Billy Graham, Christian Evangelist, Has Died

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The Reverend Billy Graham, the Christian Evangelist who for more than fifty years preached the same message of God's Love and Redemption to President's, royalty and the world, often drawing millions in his global crusades has died. He was 99.

Graham, known as America's Preacher, had advised presidents from Dwight D. Eisenhower to Donald Trump. His words were birthed from a lifetime of devotion to Christ and given to each man as they embarked on the difficult tasks of world politics, and wrenching decisions.

He was also an invited guest of Queen Elizabeth, who was known to have embraced the Christian faith in earnest, and believed in her commitment to God.

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Born November 1918, to a Presbyterian farm family in North Carolina, Franklin William Graham, Jr., experienced a "normal" childhood for the time. It wasn't until a tent revival that an itinerant preacher somewhere preached a message of saving grace and Graham who was in the audience heard the message and accepted the invitation, something he had probably heard for many years and yet on that day, the words rang true and fell on good soil and took root. Graham was 16.

At that point he was fully dedicated to the cause of Christ. Not that those decisions were easy or without wrestling in the midnight hour, and yet when the sun rose Graham continued on his path. Attending Florida Bible Institute, Graham had told stories of practicing preaching in a swamp, before setting out armed with only faith and the word of God.

An evangelical preacher, Graham would take the pulpit be it a wobbly, single legged, podium or unmovable solid oak pulpit, and in seconds the man, with movie star looks, would begin to preach an unfiltered, pure word of God's saving grace. Telling the masses, who embraced the faith of Jesus Christ, their sins could be forgiven and they could be born again.

God's message spoken through Graham found its way into the hearts of millions globally, from the beginning of his worldwide ministries, in 1954, with a three month London campaign that reached more than two million and changed the perception of Graham from a god-con to a man of God. His invitation to meet the Queen also helped.

From that point forward he embarked as often as time, health, and finances, would allow to every part of the globe, preaching to nearly 140 nations over the next fifty years including Moscow, China, and North Korea. Graham ended his "stadium" events in 2005 in New York City sponsored by 140 local churches.

Final arrangements have been announced by the family with a procession carrying the evangelical preacher from Ashville, North Carolina to Charlotte, the home of the Billy Graham Museum. Graham will lie in repose. A service, that includes invitations to President Donald Trump and all former presidents, is planned. It is unknown if the Queen Elizabeth will attend or send a delegate.

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Graham, who has not been active in the ministry for some time died comfortably in his home in North Carolina on February 21, 2018.

The Reverend Billy Graham is predeceased by his wife, Ruth Bell, who died in 2007. He is survived by five children: Virginia Leftwich (Gigi) Graham, born 1945, an inspirational speaker and author; Anne Graham Lotz, born 1948, runs AnGeL ministries; Ruth Graham, born 1950; founder and president of Ruth Graham & Friends, leads conferences throughout the U.S. and Canada; Franklin Graham, born 1952, who serves as president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and as president and CEO of international relief organization, Samaritan's Purse; and Nelson Edman Graham, born 1958; a pastor who runs East Gates Ministries International, which distributes Christian literature in China, and 19 grandchildren.

Graham's funeral will be held on Friday March 2, 2018.

Image:The Reverend Billy Graham and Franklin Graham used with permission.

Sources: Various


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