“Only one answer will give a person the certain privilege, the joy, of entering Heaven. ‘Because I have believed in Jesus Christ and accepted Him as my Savior.’” —Billy Graham
Today marks two years since Billy Graham passed from this earth into eternity at the age of 99. His legacy, however, lives on through the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association—which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.
Opened in 2007, The Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina has become the Queen City’s most popular tourist destination. Mr. Graham was initially against the idea of the Library bearing his name, fearing that it would detract from the message of the Gospel. But once it was described to him as an “ongoing Crusade,” Mr. Graham reconsidered.
“When it was presented as an ongoing ministry and that people would have the opportunity to be won to Christ, I changed my mind,” he said.
True to Mr. Graham’s Christ-centered ministry, the Gospel is proclaimed from one end of the Library to the other, with Scripture literally inscribed on the beams of the building. Over the last 13 years, the Library has welcomed more than a million visitors from across the globe.
“My father’s testimony that lives beyond his earthly life was built upon the heritage of what was done 2,000 years ago,” said Franklin Graham. “While his voice is now silent and though he will never again step to the pulpit to preach the Word, the testimony he left behind is underscored in the Library … His testimony is not buried. He spent his life preaching the Gospel around the world—and his messages live on.”
Throughout his lifetime, Mr. Graham preached the Gospel to more people than anyone else in history. An estimated 215 million people in 185 countries and territories heard about the saving-power of the cross through his preaching.
And today, Franklin and his son Will are carrying on Mr. Graham’s evangelistic ministry through Festivals and Celebrations held around the world. In fact, last night, Franklin shared the hope of Christ with more than 3,700 people on the island of Saipan and is preparing to bring the Gospel message to Guam on Sunday.
Will, who is scheduled to hold a Celebration in Tifton, Georgia, next month, has many fond memories of his grandfather—whom he called “Daddy Bill”—but one of the most treasured lessons he learned from him was the value of eternal life found only in Jesus Christ.
“I believe [death] was something that my grandfather anticipated with great joy and peace,” Will said. “Why? Because he knew—with no doubt in his mind—that it wasn’t the end. Death for him was just a door that must be walked through in order to get to his real and true home.
“On the other side of that door was his dearly beloved wife, his parents and two siblings, and many wonderful friends and partners in ministry who had gone on before him. Most importantly, the Savior was there with arms open wide to welcome His good and faithful servant.”
Photo: Greg Schneider/©2004 BGEA