By Jide Afolabi
Born William Franklin Graham Jr. on Nov. 7, 1918, in a frame house near Charlotte, N.C., into a family of reformed Presbyterians died at 99.
Graham by his own account became born again at age 16. “I didn’t have any tears … There was no lightning,” he recalled. “I made my decision for Christ. It was as simple as that, and as conclusive”.
He later became a Southern Baptist and briefly pastored a church, but his gift clearly lay in revivalism: as his wife Ruth later remarked, “I’d never heard anyone pray like that before.” Neither had newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, who in 1949 cabled his editors a two-word directive to devote lots of space to the preacher then conducting a revival in Los Angeles: “Puff Graham.”
Over six decades, Graham preached in 185 countries and territories and as late as 2005 was attracting crowds of 242,000. With the possible exception of Pope John Paul II, he can be said to have touched more lives for Jesus than anyone else in the modern era and to have extolled him directly to a greater swath of humanity than anyone else in history.
The fiery evangelist was said to have preached to more than 250 million people even thought he never built a Church yet, his followers are in millions across the globe.
His followers believes that he is now in heaven which he once described in his hyper-enthusiastic youth, as follows: “We are going to sit around the fireplace and have parties, and the angels will wait on us, and we’ll drive down the golden streets in a yellow Cadillac convertible.”
Graham was directly or indirectly responsible for religion tests during the presidential primaries and Prayer breakfasts in Washington.
He is the only famed evangelist who met with every US President since the Presidency of Harry S. Truman.
President Donald Trump in his tweeted tribute to Billy Graham today, described the preacher as a “very special man”.
The “God’s Machine Gun” called himself a preacher, not a pastor, in part because he had no fixed congregation but mostly because spreading the Gospel was what he did best.
Graham used his life in preaching the gospel of Christ and serving humanity.