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November 7th, 2013
06:08 PM ET

Billy Graham turns 95 at star-studded birthday

By Phil Gast, CNN

(CNN) - The Rev. Billy Graham took people to church, perhaps for the last time, as hundreds joined the iconic evangelist Thursday evening for his 95th birthday.

A guest list that included former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Rev. Rick Warren and businessmen Rupert Murdoch and Donald Trump came to pay tribute to a man beloved for his humility and faithfulness.

Because the frail Graham no longer has the strength to speak behind a lectern, his enduring message of salvation through Jesus Christ came in the form of "The Cross," a 30-minute DVD that made its debut at the celebration.

"He is my spiritual hero," said entertainer Ricky Skaggs shortly before the celebration began at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina. "He exemplifies brokenness and humility."

Graham, in a wheelchair, entered the room to a standing ovation. Although he did not give a formal speech, he later made impromptu remarks from his table, thanking family and friends.

"The Cross" was filmed in part this year at Graham's remote mountaintop home in Montreat, east of Asheville.

His hearing and eyesight have dimmed, but Graham has remained true to his familiar themes.

"Our country is in great need of a spiritual awakening. There have been times that I have wept as I have gone from city to city and I have seen how far people have wandered from God," the pastor said in what is expected to be his final video production. "Of all the things I have seen and heard, there is only one message that can change people's lives and hearts."

That message, as billions around the world have heard for more than six decades, is salvation and the need to live a new life because of Christ's sacrifice on the cross.

Graham has provided counsel to generations of U.S. presidents beginning with Harry S. Truman. Staging revivals that he called "crusades" around the world, the founder of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has reached untold millions of people in person.

In the video, Graham said when he was young he did not foresee speaking to large audiences.

"As I look back over my life, it is full of surprises. I never thought I would become friends with people in different countries all over the world," he said.

Singers Lecrae and Lacey Sturm also are featured in the video, which can be watched online and will be played in churches across the country. It is part of the "My Hope America with Billy Graham" series. The production included recorded sermons and footage of a younger Graham.

Skaggs, singer Michael W. Smith and TV host Kathie Lee Gifford were among those leading the singing of "Happy Birthday" to Graham. About 850 well-wishers were on hand at the resort inn.

Palin told Graham that his Christian message is needed for a "great awakening" the nation and world need.

Graham is a member of the Rev. Don Wilton's church, Spartanburg  First Baptist in South Carolina, and he still watches Wilton's sermons on TV.

"He'll look at me and say, 'Don, let's talk about that second point you had on Sunday,'" said Wilton, who drives up at least once a week to Graham's home.

"My favorite part is when he puts his hands on me and prays with me," Wilton told CNN affiliate WYFF in Greenville, South Carolina.

Graham, a Charlotte native, began his missionary work in 1944 when he started speaking at rallies for the Youth for Christ/Campus Life ministry. Five years later, Graham was holding a "crusade" in tents in downtown Los Angeles.

Cliff Barrows was with Graham in the early years and for decades has served as music and program director.

Barrows, 90, turned to his boss on Thursday evening, paying an emotional tribute.

"I praise God for the journey we have had together. Thank you with all my heart for the privilege. Happy birthday."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Billy Graham • Christianity • evangelicals • Leaders • Protestant • Sarah Palin

« Previous entry
soundoff (711 Responses)
  1. DANIELLE

    ALL THESE BRAIN DAMAGE SHOULD USE THEIR FREE TIME TO HUT THE GYM INSTEAD OF CELEBRATING THIS CON ARTIST

    November 14, 2013 at 10:54 am |
  2. Billy Graham

    I hope you live to 130!

    November 13, 2013 at 2:54 am |
    • Rebbe Bupkis

      He bonded with Nixon on anti-Semitism, and his son is a hateful Islamophobe. Not a fan.

      November 13, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
  3. The Cross

    November 11, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • sam stone

      sort of boring

      November 11, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
      • Reality # 2

        Billy G's message to America: The Christian con pays well !!!

        November 12, 2013 at 8:37 am |
        • ed dugan

          All those years of telling lies and parading as somebody special proves that BS pays off when you talk to people who never had a single thought of their own. What a phony that man is!!!

