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The Graham Effect: How Franklin Graham Has Succeeded in Furthering His Father’s Legacy

Posted on Monday, September 5, 2022
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by AMAC Newsline
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In June, AMAC Newsline commemorated the 65th anniversary of Billy Graham’s legendary “crusade” in New York, which drew millions of Americans to the Empire City for 16 consecutive weeks of prayer, preaching, and Christian fellowship. Though the thought of arenas packed with Christians in one of America’s liberal epicenters may now seem like a product of a bygone era, Graham’s inspiring Christian witness and galvanizing effect on religious life in the United States continues to this day. In recent years and decades, Billy Graham’s legacy has been furthered by none other than his son—Franklin Graham—who has picked up his father’s torch and spent his life preaching, evangelizing, and converting hearts, minds, and souls to Christianity.

Born in Asheville, North Carolina in 1952, Franklin Graham knew from a young age that simply being Billy Graham’s son was not enough to save his soul and grant him salvation. “Just being the son of Billy Graham won’t get me into heaven,” he wrote in his 1995 autobiography. Therefore, at age 22—following years of personal and spiritual uncertainty—he decided to dedicate his life to Christ. Graham shortly thereafter went on a mission trip to Asia with the humanitarian organization Samaritan’s Purse, where he felt the call to serve the afflicted in what he described as the “slums of the streets and the ditches of the world.” Then, in 1979, Graham went on to become president of Samaritan’s Purse—a position he holds to this day. Under his leadership, the organization has provided relief and assistance to more than 100 countries in the name of Christ.

But Graham’s influence extends far beyond his humanitarian work. Notably, he has reprised his father’s so-called “crusades” (now rebranded as “festivals”)—multi-day or multi-week campaigns of preaching and religious services—throughout the country and the world. Conducted through the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), Graham has held hundreds of events in more than 50 countries since 1989, where he has spread the Gospel and brought countless people to Christ. “They’re different terms but really it’s the same thing as Billy Graham Crusades,” said Gary Cobb, one of Graham’s colleagues at BGEA, of Graham’s festivals. “There’s music, there’s testimony, there’s a message of hope and there’s an opportunity to respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” He continued: “It’s about sharing the Gospel with people who don’t know Christ.”

In the public eye, Graham has also been fiercely outspoken against progressive culture war issues and was a staunch ally of President Donald Trump on the campaign trail and during his four years in the White House. He offered a prayer at President Trump’s 2017 inauguration, and has since been forthright in his criticisms of the Biden administration and other left-wing forces in American politics, primarily over issues like the left’s support for unlimited, unrestricted abortion.

Though many contemporary Christian leaders may share a general attitude of pessimism about the future of Christianity in the United States, Franklin Graham—much like his father—has opted to see America’s declining rates of religiosity and progressive pop culture not as a burden, but rather as a window of opportunity. “Telling someone else the Good News of Jesus Christ is one of the greatest privileges I know, for when others hear and believe the Gospel, their lives are changed forever,” Graham has said.

Just as the late Billy Graham spearheaded a significant religious revival during a time of major cultural upheaval and spiritual confusion throughout the latter half of the 20th century and early 21st century, Franklin Graham is now leading a similar charge of spiritual renewal at a time when the country desperately needs it.

“As his son and namesake, I would add to that legacy what he passed on to his family: integrity and compassion. Billy Graham was a loving father who taught his children values found in the Word of God and lived those values both privately and publicly,” Franklin Graham wrote in a 2015 novel. “My parents left us children a tangible legacy, but more valuable was the heritage they left in how they lived their lives.”

To everyone who has been influenced, moved, or evangelized by Franklin Graham’s incredible Christian witness over the years, there is no question that he has lived up to his father’s example. And for that, Christians of every stripe have much to be grateful.

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Kendra Calico
Kendra Calico
3 months ago

We can do all things through Christ

Kendra Calico
Kendra Calico
3 months ago

Praying for all

Morbious
Morbious
1 year ago

Most of the big time preachers out there were phonies, many were/ are sociopaths. Like him or not , billy graham was the real deal. I read about him fifty yrs ago. Most of the article ive long forgotten. The part i recall is that from the beginning he refused to ever be alone with any woman other than his wife. He understood temptation and human weakness, as well as the forces arrayed against him. As far as i know, his ministry was free of scandal. Btw, it was a very early graham crusade that louie zamperini reluctantly attended and thru which had his marriage and life saved. This was left out of the film.

Laura
Laura
1 year ago

This country definitely has to turn back to God. It’s our only hope!

Ken Westenkirchner
Ken Westenkirchner
1 year ago

I am a sinner, a hypocrite

Linda Sweet
Linda Sweet
1 year ago

We were founded as “One Nation Under God” and it is my prayer that we return to our founding fathers’ vision. I love my Lord and my country, and am praying for a nationwide revival for all, from our national leaders at the top down to our most humble citizens. As Billy Graham said, “I don’t know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future.” Amen!

Nick
Nick
1 year ago

I want people to know that COVID-19 can kill you. But we have a vaccine out there that could possibly save your life. And if you wait, it could be too late.

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