Guest / Limited Access /

Bob Pierce was an extreme version of post-WWII evangelicalism: entrepreneurial, energetic, independent, and out to evangelize the world. In 1947, the young Youth for Christ evangelist started toward China with only enough money to buy a ticket to Honolulu. That was how things were done in Youth for Christ: God's work overcame all obstacles, and God's workers should "burn out, not rust out." Pierce eventually made it to China, where thousands came to Christ during four months of evangelistic rallies. Hunger was everywhere; communism hammered at the door. A compassionate Pierce was hooked. "My father went to China a young man in search of adventure," his daughter Marilee Pierce Dunker would write. "He came home a man with a mission."

Pierce later wrote haunting words in the flyleaf of his Bible: "Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God." Dragging a movie camera across Asia—China was soon closed—Pierce showed the resulting pictures to church audiences in North America. He asked for money to help children. He showed their faces and begged Christians to "adopt" one. In 1950 he incorporated this personal crusade as World Vision.

In 1959, journalist Richard Gehman wrote that "[Pierce] cannot conceal his true emotions. He seems to me to be one of the few naturally, uncontrollably honest men I have ever met." When asked by Franklin Graham how to "shake people out of their complacency," Pierce said he had "become a part of the suffering. I literally felt the child's blindness, the mother's grief. … It was all too real to me when I stood before an audience. … It's not something that can be faked." Pastor Richard Halvorsen wrote that Pierce "prayed more earnestly and importunely than anyone ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedNancy Writebol: Ebola Is a Spiritual Battle
Subscriber Access Only Nancy Writebol: Ebola Is a Spiritual Battle
The missionary nurse who survived the deadly virus says medicine alone won't cure West Africa.
TrendingMark Driscoll Resigns from Mars Hill
Mark Driscoll Resigns from Mars Hill
"I do not want to be the source of anything that might detract from our church’s mission."
Editor's PickBless This Tackle? Not a Prayer
Bless This Tackle? Not a Prayer
Christians’ misguided fight for football devotions isn’t working.
Comments
Christianity Today
Imperfect Instrument
hide thisMarch March

In the Magazine

March 2005

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.