Many members of the extended Graham family, many of whom are in ministry themselves, have paid tribute to the late evangelist, who died this morning aged 99. Affectionately called “Daddy Bill” to his many children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews – it is extraordinary to see the personal impact this faithful man of God had on those closest to him, let alone the millions who heard his gospel messages.
“My Father’s legacy is one that encompasses the world…and engulfs my own life. When I think of him, I don’t think of Billy Graham, the public figure. I think of my Daddy,” wrote Billy’s daughter Anne Graham Lotz in a touching tribute to her father.
Franklin Graham, who has garnered a vast audience of followers himself, took to Facebook to honor his late father. But that wasn’t all. In a fitting tribute to Rev. Graham, Franklin also invited anyone who doesn’t know Jesus into a relationship with their savior.
“My father Billy Graham was once asked, “Where is Heaven?” He replied, “Heaven is where Jesus is and I am going to Him soon!” This morning, at the age of 99, he departed this world into eternal life in Heaven, prepared by the Lord Jesus Christ—the Savior of the world—whom he proclaimed for nearly 80 years,” Franklin posted to Facebook earlier today.
“He will be missed by our family, his colleagues, faithful ministry partners, and, yes, many around the world. But what joy he has to be welcomed by God the Father, and be reunited with my mother in the presence of Jesus who speaks peace to eternal souls.”
In just a few hours, his post has been shared over 130,000 times.
“What about you?” Franklin continued. “When you depart this world do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity? You can know this today. Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). The One who comforts weary souls has given us this promise, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me … I go to prepare a place for you … I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3).”
Various other members of the Graham family took to social media to pay tribute to “America’s Pastor,” with many of the children and grandchildren following their grandfather into the ministry.
Cissie Graham Lynch is Billy’s granddaughter and also works for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, the ministry organization that was founded by the late evangelist:
— Cissie Graham Lynch (@CissieGLynch) January 26, 2018
Former pastor Tullian Tchivijdian, a son of Billy’s eldest daughter Gigi, paid tribute to his grandfather on Instagram:
Another of Billy Graham’s grandson’s, Boz Tchividjian, is a law professor and anti-abuse campaigner. He is the executive director of GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment).
Today, I lost my life hero and we all lost the last great lion of the 20th century. He was a beautiful gift to me…and to this world. I love you Daddy Bill… pic.twitter.com/yYZzLf9lXn
— Boz Tchividjian (@BozT) February 21, 2018
Franklin Graham’s son, Will Graham, is an active preacher, holding crusades and gospel gatherings across the globe just like his “Daddy Bill.”
Franklin’s youngest son is a military man, Army Major Edward Graham. “He’s a loving grandfather, generous,” Edward said of Billy during a Q&A at a Baptist conference back in 2014.
“Billy Graham may be best known, however, for his evangelistic missions or “Crusades.” He believed God knew no borders or nationalities. Throughout his career, Graham preached to millions in locations from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to Zagorsk, Russia; and from Wellington, New Zealand to the National Cathedral in Washington,” the Billy Graham Evangelistic Associated wrote in its obituary to the great evangelist.
When I think of him I also think of his message because he was immersed in it,” added his daughter Anne. “Saturated in it. He was his message…a simple man who had responded to God’s love by placing his faith in Jesus, receiving the assurance that his sins were forgiven, that he would not perish, but would have everlasting life. Simple faith. Faith that now matters more than anything else.”
“Based on what Jesus said, Daddy is safely with the Father,” Anne concluded.
“In Heaven. Daddy not only claimed Jesus as the only Way to God, he lived by the Truth publicly on platforms and privately behind closed doors, and is now enjoying real Life.”