Poor Jesus III ended thus: “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 somewhere for them to go and prosper in God’s Kingdom.” On to Poor Jesus IV:
The Jesus Movement
In the early sixties hippies were swarming all over the country. When our family was due to go to southern California on vacation and to see our parents, we decided to go to Monterey and drive down the coast route, Highway 1, instead of the direct route down Highway 99. We thought we would enjoy the trip as we cruised along at an easy pace with the Pacific in view all the way. Were we surprised-hippies everywhere! Thousands and thousands of them: long, unkempt hair; dirty, ragged clothes; backpacks; singles, duos, groups; going north; going south; on foot, bicycles, motorcycles, VW bugs and vans; like swarms of bees in every little nook and cranny.
All the summer homes along the whole coast seemed deserted. The owners, apparently afraid of this intimidating horde, carefully boarded up windows and doors so the hippies would not break in and use their homes for a pad. What a shock for peace and quiet loving Twain Harters.
It was slow going with so much foot traffic on the highway. Every suitable beach was swarming with surfers, an integral part of the hippie movement. What a mission field! Would anyone be able to harvest it?
Chuck Smith, a young pastor with a background in the Church of the Four Square Gospel, had a burden for the surfers and hippies. As he began to witness to them, one after another received Jesus as their own personal Savior. They rejoiced that their sins were forgiven, and were eager to know more about Christianity. So in 1965, with twenty five new converts, Pastor Chuck began a church “where everyone was welcome.” It was located in Costa Mesa, California, and was called Calvary Chapel.
If Calvary Chapel was not the beginning, it was certainly a major player in the rise of a real “hippie-surfer” revival, the JESUS Movement. Pastor Chuck was kept busy baptizing hundreds of new converts in the Pacific Ocean, and instructing them in the Bible and Christian living in the church services.
The JESUS Movement spread rapidly, mainly as a part of the Charismatic Movement, which itself was growing explosively. The two streams of revival were characterized by signs, wonders and miracles and all of the charismata (gifts of the Holy Spirit). No sign of cessationism here-continuationism was the order of the day.
Several items of interest about Calvary Chapel:
- There are now 1600 Calvary Chapel fellowships worldwide;
- Because of the rapid growth and attacks of the devil, excesses and abuses of the charismata moved Chuck Smith to write a book, Charisma vs Charismania in an effort to curb these excesses and abuses;
- Excesses and abuses of every true Christian doctrine or behavior is typical, and do not automatically indicate that the doctrines or behaviors are not of God.
What about the hippies? They got older and more civilized; no nuclear war occurred so the eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die atmosphere that helped spawn the movement faded; they got jobs, married, raised kids and pursued the American Dream. The concurrent JESUS Movement extracted the youth that were interested in spiritual things, and waned also, but the Charismatic movement soldiered on, encouraged by two significant moves by the Holy Spirit:
- A powerful call to worship the Father in spirit and in truth (usually marked by more time in the song service, and songs of adoration towards God in addition to songs of testimony or petition). This call was widely heeded in the Charismatic Movement, though not without some controversy;
- A much needed call for ministries of deliverance for individual Christians and spiritual warfare in evangelism. The heeding of this call was varied. In North America the Charismatics received it to a degree, the Pentecostals to a lesser degree, and the old line denominations hardly at all. It played a tremendous role in the Argentine revival, pioneered by Omar Cabrera, and beautifully demonstrated by Carlos Anacondia, and spread through all Latin America. Most Charismatic and Pentecostal missionaries and mass evangelists to third world countries include deliverance/spiritual warfare in their ministries.
Despite all its ups and downs, the Charismatic/Pentecostal segment of Christianity was established throughout the world and was the most energetic Christian force throughout the world. Cessationism had been oovertaken by Continuationism. Though marred by excesses and abuses, the Charismata, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, were available and demonstrated in a significant portion of the Christian Church. Hallelujah!
And a good thing, for in the last third of the twentieth century, all hell broke loose throughout the world, and especially in the United States.
We were involved in war or subjected to attack, mostly by our own choosing:
- Viet Nam war, 1965-1975;
- Kuwait/Iraq war, late 1990-early 1991;
- 9-11-2001 terrorist attack;
- Afghanistan war, 2001-present;
- Second Iraq war, 2003-2011.
Our domestic affairs have been just as disastrous:
- Roe vs Wade in 1973, and the rise of radical feminism;
- The disastrous degeneration and secularization of the public schools;
- The attacks on the family by public education, the gay agenda;
- The damage to the Christian faith of our youth due to the acceptance of the false theory of evolution by the scientific community, the public schools and the secular press;
- The degeneration of morals and ethics under the pressure of secular humanism;
- Our government’s continual push towards socialism;
- The anti-Israel posture of our recent presidents and the State Department which no doubt have and will bring God’s judgment upon the USA;
- The falling away from the faith of millions of Christians.
That last bullet is the real key as pointed out in 2 Chronicles 7:14 If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
We need a Revival! We will discuss how Continualism figures into that scenario on the next segment of Poor Jesus.