The Core Message of the Jesus Freaks

 Chapter 48 

Joyful Noise began singing a song entitled, “One name under heaven whereby we must be saved,” in 1968 or 1969.

1 Not sure, but I may have written this one, or perhaps it was David Hoyt. I have seen the song listed as written by others, but that was typical of the JPM. The authorship of songs, some written by David Hoyt and myself, became common property and finally, when included in music books, would be claimed by someone or other rather than as “unknown.” The index finger pointing upward meant “one way” and is based on John 14:6: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” I believed that then, and I believe it now. 

For the Jesus People, Acts 4:12 said it all: “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” 

Campus Crusade for Christ’s The Four Spiritual Laws booklet was widely used in street evangelism. Simple and clear, it was perhaps a bit “dumbed-down” from the perspective of a much older Christian. My favorite way to present Christ is called “The Roman Road,” which I still use. It starts with Romans 3:10: “None is righteous, no, not one.” The next stop is Romans 3:23-24: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” It is a short distance from there to 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Now a U-turn is required back to 5:1: “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Often the last stop was Romans 10:9-10: “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Currently, I go back to 8:30: “And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” At the end of this road, there is no dead end. 

The Essential Doctrine 

Our emphasis was not self-improvement; it was not a self-help movement. We were not trying to find ourselves, fix the planet, or foment a revolution. We were not intent on changing the world in a political sense. The bare essential had to do with salvation, which was impressed upon us to be the only thing that mattered, when all was said and done. 

I will never forget the title of one of Bob Hymers’ sermons, “Eternity, eternity, eternity, where will you spend eternity?” Wish I had a recording of it. 

This utterly exclusive doctrine was our banner, even in the midst of a generation that was becoming highly syncretistic, tolerant, and inclusive. The Jesus People were upfront; it was Jesus and Jesus alone who could rescue from an eternity in hell. 

Sociologists have adequately described the 1960s. The size of the counter-culture that was wildly embracing eastern religions and occult practices and concepts was mushrooming. It was cool to be a Buddhist, even cool to stand on a street corner as a Hare Krishna, chanting and begging for money. Anton LaVey, the founder of the Church of Satan in San Francisco, was celebrated. Some in the Haight Ashbury looked down on me, because I had not expanded my mind by dropping acid or equivalents. 

I was reluctant to identify myself with a Christian church, since it was not hip to be a Baptist, especially a Southern Baptist, so I referred to myself as a “follower of Jesus.” As the song said, “Jesus is just all right with me.” For others, He was only all right as long as He was simply another in the pantheon of spiritual gurus. But when some of us proclaimed Jesus as being absolutely the only way to the Father, the response could just as likely be a punch in the mouth as anything else. 

I believe I have adequately framed it: Hippie Jesus was tolerated but the Jesus of the Bible was not. Still, the conversions came by the thousands and more than thousands. How could this be explained? It was the power of the Holy Spirit, who convicted the unholy hippies intent on nothing more than sex, drugs, and rock ’n roll of their sin and then powerfully revealed to these blinded and hardened sinners Jesus as Lord and Savior. Now that is a miracle of the first order, while other miracles like healing, words of knowledge, even multiplication of food, simply cannot compare. 

Not all conversions were genuine conversions, of course, but the large majority were, and this is stated on the basis of my personal experience. Having spent my life pretty much in one place for most of the Jesus People Movement and beyond, I have been contacted (mostly through Facebook) by a host of those who were brought to Christ in the JPM, and one of the first statements, whether by phone, email, or Facebook is, “I am still trusting in Jesus.” 

Some described themselves as having made “shipwreck of the faith,”

2 1 Timothy 1:19 is the reference here and some interpret it to mean a loss of salvation. My experience, and other biblical evidence, causes me to think otherwise.even for fairly long periods of time, but God would not leave them as castaways. It is one thing to trip or fall, but it is the mark of true conversion to get back up again and continue along the narrow way. 

Jesus remains, now and forever, the only name under heaven whereby we must be saved. 

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