Billy Graham whether you agreed with him or not, was a phenomenon of our times. Born in 1918 on his father's farm it wasn't long before he became a preacher himself after encountering the revivalist preacher Mordecai Ham. After that Graham preached at various Christian gatherings like Youth for Christ and his reputation as an orator for God went stratospheric. He obtained a doctorate while at college and also met his future wife while studying there.

This man, regarded as a Protestant Saint by some, has spoken in many countries and used every facet of the technological age to get his message across.

From the 1950's onwards to the day he died aged 99, his reputation for getting the Biblical message across will forever be his lasting legacy.

Dr. Graham seemed to have the ear of every American President from Harry S Truman to Barack Obama. Trump took to Twitter to honor Dr. Graham and some would say Graham's politics were definitely on the right. Dr. Graham stood up against racism but said his greatest regret was not doing more for civil rights.

Some found his relationship with the rich and powerful troubling and his charity Samaritans Purse was one of the causes he championed.

Dr. Graham celebrity

Billy Graham, whether he liked it or not, was regarded in the Christian and secular world as something of a celeb.

Standing 6ft 2 inches, 180 pounds with piercing blue eyes plus his booming southern American accent, he was indeed a presence.

There was something Charleton Hestonesque about him and he could have made it in Hollywood or politics had he so desired. Billy Graham refused for years to have his name outside the famous Chinese Theatre in star form alongside what he called entertainers.

Eventually, however, he relented as he thought his name would inspire others to find out about him and follow Christ.

Nixon was one of the awkward moments in his life and some found his relationship with him worrying. In private, Dr. Graham is alleged to have attacked Jews verbally whilst on a visit to the Nixon Whitehouse. Whether there was any truth in those rumors depends on what you believe or read.

Dr. Graham appeared to be pro-Israel yet he advised them to negotiate with the Arabs.

Franklin son of Billy

Billy Graham's son Franklin would appear to be the heir apparent to his fathers legacy. Franklin certainly has a hard act to follow in the wake of his father, however, he does not seem phased by this. Franklin Graham has developed a reputation for being something of an orator and preacher in his own right.

Many on the Christian left fear in his musings about Muslims he is something of a bigot. The Christian left would emphasise Jesus loves everyone regardless of their background. Franklin Graham would probably defend himself by saying extremist Islam is a threat.

I saw Billy Graham in 1984 at Villa Park in Birmingham and in September I have the chance to see his son in action.

Billy Graham helped me to find Christ but the jury on his son Franklin is still out for me. While winning souls for God is good, will Frankin Graham's visit to Blackpool help the poverty here and that for me, is the crux.