The Archive Collection

Inside the Archives—1973 Seoul, Korea Crusade

May 27, 2023

1973 Seoul, Korea, Crusade

Fifty years ago, Billy Graham and his team held his largest Crusade in Seoul, Korea. The Crusade was held from May 30 to June 3, 1973, and was attended by more than 3.2 million people. Many gifts were given, preparation made, and people involved in this Crusade to make it all come together. Two vital people who worked alongside Billy Graham to make the Crusade come together as it did were Dr. Kyung-Chik Han and Billy Kim.

Billy Graham was gifted a vase from Young Nak Church upon his invitation from Dr. Han to preach in Seoul, Korea. As shared in the autobiography of Billy Kim, The Life of Billy Kim:

“Planning had begun much earlier, based on the friendship of Billy Graham and Pastor Kyung-Chik Han, of Youngnak Presbyterian Church. Their friendship began in 1951 when the Korean War was at its peak. Billy Graham after visiting the US Army front line, had preached to the crowds gathered in Pusan, and the interpreter then was Pastor Han. Their relationship grew when Pastor Han attended the Berlin Crusade in 1966 and asked that a crusade be held in Korea. The BGEA promised it would in 1972, but it was pushed back one year.”

A vase engraved “To Dr. Billy Graham from Young Nak Church” was sent from Dr. Nak to Billy Graham

The day before the start of the Crusade, Billy Graham was honored to receive a Doctorate of Divinity from the dean of Yonsei University, Se Hee Ahn.

Doctor of Divinity commendation from Se Hee Ahn
Doctorate of Divinity (English)
Doctorate of Divinity (Korean)
Billy Graham receiving a Doctorate of Divinity

A Crusade flag was made by BGEA as part of the promotional materials for this event.

Korean 1973 Crusade flag (CN5/International Crusade)
Billy Graham preaching with Billy Kim interpreting

That summer became a defining moment for Christianity in Korea. After weeks of preparing for this Crusade, every member of the team saw how the Lord used both Billy Graham and Billy Kim in spreading the Gospel. Billy Kim was grateful for the opportunity to be part of the life-changing event, and shared in his autobiography, The Life of Billy Kim:

“God made one nameless young man stand right in the middle of it all. Billy Kim looked stately on the right side of Billy Graham. The staff had placed a footstool for him to stand on. From the front of the podium, he did not look too short beside Billy Graham. Standing in the center of the Yoido plaza, Kim thought of God’s love and mercy placed on his life. His thoughts were of a great God’s grace, that a shabby seventeen-year-old US Army houseboy could stand as the Lord’s holy servant. The boy himself was simply useless. Everything was possible only by God’s preparations, one by one, until that day. Briefly, he gave a thankful prayer.”

“And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” – Mark 16:15

With a grateful heart, Billy Kim gifted a book he wrote to Billy Graham to express all the gratitude he had for Rev. Graham and the impact that was left in Korea. His autobiography, The Life of Billy Kim, shares that “Kim told others that after the crusade he had ‘a new vision, a new passion for the lost, and a new love for the Lord and His Word.’ One month later he wrote Graham, ‘I praise God for the influence you have had on my life personally.’”

Billy Kim’s book “With a Grateful Heart” dedicated to Billy Graham

Even now, 50 years later, the legacy of that Crusade continues in Korea. Thousands of lives were forever changed as revival began in 1973, and the Korean church has grown leaps and bounds over the years. The 1973 Billy Graham Crusade in Seoul was a pivotal moment not only for the Koreans who attended, but was also impactful on the lives of Billy Graham and Billy Kim, as well as the many hundreds of others who planned and executed the event.

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