Rev. Billy Graham turns 95 - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Rev. Billy Graham turns 95

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NEW YORK - Happy 95th Birthday to North Carolina's own Billy Graham!

Nearly a thousand people showed up for his birthday party in Asheville Thursday. Guests included Donald Trump, Rupert Murdoch, Sarah Palin, Bill Clinton and many more.

Graham's messages made him one of the most high-profile religious leaders of the 20th century. Later in the evening, guests will see the premiere of Graham's new 30-minute program titled, "The Cross."

Graham has counseled every president from Harry Truman to Barack Obama and his Evangelical preaching reached millions.  Graham's grandson, who is also a preacher and an author talked to Vinita Nair about the legacy of the icon once known as "America's Pastor."

“My granddad wasn't just Christian-famous, he was famous-famous, he was cross-over famous,” said Rev. Tullian Tchividjian, Billy Graham's Grandson.

Reverend Billy Graham filled football stadiums delivering a message that was simple and unchanging. No matter how many mistakes you've made, there is always another chance. His grandson Tullian Tchividjian is a preacher too.

“He had this amazing God-given capacity to take complex things and put them in simple everyday language,” said Tchividjian.

“Did he ever tell you how he did it,” asked Vinita Nair, CBS News.

“I don't think it's some craft that he tried to perfect,” answered Tchividjian. “I just think that's who he really is.”

Graham has said he was inspired by God when he was still a teenager.

"Christ came into my life, transformed me, changed me, made me a new person. I've seen him change thousands of lives," Rev. Billy Graham said in a Person to Person interview back in April 1956.

Graham's prominence has faded with advancing age. But recent comparisons to the new Pope Francis have brought him back into the conversation.  Both men have preached openness, not hard-line positions.

“My granddad was actually criticized for not taking more public stands on social issues like abortion, like homosexuality like those things that Evangelical Christians for the last 25 years have been almost fixated on,” said Tchividjian.

As he turns 95, Billy Graham's health is in decline, but his back-to-basics messages of faith and acceptance continue to inspire.
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