Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

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(1918-) Southern Baptist minister; American masscrusade evangelist.

Graham began his formal career as an evangelist working in the Youth for Christ movement in 1944, with his 1949 Los Angeles crusade gaining him national attention and popular recognition. Although following in a revivalist pattern set by figures like Billy Sunday and Dwight L. Moody, Graham's ministry coincided with the advent of television. As his reputation grew, Graham's crusades around the world became standard television fare through the 1950s and 1960s and continue to have some airtime presence. Graham was frequently listed among the 10 most admired men in America or the world, although his image was somewhat tarnished through too close an association with the Nixon White House.

Graham's crusades were also the first studied by direct social science research, and a body of knowledge has developed around them. This work provides important insights not only into the crusade event itself but also into the larger dynamics of the conversion and mobilization processes.

See also Conversion, Charles G. Finney, Televangelism

William H. Swatos, Jr .


D. L. Altheide and J. M. Johnson, "Counting Souls," Pacific Sociological Review 20(1977):323-348

D. A. Clelland et al., "In the Company of the Converted," Sociological Analysis 35(1974):45-56

N. R. Johnson et al., "Attendance at a Billy Graham Crusade," Sociological Analysis 45(1984):383-392

W.T. Johnson, "The Religious Crusade," American Journal of Sociology 76(1971):873-890

F. L. Whitlam, "Revivalism as Institutionalized Behavior," Social Science Quarterly 1(1968):115-127

R. C. Wimberley et al., "Conversion in a Billy Graham Crusade," Sociological Quarterly 16(1975): 162-170.

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