Altar Call in Europe: Billy Graham, Mass Evangelism, and the Cold-War West

book cover uta balbier

By 1954, American evangelist Billy Graham was bigger news in London than in Texas. Graham was arguably responsible for an unparalleled transformation of US evangelicalism in the second half of the twentieth century. He is also remembered as America’s pastor-in-chief, having met with every US President since Harry S. Truman. But Graham’s path to triumph was paved abroad: it was in Europe that he grew into an internationally recognized religious leader.

Altar Call tells the first transnational history of Billy Graham’s revival work in the 1950s by examining his revival meetings in London, Berlin and New York. It shows how Graham’s ministry took shape through transnational exchanges of people, ideas, and practices. His revivals fundamentally affected trans-Atlantic debates about the place and future of religion in public life after the experiences of war and at the onset of the Cold War.

Graham challenged believers and religious leaders alike to re-position religion against the rise of consumerism, moral post-war regeneration and Cold-War tensions. At this confluence of anxieties and desires across the Atlantic, Graham’s ministry revealed remarkably similar needs among the faithful and those yearning for renewal. It is the responses of Church leaders to this need, rather than inherent differences in religious sensitivities, that helps to explain the divergent paths to secularization between the US and its European allies, Germany and the UK.

Join the author of Altar Call in Europe, Dr Uta Balbier (St Anne’s College), for a conversation with Professor Jane Shaw (Harris Manchester College), Professor Stephen Tuck (Pembroke College), and Dr Stephen Tuffnell (St Peter’s College), chaired by Professor Adam Smith (Rothermere American Institute).

To be followed by a wine reception and book signing.

This is a hybrid event. To join via Zoom, please click the link below:
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