Billy Graham, a personal hero of mine and a giant of 20th-century Christianity, has died this week.
Christianity Today has a beautiful special edition with articles on his life and ministry. Don’t miss it. It will inspire your soul.
You can check also a book review I’ve written analyzing the global diffusion of Evangelicalism in the 20th-century and Graham’s crucial role in it.
Today I thought of adding a few personal words, for few Christians have inspired me more than Graham. I remember devouring his autobiography, Just as I Am, as a teenager. The stories, the pictures, the crowds: his was such a large life.
I remember praying a prayer (which I now imagine must be apocryphal) that Graham reportedly prayed as a boy when he visited John Wesley’s tomb, praying that God “would do it again”.
What strikes me most is that, in the midst of all his success, Graham maintained his integrity. His life was an example of a preacher who sought to have the largest possible impact yet who at the same time stayed humble and irreproachable. He did not aim low, so did he veer off course. How inspiring it is to hear of his death and have a heart of gratitude to God for his life.
I’m inspired also by Graham’s vision: he championed a vision of Evangelical Christianity that did not lose its convictions nor became narrow-minded and narrow-hearted. Graham’s Christianity was winsome, bold, humble, charitable. It was always about Jesus.
I wish to die as well as he one day.