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 Atlantic6 min readPolitics
The Risk of Elizabeth Warren’s Dodging
She’s presented herself as the truth-teller, the straight-talker, the one who can break down complex economic ideas and bring nonprogressives along.
The Atlantic7 min readFashion & Beauty
Why the New Instagram It Girl Spends All Her Time Alone
Last Tuesday morning, my first unread email was from Influencer Intelligence, an analytics company that works with  people who want to hire influencers and celebrities to advertise things. “Authenticity is the most critical attribute to building infl
The Atlantic4 min readPolitics
Trump Is Complicit in Erdoğan’s Violence
The president and his men are spinning furiously to try to wrench President Donald Trump’s foot out of the trap he stepped in by supporting Turkey’s military assault into Syria. They’re trying to avert our eyes from the fact that the president approv