Saturday, November 20, 2010

We Need Another Jesus Movement by Lee Grady

In today’s hip, sophisticated churches, we often forget to preach about Jesus. Let’s get back to basics.

I became a serious Christian at the tail end of the Jesus movement. I was too young to remember the hippie beads, tie-dyed shirts and “Jesus Is Groovy” slogans, but the songs were still popular when I was in college (from musicians such as Andrae Crouch, Love Song and Barry McGuire), as were the movies (especially The Cross and the Switchblade.)

The Jesus movement was like a spiritual tsunami that washed over hundreds of thousands of young people in the late 1960s and early ‘70s and brought them into a personal relationship with Christ. Some of these kids had been drug addicts and social misfits; most were just average Joes and Janes who discovered that Jesus is a lot more exciting than traditional churches had led them to believe.

  “In my travels this past year I’ve been horrified to learn that many Spirit-filled believers have given up the discipline of reading their Bibles even semi-regularly. They prefer a steady diet of culturally relevant, fast-paced, techno-theology that is a poor substitute for discipleship.”

Because the movement was pioneered by untrained leaders it sometimes resulted in abuse. But despite its flaws, it gave rise to a new musical genre (contemporary Christian) and new denominations (Calvary Chapel, Vineyard). It also fueled organizations such as Bill Bright’s Campus Crusade for Christ and made it a powerhouse of evangelism for the next decade and beyond.

Lately I find myself waxing nostalgic for those days—not because I want to return to the awkward fashions and hairstyles of 1972, but because I miss the spiritual simplicity of that era. The Jesus movement was primarily focused on—surprise!—Jesus. Theology was not complicated, pastors weren’t trying to be hip or sophisticated or tech-savvy; and we hadn’t yet created a Christian subculture with its own celebrities and political power bases.

Today, we just don’t preach enough about Jesus. This is certainly true in many charismatic churches, where we’ve become experts on everything but basic Christian theology 101. In my travels this past year I’ve been horrified to learn that many Spirit-filled believers have given up the discipline of reading their Bibles even semi-regularly. They prefer a steady diet of culturally relevant, fast-paced, techno-theology that is a poor substitute for discipleship.

Many charismatics have developed the attitude that a simple focus on Christ isn’t enough. We’d rather go to a “prophetic encounter” to hear what Obama’s chances are in 2012, or experience some exotic spiritual manifestation (gold dust, gems falling out of the ceiling), or ask Rev. Flash-in-the-Pan to pray for us for the sixteenth time so we can receive yet another “special anointing” that we will probably never use.

In the midst of all this charismatic gobbledygook, where is Jesus? Am I the only one out there who is weary of this distraction?

Call me old-fashioned, but I’ve decided to get back to the basics of the faith. That’s why I am reading What Jesus Is All About?, a classic book written more than 50 years ago by Henrietta Mears, a Bible teacher who helped mentor both Billy Graham and Bill Bright in the 1940s.

Mears explains in her book how each of the four gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—give us a unique, four-dimensional portrait of the Savior. According to Mears:
  • Matthew was written to Jews to tell of a Promised Savior who is also a King—and it uses the word “kingdom” 55 times.
  • Mark was written to Gentiles to tell of a Powerful Savior—and it reports more miracles than any other gospel.
  • Luke was written by a Gentile to tell of a Perfect Savior—and it has the most references to Jesus’ humanity.
  • John was written by “the disciple whom Jesus loved” to tell of a Personal Savior—and it has the most references to Jesus’ divine nature.
The Holy Spirit who inspired the Bible knew we needed more than a one-, two- or three-dimensional look at Jesus. The Spirit gave us a four-dimensional view so that we could gaze at Him from all sides and become captivated by His magnificence—His supreme kingship, His compassionate mercy, His supernatural power, His perfect justice, His amazing humility and His love for sinners like you and me.

There’s so much more to Jesus than we realize. And there is so much more to say about Him than we are telling our generation. That’s why I’m spending most of my study time in the four gospels for the next few months. I want a fresh revelation of Jesus!

