The Atlantic

Billy Graham, the Great Uniter, Leaves Behind a Divided Evangelicalism

The preacher, dead at 99, advised presidents, mentored clergy, and influenced millions of people. Will his legacy of non-partisan outreach continue?
Source: Stringer France / Reuters

Billy Graham, the famous preacher who reached millions of people around the world through his Christian ministry, died on Wednesday at 99. Over the course of more than six decades, he reshaped the landscape of evangelism, sharing the gospel from North Carolina to North Korea and developing innovative ways to communicate the message of the Bible. He influenced generations of pastors and developed friendships with presidents, prime ministers, and royalty around the world. His death marks the end of an era for evangelicalism, and poses a fundamental question: Will his legacy of bipartisan, ecumenical outreach be carried forward?

Graham came up as a preacher during the post-war era, a time when American Christianity was being radically remade. “When Billy came on the scene,

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic7 min readPolitics
Trump’s Fury at Don McGahn Is Misplaced
The former White House counsel helped stock the federal courts with conservative judges. Now multiple lawsuits involving Trump are headed there.
The Atlantic4 min readPolitics
Trump Was Right Not to Sign the Christchurch Call
The pledge to eliminate extremist content online is antithetical to the American understanding of free expression.
The Atlantic5 min read
Europe’s Far-Right Leaders Are Using Facebook to Transcend Borders
Captioned in English, sponsored by the Hungarian government, promoted to social-media users in Greece: A video about a Belgian politician represents a new trend in the spread of illiberalism.