelical Protestants, towards Roman Catholicism, Graham eventually developed amicable ties with many American Catholic Church figures and later encouraged unity between Roman Catholics and Protestants.[13] As of 2008, Graham's estimated lifetime audience, including radio and television broadcasts, topped 2.2 billion. Because of his crusades, Graham preached the gospel to more people in person than anyone in the history of Christianity.[10] Graham was on Gallup's list of most admired men and women a record 61 times.[14] Grant Wacker writes that by the mid-1960s, he had become the "Great Legitimator": "By then his presence conferred status on presidents, acceptability on wars, shame on racial prejudice, desirability on decency, dishonor on indecency, and prestige on civic events".[15]

  1. ^ "Indepth: Billy Graham". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on January 19, 2011. Retrieved December 1, 2011.
  2. ^ Billy Graham: American Pilgrim. Oxford University Press. June 26, 2017. ISBN 9780190683528. Retrieved February 21, 2018. Billy Graham stands among the most influential Christian leaders of the twentieth century.
  3. ^ Swank jr, J. Grant. "Billy Graham Classics Span 25 Years of Gospel Preaching for the Masses". TBN. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
  4. ^ Ellis, Carl. "Preaching Redemption Amidst Racism: Remembering Billy Graham". Christianity Today. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  5. ^ "Media: Bios - William (Billy) F. Graham". Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Archived from the original on January 31, 2007.
  6. ^ "Billy Graham: Pastor to Presidents". Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
  7. ^ Aikman 2010, p. 203.
  8. ^ "The Transition; Billy Graham to lead Prayers". The New York Times. December 9, 1992. Retrieved December 24, 2007.
  9. ^ "Dr. Robert H. Schuller". Crystal Cathedral Ministries. Archived from the original on October 16, 2012. Retrieved November 3, 2012.
  10. ^ a b Horstmann, Barry M. (June 27, 2002). "Man with a mission". Cincinnati Post. Archived from the original on December 3, 2008. Retrieved August 18, 2007.
  11. ^ Killen, Patricia O'Connell; Silk, Mark. Religion and Public Life in the Pacific Northwest: The None Zone. Rowman Altamira. p. 84. In the 1957 revival in New York City Graham partnered with mainline Protestant denominations and insisted that those who were converted at the revivals return to their mainline churches.
  12. ^ Wacker, Grant (November 15, 2003). "The Billy pulpit: Graham's career in the mainline". The Christian Century. Retrieved March 1, 2018. Crusade counselors are instructed to return the favor by sending "inquirers" back to mainline churches when requested.
  13. ^ Sweeney, Jon M. (February 21, 2018). "How Billy Graham shaped American Catholicism". America. Retrieved April 2, 2018. A few years later, in 1964, Cardinal Richard Cushing of Boston (who, as archbishop, had even endorsed a Graham crusade in Boston in 1950) met with Mr. Graham upon returning from Rome and the Second Vatican Council, declaring before a national television audience that Mr. Graham's message was good for Catholics.
  14. ^ Cite error: The named reference Gallup 2018 most admired list was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  15. ^ Wacker 2014, pp. 24–25.

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