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.
Billy Graham and I hit New York City at the same time, the summer of 1957. He was 38 and about to clinch his reputation as the premier evangelist in Protestant history. I was 12 and about to taste freedom. But not yet. Night after night my parents packed themselves and me into a steamy subway to go down to Madison Square Garden to hear the Great Man preach.
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.
Billy Graham and John Paul II are indisputably great men. However much of what they accomplished should be attributed to their own actions and however much is due to other factors, these two must be considered significant actors in 20th-century history.