Billy Graham Has Died and Is “With the Lord” (1918–2018)

Greg Strand – February 21, 2018 3 Comments

“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints” (Ps. 116:15).

“Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.” (Throughout I refer to Billy by his first name, and I do so out of loving respect for him, as he was a friend to all of us.)

These words were spoken by Billy when he lived. Today we read that Billy, at 99 years of age, is dead. Based on being grounded in the Word of God, which led to his famed expression, “the Bible says,” he could explicitly say not to believe it. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die” (Jn. 11:25-26).

Billy lived his life based on the truth stated by Paul, that “for to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). Billy lived by Christ and for Christ, who was his  “hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). Now, through his death, he experiences gain. Even though he is now dead physically, he is now more alive than he has ever been. He is now in the presence of the Lord.

Billy was one of those men used of God in so many ways and in so many places. The memories, the tributes, the influences, recollecting the ways God used Billy in one’s life personally will be shared over the next days and weeks. This influence includes many in the EFCA, including the EFCA as a denomination. In all of it, Billy always deflected back to Christ. Remember – as we remember – to do the same.

Christianity Today, a publication begun under Billy’s initiative and leadership in October 1956 has collected much about Billy, his life and ministry. I include a link announcing Billy’s change of address to being “with the Lord,” along with a number of additional articles. There will be many more of these posted today and in days to come. This is a good place to begin.

Billy Graham (1918-2018): “Billy Graham was perhaps the most significant religious figure of the 20th century, and the organizations and the movement he helped spawn continue to shape the 21st.” This link consists of numerous articles addressing the issues related to Billy’s life and his ministry as an evangelist: In Memory Of; Early Years; Evangelism; Family; Behind the Scenes.

A number of years ago I wrote about An Interview with Billy Graham. At the conclusion of that post I wrote, “I thank the Lord for Billy Graham. I am also grateful that the Lord, in His faithfulness, preserved Graham so that he remained faithful to Him in carrying out his call as an evangelist and as evidenced in his commitment to the gospel in proclamation and life.”

Today, at the news of Billy’s earthly death, I give thanks to the Lord for a life faithfully lived to the end. Paul’s words are a fitting tribute: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:7-8).

And a fitting final exhortation to all Christian brothers and sisters in the EFCA are words spoken by Paul and lived by Billy: “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1).

Greg Strand


Affectionately called “Walking Bible” by his youngest daughter, Greg Strand has a ministry history that goes back to 1982. Since that time, he has served in local church ministry in a variety of ministry capacities: youth pastor, associate pastor of adult ministries and senior pastor. He is currently the EFCA's Executive Director of Theology and Credentialing. Greg reads voraciously and never stops learning — a passion reflected in the overflowing bookshelves that spill from his library to multiple offices. And he could tell you about each of those books! His hunger for learning pales in contrast to his great love for God and for teaching the Word of God.

3 responses to Billy Graham Has Died and Is “With the Lord” (1918–2018)

  1. James Petersen March 1, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    Thanks, Greg. A significant reason that I became a pastor and I am doing what I am doing today with EFCA ReachGlobal is because God used Graham to set the trajectory of my life back in 1981 when I heard him speak at URBANA ’81. He quoted Bonhoeffer, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” I can still hear Graham’s voice as I remember hearing those words. That was the moment my calling was settled.

    • James, I appreciate your story of how the Lord used Billy Graham in your life. There are few Evangelicals who have not been influenced or touched by the Lord’s work through Billy. Additionally, there are few Evangelical organizations or institutions in the past 60 years that have not been affected by Billy’s influence. He was certainly not alone, but because of the platform the Lord allowed him to have, he was a leader or spokesman for many ministries and endeavors, both nationally and internationally. I, like many others, while not ignoring his flaws and failures, give thanks to the Lord for Billy Graham and his faithfulness and fidelity to the Bible, the gospel, and the call for people to repent and believe the Lord Jesus Christ.

  2. This is the last I also will say on the subject. Billy Graham was a crusader for the Lord, that he bought many souls into the knowledge of Grace and all that it entails is in itself a life of good works wholly centred on our Savior and what is required of us in this world to recognise and repent of our filthy rags. Similarly, and with fervent immediacy, we are being called at this crucial time to do exactly the same thing. To shout out the Word to those who are struggling and also those who are adamantly opposed to the notion of a loving God and His Divine Majesty, in the hope that they too will follow the path to everlasting Light. Our brother Jeff (and Steve/webmaster) does exactly that with his websites and even if we simply link these pages and particularly, we are in the same league as Billy and we are doing the work that Jesus and His Disciples started in Judea that is in reality, the Master”s Plan. Every utterance, to these ends, is backed by the Holy Spirit and no amount of persecution, nor even the threat of death should stay us from our appointed rounds. May the Lord bless you all in your duties and all praise and glory to Him who guides us from the heart. It is time to step up to the plate and hit it out of the park (42).

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