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William Franklin "Billy" Graham, Jr. (born November 7, 1918) is an American Christian evangelist, ordained as a Southern Baptist minister, who rose to celebrity status in 1949 with the national media backing of William Randolph Hearst and Henry Luce. His sermons were broadcast on radio and television, some still being re-broadcast today.[1]

Graham was a spiritual adviser to several United States Presidents; he was particularly close to Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon.[2] During the civil rights movement, he began to support integrated seating for his revivals and crusades; in 1957 he invited the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. to preach jointly at a revival in New York City, where they appeared together at Madison Square Garden, and bailed the minister out of jail in the 1960s when he was arrested in demonstrations.

Graham operates a variety of media and publishing outlets.[3] According to his staff, more than 3.2 million people have responded to the invitation at Billy Graham Crusades to accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior. As of 2008, Graham's estimated lifetime audience, including radio and television broadcasts, topped 2.2 billion.[3]

Graham has repeatedly been on Gallup's list of most admired men and women. He has appeared on the list 55 times since 1955 (including 49 consecutive years), more than any other individual in the world.[4]

Early life

Named after his father and born November 7, 1918, Graham is the first son of Morrow (née Coffey; 1892–1981) and William Franklin Graham, Sr. (1888–1962). He grew up on the family dairy farm near Charlotte, North Carolina, the oldest of four children, with two younger sisters and a younger brother. Called "Billy", he was raised in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church by his parents and is of Scottish descent.[5][6] In 1933, when Prohibition in the United States ended, Graham's father forced him and his sister Katherine to drink beer until they got sick, which created such an aversion that both avoided alcohol and drugs for the rest of their lives.[7]

After Graham was turned down for membership in a local youth group because he was "too worldly",[7] Albert McMakin, who worked on the Graham farm, persuaded him to go and see the evangelist Mordecai Ham.[3] According to his autobiography, Graham was converted in 1934 at age 16 during a series of revival meetings in Charlotte led by Ham.[8]

After graduating from Sharon High School in May 1936, Graham attended Bob Jones College, then located in Cleveland, Tennessee. After one semester, he found it too legalistic in both coursework and rules.[7] At this time, he was influenced and inspired by Pastor Charley Young from Eastport Bible Church. He was almost expelled, but Bob Jones, Sr. warned him not to throw his life away: "At best, all you could amount to would be a poor country Baptist preacher somewhere out in the sticks.... You have a voice that pulls. God can use that voice of yours. He can use it mightily."[7]

In 1937, Graham transferred to the Florida Bible Institute (now Trinity College of Florida). (Today's Florida College is now located at that site in Temple Terrace, Florida.) In his autobiography, Graham wrote of receiving his "calling on the 18th green of the Temple Terrace Golf and Country Club", which is immediately in front of today's Sutton Hall at Florida College. Reverend Billy Graham Memorial Park was established on the Hillsborough River directly east of the 18th green and across from where Graham often paddled a canoe to a small island in the river, where he would preach to the birds, alligators, and cypress stumps. Graham eventually graduated from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois with a degree in anthropology in 1943.[9]

It was during his time at Wheaton that Graham decided to accept the Bible as the infallible word of God. Henrietta Mears of the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood (Hollywood, California) was instrumental in helping Graham wrestle with the issue. He settled it at Forest Home Christian Camp (now called Forest Home Ministries) southeast of the Big Bear area in Southern California.[10] A memorial there marks the site of Graham's decision.


On August 13, 1943, Graham married Wheaton classmate Ruth Bell (1920–2007), whose parents were Presbyterian missionaries in China. Her father, L. Nelson Bell, was a general surgeon. Graham met her at Wheaton: "I saw her walking down the road towards me and I couldn't help but stare at her as she walked. She looked at me and our eyes met and I felt that she was definitely the woman I wanted to marry." Bell thought that Graham "wanted to please God more than any man I'd ever met."[11] They married two months after graduation and later lived in a log cabin designed by Ruth Graham in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Montreat, North Carolina.[7] Ruth Graham died on June 14, 2007, at the age of 87.

Graham and his wife had five children together: 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;[12] and Nelson Edman Graham (born 1958; a pastor who runs East Gates Ministries International,[13] which distributes Christian literature in China). Graham has 19 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren. His grandson Tullian Tchividjian is senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

To ensure no one mistook his actions, Graham had a policy to avoid being alone with any woman other than his wife. This has come to be known as the Billy Graham Rule.[14]



While attending college, Graham became pastor of the United Gospel Tabernacle and also had other preaching engagements.

