Marcus Loane made the decision to invite Billy Graham for a three-week crusade in Sydney, Australia, while in the hills of Irian Jaya (Indonesian New Guinea) in 1976. As he walked along jungle trails where two Australian missionaries had been killed by headhunters not long before, Loane prayed about the spiritual state of Australia.

And from Loane’s perspective as Anglican archbishop of Sydney, with a nominal one million believers under his spiritual jurisdiction, he concluded that a Graham crusade was needed. As he explained several months later to a group of church leaders in the Chapter House of St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney, Australia needed to experience a spiritual impact similar to the one made during a 1959 visit by Graham.

“That crusade,” he said, “had a most remarkable impact on the city of Sydney, on the churches of all denominations, and on an amazingly large number of totally uncommitted people. For the Church of England the benefits were felt right through to the late 1960s, and were evident in the number of men who offered themselves for theological training and missionary service, and in greatly increased numbers who offered themselves for adult confirmation.

“There was a rising tide of spiritual interest in the 1950s. We are now moving in the opposite direction towards an agnostic, humanistic and an a religious society.”

The decision to invite Graham, then revealed for the first time to other church leaders, was an almost totally personal decision by Loane. Some of his closest advisers were doubtful. Others thought that Graham would not consent to staying three weeks. But from that day the conviction spread that the invitation was right, and people got behind it in amazing numbers.

Loane stands tall in a historic ...

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