Ruth Bell Graham, 87, evangelist Billy Graham’s independent and strong-willed wife, who had been plagued with ill health in recent years, died June 14 at her home in Montreat, North Carolina. Considered the intellectual of the family, she published several collections of poetry and prose.
Three former presidents and a crowd of 1,500 helped to dedicate the $27 million library and history complex at Charlotte, North Carolina, created to honor renowned evangelist Billy Graham, who has met with every U.S. president since Harry Truman.
Billy Graham has been named in the Gallup Poll’s top 10 “most admired men” list for a record 50th time. In a poll taken in mid-December, the 88-year-old evangelist came in fifth. Ranked before him, in order, were President George W. Bush, former president Bill Clinton, former president Jimmy Carter and Senator BarackObama (D., Ill.).
Evangelist Franklin Graham said last month that the decision about where his parents will be buried is “personal” and he does not intend to enter a public debate about it. The word was out, however, that not all is settled.
Evangelist Billy Graham seems to have closed out his 60-year career as the country’s most famous evangelist. After calling thousands to faith decisions at a brief appearance in wounded New Orleans last month, he acknowledged that “this is probably the last evangelistic sermon I’ll ever preach.”
Time magazine has named “The 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America,” leaving out JerryFalwell and PatRobertson but naming author TimLaHaye of the Left Behind series, GOP Senator RickSantorum of Pennsylvania and MichaelGerson, a White House speech writer.
Although illness and age have slowed him, evangelist Billy Graham is considered by Protestant senior pastors to be the most influential Christian figure and most trusted spokesperson for the faith, reports the Barna Group pollsters.
NickCarter, an American Baptist minister and administrator, has been named president of Andover Newton Theological School, the nation’s oldest Protestant seminary, effective July 1. Carter succeeds BenjaminGriffin, who is retiring after nine years in the post at the Boston-area seminary.
Continuing to preview his renamed The Passion of the Christ movie to people expected to praise it, actor-producer Mel Gibson got plaudits from Billy Graham, who was moved to tears, and reportedly secured favor from Pope John Paul II.
Did a politically shrewd and theologically sophisticated Polish pope trigger the collapse of communism? Did an energetic and telegenic southern evangelist foster the resurgence of evangelical Christianity in the post–World War II era? These are extreme claims to make for any person.