Graham served briefly as pastor of the First Baptist Church in Western Springs, Illinois, not far from Wheaton, in 1943-44. While there, his friend Torrey Johnson, pastor of the Midwest Bible Church in Chicago, told Graham that his radio program, Songs in the Night, was about to be canceled due to lack of funding. Consulting with the members of his church in Western Springs, Graham decided to take over Johnson's program with financial support from his congregation. Launching the new radio program on January 2, 1944, still called Songs in the Night, Graham recruited the baritone George Beverly Shea as his director of radio ministry. While the radio ministry continued for many years, Graham decided to move on in early 1945. In 1947, at age 30, he was hired as president of Northwestern Bible College in Minneapolis, Minnesota—at the time, the youngest person to serve as a sitting president of any U.S. college or university. Graham served as the president from 1948 to 1952.[15]

Initially, Graham intended to become a chaplain in the armed forces but, shortly after applying for a commission, contracted mumps. After a period of recuperation in Florida, he was hired as the first full-time evangelist of the new Youth for Christ International (YFCI), co-founded by Torrey Johnson and the Canadian evangelist Charles Templeton. Graham traveled throughout both the United States and Europe as an YFCI evangelist. Unlike many evangelists, he had little formal theological training. Templeton applied to Princeton Theological Seminary for an advanced theological degree and urged Graham to do so as well, but he declined as he was already serving as the president of Northwestern Bible College.[7][15]

Hearst support

Graham scheduled a series of revival meetings in Los Angeles in 1949, for which he erected circus tents in a parking lot.[3] He was given national coverage by the news mogul William Randolph Hearst. Scholars such as Ben Bagdikian believe that Hearst liked Graham's patriotism and appeals to youth; he thought the evangelist would help promote Hearst's conservative anti-communist views.[16] The scholar Randall E. King notes that Hearst and Graham never met.[17] Hearst sent a telegram to his newspaper editors: "Puff Graham" during the Los Angeles crusade and within five days, he gained national coverage.[17][18] With such media attention, the crusade event ran for eight weeks—five weeks longer than planned. Graham became a national figure.[19] Henry Luce also promoted Graham with coverage at this time, and by 1954 featured him on the cover of his magazine TIME.[18]


Since his ministry began in 1947, Graham conducted more than 400 crusades in 185 countries and territories on six continents. The first Billy Graham Crusade, held September 13–21, 1947, in the Civic Auditorium in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was attended by 6,000 people. Graham was 29 years old. He called them crusades, after the medieval Christian forces who conquered Jerusalem. He would rent a large venue, such as a stadium, park, or street. As the sessions became larger, he arranged a group of up to 5,000 people to sing in a choir. He would preach the gospel and invite people to come forward (a practice begun by Dwight L. Moody). Such people were called inquirers and were given the chance to speak one-on-one with a counselor, to clarify questions and pray together. The inquirers were often given a copy of the Gospel of John or a Bible study booklet. In Moscow, in 1992, one-quarter of the 155,000 people in Graham's audience went forward at his call.[7] During his crusades, he has frequently used the altar call song, "Just As I Am".[20]

Graham was offered a five-year, $5 million contract from NBC to appear on television opposite Arthur Godfrey, but he turned it down in favor of continuing his touring revivals because of his prearranged commitments.[11] Graham had missions in London, which lasted 12 weeks, and a New York City mission in Madison Square Garden in 1957, which ran nightly for 16 weeks.

Student Ministry

Billy Graham spoke at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's Urbana Student Missions Conference at least nine times: in 1948, 1957, 1961, 1964, 1976, 1979, 1981, 1984, and 1987.[21]

At each Urbana conference he challenged the thousands of attendees to make a commitment to follow Jesus Christ for the rest of their lives, often quoting a 6-word phrase written in the Bible of an heir to the Borden milk fortune, William Borden, who died in Egypt on his way to the mission field, "no reserves, no retreat, no regrets".[22]

Graham also held evangelistic meetings on a number of college campuses: at the University of Minnesota during InterVarsity's "Year of Evangelism" in 1950-51, a 4-day mission at Yale University in 1957, and a week-long series of meetings at the University of North Carolina's Carmichael Auditorium in September 1982.[23]

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

In 1950, Graham founded the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association with its headquarters in Minneapolis. The association relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina in 1999. BGEA Ministries have included:

  • Hour of Decision, a weekly radio program broadcast around the world for more than 50 years
  • Mission television specials broadcast in almost every market in the US and Canada
  • A syndicated newspaper column, My Answer, carried by newspapers across the United States and distributed by Tribune Media Services
  • Decision magazine, the official publication of the Association
  • Christianity Today was started in 1956 with Carl F. H. Henry as its first editor
  •, the website for a youth discipleship program created by BGEA
  • World Wide Pictures, which has produced and distributed more than 130 films

In April 2013, it was announced that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association kicked off a program called "My Hope With Billy Graham", a program that would encourage members of the church to spread the gospel in small group meetings, imitating the example of the disciple Matthew. "The idea is for Christians to follow the example of the disciple Matthew in the New Testament and spread the gospel in their own homes."[24]

Civil rights movement

File:Billy Graham & Martin Luther King.jpg

Graham with Martin Luther King, Jr.