          November 13, 2013 at 10:16 am |
  4. Deins

    The cross is offensive to the love of Human Decency! Because Jesus was framed, bludgeoned and intently murdered on principal. For the simple message of "Love one another! We are all the Children of God". As we see ALEC and its tea party mocks and gives Jesus a bad reputation. Said to be a thing of Christian Conservative Values!

    November 11, 2013 at 11:38 am |
    • a friend

      the cross , dear friend does offend people, but not for what you think, because the cross questions our faith in ourselves and how were living, we are afraid to go to the cross and because the cross reveals us for what we are in the eyes of christ, spoken by billy graham, maybe you should watch his video before you speak.

      November 12, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
      • dfsdf

        His was a political response which was entirely accurate. The Tea Party will be the first to accept and welcome the antichrist, I have no doubt. They are fueled by greed and suffering (just as Christ's own betrayed him.) I will not associate myself with the likes of Sarah Palin or Kathie Lee Gifford. Your reply was pulled from propaganda that had nothing to add or take from the O.P.

        November 14, 2013 at 10:20 am |
  5. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things,

    November 11, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • Deins

      So do the sins of ALEC and its Tea Party. In the notion that Jesus justifies it.

      November 11, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • Michael

      If that were so, you wouldn't still be needing to spam that after all this time... your prayer would have "changed things."

      November 12, 2013 at 1:29 am |
      • JDD

        I will say that I have prayed, and prayer has changed things a number of times in my life.

        A classic definition of prayer is "turning the heart and mind toward God." Most people don't ever experience prayer because they think that prayer is, "asking for stuff from God and waiting half and hour." In this they really do treat God like an Americanized Santa Claus – and it's no wonder that they deride this 'version' of God and rightfully dismiss him as unreal. I'm kind of glad they do.

        Real prayer takes a weekend of quiet, and to be intellectually fair usually means taking a source book from someone who actually believes in God. "Crossing the Threshold of Hope" by John Paul II is a fairly good choice – as is "Mere Christianity" by C.S.Lewis. Find your road less taken, find your Thoreau cabin, and try it someday.

        November 12, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • Robert

      "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things"

      You sir are not a true Christians when you are lying for God!

      November 12, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
  6. mandarax

    I pray that when he passes, this unholy alliance between religion and conservative politics goes with him. Somehow, I doubt it (I also don't pray – I'll choose to actually work against that alliance).

    November 11, 2013 at 9:12 am |
  7. Mira

    God bless you Rev. Billy Graham you will be rewarded for your faithfulness and commitment to the Lord.

    November 10, 2013 at 11:26 pm |
    • sam stone

      wow, how pompous

      November 11, 2013 at 6:18 am |
  8. opal porter

    "For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 (NIV)

    November 10, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
    • sam stone

      quotes from a book only resonate with those who accept the authority of the book

      do you seriously desire ETERNAL life?

      November 10, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
      • JDD

        I do, Sam. I desire eternal life with God who knows and loves me, created me on purpose, created me with purpose. Regardless of whether you share that belief, why would you be surprised by that?

        November 11, 2013 at 11:07 am |
        • sam stone

          ETERNITY, JDD.

          A million years? Psshhhaw

          A billion years? A drop in a bucket

          Would seem to be awfully boring

          November 11, 2013 at 11:46 am |
        • sam stone

          JDD: There are those on this board wbo believe in predestination, that god knows people are going to do before they are born. Do you believe this? If so, how does that jibe with the concept of free will?

          If god knows that some people, before they are born, will not accept jesus as a savior (remember the whole predestination/omniscient god thing) but allows them to be born anyway, what does that say about the nature of god?

          November 11, 2013 at 11:51 am |
  9. Lilli

    So much hate here on CNN from the tolerant left. Christians are not protected by the PC Police. It's okay to attack them and in other parts of the world, kill them. Billy Graham filled stadiums. His family has done charitable work the world over saving lives and souls. There is a war on Christianity. Billy Graham was right, the cross is offensive to those who don't believe.

    November 10, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • sam stone

      What does politics have to do with this, Lilli?

