A friend of mine is a senior pastor at a church in the Twin Cities. And by the way, he’s 82 years old! Obviously he’s old enough to remember the Jesus revolution of the 60s-70s, but having grown up overseas, he was not directly impacted by it. Alan knew Chuck Smith personally, and heard the stories directly from the eyewitness. Recently he read a book which brought back memories about the Jesus Revolution. Below are some observations of the Jesus Revolution by Billy Graham, one of the few established church leaders of that time who embraced what God was doing in that young generation. Although there were “pitfalls,” he wrote, “The early church in the book of Acts had such weaknesses as well.” Here are some strengths Alan observed.
INTRIGUING STRENGTHS OF THE JESUS REVOLUTION
[if !supportLists]• [endif]It was spontaneous, without a human figurehead or leader. It was centered around Jesus himself. Graham quoted Look, a national bi-weekly magazine with a circulation of about six million. Its reporters had written of the Jesus People, ‘All the Christians agree Christ is the great common denominator of the movement. He brings everyone together.’
[if !supportLists]• [endif]It was Bible-based. The majority of the Jesus People were not simply drawn to a vague appreciation of Jesus but dug into well-worn Bibles for their understanding of Christ, His teaching, and His death and resurrection.
[if !supportLists]• [endif]It was about an experience with Jesus Christ, not head knowledge. The Jesus People emphasized that people must be born again, experiencing the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.
[if !supportLists]• [endif]It emphasized the Holy Spirit. Years earlier, Graham said he had asked distinguished theologian Karl Barth what the new emphasis in theology would be in the next twenty years. Dr. Barth had responded immediately, ‘The Holy Spirit’ ‘Little did I dream,’ Dr. Graham wrote in The Jesus Generation, ‘that (this) would come through a youth revival in America.’
[if !supportLists]• [endif]It dramatically transformed lives. Young people who came to Christ in this time period were finding a cure from drugs, other addictions, and ingrained patterns of sin.
[if !supportLists]• [endif]It emphasized Christian discipleship. It wasn’t just about wearing crosses and other Jesus gear or slapping One Way stickers on Volkswagen vans. The Jesus People understood, because of their focus on the Bible and the Holy Spirit, that salvation was in fact followed by a lifetime of sanctification, or becoming more like Jesus over the long run.
[if !supportLists]• [endif]It was interracial and multi-ethnic. The Jesus People had come of age in a society reeling from segregation and social partitions. They saw in their Bibles that in Jesus, there were no racial divisions. They believed it.
[if !supportLists]• [endif]It showed a great zeal for evangelism. Billy Graham noted that Jesus Christ’s last words on earth were, “Go forth to every part of the world and proclaim the Good News,” and in the book of Acts, that’s exactly what the “original Jesus people, most of them young,” went out and did in the first century. The same was true of the new, young believers about 1,970 years later.
[if !supportLists]• [endif]It emphasized the second coming of Jesus Christ. Reflecting the times that the Jesus People grew up in, Graham wrote that ‘these young people don’t put much stock in the old slogans of the New Deal, the Fair Deal, the New Frontier, and the Great Society. They believe that utopia will arrive only when Jesus returns. Thus these young people are on sound biblical ground.’
Like many of the revivals of past history, the Jesus Revolution did not last for a long period of time, but it did leave a lasting deposit in the church that impacted many people into future generations and created growing churches.
ALAN’S FINAL WORD - “That is my prayer too; that I would get to see another Jesus revolution before I die. That is what we need. A revolution – it is time for another revolution. Let us pray for that to happen.”
Let that be our prayer too; don’t let the memories of former moves of God be just memories.