Bill Graham, right, and son Franklin Graham in 1994. (Paul M. Walsh/CC BY-SA 2.0)

Rev. Billy Graham, who served as a spiritual adviser to several U.S. presidents and inspired millions of people to come to Christ through the hymn “Just as I Am,” died Wednesday at his home in North Carolina. He was 99.

Graham, who said he first felt to the spirit of God at age 16, was called the best-known evangelist in the history of Christianity. In addition to his public appearances, Graham, whose catchphrase was “The Bible says,” reached untold millions through his pioneering use of highly anticipated prime-time telecasts, as well as network radio, daily newspaper columns, evangelistic feature films and globe-girdling satellite TV hookups.

While his mesmerizing messages were simple and to the point, Graham, a tall man with a striking presence, would make the altar call in his powerful baritone, asking the multitudes to stand, come down the aisles and publicly make “decisions for Christ,” as a choir would croon the hymn “Just As I Am.”

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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