Final crusade after 60 years?

Discussions on ecclesiology such as the nature, constitution and functions of the church.
Post Reply

Have you been to a Graham Crusade?

Yes, I have
No, but I've seen it on TV
Neither, but I should've done either or both
Total votes: 5

Senior Member
Posts: 691
Joined: Mon May 02, 2005 5:16 am
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Final crusade after 60 years?


Post by ochotseat » Sun Jun 26, 2005 4:44 pm

Billy Graham: 60 Years of Being Faithful to God's Call
By Wendy Griffith

NEW YORK - In nearly six decades of ministry, evangelist Billy Graham has preached the Gospel to more than 200 million people.

And tonight in New York City, in Flushing Meadow's Corona Park, he will take the stage one more time to bring the message of Christ.

He has said that this could be his last crusade. If that turns out to be true, it is fitting that it takes place in New York, a city that has a special place in the history of Graham's ministry.

“What a tragedy it would be if you did not accept Christ tonight,” Graham said in 1957, a fiery evangelist from rural North Carolina who came to New York City to share the Gospel.

At the time, Graham had already preached at crusades for nearly 10 years in the U.S. and Europe. But as he prepared to come to New York then, he confessed to feeling uneasy.

"I have never felt more inadequate," he wrote in his journal. "I come to New York with fear and trembling."

Cliff Barrows, Graham's partner in ministry for nearly six decades, recalled that time. “I remember, particularly,” Barrows said, “Billy going to New York and walking through Manhattan, and wondering how a voice -- almost like one crying in the wilderness -- how could he make the message plain? How could they be reached?”

Skeptical New Yorkers did nothing to ease Graham's misgivings.

Barrows recalled, “They laughed when he came into the city, and wondered what this Southern boy was gonna be able to do in Madison Square Garden. They'd maybe fill the first night, but certainly wouldn't fill the second night.”

But scorn turned to amazement as crowds packed Madison Square Garden every night, until the Crusade ran past its six-weeks time frame, spilling out of the Garden and into the rest of the city.

“One day we were at Yankee Stadium with 100,000 people,” Barrows said. “Twenty-thousand were turned away - it's the largest crowd in the history of that famous stadium. And we ended the crusade 16 weeks later in September, at Times Square, where 120,000 people gathered to hear the gospel preached.”

It became the most successful religious campaign in U.S. history, with more than 2 million New Yorkers hearing the Gospel, and 56,000 committing their lives to Christ.

And it was the most expensive crusade for its time, costing $2.5 million. Graham has returned to New York several times in the nearly 50 years since that first crusade.

He returned to Madison Square Garden in 1969, and he held another crusade at Shea Stadium in 1970. And on one incredible day in 1991, more than 250,000 people filled Central Park to hear him preach.

The world and Graham have changed over the decades, but his simple message has remained the same.

Evangelist Luis Palau said, “He used to shout more in those days, and his high pitch was incredible, and the speed of his delivery was different, but the message doesn't change one bit. I've interpreted for him many times into Spanish, and I don't need to see his text because I know what he's going to say.”

”The fact that God is love, that He loves the world, and He loves the individual - that's been the major thrust of Mr. Graham's message all these years. He said I'm determined not to know anything save Jesus Christ, the message of the cross, which demonstrated the love of God," Barrows stated.

Graham's faithfulness to his mission is a key reason many believe he has sustained a successful ministry for so long.

He has been America's, and perhaps the world's, most respected religious figure for decades. A position he has kept by not allowing his access to the powerful distract him from his message.

Eldest son Franklin remarked, “He has stayed focused on telling men and women about Jesus Christ. His ministry, his life, every speaking opportunity with a President or a king or whoever, he could always get the conversation right around to the Gospel.”

That focus has carried him across the globe, allowing him to preach to millions of people in more than 185 countries.

In the mid-80s, he made a controversial trip behind the Iron Curtain to bring Christ's message to those desperate for God in Communist Eastern Europe.

Barrows remembered the crowds. “They were packed so close together,” he said, “we couldn't get the materials to them, and they had packed the materials in a cellophane bag with a pencil, a decision card, and a Gospel so that they would have the Scriptures... We threw them out to the people, and they were reaching up and grabbing them. They were so hungry to hear the Word and to receive it.”

And he held the first racially integrated public meeting in apartheid-era South Africa. He even went into North Korea, one of the world's most secretive regimes in the 90s, talking about Christ with its tyrannical leader, the late Kim il Sung.

Palau says Graham's impact has been enormous. “Billy Graham really opened up more countries to the Gospel, inspired more young preachers to really believe that nations could be opened up. He has given credibility to biblical Christianity like no one, except maybe the Apostle Paul, in history,” Palau said.

But while others praise Graham's accomplishments, Barrows said the evangelist cultivates an attitude of humility. “He has constantly reminded all of us as a team,” Barrows commented, “that it's not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord. And he's reminded us not to reach up and touch God's glory, that it is His doing and that we must recognize and be humble in our walk and attitude before Him.”

As Graham returns to New York, many wonder if this might be his last crusade.

But even without Billy Graham, the evangelistic ministry will go on. Franklin has taken over the reins of his father's organization, preaching several gospel festivals a year, including one in the African nation of Angola just this month.

As for the 81-year-old Barrows, he looks back in wonder at what God has done in 60 years of life and ministry with Graham. Millions have come to Christ through Graham's obedience to God's call, hundreds and thousands at a time making their way to the altars as the choir sings “Just as I Am.'”

And Barrows relishes the chance to sing that old hymn one more time, and to see God use his friend Billy Graham once more, doing what he has done so well for so long.

Barrows sings the final verse of “Just as I Am” for the camera - “Lamb of God, I come, I come.”

“And we're going to see them come,” promises Barrows. “I believe to the glory of God, that their lives will be changed, and what a difference their world will be."

Newbie Member
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2005 6:24 pm
Christian: No
Location: Ireland
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0


Post by MDTyKe » Fri Jul 29, 2005 6:25 pm

Yup! Went to the NY one; was great.


Post Reply