Billy Graham- Evangelist ‘American Preacher and Southern Baptist Minister’
Billy Graham- Evangelist ‘American Preacher and Southern Baptist Minister’
William Franklin Graham Jr. was an American preacher and Southern Baptist minister. He was born on November 7, 1918, and died on February 21, 2018. In the late 1940s, he became known around the world. He was a well-known evangelical Christian, and a biographer says he was “among the most influential Christian leaders” of the 20th century.
Graham held big gatherings both inside and outside, where he gave sermons that were broadcast on radio and TV. Some of these sermons are still being aired in the 21st century. Graham spent 60 years on TV and led evangelistic efforts called “crusades” every year from 1947 until 2005, when he quit. From 1950 to 1954, he was also the host of the radio show Hour of Decision. Starting in 1953, he refused to hold revivals or crusades where people of different races were kept separate. He later asked Martin Luther King Jr. to speak with him at a revival in 1957 in New York City. In addition to his religious goals, he helped shape the worldviews of a large number of people from different backgrounds, leading them to find a connection between the Bible and modern secular views. Graham preached in front of live crowds of more than 210 million people in more than 185 countries and territories, according to his website. He did this at meetings like BMS World Mission and Global Mission.
Graham was especially close to Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, and Lyndon B. Johnson, who was also one of Graham’s best friends. He was also friends with Robert Schuller his whole life. Schuller was also a televangelist and the first preacher of the Crystal Cathedral. Graham convinced Schuller to start his own TV ministry. Mainline Protestant denominations liked Graham’s evangelism because he urged mainline Protestants who changed their minds because of his evangelical message to stay in or go back to their mainline churches. Even though he was at first suspicious and afraid of Catholicism, which was common among conservative Protestants at the time, Graham eventually became friends with many American Catholic Church leaders and later pushed for unity between Catholics and Protestants.
Graham ran a number of media outlets and printing companies. His team says that more than 3.2 million people have said “yes” when Billy Graham asked them to “accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior” at one of his crusades.
Graham’s radio and TV shows are thought to have reached more than a billion people over the course of his life.Graham preached the gospel to more people in person than anyone else in the history of Christianity because of his crusades. Graham appeared a record 61 times on Gallup’s list of the most admired men and women. By the mid-1960s, Grant Wacker says, he had become the “Great Legitimator”: “By then, his presence gave presidents status, made wars acceptable, made racial prejudice look bad, made decency look good, made indecency look bad, and gave civic events prestige.”
William Franklin Graham Jr. was born on November 7, 1918, in a home near Charlotte, North Carolina, in the downstairs bedroom. He was the oldest of four children born to Morrow (née Coffey) and dairy farmer William Franklin Graham Sr., who were of Scots-Irish descent. Graham grew up with his two younger sisters, Catherine Morrow and Jean, and his younger brother, Melvin Thomas, on the family dairy farm. When he was nine years old, his family moved from their white frame house to a brand-new red brick house about 75 yards (69 m) away. He was raised in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church by his parents. Graham went to Sharon Grammar School when he was 18. He started reading books when he was young. His favorite books were Tarzan and other books for boys. He hung from trees like Tarzan and made the famous Tarzan yell. His father said that his son’s yelling made him want to become a preacher. Graham was 15 when Prohibition ended in December 1933, and his father made him and his sister Catherine drink beer until they got sick. This made them hate drink and drugs so much that they stayed away from them for the rest of their lives.
Graham was told by a local youth group that he was “too worldly” to join.Albert McMakin, who worked on the Graham farm, convinced him to go see preacher Mordecai Ham. Graham’s book says that he became a Christian during a series of revival meetings that Ham led in Charlotte in 1934 when he was 16 years old.
Graham went to Bob Jones College after he graduated from Sharon High School in May 1936. After one term, he decided that the rules and coursework were too strict. At this time, Pastor Charley Young from Eastport Bible Church had a big impact on him and gave him ideas. He was almost kicked out of school, but Bob Jones Sr. told him not to waste his life: “At best, all you’d be is a poor country Baptist preacher out in the sticks… Your voice is very appealing. God can make use of your words. He can make great use of it.”
In 1937, Graham moved to Temple Terrace, Florida, to go to the Florida Bible Institute. Graham gave his first lecture when he was still in school. It was at Bostwick Baptist Church near Palatka, Florida. Graham wrote about how he found his calling on the 18th green of the Temple Terrace Golf and Country Club, which was next to the campus of the school. Later, Reverend Billy Graham Memorial Park was built on the Hillsborough River, just east of the 18th green and across from where Graham often paddled a canoe to a small island in the river to practice speaking to the birds, alligators, and cypress stumps. In 1939, Graham was ordained at Peniel Baptist Church in Palatka, Florida, by a group of Southern Baptist ministers. In 1940, he got his bachelor’s degree in theology.
Graham went to Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, after that. During his time there, he came to believe that the Bible is God’s unchangeable word. Henrietta Mears of the First Presbyterian Church in Hollywood, California, was a big help to Graham as he tried to figure out what to do. He put it down at Forest Home Christian Camp, which is now called Forest Home Ministries. It is in southern California, southeast of Big Bear Lake. While Graham was at Wheaton, he was asked to speak at the United Gospel Tabernacle church one Sunday in 1941. After that, Graham’s church members asked him over and over again to speak at their church. Eventually, they asked him to become their pastor. Graham became the leader of their church after he prayed and asked his friend Dr. Edman for help.
