PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Local religious leaders discuss impact of Billy Graham
Billy Graham used television and stadium-based revivals to call people to the Christian Church.
The farm boy became a counselor to Presidents; he was a big deal for many Americans facing a Cold War and social change.
"The closest equivalent we have in America society to Billy Graham you would have to look at someone like Oprah Winfrey," said Brett Grainger of Villanova University.
A religious studies professor at Villanova, Grainger describes Graham's abilities.
"I think it is that combination personal charisma and ability to connect with people one on one," he said.
Graham's revival message is simple, come down from your seat and accept Christ.
"He can forgive your sins make you a new person," he said.
Reverend K. Marshal Williams of the Nazarene Baptist Church in Germantown says Graham was someone who brought people together, not a divider. He tells a story about how Graham, back in 1953, removed a rope barrier at revival that kept blacks segregated in the back.
"Billy went down pulled the rope and allowed everyone to sit together," said Williams. "He took a stand when that was not popular."
Williams said it earned Graham death threats.
"He took a stand and because of his commitment and convictions about our Christ," he said.
Graham held two Crusades in Philadelphia, one in 1961, and another in 1992 when he preached at the old Veterans Stadium over 5 nights
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