Dear Lighthouse Trails editors:
Do you remember “the Jesus Movement” of the late 60s and early 70s? The Lord brought to my mind something, and I thought I would share. I don’t know what was taking place where you lived in that era, however, where I lived, kids were bringing God’s Word with them to school. God’s Word was vitally important to them during that time. I am quite sure you realize that this new movement [the emerging church] does not emphasize God’s Word and, in fact, encourages reading nearly everything BUT God’s Word.
I was just amazed at the difference between the two movements!
You have made an excellent point. Once, about 13 years ago, we received a call from a local Christian newspaper in Oregon. The reporter wanted to interview us about the emerging church as she felt that what happened in the 70s Jesus movement was identical to the emerging church today. We explained to her that it wasn’t the same at all because in the 70s, there was an emphasis on the Word, and that is what the hippies were being given by pastors at the churches they would attend. And as you have well said, today, the emphasis is on everything but the Word. What you say in your letter is important for people to understand.
That said, at Lighthouse Trails, we have often wondered what happened to all the young people of the 70s who got saved. Some of them, we know, are doing well in the Lord, using discernment and understanding the times in which we live. But what about all the young hippie-turned-Christian musicians from that time period? Where are they today, and why do we not hear about any of them regarding the present-day apostasy that is taking place in the church? We spoke once by e-mail with Barry McGuire (a Jesus-movement musician), only to be told by him that he now believes in universalism. We have spoken with Chuck Girard and sent him materials. While we believe, based on comments he said to one of our authors once, that he gets some of it, he remains silent. Ray Yungen personally hand delivered a copy of A Time of Departing to Amy Grant once in Portland, Oregon, knowing that she admired contemplatives such as Brennan Manning, and he wanted to alert her. Of course, he never heard anything back from her. Does she still promote contemplatives? We don’t know. We know that John Michael
Talbot, another 70s Jesus movement musician, joined the Catholic church and is a contemplative monk now. Rich Mullins was gleaning from mystic contemplative Brennan Manning very much so. We don’t know where he would have ended up in his walk as he was killed in an automobile accident. One musician who did sing about the apostasy was Keith Green who was definitely warning Christians to take their Christian walk seriously. He also wrote a report called The Catholic Chronicles, exposing the false doctrines of the Catholic Church. Keith died in a plane crash when he was 28 years. We wonder what he would think about the church if he was here today.
The point we are trying to make here is that there may have been something missing from the pastors and Christian leaders back in the 70s—something that is similar in today’s church. Were the pastors and Christian leaders from the 70s teaching these young ex-hippies who came to Christ what the Bible says about spiritual deception and how to be discerning in a world that is growing spiritually darker? The Catholic charismatic renewal movement was taking place at about the same time and spilled over into the evangelical church so there became a great emphasis on signs and wonders, and eventually even the initial emphasis on the Word was overtaken. Perhaps that is how, at least in part, we got where we are today.