'Pastor to Presidents' Billy Graham Makes Gallup's 'Most Admired' List for 60th Time

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Famed evangelist Billy Graham has made the Gallup Poll's list of the 10 men most admired by Americans - for a record 60th year.
Billy Graham is the founder of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

Famed evangelist Billy Graham has made the Gallup Poll's list of the 10 men most admired by Americans - for a record 60th year.

Graham, 98, placed 5th on the annual list, just behind President Barack Obama - who placed first for the nint year in a row - President-elect Donald Trump, Pope Francis, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Other political, religious and business leaders to appear on the list include Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, The Dalai Lama, former President Bill Clinton, businessman and philanthropist Bill Gates, and Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

According to the Charlotte Observer, Graham, who currently resides in Montreat, North Carolina, first appeared on the list in 1955, and has made into the top 10 every year since, with the exception of the 1962 survey and in 1976, when the question was not asked. His closest competitor for number of times on the list is former President Ronald Reagan, who died in 2004. Reagan made the list 31 times.

In addition to advising numerous political leaders, Billy Graham is known for his crusades that brought the gospel to 215 million people, and has preached to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history, according to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Graham has also written 33 books, including Where I Am: Heaven, Eternity, and Our Life Beyond (2015), The Reason for My Hope: Salvation (2013), The Heaven Answer Book (2012), Nearing Home: Life, Faith and Finishing Well (2011) and Storm Warning (2010).

Last year, Billy Graham's son, Franklin, reflected on his father's humility and how he continued to point people to Jesus despite the many accolades he received throughout his lifetime.

"My father would say, 'It's not about me-it's all about the Lord Jesus Christ,'" the younger Graham recalled. "I remember years ago when he stood up to speak to a massive crowd of itinerant evangelists from around the world we had brought together for a conference-and they wouldn't stop applauding. He motioned for them to stop, but they wouldn't. He just kept quietly saying, 'He must increase, but I must decrease' (John 3:30). A good reminder to us all about what the focus of our lives should be."

Gallup conducted its poll Dec. 7-11, with a random sample of 1,028 adults in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Tags : Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Gallup, Most Admired List, Most Admired Men