Graham got a degree in anthropology from Wheaton College in June of 1943. In the same year, Robert Van Kampen, who was the treasurer of the National Gideon Association, asked Graham to speak at the Western Springs Baptist Church. Graham agreed right away. While he was there, his friend Torrey Johnson, the pastor of the Midwest Bible Church in Chicago, told him that his radio show, Songs in the Night, was about to be dropped because of a lack of money. Graham chose to take over Johnson’s program with the help of money from his church members in Western Springs after talking to them about it. Graham hired bass-baritone George Beverly Shea to be his head of radio ministry when he started the new radio show on January 2, 1944. It was still called “Songs in the Night.”
In 1948, Graham and his team of evangelists met in a hotel room in Modesto, California, to write the Modesto Manifesto. This was a set of rules for how to live and work that would protect them from charges of financial, sexual, or power abuse. The code has rules about how to gather money in churches, work only with churches that support cooperative evangelism, use official crowd estimates at outdoor events, and promise to never be alone with a woman other than his wife (this became known as the “Billy Graham rule”).
In 1948, Graham was named president of Northwestern Bible College in Minneapolis. At that time, he was 29 years old. He was the youngest head of a college or university in the country. He held the job for four years before resigning in 1952. Graham wanted to join the Armed Forces as a priest at first, but he got the mumps soon after he applied for a commission. After he got better in Florida, Torrey Johnson and the Canadian preacher Charles Templeton hired him as the first full-time evangelist for their new organization, Youth for Christ (YFC). As a YFCI missionary, Graham went all over the United States and Europe. Templeton tried to get an advanced theology degree at Princeton Theological Seminary. Graham told him to do the same, but Graham didn’t go because he was already the head of Northwestern Bible College.
Graham held a series of revival meetings in Los Angeles in 1949. He did this by putting up circus tents in a parking lot. He got press in newspapers across the country, especially in the conservative Hearst chain, even though he and Hearst never met. The mission lasted eight weeks, which was five weeks longer than what was planned. Graham became a well-known person across the country after newswires and national magazines wrote a lot about him. Rudy Atwood, who played the piano at the tent meetings, wrote that they “shot Billy Graham to national fame and led a number of show-business stars to become Christians.”
Graham married Ruth Bell, who was in his Wheaton class. Bell’s parents were Presbyterian missionaries in China. The wedding was on August 13, 1943. L. Nelson Bell, her father, was a general surgeon. Ruth died at the age of 87 on June 14, 2007. They had been together for nearly 64 years.
Together, Graham and his wife had five kids. Virginia Leftwich (Gigi) Graham, born in 1945, is an author and motivational speaker. Anne Graham Lotz, born in 1948, is the leader of AnGeL ministries. Ruth Graham, born in 1950, is the founder and president of Ruth Graham & Friends and leads conferences all over the US and Canada. Franklin Graham, born in 1952, is the president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the president and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse. Nelson Edman Graham, born in
Graham had 5 children, 19 grandkids (including Will Graham and Tullian Tchividjian), 41 great-grandchildren, and 6 great-great-grandchildren when he died at age 99 in 2018.
Since 1947, when he started his ministry, Graham led more than 400 crusades in 185 countries and regions on six continents. The first Billy Graham Crusade was held at the Civic Auditorium in Grand Rapids, Michigan, from September 13 to September 21, 1947. About 6,000 people went. Graham was 28 years old and would rent a big place like a stadium, park, or street. As the meetings got bigger, he got up to 5,000 people to sing together in a choir. He would teach the gospel and ask people to come forward, which was something that Dwight L. Moody had done before him. These people were called “inquirers,” and they could talk to a psychologist one-on-one to ask questions and pray together. People who asked often got a copy of the Gospel of John or a guide on how to study the Bible. At a rally in Durban, South Africa, in 1973 that had 100,000 people and was the first big mixed-race event in apartheid-era South Africa, he said, “Apartheid is a sin.” In 1992, when Graham called for people to come forward, 25,000 of the 155,000 people in the crowd did so. During his crusades, he often used the song “Just as I Am” as an altar call.
Graham was offered a $1 million deal to appear on TV with Arthur Godfrey for five years, but he already had plans. He turned down the offer because he wanted to keep going on tour with his revivals. Graham had crusades in London that went on for 12 weeks. In 1957, he held a crusade in New York City at Madison Square Garden that went on every night for 16 weeks.
Graham gave talks at the Urbana Student Missions Conference of the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at least nine times: in 1948, 1957, 1961, 1964, 1976, 1979, 1981, 1984, and 1987.
At each Urbana meeting, he asked the thousands of people there to promise to follow Jesus Christ for the rest of their lives. He often said “No reserves, no retreat, no regrets,” which was said to be written in the Bible of William Whiting Borden, the son of a rich silver magnate. Borden was on his way to the mission field when he died in Egypt.
Graham also held evangelistic meetings on a number of college campuses, including the University of Minnesota during InterVarsity’s “Year of Evangelism” in 1950–51, a 4-day mission at Yale University in 1957, and a week-long series of meetings at the University of North Carolina’s Carmichael Auditorium in September 1982.
In 1955, students at Cambridge University asked him to run a mission there. The mission was set up by the Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union, and John Stott, a pastor and theologian from London, was Graham’s main helper. In the letters to the editor of The Times, many people didn’t like this offer.