Graham had shown little concern about segregation until the civil rights movement began to receive national attention in the early 1950s. Many of his early crusades were segregated. In response to the civil rights movement, Graham began to adjust his approach but was inconsistent, refusing to speak in some segregated auditoriums, while speaking to segregated audiences at others. In 1953 he tore down the ropes that organizers had erected to separate the audience into racial sections; he recounted in his memoirs that he told two ushers to leave the barriers down "or you can go on and have the revival without me."[25] But, he later acceded to segregated seating at Dallas, Texas and Asheville, North Carolina. He sometimes preached that the Bible said nothing about segregation,[26] and another time warned a white audience, "we have been proud and thought we were better than any other race, any other people. Ladies and gentlemen, we are going to stumble into hell because of our pride."[27] After the 1954 US Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education that public school segregation was unconstitutional, Graham insisted on integrated seating at his revivals.

From the mid-1950s on, Graham became increasingly opposed to segregation and racism, while keeping his eye on public opinion. For instance, in 1957 he invited the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. to join him in the pulpit at his 16-week revival in New York City, where 2.3 million gathered at Madison Square Garden, Yankee Stadium, and Times Square to hear them.[3] Graham never appeared publicly again with King, but he posted bail for him to be released from jail in 1963 during the civil rights protests in Birmingham.[28]

Graham's faith prompted his maturing view of race and segregation; he told a member of the KKK that integration was necessary primarily for religious reasons: "there is no scriptural basis for segregation", Graham argued, "The ground at the foot of the cross is level, and it touches my heart when I see whites standing shoulder to shoulder with blacks at the cross."[29]

Later years

File:Billy Graham.JPG

Graham with his son, Franklin, at Cleveland Stadium, June 1994

Graham's visibility and popularity extended into the secular world. He created his own pavilion for the 1964 New York World's Fair.[30] He appeared as a guest on a 1969 Woody Allen television special, where he joined the comedian in a witty exchange on theological matters.[31] During the Cold War, Graham became the first evangelist of note to speak behind the Iron Curtain, addressing large crowds in countries throughout Eastern Europe and in the Soviet Union, calling for peace.[32] During the Apartheid era, Graham consistently refused to visit South Africa until its government allowed integrated seating for audiences. During his first crusade there in 1973, he openly denounced apartheid.[33]

File:Billy Graham in het Feyenoord stadion.ogg

Billy Graham at the Feyenoord-stadion in Rotterdam, The Netherlands (June 30, 1955)

In 1984, he led a series of summer meetings in the United Kingdom, called Mission England, using outdoor football grounds as venues.

Graham was interested in fostering evangelism around the world. In 1983, 1986 and 2000 he sponsored, organized and paid for massive training conferences for Christian evangelists from around the world; with the largest representations of nations ever held until that time. Over 157 nations were gathered in 2000 at the RAI Convention Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. At one revival in Seoul, South Korea, Graham attracted more than one million people to a single service.[11] He appeared in China in 1988—for Ruth, this was a homecoming, since she had been born in China to missionary parents. He appeared in North Korea in 1992.[29]

On October 15, 1989 Graham received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Graham was the only minister, functioning in that capacity, to receive one.[34]

On September 22, 1991 Graham held his largest event in North America on the Great Lawn of New York's Central Park. City officials estimated more than 250,000 in attendance. In 1998, Graham spoke at TED (conference) to a crowd of scientists and philosophers.

On September 14, 2001, in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, Graham was invited to lead a service at Washington National Cathedral, which was attended by President George W. Bush and past and present leaders. He also spoke at the memorial service following the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.[29] On June 24–26, 2005, Billy Graham began what he has said would be his last North American crusade, three days at the Flushing Meadows–Corona Park in New York City. But on the weekend of March 11–12, 2006, Billy Graham held the "Festival of Hope" with his son, Franklin Graham. The festival was held in New Orleans, which was recovering from Hurricane Katrina.

Health problems

Graham has suffered from Parkinson's disease for about 15 years,[35] has had hydrocephalus, pneumonia, broken hips, prostate cancer, and bronchitis. Graham was hospitalized for pneumonia in November 2011, six months after being admitted to a hospital for the same condition.[36] Graham was admitted to Mission Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina on August 12, 2012 for treatment of a pulmonary infection believed to be bronchitis. He was released and went home on August 14 after a two-day stay.[37]


Graham said that his planned retirement was because of his failing health. In August 2005, Graham appeared at the groundbreaking for his library in Charlotte, North Carolina. Then 86, he used a walker during the ceremony. On July 9, 2006, he spoke at the Metro Maryland Franklin Graham Festival, held in Baltimore, Maryland, at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

In April 2010, Graham, at 91 and with substantial vision and hearing loss, made a rare public appearance at the re-dedication of the renovated Billy Graham Library.[38]

There had been controversy over Graham's proposed burial place; he announced in June 2007 that he and his wife would be buried alongside each other at the Billy Graham Library in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. Graham's younger son Ned had argued with older son Franklin about whether burial at a library would be appropriate. Ruth Graham had said that she wanted to be buried not in Charlotte but in the mountains near Asheville, North Carolina, where she had lived for many years; Ned supported his mother's choice.[39] Novelist Patricia Cornwell, a family friend, also opposed burial at the library, calling it a tourist attraction. Franklin wanted his parents to be buried at the library site.[39] At the time of Ruth Graham's death, it was announced that they would be buried at the library site.

