How did a Rice University history professor become the foremost expert on one of America’s most influential and beloved evangelists? The answer to that question is both fascinating and long, with plenty of twists and turns along the way. William Martin’s journey from Rice professor to Billy Graham expert began in 2000, when he was approached by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) to write Graham’s official biography; an experience that led Martin to his career as one of today’s leading scholars on American evangelism. The Untold Story of How a Rice Professor Wound Up Writing Billy Grahams Biography The Untold Story of How a Rice Professor Wound Up Writing Billy Grahams Biography

Part 1: Getting Called

It all started with an unexpected call from Billy Graham’s secretary in 2004. Though he was already working on another project, William Martin, who’d studied 20th-century evangelists and written books about them (and with them), couldn’t pass up an invitation to visit her boss in his Montreat, North Carolina, home. I thought maybe I could talk him into being interviewed for my next book, says Martin. The Untold Story of How a Rice Professor Wound Up Writing Billy Grahams Biography

Part 2: Becoming A Billy Graham Expert

From Seminary to Biographer to Evangelical Icon—So, how does an academic with no seminary training come to write a biography about America’s most famous evangelist? Martin says it all started with Warren. After researching and writing his first book, he began teaching classes at Duke University in 1980. One day, Martin met with two visiting professors from Dallas Theological Seminary in nearby Durham for lunch. The Untold Story of How a Rice Professor Wound Up Writing Billy Grahams Biography

Part 3: Who is Bill Martin?

Martin is a professor at Houston’s William Carey University, where he teaches theology and spiritual formation. He grew up in a small town outside Fort Worth and attended The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary before landing at Rice. How did a Rice University history professor become the

Part 4: Why Did He Write It?

Martin has said that he felt little initial connection to Graham’s story. But in researching and writing his book, Martin developed an appreciation for him as not only a towering religious figure but also an American folk hero. I wanted to tell his story as it had never been told before, in all its messiness, because I didn’t want people to say that there was no complexity in Billy Graham’s life.

The Untold Story of How a Rice Professor Wound Up Writing Billy Grahams Biography
Billy Grahams
  • Born: 7 November 1918, Charlotte, North Carolina, United States
  • Died: 21 February 2018, Montreat, North Carolina, United States
  • Spouse: Ruth Graham (m. 1943–2007)
  • Books: Billy Graham in Quotes, Just As I am, Peace with God,
  • Children: Franklin Graham, Anne Graham Lotz, Ned Graham, Gigi Graham, Ruth Graham
  • Grandchildren: Will Graham, Tullian Tchividjian, Rachel-Ruth Lotz,
  • Parents: William Franklin Graham Sr., Morrow Graham
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Part 5: What Did He Discover?

The first thing Martin discovered when he began his research was that there was no good, up-to-date biography. That kind of project would be too long and tedious for most publishers to undertake, and certainly not a place where they would want to invest money. Instead, Martin found himself writing an academic biography. As an expert in Southern religious history, he understood why people viewed Graham as such an important figure.

Part 6 – A Closer Look at the Accusations Against Billy Graham

William Martin, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Rice University and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Prophet With Honor: The Billy Graham Story is one of many people around who have stepped forward to defend Reverend Graham’s reputation. His latest book, Reaching Millions: My Evangelistic Journeys From China to Capitol Hill chronicles his experiences with Graham on international evangelism tours.


What was life like for Billy and Ruth after I left home? I stayed in touch with them, usually by Christmas card and occasional letter, but they didn’t like to talk about their personal lives, so there was little to report. What I learned on my many visits home was that they were still very happy together. While preaching around the world, Billy would often tell people he was married to one woman—Ruth.

Did Billy Graham get rich?

For all his preaching about wealth and possessions, some have wondered if Graham was ever tempted by money. He probably wasn’t. He never owned a house, always rented apartments in New York and held an academic post for decades at Wheaton College in Illinois, writes Martin. He didn’t own a car until he was forty-nine years old, when his wife paid cash for a Plymouth Super Deluxe station wagon to ferry their four daughters around while they lived in Montreat.

Who led Billy Graham to Jesus?

Martin has written a new book about the life and legacy of Christian evangelist Billy Graham, one of America’s most iconic and beloved religious figures. The book, A Prophet with Honor: The Billy Graham Story, chronicles his early years as an evangelical iconoclast and how he became one of America’s most popular preachers, adored by presidents, celebrities and average Americans. Martin decided to write about his life after realizing there were many inaccuracies in biographies written about him.

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How rich was Billy Graham?

When you look at how much money Billy Graham raised for his ministry over 50 years, it’s easy to make one assumption: He must have been worth a fortune. But there’s just one problem with that scenario: He wasn’t.