Association of Evangelists
Graham started the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) in 1950, and the organization’s main office is in Minneapolis. In 1999, the group moved to Charlotte, North Carolina. It also has offices in Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Buenos Aires, among other places. Some of the BGEA missions have been:
Hour of Decision is a radio show that has been on the air every week for 66 years, from 1950 to 2016.
Specials about the Mission were shown on TV in almost every town and city in the US and Canada.
*My Answer is a syndicated newspaper column that is published in newspapers all over the United States. *Tribune Content Agency is in charge of distributing the column.
*Decision magazine, which is the group’s main publication,
*Carl F. H. Henry was the first editor of Christianity Today when it began in 1956.
*Passageway.org is the website for a program made by BGEA to help young people grow in their faith.
*More than 130 movies have been made and sold by World Wide Pictures.
In April 2013, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association started “My Hope With Billy Graham,” its biggest program ever. After showing a video message from Graham, it told church members in small groups to share the truth. “The idea is for Christians to follow the example of the disciple Matthew from the New Testament and spread the gospel in their own homes.” “The Cross” is the main program in the My Hope America series, and it was also shown the week of Graham’s 95th birthday.
Movement for Civil Rights
Graham’s early crusades were only for white people, but in the 1950s, he started to change how he did things. During a gathering in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 1953, Graham took down the ropes that the organizers had put up to divide the crowd by race. In his autobiography, he wrote about how he told two guards to take down the barriers or “you can have the revival without me.” He told a group of white people, “We’ve been proud and thought we were better than every other race and every other group of people. Because of our pride, ladies and gentlemen, we are going to fall into hell.”
Graham’s views on integration were made more public in 1957 when he let black preachers Thomas Kilgore and Gardner C. Taylor serve on the executive committee of his New York Crusade. He also asked Martin Luther King Jr., whom he met for the first time during the Montgomery bus strike in 1955, to join him in the pulpit at his 16-week revival in New York City, where 2.3 million people came to hear them at Madison Square Garden, Yankee Stadium, and Times Square. Graham wrote in his autobiography that he and King became close friends during this time, and that Graham was one of the few people who called King “Mike,” a nickname that King only wanted his best friends to use. Graham was sad that the US had lost “a social leader and a prophet” when King was killed in 1968. Graham gave King and other Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) members advice behind closed doors.
Even though Graham and King were friends, there were problems between them in 1958. On July 25, Graham was presented at a crusade in San Antonio, Texas, by Price Daniel, the governor of a segregationist state. King wrote to Graham on July 23, telling him that letting Daniel talk at a crusade the night before the state’s Democratic Primary “could be seen as your support for racial segregation and discrimination.” Graham’s assistant, Grady Wilson, told King, “We don’t agree with him on everything, but we still love him in Christ, even though we don’t always agree with him.” Even though Graham’s appearance with Daniel ended King’s plans for joint crusades with Graham in the Deep South, the two men stayed friends. The next year, King told a Canadian television audience that Graham had taken a “very strong stand against segregation.” Graham and King also came to have different opinions about the Vietnam War. After King’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech, in which he criticized the US for getting involved in Vietnam, Graham scolded him and others for criticizing US foreign policy.
King and Graham went to the Tenth Baptist World Congress of the Baptist World Alliance together in the middle of 1960.Michael Long says that in 1963, Graham paid King’s bail to get him out of jail during the Birmingham (Alabama) campaign. The King Center also says that Graham got King out of jail during the Albany Movement, but historian Steven Miller told CNN that he couldn’t find any proof of this. Graham held mixed crusades in Birmingham after the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church was bombed in 1964. He also went to Alabama again after the violence that happened during the first Selma to Montgomery march in 1965.
After Graham died, Andrew Young, a former SCLC official and future Atlanta politician who spoke at Graham’s 1994 crusade in Atlanta with Coretta Scott King, admitted that he was friends with Graham and said that Graham did go with King to the 1965 European Baptist Convention. Young also said that Graham had often asked King to his crusades in the Northern states. Former head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and future U.S. Congressman John Lewis said that Graham was a big reason why he became an activist. Lewis called Graham a “saint” and said that he taught people “how to live and how to die.”
Graham’s faith led him to change his mind about race and segregation as he got older. He told a member of the Ku Klux Klan that unity was important, mostly because of religion. Graham said, “There is no reason for segregation in the Bible.” “The ground at the foot of the cross is even, and it breaks my heart to see whites and blacks standing next to each other at the cross.”
Graham and John Stott were friends, which led to them working together in the Lausanne Movement, which Graham started. It grew out of the World Congress on Evangelism that Graham held in Berlin in 1966. Graham put together the International Congress on World Evangelization with the help of Christianity Today. Time magazine called it “a formidable forum, possibly the most diverse gathering of Christians ever,” and it brought together 2,700 people from 150 countries. Millie Dienert, who was in charge of the prayer group, spoke for the women. This happened in Lausanne, Switzerland, from July 16 to July 25, 1974, and the movement that grew out of it was called after the city that hosted it. Its goal was to improve the global church so that it could evangelize the whole world. It also wanted to deal with political and social trends that had to do with this. Graham asked Stott to be the main person in charge of making the Lausanne Covenant, which came out of the Congress and, according to Graham, “helped challenge and unite evangelical Christians in the great task of world evangelization.” Graham’s influence lives on through the movement, which can be found in almost every country.
Graham was the fourth private person in the history of the United States to lie in honor in the rotunda of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., on February 28 and March 1, 2018. He is the first Christian leader to get this kind of recognition. At the event, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan both called Graham “America’s pastor.” Trump said that Graham was “an ambassador for Christ.” Jim Bakker, a well-known televangelist, said that Graham was the best preacher since Jesus. He also said that Graham came to see him while he was in jail.