Graham has preached Christianity to live audiences of nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories through various meetings, including BMS World Mission and Global Mission. He has also reached hundreds of millions more through television, video, film, and webcasts.[40]


Graham is a registered member of the Democratic Party.[41] In 1960 he was opposed to the candidacy of John F. Kennedy because he was Catholic, and worked "behind the scenes" to encourage influential Protestant ministers to speak out against him.[42] Graham met with a conference of Protestant ministers in Montreux, Switzerland during the 1960 campaign, to discuss their mobilizing congregations to defeat Kennedy. He did not comment publicly on the election.[43] According to the PBS Frontline program, God in America (2010), Episode 5, Graham also organized a meeting in September 1960 of hundreds of Protestant ministers in Washington, DC to this purpose; Norman Vincent Peale led the meeting.[42] This was shortly before Kennedy's speech on the separation of church and state in Houston, Texas, which was considered to be successful in meeting concerns of many voters.

Graham leaned toward the Republicans during the presidency of Richard Nixon whom he had met and befriended as vice president under Dwight Eisenhower.[17] He did not completely ally himself with the later religious right, saying that Jesus did not have a political party.[7] He has given his support to various political candidates over the years.[17]

He refused to join Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority in 1979, saying: "I'm for morality, but morality goes beyond sex to human freedom and social justice. We as clergy know so very little to speak with authority on the Panama Canal or superiority of armaments. Evangelists cannot be closely identified with any particular party or person. We have to stand in the middle in order to preach to all people, right and left. I haven't been faithful to my own advice in the past. I will be in the future."[29]

According to a 2006 Newsweek interview, "For Graham, politics is a secondary to the Gospel.... When Newsweek asked Graham whether ministers—whether they think of themselves as evangelists, pastors or a bit of both—should spend time engaged with politics, he replied: 'You know, I think in a way that has to be up to the individual as he feels led of the Lord. A lot of things that I commented on years ago would not have been of the Lord, I'm sure, but I think you have some—like communism, or segregation, on which I think you have a responsibility to speak out.'"[44]

In 2012, Graham publicly endorsed the Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney.[45] Shortly after, references to Mormonism as a cult were removed from Graham's website.[46][47] Observers have questioned whether the support of Republican and religious right politics on issues such as same-sex marriage coming from Graham—who no longer speaks in public or to reporters—in fact reflects the views of his son, Franklin, head of the BGEA. Franklin has denied this, and says that he will continue to act as his father's spokesperson rather than allowing press conferences.[48]

Pastor to presidents

File:Reagans with Billy Graham.jpg

President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan greet Graham at the National Prayer Breakfast of 1981

Graham has had a personal audience with many sitting US presidents, from Harry S. Truman to Barack Obama. After meeting with Truman in 1950, Graham told the press he had urged the president to counter communism in North Korea. Later he always treated his conversations with presidents as confidential.[17] Truman disliked him and did not speak with him for years after that meeting.[7]

Merle Miller quotes Truman on Graham in his oral biography Plain Speaking:

But now we've got just this one evangelist, this Billy Graham, and he's gone off the beam. He's...well, I hadn’t ought to say this, but he’s one of those counterfeits I was telling you about. He claims he's a friend of all the Presidents, but he was never a friend of mine when I was President. I just don’t go for people like that. All he's interested in is getting his name in the paper.[49]

File:Billy Graham (1966) by Erling Mandelmann.jpg


Graham became a regular visitor during the tenure of Dwight D. Eisenhower. He purportedly urged him to intervene with federal troops in the case of the Little Rock Nine to gain admission of black students to public schools.[7] At that time Graham met and would become close friends with Vice President Richard Nixon.[17] After a special law was passed in 1952, Graham conducted the first religious service on the steps of the Capitol building.[7] Eisenhower asked for Graham while on his deathbed.[50]

The preacher enjoyed a friendship with Nixon. He supported him over John F. Kennedy in the 1960 presidential election.[7] Graham was more sympathetic to Republican administrations.[17][51]

He spent the last night of Johnson's presidency in the White House, and he stayed for the first night of Nixon's.[50] After Nixon's victorious 1968 presidential campaign, Graham became an adviser, regularly visiting the White House and leading the president's private worship services.[17] In a meeting they had with Golda Meir, Nixon offered Graham the ambassadorship to Israel, but he refused.[7]

File:Billy Graham with Barack Obama.jpg

Billy Graham meeting with President Barack Obama in Montreat, 2010

In 1970 Nixon appeared at a Graham revival in East Tennessee, which they thought safe politically. It drew one of the largest crowds in Tennessee and protesters against the Vietnam War. Nixon was the first president to give a speech from an evangelist's platform.[17] Their friendship became strained in 1973 when Graham rebuked Nixon for his post-Watergate behavior and the profanity heard on the Watergate tapes;[52] they eventually reconciled after Nixon's resignation.[17]

Graham was criticized by some for being too attracted to the seat of political power. Graham officiated at one presidential burial and one presidential funeral. He presided over the graveside services of President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1973 and took part in eulogizing the former president. Graham officiated at the funeral services of former First Lady Pat Nixon in 1993,[7] and the death and funeral of Richard Nixon in 1994. He was unable to attend the state funeral of Ronald Reagan on June 11, 2004, as he was recovering from hip replacement surgery.[53] This was mentioned by George Bush in his eulogy.

