Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Impact of Reverend Billy Graham


Billy Graham
Photo Credit: Billy Graham Association
Football Stadiums. Large crowds. Singing. Preaching. Tears. Joy. The Holy Spirit. These and many other things characterized the ministry of the late Reverend Billy Graham since 1947. The 417 crusades led by Billy Graham impacted hundreds of thousands of people for Christ. “He basically saved my life,” says Carol Keller, who accepted Christ at the age of sixteen at the 1958 crusade in Sacramento California. 

Rev. Billy Graham preached the gospel at huge crusades in 185 countries and territories on six continents throughout his fifty-eight years of ministry. He is known as America’s pastor because his work spanned the terms of ten presidents. His message was simple and impactful, as Keller knows.
Graham meets with President Eisenhower
Photo Credit: The Billy Graham Association (Memorial Page)

 “He just had one message, come to Jesus,” Keller says. “I knew that I needed to repent of my sin and ask Jesus into my heart and he [Billy Graham] just made it so simple.”
Although his message was simple, it was powerful. Jane Cox attended the 1987 Fargo crusade while she was still unsaved and can attest to the power of the Holy Spirit moving at these crusades. 
 “I don’t think people, especially Christians, understand how strongly the Holy Spirit is moving. Sitting there it was almost impossible not to accept Christ,” she says. 
At the end of every message, Graham would give a call for anyone who wanted to accept Jesus to come forward. People would move to the front in droves. For some it felt like the Holy Spirit was pulling them forward. 
 “To me, it was like a magnet [pulling me toward the front]. I realized later it was the Holy Spirit,” Keller says. 
The simple message that Graham preached was powerful enough to get into places where no government official could. 
“I can’t think of anyone else who could get the leaders of communist countries to let him preach the gospel like he did,” Cox says. “It always amazes me that they let him in.” 
And yet, Graham wasn’t trying to overthrow governments or get involved in politics. 
“I like that after his debate with Nixon [during the cold war] he stayed out of politics. He focused on preaching the gospel,” Cox says.
Christians around the world admire Rev. Billy Graham for his simple yet powerful message, but they also admire him for his integrity and morality. 
  “The news media could not find things about him that were immoral,” Keller says. “He was always moral.” Cox adds, “He was a man of integrity.” 
Those who have been impacted by Billy Graham can’t forget him. 
“I’ve always thought of him as my best friend,” Keller says, “because it was through him that God saved me.” 
His message stayed the same throughout his fifty-eight years of ministry, and is still relevant today, Cox says. It was simple and straightforward, every time. “It was just amazing, the simplicity of his preaching,” Keller says. Simple, yet powerful, Billy Graham’s impactful message, the gospel, lives on today. 

His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.' 
-Matthew 25:21

Special thanks to Carol Keller and Jane Cox for allowing me to interview you for my article. 


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