Whatever Happened To Evangelical “Crusades”

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.

28 Responses

  1. Jinx II

    In my Irish catholic family, Graham was considered a protestant and it was a sin to watch or listen to him………how ridiculous.

    1. Jinx II That’s funny. There were so many myths back then that Catholics and Protestants told about each other. I had a guy friend in college I introduced to a girl from back where I grew up. He was a Catholic and she a Methodist. Her parents were worried about their romance because they had heard a Protestant had to sleep with a priest before conversion. Anyway, she converted and they had been married for 50 years. Then, when I worked in a office in NYC there were a couple of Catholic women in their 50’s whose parents came from Italy. They asked me if it was true that Martin Luther ran a brothel.

  2. Juan Ruiz

    When I was a kid, there were three religious spokesmen: Graham, Roberts, and Sheen. Two had weekly programs, Graham had his crusades. Sheen was the most interesting and intellectual. EWTN used to run his old shows.

  3. There seems to be 2 proposed solutions to gun violence in public, i.e. government, schools. Liberals like Mike McFeely, don’t want to arm teachers or other school staff. I’m sure lots of “Guns banned on these premises” signs will adorn their safe schools. Conservatives, led by President Trump, favor arming willing teachers and staff, concealed carry, with lots of background checks. I would further propose that they receive specific training in active school shooter scenarios and law enforcement procedures. They should also undergo a mental health evaluation check. May I suggest the schools so defended by these school officials be adorned with signs stating something like “School Staff Armed with Guns”.

    If an impasse results on this issue, I would be in favor of school district boundaries drawn along ideological lines. Liberals can send their kids to unarmed schools while conservatives send their kids to armed schools. That should separate the true believers on the issue.

    1. Juan Ruiz

      ” I would further propose that they receive specific training in active school shooter scenarios and law enforcement procedures. ”

      That’s all fine, but here’s the rub: You have a perp whose whole purpose in being at the school is to shoot people. He won’t think twice about it. Then you have a teacher who is going to have to draw a bead and kill him. Will that teacher act automatically, or pause and reflect on the action? If the latter, that teacher is dead.

      1. An armed teacher has a decent chance at protecting students and staff. An unarmed teacher has very little chance. This is easy logic. Add to that the fact that the teacher is probably INSIDE the school with the kids and you have motivation; unlike the Parkland, FL case where the sheriff’s deputy was armed and OUTSIDE. Of course, he appeared to be unwilling to risk life or limb by going IN the school.

    2. Matt 9:09 conservatives send their kids to armed schools.

      Ah, yes. The “right to life” values again: The solution to humans getting killed is to kill more humans. There is a solution to humans getting killed by young people with guns, see to it they do not have guns. But, “right to life” is not about saving lives, it is about controlling women and politics. If some humans get killed while we “right to life” people pursue our political goals it is just collateral damage.

      1. Bob

        I ask this: why are young people killing young people? It is not BECAUSE of gun availability….it is beyond that…the NRA or old white conservatives…it is youth on youth crime. I dont have the answer….hopefully those eating Tide pods and marching on the White House can help provide the answer

        1. Bob 11:31 It is not because of gun availability…I don’t have the answer

          How can you say it is not gun availability and you don’t have the answer? If you don’t have the answer you have to include gun availability as a possible source of the problem.

          We have never tried to limit gun availability so it cannot be stated this will not work. There are countries that limit gun availability and they do not have shootings in schools.

          1. Bob

            Jon….we had guns in high school…..and we didnt shoot up our classmates….you must be kidding me. It is a generational thing….crappy absent parents….zero respect for authority….zero accountability….i have guns in my home….zero lives lost.

          2. Bob

            Ask the most recent young murderer why he killed those people….i will GUARANTEE he doesnt say “because the gun was available”

          3. Bob 11:44 I can only repeat, we have never tried limiting gun ownership so we cannot say it does not work. Unless you have evidence or an experience where gun ownership has been limited please do not take up space here.