On April 25, 2010, President Barack Obama visited Rev. Graham at his home in Montreat, North Carolina where they “had a private prayer.”[54]

Foreign policy views

Graham has been outspoken against communism and supported the American Cold War policy, including the Vietnam War. In a 1999 speech, Graham discussed his relationship with the late North Korean dictator Kim Il-Sung, praising him as a "different kind of communist" and "one of the great fighters for freedom in his country against the Japanese." Graham went on to note that although he had never met Kim's son and former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, he had "exchanged gifts with him."[55] Graham gave a globe surmounted with doves to the North Korean Friendship Museum.[52]

In 1982, Graham preached in the Soviet Union and attended a wreath-laying ceremony to honor the war dead of World War II, when the Soviets were American allies in the fight against Nazism. He voiced fear of a second holocaust, not against Jews, but "a nuclear holocaust" and advised that "our greatest contribution to world peace is to live with Christ every day."[56]

In March 1991, Graham said in reference to the Persian Gulf War, "As ... President Bush has said, it is not the people of Iraq we are at war with. It is some of the people in that regime. Pray for peace in the Middle East, a just peace."[57] Graham had earlier said that "there come times when we have to fight for peace." He went on to say that out of the war in the Gulf may "come a new peace and, as suggested by the President, a new world order."[58]


Discussion of Jews with Nixon

During the Watergate affair, there were suggestions that Graham had agreed with many of Nixon's anti-Semitic opinions, but he denied them and stressed his efforts to build bridges to the Jewish community. In 2002, the controversy was renewed when declassified "Richard Nixon tapes" confirmed remarks made by Graham to President Richard Nixon three decades earlier.[59] Captured on the tapes, Graham agreed with Nixon that Jews control the American media, calling it a "stranglehold" during a 1972 conversation with Nixon.[60] He went considerably beyond that in offensive remarks characterized as anti-Semitic by Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League[59] and evangelical author Richard Land.[61]

When the tapes were made public, Graham apologized [62][63] and said, "Although I have no memory of the occasion, I deeply regret comments I apparently made in an Oval Office conversation with President Nixon ... some 30 years ago (...). They do not reflect my views and I sincerely apologize for any offense caused by the remarks."[64] According to Newsweek magazine, "[T]he shock of the revelation was magnified because of Graham's longtime support of Israel and his refusal to join in calls for conversion of the Jews."[63]

In 2009, more Nixon tapes were released, in which Graham is heard in conversation with Nixon referring to Jews and "the synagogue of Satan." A spokesman for Graham said that Graham has never been an anti-Semite and that the comparison (in accord with the context of the quotation in the Book of Revelation) was directed specifically at those claiming to be Jews, but not holding to traditional Jewish values.[65]


After a crusade in New York (1957) some more fundamentalist Christians criticized Graham for his ecumenism, even calling him "Antichrist".[66]

North Carolina Amendment 1 on marriage (2012)

Graham ran an advertisement in 14 North Carolina newspapers expressing his support for North Carolina Amendment 1 (2012), which would define marriage in the state constitution as a union of one man and one woman.[67][68]


Graham has written the following books:[69] Many have become bestsellers and been extremely successful. For instance, in the 1970s, "The Jesus Generation sold 200,000 copies in the first two weeks after publication; Angels: God's Secret Agents had sales of 1 million copies within 90 days after release; How to Be Born Again was said to have made publishing history with its first printing of 800,000 copies."[11]

  • Calling Youth to Christ (1947)
  • America's Hour of Decision (1951)
  • I Saw Your Sons at War (1953)
  • Peace with God (1953, 1984)
  • Freedom from the Seven Deadly Sins (1955)
  • The Secret of Happiness (1955, 1985)
  • Billy Graham Talks to Teenagers (1958)
  • My Answer (1960)
  • Billy Graham Answers Your Questions (1960)
  • World Aflame (1965)
  • The Challenge (1969)
  • The Jesus Generation (1971)
  • Angels: God's Secret Agents (1975, 1985)
  • How to Be Born Again (1977)
  • The Holy Spirit (1978)
  • Till Armageddon (1981)
  • Approaching Hoofbeats (1983)
  • A Biblical Standard for Evangelists (1984)
  • Unto the Hills (1986)
  • Facing Death and the Life After (1987)
  • Answers to Life's Problems (1988)
  • Hope for the Troubled Heart (1991)
  • Storm Warning (1992)
  • Just As I Am: The Autobiography of Billy Graham (1997, 2007)
  • Hope for Each Day (2002)
  • The Key to Personal Peace (2003)
  • Living in God's Love: The New York Crusade (2005)
  • The Journey: How to Live by Faith in an Uncertain World (2006)
  • Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well (2011)
  • The Heaven Answer Book (2012)

Awards and honors

Graham has frequently been honored by surveys, including "Greatest Living American" and has consistently ranked among the most admired persons in the United States and the world.[11] He has appeared most frequently on Gallup's list of most admired people (.[70] Since 1955, Graham was recognized by Gallup a record 55 times (49 times consecutively)—more than any other individual in history.

