Born: 14 July 1952
Birthplace: Asheville, North Carolina
Best known as: Billy Graham's rebel son turned evangelist
Name at birth: William Franklin Graham III
After youthful years of carousing, school expulsions and rebellion in the shadow of his famous father, Franklin Graham repented in his 20's and became a Christian relief worker and evangelist in his own right. Even after his "decision for Christ," he resisted preaching, working instead with Samaritan's Purse, an evangelical Christian relief organization of which he became chief executive officer. Eventually he also became a leader of his father's Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and, as Billy became infirm, increasingly took to the pulpit. By 2000, he was also CEO of that association and was leading "Franklin Graham Festivals" in the United States and other countries, even as the famous "Billy Graham Crusades" continued as Billy's health allowed. As an evangelist, in contrast to the conciliatory ecumenical stance taken by Billy in his later years, Franklin emphasized the repentance of sinners and the uniqueness of Christianity as a true religion. He generated controversy in the early years of the 21st century when he described Islam as evil and the Koran as teaching violence.
Extra credit: Graham has said he committed his life to Christ at age 22 while reading the Gospel According to John alone in a hotel room in Jerusalem... He married Jane Austin Cunningham in 1974. Their children are William Franklin Graham IV, known as Will (born 1975), Roy (1977), Edward (1979), and Jane, known as Cissie (1986)... He was ordained to the Christian ministry by Grace Community Church, Tempe, Ariz., in 1982... He titled his 1995 autobiography Rebel With a Cause: Finally Comfortable Being Graham... Substituting for his father, he prayed at the 2001 presidential inauguration of George Bush the younger.
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