Poor Jesus II ended thus: By 1960, Alva and I were in our fifth year at the Chapel in the Pines. It was the beginning of the terrible youth rebellion of the sixties and the emerging of the hippie life style. Alas! Alas! But God was not dead! He wasn’t even asleep. But we will have to wait till Poor Jesus III to find out what He was up to. See you then.
Most of the old line denominations, with the exception of a few individual churches, were so dead that the unsaved youth outside the churches considered them completely irrelevant, and those inside the churches wondered if they weren’t right.
Many concerned Christians were praying for revival. I was one of them, revival for me, revival for the Church as a whole. I don’t remember being burdened for the decadent youth so grossly displayed in the hippie movement-maybe I considered them beyond redemption. But God didn’t!
God knew the rebellious youth would never find heart satisfaction in their wild life style, and would then be ripe for evangelization. In the meantime He knew that new life would have to be breathed into the Church if it was to minister properly to the uncouth youth when they started getting saved.
The bulk of the church had refused to be rejuvenated when God offered them new life at the Azusa Street Revival. Those who did respond, soon known as Pentecostals, began well, but after fifty years of “going it alone” against the devil and all his devices, they were tired and had lost much of their fire.
What the Church needed was the same thing it needed in 1906, but had largely rejected. So God began to work in the lives of individuals in the old line denominations who hungered after God, and who knew that the churches were very dead. They began to study their Bibles to see where the early church got its power. It really wasn’t very hard to find. Acts 1:4, 5, 8 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, which, He said, you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now—- you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
Aha! There it was-plain and simple. So these hungering hearts began receiving the baptism with the Holy Spirit with the initial evidence of speaking in tongues. All heaven began to break loose. Since it was happening in the dead old line denominations, it was news, and both secular and Christian media spread the phenomena. It was reading about the Holy Spirit invading the old line denominations that started me on the pathway to being baptized with the Holy Spirit. Glory!
You don’t think God has a sense of humor? One of the denominations most involved was the Episcopal Church, whose members called themselves “God’s Frozen People.!” On April 3, 1960, Pastor Dennis Bennett, of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Van Nuys, California, announced at the morning service that he had experienced his own personal Pentecost, as he was baptized with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. He had to leave, as it was too much for the governing body. He was exiled by his denomination to a small, dying Episcopal church in the Seattle area where a great revival began! One of his active parishioners at St. Marks was a woman by the name of Jean Stone. She had been baptized with the Holy Spirit and was involved in her Pastor following suit. She remained in the congregation, started the Blessed Trinity Society to promote what had become the Charismatic Movement and began publishing the Trinity Magazine. Paul Castle, a member of St. Marks at that time, was the magazines official photographer. Two years later Alva received “The Baptism” when Jean Stone prayed for her and soon became Jean Stone’s “Woman Friday.” Whoee!
The Charismatic Movement grew explosively. Soon there were Charismatics in virtually every local church of all the old line denominations, and even in many Catholic churches. If it was a militant local church, the Charismatics were immediately kicked out. If there were a considerable number of Charismatics in a local church, some congregations were willing to co-exist peacefully, others suggested that the minority find another church but didn’t kick them out. When the Charismatics became a majority, some times the minority would move to another local church in their denomination but the Charismatic majority would stay in the denomination. I don’t know of any old line denomination that actually became a Charismatic denomination. The Charismatics that were cut loose one way or another either formed a new Charismatic denomination or started independent (Community) churches.
The Pentecostal Churches were greatly invigorated by the Charismatic Movement, and entered into its spread enthusiastically. The two strains of Pentecostalism didn’t merge, but definitely felt a family tie with one another. The religious world has come to regard them as Pentecostal/Charismatic.
After the Charismatic Movement had washed over the Christian churches, Christianity was more relevant. The response had been much more widespread than Azusa Street. If God sicked the Holy Spirit on the rebellious youth, there was some where for them to go and prosper in God’s Kingdom.