      November 10, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • CNN troll

      Welcome Lilli, pull up a wise crack, kick your shoes off and stay a while

      November 10, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
  10. Maddy

    Observer
    Shannon

    "If you don't think it's Christian like to stand up against hateful behavior and speak out"

    So do you "speak out" against hypocritical Christians picking on gays? What about Christians calling doctors who perform legal operations "murderers"?

    and u call sam stone what? me?

    u r a sanctimonious hypocrite and a self-indulgent pharisee

    November 10, 2013 at 2:01 am |
    • Observer

      Maddy,

      Sorry you missed the question. See if you can do better this time:

      Do you "speak out" against hypocritical Christians picking on gays? What about Christians calling doctors who perform legal operations "murderers"?

      November 10, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
      • fetal pain

        I'm an agnostic but as a nurse I can't see how anybody would support abortion Christian, atheist or otherwise.

        November 10, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
        • Observer

          fetal pain,

          "I can't see how anybody would support abortion"

          So if you/your mother/your sister/your daughter needed an abortion to save their life, you'd just say "tough luck", right?

          November 10, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
    • a friend

      thou shouldn't speak out with hatred toward another, remember that the bible says for you to love your enemies, if you feel offended by what he did, just turn the other cheek and ignore him, pray and be happy for your enemy.

      November 12, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
  11. wink and grow rich

    RE: "stjohn
    yes it takes alms to keep the church alive. "

    You miss the point entirely. Look at the facts. The Grahams have pocketed millions of dollars that they have raked in 'for gawwwwd'. The obscene amount of cash they have taken from donations to god is not the behavior that Christ intended for his followers.

    November 9, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
    • JDD

      I'm not sure what 'facts' has been missed here, but I'm still waiting for this and several other posts in this conversation thread to give some sources for their claim that the Grahams are not generous with their money.

      November 11, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
  12. A. Reasoner

    It seems Graham, not having been trained for something useful, desperately continued his preaching gig even though he realized it was B.S. Guess he felt it was too late get into something legitimate so he made the best of his con job. Boy, did he make the best of it!

    November 9, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • justsayinnnn

      GOD KEEPS TWO SETS OF BOOKS!

      God has established two laws and then tells us to choose which law we wish to live by: "Behold I set before you life and blessing or death and curses. Make your own choice. But allow me to give you some advice– choose life. That way you, and your future children and grandchildren may LIVE for all eternity."

      The first law is the Law of sin and death, and here is how it works: God has a standard of behavior. He explains it precisely in great detail in the Old Testament. He tells us what he permits and what he does not permit. He also tells us that if we break even one of his laws we will suffer eternal death in hell. People have never lived their entire life without breaking one of these laws. It is hopeless. No matter how good a person has been in their life, it is not good enough.

      The second law is the law of Grace. And here is how it works: God has the same standard of behavior. Then he says that if we accept Jesus as the ruler of our life, he will give US credit for HIS perfectly lived life on earth. We are then required to allow him to be The Lord of our life. If we give our life to him and willingly serve him, we will be blessed with a joy-filled, peace-filled, eternal life in His never-ending kingdom.

      The standard is never going to change. Like it or not, Jesus is God. And you are, well, not. Your only choice is to choose which set of books you are going live by.

      November 11, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
  13. Reality # 2

    If the Grahams ever got their heads out of the bible, they would discover the following:

    1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

    “New Torah For Modern Minds

    Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

    Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

    The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment. “
    prob•a•bly
    Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell.

    2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

    The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

    earlychristianwritings.com/

    For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

    Current RCC problems:

    Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

    2 b., Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

    Current problems:
    Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals (e.g. the Grahams) and atonement theology,

    November 9, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
  14. glenn stockley

    he will be o.k. ....nixon is preparing a place in hell for him......

    November 9, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • stjohn

      speak for pathetic self only..you will be far removed from him at the bottom of the heap at the end of the day glenn.

      November 9, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
      • sam stone

        by what authority do you say that, stjohn?

        November 9, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
        • stjohn

          read the new testament and you will know (CAUTION: only read with open heart).

          November 9, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
        • Ummmm

          We have and we know it's full of folk lore and literary genre, it's not a historical doc.ument, it's a bogus religious book just like all the other thousands of religions man has created to make money.

