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The Landon Lecture Series
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The. Rev. Billy Graham

Evangelist

The Rev. Billy Graham, the American Christian evangelist, is best known for his worldwide evangelistic crusades preaching the message of Christianity to more people than anyone in history. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) reports, "nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries" have been reached through his ministry. In his lifetime, he has led many thousands to make a decision to receive Jesus as personal Savior and to live for Christ. Graham has been an adviser to many American presidents and according to Gallup Polls is regularly listed as one of the "Ten Most Admired Men in the World."

He was born November 7, 1918. Graham was raised on a dairy farm in Charlotte, North Carolina. In 1943 he married Ruth McCue Bell, daughter of a Christian missionary surgeon in China. He and Ruth had three daughters (including Anne Graham Lotz, Christian author and speaker), two sons (including Franklin Graham, who now runs his association), 19 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren. Today Billy Graham makes his home in the mountains of North Carolina. On June 14, 2007, he said farewell to his beloved Ruth when she passed away at age 87.

In 1934, at age 16, Graham made a personal commitment to Christ during a revival meeting conducted by Mordecai Ham. He graduated from the Florida Bible Institute, now Trinity College of Florida and was ordained in 1939 by a church in the Southern Baptist Convention. Later in 1943, he graduated from Wheaton College, pastored the First Baptist Church in Western Springs, Illinois, and then joined Youth for Christ.

In this post-war era, as he preached in the United States and Europe, Graham was soon acknowledged as a rising young evangelist. In 1949, an extended 8-week crusade in Los Angeles gained international recognition for Graham.

In 1950 Graham founded the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which later relocated in 2003 to Charlotte, North Carolina. The ministry has included:

  • The weekly "Hour of Decision" radio broadcast.
  • Televised crusade specials approximately six times a year.
  • "My Answer," international newspaper column.
  • Decision Magazine, the official BGEA publication.
  • World Wide Pictures, one of the foremost producers of evangelistic films in the world.

Today, in his early 90s, Billy Graham and his ministry are known throughout the world.

Billy Graham has authored 30 books, many of which have been translated into several languages.

Billy Graham
Landon Lecture
March 4, 1974

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