To the University of California’s Berkeley campus—freshly embroiled in turmoil over the sudden firing of President Clark Kerr—came new conflict last month centering on militant Christianity and Billy Graham.
It was touched off when Dr. William R. Bright brought 700 staffers of his world-wide Campus Crusade for Christ to the campus for a week-long “work” convention, the first since Bright started the organization in 1951. CCC board member Graham addressed a breakfast gathering of 300 faculty members and a noon crowd of 8,000 students on the last day of the session.
All week, CCC activists buttonholed students with straightforward, person-to-person gospel appeals. They staged noon rallies before thousands and conducted evening meetings in scores of residence halls. They infiltrated “The Forum,” a popular Telegraph Avenue coffeehouse frequented by hippies and budding political radicals, and scored many conversions there. Nightly they put on high-quality programs at a 3,000-seat theater. They saturated surrounding neighborhoods with a visitation campaign, and in the campus Plaza area they manned Christian literature tables next to tables run by such groups as the Campus Sexual Rights Forum, the leftist Students for a Democratic Society, and the Maoist-oriented Progressive Labor Party.
By the end of the week almost 1,000 decision slips were tabulated, not including more than 150 inquiry cards checked in at the Graham meeting.
Widespread criticism resulted. The Daily Californian editorialized that it had no objection to religious discussion activities but that “there are limits to these activities which should not be overstepped, and this group of zealots has managed to transgress those boundaries with gay abandon.” It complained ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more