Perhaps another Jesus movement will be unleashed in our country when we discard our distractions and focus on Him again.


  1. We believe this MOVEMENT is coming! It will be different as our God is so unique! When this happens all the superficial, man-made traditions will fall away--just as they did in the Jesus Movement! Let it be! Amen!

  2. Remembering the "Jesus Movement" I would say he came to us. Now , as the Bride ( complacent)we must go searching for Him, running out into the streets and getting beat up if necessary (sos), to find Him again.As He once told His desciples, I must go to other villages... so now He is coming to the other "gentiles" such as the Arab nations. We as His bride must be ready to welcome in all the People He loves

  3. Is it not possible to extol the value of the simplicity of Christ without having to attack what some ministries are doing? I've been in some of the services that Lee seems focused on discrediting, and I will say that I have come away with a closer walk with Christ as evidenced by greater hunger for Him and more of His love for people. Whether everyone who is there is getting the same thing is not for me to judge. But it's not for Lee to judge either. Only God knows the intent of the hearts of the ministers who are involved with these ministries. Let's lift up Jesus in our lives and sphere of influence and HE will sort out what's going on in the ministry of others.

  4. We’d rather go to a “prophetic encounter”! Steve, I know Lee and know what he was saying. He was talking about a real and severe shift from Christ and into craziness. He did not name anyone, so you are assuming what he did not say, and if you encountered Christ that does not always endorse the minister, method, or ministry, but a good God reaching those who seek Him. Lakeland and even others the past few years are perfect examples of a God reaching through humanity that is far off the mark of the gospel, but God still touching some. Keep in mind that over 95% of what was reported at Lakeland never happened and not one of the 35 raised from the dead that were claimed ever could be documented. Many top leaders were deceived and prophesied falsely over a young man who was out of control and needed to be healed and whole. What Lee says here is for real, and you are somehow assuming he is talking about your personal experience or someone you know. I am thankful for how the Lord has touched you and others in whatever meeting or meetings you were in.This endorses God and not the man or woman. thanks

  5. Thanks for the article, Lee. Christianity as a religion has explored everything and everyone but Jesus and has failed spectacularly in the process. A call back to pure and simple devotion to Christ is truly the desperate need of today.

  6. Amen David.... Miss you.. David join our growing relational network.. Austin a Crosby are on there too copy this in your browser.. You can add your products to our global mall as well.
    and we can add your videos to our empowering university. God bless

  7. Robert, having just finished reading Lee's new book,(where he does name names) I had a pretty good idea of what and who he was referring to. I think Lakeland symbolizes some of the things that are wrong with the church today, but Todd Bentley was the symptom, not the problem. The problem is that we have young men and women with incredible anointings who do not have spiritual mothers and fathers to come alongside them and properly mentor them into a place where that anointing can be properly put on display. That's why what Rick Joyner is doing with Todd right now is so valuable.

    And I speak with some knowledge concerning this. I lived on the grounds at Morningstar most of this year and saw up close what was going on through this process. And the fruit that came out of my life during this time has been amazing. So, admittedly, I am biased when I speak about this, but it is a bias that comes from being exposed to what is going on firsthand, not watching from a distance.

  8. Brother Steve, Whoever Lee speaks about in his book, has little to do with this article which is what the comments were about. Secondly you are biased and yet without the knowledge of what really has gone on behind the scenes.. I know these things. And the whole paradigm of who has anointing and who does not needs to be revisited. The same Holy Spirit is in us as is in anyone else, and so though we have different giftings, no one is more anointed than anyone else in reality and it is clear in scripture. You are new to the experiential charismatic church, and I am thankful that God has touched you like I mentioned before, but the truth is, there is a shift coming and is now here, that those type of hoopla ministries pointing to a man, is increasingly over and will continue to be less and less relevant to society... But your opinion is valid, because it is your opinion. :)

  9. Robert, I think there is a lot of truth in what you are saying about a shift coming. However, I think there is a way to recognize this and promote it without attacking other ministries. I appreciate what you are saying too!

    What went on behind the scenes that would effect what I am saying?


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