“There is ‘Nobody Like Him’: Rev. Billy Graham”April 25th, 2018
by Cody Mitchell
The late Billy Graham was an extraordinary preacher who influenced presidents and ordinary people alike, writes Cody B. Mitchell, 16, a Correspondent from Moree, Australia.
Born on November 7th, 1918, William Graham was the son of a well-to-do dairy farmer.
Both of his parents were staunch Calvinists, however, Billy – as he became known – was not a born-again Christian until the age of sixteen. After his conversion, Graham studying for quite some time and in 1939 was ordained as a Southern Baptist pastor.
In 1949, Billy Graham launched his first evangelical ‘Crusade’. It was the first of many.
He was a powerful speaker and would go on to preach to upwards of two hundred and fifteen million people in no fewer than 185 nations. In Australia, Graham still retains the record crowd of 130,000 people for our biggest stadium – the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Nine years later, the Reverend Fred Nile, now the longest serving New South Wales Parliamentarian and founder of the Christian Democratic Party, coordinated a Billy Graham crusade in Sydney. It attracted an astonishing 417,000 attendees over just nine meetings.
Billy Graham heavily influenced not only Australia but the entire world. In 1973, Graham managed his largest Crusade ever in Seoul, South Korea. A bewildering 1.1 million came to the final service alone – held on an airstrip. Effects of the campaign are still being felt in the country today.
Not only did Billy Graham preach to the masses. He also spent time with, and had a great influence on, every US President from Truman to Trump. In fact, President Reagan bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom – America’s highest civilian award – upon him in 1983. Graham also enjoyed a friendly relationship with Queen Elizabeth II and was awarded an honourary knighthood in 2001.
On 21st February 2018, William Franklin Graham died at his home in Montreat, North Carolina. He was ninety-nine. Within days, tributes to his life and work flowed in from countless people. President Trump tweeted, “There was nobody like [Billy Graham]!”
Former President Barack Obama was also quick to praise the deceased preacher, “…Graham was a humble servant who…gave hope and guidance to generations of Americans.” Christian singer Kari Jobe wrote, “[Billy’s] entrance into heaven was probably one of the most epic experiences. I bet they’ve been party planning up there for weeks.”
“…I was always so moved by the way in which [Billy Graham] operated,” stated TobyMac, a Christian rapper, and seven-time Grammy Award Winner. Australia’s Vision Radio aired a tribute to Graham, hosted by former Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson.
Billy Graham was, undoubtedly, one of history’s finest men. His moral character has impacted many people, and his preaching has impacted many more still. In 2017, Graham made an unequalled 61st appearance in Gallup’s ‘Ten Most Admired Men in the World’ poll.
Surely, the world will not soon forget the life and work of William ‘Billy’ Graham.
Photo credit: Flickr floridamemory.com/items/show/264372