Evangelist Billy Graham, who was referred to as “America’s Pastor” has died at the age of 99. Graham was known for his revival preaching and message of God’s love through Christ. Through his life, he preached to millions of people across the world including every President from Harry S. Truman to Barack Obama and the Queen of England.
William Franklin Graham Jr. was born on November 7, 1918 on a dairy farm outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. Graham dedicated his life to Jesus Christ during a revival near his home at the age of sixteen and, according to his autobiography, received his calling to full time ministry “on the 18th green of the Temple Terrace Golf and Country Club.”
In 1943, Graham married Ruth Bell, to whom he was married until her death in 2007.
On September 13, 1947, at the age of 28, Graham held his first “crusade” in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Six thousand people attended the event, a number often matched or dwarfed by Graham’s future crusades. Over the subsequent 60 years, Graham held over 400 crusades on six continents, including a 12-week event in London and a crusade in Moscow in whit a quarter of the 155,000 person crowd came forward to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
It is estimated that b illy Graham preached the Gospel to over 210 million people during his life, more than any individual Christian in history, including millions through his televised crusades, interviews, and debates with prominent celebrities.
Graham appeared in Gallup’s list of Most Admired People sixty times since 1955, more than any other person. He was a spiritual advisor to Presidents and politicians on both sides of the aisle, and an outspoken supporter of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s.
Concerning his own death, Graham said, “Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.”
Rest in Glory, Reverend.
He is survived by his six children, 19 grandchildren, and numerous great-grandchildren.