But this time, the sermon ended with the elderly Graham quietly speaking words he has said in thousands of sermons, to millions of listeners, around the world: "There is no other way of salvation except through the cross of Christ. Jesus said, 'I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man cometh to the Father except by me.'"
Yes, the words were familiar, said Martin, but it was hard not be affected by the sobering images of the white-haired evangelical patriarch working so hard to share this message one more time.
"That's Billy Graham and this is what he has believed his whole life," said the sociologist. "It's like he was saying, 'This is the old, old story and I'm going to tell it to you one more time.'"
Terry Mattingly is the director of the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and leads the GetReligion.org project to study religion and the news.
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