Billy Graham Dead At 99
Legendary American evangelist Billy Graham has passed away at the age of 99.
In a tribute posted to his official website, his death on February 21, 2018 early this morning at his home is marked with a passage from the Revelation 4:13:
“Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord…that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.”
William Franklin Graham Jr. was born in 1918 near Charlotte, North Carolina and became an ordained Southern Baptist minister and Christian evangelist, and was a spiritual adviser to every President from Harry Truman all the way to Barack Obama before retiring in 2005 due to health issues. He would make rare appearances from then on due to his failing health from having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1992.
Leaves Behind Rev. Franklin Graham…
Born in 1952, William Franklin Graham III is the current President and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association which has for years carried on the work originally started by Billy himself.
On social media, Rev. Franklin chose his own passage just before the death of his father:
“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” (Psalm 34:8)
— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) February 21, 2018
…to join wife Ruth Bell Graham.
Billy’s wife Ruth was born in 1920 and passed away in 2007. The two met in 1937 at Wheaton College in Illinois and they married in 1943. The marriage produced five children and Ruth was often left at home to do the job of raising her children while Billy was on missions.
Ruth was born and raised in China by two American medical missionaries, and despite Billy’s Baptist faith, she remained Presbyterian for her life. Billy too was raised Presbyterian before converting.
The two will be buried together at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina.
During his six decades on television, Graham was well known for his annual Crusades starting in 1947. He completed over 400 of these Billy Graham’s Crusades in 185 countries on six continents. His first Crusade was held in Grand Rapids, Michigan when Graham was 28 years old and was attended by 6,000 people. The events only grew from there, inviting people to step forward as he preached.
Billy was ordained to the Baptist church in 1939, and in his later years would be honored by surveys calling him the “Greatest Living America” where he would consistently be ranked as one of the most admired people in both the country and in the world. He was granted a Presidential Medal of Freedom by Ronald Reagan in 1983 and an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II in 2001. His legacy will continue to move through the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association which was started in 1950 to help support the mission of spreading the word of Christ.
Graham’s Last Crusade
In 2013, Graham celebrated his 95th birthday and felt that it would be his last time to reach out and speak. Intending to minister to the millennial youth, the program was an outreach to the increasing number of young Americans who do not profess any faith in Jesus Christ.
Graham acts as the incarnation of hope, and his message is “… a message for now, spoken by someone whose very life commands the attention of skeptics and believers alike.”
Graham has been a prolific Christian evangelist, and the My Hope America with Billy Graham was launched with fanfare. At the time, Graham made his first appearance on national television in years and he openly prayed that his country would experience a Great Awakening.
At the time, we pointed out that it wasn’t the Baby Boomer hippies who ended racial intolerance but rather the Greatest and Silent generations who were raised at a time when Jesus and God were in schools and at the forefront of community life.
A message posted by Rev. Franklin Graham on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website reprints a sermon spoken by Billy in 1957. Here are his words:
“You have very little time in private for God. You spend far more time watching television than you do reading the Bible. You spend far more time reading the press and reading novels than you do in prayer. You don’t have time for God. Your heart is a long way from God tonight.”
Graham’s legacy will be his constant outreach to the youth of America and the country herself, urging towards welcoming Christ back into public life. Even in the late 1950s Graham could see that the ease of technology and a preoccupation of the world outside of your community would harm society.
We can still see his influence in public life, including through his Billy Graham Rule that states he would not spend time alone with any woman who wasn’t his wife. Mike Pence still follows this rule, and has been criticized by the left-wing press for doing so.
At this time, no details on memorial services for Billy Graham have been announced. He will be missed.
Sources: BBC, ABC, WYFF, Wikipedia, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association