Christian evangelist Rev. Billy Graham dies at 99
Rev. Billy Graham has been to all over the world with his his evangelical mission
Widely admired Christian evangelist Rev. Billy Graham has died of natural causes at the age of 99. Often listed among "Ten Most Admired Men in the World," William Franklin Graham Jr. died Wednesday at his home in Montreat, N.C, Todd.
The news of the reverend's death was confirmed by Todd Shearer of DeMoss Associates, reports, Fox News. Rev. Graham had been in ill health for a number of years and was last taken to the hospital on November 30th in 2011 for what was described as "evaluation and treatment of his lungs."
Among the most popular religious figures of our time, Rev. Graham has traveled all over the world as part of his Christian crusades over a course of over six decades,. He also reportedly holds the record for preaching to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history. Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website approximates his audience count at nearly 215 million people in 185 countries and territories, "with hundreds of millions more viewing him on television, video, film, and webcasts."
The reverend has often claimed that the one purpose in his life is to "help people find a personal relationship with God, which, I believe, comes through knowing Christ." Despite garnering a predominantly white, middle-class and conservative group of followers in the beginning, the diversity of his followers improved after he started preaching against segregation during the height of the civil rights movement. He also developed an often-strained friendship with Martin Luther King.
A lot of his followers admired his soft-spoken style of preaching which is a complete 180 to the power-packed screaming matches adopted by many evangelical preachers. He has also preached in person to more people than any other preacher, as he strongly believed in the importance of personal contact.
"I've had many opportunities to see what the average clergy would never see. And on each of those occasions I've tried to let those I've come in contact with see a little bit of what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is about," he has been quoted as saying. And, despite his own private doubts about his faith, throughout his adult life he held on to the belief that everyone could find salvation through God.
"I've read the last page of the Bible," he once said. "It's all going to turn out all right."
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