Billy Graham

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Дата рождения:
07.11.1918
Дата смерти:
21.02.2018
Имя при рождении:
William Franklin Graham Jr.
Категории:
Епископ, Министр, Политик
Национальность:
 американец
Кладбище:
Alamance Presbyterian Church Cemetery, North Carolina, USA

William Franklin Graham Jr. KBE (November 7, 1918 – February 21, 2018) was an American Christian Protestantevangelist and an ordained Southern Baptist minister who became well known internationally after 1949.

He has been called one of the most influential preachers of the 20th century. He held large indoor and outdoor rallies with sermons which were broadcast on radio and television, some still being re-broadcast into the 21st century. In his six decades of television, Graham was principally known for hosting the annual Billy Graham Crusades, which he began in 1947, until he concluded in 2005, at the time of his retirement. He also hosted the popular radio show Hour of Decision from 1950 to 1954. He repudiated segregation and, in addition to his religious aims, helped shape the worldview of a huge number of people coming from different backgrounds leading them to find a relationship between the Bible and contemporary secular viewpoints. Graham preached to live audiences of nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories through various meetings, including BMS World Mission and Global Mission. He also reached hundreds of millions more through television, video, film, and webcasts.

Graham was a spiritual adviser to American presidents and provided spiritual counsel for every president from Harry Truman to Barack Obama. He was particularly close to Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson (one of Graham's closest friends) and Richard Nixon. He insisted on racial integration for his revivals and crusades in 1953 and invited Martin Luther King Jr. to preach jointly at a revival in New York City in 1957. Graham bailed King out of jail in the 1960s when King was arrested in demonstrations. He was also lifelong friends with another televangelist, the founding pastor of the Crystal Cathedral, Robert H. Schuller, whom raham talked into doing his own television ministry.

Graham operated a variety of media and publishing outlets. According to his staff, more than 3.2 million people have responded to the invitation at Billy Graham Crusades to "accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior". As of 2008, Graham's estimated lifetime audience, including radio and television broadcasts, topped 2.2 billion. Because of his crusades, Graham preached the gospel to more people in person than anyone in the history of Christianity.

Graham was repeatedly on Gallup's list of most admired men and women. He appeared on the list 60 times since 1955, more than any other individual in the world. Grant Wacker reports that by the mid-1960s, he had become the "Great Legitimator":

By then his presence conferred status on presidents, acceptability on wars, shame on racial prejudice, desirability on decency, dishonor on indecency, and prestige on civic events.

Early life

William Franklin Graham Jr. was born on November 7, 1918. He was the eldest of four children born to Morrow (née Coffey; 1892–1981) and William Franklin Graham Sr. (1888–1962). Graham grew up on a family dairy farm near Charlotte, North Carolina, with his two younger sisters and younger brother. In 1927, when he was eight years old, the family moved about 75 yards (69 m) from their white frame house to a newly built red brick home. He was raised in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church by his parents and was of Scots-Irish descent. Graham attended the Sharon Grammar School. Starting to read books from an early age, Graham loved to read novels for boys, especially Tarzan. Like Tarzan, he would hang on the trees and gave the popular Tarzan yell, scaring both horses and drivers. According to his father, that yelling had led him to become a minister. In 1933, when he was fourteen, as Prohibition in the United States ended, Graham's father forced him and his sister Katherine to drink beer until they got sick. This created such an aversion that both avoided alcohol and drugs for the rest of their lives.

After Graham was turned down for membership in a local youth group because he was "too worldly", Albert McMakin, who worked on the Graham farm, persuaded him to go and see the evangelist Mordecai Ham. According to his autobiography, Graham was converted in 1934, at age 16 during a series of revival meetings in Charlotte led by Ham.

After graduating from Sharon High School in May 1936, Graham attended Bob Jones College, then located in Cleveland, Tennessee. After one semester, he found it too legalistic in both coursework and rules. At this time he was influenced and inspired by Pastor Charley Young from Eastport Bible Church. He was almost expelled, but Bob Jones Sr. warned him not to throw his life away: "At best, all you could amount to would be a poor country Baptist preacher somewhere out in the sticks.... You have a voice that pulls. God can use that voice of yours. He can use it mightily."

In 1937 Graham transferred to the Florida Bible Institute in Temple Terrace, Florida, near Tampa. He preached his first sermon that year at Bostwick Baptist Church near Palatka, Florida, while still a student. In his autobiography, Graham wrote of receiving his "calling on the 18th green of the Temple Terrace Golf and Country Club", which was adjacent to the Institute campus. Reverend Billy Graham Memorial Park was later established on the Hillsborough River directly east of the 18th green and across from where Graham often paddled a canoe to a small island in the river, where he would preach to the birds, alligators, and cypress stumps. In 1939, Graham was ordained by a group of Southern Baptist clergymen at Peniel Baptist Church in Palatka, Florida. In 1943, Graham graduated from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois with a degree in anthropology.

It was during his time at Wheaton that Graham decided to accept the Bible as the infallible word of God. Henrietta Mears of the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood (Hollywood, California) was instrumental in helping Graham wrestle with the issue. He settled it at Forest Home Christian Camp (now called Forest Home Ministries) southeast of the Big Bear area in Southern California. A memorial there marks the site of Graham's decision.

Family

On August 13, 1943, Graham married Wheaton classmate Ruth Bell (1920–2007), whose parents were Presbyterian missionaries in China. Her father, L. Nelson Bell, was a general surgeon. Ruth Graham died on June 14, 2007, at the age of 87. The Grahams were married for almost 64 years.

