The Christian Broadcasting Network


Flames of Revival: The Jesus Movement

By Scott Ross
The 700 Club - Scott Ross: The 1950's saw the beginning of the realization of the American dream. The house, the car, and the family were all the rewards of a growing economy. During this time, America experienced a population explosion known as the baby boom. Growing up, many of these children had the best that America could offer. But as these "boomers" came of age in the shadow of the nuclear bomb and the continued rise of the Cold War, these children of promise became the children of disillusionment.

Dr. Elmer Towns: I think that America entered a period of apathy. They had everything they dreamed of. It was like "Leave it to Beaver" and "My Three Sons." They had beautiful homes, beautiful wives, good jobs, two cars, and a swimming pool in the backyard. Yet these kids wanted even more.

Scott Ross: By the mid-sixties, America found itself in the middle of the Vietnam War. Many of the boomers saw their friends go off to Southeast Asia to fight in this unpopular war. Instead of signing themselves up, many dropped out and adopted the motto "make love not war." The anti-war movement grew as boomers rejected "the establishment" of their parent's generation. Gone were the morals and ideas of the previous generation. Now it was free sex, drugs and rock and roll. People flocked to the west coast to adopt the hippie lifestyle and become a part of the counter culture.

Yet, in the middle of all of this chaos, God was doing something.

Dr. Elmer Towns: That something happened when Chuck Smith went down onto the beaches. He was "A Four Square" preacher. He was a little reluctant when he went down to the beaches the first time. But he went down and he preached. He gathered about ten or twelve young people, and he preached to them, and they got saved. They asked, 'What are we going to do now?' He answered, 'Well here's water,' and he took them out into the Pacific Ocean and he baptized them. He came back every day, getting one hundred or two hundred converted.

Scott Ross: The flames of revival once again grew bright as thousands of hippies became "Jesus freaks." This Jesus revolution saw lives transformed as people ditched drugs and free sex and sought a new high -- walking the Christian lifestyle. Many young believers joined Christian communities that sprung up coast to coast.

Dr. Elmer Towns: If there is anything else that was so unconventional about the Jesus people revival, I think it must be about that communal living. Chuck Smith, the leader, set up many of these houses to disciple these kids. Some of these kids became preachers who went all over America establishing great churches.

Scott Ross: One common element of the Jesus movement, as it spread across the country, was the music. The Jesus music became an expression of worship and an anthem for evangelism. This was my experience -- "Love In" New York.

The impact of the Jesus movement is still being felt today through the lives that were transformed and the praise and worship music that was born out this era of revival.

Dr. Elmer Towns: I think that that impact has touched almost all churches through music more than anything else. Let me tell you how important that is, because this is the key to revival. God says in John, Chapter 4, 'The Father seeketh as such should worship him.' That means the Father is seeking worshipers to worship him and when you worship Him He will come.

Order Dr. Town's book: The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever


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