Billy Graham’s death on 21 February brought to a close one of the most remarkable Christian lives of the 20th Century.
In 1983, when US President Ronald Reagan presented the evangelist with the Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in America, he said, ‘His contribution to the wellbeing of the human race is literally immeasurable. The world is a better place because of Billy Graham’.
While not everyone would agree with that assessment, in 2006, a year after his last crusade, Graham made it into Gallup’s annual list of the top ten most admired men in the world for the 50th time.1 Mr Graham was only the fourth private citizen in history to lie ‘in honour’ in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington DC. Then President Trump and Vice President Pence attended his funeral.
This unique man and his enormous influence are now a matter of history. His life began almost 100 years ago on a farm in North Carolina. His enormous, global influence began following a citywide evangelistic tent mission in Los Angeles in 1949.
Billy went home, telling his parents that he was a ‘changed boy’. He prayed that night, ‘Oh God, I don’t understand all of this. I don’t know what’s happening to me. But, as best as I can figure it, I have given myself to you’.