Originally published June 22, 1973
All over Korea during May and early June, farmers were busy transplanting rice seedlings. On the Christian calendar, however, it was harvest time. The nation was penetrated by the Gospel as few if any countries ever have been. The spring spiritual effort was climaxed in Seoul May 30-June 3 when Billy Graham preached to more people in five days than he had ever confronted in any crusade of any length before. It was also apparently the largest gathering in Church history.
Using a system of pre marked sections that allowed for about three square feet per person, Korean organizers of the Seoul crusade estimated that 3.2 million came to the five meetings, including 1.1 million at the closing Sunday afternoon rally. (Police estimates were about 50 per cent less.) Crusade totals thus surpassed by more than 900,000 the total attendance at Graham's 1957 New York City meeting, which lasted sixteen weeks. Also falling was the record established at Glasgow, Scotland, during six weeks in 1955, when the cumulative total was 2,647,365.
The crusade was backed by virtually all the 1,600 Protestant churches in Seoul; Catholics, Buddhists, and Confucianists were in the enthusiastic crowds by the thousands. "I seriously doubt if we will ever see meetings like this again in my ministry," the evangelist said at the end of the series. What he had seen were the fruits of some ninety years of evangelical missionary work plus unprecedented cooperation among the churches in recent months of preparation. Graham often publicly acknowledged the contributions of both the missionaries and the churches, and in his final statement he declared, "Those of us who had the privilege of participating in it will never forget what ...1
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