On March 2, 2018, a private funeral service was held. Graham was buried next to his wife at the bottom of the cross-shaped brick path in the Prayer Garden, which is on the northeast side of the Billy Graham Library. Graham’s pine plywood casket was made by inmates at the Louisiana State Penitentiary who had been convicted of murder in 2006. The prisoners also nailed a wooden cross to the top of the casket.
On February 21, the liturgical schedule of the Anglican Church in North America has a day to remember him.
Graham died of natural causes at his home in Montreat, North Carolina, on February 21, 2018, at the age of 99.
Connection to Queen Elizabeth II
Graham was good friends with Queen Elizabeth II, and she and her family often asked him to special events. They first met in 1955, and the Queen asked Graham to speak at Windsor Chapel the next year. They may have gotten along because they both had a standard view of how the Christian faith works in the real world.
Thoughts On Foreign Politics
Graham was very vocal about his opposition to communism, and he backed the United States’ policies during the Cold War, including the Vietnam War. Graham told Nixon in a secret letter from April 15, 1969, that if the peace talks in Paris fail, he should bomb the dikes in North Vietnam. This letter was made public twenty years later. Nixon said that this move would “destroy the economy of North Vietnam” and kill a million people.
In 1982, Graham preached in the Soviet Union and went to a ceremony to celebrate the war dead from World War II. At the time, the Soviet Union was an ally of the United States in the fight against Nazism, so Graham was able to go there. He said that he was afraid of a second Holocaust, but not one against Jews. Instead, he was afraid of “a nuclear holocaust,” and he said that “the best thing we can do for world peace is to live every day with Christ.”
In a 1999 speech, Graham talked about his friendship with the late North Korean leader Kim Il Sung. He called him a “different kind of communist” and “one of the great fighters for freedom in his country against the Japanese.” Graham went on to say that he had “exchanged gifts” with Kim’s son and North Korea’s boss at the time, Kim Jong Il, even though they had never met.
Different Points of View
President Nixon talked about Jews.
During the Watergate scandal, there were rumors that Graham had said antisemitic things to Richard Nixon in private. Graham refuted this and pointed out that he was trying to build bridges with the Jewish community. In 2002, when “Richard Nixon tapes” were made public, they showed that Graham had said the same things to Nixon 30 years earlier. Graham agreed with Nixon that Jews control the American media. In a 1972 talk with Nixon, Graham called it a “stranglehold” and said that if Nixon was re-elected, they might be able to do something about it. This was caught on tape.
When the tapes were made public, Graham apologized and said, “Even though I don’t remember the time or place, I deeply regret comments I may have made in an Oval Office conversation with President Nixon… about 30 years ago.” They don’t reflect my views, and I’m sorry if they hurt anyone.” Newsweek magazine said, “The shock of the news was made worse by Graham’s longtime support for Israel and his refusal to join calls for Jews to be converted.”
In 2009, more Nixon tapes were made public. In one of them, Graham is heard saying that a group of Jewish journalists is “the synagogue of Satan” in a 1973 talk with Nixon. Graham’s spokesman said that Graham has never been anti-Semitic and that the comparison, which was in line with the context of the quote from the Book of Revelation, was made to those who say they are Jewish but don’t follow traditional Jewish beliefs.
After a crusade in New York in 1957, some more fundamentalist Protestant Christians attacked Graham for his willingness to work with other religions. They even called him the “Antichrist.”
Graham had views that were open to everyone and said that people can be saved even if they don’t believe in Jesus. Graham said this in a talk with Robert Schuller in 1997.
I think that everyone who loves or knows Christ is a part of the body of Christ, whether they are aware of it or not. God is asking people from all over the world to serve him. Whether they come from the Muslim world, the Buddhist world, or the world of people who don’t believe in anything, they are now part of the Body of Christ because God has called them. They may not know the name of Jesus, but they know in their hearts that they need something they don’t have. They turn to the only light they have, and I think they are saved and will be with us in heaven.
Iain Murray, who is a conservative Protestant, writes that “Graham’s concessions are sad words from someone who once spoke on the basis of biblical certainties.”
Thoughts on women
Graham said that feminism was “an echo of our overall philosophy of permissiveness” and that women did not want to be “competitive juggernauts pitted against male chauvinists” in 1970. He also said that, according to the Judeo-Christian moral code, “real womanhood” meant being a wife, mother, and housewife. Graham’s claims were printed in the Ladies’ Home Journal, which led to letters of protest. These letters were written as a response to the publication’s “The New Feminism” section, which was added after a sit-in protest at the Journal offices demanding more women on the staff.
Graham’s daughter, Bunny, said that her father wouldn’t let her or her sisters go to college. The Washington Post reported:
Bunny remembers being taught how to be a good wife, mother, and housewife. “We never thought about getting a job,” she said. “I wanted to go to Wheaton’s five-year nursing program, but my dad said no. No reasoning, no reason, just “No.” He wasn’t rude or angry, but once he made up his mind, that was the end of it.” “He has forgotten that,” she said. Mother didn’t.”
Graham’s daughter Anne is a Christian minister who runs AnGeL Ministries, a Christian service group.
