This article originally appeared in the July 17, 1981, issue of Christianity Today.
Surveying a quarter-century of U.S. church life would not be complete without the insights of evangelist Billy Graham. As readers reflect on major trends since the fifties, they will want to study Graham's insights on evangelicals and the churches. In this interview with Christianity Today editors, he also stakes out his position on a number of current issues, including those of both a personal and a controversial nature.
What are some of the most significant changes on the American church scene in the last 25 years?
There are a number of things that come to mind. First is the emergence of evangelicalism as the most significant religious movement throughout the world, as well as in America. You could almost say that its growth has been explosive, and that its force continues to increase.
Second has been the emergence of numerous parachurch organizations. They have had a tremendous impact. Their influence has been felt in many ways, including on the so-called mainline denominations.
Third is the new understanding between Roman Catholics and Protestants. Twenty-five years ago we could hardly speak with each other openly. In our crusades today, thousands of Catholics feel free to attend. I have preached in Roman Catholic schools, and have even received honorary doctorates from them. This could not have happened 25 years ago.
Another thing is the emergence of television evangelism and Bible teaching. This has already had a wide effect, and will probably grow in significance in the future.
Along with this has come the emergence of large numbers of evangelicals taking strong political positions. This has probably already grade a historic impact on American ...1