Christian Church, church, freedom, hippie Christians, JESUS MOVEMENT, Keith Green, Larry Norman, Love Song, William Tyndale
“I repent of ever having recorded one single song and ever having performed one concert if my music, and more importantly — my life — has not provoked you into godly jealousy, or to sell out more completely to Jesus!”
If you were accused …
If you were accused … of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you in a court of Law? In the 1970’s, this was a question made popular within the “Jesus Movement!” Yes, there was actually, a movement among young people in high schools and colleges that swept across the country proclaiming JESUS CHRIST is LORD. Some were even labeled “Jesus Freaks!” They looked and dressed very similar to the Hippies of the time, but there was a marked difference in their behavior. They read their Bibles often, in public, out loud. They laughed and talked about how to LOVE one another the way Jesus loves us. They created a new genre of music that incorporated Christian values and even Bible verses into the lyrics. They weren’t perfect, of course, but they tried to live what they read in the Bible.
The JESUS MOVEMENT spawned a new genre of music that was a hybrid of rock & roll sound, but with Gospel friendly lyrics.
“In order to proclaim the message of the gospel, hippie Christianssimply adopted existing forms of communication. Mirroring the development of underground newspapers such as the Berkeley Barb, in 1969 evangelist Duane Pederson began publishing the Hollywood Free Paper as an evangelistic tool. Jesus papers with names like Right On!, The Fish, Street Level, and Cornerstone became a fundamental component of each street Christian community.
“Another development was Jesus Music, the controversial combination of rock music and the gospel as one of the most effective (and subsequently lasting) institutions of the revival. Artists and groups such as Ron Moore, Love Song, John Fischer, Larry Norman, Randy Matthews, Agape, and the All Saved Freak Band are just a few of the performers that felt the need to communicate spiritual truths through a popular medium. Christian coffeehouses and Jesus rock festivals emerged as the music gained momentum as a popular alternative to the mainstream industry. Contemporary Christian radio shows sprang up as did magazines devoted solely to monitoring the fledgling Jesus Music scene. While many conservative church-goers lamented that Jesus Music was a spiritual compromise, these pioneers maintained that they were combating the negative influence of mainstream rock music. In an attempt to develop an apologetic for their evangelistic efforts they echoed the sentiments of reformer Martin Luther when he asked “why should the devil have all the best tunes.”
Larry Norman – Waves of Grace – [with Lyrics] from Greg Murray on Vimeo.
Perhaps the most radical idea of the JESUS MOVEMENT was that following Jesus was more than just going to church on Sundays. In fact, another thing Keith Green (and others) said often was that “going to church on Sundays doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to McDonald’s makes you a hamburger!” He’s right! In fact, Jesus said, ““If you love me, you will obey my commands.” (John 14:15) How do we know what Jesus/God commands? We must become well acquainted with the WORD of GOD – the Bible. This is true whether we are Catholic, Presbyterian, Baptist, or 7th Day Adventist. If we WANT to serve God, if we want to be found pleasing in HIS sight, we must acquaint ourselves with who HE is. Right? Even if it’s … uncomfortable? Even if it’s not politically correct?
The JESUS MOVEMENT was also about FREEDOM. For too long, the organized Church had kept God locked up inside the building, the local brick and mortar assembly. While hippies and militant radicals protested society’s ills and the Vietnam war, the JESUS MOVEMENT broke down the walls of the established Christian church and took it to the streets. What William Tyndale did for the Bible, the JESUS MOVEMENT did for the people, for the CHURCH of Christ. It took Jesus from the closed doors of the religious, organized Church to the everyday lives of everyday people. It helped strip away the false piety and religious pretense so common among church-going people. We were given permission to be REAL, to be imperfect followers of Jesus.
“But now you know the true God. Really, it is God who knows you. So why do you turn back to those weak and useless rules you followed before? Do you want to be slaves to those things again?”
This brings us back to the title question: If you were accused … of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you in a court of Law?
I don’t know the originator of the title question, but I first heard it from a man named Keith Green, who became a popular singer during the 1970’s until his death in a plane crash. He was 28. His life message can be seen in the title of one of his albums, “No Compromise!” – released in 1978.
“In a world where following Christ is decreed to be a subversive and illegal activity you have been accused of being a believer, arrested, and dragged before a court.
“You have been under clandestine surveillance for some time now, and so the prosecution has been able to build up quite a case against you. They begin the trial by offering the judge dozens of photographs that show you attending church meetings, speaking at religious events, and participating in various prayer and worship services. After this, they present a selection of items that have been confiscated from your home: religious books that you own, worship CDs, and other Christian artifacts. Then they step up the pace by displaying your many poems, pieces of prose, and journal entries that you had lovingly written concerning your faith. Finally, in closing, the prosecution offers your Bible to the judge. This is a well-worn book with scribbles, notes, drawings, and underlings throughout, evidence, if it were needed, that you had read and re-read this sacred text many times.
“Throughout the case you have been sitting silently in fear and trembling. You know deep in your heart that with the large body of evidence that has been amassed by the prosecution you face the possibility of long imprisonment or even execution. At various times throughout the proceedings you have lost all confidence and been on the verge of standing up and denying Christ. But while this thought has plagued your mind throughout the trial, you resist the temptation and remain focused.”READ MORE
So the question becomes what evidence ought be present to condemn me as a Christian? What is God after? How do we LIVE to please God? To answer these questions, I will simply post some verses from the Bible. YOU DECIDE!
- “If you love me, you will obey my commands.” John 14:15
- “I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other as I have loved you. 35 All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other.” John 13: 34-35
- “The Lord God has told us what is right and what he demands: “See that justice is done, let mercy be your first concern, and humbly obey your God.” Micah 6:8
- This is what the Lord says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool.
So do you think you can build a house for me? Do I need a place to rest? My hand made all things. All things are here because I made them,” says the Lord. “These are the people I am pleased with: those who are not proud or stubborn and who fear my word. Isaiah 66: 1-2
- “All that the Law says can be summed up in the command to love others as much as you love yourself.” Galatians 5:14
- A third time he said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” Peter said, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you!”
He said to him, “Feed my sheep. John 21: 15-17
- “Don’t judge others, or you will be judged. 2 You will be judged in the same way that you judge others, and the amount you give to others will be given to you. Matthew 7: 1-2
The bottom line is, to “reflect” the One we love, Jesus, we need cultivate a relationship with Him. We must spend TIME with Him. Familiarize ourselves not only with His WORD, but with His character as revealed throughout His WORD, Old and New Covenants!
The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 Our faces, then, are not covered. We all show the Lord’s glory, and we are being changed to be like him. This change in us brings ever greater glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 CORINTHIANS 3:17-18
“If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be sufficient evidence to convict you?”
Similarly, if you were accused of being an AMERICAN, would there be enough evidence to convict you? Do you know our Founding documents: the Declaration of Independence? The Bill of Rights or the Constitution? Can you name a handful of the Signers?
Do you know America’s form of government? Democracy, you say? NO! We are a CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC!!! Do we understand the VALUES behind the CONSTITUTION? Well … is there enough evidence to convict you? American? Christian? Person of independent faith?