By Michael Ireland, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (ANS, Sept.9, 2016) — Canadian-born Dr. John Wesley White, who was for many years an Associate Evangelist with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, died on Sept. 4, 2016; he was 87 years old. He joined his late wife, Kathleen, who passed away in August 2011.
John Wesley White was born on a farm near Pangman, Saskatchewan. From his rural beginnings he rose to earn a Ph. D from Oxford University and he became Billy Graham’s Associate Evangelist as well as the author of 23 best-selling books.
Dr. White’s nephew, Charles McVety, told ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net): “He was a great man of God, a-Billy Graham Evangelist, and my father’s partner in establishing Canada Christian College and School of Graduate Theological Studies in 1967.”
McVety said: “While Billy Graham preached in large cities with 50,000 seat stadiums, Dr. White was charged with speaking in smaller cities with 5,000 – 10,000 seat facilities. Over his 70 years of ministry, Dr. White preached to millions of people in over 100 countries.”
“As one of Canada’s most prolific writers, his 23 books have been distributed around the world in several languages with over 1 million books in print,” he said.
In an article by Kristy Etheridge for www.billygraham.org, the writer says: “Dr. White was a scholar who held a doctorate in philosophy from Oxford University, among other degrees. He memorized hundreds of Bible verses and wrote more than 20 books. He preached the Gospel with BGEA from 1961 to 1996 and hosted a religious television show in his native Canada.”
Etheridge writes the evangelist was also a close friend of the Graham family and instrumental in helping Franklin Graham discover his calling to proclaim the Gospel.
According to Etheridge, it was Dr. White who convinced Franklin to preach for the first time—in Juneau, Alaska, in March of 1989. Since then, Franklin has held 182 evangelistic festivals in dozens of countries, introducing multitudes to the love of Jesus Christ.
In her article, Etheridge recalls how Dr. White was battling double pneumonia when he stood up to preach the Gospel on April 28, 1996, inside an elementary school gymnasium in Greeneville, Tennessee. His family and friends had ordered him to stay home that night, but the preacher couldn’t be stopped.
“I did not dare not come here,” he said.
Dr. White preached from Luke chapter 13, in which someone asked Jesus if only a few people will be saved. Jesus answered with these instructions: strive to enter the kingdom of God “through the narrow door” before it’s too late. Those who don’t enter in time, He said, will be cast out—left in a place where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Luke 13:23-28).
But others, Jesus continued, “will come from east and west and from north and south, and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God” (Luke 13:29).
“Jesus Christ is here,” Dr. White proclaimed that night in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, “and He is calling you from the east, the west, the north and the south. Come to Jesus tonight.”
And “the people came,” reads a Decision magazine article from the summer of 1996—“a few at first, then dozens of them, streaming down out of the bleachers and onto the gym floor.”
Etheridge writes: “Later that night, Dr. White suffered a debilitating stroke. After decades of boldly preaching the Gospel around the world as an associate evangelist with Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, the brilliant Canadian preacher had been silenced. Almost. For nine months, he could only speak one word: Jesus.”
Etheridge concludes: “More than 20 years later, Dr. White finally saw the Savior he had preached about for so long.”
In his autobiography, Rebel with a Cause, Franklin wrote, “John became not only my close adviser and friend, but also my teacher.”
Billy Graham wrote about Dr. White, “I have seldom met a man who had a deeper burden for evangelism.”
“To the end,” says Etheridge, “Dr. White continued to share the Gospel through monthly letters. The father, grandfather and evangelist leaves behind a legacy of service and devotion to Jesus Christ.”
Dr. White is survived by his two sons, Paul, a professor at Purdue University and Randy, a pilot flying with American Airlines, their wives Paula and Lorraine and 5 grandchildren.
The funeral will be held at the Peoples Church, 374 Sheppard Ave E., Toronto, on Saturday, September 10th at 1:00 pm. The Visitation for Dr. John Wesley White’s family will be at the Peoples Church, 374 Sheppard Ave. East, 7pm to 9pm.
Photo Captions: 1) Dr. John Wesley White, appearing with his wife, Kathleen on the “100 Huntley Street” TV show in Canada. 2) This photo of Dr. White was taken at the Sioux Empire Billy Graham Crusade in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in 1987. (BGEA) 3) Franklin Graham with his friend and mentor, John Wesley White. (BGEA) 4) Michael Ireland.
About the Writer: Michael Ireland is a volunteer internet journalist serving as Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, as well as an Ordained Minister who has served with ASSIST Ministries and written for ASSIST News Service since its beginning in 1989. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China, and Russia. To help Michael cover his expenses in bringing news of the Persecuted Church, log-on to: https://actintl.givingfuel.com/ireland-michael
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