Michael Cassidy Tribute to Billy Graham
It is with very deep personal grief and heartrending sadness that I have just learned of the going Home to Glory of Billy Graham. I am grateful to be Billy’s “spiritual grandson,” as I came to Christ at Cambridge University in England in 1955 through a fellow student who was converted through Billy’s preaching at Harringay Arena just the previous year. I first saw evangelism in action when Billy came to Cambridge shortly after my own conversion. He instantly became my hero and inspired me to give my life to preaching the Gospel. My call to evangelism in the cities of Africa happened at Billy’s crusade at Madison Square Garden in New York in 1957. And ever thereafter Billy Graham and John Stott became the two dominant influences in my life and ministry as African Enterprise developed.
As you see in the photo above, Billy was an enormous encourager to me and our AE work, here giving me his pulpit for a few moments at a crusade in St. Louis. Just as he stood behind me there, he stood behind us as an example and an inspiration throughout our history. My personal debt to this Giant of Giants is therefore incalculable.
But the extraordinary thing is that literally multitudes of Christians around the world can claim Billy Graham as either their immediate or ultimate agent in conversion or the inspirational fountainhead of their lives and ministries. In our time this is surely without precedent or equal. His evangelistic ministry of incomparable fruitfulness, spanning the globe for decades, has secured for him a place of distinction in the whole sweep of Church history.
There is also Billy Graham’s steadfast and gracious leadership of the worldwide Evangelical Movement generally and the Lausanne Movement for World Evangelization specifically. This has been a sure and steadfast anchor for millions into biblical faithfulness, watered with love, humility and graciousness. It has also inspired multitudes, myself included, into evangelistic zeal.
Words cannot express or measure what Billy Graham has meant to both church and world in our time, nor to African Enterprise or me personally. We therefore must content ourselves with lifting a deep Deo Gloria, along with profound thanksgiving, for the life and work of this most Special and Humble Servant of the Lord.
And to all in Billy’s family and close colleagues in the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, we extend our deepest sympathy and our great love at this time of immeasurable loss.
With love in Christ,