The Jesus Movement

But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.  When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.  But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.  He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.  All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

  • John 16:7-15

“The good news is that revival is possible – and we have the history to prove it.  As dire as our present time appears, America has been at this low point before.  We are prone to think our days are worse than those preceding us, but … America’s history is pockmarked with periods of spiritual jeopardy.  Like ancient Judah, our nation has repeatedly sunk to the depths only to be saved from itself by timely seasons of revival.  That’s the Grace of God! …

”Those my age can never forget the dark days of the 1960s, when it seemed that an entire generation of young people ‘Turned On, Tuned In, and Dropped Out,’ as Timothy Leary put it.”

  • Dr. David Jeremiah, Is This the End?

Note: Dr. Jeremiah uses the word ‘awakenings’ of which he lists five in the short history of the USA, some being global.  I have heard a different term used, ‘outpourings of the Holy Spirit’, but that assumes that the Holy Spirit does less at all other times.  Maybe we must hit rock bottom before we begin to listen.

The last of Dr. Jeremiah’s awakenings was called “The Jesus Movement.”  It produced “Jesus Music.”  The devotees were “Jesus People.”  Time magazine devoted a cover to an artist conception of Jesus that looked a lot like the hippies who were among the “Jesus People.”  Weaved into the psychedelic magazine cover were the words “The Jesus Revolution.”  Billy Graham called them “The Jesus Generation” (and later wrote a book by the same name) when they ran next to his car in the 1971 Tournament of Roses Parade, where he served as marshal of the parade.  They shouted “One Way” holding their index finger in the air.  Until then, people had been wary of these hippies for Jesus, calling them “Jesus Freaks.”

It seemed the movement started with the hippies near the end of the “Summer of Love.” The Summer of Love brought people to San Francisco and many stayed, but it spread not only through hippie communes but through mainstream churches.  It expanded throughout the world, not just the USA.  Its origins seem to be a bit obscure.  Why not?  It was the Holy Spirit doing His work, and the media does not understand things that are truly “spiritual.”

Note: Wikipedia, in media fashion, almost says that the Jesus Movement died in the early 70s, not living 10 years.  Truth was that the media got tired of covering the news when the numbers of converts slowed down.  They had written it off as a passing fad.  Thinking of how it started with hard times leading to us listening to the Holy Spirit, we fickle humans quit listening to the Holy Spirit once the US forces were out of Vietnam and the decade of protests (the 60s with Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, the Vietnam War, etc.) had faded in our memories.

In research for this article, I found all the books and articles inadequate in that none mentioned that I was among the millions who accepted Jesus as his Savior during this period.  Just kidding.  My mother feared that I would drop out and join a commune.  She felt that the lukewarm Christian existence of Revelation 3:14-22 was fine for her and it would be fine for me.  She tried to talk me out of being ‘saved.’  I wonder how many other parents felt the same way.  I know of some.

It is funny how this topic came to my mind.  I am presently reading “Come Help Change Our World” by Bill Bright, of Campus Crusade for Christ.  Early in the book, I thought that Bright was either full of himself or really excited about what God was doing through what is now called “Cru.”  Then I realized that the copyright date was 1971 and the book was predominantly a recruitment tool.  Premier Christianity magazine notes that Campus Crusade trained over 30,000 people as street and college campus evangelists during this period.  When it struck me that this grass-roots style evangelist dreamed that the ‘outpouring of the Holy Spirit’ or ‘awakening’ would not ever stop, it caused me to pause, then start researching.

The Hollywood Free Paper, the official news source (according to them) of all things “Jesus Movement” agrees with Dr. Jeremiah that the Jesus Movement seemed to start in a coffeehouse, called The Living Room, in “the Haight” (Hollywood Free Paper) or “Hashbury” (a contraction of Haight-Ashbury that Dr. Jeremiah preferred).  Christian coffeehouses began to pop up all along the California coastline.  Both the Hollywood Free Paper and Premier Christianity magazine (Sept. 1917 article) note that Ted and Liz Wise, the proprietors of The Living Room, as being very influential.  Pardon the language, but Ted Wise is quoted in Premier Christianity as saying “Jesus knocked me off my metaphysical ass!”  Ted had been a beatnik.  After a bad LSD trip, he accepted Jesus as his Savior at Liz’s conservative San Francisco church.  Premier Christianity mentioned a couple of other people, Dave Hoyt and Chuck Smith.  Hoyt, a former Hare Krishna devotee, studied under a theology student, Kent Philpott, to lead hundreds to the faith.  Chuck Smith, through Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, CA, averaged 500 new converts each month, who were all baptized in the ocean at Pirate’s Cove along the Pacific coast.

As for the “Jesus Music” that came out of this period, two record labels were created to record the music, one started by the aforementioned Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel.  Among the artists listed in the Wikipedia article are Andrae Crouch, Paul Stookey (of Peter, Paul, and Mary), and Amy Grant (through the Belmont Church in Nashville, TN).

While not part of “Jesus Music,” Southern Gospel songwriters, Bill and Gloria Gaither, struggled to write a hit song, until 1964 when they wrote “He Touched Me.”  This song became extremely popular and the more conservative of the Jesus Freaks had Gaither music as their expression of their love for God.  The concept that an almighty God would touch us was overpowering.  The Gaithers had been writing music while teaching school fulltime.  With their first hit, they quit teaching school and started writing music fulltime just as the Jesus Movement started.

I’ve already mentioned Bill Bright who hit the streets with his pamphlets during this period and his army of volunteers and stadd, but Billy Graham averaged more than six Crusade events each year during the 1970s.  His organization started producing feature films during this time.  I remember going to see, For Pete’s Sake (1966, not the 1974 movie).  His recorded presentations started appearing regularly on television.  All this points to God’s perfect timing.

To summarize, the Holy Spirit was always talking to us, but were we listening?  When times get bad, we start to listen.  Will we listen again?  Now?  Will there be another Bill Bright to organize and mobilize an organization that can hit the streets – a man who has the vision that can only come from prayer and spending time listening to the Holy Spirit – with miracles of funding that came from those prayers, each donation just in time?  Will another Billy Graham come along?  We have his son, Franklin Graham, but do we need a different voice?  Besides, who is next?  Billy Graham wasn’t the first.  And where is the epicenter of the dropouts from society – those convinced that the ‘system’ is broken?  And where are the next Ted and Liz Wise to start a coffeehouse at that epicenter?

And what of the millions of converts during the Jesus Movement, worldwide?  Are they doing their part to keep the fire lit or have they slipped into complacency?

We need a new revival.  The Holy Spirit is talking to us.  Are we listening?

For more information:
Hollywood Free Paper – http://www.hollywoodfreepaper.org/portal.php?id=2
Premier Christianity – https://www.premierchristianity.com/Past-Issues/2017/September-2017/The-Jesus-People-Revolution-the-60s-hippies-who-changed-the-world

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

3 Comments

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  1. He Touched Me is my absolute favorite Gospel song.

    Liked by 1 person

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