Youngest Son of Franklin Graham Talks About His Military Service and Grandfather, Billy Graham

Major Edward Graham, left, son of Franklin Graham and grandson of evangelist Billy Graham, accepts the Hall of Faith Award on behalf of his father June 8 from Eric Ramsey, president of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists and president of Tom Cox World Ministries in Mountainburg, Ark. The award was given during the June 6-8 COSBE meeting at the Hilton Baltimore.  Photo by Matt Miller.
Major Edward Graham, left, son of Franklin Graham and grandson of evangelist Billy Graham, accepts the Hall of Faith Award on behalf of his father June 8 from Eric Ramsey, president of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists and president of Tom Cox World Ministries in Mountainburg, Ark. The award was given during the June 6-8 COSBE meeting at the Hilton Baltimore. Photo by Matt Miller.

Army Major Edward Graham, youngest son of Franklin Graham fielded questions about his military service and his grandfather, Billy Graham, during the annual worship service sponsored by the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists.

Also featured were Keith Fordham, who, with Franklin Graham, was inducted into the evangelists’ Hall of Faith the previous evening, and COSBE President Eric Ramsey.

The June 8 Sunday morning worship was among numerous events held prior to the 2014 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention at the Baltimore Convention Center.

During an after-lunch business session that included the election of new officers, members voted to move COSBE materials to the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives; to absorb a Mississippi nonprofit, COSBE Publishing; and to launch a new website, http://www.sbcevangelist.org. An online magazine also is planned for the future.

“The last time my grandfather [Billy Graham] ever spoke publicly was here in Baltimore,” Edward Graham said in an on-stage Q&A with Ramsey. “He’s a loving grandfather, generous.” The Army Ranger said his father, Franklin Graham, whom he represented at the Hall of Faith induction, “is a very shy man,” but one who is patient, exhibiting one of the marks of a great leader.

“Leaders take risks, and never make the same mistake again,” Graham added. “That’s the kind of leader I want to be.”

As a child, Edward Graham told Baptist Press after the Q&A session, he was given military toys by his father. This led to a fascination with military history and in time to his appointment to West Point. He recently left leadership of a company of 150 Army Rangers — and several tours of duty in the Middle East — for additional schooling in Kansas.

“God sent His Son to be the leader of His church,” Graham said in what became a protracted Q&A on leadership. “He’s the greatest leader. He was a servant leader. …

“If you’re going to be a leader, don’t be a zero-defect leader,” Graham continued. “People make mistakes. Don’t belittle them. … Don’t give up on them.”

Graham said he votes in elections, except national elections, because his job is to serve whomever is in office. “I vote through prayer. Remember why we’re here: to win souls for Jesus Christ. We’re here as soldiers for Jesus Christ.”

Billy Graham rallied for his 95th birthday last November, Edward Graham said, but it took a toll on his body. In these waning days of his life, Graham said his grandfather misses his wife Ruth — whom he calls by a Chinese word that means “old woman,” and looks forward to spending eternity with Jesus Christ.

“Pray he’s pain-free. … Pray for Poland. … Pray for the ministry in Alaska for wounded warriors,” Graham said, reporting that Franklin Graham is in Poland for evangelistic outreach while others from the Samaritan’s Purse organization are ministering to wounded veterans and their wives in Alaska through Operation Heal Our Patriots — a ministry started after a West Point friend of Edward Graham, stationed in Mosul, Iraq, was blinded by a suicide car bomb on his first wedding anniversary.

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SOURCE: Baptist Press
Karen L. Willoughby & Joni B. Hannigan

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