In several Catches this week we are reminding everyone of some of the characteristics of the Jesus Movement that fostered a revival 50 years ago, in seeking to create, not another movement, but an environment conducive to God’s direct involvement with the current body of Christ however He might choose to work. So after pointing out the authority and control of the Holy Spirit over the spiritual revival that took place then, I aim to identify today how the Jesus Movement unified all believers and broke down many of the distinctions that normally separate believers into various camps who refuse to even associate with one another. The overwhelming unifying factor of the Jesus Movement was simply that it was all about Jesus.
If you know Jesus, if you love Jesus, you are my brother or sister. That’s it. That’s all that was required. It didn’t matter about your doctrinal stance on baptism, communion, end times theology, dress, use of music in worship, etc. What mattered was “Do you know Jesus?” And because it was all about Jesus, there was unity. Some of the earliest signs of spiritual renewal among young people took place in Catholic churches that celebrated folk masses. My first two albums were published by a Catholic recording company because of the explosion of the popularity of folk masses among high school and college age students and they were desperate for new music. So here I was recording music for a company which only a few years prior would have been considered in my circles as coming right out of Babylon. But I was singing about Jesus.
In Jesus, the undesirableness of the institutional church was surmounted. Many of the baby boom generation had rejected the religion of their parents, but not necessarily Jesus. It was suddenly Jesus, separated from the institutional church and the prevailing religious establishments that aroused interest. No one was interested in church or religion, but Jesus was different. In fact, Jesus was the ultimate hippie — beard, long hair, sandals, and He was against the establishment! You couldn’t get much more relevant than that. Even artwork of Jesus created in the 1960s showed Him as a tanned, rugged, man’s man and not the wimpy lily-white guy pictured in most evangelical homes and churches.
That’s why it was the Jesus Movement, and we were Jesus people — Jesus freaks — and we played Jesus music. Any wonder what this was all about? This all brought unity. We stepped over many barriers to get to Jesus.
And that’s exactly what we’re doing today.