Billy Graham’s Heaven-Sent Gift for Television

From Radio Sermons to LBJ's Funeral Oration, a Journalist Witnessed the Wonder of the Preacher's Media Mastery

“The BIBLE says … ”

I can remember that thundering voice coming out of our radio in the 1950s as the preacher wove points from Scripture into his sermon, urging listeners to come to Jesus. It was Billy Graham, the man dubbed “America’s Pastor” and “God’s Super-salesman.” He knew how to connect with an audience and would always end his “Hour of Decision” broadcasts with a folksy “God bless you real good.”

There had been other American evangelists with similar rhetorical skills before him, notably Billy Sunday, Dwight Moody, and Charles …