Billy Graham: Influential US evangelist dies at 99

Bruce Hamilton recalls Rev. Billy Graham's deep Jacksonville ties

Graham, who had the ear of presidents and monarchs and reputedly preached to the most people in live sermons in history, died aged 99 at his home in North Carolina on Wednesday. There was nobody like him! A very special man. "All of us in the Christian family owe him a great debt of gratitude for drawing the general public together into the Christian experience".

Congressman Robert Pittenger, R-NC, says he has known Graham since 1971. We mourn his passing but I know with absolute certainty that today he heard those words, "well done good and faithful servant". Billy Graham wasn't there, but Ruth was there, and we sat down and visited.

"She nearly has a crush on him, at one point telling Prince Philip, 'I think he's rather handsome, ' the rare moment she can make her husband jealous", Halleman writes.

"Beforehand, conservative Protestants didn't have anything to do with [liberal] Protestants or Catholics, but Graham was willing to work with them", said Larry Eskridge, associate director of the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals at Wheaton College. His faith in Christ and his totally honest evangelical spirit inspired people across the country and around the world.

"In 1980, then-former Gov. Reagan was getting ready to go into the North Carolina primary, and of course Billy Graham was from North Carolina".

Inspired by the life of Jesus and the scripture Mark16:15 Go into all the world and preach the gospel, he began his worldwide ministry in 1954.

Graham had a spiritual awakening in 1934 that changed the course of his life.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Catholic archbishop of NY said: 'As anyone growing up in the 1950s and 1960s can tell you, it was hard not to notice and be impressed by the Reverend Billy Graham. "Without a doubt, the finest man I ever knew".

In 1950 Harry Truman became the first president to pray with Graham in the White House.

"Billy Graham's message that God loves us and offers us new life was so simple, yet it powerfully impacted millions of lives around the world".

His admirers have included several USA presidents, including most recently President Donald Trump, who tweeted: "The GREAT Billy Graham is dead".

"One of the finest moments of my career was having the opportunity to represent Reverend Graham when his Montreat home was placed in the 10th district".

Stunningly successful months-long revivals in London (1954) and NY (1957), triumphant tours of the Continent and the Far East, the founding of Christianity Today magazine (1956), the launching of nationwide television broadcasts on ABC (1957), and a public friendship with President Dwight Eisenhower and Vice President Richard Nixon firmly established him as the acknowledged standard-bearer for evangelical Christianity.

He leaves behind five children: Virginia Leftwich, Anne Graham Lotz, Ruth Graham, Franklin Graham, and Nelson Edman Graham.



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