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

(William Franklin Graham) (grā`əm), 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 fundamentalismfundamentalism.
1 In Protestantism, religious movement that arose among conservative members of various Protestant denominations early in the 20th cent., with the object of maintaining traditional interpretations of the Bible and of the doctrines of the Christian faith in
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) 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.