“I have one message: that Jesus Christ came, he died on a cross, he rose again, and he asked us to repent of our sins and receive him by faith as Lord and Savior, and if we do, we have forgiveness of all of our sins.”
MONTREAT, North Carolina – Dr. Billy Graham died this morning at the age of 99. He was easily one of the most recognizable faces and names in Christianity and the world in the 20th Century.
His evangelistic crusades, his books, Decision magazine, and his radio and television program, The Hour of Decision reached countless numbers of people. Over 215 million people attended his 400-plus crusades in more than 185 countries for over half a century from 1947 until his retirement in 2005.
Graham befriended and advised every president from Harry Truman to Barack Obama. He was welcomed and revered at home and around the globe. He was included in the annual Gallup list of most admired people 49 consecutive times and a record total of 60 times, each year the poll has been taken.
Today and in the coming days, perhaps equally countless praises will eulogize him and his work. He was often referred to as “America’s Pastor,” but his self-selected epitaph will simply say, Preacher of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. For Graham, that was enough. The accumulated honors here on earth could never compare to the eternal rewards laid up for him in Heaven.
The memorial posted on the website of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association gives us some insight Graham’s heart (I Samuel 16:7) with a quote from 2002:
“There were a few times when I thought I was dying, and I saw my whole life come before me. I didn’t say to the Lord, ‘I’m a preacher, and I’ve preached to many people.’
I said, ‘Oh Lord, I’m a sinner, and I still need Your forgiveness. I still need the cross.’ And I asked the Lord to give me peace in my heart, and He did.”
Graham is survived by his sister Jean Ford; daughters Gigi, Anne and Ruth; sons Franklin and Ned; 19 grandchildren; and numerous great-grandchildren. His wife, Ruth, died June 14, 2007, at age 87, and is buried at the Billy Graham Library
- The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Billy Graham, Evangelist to The World, Dead at Age 99
- USA Today, Billy Graham, America’s pastor, has died
- Yahoo News, Billy Graham, ‘America’s Pastor’ And Noted Evangelist, Dead At 99
- NBC News, Billy Graham, evangelist pastor and counselor to presidents, dead at age 99