Billy Graham celebrated 70 exceptionally good years this past November 7.
Can this actually be true? Many of us think of Billy as eternally youthful, his boundless energy and vision flowing from his determination to spread the gospel. And no wonder. In the 1980s he has implemented his unique vision of equipping Third World evangelists through Amsterdam 83 and 86, passing the torch on to thousands now communicating the gospel worldwide. Already in 1988 he has preached in China and the Soviet Union—meeting with top leaders of both those countries—and he has spent time planning events in Europe, holding crusades in numerous U.S. cities, and along the way offering prayers at the Democratic and Republican national conventions.
All of this and realities such as having spoken face to face with over a hundred million people have, in fact, taken a toll: both he and his wife, Ruth, have faced some tough health problems. But this time of celebrating Billy’s seventieth birthday catches them both fully active and looking to the future.
Among Billy’s many accomplishments during his more than 40 years of ministry was the founding of this magazine. In 1955, he conceived the vision and was preaching it in detail to a group of hand-picked leaders. He explained, “I have called you together for prayer, for consultation, to seek the will of God in this matter, and to present some concrete proposals.” Billy’s proposals called for hard-hitting editorials on current subjects, full I religious news coverage, biblical articles, book reviews, and other elements you now regularly read in CT. He insisted on a positive, broad-based approach. This positive viewpoint was to extend to “the great social issues of our day, such as the starving people in India, ...1
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