Idol Chatter

Past Billy Graham television specials have focused on issues such as divorce or on cities in ruin, such as hurricane-ravaged New Orleans. But the latest evangelistic crusade, broadcast from Baltimore, asks the question, “Do you know where your children are?” Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, continues to take the helm of the behemoth evangelical ministry, while the ministry increasingly is focusing on reaching out to teens, in this case by addressing the staggering and bleak statistics surrounding teenage runaways.

The special follows the usual Crusade format of testimonies of dramatic conversions–in this case from teens who used to live on the streets–mixed with coverage of Franklin Graham preaching and contemporary Christian musical guests singing their latest hits. While I have never been a huge supporter of this type of old-fashioned revival-style formula for evangelizing, a thought struck me as I was watching the special. With pseudo-celebs like Stephen Baldwin trying to make Jesus “rad” by developing gospel skateboarding comic books while Christian bookstores sell the latest “Gospel According To…” book, maybe it’s time to go a little retro in the way the gospel is preached after all .

Jesus didn’t try to follow pop culture trends to make his message fashionable, He told the truth in simple terms. So while Graham’s method of ministry may seem old-fashioned, it is perhaps ever-so-slightly more effective than the latest Christian slogan or marketing trend.

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