Will large evangelistic “crusade” type events finally come to a conclusion as our hunger for depth and drama increase? Does the postmodernÂ demands for authenticity make large group revivals passÃ©? Has money seeking charlatans made the Christian message not worth the time in this setting?
If your answer is yes, don’t tell this to Greg Laurie, who continues to defy what sociologists tell us about the ethos of our culture today. Maybe our tolerance for large scale evangelistic events has not waned as much as I had thought. In the day of Peter, it was the large gathering at Pentecost. For Whitfield and WesleyÂ it was the circuit ride. For Billy Graham it was the stadiums. Hasn’t someone sat down with Greg and said, “Greg, listen. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but what you are doing . . . you know, that thing in the stadiums that Billy did. It was good for his time, but we are beyond that. The statistics show that it does not work as much as you think, the culture won’t tolerate it any longer, and, in allÂ actuality, preaching the Gospel message the way you do is not really the right way to go about it”?
I am sure that he has heard it, but he continues on. Harvest Crusade is moving on, kicking off his first evangelistic crusade of the year at theÂ Triangle/Raleigh-Durham Area, N.C.. There were over 400,000 printed invites that went out over the last 10 days.
According to Greg, “No matter what happens in our world, there must always be a place for the verbal proclamation of the Gospel. Because God doesn’t say it’s through drama or music that people will believe. He said it’s through the foolishness of the proclaiming of the Gospel that people will believe. God honors the verbal proclamation of the Gospel. Therefore, events where this takes place will never be outdated.”
You know what? I think he is right. I may not have said this a couple of years ago as I went to hear Billy Graham at Irving Stadium. But my thoughts have changed. Yes, we need to concentrate on relationship and focus more on discipleship. But in the end, the power of the Gospel must be proclaimed clearly, boldly, and foolishly. I don’t know how many people I have met that have become believers by listening to Billy Graham, but it is a lot. I think we need to be careful not to pull back our commitment level from such events simply because cultural analytics say it won’t work. This isn’t even a “pretense or truth” issue that Paul spoke of. The Gospel is being proclaimed and in the Gospel is the power of God.
Is it foolish to continue to have evangelistic crusades in our postmodern age? Yes. It is foolish in whatever age. Greg Laurie . . . thanks for your passion and commitment to the word of God proclaimed. Thanks for your foolish preaching. We will pray for you tonight. We will pray that many people move from the world of darkness to His marvelous light. God speed.