Feb 22, 2018 by Alyssa Duvall

9 Things To Remember Billy Graham For

God blessed Billy Graham with 99 years in which to walk this earth and serve Him. In turn, Graham worked tirelessly for decades edifying believers, rallying evangelicals worldwide, and humbly pointing all to Jesus. If you are unfamiliar with his life work or would simply like to take a moment to remember and thank God for his accomplishments, here are the top nine things to know about Billy Graham:

1. Graham preached the gospel to nearly 215 million people in live audiences in over 185 countries, more than any other evangelist in history.

2. Graham attended Bob Jones College after graduating high school in 1936. After just one semester, he found both the coursework and rules to be too legalistic. He was nearly expelled, but Bob Jones Sr. warned him not to throw his life away, offering the apparently prophetic words, “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.”

3. Graham transferred from Bob Jones College to Florida Bible Institute, where he graduated. He then earned his BA (1943) from Wheaton College. In 1947, he became the youngest person to serve as a sitting president of any U.S. college when, at age 30, he was hired as president of Northwestern Bible College in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

4. After a crusade in Los Angeles that witnessed the conversion of several Hollywood stars, Graham was surprised by a crowd of reporters and photographers outside. When Graham asked what caused the fuss, one reporter said, “You have just been kissed by William Randolph Hearst.” Hearst, modern America's biggest news media mogul, had sent his reporters to "puff" or very positively cover Graham and the crusade, and within days his chain of papers, major national magazines, and wire services took Graham from a lowly tent evangelist to a national figure.

5. Graham’s ministry hasn't been without controversy, especially his "cooperative evangelism" efforts in the mid-1950s when he began accepting non-evangelical support and funding from liberal and mainline Protestant churches and denominations. This led to converts at his crusades being recommended to attend conservative and nonconservative churches alike.

6. In 1955, Graham invited Martin Luther King Jr. to join him at the pulpit for his 16-week revival in New York City which drew an astonishing crowd of 2.3 million people in Madison Square Garden, Yankee Stadium, and Times Square. In his autobiography, Graham recalled the close friendship he developed with King. In 1963, Graham even posted bail for King to be released from jail during the civil rights protests in Birmingham, Alabama.

7. In the early 1980s, Graham expressed his plan to spend the rest of his life preaching the gospel and work for global nuclear disarmament. In an interview with Sojourners, he said, “Is a nuclear holocaust inevitable if the arms race is not stopped? Frankly, the answer is almost certainly yes.”

8. No other American has slept in the White House Lincoln Bedroom more than Graham, the “pastor to the presidents.” Graham had either a personal relationship or personal audience with every U.S. president from Harry S. Truman to Barack Obama. Graham was especially close to Dwight D. Eisenhower, who asked for Graham while on his deathbed, and Richard Nixon. He officiated the graveside services for president Lyndon Johnson in 1973 and spoke at Nixon's funeral in 1994. The only president who didn’t like Graham, as the evangelist frequently noted, was Truman, who called him a “counterfeit” and said “[Graham] was never a friend of mine when I was President.”

9. Graham received the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the nation’s highest civilian award), the Congressional Gold Medal, an Honorary Knighthood in Order of the British Empire, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was also the first non-musician to be inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame for providing a platform to many Christian artists who performed at his events.

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