          November 9, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
        • Fan2C

          stjohn
          "read the new testament and you will know (CAUTION: only read with open heart)."

          Make that: only read with a rich imagination and open-ended fantasy.

          November 9, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
        • sam stone

          "open heart" = accept what you are told

          November 9, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • heavenly ending

      They can sit by the fireside exchanging all the jew-bashing jokes they know... it will be heavenly for those two anti-semitic frauds.

      November 9, 2013 at 8:13 pm |
  15. glenn stockley

    ameriKa ...a liar with a bible in is hand can get real rich......

    November 9, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • stjohn

      so elaborate your message because it is poorly articulated...say again in English?

      November 9, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
      • Maddy

        For you to point out someone else's English while mangling the language yourself is hilarious; I've read your posts below.

        November 9, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
  16. ABeliever

    Billy I heard your words so many years ago when I was very young but didnt care then...it was not until I was older hearing your message of the Gospel that I started to take heed. I accepted Christ as Lord and savior not because of your sermons but came to Christ because I came to know years later that I was somewhat empty. I sensed there was something much bigger than my loving family and me but I could not quite put my finger on it. Ultimately though, you were a good influence to me Billy. I was full of questions. I was a baptist at the time but walking home from school I always passed by an old, small catholic chapel. I noticed the doors to the chapel were always open. I opened the door to peer in (no Catholic masses were ever occuring during that time today so the place was always empty). I did this "peering through the door several times" and my initial thoughts were the nice sculptures Mary, Joseph, Jesus on the cross, as well as a seemingly powerful angel (dont know if it was Gabriel or Michael..in later thoughts). I remember a sermon and today I cannot remember the words spoken by our Baptist minister, but it dealt with what I was going through as a teenager but it struck a note in my heart. Maybe days later on the way home from school passing by this Catholic chapel which was always empty but doors unlocked..I was seemingly drawn to enter and I did. I quietly sat down in one of the back pews and put my books down and just sat. I did not pray but I had a conversation with God. Being a Baptist by faith I did not take stock in "praying to statues even if they did represent the Holy Family and angels and the such". The Lord talked to me that day not about angels, demons, or any of that stuff. I had certain questions..and upon my first question I was suddenly filled with and overwhelming feeling of warmth of the Holy Spirit touching my heart. God answered several of my questions. This intrigued me so I began asking questions at sunday school at my Baptist church which i had never done before. I began to actually read some of the Bible but it was hard reading King James especially for a 15 year old. In the meantime I was bouncing between being socially inawkward in high school as the vast majority of high school teenagers are, and kind of more interested in listening to what God had to say. 6 months later there was a Christian film event at a local theater and the MC was a relatively young guy and I watched the film. Uncanningly it again answered the other questions I had before in the Catholic chapel and I came to tears as I was again filled with that warmth of the Holy Spirit. I became a Christian in my heart that day. I was baptized a few weeks later then the challenge began to hold on to faith. It should be no surprise to the faithful since we know that we become targeted by the evil one tripping us up at every step when possible. So it is not easy to be a faithful Christian...this is the cross we bear. But the faithful remain so until the end..it is all about keeping our eyes on the prize. I know this because you Billy helped seed this into my heart so many years ago though I did not think so at the time. Happy Birthday Mr. Graham :-)

    November 9, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • Jen

      abeliever, more like the deluded remain so until their end. That describes you. Billy Graham made million$ from dummies like you. He should get a spot in the con game hall of fame.

      November 9, 2013 at 11:35 am |
      • stjohn

        what about your own soul..how shall you be judged?

        November 9, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
        • Maddy

          Believing on a huckster isn't the same as believing in God, now is it?

          November 9, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
      • fred

        Jen
        Not sure where you get your facts but I was with "Billy" back in 91 and he always refused the new cars and preferred to drive an old one. He also refused any compensation and accepted only enough to live on. All the millions you speak of were given to the ministry and people in need as he truly walked the talk.
        I cannot speak about what he does these days as others have taken over all the financial arrangements as he aged.

        November 9, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
        • Ummmm

          "All the millions you speak of were given to the ministry and people in need as he truly walked the talk."

