The life and work of Billy Graham are a powerful demonstration of the role religion has played in creating the United States. Graham revolutionized American evangelism and established it firmly on the worldwide stage through his innovative use of mass media to promote the Gospel, his profound engagement with social issues, and his spiritual counsel to world leaders. When we consider his incredible life journey, we are reminded of the far-reaching effects that one person can have when driven by conviction, compassion, and a firm belief in a cause. Understanding, reconciliation, and optimism are all made easier by Billy Graham's legacy as we continue to traverse the complexity of our own day.
Reverend Billy Graham, with his unique brand of Southern charm and electrifying oratory, rose to prominence as a major figure in American religion. With his unrelenting crusade for the Christian gospel, Graham changed the course of evangelism and established religion as an integral part of American culture.
Graham was born on a dairy farm close to Charlotte, North Carolina, on November 7th, 1918. He was ordained as a Southern Baptist minister in 1939. His life's work began in earnest after a life-altering event at a revival meeting when he was a teenager, and it continued for the next sixty years.
Graham's Los Angeles Crusade in 1949 catapulted him to national fame and marked the beginning of the Evangelical Revolution. Due to the incredible response, the three-week event was extended to eight. He revolutionized the practice of evangelism by using broadcast media to reach large numbers of people.
The Preacher to Presidents: From Harry S. Truman to Barack Obama, Graham was sought out for spiritual advice and was thus given the honorific "Preacher to Presidents." His impact went beyond the pulpit and into the center of American politics, highlighting his role as a spiritual leader and moral compass.
By inviting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to pray at his New York Crusade in 1957, Billy Graham was a notable champion for racial integration. He was unlike other religious leaders of his period in that he prioritized peace and unity over political politics.
Billy Graham's unwavering dedication to the Gospel and genuine compassion touched the lives of millions of people around the world. Graham retired in 2005 after having delivered sermons to more than 210 million people around the world. More than 185 nations have hosted his evangelistic Crusades.