Preacher to Preacher: The Billy Graham-Dwight Ferguson Connection

By Carroll Rader Daughter of Dwight Ferguson

Evangelist Billy Graham
Evangelist Billy Graham
According to English biographer John Pollock, early on Billy Graham not only preached with authority but he, with equal dedication, listened to and evaluated the trends and issues that influenced the church and its leaders.

During the late 1940s and early 50s especially his careful listening signaled his search for God’s direction of his ministry. How could he best obey God’s calling?

In Graham’s listening, searching, and evaluating his path crossed that of another evangelist; Dwight Ferguson, born and raised in Chicago, apprenticed under Paul Rader, and formed spiritually at Asbury College. Ferguson’s meetings in churches, colleges, and camp meetings often blossomed into revivals where the preacher didn’t preach and the Holy Spirit took charge, drawing seekers into fellowship with the Lord.

Graham and Ferguson were ministering in California at the same time when Graham asked the older evangelist for some time when they could talk about the Holy Spirit; he had some questions.

Evangelist and MFM Founder Dwight Ferguson
Evangelist and MFM Founder Dwight Ferguson
But time came to move on to the next commitment on both their schedules. Graham, however, wasn’t finished. He changed his travel plans, grabbing a seat on the same flight Ferguson was taking to Atlanta. Without jet travel in those days the two men had hours of time to talk.

And while both evangelists were still in Georgia, Ferguson was called to the phone in the middle of the night. “Could you give me a little more time before you leave?” Billy asked. He wanted to hear more about the Holy Spirit’s role in spiritual revival, which he knew was a major part of Ferguson’s preaching.

No one knows what questions Billy Graham asked of his fellow evangelist, nor what his answers might have been. Each went his own way, each under God’s direction, each empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Dwight Ferguson lost his 21-year-old son to a hunting accident in 1952, and Graham wrote the grieving father. “I have cherished memories of our close fellowship” and he sent his “love and deep feeling in the matter of your son’s home going.”

And in 1988 Graham chased down Ferguson’s mailing address and wrote him, regretting that they’d lost touch “down through the years.”

Billy Graham's letter to Dwight Ferguson
A copy of Billy Graham's letter to Dwight Ferguson