          In 2009 he was receiving a salary of 1.2 million a year....yeah that's really walking the talk. The Christ described in the bible would have been disgusted with him.

          November 9, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
        • I wonder

          "2009 he was receiving a salary of 1.2 million a year."

          I wonder if you are referring to Franklin Graham (Billy's son)?

          November 9, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
        • stjohn

          what you say is truth..not guess.

          November 9, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
        • stjohn

          But you have not found Christ. It does not matter the inspirational source which brings you to Christ. I was not broght to Christ by any preacher..but brought to Him through workings of the Holy Religion is not important..faith in Christ is remember is is you own travels through the short time you have left on this world.

          November 9, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
        • stjohn

          yes it takes alms to keep the church alive. Even Mother Teresa raised money to keep her charity alive for caring and treating the poor she herself lived poor. So did so many who came before her. Billy Grahams ministries have done much more good over the many years than bad..I challenge any of you twits commenting here what better good have YOU provided to others you dont know. Let you without any blame come forth and cast the first rock.

          November 9, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Abeliever,

      Your testimony was a real blessing. Thank you.

      November 9, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
  17. Reality # 2

    The Grahams should first apologize for ripping off their "non-profits" with their combined salaries of $1.2 million/yr.

    And they have the audacity to call themselves Christians !!!!!

    November 9, 2013 at 7:15 am |
    • stjohn

      then take on thev mission of the cross this man took on many years ago and still does today and do better than him instead of arm chair quarterbacking someone you no very little about.

      November 9, 2013 at 9:18 am |
      • Reality # 2

        And what do you know about the Grahams other than con they promulgate? The following should be of interest.

        For the latest salary issues with the Grahams see:

        http://www.cleveland.com/nation/index.ssf/2009/10/franklin_graham_moves_to_addre.html

        CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Concerns about his rising financial compensation during tough economic times have prompted evangelist Franklin Graham to temporarily give up future contributions to his retirement plans at the two Christian charities he leads.

        As president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, he receives two full-time salaries and two retirement packages. Last year his total compensation from the two Christian ministries was $1.2 million.

        The size of Graham's total 2008 compensation - $535,000 from Samaritan's Purse and $669,000 from Charlotte, N.C.-based BGEA - drew questions from nonprofit experts. They doubted that one person - even the energetic, globe-trotting Graham - can do two full-time jobs when those positions are head of organizations that employ hundreds and spend hundreds of millions around the world.

        As head of the Boone, N.C.-based Samaritan's Purse, Graham earned more last year than any other leader of an international relief agency based in the United States. That includes eight with larger budgets, according to data compiled by Guidestar, a group that monitors non-profits.

        Graham, 57, and his two boards of directors pointed out that most of his 2008 compensation came not from increases in his salaries, which have remained flat in recent years, but from accelerated contributions to his retirement. The boards said they were playing catch-up - Graham received no retirement during his first few years at the two organizations - and were hoping to satisfy his goal of working for free when he reaches age 70.

        In addition, Graham and the boards said, nearly half of what he received last year from BGEA - $300,000 - was deferred retirement money that had been committed and reported over three previous years. Under new IRS rules, which have affected other nonprofit CEOs, the money had to be re-reported as a lump sum in 2008, the year Graham became vested. "

        November 9, 2013 at 11:24 am |
        • Reality # 2

          Make that "the con they promulgate".

          November 9, 2013 at 11:25 am |
        • stjohn

          if you want to know what message this man taught throughout his life then refer kindly to the Gospels in the Bible. Billy has taught nothing more than that. Let us see if you can get past your own spiteful doubt and learn for yourself (CAUTION: It will take your conscousness to open your heart...hard to do with some I know..been there done that).

          November 9, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
        • stjohn

          and what do you know from personal experience and knowledge into your allegations? Tell me yours and I will tell you mine.

          November 9, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
        • stjohn

          just because you dont think it is true does not make it reality..indeed it is reality whether you choose to believe or not unforntantualy for you. I implore you for your own sake to come to Him freely..dont do so because of my words but do so on your own accord..our reasons to come to Him are different..but I can say this He will not fail you.

