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This book is a study of the career and ministry of Ruth Duvall Crawford (1916–1986), the wife of prominent evangelist Percy Crawford (1902–1960). As pianist for Percy’s evangelistic team and director of music for his various evangelistic enterprises, Ruth put together an ensemble of 40–50 musicians, and produced hundreds of high-quality music programs, geared to Percy’s nationwide radio and television audiences. These programs set a new standard of performance in evangelical circles in the Northeast and Central United States in the 1930s and 40s. In the process of building this musical program, Ruth developed a format and an original style of gospel music that proved to be highly effective in communicating the gospel to a wide audience. Even with the constraints placed upon her as a woman, Ruth was able to carve out her own identity and realize her full potential as a musical artist.
Throughout their twenty-nine year ministry together, Ruth devoted herself fully and faithfully to Percy’s single-minded mission of winning souls; she and her musicians always viewed the significance of their music as supportive of this soul-saving work. I will argue, however, that, in fact, her music comprised a ministry in its own right, with a message of its own that had the power to change hearts and transform lives. I formulate what I believe was the content of that message— namely, the possibility of drawing close to the person of Jesus, and entering into an intimate relationship with him. Further, I suggest that her message did not merely complement Percy’s and strengthen its appeal, but offered the listener a different way of coming to know Christ as one’s personal savior.
evangelism, religion, music, Percy Crawford
Christian Denominations and Sects | Missions and World Christianity | Music | Other Music | Religion
Crawford, D. (2023). Ruth Duvall Crawford’s Wonderful Career in Music and Evangelism. Lincoln, Nebraska, Zea Books.