COSTA MESA, California (FR) – “The Jesus Movement” – the very name conjures up images of the late sixties and early seventies, when long-haired Californian youth were being baptized en masse in the swirling waters of the Pacific beaches.
It has been over 20 years since the phenomenon known as the Jesus movement began – a short lived spiritual awakening which was the spark that lit the fire of many Christian youth movements – and the time when many of the Christian leaders of today got their start.
Yet Chuck Smith, founder of Calvary Chapel, the focal point of the Jesus movement, claims that it is not over yet – or perhaps, a new movement is just beginning. An evangelistic rally, held recently at the Pacific Ampitheater in Costa Mesa, California, drew 90,000 people over a five day period. A record 25,000 showed up on the last night.
At the close of each meeting, hundreds of people streamed forward to make public dedications to Christ. Altogether, more than 5000 people – mostly teenagers and young adults – gave their lives to Jesus Christ.
On Friday evening, a public baptism was held at Corona del Mar beach. Chuck Smith baptized over 100 new converts himself, standing in the surf for over three hours. Somewhere in between 500 and 1000 were baptized. Smith claims this exceeds the largest number he and his church have ever baptized at Corona del Mar at any time, even during the early 1970s, when thousands of young people were converted through his ministry.
Source: National and International Religion Report, August 27, 1990, Vol.4, No.18