Billy Graham

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Billy Graham
William Franklin Graham, Jr.
BirthplaceCharlotte, North Carolina
EducationDiploma in Biblical Studies, Florida Bible Institute (Trinity Bible College), 1940 B.A. in Anthropology, Wheaton College, 1943

Graham, Billy

Graham, Billy (William Franklin Graham) (grāˈəm), 1918–2018, American evangelist, b. Charlotte, N.C., grad. Wheaton College (B.A., 1943). Graham was ordained a minister in the Southern Baptist Church (1939), was the pastor of a Chicago church (his first and last pastorate), and in 1944 became an evangelist for the American Youth for Christ movement. In 1949 he received national attention for an extended evangelical campaign in Los Angeles. He subsequently made preaching tours (for which he popularized the term “crusade”) in most major U.S. cities and in Europe, Africa, South America, Asia, Australia, and Russia. His reputation made him a favored guest of politicians and presidents. Graham, who in his preaching consistently stressed personal conversion and scriptural authority, was identified with the conservative Protestant movement known as neo-evangelicalism (see fundamentalism) and was to a large degree responsible for establishing it as part of the American mainstream. He also co-founded the journal Christianity Today. The Billy Graham Evangelical Association, founded in 1950, publishes Decision magazine and produces programs for radio, television, and screen. Graham retired as head of the association in 2000, and held his final crusade in 2004.


See his autobiography, Just as I Am (1997); biographies by W. C. McLaughlin (1960), M. Frady (1979), and W. Martin (1991); studies by S. P. Miller (2009) and G. Wacker (2014).

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Graham, (William Franklin, Jr.) Billy

(1918–  ) Protestant evangelist; born near Charlotte, N.C. A farmer's son, he converted to fundamentalism at a revival meeting at age 16. He studied at Bob Jones University and the Florida Bible Institute (now Trinity College) and was ordained a Southern Baptist minister in 1940. He graduated from Wheaton College, Ill., with an anthropology degree in 1943 and was pastor of a Baptist church in Illinois before beginning his career as a traveling evangelist. In his first high-profile crusade, in Los Angeles in 1949, he preached to 350,000 people. A vigorous, magnetic preacher, he toured the world with his crusades; he claimed—through his preaching and subsidiary broadcasting, films, and books—to have converted millions of people to his version of Christianity. His Billy Graham Evangelistic Association raised millions of dollars, and was considered a model of financial accountability. He published several accounts of his religious views, including Peace with God (1952) and World Aflame (1965). From President Eisenhower on, it became almost obligatory for the U.S. president to be seen at least once in the company of Graham.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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During Billy Graham's 80-year national and international evangelical preaching in the form of campaigns and rallies, which he called crusades, he visited some 185 countries, and in his sermons in churches, sports stadiums, tents and open air, he preached to some 200,000 million people in all, plus all those who listened to him on radio, saw him on TV and read his books.
'Mr Graham founded the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) in 1950, headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., until relocating to Charlotte, N.C., in 2003.
"Karen and I are on our way to North Carolina to join @POTUS and @FLOTUS to pay tribute to the life and legacy of Reverend Billy Graham. We'll join the Graham family and the hearts of millions to say, "Thank you Billy Graham, and God bless you.", he tweeted.
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"As I have written in this book, I have constantly examined what I have said in an effort to make sure that I was neither shading the truth in Graham's or his associates' favor out of gratitude for their helpfulness, nor taking an inappropriately negative slant as a way of emphasizing that I had not been taken in by slick manipulation, but since Billy Graham and his associates--like all humankind--have weaknesses, I determined not to gloss those over," writes Martin, the Harry and Hazel Chavanne Professor Emeritus of Religion and Public Policy in the Department of Sociology at Rice University, Houston, Texas.
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