By Joy Allmond
For some, it’s as though Billy Graham never left this world.
On what would be his 100th birthday—and eight months after his death—Graham is still revered as one of the best living examples of evangelicals.
In a forthcoming Lifeway Research study sponsored by the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, 3,000 Americans were asked the open-ended question, “Who are two nationally known people alive today that best represent evangelicals?”
Each group of respondents—evangelicals by belief, self-identified evangelicals, and non-evangelicals—placed Graham as among the top two public figures who most accurately represent evangelicalism.
Fifteen percent of non-evangelicals surveyed placed Graham first on the list. Evangelicals by belief (15 percent) and self-identified evangelicals (14 percent) placed him second on the list, just behind his son Franklin.
“We’d be hard-pressed to find another American Christian leader who has that kind of name recognition,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research following last year’s study that examined Graham’s influence on American churchgoers.
“For several generations of Americans, Billy Graham had a powerful effect on their Christian faith.”
And during what would be the week of Graham’s centennial birthday, Christians around the nation are celebrating the impact of his ministry.
Messengers at the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina passed a resolution honoring Graham’s life and ministry on November 5—just two days before his birthday.
“He was a perfect role model of a faithful Gospel preacher,” said Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
“He never wavered in his commitment that the Bible is the Word of God, and he never wavered in his commitment to make the Gospel the center of all his preaching. He set a great example for all of us to follow in his footsteps.”
According to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Graham—a North Carolina native—has spoken at the Tar Heel state’s Baptist convention multiple times.
SiriusXM will air a special program eight times on The Billy Graham Channel (Channel 460) throughout November 7.
The 25-minute program, “Remembering Billy Graham,” was aired during the days immediately following his death, and includes audio from Graham family members, Christian leaders, and U.S. presidents.
JOY ALLMOND (@joyallmond) is managing editor of Facts and Trends.