Evangelist: Religion Won't Save You, but Relationship Will

More than 34,000 people packed the North Charleston Coliseum in Charleston, S.C., this past weekend to hear evangelist Franklin Graham preach the Good News.

"In this election season it's popular right now to talk about religion," said Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and international relief organization Samaritan's Purse, according to BGEA.

"But religion can't save you," he declared. "It's only through a relationship with Jesus Christ that we can spend eternity with God."

The Lowcountry Franklin Graham Festival on Sept. 19-21, was the largest evangelistic event in the city's history and the first time Franklin Graham or his father, the renowned evangelist Billy Graham, had ever held a BGEA event of this kind in the city.

Graham preached each evening and challenged the audience to accept God's unconditional love, grace and forgiveness.

By the end of the three days, 1,296 people had responded to the invitation to commit their lives to Jesus Christ.

The festival also included music by popular Christian bands including Israel and New Breed, TobyMac, Newsboys, Casting Crows, Group 1 Crew, and gospel singer Kirk Franklin.

Other event highlights included a special message from Mel Graham, Billy Graham's nephew, a musical performance by the world's fastest flat-picker Dennis Agajanian, and by Irish composers Keith and Kristyn Getty.

In addition to the adult-oriented events, there was also a "KidzFest" Saturday morning featuring God Rocks and Dennis Lee & Friends. After the presentation, 256 children responded to the invitation to commit their lives to Christ.

While in town, Graham visited Charleston Southern University where he challenged hundreds of students to make their life count and to seize every moment they have on earth.

The Charleston festival was organized by more than 330 churches, and was the fifth Graham festival this year. Graham's final festival in 2008 will be in Taipei, Taiwan, on Oct. 30-Nov. 2.