Graham persuaded his future wife, Ruth, to give up her plan to spread the gospel in Tibet and stay in the United States with him instead. He told her that if she didn’t, she would be “going against God’s clear will.” Graham used the Bible to claim authority over Ruth after she decided to marry him. He said, “Then I’ll lead and you’ll follow.” Her obituary says that after she got married, Ruth was involved in Christian service and often taught Sunday School. In her obituary, it says that all three of Graham’s daughters would also become Christian ministers, just like his two boys.
Thoughts on Homosexuality
Graham thought that being gay was a sin, and he called it “a sinister form of perversion” in 1974. In 1993, he said that he thought AIDS might be a “judgment” from God. Two weeks later, he said, “I don’t believe that, and I don’t know why I said it.” Graham was against same-sex marriage. He said, “I believe the home and marriage is the foundation of our society and must be protected.” Graham said that he didn’t want to talk about homosexuality as a political problem, which was written in his obituary. Corky Siemaszko wrote for NBC News that Graham “largely avoided the subject” after the 1993 episode. Graham seemed to be more open-minded about homosexuality when he was on the May 2, 1997, episode of 20/20. He said, “I think that the Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin, but the Bible also teaches that pride is a sin, jealousy is a sin, hate is a sin, evil thoughts are a sin, and so I don’t think that homosexuality should be chosen as the overwhelming sin that we are doing today.”
Graham and his son Franklin supported North Carolina Amendment 1 in 2012, which would have made it illegal for people of the same gender to get married in the state. Later that year, Obama’s official support for same-sex marriage was criticized by both of them.
Awards and Honour
Graham was often named the “Greatest Living American” and always ranked as one of the most beloved people in the U.S. and around the world in polls. He was on Gallup’s list of most-admired people the most often. On the day he died, Graham had been on Gallup’s “Most Admired Man” list 61 times, which is more than anyone else since the list began in 1948. He was ranked number one.
He was the first Protestant to get an honors degree from the Roman Catholic Belmont Abbey College in 1967. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan of the United States gave him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Graham got the Big Brother of the Year Award for all the good things he does for kids. The George Washington Carver Memorial Institute praised him for his work to improve ties between different races. He got the “Duty, Honor, Country” award and the Templeton Foundation Prize for Progress in Religion for his dedication to “Duty, Honor, Country.” Graham is the one who gave the “Billy Graham Children’s Health Center” in Asheville its name and its money.
Graham was put into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame by the Gospel Music Association in 1999. This was to honor his work with Christian musicians like Michael W. Smith, dc Talk, Amy Grant, Jars of Clay, and others who played at the Billy Graham Crusades. Graham was the first person who wasn’t a musician to be admitted. He also helped bring back interest in hymns and make new songs that people liked. Michael W. Smith, a singer, worked with both Billy Graham Crusades and Samaritan’s Purse. At the 44th GMA Dove Awards, Smith sang “Just As I Am” as a tribute to Graham. He also sang it at the funeral service for Graham on February 28, 2018, in the rotunda of the United States Capitol.
In 2000, Nancy Reagan, who had been first lady, gave Graham the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award. Graham had known the Reagans for a long time.
In 2001, he was made an honorary knight by Queen Elizabeth II. Sir Christopher Meyer, the British Ambassador to the US, gave him the award on December 6, 2001, at the British Embassy in Washington, DC.
Billy Graham Professor of Evangelism and Church Growth is the name of a professorial chair at Samford University in Alabama, which is linked with the Baptist Church. The Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, where he went to school, keeps his belongings. The Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism, and Ministry is a part of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Graham turned down at least as many honorary degrees as he accepted. The Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, California, is sometimes called the “Billy Graham Civic Auditorium” and thought to be named after him, but it is actually named after rock and roll producer Bill Graham.
On May 31, 2007, the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte was publicly opened. It cost $27 million to build. Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, who were all president before Graham, seemed to be there to party with him. Graham’s name is on a highway in Charlotte and on I-240 near his home in Asheville.
As Graham’s last crusade was coming up in 2005, his friend Pat Boone decided to make a song in his honor. He wrote and produced the song with David Pack and Billy Dean, who used digital technology to combine studio recordings of different artists into a “We Are the World”-style production. The song’s video, called “Thank You Billy Graham,” was introduced by Bono and featured Faith Hill, MxPx, John Ford Coley, John Elefante, Mike Herrera, Michael McDonald, Jeffrey Osborne, LeAnn Rimes, Kenny Rogers, Connie Smith, Michael Tait, and other singers. Larry King gave a short introduction to the video. It was put together as a tribute record by Brian Lockwood.
Amy Grant, Kari Jobe, Newsboys, Matthew West, tobyMac, and other artists recorded new songs for the album My Hope: Songs Inspired by the Message and Mission of Billy Graham in 2013. This was done to honor Graham during his My Hope America with Billy Graham tour and the release of his book The Reason for My Hope: Salvation. Eddie Carswell of NewSong wrote “Hero of the Faith,” which became a hit. Other songs written about Graham include “Billy, You’re My Hero” by Greg Hitchcock, “Billy” by The Swirling Eddies, “Billy Graham’s Bible” by Joe Nichols, “Billy Frank” by Randy Stonehill, and an original song by Fernando Ortega called “Just as I Am.”
Billy: The Early Years opened in cinemas on October 10, 2008. This was less than a month before Graham turned 90 years old.Graham didn’t say anything about the movie, but his son Franklin made a critical statement about it on August 18, 2008, saying that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association “has not worked on the movie and does not support it.” Graham’s oldest daughter, Gigi, liked the movie and was hired to help sell it as a consultant.
The Distinguished Service Medal is given out by the Salvation Army.
