A Question I Was Asked:

Could a 1950s Billy Graham Crusade Work in Britain in 2013?

The Question:

Could a typical Billy Graham crusade, like the one at Harringay, London in 1954, work in 2013? The Harringay one was very successful, having a big effect on British evangelicalism. My feeling is that the secularization of Britain and Europe has now reached the point in which that great crusade would no longer work.

UK Apologetics Reply:

Well the Graham organisation still exists, of course, but I must - and very sadly - say that I agree with you. It possibly could still work in the US, but I doubt very much that it would now work in Britain, and for the reason which you highlight. The 1950s were, I believe, a great time spiritually-speaking. It seems that the Lord was opening a door. There was an innocence following the war, people were very open to new and future possibilities. The feeling was that things must change and perhaps the spiritual dimension, perhaps even real Christianity, was the way forward; that is a kind of innocence which existed at societal level. The human way had failed, where do we go now? It was a fertile time for evangelism, in my opinion.

Of course, people are still being added to the Body of Christ but, in my honest opinion, probably not in the very large numbers of the 1950s, not here in the West, that is. Things have now changed. Why and in what way ? Because Secularism has moved in in a major way and says, 'you don't need any of that spiritual stuff because humans - all on their own - can solve/answer every problem!' The amazing thing is that, once again, people are believing this false message. Famously, Churchill spoke about the 'iron curtain' of communism coming down and shutting off eastern Europe; today I think we could speak of a spiritual (rather than a physical/geographical), iron curtain having descended during the 1960s here in Europe, effectively shutting off spiritual knowledge from many thousands. Especially from that decade, people have come to believe that Christianity is not the answer; you can have anything else you want: New Age, Mysticism, worship of science, as much money as you can make, centrally-heated homes - anything you want, but forget about about Christianity. We now really do need a spiritual revival of divine origin to change this.

People have also changed since the 1950s, being more philosophically sophisticated; they want explanations. Much of the old Graham approach was based on getting an emotional response, he didn't believe in 'going deep.' Today that only works with a smaller group of people. Today many thousands have visited several countries, can speak more than one language, have noted cultural differences, are more aware of religion in a broader sense; they want answers and better explanations. Some such people come to this website and ask questions, almost none of them would go to their local churches for answers. Things have changed and this is what we have to work with.

Robin A. Brace. May 12th, 2013.