Interview with Larry Ross, evangelist Billy Graham's spokesman.

Is Billy Graham really not using the word crusade anymore?

The next outreach, in Cincinnati, will use the word mission. It's a word we've used for many years overseas, even in Canada, to be sensitive to other faith communities and cultures. But because it's a partnership with local churches, they have the final say.

Why even use the word anymore?

The question is whether sensitivity outweighs pragmatic communication. Ironically, after World War II, evangelists were using the word crusade because the word they had been using, campaign, was too militaristic. Franklin [Graham] has been referring to his outreaches as festivals. That's less out of sensitivity and more as a way to reflect what it is and to draw younger people.

Is it hard to make the switch after so many years?

I'm a Wheaton graduate, and at our 25th reunion, it was odd to come back to a different mascot than the crusader. But after an overseas mission, it's hard to transition back to using crusade. Old habits die hard.

Related Elsewhere

Christianity Today's Weblog covered the news that the evangelist's October event in Fresno, California was "Billy Graham's Last Crusade—Really."

See the related article in The Fresno Bee: "Crusade changes, but not mission." has more information on Billy Graham, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and upcoming events.

Profiles on Graham include those by Time Christianity Today's sister publication Christian History.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.