          November 9, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
        • Ummmm

          "just because you dont think it is true does not make it reality"

          It's not true, just like all the other religions man has made up. It has been shown the bible is full of literary genre and folk lore, it's not a historical doc.ument.

          November 9, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
        • twocupsofjoe

          What is so wrong about earning money? Are you implying that God does not like to give people wealth and riches on earth? I could tell you what the Bible says, but I know you wouldn't care, so let me remind you that we live on planet Earth and everyone is required to pay for how we live, what we eat and where we go. Money is only evil when it is in the hands of people who do bad things.
          Spreading joy and love is not bad. Getting paid for spreading it is not bad either. Speaking about what we believe is our right as Americans. Our ancestors fought hard for that freedom.
          If I still believed in the tooth-fairy it is my American right to speak, travel and give presentations about the tooth fairy and take donations for my "ministry" from like-minded people. Am i a bad person for speaking to others on what I believe? No. People donated to Billy Graham because they are either like-minded or because their was an innate belief of a higher power. Have you ever seen Billy Graham speak? His messages give me chills and brings me to tears because it draws on my faith of God. It awakens my spirit that LIVES WITHIN ME because he speaks about Jesus and God, something that i believe in. I can tell you that when I have donated to my church, I have done one of two things. I have either written the check out to the church or I wrote it to the pastor to bless him and his family. If he wants to buy a fancy car then who am i to judge? He just gave me more than money can buy. God is priceless and being blessed with his Word is worth more than i can ever pay.

          Billy Graham has reached millions of people and God is in their lives as a result of this messages. Mr. Graham could be a phony and maybe its all just a money hoax, a wolf in a sheep's skin. But guess what, the God that I pray to is not. Of course you will say what an idiot i am. Perhaps I am for believing in something that i can't see or hear or touch. but i can certainly feel and that is why you will never understand unless you humble yourself and accept Christ. Then you will know that he is real. You will feel Him inside you. Logic can't take away that feeling.

          November 11, 2013 at 11:38 am |
  18. Chris Braun

    Thank you for writing this article of Dr. Graham's 95th birthday. How I thank God for his impact on my family's life. Your article presents well the essence of his life: To know Jesus and to make Him known. Well done.

    November 9, 2013 at 4:46 am |
  19. pkgracie2010

    Hi so, You are right, you know. Have you been reading the Bible? Are you aware you are and many of the commenters I see stretched out beneath you, are speaking prophetically? You are speaking out what the Bible has already said. Not that Christians should be declared mentally ill, but that they are often accused of being mentally ill. ..that intolerance has and is greatly increasing for those of us who follow Christ Jesus will suffer, along with increased persecution. Even Jesus was accused of being mad, And yes, then comes the biggie: The talk about Christians being killed? It has happened, it is happening, and it will be happening again in the West as well as other areas of the world. But not put to sleep gently. The book of Revelations tells us the specific way we will be killed. By beheading. Here's what Jesus said, "If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore, the world hates you." Then He added, "If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you." The Bible is the happening book. All past prophecy have happened, exactly. All prophecy about our times is happening. We can read about it in the headlines, we can see it taking place. I'm not speaking through my hat. I study them and I watch. I can give you specific details of many. We can all see with our physical eyes. You can see it, I can see it. But what we believe is a choice. We believe what we choose. What's the end all about? Believers win by appearing to have lost. Jesus loved us so much that He came to give His life in exchange for us. Our death for His Life. He endured a cross. By His death, He brought us life. by His resurrection three days later, He brought us justification. This means we are no longer guilty before God. In Him we have forgiveness, freedom, healing, abundance instead of lack, eternal life. He is the only way, life is only available thru Him. Without Him is eternal death, or punishment. He is God. And my personal testimony proves this: Jesus is God. And He is a Person, not a religion. Religion is of man. He came the first time to die, for you and for me. The second time He comes will be to judge. And He's coming very soon, so soon you can reach out and touch it. Don't wait until you see Him with your physical eyes. That will be too late. Prepare yourself now for what's coming soon in the skies near you. You will see Jesus in all His glory. Choose to believe now. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes unto the Father except through." Hear His words, "...No man comes unto the Father except through Me." Jesus came because He loves you. He is your Maker. I tell you because I love you. So, Jesus is speaking to you now, this minute. I urge you to do one thing: Let Him in. Make the right choice. PK x

    November 9, 2013 at 12:39 am |
    • Jolly Green Gaint

      Yeah....it might be time to listen to all those people who keep teeling you to, and seek professional psychiatric help.