Since 1954, the Who’s Who in America list has been made every year.
Freedoms Foundation Distinguished Persons Award (for several years)
Gold Medal Award, National Institute of Social Science, New York, 1957; Annual Gutenberg Award of the Chicago Bible Society, 1962; Gold Award of the George Washington Carver Memorial Institute, 1964, for contribution to race relations, given by Senator Javits (NY)
Delta Sigma Rho-Tau Kappa Alpha’s Speaker of the Year Award in 1965. The American Academy of Achievement’s Golden Plate Award in 1965.
The Military Chaplains Association of the United States of America gave him the National Citizenship Award in 1965.
Wisdom Award of Honor, 1965; The Torch of Liberty Plaque from the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, 1969;
Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, gave him the George Washington Honor Medal for his lecture “The Violent Society” in 1969 and 1974.
Morality in Media gave him an award in 1969 for helping to spread the ideas of truth, taste, inspiration, and love in the media.
International Brotherhood Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews, 1971 Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Broadcasters, 1972
Franciscan International Award, 1972 Sylvanus Thayer Award from United States Military Academy Association of Graduates at West Point (The most prestigious award the United States Military Academy gives to a US citizen), 1972
Direct Selling Association’s Salesman of the Decade award, 1975 Philip Award from the Association of United Methodist Evangelists, 1976
American Jewish Committee’s First National Interreligious Award, 1977 Southern Baptist Radio and Television Commission’s Distinguished Communications Medal, 1977 Jabotinsky Centennial Medal presented by The Jabotinsky Foundation, 1980
Religious Broadcasting Hall of Fame award, 1981 Templeton Foundation Prize for Progress in Religion award, 1982
Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, 1983Award of Merit, National Religious Broadcasters, 1986North Carolina Public Service Award, 1986
Most Admired Men Poll by Good Housekeeping, In 1997, No. 1 for five years in a row and 16th time in top 10
Congressional Gold Medal, which is the highest honor Congress can give to a private person, along with his wife Ruth, in 1996.
In 2000, he was given the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation Freedom Award for his huge and long-lasting services to the cause of freedom. In 2001, he was made an Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) for his contributions to civic and religious life around the world over the course of 60 years.
Graham has received many honorary degrees, and the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he was once president, named its newest campus building the Billy Graham Community Life Commons. Honorary doctorates
He has been given a number of honorary degrees.
1948: Ph.D. in theology from Newcastle University
1948: Ph.D. in Humanities, Bob Jones University
Dr. of Laws, Houghton University, 1950
1954: Ph.D. in theology from Baylor University
1956: Doctor of Letters from Wheaton College
Doctor of Humane Letters from Belmont Abbey College in 1967
1973: Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Jacksonville
1981: Received a Ph.D. in theology from the Christian Theological Seminary in Warsaw, Poland.
1981: Received a Ph.D. in theology from the Reformed Theological Academy in Debrecen, Hungary.
Dr. of Christianity, Dallas Baptist University, 1985
1990: Hong Kong Baptist University, Doctor of Humanities
1996: Doctor of Divinity from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
In the 2018 movie Unbroken: Path to Redemption, Will Graham, who is his grandson, plays him.
The Crown, a Netflix show from 2016 to the present, Season 2 Episode 6. Paul Sparks played the part.
Armie Hammer played Billy in the 2008 movie Billy: The Early Years.
Man in the 5th Dimension, made in 1964, is a short film about Graham’s life.
As of 2017, Graham’s My Answer piece had been in newspapers for more than 60 years.
Graham wrote the following books, many of which became big hits. In the 1970s, for example, The Jesus Generation sold 200,000 copies in the first two weeks after it came out. Angels: God’s Secret Agents sold a million copies in the first 90 days after it came out, and its first printing of 800,000 copies was said to have made publishing history.
Calling Young People to Christ (1947)
1951’s “America’s Hour of Decision”
I Saw Your Sons at War is a 1953 movie.
Peace with God came out in 1953 and again in 1984.
The Seven Deadly Sins came out in 1955.
The Secret of Happiness was published in 1955 and again in 1985.
Billy Graham Speaks to Young People (1958)
My Answer (1960)
Billy Graham Answers Your Questions came out in 1960.
1965’s World Aflame
1969’s The Challenge
The Jesus Generation came out in 1971.
Angels: God’s Secret Agents (1975, 1985)
How to Start Over (1977)
Holy Spirit (1978)
Evangelist to the World was published in 1979.
Till Armageddon (1981)
Getting Close to Hoofbeats (1983)
A Bible Standard for Evangelists (1984)
1986’s “Unto the Hills”
Face to Face with Death and the Afterlife (1987)
Answers to Life’s Problems was published in 1988.
Hope for the Troubled Heart was published in 1991.
Storm Warning came out in 1992.
Just as I Am: Billy Graham’s Autobiography (published in 1997 and again in 2007)
Hope for Each Day was published in 2002.
The Key to Personal Peace came out in 2003.
The New York Crusade: Living in God’s Love (2005)
How to Live by Faith in an Uncertain World: The Journey (2006)
Every Day Wisdom (2008)
Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Doing a Good Job of Finishing (2011)
The Heaven Answer Book (2012)
Salvation (2013) is the reason I have hope.
Where I Am: Heaven, Eternity, and What Happens to Us After Death (2015)
Graham and his son Franklin in June 1994 at Cleveland Stadium
Graham had many roles that helped each other out. Grant Wacker named eight of them: preacher, icon, Southerner, entrepreneur, architect (bridge builder), pilgrim, pastor, and America’s Protestant patriarch, which put him on the same level as Martin Luther King and Pope John Paul II.
