A fascinating documentary on the ABC’s Compass last night showed how enthralled Aussies were when Billy Graham first came here in the late 50’s.
Massive crowds gathered during 15 weeks of meetings, which were covered by all media outlets, radio being beamed live to many churches and meeting halls across the country. Thousands gave their lives to Jesus, and many hundreds swarmed forward at altar calls for rededication.
I had always thought that there had been no major revival in Australia, but it must be said that if these meetings didn’t constitute some form of revival, then it would be hard to know what actually counts!
The direct results of this revival lasted a few years, in fact, with crime rates, drunkenness and teenage pregnancies dramatically decreasing, that is, until, perhaps coincidentally, the rock’n’roll revolution introduced a different kind of thinking to the more conservative ’50’s Australia.
There is still a lasting legacy, however, with barely a congregation which doesn’t have a member or two who came to Christ through these meetings. Add to this some key leaders, like Archbishop Jensen, of the Sydney diocese, who gave testimony of being changed at these meetings.
Graham is in his 90’s now, and son Franklin continues the legacy, but the impact on this nation remains.