When Franklin Graham touches down in Arizona, he’ll be revisiting the state where he was ordained to the ministry in 1982—at Grace Community Church in Tempe. But today, instead of standing at the threshold of his ministry, he’ll be honored for how he has served God in the three intervening decades.
This evening, Graham is receiving the 2nd Annual “Daniel Award for Courageous Public Faith” from Arizona Christian University (ACU) at a special event in Scottsdale.
“We’re just delighted to give this award to Franklin Graham,” said ACU President Len Munsil by phone this week. “We think he’s a great example for our students of a Christ follower who is really seeking to advance the Kingdom through speaking truth and also doing the work of the church in caring for those in need.”
Arizona Christian University, formerly known as Southwestern College, created the award during its 50th anniversary celebration last year, naming former President George W. Bush as its first recipient.
“What began as a little Bible college is becoming a university that is designed to equip students to go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel fearlessly, and also to perform the work of the church,” said Munsil.
The award, he explained, honors people who have taken a stand for the Gospel and have demonstrated not only that Jesus Christ is “the way, the truth and the life,” but also have lived out their faith in public, meaningful ways.
“As we thought about a second recipient after President Bush,” said Munsil, “Franklin Graham came quickly to the forefront because he really is a model for our students of a follower of Christ who has been willing to speak truth in the public arena.
“He never misses an opportunity to share the Gospel, no matter what setting he is in, whether he is praying at a Presidential inauguration or doing an interview at FOX News.”
At the same time, Munsil added, Graham demonstrates not just faith while presenting the Gospel as president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, but also good works through his leadership of Samaritan’s Purse.
Listing some of those works, Munsil noted how Graham has been instrumental in helping people impacted by crises including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the civil war in Sudan, and natural disasters ranging from the tsunami in South Asia to the massive earthquakes in China, Haiti and Japan.
“Using traditional and social media and speaking opportunities, Franklin regularly speaks to current moral and social issues, challenging Christians to make a difference in the world,” said Munsil. “He also offers biblical context and application to current national and world events.”
Graham will speak on “Truth that Transforms” at the event, which will be attended by supporters of Arizona Christian University, faculty and staff, and a number of students who are volunteering with the event or attending the dinner with their families.
The evening also includes a time of worship and will conclude with the award presentation.
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