America's Pastor and Evangelist Billy Graham Passes Away at 99 – EpicPew

America’s Pastor and Evangelist Billy Graham Passes Away at 99

MONTREAT – “My home is in Heaven,” Billy Graham once said. “I’m just traveling through this world.” Today, Evangelist and Pastor Billy Graham, who shared the Gospel with over 200 million people over the course of six decades passed away. Graham, who prayed with US presidents from Truman to Obama, passed away at his home in Montreat, North Carolina.


Humble beginnings 

Graham was born on November 7, 1918 – four short days before the end of World War I. He grew up during the Depression, which helped shape a work ethic that made his years of ministry possible. But he didn’t always like talking about religion. When he spoke about his time growing up a dairy farm, he said he preferred baseball to religion.

“I was opposed to evangelism,” he said. “But finally, I was persuaded by a friend [to go to a meeting]…and the spirit of God began to speak to me as I went back night after night. One night, when the invitation was given to accept Jesus, I just said, ‘Lord, I’m going.’ I knew I was headed in a new direction.”


Evangelistic crusades 

This direction led him to the Florida Bible Institute, where he met his wife, Ruth. They were married for 64 years before Ruth passed away in 2007. After graduating in 1943, Graham spent two years as a speaker for the Youth for Christ organization. In 1947, he held his first evangelistic Crusade, and caught the attention of the world with his Crusade in 1949.

During his time as a preacher, he spoke to people of all nations and creeds. “Christ belongs to all people,” he said during a sermon in Johannesburg in 1973. “He belongs to the whole world.…I reject any creed based on hate…Christianity is not a white man’s religion, and don’t let anybody ever tell you that it’s white or black.”

During his final Crusade in the summer of 2005, Graham said: “I have one message: that Jesus Christ came, he died on a cross, he rose again, and he asked us to repent of our sins and receive him by faith as Lord and Savior, and if we do, we have forgiveness of all of our sins.”


Remembering Billy Graham 

Countless messages of condolences and prayers have been written since the news of Graham’s passing was released.

“I’ve just come from my chapel where I prayed fervently for the repose of the soul of Billy Graham,” Bishop Robert Barron wrote on his Facebook wall Wednesday morning. “Dr. Graham was, indisputably, one of the greatest evangelists of the last hundred years and a winsome, compelling witness to Jesus Christ. Along with millions of others around the world, I admired the clarity, simplicity, and conviction of his preaching as well as the integrity of his life.”

According the the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Graham’s preaching was heard by people in 185 of the 195 countries of the world. He preached the gospel to some 215 million people who attended one of his more than 400 Crusades and rallies. He authored 34 books during his lifetime.


“Don’t you believe a word of it. . .”

At the news of his passing, we were reminded of something Graham said: “Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it – I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.”

Eternal rest grant to him, O Lord.