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Billy Graham was an evangelist at revival meetings, and on radio and television for over 40 years.
Billy Graham - Nixon (2:07)
Billy Graham holds his first crusade in front of a group of Christian businessman and from there his path accelerates once discovered by William Randolph Hearst.
Billy Graham was a significant influence on Richard Nixon and his presidency; however, when Graham learned of the Watergate scandal, he was in disbelief. In his interview Billy claims he became ill once he knew the truth.
Billy Graham dreamed of being a baseball player until he realized he simply didn't have the talent. When Billy was 16 he saw a preacher who changed his life.
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Born on November 7, 1918, in Charlotte, North Carolina, Billy Graham was preaching at an L.A. revival and was a guest on Stuart Hamblen's radio show in 1949. The publicity made Graham a superstar and he began broadcasting his sermons globally. Though detractors have criticized Graham for being too liberal, one Time reporter dubbed him "the Pope of Protestant America." Billy Graham retired in 2005.
"Either communism must die, or Christianity must die, because it is actually a battle between Christ and anti-Christ."
Religious figure and Christian evangelist William Franklin Graham, Jr. was born on November 7, 1918, in Charlotte, North Carolina, to parents William and Morrow Graham. Billy Graham was the first of four children raised on the family's dairy farm in Charlotte. In hindsight there was little indication that Graham would one day preach the Christian gospel to as many as 215 million people in live audiences over 185 countries. Graham has been credited with preaching to more individuals than anyone else in history, not counting the additional millions he has addressed through radio, television and the written word.
While Graham's parents were strict Calvinists, it would be an unfamiliar traveling evangelist who would set Graham on a profound spiritual path. At the age of 16, Graham attended a series of revival meetings run by evangelist Mordecai Ham. Despite the fact that Graham was a well-behaved adolescent, Ham's sermons on sin spoke to young Graham. After high school Graham moved to Tennessee to enroll in the conservative Christian school, Bob Jones College. However, he felt disconnected from the school's rigid doctrine and soon transferred to the Florida Bible Institute. While in Florida, Graham joined a Southern Baptist Convention church, where he was ordained in 1939.
After graduating from the Florida Bible Institute with a bachelor's in theology, Graham moved to Illinois and enrolled at Wheaton College for further spiritual training. Here he would meet his future wife, Ruth McCue Bell. Ruth was the daughter of a missionary, and lived with her family in China until she turned 17. After graduating with a bachelor's in anthropology, Graham and Bell were married on August 13, 1943. They would eventually raise five children together.
Graham briefly pastored the First Baptist Church in Western Springs, Illinois, before leaving to join Youth for Christ, an evangelical missionary group which spoke to returning servicemen and young people about God. In 1947, Billy Graham became president of Northwestern Schools, a group of Christian schools in Minnesota. In 1948, he resigned from Youth for Christ and focused on Northwestern Schools until 1952, when he resigned to concentrate on preaching.
It did not take long for people to identify with Billy Graham's charismatic and heartfelt gospel sermons. In 1949, a group called "Christ for Greater Los Angeles" invited Graham to preach at their L.A. revival. When radio personality Stuart Hamblen had Graham on his radio show, word of the revival spread. The publicity filled Graham's tents and extended the revival for an additional five weeks.
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