In 1967, he was the first Protestant to receive an honorary degree from Belmont Abbey College, a Roman Catholic school.[71]

Graham received the Big Brother of the Year Award for his work on behalf of children. He has been cited by the George Washington Carver Memorial Institute for his contributions to race relations. He has received the Templeton Foundation Prize for Progress in Religion and the Sylvanus Thayer Award for his commitment to "Duty, Honor, Country". The "Billy Graham Children's Health Center" in Asheville is named after and funded by Graham.[72]

For hosting many Christian musical artists, Graham was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1999 by the Gospel Music Association.[73] Singer Michael W. Smith is active in Billy Graham Crusades as well as Samaritan's Purse.[74]

In 2000, former First Lady Nancy Reagan presented the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award to Graham. Graham has been a friend of the Reagans for years.[75]

A professorial chair is named after him at the Alabama Baptist-affiliated Samford University, the Billy Graham Professor of Evangelism and Church Growth.[59] His alma mater Wheaton College has an archive of his papers at the Billy Graham Center.[3] The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth. Graham has received 20 honorary degrees and refused at least that many more.[11] In San Francisco, CA, the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, has often erroneously been called the Billy Graham Civic Auditorium and falsely considered to be named in his honor, but is actually named after the rock & roll promoter Bill Graham.

On May 31, 2007, the $27 million Billy Graham Library was officially dedicated in Charlotte. Former Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton appeared to celebrate with Graham.[76] A highway in Charlotte bears Graham's name,[39] as does I-240 near Graham's home in Asheville.

The movie Billy: The Early Years premiered in theaters officially on October 10, 2008, less than one month before Graham's 90th birthday.[77] Graham has yet to comment on the film, but his son, Franklin released a critical statement on August 18, 2008, noting that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association "has not collaborated with nor does it endorse the movie."[78] Graham's eldest daughter Gigi, however, has praised the movie and has also been hired as a consultant to help promote the film.[79]

Other honors
  • The Salvation Army's Distinguished Service Medal
  • Who's Who in America annually since 1954
  • Freedoms Foundation Distinguished Persons Award (numerous years)
  • Gold Medal Award, National Institute of Social Science, New York, 1957
  • Annual Gutenberg Award of the Chicago Bible Society, 1962
  • Gold Award of the George Washington Carver Memorial Institute, 1964, for contribution to race relations, presented by Senator Javits (NY)
  • Speaker of the Year Award, 1964
  • American Academy of Achievement's Golden Plate Award, 1965
  • Horatio Alger Award, 1965
  • National Citizenship Award by the Military Chaplains Association of the U.S.A., 1965
  • Wisdom Award of Honor, 1965
  • The Torch of Liberty Plaque by the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, 1969
  • George Washington Honor Medal from Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, for his sermon "The Violent Society," 1969 (also in 1974)
  • Honored by Morality in Media for "fostering the principles of truth, taste, inspiration and love in media," 1969
  • International Brotherhood Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews, 1971
  • Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Broadcasters, 1972
  • Franciscan International Award, 1972
  • Sylvanus Thayer Award from United States Military Academy Association of Graduates at West Point (The most prestigious award the United States Military Academy gives to a U.S. citizen), 1972
  • Direct Selling Association's Salesman of the Decade award, 1975
  • Philip Award from the Association of United Methodist Evangelists, 1976
  • American Jewish Committee's First National Interreligious Award, 1977
  • Southern Baptist Radio and Television Commission's Distinguished Communications Medal, 1977
  • Jabotinsky Centennial Medal presented by The Jabotinsky Foundation, 1980
  • Religious Broadcasting Hall of Fame award, 1981
  • Templeton Foundation Prize for Progress in Religion award, 1982
  • Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award,1983
  • National Religious Broadcasters Award of Merit, 1986
  • North Carolina Award in Public Service, 1986
  • Good Housekeeping Most Admired Men Poll, 1997, #1 for five years in a row and 16th time in top 10
  • Congressional Gold Medal (along with wife Ruth), highest honor Congress can bestow on a private citizen, 1996
  • Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation Freedom Award, for monumental and lasting contributions to the cause of freedom, 2000
  • Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) for his international contribution to civic and religious life over 60 years, 2001
  • Many honorary degrees including Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minnesota, where Graham was once president, named its newest campus building the Billy Graham Community Life Commons.[80]

