Can a ‘Jesus Revolution’ take place again in America?

(L-R) Jonathan Roumie as Lonnie Frisbee and Kelsey Grammer as Chuck Smith in the film, 'Jesus Revolution,' a Lionsgate release.
(L-R) Jonathan Roumie as Lonnie Frisbee and Kelsey Grammer as Chuck Smith in the film, "Jesus Revolution," a Lionsgate release. | Dan Anderson

In June 1971, a headline on the cover of Time magazine trumpeted “The Jesus Revolution.” As readers dug into the inside pages of the cover story, they found the following statement:

“Jesus is alive and well and living in the radical spiritual fervor of a growing number of young Americans who have proclaimed an extraordinary religious revolution in his name. Their message: the Bible is true, miracles happen, God really did so love the world that he gave it his only begotten son.”

However, strangely enough, just five years earlier, the same magazine featured a cover shrouded in darkness that blurted out in bold red ink: “Is God Dead?”

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What happened during those five years to create such a cultural difference? Why such a seismic shift in the way people viewed Jesus Christ?

What took place was a revival, as young people far and wide, disillusioned by the Vietnam War, civil unrest, and the feeling of hopelessness, found a place of belonging, compassion, understanding, and empathy for people, all rooted in their love for Jesus Christ.

This happening was called simply the “Jesus Movement.”

“The Gospel has the power to change lives in ways that we just can’t fathom,” movie producer Kevin Downes said. “And so we saw this happen in the early 1970s. There were so many stories that happened during this Jesus movement time that was highlighted in that magazine article.”

Listen to Downes break it all down:

What was happening in the late 1960s and the early 1970s is not a whole lot different from what we are experiencing today. People are still disillusioned by war and civil unrest, as well as cancel culture, gender issues, the right to life, wokeness, and on and on it goes.

It’s a common claim that another revival is desperately needed — and some might wonder if what we’ve seen at Asbury University and other colleges is the start of one.

“Jesus Revolution” is a new movie from Kingdom Story Company that examines what exactly took place during those turbulent years of the late 1960s and early 1970s, and the hippie culture that was seemingly taking over the country at the time. It explores how the radical love of Jesus brought revival to a nation reeling from the wounds inflicted by mankind.

“I have not been more excited about a movie that we’ve made than I am about this one movie,” an effusive Downes shared.

In addition to serving as producer on “Jesus Revolution,” he has also played a prominent role in other Kingdom Productions such as “I Can Only Imagine” and “American Underdog.”

“That’s because the whole movie is about hope. There is hope because there is a Savior that died on the cross for us,” he said. “And it just makes it so clear about the why and the who, and why we need Jesus so much in our life, and how he can literally impact us in a way that we never imagined.”

Downes has had a front-row seat to the making of “Jesus Revolution.” As a co-founder of Kingdom Story Company, he has been able to help cultivate the film’s powerful message of hope and revival that will undoubtedly pierce the hearts of moviegoers near and far.

He joins us on the Crossmap Podcast to talk about whether a revival of such epic proportions could happen today. Listen as he shares how this movie can serve as a kick-off of sorts to ushering in a new hunger for Jesus Christ that has not been seen in 50 years, and why right now is the right time for “Jesus Revolution.”

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