The Story of American Evangelist – Billy Graham (Biography)
BILLY GRAHAM’S BIOGRAPHY
William Franklin Billy Graham, Jr born on November 7 1918 is an American evangelical Christian evangelist ordained as a southern Baptist minister. Billy graham rose to celebrity status in 1949 reaching a core constituency of middle class moderately conservative protestant. He held large indoor and outdoor rallies, sermons were broadcast on radio and television while some are still re-broadcasted today.
Graham is known for holding the annual Billy graham crusade which he started in 1947 until his retirement in 2005. He also held the popular radio show “hour of decision” from 1950 to 1954.
Graham is the eldest of four children born to morrow and William franklin graham. Graham grew up on a family dairy farm near charlotte north Carolina. He was raised in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian by his parent. Graham is of Scottish and irish descent.
When graham was five years he focused on the outdoors but he rarely could walk.
At this time also he started as a student at Sharon grammar school. He started to read books at an early age especially reading novels to the boys. Like Tarzan, he would hang on the trees, and gave the popular Tarzan yell, scaring both horses and drivers.
According to his father, that yelling had led him to become a minister. In 1933, when he was fourteen, as 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.
After Graham was turned down for membership in a local youth group because he was “too worldly” Albert McMakin, who worked on the Graham farm, persuaded him to go and see the evangelist MORDECIA HAMS. According to his autobiography, Graham was converted in 1934, at age 16 during a series of revival meetings in Charlotte led by Ham.
After graduating from Sharon High School in May 1936, Graham attended BOB JONES COLLEGE,which was then located in cleveland, Tennessee. After one semester, he found it too legalistic in both coursework and rules. 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.”
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 HILLSBROUGH 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, Illinios with a degree in Anthropology in 1943.
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. Ruth Graham died on June 14, 2007, at the age of 87.
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 bass-baritone George Beverely 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—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.
Graham was a spiritual adviser to American presidents; Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon b. Johnson and Richard Nixon.
Graham invited martin Luther King JR to preach jointly at a revival in New York City in 1957.
Graham bailed King Luther out of jail in 1960 when king was arrested.
Graham operates a variety of media and publishing outlets. More than 3.2 billion people have responded to the invitation at Billy Graham’s crusades to accept Jesus as their “personal savior” according to his workers. Graham’s estimated audience including radio and television broadcast, topped 2.2 billion.
Because of his crusade Graham has preached the gospel to people in person more than anyone in the history of Christianity.
In 1953 rally in Chattanooga, Graham tore down the rope that the organisers had put up to separate the audience following racism. He said in his words that he had told two of the ushers to pull the barrier down or they can go on to have the revival without him.
In 1957 graham allowed African American minister Thomas Kilgore and Gardner Taylor to serve as members of his New York crusade’s executive committee and invited the Rev Martin Luther King to join him at the pulpit at his 16- week revival in New York, here Graham’s stance towards integration became more publicly shown.
Despite the friendship, tension emerged between Martin Luther King and Graham in 1958 when the sponsoring committee of a crusade which took place in San Antonio Texas on july 25 arranged for Graham to be introduced by the state’s segregationist governor Price Daniel.
KING sent a letter to Graham saying that allowing Daniel to speak at a crusade can best be” interpreted as your endorsement of racial segregation and discrimination”. Graham’s advisor GRADY WILSON replied to king that “even though we do not see eye to eye with him on every issue, we still love him in Christ”. The two still remained friends and king told a Canadian television audience the following year that Graham has taken a great stance on against segregation.
Graham’s faith prompted his maturing view of race and segregation, he told a member of the kkk that integration is important primarily for religious reasons “there is no scriptural basis for segregation” Graham argued.
In april 2013 the Graham evangelist association started “my hope with Billy Graham” which happened to be the largest outreach in its history, encouraging church members to spread the gospel in small group meetings. The idea was for Christians to follow the example of one of the disciples; matthew in the new testament.
Graham has had parkinson’s disease since 1992. Graham said his planned retirement was due to his failing health. In 2005 Graham appeared at the ground breaking of his library in charlotte, then 86 he used a walker during the ceremony. In april 2010 at 91 and with substantial vision and hearing loss, made a rare public appearance at the re dedication of the renovated Graham’s library.
Graham has preached Christianity to live audience 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 webcast, television, film and video.