Press-Republican

On Religion

November 18, 2013

Classic Billy Graham at age 95, one more time

The Rev. Billy Graham has been worried about the state of America's soul for a long, long time.

So it wasn't surprising that -- when preaching what could be his final sermon -- the 95-year-old evangelist looked straight into the camera and talked about sin and tears, repentance and salvation. And the cross.

"Our country's in great need of a spiritual awakening. There have been times when I've wept as I've gone from city to city and I've seen how far people have wandered from God," said Graham, in a message recorded in his North Carolina mountain home.

"I want to tell people about the meaning of the cross. Not the cross that hangs on the wall or around someone's neck, but the real cross of Christ. It's scarred and bloodstained. His was a rugged cross. I know that many will react to this message, but it is the truth. And with all my heart, I want to leave you with the truth."

Simply called "The Cross," the 30-minute documentary premiered on Fox News, as well as in churches nationwide. It included footage of Graham with leaders ranging from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to Pope John Paul II, from Johnny Carson to Johnny Cash. Graham has met with every U.S. president since Harry Truman and the video included John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

The video was also shown at a recent 95th birthday party for Graham in Asheville, N.C., that drew many prominent, and in some cases decidedly non-evangelical, conservatives -- including Donald Trump, Greta Van Susteren and Rupert Murdoch. In his introduction, the Rev. Franklin Graham told viewers that his father's message could "change your life and change the direction of this nation."

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