Indian Church leaders mourn Billy Graham’s death

Reverend Graham died on February 21 at his home in North Carolina in the United States, aged 99

By Jose Kavi

New Delhi: Church leaders in India have mourned the death of world renowned evangelist, Reverend Billy Graham.

“We express our heartfelt condolences on the sad demise of this great pastor, evangelist and missionary,” says Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, secretary general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India in a condolence message.

Reverend Graham died on February 21 at his home in North Carolina in the United States, aged 99.

The Catholic prelate said the Protestant preacher had taught the world through his life and ministry what it means to be a follower of Christ.

“Much before others took to Mass Media he led from the front in using radio and television for proclaiming the Gospel message. The world will be poorer place without him. May God reward him for all the services this great man rendered to His kingdom,” said Bishop Mascarenhas, who is currently on Lenten preaching ministry in Germany.

Reverend Vijesh Lal, general secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship of India, says the world has lost “a missionary statesman, a man who inspired millions and a humble servant of God who has set an example for all of us, on what it means to follow Christ and to obey Him.”

Reverend Graham had addressed meetings in India at least thrice in 1956, 1972 and 1977 during which he also met the country’s top leaders, including first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.

According to Reverend Lal, the American preacher lived the Gospel values and challenged racism, brought “the hope of the Word of God even in closed countries, counseled presidents and people in important positions and yet remained in essence ‘The Preacher of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ’.”

In 1974 he along with others, Reverend Graham initiated the Lausanne Conference for world mission which has played an important role in uniting Evangelicals “in the common task of total evangelization of the whole world.”

The Indian Evangelical leader acknowledges Reverend Graham as one of his heroes. “I was brought to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ through his book ‘Peace with God’ and have read his books and heard his sermons countless times. I had a desire to meet him someday. Now I will, on the other side. I am sure the Lord Jesus Christ, whom he loved and professed, would have welcomed him with the words all of us want to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

John Dayal, a senior journalist and former president of the All India Catholic Union, hailed Reverend Graham as “a moral authority and a voice of calm reassurance.”

According to the Catholic lay leader, most Catholics and Protestants agree that Reverend Graham witnessed the Word of God in a world ravaged by war and pestilence, nuclear weapons and famine. “His classic patricidal visage will live long in the minds of the people,” Dayal added.

Shibu Thomas, founder of Persecution Relief, says Reverend Graham was “a powerful beacon for Jesus Christ,” who had unashamed allegiance to the absolute sovereignty and centrality of God. “His vision of the advance of the gospel was breathtaking,” Thomas told Matters India.

“What a gift he was to the Church, to the world. Nobody in the area of missions had a greater impact on this world. Never has the world seen such an exemplary life lived over nine decades,” he added.

Thomas said although Reverend Graham was not from his time, he drew inspiration from the evangelist’s unmistakable and simple sermons, reverence for the holiness of God, and love for Jesus Christ.”

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8 thoughts on “Indian Church leaders mourn Billy Graham’s death

  1. Happy to read in these obituary references about his simplicity of life. Yes, he did use the media to good advantage, like Bishop Fulton Sheen. I salute the noble soul

  2. The vacuum created by his demise will remain as a vacuum only. It will not be filled by anyone as no one has a mentality like his. He embrased every Christian as a brother of Jesus Christ. He never preached difference or rivalry on TV or Radio. He tried to foster unity among all the believers. Hence he is a leader preacher for the 2.5 billion Christians – believers all over the world. Let all the heads and members of all denominations and sects to stop criticism and casting aspersions at one another not only in the media but also everywhere and always. That is the need of today’s world. Let him shower his blessings from above for this unity of all Christian denominations in the world so that there will be only one shepherd. Let everyone emulate the example of Rev.Billy Gresham . He ran his race . May the Lord reward him. May his Soul rest in peace.

  3. I, really love Billy Graham from the core of my heart. May God keep him ever happy in heaven. May his immortal life inspire each one in this world to bear witness to God Almighty through and in his son Lord Jesus Christ. This Wornderful Man through his life confirmed to the whole world that it is possible to stand for God against all odds of life, no matter what. He has played his part in a fitting manner. Now, it is the duty of every human being to take the mission ahead and keep the keep the torch of faith blazing. May God bless the great holy soul and each one.

  4. Billy Graham once said of John Paul II —The Pope is the moral conscience of the world.—
    In 1981 He visited the Pope . Later he recalled “ He pulled me to him so near almost touching the face and said , Graham, we are brothers “

  5. Dr. Billy Graham was not the Evangelist representing any particular denomination but representing 2.3 billion Christians of the world. Even though the fundamental side of the protestant side tried too hard to keep him in their cage, he broke the cage and hugged all Christian denominations.

    In May 1954 while preaching at London, Canterbury Arch Bishop Geoffrey Fisher praised the humility of Dr. Billy Graham, it was big headlines in the news papers. His humility-ethics-dislike for worldly show up-genuine love for humanity made him as a spiritual giant of the 20th century. He used to get his clothing from Sears or such ordinary stores, not any custom-made outfit.

    ” When I arrived at the airport, Mr. Graham himself was waiting for me. I expected to be chauffeured in a Rolls Royce or at least a Mercedes, but we got in his Oldsmobile and he drove it himself. I can’t believe he came to the airport driving his own car. When we approached his home, I thought he would live on a thousand-acre farm and we drove up to this house made up of logs. No mansion with crystal chandeliers and gold carpet, it was a kind of house a man of GOD would live in. I look up to him” Muhammad Ali.

    The one Evangelist in which President Kennedy had full trust was Dr. Billy Graham. President Kennedy also used to watch the T.V. Programs of Rev. Oral Roberts.

    He had close contacts with the Pope, especially Pope John Paul II. The world leaders he had personal friendship was a very long list to write. To fill the vacuum created due to his death, the believers all over the world will have to pray earnestly to raise many mighty warriors for preaching the gospel.

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