See also


  1. Swank jr, J. Grant. "Billy Graham Classics Span 25 Years of Gospel Preaching for the Masses". TBN. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
  2. "The Transition; Billy Graham to lead Prayers". The New York Times. December 9, 1992. Retrieved December 24, 2007.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Barry M. Horstmann (June 27, 2002). "Billy Graham: A Man With A Mission Impossible.(Special Ssection)". Cincinnati Post. Retrieved August 18, 2007.
  4. [1] list of admired people for the 20th century
  5. James E. Kilgore, Billy Graham, The Preacher, Exposition Press, 1968
  6. David George Mullan, Narratives of the Religious Self in Early-Modern Scotland, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2010, p27
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 7.12 7.13 Nancy Gibbs & Richard N. Ostling, "God's Billy Pulpit", Time, November 15, 1993. [accessdate November 7, 2011]
  8. "Who led Billy Graham to Christ...". Archives, Billy Graham Center, Wheaton College. Retrieved May 12, 2011.
  9. Sociology and Anthropology Department –
  10. "Billy Graham's California Dream". Retrieved August 14, 2012.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 Stoddard, Maynard Good (March 1, 1986). "Billy Graham: the world is his pulpit". Saturday Evening Post. Retrieved May 12, 2011.
  12. "Samaritan's Purse". Retrieved May 12, 2011.
  13. "East Gates International". Archived from the original on 28 February 2009. Retrieved May 12, 2011.
  14. Olasky, Marvin (2006). Salt, not sugar: twenty years of World-class reporting. WORLD. p. 78.
  15. 15.0 15.1 "Farewell to God: My Reasons for Rejecting the Christian Faith".
  16. "In 1949, for example, William Randolph Hearst, head of one large publishing empire, and Henry Luce, chief of another, Time, Inc., were both worried about communism and the growth of liberalism in the United States." "Hearst and Luce interviewed the obscure preacher [Graham] and decided he was worthy of their support. Billy Graham became an almost instantaneous national and, later, international figure preaching anticommunism. In late 1949, Hearst sent a telegram to all Hearst editors: "Puff Graham." The editors did—in Hearst newspapers, magazines, movies, and newsreels. Within two months Graham was preaching to crowds of 350,000." (from Ben Bagdikian, The Media Monopoly, Boston, Mass: Beacon Press, 2000 6th ed., p. 39 ff)
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 17.5 17.6 17.7 17.8 17.9 Randall E. King (March 22, 1997). "When worlds collide: politics, religion, and media at the 1970 East Tennessee Billy Graham Crusade". Journal of Church and State. Retrieved August 18, 2007.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Bagdikan (2000), Media Monopoly, p. 39
  19. The 2010 TIME 100 Time, Billy Graham, June 14, 1999.
  20. [2], The Independent (UK)
  21. "Billy Graham, InterVarsity & New York City - News". 2005-06-21. Retrieved 2013-02-21.
  22. "William Borden: No Reserves. No Retreats. No Regrets". Retrieved 2013-02-21.
  23. For Christ and the University: The Story of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship of the USA - 1940-1990 by Keith Hunt & Gladys Hunt, InterVarsity Press, 1991
  25. Steven Patrick Miller, Billy Graham and the Rise of the Republican South (University of Pennsylvania, 2009), 28.
  26. Michael G Long, ed., The Legacy of Billy Graham: Critical Reflections on America's Greatest Evangelist, (Westminster/John Knox Press, 2008), 150–151
  27. Miller (2009), Rise of the Republican South, p. 30.
  28. Long (2008), Critical Reflections, pp. 150–151.
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 29.3 "Billy Graham: an appreciation". Baptist History and Heritage. June 22, 2006. Retrieved August 18, 2007.
  30. ""Man in the 5th Dimension," In 70mm News / The 70mm Newsletter". March 6, 2005. Retrieved May 12, 2011.
  31. Foster Hirsch (200). Love, Sex, Death & The Meaning of Life: The Films of Woody Allen. Da Capo Press. p. 52. ISBN 0-306-81017-4.
  32. Duffy, Michael and Gibbs, Nancy. TIME. "Billy Graham: A Spiritual Gift to All", TIME, May 31, 2007. Retrieved 2007-24-11.
  33. Aikman, David (2007). Billy Graham: His Life and Influence. Thomas Nelson. pp. 109–110. ISBN 0849917026.
  34. "Billy Graham Now a Hollywood Star". Los Angeles Times. October 16, 1989. Retrieved November 25, 2012.
  35. Burton, Burton (August 21, 2007). "Evangelist Billy Graham hospitalized". USA Today. Retrieved April 24, 2013.
  36. "Evangelist Billy Graham hospitalized in North Carolina". CNN. August 13, 2012. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  37. Zucchino, David (August 14, 2012). "Billy Graham released from hospital after two-day stay". latimes.,0,2097816.story. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
  38. Tim Funk, "Lion in Winter: Billy Graham, Hearing and Sight Failing, Pays a Visit", Charlotte Observer, April 2010.
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 "A Family at Cross-Purposes". Washington Post. December 13, 2006. Retrieved August 18, 2007.