      November 9, 2013 at 12:42 am |
      • stjohn

        i suggest you take the first step.

        November 9, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I wouldn't worship the bible god even if I thought he was real, and I don't.

      November 9, 2013 at 12:46 am |
      • stjohn

        we all make a decision whether for eternal life or eternal damnation. whether you choose to believe or not is immaterial..the reality is the same. I beg you to come to Christ..please consider and read His word...please!

        November 9, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
        • tallulah13

          Most atheists were once believers. It is difficult to maintain belief when there is no evidence to support the existence of any gods. I can't honestly believe, therefore I will keep my honesty and lose the belief.

          November 9, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
        • stjohn

          funny that tallulah13 and other like responders decide to close remarks to somebody who challenges them openly. i know why though..evil ones cannot argue with truth at the end of the day.

          November 9, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
        • Ummmm

          "i know why though..evil ones cannot argue with truth at the end of the day."

          This is what is so wrong with your religion it has brainwashed you into thinking that anyone who disagrees with you is evil. It's why religion brings out the worst in people.

          November 9, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
        • tallulah13

          I didn't close remarks against anyone, silly. Once you reach a certain tier in replies, they automatically close. But if it makes you feel better to lie about others, you just go right ahead. The only person you are fooling is yourself.

          November 9, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
        • JDD

          In response to tallulah13:

          I don't doubt that many atheists were once believers... believers in what is another question and encompasses quite a lot of ground. I've met a number of well-thoughts atheists and Christians alike. I've also met a number of atheists who simply listen to George Carlin... as if persons like G.K.Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, Pope John Paul II never existed. And many Christians are just as uneducated. Sometimes we just like to be entertained... and told we're all just fine.

          There's a good series of books I'd recommend, (along with anything by the above authors) – it's called "Scientists Who Believe." They're short books, and won't give ironclad answers to every possible objection – only a long-ranging conversation with a believer can really do that – but they do get one thinking.

          November 11, 2013 at 11:25 am |
      • twocupsofjoe

        "blessed are the cheesemakers" I smiled at your wittiness of your words. But i feel sadness for your pain. you want to be heard, i can tell. you are angry. why would you have a cynical non-Christian post name other your real name? Why would you bother posting anything to believers in Christ? Why does someone being a Christian anger you? So we are stupid to you. Well move on. Ahh, but you can't. You are angry at the world. Maybe life sucks for you, or maybe you are "successful," but you still feel that something is missing. Maybe you dabbled in man-made religion (not God) and your pride laughed in your face, so you bully everyone who has tasted and felt God breathe life in them, the very thing that you need and can't get. But just who are you bullying? God? You want him to get so angry with you that he changes your life completely? Yes, you do. You want something like lightening and thunder to hit your soul because you know that it will take God to move that mountain of pride and disdain out of you so you can feel Him and all the greatness he has to give you, all the greatness that is yours for the taking.

        Did you buy into the worldly mantra that money buys you happiness and now you realized that it was all one big lie.
        Deep down you know that He is real, and you just can't wipe the pride off your smug face. you need Him to slap it off of you.

        November 11, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
        • Gary Duits

          Nobody has ever choked, by swallowing there "PRIDE"

          November 12, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
    • sam stone

      your empty proxy threats are a sign of mental illness. seek help

      November 9, 2013 at 7:29 am |
      • stjohn

        proxy?? dont take it from me but read the scriptures yourself..what so you have to lose? or are you a coward listening to others you think better than you (i tend to think this is the case)..but prove me wrong. Read first the new testament then we can discuss. Right now you bring only a knife to a gun fight...lets see what you got when you read the Word.

