The death of Billy Graham brings recollection of how things where when he was at the top of his game. There were regular “crusades” where he would fill football stadiums. Often his sermons were broadcast on one of the three networks. Wire services dutifully reported quotes from his sermons.
There were a handful of others who successfully held multiple city events as well. But, I don’t think this happens anymore. There are sell out crowds for the likes of Joel Osteen and Benny Hinn. These are not called “crusades” and are different kinds of events.
Society is now more fragmented with more ethnic diversity and Christian variety. Uniting under the flag of sin and hell is not as easy today as it was for Billy Graham.
Joel Osteen hardly mentions sin and hell. Everyone dozes through Benny Hinn waiting for hundreds of “ill people” to collapse healed when he waves his arm. Billy Graham’s model worked under modernism, the uniformity of race, religion and politics. In our post modern society we are sliced up into endless religions and cultural diversity. Every once in a while I read of a Christian propagandist who says we need a nationwide revival. Such things are long gone.
Christians took over the Roman Empire with a message of miracles and that people could cheat death by dumping other gods. Surely the offer to cheat death remains appealing. But, now there are different offers to cheat death by different branches of Christianity.
Say goodbye to the old fashioned crusade.