In the only recognized authority on the Jesus Movement, the book, God’s Forever Family, by Larry Eskridge, a great deal of time is spent on a Bible study in the home of Ted and Liz Wise, in Sausalito, California, as the origin of the movement. The story of Ted’s conversion is a perfect illustration of the two characteristics of the Jesus Movement that we are looking at this week: 1) there was a very literal interpretation of the Bible, and 2) the Holy Spirit played a key role in its development.
Ted came to Christ as the result of a vision he had during an acid trip in which he saw a river of humanity flowing towards its destruction but a man on the shore was pulling people out to safety as fast as he could. Ted knew the man was Jesus, and later, when he was sober, he found a Bible, and for months he immersed himself in the study of this book, so that when he started leading studies at his home, he taught as one who had been taught by the Holy Spirit through the Bible alone. Believe me, I was with this man through much of the Jesus Movement, and it was so refreshing to hear clean, clear truth devoid of evangelical culture-speak coming out of his mouth. He had not been spoon-fed anything. He had dug up truth for himself.
We have a tendency to only trust ordained individuals who have been trained in seminary, but this is not necessary. Sure, false teachers and kooks will arise, but that will happen just as easily among those “trained” in seminary as those who are not. God is the one who gifts people to teach and lead and He will cover for us. My wife, Marti, taught a Bible study to 90 flight attendants within weeks of being saved and she was not even from an evangelical background. She was studying hard, and she taught what she knew.
When God moves, God is in charge, and that’s as true today as it has been any time in history. When God does something new, He brings a fresh beginning. We have a tendency to mass produce teaching and training materials and codify everything according to its content — which is fine — but we need, as well, new voices that speak into each new generation. For some time we’ve been asking who will be the voice of Christ to future generations. Well that time is here, and you are the one to bring it. And all you need is your Bible and the Holy Spirit, and a love for those who will carry the torch into the future, and a desire to be in relationship with them.
For a link to my 30-minute BlogTalkVideo interview with Marti, click here and use the following Passcode: r.TNA9ec
I was caught during the Jesus Movement. Alone in a quiet moment, staring up at the stars on New Year 1970 I was met by a beckoning God and I followed.
After moving from the East Coast to England and then to Palo Alto, God discipled me through choice mentors and in the Word at PBC. I even hosted the services there for a brief bit.
Throughout my career at HP I continued to feast on the Word and lead services and adult classes at my local church. Finally, God said it was time to “graduate” and He pulled me into fulltime ministry. “Pulled” is a good word to describe my resistance.
I have now pastored for 27 years and I am embarrassed by that resistance.
But without the advantage of seminary (which I would have loved) God assured me that His unique path of training for me was sufficient. No, wait. It was excellent.
And the Word-centric atmosphere of PBC and people like Ray, Dave, Ron, Ted, Lambert, Steve, Jack, Brian, yourself … all played an orchestrated part in my shaping.
I am confident that God is at work doing the same in a new generation.
God knows what He is doing. And for that, I remain deeply thankful.