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Graham Family’s Ongoing Gospel Legacy in the UK
February 13, 2020
This May and June, Franklin Graham will return to the United Kingdom to share the Gospel through the
, a series of free, one-day evangelistic events. He plans to finish the eight-city tour with a final stop in London this fall. Here, Franklin Graham talks about the love of God amidst a 2018 Festival in England, where his family has shared the Good News for six decades.
Less than a year after WWII, Billy Graham travelled with Youth for Christ to the United Kingdom during his first trip abroad. He shared in his autobiography,
Just As I Am
, “During the first three weeks, I was in the group that toured Great Britain from one end to the other, holding three and four meetings a day, almost every one packed to capacity. … The people, still reeling from the war, were starved for hope and hungry for God.” After he returned to the United States he planned to leave for Great Britain once again. This time, though, he brought a group that would be by his side for a lifetime (pictured here). “During the summer of 1946, I recruited to form a team, with Cliff [Barrows] to lead the singing, Billie [Barrows] to play the piano, me to do the preaching,” he wrote. “Ruth [Graham] would do the praying while I preached.”
Will Graham, the son of Franklin Graham and grandson of Billy Graham, also felt called by God to be an evangelist. He has carried on the family’s legacy by taking the Gospel to every continent but Antarctica, including the European city of Falkirk, Scotland, in 2018.
>> Read how church attendance and Crusade events changed from generation to generation in Scotland.
Billy Graham talks with youth sitting on the front row at a 1966 Crusade meeting in London. He later shared in Just As I Am, “I have come to preach Christ,” I stated. “You may ask me, ‘Do you feel this is a message we need in Britain?’ I should answer that it is the message the whole world needs … I am calling for a revival that will cause men and women to return to their offices and shops to live out the teaching of Christ in their daily relations. I am going to preach a gospel not of despair but of hope—hope for the individual, for society, and for the world.”
Like father, like son. Just as Billy Graham faced conflict in the United Kingdom, Franklin Graham is also receiving major pushback ahead of the Graham Tour. Please be in prayer that history will repeat itself—in that despite controversy, tens of thousands will make decisions for Christ.
Billy Graham had a close friendship with Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-serving British monarch in history. “No one in Britain has been more cordial toward us than Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” Billy Graham wrote in his autobiography. “Almost every occasion I have been with her has been in a warm, informal setting, such as a luncheon or dinner, either alone or with a few family members or other close friends.”
One of the U.K. Tour stops with Franklin Graham will take place in Birmingham, England, where Billy Graham preached in 1984. Other tour cities include: Glasgow, New Castle, Sheffield, Milton Keynes, Liverpool, Cardiff and London.
>> Get involved in the Graham Tour.
Franklin Graham was actually born while his father was right outside of Ruth Graham’s hospital room, in a meeting planning the 1954 London Crusade. Here, Franklin Graham stands in front of the London Bridge in 1989. While Billy Graham preached in London on numerous occasions, October will be the first time Franklin Graham has held an evangelistic event in the city.
Before Billy Graham preached in Scotland in 1955, this verse came to mind: “So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands” (Psalm 78:72, KJV). Over the course of six weeks in Glasgow with single rallies in Aberdeen and Inverness, more than 52,000 would indicate decisions for Christ.
While Billy Graham struggled with negative media before his 1954 London Crusade, he prayed before heading into the Harringay Arena, “Lord, I can only commit the entire matter to You. I know that what You want to happen will happen. It’s out of my hands.” Sure enough, the venue filled to capacity at 12,000, with hundreds standing outside. Before the three-month Crusade ended, 2 million people heard the Gospel.
In July 1989, a crowd of 73,500 stayed in the midst of pouring rain in London to hear Billy Graham’s message.
>> Listen to the evangelist’s sermon on faith.
No one is too ordinary to hear the Gospel. Here, he speaks with a man in Sheffield, England, one of the eight U.K. cities where Franklin Graham will preach this spring.
Overall, the three generations of Grahams have shared the Gospel in at least 20 cities throughout the U.K. during nearly 30 occasions. Franklin Graham recently shared on
: “God laid it on my heart some time ago to come share the Gospel across the U.K. People everywhere are searching, and they don’t even know what they’re looking for. There’s an emptiness, a longing, that only God Himself can fill when a person comes into a right relationship with Jesus Christ.” Here, Franklin Graham preaches in Belfast, Ireland, in 2008.
Last week, Franklin Graham and his daughter, Cissie Graham Lynch, visited London to talk with media outlets. In the midst of preparations, it’s important to reflect back on six factors that were believed to have contributed to the historical impact of the London Crusade—and could influence the Graham Tour to come: the power of prayer, the authority of the Word of God, the effectiveness of organisation and promotion, the beneficial effect of teamwork, the link with local churches and the spiritual vacuum waiting to be filled.
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