Billy Graham

1918 — 2018

Notable Reflections

“Billy Graham has been an inspiration in my life. It is my firm belief that no one can be president without a belief in God, without understanding the power of prayer, without faith. And Billy Graham helped me understand that. … I thank God for bringing Billy Graham into the lives of my family. He gave us great strength, and through him we better know God’s Son, Jesus Christ.”
—Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush

“There’s no doubt that Billy Graham, on his many visits to Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, lighted or reignited the flame of religious belief and conviction. And that, in turn, had a political impact on what took place in these Communist-dominated nations … and was helpful in bringing about the change from what it was 60 or 70 years ago.”
—Former U.S. President Gerald Ford

“Hearing from you who has accomplished so much good for so many people around the world is greatly appreciated. The President greatly admired you and what you are doing.”
—Robert Kennedy, in a handwritten note to Billy Graham after the funeral for President Kennedy

“My mind went back to those lonely occasions at the White House when your friendship helped to sustain a President in an hour of trial. … No one will ever know how you helped to lighten my load or how much warmth you brought into our house. But I know.”
—Former U.S. President Lyndon Johnson, in a personal letter to Billy Graham shortly after leaving office

“Billy Graham’s reputation is above reproach or suspicion. He’s been a Christlike figure with a global beneficial impact in evangelism.”
—Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter

“Billy Graham’s contribution to the well-being of mankind is literally immeasurable. Millions of lives across the globe have been enriched because of his good work. The world is a better place because of Billy Graham.”
—Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom

“When I was a small boy, about 12 years old, Billy Graham came to Little Rock, Arkansas, to preach a Crusade. Our town was torn apart by racial conflict. Our high schools were closed, and there were those who asked Billy Graham to segregate his audience. … I’ll never forget what he said—that if he had to speak the Word of God to a segregated audience, he would violate his ministry, and he would not do it. And at the most intense time in the modern history of my state, everybody caved, and blacks and whites together poured into the football stadium. And when the invitation was given, they poured down the aisles together, and they forgot they were supposed to be mad at each other and angry at each other, that one was supposed to consider the other somehow less than equal. He never preached a word about integrating the schools. He preached the Word of God, and he lived it by the power of his example.”
—Former U.S. President Bill Clinton

Billy Graham at Nixon Funeral
Presidents at Nixon Funeral

On April 27, 1994, Billy Graham spoke at the funeral for former President Richard Nixon. “Few events touch the heart of every American as profoundly as the death of a president,” he said.

“Billy, by your own example, you have shown how the humility and conviction of the citizen can become a force for good in this world—first, in one’s own hometown and country; then within the larger community of nations.”
—Former Secretary of State James A. Baker III

“When I arrived at the airport, Mr. Graham himself was waiting for me. I expected to be chauffeured in a Rolls Royce or at least a Mercedes, but we got in his Oldsmobile and he drove it himself. I couldn’t believe he came to the airport driving his own car. When we approached his home, I thought he would live on a thousand-acre farm, and we drove up to this house made of logs. No mansion with crystal chandeliers and gold carpets, it was the kind of a house a man of God would live in. I look up to him.”
—Muhammad Ali

“When I think back over my years in Christian music, my mind floods with so many memories that it’s hard to narrow down the best one. The events themselves come and go, but the emotion attached to these memories remains very real to me. The two most emotional events for me occurred in 1994 and in 1998. The first event was at a Billy Graham Crusade in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Graham delivered his timeless, simple message of salvation. When he gave the invitation, kids started coming forward to accept Christ. First a few, then more, then hundreds and eventually there were thousands of kids in front of the stage at Cleveland Stadium. I will never forget it.”
—Michael W. Smith

“Had it not been for the ministry of my good friend Dr. Billy Graham, my work in the civil rights movement would not have been as successful as it has been.”
—Martin Luther King Jr.

