Sharp division over the value of Billy Graham’s Germany crusade was evident when the evangelist addressed a turbulent meeting of state church clergymen in Dortmund, on the third day of his “Euro 70” campaign this month. From the capacity crowd of 500 came boos and hisses, mingled with applause and the banging of tables.
Industrial Dortmund, in the heart of the Ruhr area, was the hub of Graham’s latest crusade. But the outreach was continent-wide. The 13,000-seat Westfalenhalle meetings were carried by the largest closed-circuit TV network ever attempted in Europe. Tens of thousands of people saw the evangelist nightly on large screens in auditoriums from Tromso, Norway (300 miles north of the Arctic Circle), to Geneva, Switzerland.
His sermons were simultaneously translated into seven languages for thirty-five European cities.
The Lutheran ministers’ meeting, a session in one of their regular conferences, was not relayed and was not organized by the crusade committee. Graham had accepted an invitation from the churchmen.
As he began to address them, he acknowledged their “division” about his ministry. This was about all he could do before a bearded demonstrator shoved his way to the front. The interloper was involved in a scuffle, smashing his roughly made banner. Graham then allowed him several minutes to speak. The interrupter denounced the crusade and the amount of money spent “to rescue people from spiritual death” (a problem he claimed could be solved by a quick visit to the nearest parish priest) and “taken away from those in danger of physical death by starvation.”
There was loud applause when the interrupter claimed: “It’s a shame that the Christians give so much money to unimportant things.”
Minutes later, Graham resumed ...1
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