Billy Graham and the Presidents: Lessons in Spiritual Counsel and Friendship
March 28, 2018
One evangelist’s influence on our nation’s leaders
The Billy Graham Center Archives has just recently announced the opening of two new collections on the ministry of Billy Graham and the work of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). This opening comes at Graham’s wishes after his recent passing on February 21st.
The first collection, #580, was released on March 19th and contains records taken from the BGEA’s Montreat office from 1940 to 1948 and 1950 to 2012. It is comprised of letters, sermons, reports, memoranda, transcripts, clippings, and manuscripts and contains details regarding everything from the activities of the BGEA to the planning of evangelistic campaigns.
The second collection, #685, features more records from the BGEA’s Montreat office. Amongst these items are the VIP Notebooks, most of which document Graham’s personal relationship with every U.S. president from Harry S. Truman to Barack Obama. This collection’s opening has been postponed until November 7th to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Billy Graham.
Up until now, discussions surrounding Graham’s involvement with the U.S. Presidents has been of interest to many people. Over the span of decades, this one man’s counsel of our nation’s leaders was highly influential.
Most notable was Graham’s disregard for partisanship in these interactions; politics aside, his heart was to serve leaders working in a position that brought with it untold amounts of pressure and stress. His ambition was to share Christ’s gospel with those who needed it most—nothing more, nothing less. Below are examples of the sorts of encouragement, spiritual council, and friendship that Graham was able to provide several presidents with: