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"And he said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation." Mark 16:15 ESV
In 1937, Billy Graham was baptized to become a Southern Baptist, America's most hard-line fundamentalism denomination of that era. That in itself was not that uncommon of a switch from the Reformed Presbyterian Church to becominng Southern Baptist, but Graham did not fully prescribe to all of their beliefs about excluding Jews and Catholics and pretty much any Christian group associated with the World Council of Churches.
Further, he did not appreciate the strict and hard-line views of Bob Jones College as he studied to go into the clergy, and went on to Chicago Wheaten College to finish his extensive education, where he became married and served as a church pastor for the one and only time in his life.
Up to this point, his partial opposition to the hard-line beliefs of the Southern Baptist Conference had only been internal to himself and had not outwardly engaged the S.B. leadership. This would soon change when he took a job with Youth for Christ International, traveling the U.S. and Europe teaching churches how to organize youth rallies.
In meeting many leaders of different Christian denominations, Graham no longer wanted to see anything to keep any person from seeking Christ. With that conviction, he felt that being an evangelist would be the best choice to serve such people.
Dr. Graham had gradually changed from being a man of hard-line views to being one who personally felt that: "I intend to go anywhere, sponsored by anybody, to preach the gospel of Christ, if there are no strings attached to my message. ... The one badge of Christian discipleship is not orthodoxy but love. Christians are not limited to any church. The only question is: are you committed to Christ?"*.
That change, and God's hand upon him, Dr. Billy Graham to preach the Gospel to 215 million people in his lifetime, the most ever for people attending in person, and to hundreds of millions through his radio and media ministries,** Indeed, Billy followed his true calling to "go where [God] wants you to go, and be what he wants you to be."..Billy Graham 1979.
Three quotes, two about him and another one by him are offered here in memory of a man whose Crusades I watched on television as a teenager all those many years ago:
"Graham's delivery was at "machine-gun speed" with "restless pacing on the platform" often covering a mile and a half in one session, leaving him soaking with sweat."..Kate Buford
"The preacher who reminded the faithful that the word evangelist came from the Greek word euvangelion, meaning "good news," admitted he got his start selling Fuller brushes door-to-door." The Religious Affiliation of Evangelist Billy Graham - Famous Adherents,com
"When God gets ready to shake America, he may not take the Ph.D. and the D.D. God may choose a country boy … and I pray that he would!" .. Billy Graham
*Christianity Today - Christian History - May 2018 Issue - Billy Graham - Evangelist to millions
**Billy Graham Evangelistic Association - Profile - William (Billy) F. Graham, Jr.
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