      2. Matt Noag

        A school shooter like Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people. If a teacher could have shot and killed Cruz after 5 people, 12 people would lived. Plus, the next potential mass murderer would be deterred. Pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment, pro law enforcement. Win win and win.

        1. Matt 1:44 If a teacher could have shot and killed Cruz after 5 people 12 people would have lived

          “If” is a great word. Here is another use of it. “If” he had never had access to a gun 17 people would have lived.

          Another use of “if”, “if” after the 17 people were dead and law enforcement came looking for whomever had done it and saw the teacher holding an unsuccessful gun they might have killed her immediately, 18 killed.

          1. Jon 2:05 pm: Yes, Jon, but we live in the real world. Your first sentence is just wishful thinking. Criminals, because they are criminals, always get access to the weapon of murder. It could be a gun, a knife, a car, a bomb, etc. There will never be global disarmament. If the USA disarms, we will be taken over by any number of nations wishing to plunder our natural resources and real estate.

            If I recall, you also want the USA to get rid of the automobile. Yes, then there would be no automobile deaths.

            Here’s one of my favorite “ifs”. If there were no more liberals and atheists ..

    3. unregenerate

      Here we go. Old Noah hijacks another topic. We go from ‘Evangelical Crusades’ to the Conservative Juiceman’s crusade for armed teachers in our public schools. Let’s add Catholic parochial schools to the list. Nothing like god and guns to cock the juiceman’s piece.

      One of my favorite pro-gun promotional pitches is “If you actually believe criminals will obey gun control laws, you are some special kind of stupid.” I submit, depending on how restrictive any gun control laws may by chance be enacted, I believe the second amendment obsession that consumes this nation may drive some “responsible law abiding gun owners” to disobey these laws. So yes, no fewer guns for criminals, just more criminals with guns.

      1. unregenerate 3:33 It may be that preventing gun ownership for some of society will result in criminals having guns and law abiding citizens not having them. It may mean government takes control of an unarmed society. But, the fact is we have never tried it.

  4. Randall Wehler

    The word “crusade” evokes visual images of pictures/paintings that were seen in my high school history book, that of waging war to seize the Holy Lands from people then known as “infidels.” Used in a more contemporary context, the word suggests impassioned zeal aimed at some kind of change. That change almost always has a fundamentalistic flavor of some sort of conversion or rededication. Too often, there is a choice-based dichotomy between God and the Devil, heaven or hell, serving God or serving mammon, etc. In considering a continuum of Christian-minded people, there are those who are more concrete and literal about the biblical scriptures and would go along with a mass movement of gatherers to the platform of the evangelistic preacher at a crusade versus the more figurative-metaphorical biblical interpreters who think more abstractly and see God as a subtle reality to be contemplated and who are not as prone to advance forward on the stadium grounds for social approval or to reward the event orchestrater. (Personally, I align more toward the latter). To each their own in consideration of choice of religious style.

    1. Juan Ruiz

      It should be noted that the root word for “crusade” is the Latin “crux” (cross). Specifically Medieval Latin “cruciata,” “to mark with a cross.” So the Christian connection is patent.

    2. Randall 9:56 Good essay and summary. I think public opinion within religion is slipping away from the simplistic choices of the God/Devil and heaven/hell. That is why there are no more Billy Graham type crusades.

      While Pentecostalism, the personal relationship with God, is growing, the big numbers elsewhere are in the prosperity gospel. It is President Trump’s Christianity. I’m trying to remember some of them, Paula White, Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, Pat Robertson, Robert Tilton, Creflo Dollar etc. If it were possible to rank by frequency all the kinds of troubles people fret about such as fear of dying, fear of living with bad health, bad relationships, loneliness and money I would guess worry about money ranks high. They tune into a prosperity gospel preacher who tells them, “Jesus wants you to be prosperous” and that preacher will receive their money.

      I think those who ask for money in return for a promise of “everlasting life” are facing more skepticism. And, it’s only right they face the same skepticism as the prosperity gospel crooks.

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