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J. Dan Gill

Yet Another Music City Miracle!

Must One Believe in the Doctrine of the Trinity to be Saved?

by J. DanGill - 17th Theological Conference

It was a pleasant afternoon in June of 2000. Sitting high in the seats of the Adelphia Coliseum I was somewhat in awe as I viewed the Cumberland River to the west and the Nashville skyline just beyond. Though not a great sports enthusiast, as I sat in the coliseum I could not help but replay in my mind the last 16 seconds of a playoff game between the Buffalo Bills and the Tennessee Titans. That extraordinary final play had occurred on that very field only a few months before. Arguably in one of the most spectacular plays in NFL history, the Titans made a surprise lateral pass which resulted in an “impossible” last-second victory and propelled them to the 34th Super Bowl. The play came to be known as: “The Music City Miracle.”

On that day in June, however, my reason for being at the coliseum was quite different. This too would be an exciting week in Nashville. People we’re in anticipation! The Billy Graham Crusade was about to begin. Months of preparation had gone into that event. Multitudes would gather to worship and to hear Dr. Graham speak.

I recall having earlier watched a virtual army of workers and technicians preparing the coliseum for that extraordinary gathering. In my mind, I can still hear the beautiful singing of thousands of choir members as they practiced songs for the crusade. I remember counselors carefully preparing for their duties in assisting those who would respond to the call of the message each night.

When the crusade actually began, it was like watching a bit of history in the making. I can still remember George Beverly Shea singing. Though past 90 years of age, his voice still rang with a beautiful resonance that is so uniquely his. Cliff Barrows directed the crusade choir. Among those who attended were the Governor of Tennessee and the Mayor of Nashville. In addition there were many thousands from Nashville’s church going community. The crusade came to be dubbed: “Another Music City Miracle.”

The people, however, who most caught my attention at the crusade, were none of those that I have just mentioned. Rather, they were the hundreds - perhaps thousands - who were from among the “un-churched.” Unquestionably, there were a great number of people who seldom - if ever - had attended a Christian church. I could picture among those attending that some might be Jewish; Buddhists; those who were entirely non-religious - perhaps even skeptics or atheists. I recall being especially moved, when I observed those in the audience who were disenfranchised - some obviously homeless. There were those ravaged by the destruction of substance dependency and burdened by the unbearable strains of their lives.  

From among such people came many responding to the call of Billy Graham each night. They were people desperately seeking hope.  To the words of “Just as I Am” they streamed out of their various places in the coliseum and made their way onto the field. There, they were greeted by counselors and invited to receive Christ as their personal Savior.

Still One More Miracle!

As I left the crusade one evening, I was struck by a remarkable realization. Hundreds if not thousands were responding to the call of Billy Graham. Yet, it seemed likely to me that most of them did not possess even a rudimentary belief in the doctrines of the Trinity and the divinity of Christ. As I thought about it, I rather much believed that far more did not possess such faith than did! This seemed quite extraordinary to think about being as many people insist that belief in those particular doctrines is necessary for one to be a Christian.

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