New York Crusade
God in the Garden, by Curtis Mitchell, Doubleday, 1957. 195 pp., $2.50.
This is an immediate, on-the-scene report of the biggest mass evangelism drive in Christian history, and it has the swift, crackling flavor of good journalism. No doubt time will bring further light to bear on the 1957 phenomenon of Billy Graham and his New York crusade, but for the present, this book ably tells the story, in its many facets, as it happened.
Mr. Mitchell, a polished feature writer for the American Weekly, has done a fine job of pulling together all the varied strands of the vast undertaking, and weaving them into a smooth, vivid pattern.
He roves over the whole complex anatomy of the campaign, its planning, participants, proceedings, its colorful sidelights, its partisans and critics and the response of press and public. A personal diary of Mr. Graham himself provides some of the most unusual, revealing passages in the volume. Excerpts from the diary are sprinkled throughout, showing Mr. Graham’s feelings as the effort progressed.
For instance, before the crusade began, Mr. Graham, at his rural mountaintop home in North Carolina, wrote wistfully that he wished the Lord would just let him stay there the rest of his life and never go to New York. “All the forces of hell will probably be turned on us,” he wrote. He lamented the “concentration of publicity around my name … This gaze on me and our team must be shifted to the person of Christ … God will not share his glory …”
The evangelist also tells how at first, when his work was lampooned or denounced by others, he was “tempted once or twice to lash back. But then scores of scriptures began to echo in my ears … Gradually the spirit of God shed abroad in my heart an everwhelming ...1
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