Graham went out of his way to reach out to people who didn’t believe in God. As an entrepreneur, he built his own pavilion for the 1964 New York World’s Fair. He also appeared on a Woody Allen TV special in 1969, where he and the comedian had a funny conversation about religion. During the Cold War, Graham was the first well-known evangelist to speak behind the Iron Curtain. He spoke to large crowds in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, calling for peace. During his first crusade in South Africa in 1973, he spoke out against apartheid. He also wrote to Nelson Mandela while he was in jail for 27 years.
Graham in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, at the Feyenoord-stadion on June 30, 1955.
In 1984, he led a series of summer meetings in the UK called “Mission England.” The places where the meetings took place were open soccer (football) fields.
Graham wanted to help spread the gospel around the world. In 1983, 1986, and 2000, he planned and paid for huge training conferences for Christian evangelists. At the time, this was the largest gathering of people from different countries that had ever been held. In the year 2000, people from more than 157 countries met at the RAI Convention Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Graham brought more than a million people to one revival service in Seoul, South Korea. In 1988, he went to China, which was a return for his wife Ruth, who was born there to missionary parents. In 1992, he went to North Korea.
Graham got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on October 15, 1989. He was the only person working as a minister to get a star for that job.
Graham held his biggest event in North America on the Great Lawn of Central Park in Manhattan on September 22, 1991. Officials from the city said that more than 250,000 people were there. At the Technology, Entertainment, and Design Conference in 1998, Graham spoke to a group of scientists and thinkers.
Graham was asked to lead a service at Washington National Cathedral on September 14, 2001. This was only three days after the attacks on the World Trade Center. President George W. Bush and other leaders from the past and present were there. He also spoke at the funeral service after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. On June 24–26, 2005, Graham started what he said would be his last North American crusade: three days at Flushing Meadows–Corona Park in the borough of Queens, New York City. Graham and his son Franklin Graham put on the “Festival of Hope” on the weekend of March 11–12, 2006. New Orleans, which was still getting back on its feet after Hurricane Katrina, was the site of the event.
Graham wrote one last sermon called “My Hope, America.” It was put on DVD and played around the United States and probably the world from November 7–10. Graham turned 95 on November 7, and he wanted to start a revival.
In Old Age
Graham said that he was planning to quit because his health was getting worse; he had been sick with hydrocephalus since 1992. In August 2005, Graham went to the groundbreaking for his library in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was 86 at the time, so he used a walker at the event. On July 9, 2006, at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland, he spoke at the Metro Maryland Franklin Graham Festival.
Graham made a rare public showing at the re-dedication of the renovated Billy Graham Library in April 2010. He was 91 years old and had lost a lot of his sight, hearing, and balance.
Graham’s family had different ideas about where he should be buried. In June 2007, he said that he and his wife would be buried next to each other at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he grew up. Graham’s younger son, Ned, and his older son, Franklin, fought about whether a library would be a good place to bury someone. Ruth Graham said she wanted to be buried in the mountains at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove near Asheville, North Carolina, where she had lived for many years. Ned Graham agreed with his mother’s choice. Family friend and author Patricia Cornwell was also against burial at the library, calling it a tourist attraction. Franklin wanted to bury his parents at the site of the library. When Ruth Graham died, it was said that they would be buried there.
When asked in 2011 what he would have done differently, he said he would have spent more time with his family at home, learned more, and preached less. He also said he would have gone to fewer conferences. He also said that he usually told preachers to save their time and not make too many plans.
Graham tried to stay away from open politics after being close to Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon. Bailey says, “He refused to sign or support political statements, and he distanced himself from the Christian right.” Bailey also says, “His early years of fierce opposition to communism gave way to pleas for military disarmament and attention to AIDS, poverty, and environmental threats.”
Graham was a registered member of the Democratic Party his whole life In 1960, he was against John F. Kennedy running for president because he thought that, as a Catholic, Kennedy would have to follow the Pope. Graham worked “behind the scenes” to get influential Protestant ministers to speak out against Kennedy.
During the 1960 campaign, Graham met with Protestant ministers in Montreux, Switzerland, to talk about how to get their congregations to vote against Kennedy. According to the PBS Frontline program God in America, Graham organized a meeting of hundreds of Protestant ministers in Washington, D.C., in September 1960, for the same reason. Kennedy invited Graham to play golf in Palm Beach, Florida, after he was elected. Graham saw Kennedy’s election as a chance for Catholics and Protestants to get closer, and they talked about Jesus at that meeting. They stayed in touch, and the last time they saw each other was at a National Day of Prayer meeting in February 1963. Graham wrote in his autobiography that he had a “inner foreboding” in the week before Kennedy was shot.
Graham was against most abortions, but he was okay with them being legal if rape, incest, or the mother’s life were at stake. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association says, “Life is sacred, and we must try to protect all human life: the unborn, the child, the adult, and the old.”
Graham leaned toward the Republicans during the presidency of Richard Nixon, whom he had met and become friends with as vice president under Dwight D. Eisenhower. He did not completely side with the later religious right, saying that Jesus did not have a political party. He supported many political candidates over the years.
