God's Timing? Release of New 'Jesus Revolution' Film Happening as Asbury Revival Wraps Up
For those who believe in a providential God who ultimately governs over the affairs of this world, it’s noteworthy that the revival on Asbury University campus is winding down this week just in time for the release of the movie “Jesus Revolution.”
The film hits theaters nationwide Friday starring Kelsey Grammer as California pastor Chuck Smith, one of the leaders during the Jesus movement of the late 1960s and ’70s, that saw hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, come to faith.
Jonathan Roumie plays hippie preacher Lonnie Frisbee in the movie. The actor is best known for the portrayal of Jesus in the popular online series “The Chosen.”
Actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley (“Father of the Bride”) is Charlene McDaniel, mother of Greg Laurie, a struggling teen who comes to faith through Frisbee’s preaching.
“The Jesus Movement was an awakening. Not only was it the last great American awakening, I think it might have been the most significant of all,” said Laurie, who is pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in southern California.
The film is co-directed and co-written by Jon Erwin, whose other works include “I Can Only Imagine” and “American Underdog.”
Erwin recounted that it took seven years to bring “Jesus Revolution” to the big screen.
“You feel swept up into this movement,” he said after he learned of this period in American history. “If a Jesus revolution happened before, it can happen again. Why can’t the next Jesus revolution begin right now?”
Check this out! Kelsey Grammer on the Live with Kelly and Ryan show talking about the Jesus Revolution Movie! pic.twitter.com/iAGyP2n9Sp
— Greg Laurie (@greglaurie) February 16, 2023
Jacob Coyne — a preacher and founder of the mental health organization Stay Here — sees parallels to the time period the film covers and today.
Coyne attended the Asbury revival in Wilmore, Kentucky, last week and was profoundly impacted by what he experienced there.
“I think it’s funny given there’s this Jesus Revolution movie coming out in a couple of days in theaters that’s highlighting the revival that happened in the seventies. And I think that this is so similar,” he said.
“God never does anything by accident,” Coyne continued. “He loves to speak, specifically like this and prophetically like this, so I think what God saying is what he did then, he’s doing again.”
“Because the Asbury revival in the seventies is what really kicked off the Jesus movement. It spread all across the nation. So I believe that God’s doing it again. There’s going to be a Jesus movement again over the next few years, hopefully the rest of this decade that reaches all across Gen Z and Gen Alpha,” Coyne said.
He noted how quickly American culture changed when revival broke as exemplified in two Time magazine covers from the era.
One published in April 1966 asked, “Is God Dead?” Then five years later in June 1971, the Time cover was, “The Jesus Revolution.”
What a difference 5 years makes. In 1966, Time asked, “Is God Dead?,” then in 1971 Time ran “The Jesus Revolution” cover after revival had broken out nationwide during the #Jesus movement.
Is the same happening in our day? #Asbury had a big-time revival back then too. pic.twitter.com/vIohLk3t5S
— Randy DeSoto (@RandyDeSoto) February 21, 2023
So Time’s question was answered, Coyne pointed out.
“Is God dead? No, he’s not dead. Jesus is changing the wild hippie generation,” he said.
Coyne believes the same will happen now.
“Some of the parallels we’re going to see is that even the world begins to recognize that, no, this isn’t a godless generation. God is real,” the preacher said.
“He’s alive. And the, you know, the rise of manifestation and crystals and psychedelics and stuff. I think a lot of those people are going to turn to Jesus Christ,” Coyne said.
“It’s a very similar, very similar generation. And if you look at even some of the statistics of the sins and vices that people are struggling with today, very similar to the late ’60s and ’70s.”
I was a young kid in the ’70s, but looking back I can see that I was catching some of the overflow of the Jesus Revolution at church camp as we sang songs about God’s love (like “Pass It On“) around the campfire.
Some of the leaders definitely had that hippie vibe too. They were cool!
Besides the Asbury revival winding down just as “Jesus Revolution” is being released, it’s also worth noting that the nonstop praise service began in February just as it did in 1970 on campus.
One other fun factoid is that the Kansas City Chiefs won that Super Bowl that year too, as they did earlier this month. I don’t think the win necessarily means that God is a Chiefs’ fan, but may be a display of how he’s able to orchestrate events.
Christian speaker Lance Wallnau saw prophetic significance in it showing that “God is coming a second time!”
Asbury revival 1970 breaks out
K C Chiefs win 1970
Asbury revival 2023 breaks out
KC Chiefs win 2023
Double….. God coming a second time!
— Lance Wallnau (@lancewallnau) February 13, 2023
The unplanned, nonstop praise meeting that began at Asbury University on Feb. 8 wrapped up Monday afternoon.
University officials announced that evening services would continue this week for those between the ages of 16-25 through Thursday.
The decision came as the town of Wilmore was flooded with tens of thousands of visitors over the weekend seeking to experience God.
“Lord, let the fire of your Spirit fall like latter rain.”
Don’t be a spectator, God change me!
God is doing “A deep work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and lives to prepare us for what is ahead.”#asburyrevival 🔥 #asburyawakening pic.twitter.com/A1wE3G5Ol6
— Greg Gordon (@gregjgordon) February 19, 2023
In the February 1970 revival, classes were canceled for a week as nonstop worship of God went on for 144 hours, so this most recent outpouring more than doubled that total.
Asbury encouraged those who attended the outpouring to “go out” into the world and share what they’ve experienced.
CBN News reported on Friday that spiritual awakenings are breaking out on other college campuses in Ohio, Tennessee and Alabama.
Likely many will flock to the theaters this weekend to see “Jesus Revolution” and get a glimpse of what a revival looked like in times past and what could happen, maybe is already happening, again.
Randy DeSoto is author of the book “We Hold These Truths,” which is about how leaders throughout American history have appealed to faith in God’s providence and in God-given rights.
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