one purpose in life is to help people find a personal relationship with
God, which, I believe, comes through knowing Christ."
Bill Clinton. Clinton wrote about Graham:
"When I became president, Billy counseled me and prayed with
and for me as he had with so many of my predecessors. He gave the invocation
at both my inaugurals. We talked about lots of things and I was always
inspired by his wise insights ... He ... visited me after the pain of
my private sin became public and the subject of political debate. We
talked about repenting, atonement and forgiveness. He was a source of
strength, reassurance, and faith beyond my ability to relate ... But
to me, he is a friend, a model of Christian charity, an intensely human
is not the most popular of preaching topics. I don't like to preach
on it. But I must if I am to proclaim the whole counsel of God. We must
not avoid warning of it. The most outspoken messages on hell, and the
most graphic references to it, came from Jesus Himself. ... Jesus used
three words to describe hell. ... The third word that He used is 'fire.'
Jesus used this symbol over and over. This could be literal fire, as
many believe. Or it could be symbolic. ... I've often thought that this
fire could possibly be a burning thirst for God that is never quenched.
What a terrible fire that would be--never to find satisfaction, joy,
Billy Graham is arguably the most well known evangelist preacher in
the world. He has created a tremendous religious following through his
live and televised performances, through film, video, and books. His
message has been essentially the same sermon for over 50 years: to lead
as many as possible to a personal relationship and commitment to Christ.
He attributes his success to the integrity of the ministry and the power
of the message.
A great deal of planning and marketing have gone into getting
Graham's word out. His works include 25 publications culminated by an
autobiography, "Just As I Am," published in 1997. Billy Graham
is known around the globe, from remote African villages to New York City,
from heads of state to aboriginals in Australia and nomads in the Middle
East. He has preached Crusades in most countries of the former Eastern
bloc and the former Soviet Union.
November 7, 1918, William Franklin Graham, Jr., grew up on
a dairy farm in North Carolina.
a youth he is attributed with reading of books on wide variety of subjects
and being a hard worker. He
attended church every Sunday, out of tradition if not faith. It wasn’t
until near his 16th birthday that he committed his life to
Christ. In the autumn of 1934, the traveling evangelist, Mortacai Ham
came to Charlotte, North Carolina with charges of moral laxity. Billy
attended the meetings, partly attracted by the controversy, but was
led by Ham's preaching to a conviction of his own sin and thereby commited
his own life to Christ.
soon began his own style preaching, was ordained in 1939 by the Southern
Baptist Convention, and built his knowledge of scripture at Florida
Bible Institute (now Trinity College in Florida). In 1943 he graduated
from Wheaton College in Illinois and married fellow student Ruth McCue
Bell. He joined Youth for Christ, an organization
founded for ministry to youth and servicemen and began preaching throughout
the United States and in Europe in the immediate post-war era.
was a rising evangelist with a distinctive flamboyant style: charasmatic,
youthful, and intent on captivating audiences to commit their lives
to Jesus. His entertaining style brought in large crowds, and he is
acknowledged today as a major influence in creating the pop-culture
style ministry through a flashy, energetic, and tireless advocacy
of the needs of youth. He wore loud ties, bright suits, and was backed
up by singing girls and band instrumentals at innovative events. Graham
led the pack of other vangelists who wooed teen-packed rallies with
their strong personalities. He combined born-again religion to the
entertainment industry, to which both William Randolph Hearst and
President Truman highly praised his efforts as effective tools against
the emerging trend of juvenile delinquency.
in December 1947, Graham became president of the Northwestern Schools
in Minneapolis, but the Los Angeles Crusade in 1949 launched Mr. Graham
into international prominence. Early Crusades were routinely extended
in length and overflow of venues was common. A New York City Crusade
in Madison Square Garden in 1957 ran nightly for 16 weeks, and soon
couldn't hold all the young people; a gathering in Chicago may have
drawn over 70,000.
note, his work has attracted the attention of the influential in all
walks of life, and he was personal advisor or friend to many U.S. presidents,
including Presidents Truman, Eisenhower,
Kennedy, Nixon and Ford, Carter and Reagan, and Clinton. Nixon was a
featured guest at crusades in 1957, 1968 and 1970.
Only two controversies of note seem to be linked
to his name. The one of most public significance is over alleged anti-semetic
comments he exchanged with President Nixon on 1 February 1972.
These comments did not come to light until 1994 when "The Haldemann
Diaries", alleged that Billy Graham had conspired with Richard Nixon to remove prominent Jewish members from the media, on the belief that
they were responsible for the nation's problems. The assertions received
little attention until 2002, when the national archives released a tape
of one of the conversations Nixon had recorded.
some more fundamentalist Christian groups are concerned about his
too familiar and open association those of different faiths. In particular
criticism has been levied against his acceptance of salvation for
those unfamiliar with Jesus Christ. There are unsubstantiated claims
that Mr. Graham has association with a nefarious ‘new world
order’ group as well as masonry. He has been called the Protestant
Pope by these detractors who justify their much harder and narrow
latter years, with Mr. Graham experiencing health issues, including
Parkinson’s disease, he announced in 1996 that his eldest son, William Franklin Graham III, would be his successor.
In May 1996, Billy and Ruth Graham received the Congressional Medal
at a ceremony held at the Capitol in Washington, DC. Billy
and his wife Ruth have raised three daughters and two sons, with 19
grandchildren, numerous great-grandchildren, and made their family home
in North Carolina.
demeanor is now described as humble and sincere, and his life characterized
by a one-pointed commitment to Christ, down-home faith and tolerance,
sparked by the enthusiasm of youth.
|| Event description
| Nov 7, 1918
| October? 1934
|| Commited life to Christ
|| With revivalist Mortacai Ham
|| Ordained Southern Baptist minister
|| Graduated Wheaton College Married Ruth
became president of the Northwestern Schools in Minneapolis
|| International prominence
| 1 February 1972
|| Fateful alleged anti-semitic comments
|| Ceded ministry to eldest son Franklin
|| Just As I Am," auto-biography published
|| Release of Haldeman diaries
|| Revealed 1 feb 72 statements (main public image controversy)