William Franklin Graham Jr., KBE, known as “Billy Graham,” was born on November 7, 1918 in Charlotte, North Carolina in the United States (US). He died on February 21, 2018 in Montreat, North Carolina in the US. Bill Graham was an Evangelical Christian (BBC News, 2018).
He is, arguably, one of the most influential preachers of the 20th century and into the early 21st century. It has been estimated that Graham reached as many as 210 million people spanning 185 countries in personal preaching alone.
His preaching career spanned more than six decades. He had a “fire and brimstone” style that was an influence on “many evangelical preachers” (Ibid.). With the movement of the American civil rights movement, and to his credit, he preached “against segregation and formed a sometimes strained friendship with Martin Luther King.”
In an interesting early life moment at the end of Prohibition in the US in 1933, Graham’s father made him drink beer “until he was sick to persuade him of the dangers of alcohol. He remained a teetotaller throughout his life” (Ibid.).
Early in life, he became a full-time evangelist with Youth for Christ, known for being an organization that ministered to young people and service personnel. He worked as a salesman throughout the Depression and became a main proponent of the Christian faith.
He was opposed to communism because he saw the political ideology as against the Christian religion in all respects. He went worldwide with the religion starting in 1954 with London. That began the long career of evangelization by Graham.
When Martin Luther King died, he declared King a “social leader and a prophet,” taking the Christian language in praise.
In 2002, he made a public apology for talking about the “Jewish stranglehold on the media,” based on a private conversation with Richard Nixon in 1972. He will likely be remembered as one of the if not the most influential North American preacher of at least the 20th century (Ibid.).
BBC News. (2018, February 21). Obituary: Billy Graham. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-13374487.