CWLF and Holy Hubert

When Moishe Rosen showed up in 1968, in the days before he founded Jews for Jesus, he and I organized large-scale events involving hundreds of Jesus People. Moishe was the actual brains behind the demonstrations; I served as his lieutenant. I remember the time that Moishe (I knew him as Martin then) and I agreed to descend on San Francisco’s Broadway Street in North Beach1 to create a stir and promote an event where Hal Lindsay of The Late Great Planet Earth fame was to preach in front of Big Al’s. In two days we mustered a couple hundred Jesus People from our Marin County base alone and set them to creating dozens of placards and hundreds of “broadsides” (tracts). At another of these evange- listic demonstrations, we pick- eted and marched in front of Adam and Eve’s on Broadway in North Beach on a Friday night. We persisted for a long time, and it was plain we were inter- fering with customers enter- ing the strip joint. Toward ten o’clock some goons came out of the place and began yelling at us. I stepped forward aggressively and started “talking” to a guy, not knowing he was the The area is where all the strip clubs operate, bordering Chinatown, it has long been a mecca for various sorts of thrill seekers. Carol Doda, Big Al’s—real sleaze stuff but made to look glitzy. owner, Michael Savage.He took a swing at me, hit me in the face, and knocked my glasses off. Having been alerted, cops had already arrived, seen the scuffle and then jumped in. We were both taken to the North Beach Police Station, where we ended up declaring the incident “mutual combat,” making it possible for us to avoid further difficulties. When I got back to Broadway, the demonstration was still underway.

Enter the CWLF Sometime in 1969 a higher degree of organization crept into the JPM. There were conferences and large campouts featuring music and preaching. In the Bay Area there were several times when JPM lead- ers met together to plan evangelistic outreaches, much of which was stimulated by or held in conjunction with the Christian World Liberation Front (known to us as CWLF), led by Jack Sparks, Pat Matrisciana, Brooks Alexander, and Billy Squires, among others. I believe CWLF started up in early 1969. Moishe and I both loved working with these folks, fellow travelers who were, in terms of background and education, much more like us than many of the other Jesus People leaders. The flagship school of the University of California system was located in Berkeley, which was sometimes referred to as “Berzerkeley,” not a flattering term. Berkeley was the absolute center of not only leftwing political thought in the U.S., but also of the East Bay’s hippie movement. People’s Park, just off Telegraph Avenue and a few blocks away from the university, was the place where the action took place. Here the hippies camped out, smoked dope, and tried to live the free and enlightened life. Berkeley’s hippies were definitely not the same bunch as the uni- versity students, but we attempted to evangelize both groups. CWLF lead in this effort, with Jack and Pat, who were both at that time conservative radio personality. One of the very best gatherings of Jesus People in the Bay Area was held at the KOA Campground in Petaluma. Jim Durkin from Eureka was much involved in this one and brought a hundred-plus Jesus People with him for the event. The CW LF and Holy Hubert nected with Campus Crusade for Christ, focused on the university in particular and the hippie element as a sort of tangential target group. They gathered around them a capable and dedicated group that included the above-mentioned Billy and Brooks. Many others, includ- ing very talented women, contributed their efforts, and they estab- lished what became the most read publication of the JPM, Right On. Right On was political yet non-political at the same time. Some of the best articles for the Gospel could be found in that newspaper, although it was sometimes hard to tell at first glance if Right On was even Christian. A careful read, however, made it clear it was and very biblically so. It was Right On that Ollie, Paul and I handed out on col- lege campuses from California to Alabama in 1969. We must have stuffed a couple thousand of the papers into the red VW bug. From time to time, I drove over to Berkeley to visit Jack, Pat, and the others at their offices. Afterward, I liked to walk over to the gate leading into the university at Telegraph and Bancroft Way. Maybe seventy-five yards inside was Sproul Hall and the famous steps of Sproul Hall, where many of the sixties radicals delivered fiery anti-establish- ment speeches to the crowds who stood and listened in Sproul Plaza. Ludwig’s Fountain bordered the plaza, and in its pool we conducted baptisms. The pool was shallow, and I had to get down on my knees along with the person to be baptized, gently laying the new believer’s head under the water. This usually attracted a crowd of students, and we took advantage of this by handing out copies of Right On, while honing our open air preaching skills. The student union opposite Sproul Hall was a large building with a café and rest rooms, and it was the perfect place to retreat, freshen up, and spend precious moments instructing new Christians. It is now called the Martin Luther King Student Union, but I don’t recall it being called that then.

Enter “Holy” Hubert 

An amazing street preacher who would place himself at the gate leading into the university, right there at Telegraph and Bancroft Way, was Holy Hubert. He would climb up on a portion of the large concrete gate and hold forth. Hubert was well into his fifties, or so I thought at the time, and was small of stature and large of heart—maybe courageous is a good description of him as well. Hubert had no front teeth, and that was because he was regularly punched in the face by angry listeners, most of whom where hippie street people. To say Hubert was a throwback would be an understatement. He was John the Baptist, Elijah the Prophet, John Wesley, and George Whitfield all rolled into one. Whenever I was there I would stand in front of him as a kind of bodyguard. Things got ugly once in a while. 

It was claimed, but not by Hubert, that he had memorized the whole of the Bible. On a couple of occasions I tried to find out about this without directly questioning him. There were a couple of times, however, when right in the middle of an impromptu sermon out would flow, and perfectly, chapter after chapter of Scripture, even passages in the Law that were rough going at best. I guess the legend was true. 

Holy Hubert yelled at the hippies and students things like: “You dirty filthy fornicating drug addicts,” or “You brood of vipers, whores and whore mongers, you will burn in hell.” Easy to see why he had so few teeth. Oddly, people would be converted, sometimes right on the spot, and I baptized a few of those who apparently needed to hear what Hubert had to proclaim. It takes all kinds, and Hubert was able to penetrate the defenses some of the hippies used to justify their behavior. It was nothing short of miraculous to see some of those who were yelling for Hubert to be crucified suddenly drop to their knees and begin to repent. 

After a few years Hubert stopped showing up, and I never learned what happened to him. Like many used of God in the JPM, he suddenly appeared, and just as quickly he disappeared. 

The CWLF also dissolved, but not as quickly. When Jack Sparks embraced Eastern Orthodoxy,

I talked to Jack about the situation, and it seemed to me that he wanted to see order and a predictable theology instead of the chaos and confusion that became the hallmark of much of the JPM. His motivation now strikes me as being many of the young kids who had started showing up at CWLF to serve the Lord were thrown into a precarious place. The leadership was divided also, and gradually the whole thing ground to a halt. Some of those involved continued to do what they could, but it was over. Actually, it morphed into another ministry, which proved to be very important, a ministry centered on apologetics lead by Tal Brooke, a very capable and interesting person. 

This, too, indicates a crucial characteristic about the JPM. There was a time of its beginnings and a time of its endings. As I have often indicated, no one knows exactly when it began or when it ended, and you get different opinions, depending on where a person lived. The very same can be said of the first, second, and third awakenings in America. This seems to be a mark of a genuine outpouring of the Holy Spirit who, like the wind, blows when and where He will. 

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