  40. Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Billy Graham Bio
  41. "Rev. Billy Graham on his lasting legacy". Today Show. June 23, 2005. Retrieved September 20, 2008.
  42. 42.0 42.1 Study Guide: God in America, Episode 5, "The Soul of America" PBS Frontline, October 2010, program available online
  43. "''God in America: Soul of a Nation'', 2010, PBS. Quote: "Billy Graham convenes a meeting of American Protestant ministers in Montreux, Switzerland, for the purpose of discussing how they could ensure that John Kennedy would not be elected in November."". October 11, 2010. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  44. "Pilgrim's Progress, page 4". Newsweek. August 14, 2006. Retrieved September 20, 2008.
  45. O'Keefe, Ed (October 11, 2012). "Billy Graham to Mitt Romney: ‘I’ll do all I can to help you’". Washington Post. Retrieved October 11, 2012.
  46. "Billy Graham site removes Mormon 'cult' reference after Romney meeting – CNN Belief Blog - Blogs". Retrieved October 17, 2012.
  47. "Billy Graham Website Removes Mormon 'Cult' Reference After Romney Meeting". Retrieved October 17, 2012.
  48. Gordon, Michael (October 24, 2012). "Billy Graham speaks with his own voice, son Franklin says". Charlotte Observer.
  49. Miller, Merle (1974) Plain Speaking: An Oral Biography of Harry S. Truman, New York: Putnam. p. 363.
  50. 50.0 50.1 "The President Preacher; In Crisis, White House Turns to Billy Graham". The Washington Post. January 18, 1991. Retrieved August 18, 2007.
  51. "The Essence of Billy Graham; A Warm but Honest Biography of the Evangelist". The Washington Post. October 25, 1991. Retrieved August 18, 2007.
  52. 52.0 52.1 Achim Nkosi Maseko (2008). Church Schism & Corruption. Durban. p. 399. ISBN 978-1-4092-2186-9.
  53. "Billy Graham Biography - Biography of Evangelist Billy Graham". Retrieved October 20, 2012.
  54. Baker, Peter (April 25, 2010). "Obama Visits the Rev. Billy Graham". The New York Times. Retrieved April 25, 2010.
  55. Preacher power: America's God squad Independent Article,Preacher power: America's God squad, July 25, 2007; Archived at [3]
  56. "Dr. Billy Graham trying to avoid offending Soviets", UPI story in Minden Press-Herald, May 10, 1982, p. 1
  57. "Quotation of section". Retrieved May 12, 2011.
  58. [given source: March 1991 CIB Bulletin]
  59. 59.0 59.1 59.2 Billy Graham Responds to Lingering Anger Over 1972 Remarks on Jews, New York Times, March 17, 2002
  60. Graham regrets Jewish slur BBC, Graham Regrets Jewish Slur, March 2, 2002
  61. "Christian Post". Christian Post. Retrieved May 12, 2011.
  62. Graham Apology Not Enough Eric J Greenberg, United Jewish Communities
  63. 63.0 63.1 "Pilgrim's Progress, page 5". Newsweek. August 14, 2006. Retrieved September 20, 2008.
  64. Christopher Newton (Associated Press Writer) (March 2, 2002). "Billy Graham apologizes for anti-Semitic comments in 1972 conversation with Nixon". BeliefNet. Retrieved April 28, 2012.
  65. Cathy Lynn Grossman (June 24, 2009). "In Nixon tapes, Billy Graham refers to 'synagogue of Satan'". USA Today. Retrieved July 31, 2009.
  66. Sherwood Eliot Wirt (1997). Billy: A Personal Look at Billy Graham, the World's Best-loved Evangelist. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books. p. 97. ISBN 0-89107-934-3.
  67. "Billy Graham Backs Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment In North Carolina". May 2, 2012. Retrieved May 3, 2012.
  68. "North Carolina marriage amendment could impact gay and straight couples". U.S. News. Retrieved May 9, 2012.
  69. Graham, Billy. Just As I Am. New York: Harper Collins Worldwide, 1997. Copyright 1997 by the Billy Graham Evangelist Association.
  70. "The Billy pulpit: Graham's career in the mainline". Christian Century. November 15, 2003. p. 2. Retrieved August 18, 2007.
  71. Friedman, Corey (October 10, 2009). Former Belmont Abbey College president dies at 85. Gaston Gazette.
  72. "Billy and Ruth Graham awarded Congressional Gold Medal for service.". Knight-Ridder News Service. May 2, 1996. Archived from the original on 4 October 2007. Retrieved August 18, 2007.
  73. Song about Billy Graham. VE Clip.
  74. "Biography". Michael W Smith.
  75. "The Ronald Reagan Freedom Award". Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. Archived from the original on October 16, 2006. Retrieved February 24, 2007.
  76. 3 Ex-Presidents Open Graham Library. ABC News. Archived from the original on 19 October 2007.
  77. The Christian Post, Billy Graham Movie Prepares for Oct 10 Release, June 29, 2008.
  78. BGEA Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, A response from Franklin Graham, August 18, 2008
  79. The Christian Post, Franklin Graham Among 'Billy' Movie Critics, August 26, 2008
  80. "Northwestern celebrates Billy Graham Community Life Commons Grand Opening - Northwestern College". Retrieved October 7, 2011.

External links

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