This week in Christian history: Second Crusade, Christ the Redeemer, evangelist is born

Mordecai Ham, evangelist who influenced Billy Graham, born – April 2, 1877

Famed American evangelist Mordecai Ham (1877-1961), a Baptist preacher who led a young Billy Graham to become a born-again Christian. | Facebook/James Daniel Lynch

This week marks the anniversary of when Mordecai Ham, a fundamentalist Baptist preacher who inspired the Rev. Billy Graham to become an evangelist, was born.

A native of Allen County, Kentucky, and the son of a preacher, Ham was known for his tent revival meetings and converted large numbers of people in the American South, especially Texas.

It was at a 1934 meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, that Ham convinced a teenage Billy Graham to have a born again experience.

“Two young high school boys attended our meeting. They thought that everything I said was directed their way; so they decided to take seats in the choir, where I couldn’t point my finger at them. They didn’t pretend to be singers, but they wanted to be behind me,” recalled Ham, as reported by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

“One night a man spoke to them during the invitation and said, ‘Come on; let’s go up front.’ Billy and [Grady Wilson] both went to the altar. Billy was saved, and Grady dedicated his life to Christian service.”

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