What happened to Billy Graham?

It’s not hard to imagine that most people get to meet just one person in their life who changes it. I am fortunate to have met three. The first was my mother. She taught me about kindness, strength and grace – but more than anything, she taught me about love and compassion. If there is an enduring human story for our time, it’s found in every life that is either lost or saved by another person… That brings us to Dr. Billy Graham.

Did Billy Graham have Parkinson’s disease?

As far as we know, no one ever asked Graham if he had Parkinson’s disease. But his symptoms—bradykinesia (slowness and slowness), rigidity, a mask-like face with reduced blinking, among others—matched those of other public figures whose later diagnoses were revealed posthumously.

The Untold Story of How a Rice Professor Wound Up Writing Billy Grahams Biography
Billy Grahams

How old was Ruth Graham when died?

On August 15, 1948, Ruth Graham was killed when she tripped and fell down an escalator. She was 72 years old. The Graham family took her body back to Asheville, North Carolina where she had grown up; they buried her in Montreat cemetery.

How old was George Beverly Shea when he died?

George Beverly Shea, who died at 94 earlier today, was known as America’s pastor. He sang in all 50 states and 100 countries. But I bet you didn’t know he was only three years old when he died.

What age Billy Graham died?

What age did Billy Graham die? He was 99 years old when he died on February 21, 2018. At his death, he had been living in Montreat, North Carolina.

last words

Martin, who is serving as official historian for Graham’s organization, said he has been working on a two-volume biography. The first volume, titled Reaching Your World: An Evangelist’s Journey Through Six Decades in American History, covers Graham’s life from his birth to 1949. The second volume picks up where that leaves off and goes through his later years. Martin said he spent nearly four years interviewing close to 1,200 people for both volumes.


After I finished my doctorate at Princeton Theological Seminary, a Christian magazine called Eternity asked me to do an interview with Billy Graham. My first thought was, I’m not really qualified to do that. But they said, That’s why we want you to do it.

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A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives billy graham quotes: Don’t be afraid to share your faith; it’s not something you have … It’s what you are.-Billy Graham billy graham quotes: A Christian who does not share his faith with others is like a lamp without oil. billy graham quotes: Peace begins with a smile. billy graham quotes: Our attitude toward others determines their attitude toward us.

cause of death

Billy Graham has died at age 99. As people mourn his passing, I’m wondering what is your take on what caused his death and how you feel about it. Why do you think that he was so influential during his time? What impact did he have on our country and Christianity in general?


In his first book, A Prophet With Honor: The Billy Graham Story, he says that even after he joined Mr. Graham’s team, it took time to see him as a full-blooded human being. As late as 1970 or 1971, for example, Mr. Martin recalls sitting at Mr. Graham’s side on an airplane when news came over the radio that one of Mr. Martin’s heroes — Dr.


Ruth Bell Graham, children: Franklin Graham, Virginia (Gigi) Graham Dixon, Nelson Edman (Ned) Graham, William Franklin Billy Graham Jr., Jane M. Graham Busic, Samuel John Sam Graham III and would soon become active in politics; although he stopped short of calling himself an atheist or an agnostic. During his studies at Wheaton College, an evangelical Christian institution in Illinois, Martin said he had a vision from God telling him to become a minister.

 How did billy graham come to christ

In 1952, on a visit to Bermuda, he met Ruth Bell, who was vacationing there with her parents. Bill was immediately smitten, and soon proposed marriage. The couple wed later that year and eventually settled in Montreat, North Carolina, near Asheville. The geographical shift clearly had an impact on him: In 1957 he penned My Answer for Guideposts magazine, which became his most popular tract yet.


Born Nov. 7, 1918, in Charlotte, N.C., William Franklin Billy Graham Jr. was raised by his mother and maternal grandparents in Montreat, N.C., after his father died when he was 6 years old and his mother left him to enter a life of ministry work. His maternal grandfather ran a business making millwork for churches until 1929 when it failed; from then on, members of his family pursued various forms of ministry or preaching to make ends meet.

What pastor did Billy Graham not endorse?

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. King was closely associated with Baptist ministers and received funding for his civil rights work from white religious institutions, but he was never officially endorsed by Graham or any other major pastors. Although black leaders like King and Jesse Jackson were sometimes called Christian socialists in their lifetime, it’s impossible to find documented support for that label in Graham’s writings; he didn’t say anything remotely similar to what they did when it came to racism, discrimination or poverty either.

When in the 70s did Billy Graham hold crusades in Tampa FL?

1973 and 1987. When did he appear on Merv Griffin Show? 1980. When did he hold crusade in Tulsa OK: 1983. When did he appear on Donahue show? 1979 (and 1984).

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