World-renowned Evangelical pastor, Rev. Billy Graham died in his North Carolina home early Wednesday, February 21. He was 99 years old.
“I join with millions of my fellow Christians in mourning the passing of Billy Graham. Without question, Billy was the preeminent voice of evangelical Christianity in America — an advisor to Presidents, and a spiritual guide to the multitudes who attended his crusades all over the world,” said Regent University founder, chancellor and CEO Dr. M.G. “Pat” Robertson. “Billy has been a dear friend of mine personally and I will miss him. He is now with our heavenly Father, well and happy, and joined forever with his dear wife, Ruth. I extend my profound sympathy to Franklin, to Anne Graham Lotz, and to Billy’s other children who are continuing his legacy throughout the world.”
Graham leaves behind a powerful legacy, remembered for his preaching to audiences in the numbers of hundreds of millions, broadcast through several mediums, as well as his annual Billy Graham Crusades, which spanned nearly 60 years.
“Although the death of Billy Graham is a great loss for the Christian church, his passing is also an opportunity to express profound gratitude for a life that fully testifies of the power of the Gospel of Christ,” said Dr. Cornelius Bekker, Dean of Regent’s School of Divinity. “Dr. Graham died a Christian death, a death where one has fully fulfilled one’s vocation and leaves an example that inspires and opens the way for others to emulate. May the life, message and death of Billy Graham inspire countless others to follow in his footsteps and proclaim the eternal message of salvation found in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
“Billy Graham’s private ministry to presidents and world leaders can be characterized in three ways,” said Robertson School of Government dean Dr. Eric Patterson. “First, he nurtured relationships over decades, such as with the Reagans and the Bushes (whom he befriended in the 1950s). He was not a drive-by preacher nor a social media braggart. Second, he almost always kept such interaction private, personal, and pastoral with a focus on spiritual needs and God’s love. Third, not only was he non-partisan nearly all of the time, but he was also willing to ask for forgiveness and change course when he felt that he had gotten distracted from ministry, such as in his relationship with Richard Nixon.”