The Washington Times said in an editorial on Feb. 21:

Spreading the good news of the Gospel was Christ’s great commission for his church, and in Christian teaching the commission was meant for every believer. The Gospel according to Matthew tells that upon His resurrection Christ gathered his disciples and said:

“All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Evangelism has been the first priority of the Christian church since, eventually making Christendom the dominant religious faith in the world. That great commission was never more taken to heart than by Billy Graham, the most distinguished evangelist of his age, who died in his sleep Wednesday at his home in Montreat, N.C., from complications of Parkinson’s disease and other natural causes. He was 99.

His ministry spanned six decades, and his passion for Christ, expressed in revivalist eloquence, attracted a worldwide following. Through his radio and television broadcasts his message of repentance and salvation by faith in Christ touched remote villages in every corner of the Earth as well as the places of the powerful in city after city. He preached to more people than any other preacher in history. He was counselor to every president since Harry S. Truman (who invited him to the White House only once). Presidents after Mr. Truman called on “the chaplain to the nation” regularly, and he offered prayers at inaugurals, funerals and crises of war as well as peace.

He was invited by Queen Elizabeth II to preach in the chapel at Windsor Castle during his first crusade, as he called his revival meetings, in London in 1952. The London crusade was particularly important, because it established his stature in a time and place that was not particularly friendly to the American revivalist tradition.

Nevertheless, crowds grew, and when Mr. Graham gave the invitation to come forward to make a “commitment to Christ,” thousands streamed to the altar to the haunting strains of the revivalist hymn, “Just As I Am.” Newspaper columnists who descended on Haringay Arena to sneer returned to tell a story that caught the attention of the British public.