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Jesus Revolution And the Christian Movement to Save American Culture

Posted on Saturday, April 29, 2023
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by Aaron Flanigan
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31 Comments
Christian

AMAC Exclusive – By Aaron Flanigan

In a film industry almost entirely dominated by cultural wokeism and progressive orthodoxies, religious Americans have had an increasingly difficult time finding films that align with their values and the precepts of their faith. One recent film, however, is courageously bucking the trend of Hollywood leftism and ushering in a resurgence of Christian and Christ-centered values at the box office.

Jesus Revolution, which first hit theatres in February, examines the ways in which Christian pastor Chuck Smith navigated his southern California church through the “hippie” countercultural movement of the 1960s. The film is based on a true story.

Upon encountering Lonnie Frisbee, a stereotypical hippie and emerging youth minister, at the beginning of the film, Smith at first reluctantly opens his church to dozens of young Christian hippies—but ultimately embraces them as part of his mission to evangelize the world around him.

The hippies of the 1960s, as Frisbee’s character cautions, should not simply be cast aside as troubled, drug-afflicted youths. Rather, as he says in the film, they are “sheep without a shepherd, chasing hard after lies.”

Shortly after opening the doors of his church to Frisbee and other likeminded young Americans searching for meaning, Smith expands his parish, which eventually becomes nationally famous, drawing visitors from coast to coast and sparking a national spiritual awakening and renaissance of the Christian faith.

In the words of Smith’s character, “God has a long history of working through flawed people.”

The film also follows the faith journey of Greg Laurie, who abandons his Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps class to join the hippie movement before later encountering Smith and Frisbee, who convert him to the Christian faith. Thanks to Smith’s spiritual guidance and support, Laurie later realizes his dream of leading his own church and goes onto become a famous pastor.

Even in spite of Hollywood’s hostility towards the Christian faith, Jesus Revolution massively outperformed expectations at the box office—grossing more than $52 million, including $7 million on its first day. As of March, the film has more than quadrupled its original earning expectations.

Additionally, just several weeks after its initial release, the film remarkably became Lionsgate’s highest-grossing film since 2019. The website CinemaScore, which evaluates films based on audience reviews, gave Jesus Revolution an “A+.” In 2022, only two films—Top Gun: Maverick and action film The Woman King—earned that high mark.

Despite the militant secularism of the film industry, the success of Jesus Revolution should not surprise us. In fact, given the many overlaps in cultural turmoil between now and the 1960s, the opportunity for Christians to evangelize our broken world is as strong as ever.

As Lonnie Frisbee’s character says upon meeting Chuck Smith near the beginning of the film, “There is an entire generation right now searching for God. I know we must seem a little strange. But if you look a little deeper, if you look with love, you’ll see a bunch of kids that are searching for all the right things, just in all the wrong places.”

Could there possibly be a better description of America’s cultural chaos in 2023?

Just as pastors and other Christian leaders saw in the left-wing cultural tides of the 1960s and ’70s a once-in-a-generation opportunity to evangelize young people “searching for all the right things” in “all the wrong places,” the social conditions of today present a similar moment.

Where  some of America’s youth of 50 years ago was swept up by drugs and the false promises of the sexual revolution, today’s young people are vulnerable to the menacing forces of gender ideology, identity politics, and other progressive toxins seeking to remake the human person in a godless, secular image.

But as easy as it may be to lament the state of America’s fallen culture and retreat into despair, today’s Christian leaders—much like Chuck Smith—have a unique window to repair an afflicted culture, heal a hurting generation, and bring countless hearts, minds, and souls to God.

With these opportunities for evangelization in mind, the release of Jesus Revolution could not have come at a more opportune time. In fact, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report, a December 2022 study found that nearly one in three 18-to-25-year-olds believe in God or some form a higher power, which is up from approximately a quarter of the age group that said the same in 2021.

“We are seeing an openness to transcendence among young people that we haven’t seen for some time,” a Christian pastor recently remarked. Believing in God “gives you a reason for living and some hope,” said an 18-year-old college student in Iowa.

Though Christians still have a long way to go in sanctifying the culture and restoring the value of faith in the public square, these numbers—as well as the unprecedented success of Jesus Revolution—show that our broken world is yearning to be fixed.

“That’s the essence of it,” Chuck Smith’s character said of the Christian faith. “An invitation to the broken.”

In a world as broken as our own, the conditions for another Jesus Revolution are as strong as ever.

Jesus Revolution is now available for online streaming and can be viewed here.

Aaron Flanigan is the pen name of a writer in Washington, D.C.

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ronald reagan
ronald reagan
11 months ago

its already the dominant religion and it believes in excluding all others, why is it that the largest religions want to exclude all others isnt enough that they are already the largest, when christians rant about burning in hell you realize it isnt based on hope and purpose but on hate, and you also realize that the typical christian is a hypocrite who violates the the ten comandments and expects others to folow them

Cindy
Cindy
11 months ago

I wish that we could share this on every platform .

ronald reagan
ronald reagan
11 months ago

ronald reagan junior is right about religion

Connie
Connie
11 months ago

I am excited to check this movie out.
Thank you for this article

Margie Lyons
Margie Lyons
11 months ago

Thank you! So well written!

Mike
Mike
11 months ago

It’s a wonderful movie giving hope to those without hope. A relationship with Jesus is what it’s all about. Ignore the negative comments inspired by the devil.

Mike
Mike
11 months ago

I watched this “Jesus Revolution” happen in sunny SoCal as a kid. I saw kids older then me escape the danger and literally dead end of LSD through Jesus. It i50 years later they are still with Jesus and solid citizens. Great families. Great careers. Great caring people. Creative loving and fun loving people. The movie “Jesus Revolution” is such a real depiction of what happened! And could happen again! It is a mirror of where we are today. I hope LionsGate does “Jesus Revolution 2” ! I hope we have another Jesus Revolution.

Samuel
Samuel
11 months ago

… never in U.S. history has America been afflicted so morally bankrupt a President, so warped in his belief system, so twisted and perverted his fundamental sense of value. Having corrupted his entire family beyond recognition with illegitimate wealth, Joseph Biden is the most corrupt politician in U.S. History. Everything within his reach, President Biden is well underway in the process of corrupting –

S Grant
S Grant
11 months ago

Please look at the revival April 29 at University of Oklahoma. 86.000 people attended a meeting to worship God and hear the Gospel. Largest faith meeting in a secular setting. Change lives, change society. We shall see.

Genie
Genie
11 months ago

I just finished Lonnie Frizbee’s Autobiography of three books. Gid shows he uses very broken people who just yield wholly to the Holy Spirit. Amazing!To respond to those who don’t like Christiansn etc., hell was meant for Satan and the fallen angels. God doesn’t send people to hell, but it’s a person’s personal choice by accepting or rejecting God’s provision for sin. Jesus is that provision. I’m thankful I chose Him. He radically changed me from the inside out. I know Father’s love for all of us. You have NOTHING to lose and EVERYTHING to gain by accepting Jesus’ sacrifice for your sins. It is safe to trust Jesus! Reward: eternal life in heaven! Your choice

anna hubert
anna hubert
11 months ago

We all are suffering from the anorexia of the spirit We are full of technology but the soul is starving

Vilas Gamble
Vilas Gamble
11 months ago

First, let me point out that the seemingly neutral word “progressive” is not neutral at all. It is just a euphemism for “socialism/communism”. Look it up. I did! Secondly, the film The Jesus Revolution shows once again that Jesus Saves if we only come to him and repent of our sins. He is faithful and just and will forgive us mand wil keep us from all unrighteousness.

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