In Memoriam: Dr. John Wesley White

Dr. John Wesley WhiteDr. John Wesley White, a longtime associate evangelist with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), died Sunday, Sept. 4, due to complications from a stroke. He was 87. 

Born on a farm in the village of Pangman in southern Saskatchewan, Canada, White began preaching at the age of 15. He studied at Moody Bible Institute and Wheaton College, and earned a Ph.D. from Oxford University.

From 1961 to 1996, White preached the Gospel with BGEA. While Rev. Billy Graham preached in large cities with 50,000-seat stadiums, White was charged with speaking in smaller cities with 5,000- to 10,000-seat facilities.

Over his 70 years of ministry, White preached to millions of people in more than 100 countries. He also authored 23 books, which have been distributed around the world in several languages with more than one million books in print.

In addition, in 1967, he co-founded Richmond College, Canada’s first Christian liberal arts college, and served as its chancellor before it became Canada Christian College. White expanded his ministry to television in the 1970s, with the Agape and Join the Family programs broadcast across Canada.

“I have seldom met a man who had a deeper burden for evangelism,” wrote Graham, according to BGEA.

Of note, it was White who convinced Graham’s youngest son, Franklin, to preach for the first time – in Juneau, Alaska, in March 1989. Since then, the younger Graham – who is now president & CEO of BGEA – has held 182 evangelistic festivals in dozens of countries, introducing multitudes to the love of Jesus Christ.

In his autobiography, Rebel with a Cause, Franklin Graham wrote, “John became not only my close adviser and friend, but also my teacher.”

White is survived by two sons, Paul, a professor at Purdue University, and Randy, a pilot with American Airlines; and five grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Kathleen, who passed away in August 2011, and two sons – Wesley and Bill.

A funeral was held on Saturday, Sept. 10, at The Peoples Church in Toronto.

By NRB Staff

Published: September 14, 2016

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