        November 9, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
        • tallulah13

          You make the mistake of thinking that atheists don't know your source material. The bible is a man-made construct that combines the mythology of a specific middle-eastern tribe with the propaganda surrounding the most successful messianic cult figure to emerge from the many that existed in Rome 2000 years ago. It was edited into it's current form in the year 325 CE by the very human Council of Nicaea. It has no more real authority than a copy of the Iliad.

          November 9, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
        • sam stone

          coward? aren't you the one who is hiding behind someone else's sacrifice to pay for your "sins"?

          November 9, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
        • stjohn

          I take on the atheists posting here to provide arguments WITHOUT QUOTING OR ADLIBING DAWKINS OR THE DEAD HITCHKINS. I will say this those who propose they are former Christians were never Christians to begin with. And I add that some who said they were did so in the same spirit as judius Escariot.

          November 9, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
        • Ummmm

          "I take on the atheists posting here to provide arguments WITHOUT QUOTING OR ADLIBING DAWKINS OR THE DEAD HITCHKINS. I will say this those who propose they are former Christians were never Christians to begin with. And I add that some who said they were did so in the same spirit as judius Escariot."

          You do realize you've just proven you don't know the bible at all.

          November 9, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
        • tallulah13

          I suspect stjohn is a poe. If not, he simply cannot comprehend that it is possible to come to conclusions without being told what conclusion to which to come. History informs my argument, not Dawkins or Hitchins.

          November 9, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
    • stjohn

      very true :-)

      November 9, 2013 at 9:20 am |
    • tallulah13

      Paragraphs are better friends than Jesus.

      November 9, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
      • stjohn

        you said well enough that I would have no better feeling or input.

        November 9, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
      • JDD

        A soul unaware of its Maker is like a paragraph unaware of its book.

        November 11, 2013 at 11:30 am |
  20. my karma ran over your dogma billy

    So, the most powerful Typhoon ever recorded appears on Billy G's birthday. Is it a sign from gawwwd that Billy is about to pay for the sins of his family? Is it a reminder from gawwwd how destructive Billy's church (helped keep so many people enslaved in the 1800's and 'in their place' in the 1900's) has been in its history and still is today? Twisted dogma works both ways.

    November 9, 2013 at 12:12 am |
    • stjohn

      you should be the one to speak of twisted dogma HAHA! go ahead and keep your head in the sand..but it will lead you to no good on the last day. whether you like Pastor Graham or not his truthful message...one central gospel of Christ dying on the cross and risen on the third day to forgive the sins of many. That powerful good news will still hold true long after he AND YOU are long gone. You have ample opportunity to experience a warmth of well being of being loved beyond what you could ever expect from any person on this earth...more so even from the best mother and father that you could depict in your heart of hearts. I pray you find this..but warning – it only begins with a leap of faith and it is not so traumatic as you may think. It only takes one to open his/her heart.

      November 9, 2013 at 9:34 am |
      • sam stone

        sin is a man made concept, a guilt trip

        November 9, 2013 at 9:55 am |
        • stjohn

          you believe that all you want but at the end of the day you will be held accountable to a much greater HIM whether you like it or not. Please read the Holy Bible New Testament on your own in your private time..put down the smartphone and any other computing devices. Have real private time and serously read a few books of the Gospel. Please take it to heart..I have come to this Word through trials in my own life..and I have not been failed by Jesus.

          November 9, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
        • Ummmm

          " Have real private time and serously read a few books of the Gospel. "

          It has been pointed out over and over again, that most of the atheist posting on this blog are former Christians, some are even former ministers. The problem you have is that the largest research center in the world has shown that the bible is full of literary genre and folk lore, it's not a historical doc.ument, it's just another bogus religious book.

          November 9, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
        • sam stone

          I am god.

          November 9, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
        • JDD

          This really begs the question, why would man have made up guilt? I was actually thinking about this this morning, so it's interesting that it came up in this conversation thread. Guilt is of course a moral concept that has to then be described by the secular humanist or atheist in – ultimately – purely biological terms. But I have to say I've never heard a convincing explanation. How did the first iteration of guilt arrive in mankind? If it exists in other species, then how did it first arrive there?

          If guilt is ultimately just ones and zeros, then it isn't guilt. If it's not ultimately ones and zeros, then it's not man-made.

          November 11, 2013 at 11:45 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.