Institute on Religion and Democracy Press Release
February 21, 2018
Contact: Jeff Walton Office: 202-682-4131, Cell: 202-413-5639, E-mail: jwalton@TheIRD.org
“Graham was exceptional for not compromising Gospel essentials in his proclamation while befriending countless nonbelievers who were impressed by the sincerity of his service to God and humanity.”
-IRD President Mark Tooley
Washington, DC—Evangelist Billy Graham, one of the most recognizable preachers of the last century, went to be with his Savior Jesus Christ today. He was 99 years old.
Graham preached to millions globally, helped make Evangelicalism America’s largest religious group, and knew every U.S. president since Truman. Graham was admired and loved as evangelist and humanitarian, but also had his controversies.
In the early 1980s, the Institute on Religion and Democracy, then freshly founded to rebut Mainline Protestant support for anti-democratic Marxist revolutionary causes, critiqued Graham for going to Moscow and praising the Soviet Union’s supposed religious liberty.
Graham, a fierce critic of communism in the 1950s, justified these friendly visits and others to Communist bloc countries as means for delivering the Gospel to audiences who may not otherwise have the opportunity.
IRD President Mark Tooley commented:
“His controversies aside, Graham was exceptional for not compromising Gospel essentials in his proclamation while befriending countless nonbelievers who were impressed by the sincerity of his service to God and humanity.
“He never claimed to be more than he was, not a towering intellectual, but a rural North Carolinian dairy farmer’s son summoned to preach.
“His gifts were courage, magnetism, savvy, perseverance, energy and, above all, faith. May the fruits of his labors be blessed for many more generations.”