The last time I saw Billy Graham in person was in 2005, when he addressed a crowd of 60,000 at Flushing Meadows in Queens, N.Y. It would be, he declared, his final Crusade for Christ. Everyone who watched and heard him understood why. Billy approached the pulpit leaning on a walker and his voice as well as his body wavered as he spoke. He was 86 years old at the time and suffering from Parkinson’s disease, among other ailments.
And yet, for the past three weeks, the face of Dr. Graham, white-haired but ruddy with seeming good health, has gazed down from a billboard overlooking the glitter of New York’s Times Square. The billboard seems to say: “He’s back!”
As it turned out, the billboard was promoting “My Hope America with Billy Graham, ” an outreach video campaign produced by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). The half-hour program and three “bonus” videos feature segments of Billy preaching when he was still in vigorous and magnetic middle age, plus testimonies from others on how they found Jesus””presumably because of that preaching.