Influential Evangelical pastor Billy Graham (1918-2018), who played an outsized role in American Evangelical Christianity, died Wednesday at the age of 99.
Rev. Billy Graham was one of the most prominent American preachers of the 20th century. He died on February 21, 2018, at the age of 99. In his public preachings, he attracted as many as 130,000 people.
Some argue he preached to more people than any single preacher in the history of the world. Through his preaching, he wanted to renew in people their sense of God. He was involved in the Civil Rights Era movement.
His early preachings were more conservative and political, but through the course of his life, he began to preach in an apolitical style and in content as well. His wife, Ruth, found the hard way that his preaching came before anything else in the world.
Bill travelled frequently to preaching engagements. His evangelizing for Evangelical Christianity in particular, and Christianity in general, spanned for more than six decades.
According to Mark DeMoss who is a spokesperson for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, “It was described by nurse and doctor as a very peaceful passing […] He was not in any pain, and he wouldn’t have suffered any.”
Dr Lucian Rice of Asheville, who was the personal physician of Graham, stated that “He just wore out.” The funeral procession for “America’s Pastor” has been planned. Graham, prior to death, long suffered from pneumonia, cancer, and other ailments.
US President Donald Trump tweeted, “The GREAT Billy Graham is dead. There was nobody like him! He will be missed by Christians and all religions. A very special man… gave hope and guidance to generations of Americans.”
Rev. Graham evangelised to over 215 million people. He was listed as one of the “Ten Most Admired Men in the World.” Most will remember Graham for appealing to broad numbers of people for his Christian faith. Others have called him “evil.” His son, William Franklin Graham III, is the official successor based on the claims of Graham.
Billy Graham was a controversial figure. It is still debated whether he was ahead of his time in the Civil Rights era or whether his positions were weak and some of his integration rhetoric and behaviour, token.
His stance on homosexuality, however, was infinitely more clear, with the pastor saying the following: “We traffic in homosexuality at the peril of our spiritual welfare” and claiming homosexuality to be a “sinister form of perversion.”
He played a fundamental role in uniting the evangelical factions of the Christian Right.
His own wishes were to be remembered as a preacher. His body will be laid to rest at the United States Capitol.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. Jacobsen works for science and human rights, especially women’s and children’s rights. He considers the modern scientific and technological world the foundation for the provision of the basics of human life throughout the world and advancement of human rights as the universal movement among peoples everywhere.