Billy Graham

by | Feb 21, 2018 | Christianity Today | 13 comments

Today, you will read many things about Billy Graham.  Greater writers and more famous voices than I will pay tribute to this singular man sent by God.  I have chosen a different path for my words about him.
I will leave it to the more qualified to astound you by recounting the achievements of this evangelist of evangelists.  Let me take you on another course…
In front of a barn in the middle of nowhere, a group of farmers met to pray.  One of them spoke up and said, “I don’t know why but I believe that from this spot, the Gospel will go around the world.”  Not far away, a little skinny boy did his chores—his name was Billy Graham.
In that day, Mortdecai Ham blazed a trail of revival. His fiery sermons electrified vast audiences.  Yet, one of his crusades was a devastating disappointment.  This entry was in his diary: “This week only 2 souls were saved.”  One of them was a 12-year-old Billy Graham.

My soul drew a strange comfort every year that Billy Graham was kept alive.  He was the Christian father praying for a wayward nation.  He was the national pastor whose very presence made me feel that there was a hand of protection on America.  He gave me hope that our nation could still repent.
I am choking back tears of sadness and dread. Does his departure signal the fact that we have finally crossed the deadline?  Or does his entrance into heaven mean a fresh mantle of soul winning will fall to many men and women.  Everything in me screams “LORD LET IT BE THE LATTER!”
Thank God we have a president who will honor Billy Graham.  Thank God, that the many angry and hateful voices, who would strip America of every last semblance of Christ, will be forced to relive the miracle of a country boy, with a simple message who spoke about Jesus to more people face to face, than anyone in history.
Thank God that perhaps, today’s preachers will get a lesson.
I was a little brother to the great evangelist scandals of the 1980’s.   I remember how the most popular magazine of the day posted a gallery of well-known evangelists. Under each picture was a list of their sins.  The last picture was of Billy Graham with this caption underneath: Above Reproach.
Many young preachers learned nothing about integrity from those scandals.  Instead of fearing God and humbling themselves they invented new ways to express pride and materialism.  They lust for best sellers and mansions.
What they never got—and still do not have—is the impact on society of a Billy Graham.
One simple example is when he toured the eastern bloc nations.  Not long after his crusades, the Soviet Union broke apart.  A careful look shows the first nations to discard communism were the same places where this man of God preached.  Impact not popularity. Get it?
Maybe you can see today—my dear brother—how much more he would have said to Oprah than you did.
Our loss stings.  Perhaps the sting is divine.  Let preachers feel it.  Let them see how thundering the Cross, the Blood, repentance, and hell, filled the largest stadiums in the world. It can again.
The word paragon is an interesting word.  It means a model of excellence. A towering, convicting, awe-inspiring paragon of evangelism has gone to heaven.


  1. vickymontiel84

    My Daddy had as kids watch Billy Graham through out are life’s BILLY GRAHAM WAS A MAN OF GOD WE ALL WILL MISS BILLY GRAHAM

    • Carolina

      When I was 7 years old I felt the call of Christ Jesus in my heart, early one morning I got up & told my parents, “I must go to be Baptized!” A sense of urgency was upon my tiny soul. After my Baptism in a local church in Florida, Dr Billy Graham came to the area and my parents tok me with them to this smaller ministers conference. Afterward my parents wanted to shake Billy Graham’s hand, we waited in a long line, and when we got up to our turn with Billy, he grabbed me and put me on his knee arm around me, when I looked into his eyes, I knew at 7 “God is in his eyes!” Blue as the ocean deep as the sea, to me a tiny child this man had God inside. I’m in my mid 60’s now, and I still SEE The Lord in Billy Graham’s eyes. The eyes are the window of the soul, if the light in you is brilliant your whole soul is too.
      Like you Mario, with Billy’s passing over, my concern is… What Next?

  2. Joseph I Tenorio

    I was saved at a Billy Graham Crusade in 1981 10/7/1981 at Spartan stadium in San Jose Ca,

  3. Mary Hinkle

    Excellent article!!!

  4. Aaron jackson

    100% in agreement.

  5. Phyllis Falco

    Wonderful tribute to a “Man of God “
    ,Phyllis Falco

  6. Debra

    We serve in the new covenant that has better promises….Jesus left us and sent the Holy Spirit…mercy triumphs over judgement! Hallelujah! ???

  7. Trish Kennedy

    My mother always turned him on whenever he was on television . He riveted me to the television like no other could. I, too am sad he has gone from us. I, too flelt a kind of comfort as long as he was in this world. I miss him already as though he were a favorite uncle. But like my favorite uncle, I know Mr. Graham is receiving his reward. Thank you, Father, for giving us this great man.

  8. Trish Kennedy

    Mr. Marillo, I have something to impart to you of a personal nature. In the summer of 2012, you came to Grace Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma to speak. You called on several people that night to heal them. I remember thinking how happy for all those God had healed through you and wishing you would call on me. You did. God healed me that night of back pain and my brother-in-law as well. But the most important thing is, you called me back to the stage and whispered in my ear so no one else could hear that God had just told you He would heal 7 members of my family. Oh my goodness I was consumed with curiosity wondering who He would heal. I prayed and prayed and praised Him for healing so many members of my family. Today, I received a text from my sister, Pamela Risto, telling me our cousin, John Pembroke was recently diagnosed with leukemia. Today he went to his doctor’s office to discuss treatment and he was told he is free of cancer. He does not need any treatment at all. He is number one, I believe. God is awesome. He is perfect. He is so good to us in every way. I just wanted you to know. Thank you.

  9. Bob Dooley

    When I was in the Air Force I got saved praying with a Chaplain. I always liked watching Billy Graham and went to see him once in Sacramento. I also like Jimmy Swaggart. But my favorite evangelist since the first time I saw him is Mario Murillo. I remember driving to East Bay Faith Center to see you once. I brought my sister. You were calling out healings that were taking place. Later my sister told me told me that when you were doing that she thought to herself “this is fake”. Then as you pointed at a row in front of us and to our left, saying that a man with cancer was being healed, she says God opened her eyes and she could see the cancer in him. She went forward that night and got saved and baptized in the Holy Ghost as well. I remember from that night how, when the anointing was powerful, as you preached, how your eyes would look upwards. You stirred in me the desire to have the power of the Holy Ghost and I always came away with a desire to have more of the Lord whatever the price. Thank you for your faithfulness. For anyone who hasn’t seen it, go to youtube and type in Mario Murillo hair spray evangelists, you’ll love it.

  10. Trever

    Maybe it means we have both crossed the line and a fresh mantle.

    I am not a big number person (don’t know and generally don’t care what numbers mean) but him being 99 did jump out at me when I read the headline. It reminded me of an interpretation the Holy Spirit gave me one time. 9 is the number of the Holy Spirit, it is also the number of finality, and judgment. If not a coincidence I doubt it refers to Graham’s judgment.

  11. Anna Marie Isgro

    I will miss Billy Graham. I’m sorry he had to die. God’s Peace Be upon his family. God is happy Billy’s finally home. “Precious in the eyes of The Lord are the death of His saints.” Psalm 116:15. Thank God His classic sermons and preachings are on TBN and not lost so we can see and hear him every day still.

  12. Mary Larson

    Amen! Thank you for this word of respect and conviction!!



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