We did the unthinkable this past weekend, and we went to see Jesus Revolution. The warnings were abundant. If we went to see it, we would probably turn from being orthodox to whatever kind of loosey, goosey theological mumblings the movie had to offer. Despite the doom and gloom, I came out unscathed and I hope a touch better for it.
I am offering some reasons why I think you should also see it. If you know what you believe and you can defend your belief system, why would you be afraid to see something with a different theological bent than yourself? It reminded me, as we watched the movie, of the two or three families that left the church in the beginning when Chuck Smith was wrestling with whether he should allow hippies into the church. Such a bizarre concept for me. Wasn’t Jesus the one that received sinners? (My Sermon from Luke 15).
There are some theological weaknesses to the movie, for sure. I have a different take on the “healing” ministry that Lonnie Frisbee purported to have. I also don’t believe he or anyone else has obtained “prophet” status today. I firmly believe those have ceased. Although, I do believe God can and will heal if it is His prerogative to do so.
However, there were many great and encouraging elements to the movie. How often do we neglect those that need Christ’s love because of our theological insecurities? Yes, I call them insecurities because we would rather fight over our sound doctrine than accept someone for their changed life even if it does not follow the prescribed method we believe.
Disclaimer: The sinner’s prayer is not found in the Bible, but I think countless people have been saved by reciting the sinner’s prayer despite bad theology, and then they grow as the Lord sanctifies them.
Was the Jesus Revolution real? I think it was authentic, and I believe there are many saved people today because of it. Do I think all of them were truly saved? No, I think there were probably many false converts. I also think there are many false converts in Biblically sound churches today. Those that grew up in orthodox or fundamentalist churches, as I wrote about in this article.
I’m all for sound theology. I think it’s essential. I think great preaching with precise accuracy is fundamental. I have no doubts the Calvary and Vineyard movements have lots of bad theology and bad teaching, but it’s funny because I know of orthodox churches that have done more than their fair share of damage to people despite claiming good theology.
“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved….So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:13, 17).
I heard much of the word of God spoken in this movie. It was even, primarily correctly interpreted. Yes, there are issues. But what if someone goes to this movie and gets saved? Do you want to be the one that discourages them because you don’t think it’s done to your exacting standards? Are you actually hindering the children from coming to Jesus?
The 2nd London Baptist Confession – Chapter 26, Section 3. “The purest churches under heaven are subject to mixture and error; and some have so degenerated as to become no churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan; nevertheless Christ always has had, and ever shall have a kingdom in this world, to the end thereof, of such as believe in him and make profession of his name.
That is a powerful statement we should take seriously rather than looking down our theological noses at those less worthy of the gospel than us. Jesus Revolution may not be up to your standards, but If you can get outside yourself and think about people that were affected and transformed despite bad theology, maybe it humbles us a little. Maybe that’s the point and one of the reasons I recommend you go see it.
I’ll leave you with a quote from John Newton. One we should all meditate on, deeply.
Whoever is truly humbled — will not be easily angry, nor harsh or critical of others. He will be compassionate and tender to the infirmities of his fellow-sinners, knowing that if there is a difference — it is grace alone which has made it! He knows that he has the seeds of every evil in his own heart. And under all trials and afflictions — he will look to the hand of the Lord, and lay his mouth in the dust, acknowledging that he suffers much less than his iniquities have deserved.