Graham and his wife had five children together: Virginia Leftwich (Gigi) Graham (born 1945; an inspirational speaker and author); Anne Graham Lotz (born 1948; runs AnGeL ministries); Ruth Graham (born 1950; founder and president of Ruth Graham & Friends, leads conferences throughout the U.S. and Canada); Franklin Graham (born 1952, who serves as president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Associationand as president and CEO of international relief organization, Samaritan's Purse); and Nelson Edman Graham (born 1958; a pastor who runs East Gates Ministries International, which distributes Christian literature in China).

Graham had 19 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren. His grandson Tullian Tchividjian, son of Gigi, was the senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida until he was defrocked in June 2015 after admitting to an extra-marital affair. Tchividjian later filed for divorce from his wife, Kim. Grandson Basyle "Boz" Tchividjian, a former child abuse chief prosecutor and professor at Liberty University School of Law, is the founder and executive director of Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment, a nonprofit dedicated to preventing and responding to abuse in Christian organizations.

Ministry career

While attending college, Graham became pastor of the United Gospel Tabernacle and also had other preaching engagements.

Graham served briefly as pastor of the First Baptist Church in Western Springs, Illinois, not far from Wheaton, in 1943–44. While there, his friend Torrey Johnson, pastor of the Midwest Bible Church in Chicago, told Graham that his radio program, Songs in the Night, was about to be canceled due to lack of funding. Consulting with the members of his church in Western Springs, Graham decided to take over Johnson's program with financial support from his congregation. Launching the new radio program on January 2, 1944, still called Songs in the Night, Graham recruited the bass-baritone George Beverly Shea as his director of radio ministry. While the radio ministry continued for many years, Graham decided to move on in early 1945. In 1947, at age 30, he was hired as president of Northwestern Bible College in Minneapolis—at the time, the youngest person to serve as a sitting president of any U.S. college or university. Graham served as the president from 1948 to 1952.

Initially, Graham intended to become a chaplain in the armed forces but, shortly after applying for a commission, contracted mumps. After a period of recuperation in Florida, he was hired as the first full-time evangelist of the new Youth for Christ (YFC), co-founded by Torrey Johnson and the Canadian evangelist Charles Templeton. Graham traveled throughout both the United States and Europe as an YFCI evangelist. Templeton applied to Princeton Theological Seminary for an advanced theological degree and urged Graham to do so as well, but he declined a he was already serving as the president of Northwestern Bible College.

Graham scheduled a series of revival meetings in Los Angeles in 1949, for which he erected circus tents in a parking lot. He attracted national media coverage, especially in the conservative Hearst chain, although Hearst and Graham never met. The crusade event ran for eight weeks—five weeks longer than planned. Graham became a national figure with heavy coverage from the wire services and national magazines.

Politics

After his close relationship with Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, Graham tried to avoid explicit partisanship. Bailey says:

He declined to sign or endorse political statements, and he distanced himself from the Christian right...His early years of fierce opposition to communism gave way to pleas for military disarmament and attention to AIDS, poverty and environmental threats.

Graham was a registered member of the Democratic Party. In 1960 he was opposed to the candidacy of John F. Kennedy because as a Catholic he was bound to follow the Pope. Graham worked "behind the scenes" to encourage influential Protestant ministers to speak out against him. Graham met with a conference of Protestant ministers in Montreux, Switzerland during the 1960 campaign, to discuss their mobilizing congregations to defeat Kennedy. According to the PBS Frontline program, God in America(2010), Episode 5, Graham also organized a meeting in September 1960 of hundreds of Protestant ministers in Washington, D.C. to this purpose; Norman Vincent Peale led the meeting. This was shortly before Kennedy's speech on the separation of church and state in Houston, Texas, which was considered to be successful in meeting concerns of many voters.

Graham leaned toward the Republicans during the presidency of Richard Nixon whom he had met and befriended as vice president under Dwight Eisenhower. He did not completely ally himself with the later religious right, saying that Jesus did not have a political party. He gave his support to various political candidates over the years.

Graham refused to join Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority in 1979, saying: "I'm for morality, but morality goes beyond sex to human freedom and social justice. We as clergy know so very little to speak with authority on the Panama Canal or superiority of armaments. Evangelists cannot be closely identified with any particular party or person. We have to stand in the middle in order to preach to all people, right and left. I haven't been faithful to my own advice in the past. I will be in the future."

According to a 2006 Newsweek interview, "For Graham, politics is a secondary to the Gospel...When Newsweek asked Graham whether ministers – whether they think of themselves as evangelists, pastors or a bit of both – should spend time engaged with politics, he replied: 'You know, I think in a way that has to be up to the individual as he feels led of the Lord. A lot of things that I commented on years ago would not have been of the Lord, I'm sure, but I think you have some – like communism, or segregation, on which I think you have a responsibility to speak out.'"

In 2012, Graham publicly endorsed the Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney. Shortly after, apparently in order to accommodate Romney who is a Mormon, references to Mormonism as a religious cult ("A cult is any group which teaches doctrines or beliefs that deviate from the biblical message of the Christian faith.") were removed from Graham's website. Observers have questioned whether the support of Republican and religious right politics on issues such as same-sex marriage coming from Graham – who stopped speaking in public or to reporters – in fact reflects the views of his son, Franklin, head of the BGEA. Franklin denied this, and said that he would continue to act as his father's spokesperson rather than allowing press conferences.

Источник: wikipedia.org

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