In 2007, Graham talked about why he didn’t join Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority in 1979. He said, “I’m for morality, but morality goes beyond sex to human freedom and social justice. We as clergy know so little to speak with authority on the Panama Canal or superiority of armaments. Evangelists can’t be closely identified with any party or person. We have to stand in the middle to preach to everyone, right and left. I haven’t been faithful to my
According to a 2006 interview with Newsweek, “For Graham, politics is secondary to the Gospel.” When Newsweek asked Graham if ministers, whether they think of themselves as evangelists, pastors, or a bit of both, should spend time on politics, he said, “You know, I think in a way that has to be up to the individual as he feels led of the Lord. A lot of things I said years ago would not have been of the Lord, I’m sure, but I
In 2011, he said that he was glad to have met leaders who had spiritual needs like everyone else, but that he sometimes went too far and would have liked to stay out of politics.
In 2012, Graham backed the Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Shortly after, references to Mormonism as a religious cult were taken down from Graham’s website, possibly to make room for Romney, who is a Mormon. Franklin denied this and said that he would continue to speak for his father instead of holding press conferences. According to his son Franklin, Billy Graham voted for Donald Trump in 2016. However, other children and grandchildren of Billy Graham say that he was too sick to vote, even absentee, and that his biggest regret in life was getting involved in politics.
Pastor To Presidents
At the National Prayer Breakfast of 1981, President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan met Billy Graham.
Graham met with a lot of living US presidents, from Harry S. Truman to Barack Obama, a total of 12 presidents in a row. Graham told the press after meeting with Truman in 1950 that he had asked the president to fight communism in North Korea. After that meeting, Truman didn’t like him and didn’t talk to him for years. In the future, he always kept his chats with presidents secret.
Truman made it clear that he didn’t like Graham. In his 1974 autobiography, Plain Speaking, he said about Graham, “But now we’ve got just this one evangelist, this Billy Graham, and he’s gone off the beam. He’s… well, I shouldn’t say this, but he’s one of those fakes I was telling you about. He says he’s friends with all the presidents, but he wasn’t a friend of mine when I was President. I just don’t like people like that
Graham came to the White House often while Dwight D. Eisenhower was in office. He reportedly asked him to use federal troops to help get black students into public schools in the case of the Little Rock Nine. In 1952, House Speaker Sam Rayburn convinced Congress to let Graham hold the first religious service on the steps of the Capitol building. On his deathbed, Eisenhower asked for Graham.
Graham met Vice President Richard Nixon and became close friends with him. He voted for Nixon, a Quaker, in the 1960 presidential election. Graham brought together evangelical leaders in Montreux, Switzerland, in August 1960 to plan how to defeat Nixon’s Roman Catholic opponent, Senator John F. Kennedy.
On December 16, 1963, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson was impressed by the way Graham praised the work of his great-grandfather, George Washington Baines, so he asked Graham to the White House to get spiritual advice. After this visit, Johnson would often call Graham for spiritual advice and to spend time with him. Graham told his author Frady, “I almost used the White House as a hotel when Johnson was President. He was always trying to keep me there. He just never wanted me to leave.”
Graham had more access to Johnson than he did to Truman, Eisenhower, or Kennedy. He would not only visit Johnson in his private rooms, but he would also kneel by his bedside and pray with him if Johnson asked him to. Graham once said, “I have never had many people do that.” In addition to visiting Johnson at the White House, Graham also went to Camp David and met with the President when he went to his private ranch in Stonewall, Texas. In Houston, Texas, in 1965, Johnson was also the first sitting president to go to one of Graham’s crusades.
During the 1964 election for president of the United States, supporters of Republican candidate Barry Goldwater sent about 2 million telegrams to Graham’s hometown of Montreat, North Carolina, asking him to back Goldwater. Graham didn’t back Goldwater in the election because he agreed with Johnson’s domestic policies and wanted to keep his friendship with the president. Instead, he stayed inactive in the race. After Johnson was elected, Graham’s position as the main preacher in the White House was set in stone. At one point, Johnson even thought about making Graham a member of his cabinet and preparing him to be his successor. Graham said he didn’t want to be in politics and wanted to stay a preacher, though Graham’s biographer, David Aikman, said Graham was closer to Johnson than any other president he had ever met.
He stayed in the White House the last night of Johnson’s presidency and the first night of Nixon’s. After Nixon won the presidential election in 1968, Graham became an adviser and led the president’s private worship services at the White House. In a meeting with Golda Meir, Nixon offered Graham the job of ambassador to Israel, but Graham turned it down.
In April 2010, Obama and Graham got together at Graham’s house in Montreat, North Carolina.
Nixon went to a Graham revival in East Tennessee in 1970, which was thought to be a safe political move. It was one of the biggest gatherings of anti-Vietnam War protesters in Tennessee. Nixon was the first president to give a speech from an evangelist’s platform. Their bond was strained in 1973 when Graham criticized Nixon for his behavior after Watergate and the profanity heard on the Watergate tapes. After Nixon resigned, they were able to get along again.
Graham was the person in charge of one president’s funeral and one president’s grave. He was in charge of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s funeral service in 1973, and he was one of the people who spoke about the former president. Graham presided over the funeral services of former First Lady Pat Nixon in 1993 and the death and state funeral of Richard Nixon in 1994. During the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Graham said that he thought President Bill Clinton was “a spiritual person.” He was unable to attend Ronald Reagan’s state funeral on June 11, 2004, because he was recovering from hip replacement surgery. This was mentioned by George W. Bush in his eulogy.
On April 25, 2010, President Obama went to Graham’s home in Montreat, North Carolina, where they “had a private prayer”