“… he’s willing to preach to the most powerful and the least powerful. And people want to be in Billy’s presence. I mean, when I was president, I was thankful that Billy came to the White House to visit. He has no political agenda. He has an agenda of the Lord.”
—Former U.S. President George W. Bush

“Such an incredibly precious man. The closer God has allowed me to sit at Mr. Graham’s feet, the more I’ve realized this man has an intimate relationship with the Lord. He takes no credit for himself. He is a servant of the God most High. It’s all about Jesus. He is almost offended by any effort to try and make of Billy Graham anything outside of the Lord Jesus Christ. He deflects the attention away from himself to the point of his own irrelevancy.”
—Don Wilton, Billy Graham’s pastor, pastor of First Baptist Church-Spartanburg

“[Billy Graham] enabled people to forge links with one another and so multiply their ability to change people’s lives through Christ. The impact of these links and connections is exponential, as is the impact of a single life changed through Christ: it connects and reconnects and like a hub spreads out in spokes. This is part of the legacy that Billy Graham will leave, the inspiration that came through a life that touched so many thousands of people.”
—Ravi Zacharias, apologist, evangelist and award-winning author

“Dr. Graham was never a prince of preachers, a great orator. He was a simple man preaching from his heart. God blessed him and the Holy Spirit anointed him because he believed what John the Baptist said, speaking of Jesus: ‘I must decrease, and He must increase.’ For Dr. Graham, it’s always been about Jesus.”
—Jim Cymbala, pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle Church and best-selling author

“I continue to thank God for the life and ministry of Dr. Billy Graham, a great man whom the Lord called to do even greater things. He has modeled God’s truth with Christ’s heart, inspiring and challenging millions all across the globe—this former orphan among them.”
—Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family

“From the mid-1940s, it was apparent that a man of transparent and blazing conviction had been raised up, whose calling it was to lead many to righteousness. And now, like the crashing of a giant oak tree, he’s gone from us—and it stirs us to the depths. Not until Billy Graham has there been an evangelist used by Jesus Christ to touch all six continents, personally proclaiming the greatest news the world has ever heard—the Gospel of our Lord and Savior.”
—Richard Bewes, OBE, former rector of All Souls Church, Langham Place

“Billy Graham, in my estimation, is one of the greatest preachers in the history of the Christian faith.”
—Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church

“[Billy Graham] not only had a great sense of his calling but was also a man of impeccable character. He was driven by the need to rescue as many people for heaven as possible. I would like to think that God gave him the gift of humility to ensure that Billy didn’t injure the message. Billy Graham was not only uniquely chosen, called and anointed, but he also filled that calling with a depth of character and a clear reflection of the person and passion of Christ.”
—Joe Stowell, author and president of Cornerstone University, member of the BGEA Board of Directors

“[Billy Graham] has a note of authority in his message, a ‘Thus saith the Lord … ’ And he does, he did, he always has. One of his trademarks is: ‘And the Bible says … ’ And then a couple of sentences later: ‘The Bible says … ’ And he believed that the Bible was God’s truth.”
—Skip Heitzig, pastor of Calvary of Albuquerque

“I have a profound admiration and gratitude for Billy Graham. Of all the people I’ve had the privilege of meeting in my life, only two—Sir Winston Churchill and Billy Graham—are people who will surely transcend the centuries. And Billy Graham, through what he has done and who he is, is one of those who will transcend thousands of years. He is a man, on the one hand, of utter integrity and on the other hand, of amazing humility. I don’t know a greater Christian leader who matches the deep humility he has. And, of course, his greatest virtue is his passion for the Gospel of Jesus. I’m grateful to have met him and be alive in the time when he was on the earth.”
—Os Guinness, author, scholar, social critic

“Billy made many, many contributions to our society across the board and because of his inspirational abilities, he was able to influence millions and millions of people, not only here in the United States, but throughout the world.”
—Former U.S. President Gerald R. Ford

“Billy Graham is an outstanding spokesman for peace and real brotherhood among men. I shall always remember [his] deep understanding of Israel’s problems and [his] support for our struggle for peace for all nations in our area.”
—Former Israel Prime Minister Golda Meir