Early Wednesday morning, the Rev. Billy Graham passed away at age 99 at his home in Montreat, N.C.
In response to the news of his passing, national and international leaders simultaneously grieved his death and celebrated his life. And for good reason.
He should be remembered for his global reach, having preached live to approximately 215 million people in more than 185 countries or territories, and via television and radio to hundreds of millions more.
He should be remembered for his personal influence, having met and prayed with every U. S. president from Dwight Eisenhower to Barack Obama, and having preached at funeral services for Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon.
He should be remembered for the way his ministry spanned across many of America’s public divides. Graham was recognized by many Americans—Republican and Democrat, black and white, North and South—as “America’s pastor.”
He should be remembered for his opposition to racial bigotry, having refused to preach to segregated audiences. For this reason, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. counted Graham a friend and an ally, once remarking, “Had it not been for the ministry of my good friend Billy Graham, my work in the Civil Rights Movement would not have been as successful as it has been.”
He should be remembered for the love and faithfulness that characterized his marriage to Ruth McCue Bell, to whom he was married for 64 years. His reputation was unblemished by sexual or financial scandals.
But more than anything, he should be remembered for the gospel. It is this gospel to which he devoted his life and ministry.
What is the “gospel” Billy Graham preached?
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