Convinced that the only proper way to celebrate evangelism is to do more of the same, Billy Graham and his team came back preaching last month to the scene of their first big success.
The low-key silver-anniversary commemoration centered on a three-night crusade in the Hollywood Bowl sponsored by CHRISTIANITY TODAY and a special committee of Los Angeles area churchmen. On the closing evening Editor Harold Lindsell paid tribute to Graham as a “spokesman to the world” and presented him a bound volume of congratulatory letters, a number of them from important figures in American life who made decisions for Christ at Graham rallies.
All three services were videotaped to be telecast later around the world.People in non-English speaking countries are now seeing crusade telecasts with lip-synchronized translations.
Graham also was honored at a Variety Club banquet attended by dozens of Hollywood dignitaries. He was cited as “a man who has spoken face to face with more people than any person who has ever lived—carrying a message of hope to a generation of people groping for answers.” The 55-year-old evangelist was given a “gold card,” only a few of which have been presented previously, and all to heads of state.
Graham politely acknowledged all the accolades but repeatedly disowned the credit. He asked the crowds to talk about God rather than Graham. Programs for the anniversary celebration carried on the cover the opening stanza of “To God Be the Glory.” Offerings in excess of expenses were channeled into famine relief.
The mini-crusade in the 17,500-seat Hollywood Bowl drew crowds estimated at 12,000, 14,000, and 15,000, despite a transit strike. A school of evangelism, the largest ever conducted by the Graham team in the United States, ...1