NASHVILLE (BP) – Pastor Greg Laurie said the spiritual awakening portrayed in the new movie “Jesus Revolution” is still making an impact today, including his own life and ministry. The basis of the movie is the Jesus Movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Having opened in wide release Friday, Feb. 24, the movie played in more than 2,000 theaters amassing just over $15 million, putting it in third place for the weekend behind Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” and “Cocaine Bear.”
Industry projections estimated an opening for the movie of around $6-7 million. According to Box Office Mojo, the film’s total gross as of March 3 is just over $20 million. (Read more here.)
The movie depicts a young Laurie (played by Joel Courtney), telling the story of both his conversion to Christianity and romance with his future wife Cathe (played by Anna Grace Barlow). Laurie is now the pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif.
“I accepted Christ on my high school campus, and I went to a church called Calvary Chapel where the Jesus Movement was in full swing,” Laurie told Baptist Press.
“It was just such a wonderful time because there was an excitement. People were never late for church, he said.
Laurie believes evangelism was a key component of the Jesus Movement.
“It was not uncommon to see believers out on the streets talking about Jesus, sharing their faith. It was just a work of the Holy Spirit,” he said.
He added that the movie also cues up the birth of the Christian music movement that was born in those days, and he admitted that while there were many positive results of the movement, God used imperfect people to shepherd the awakening.
The relationship between a conservative pastor of Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, Calif., named Chuck Smith and a charismatic street preacher named Lonnie Frisbee is an example of the tension.
Smith is portrayed by iconic actor Kelsey Grammer (“Cheers,” “Frasier”), while Frisbee is played by Jonathan Roumie, who plays Jesus in the wildly popular streaming series “The Chosen.”
While the two had their disagreements and shortcomings, Laurie says both were used by God.
“Lonnie Frisbee was a colorful character,” Laurie said. “He did have a dramatic conversion, and he was used by God as a catalyst to attract young people.”
“But Chuck Smith sort of was like the stabilizer, sort of like the kids came for Lonnie and they stayed for Chuck because Chuck was a Bible expositor, and he put clear parameters around things,” he said.
“God uses flawed people. God uses ordinary people. Even as you read the book of Acts, these are ordinary people who fell short, people like us. I think one of the takeaway truths of the Bible is these were not perfect people that God worked through, but they were available people.”
Laurie said the impact of the revolution was important, but what is even more import is how this generation will respond to the film.
“The undeniable fact is there was a powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit that affected churches of every tribe, of every denomination,” he said. “And it was something that was felt around the nation and the world. We’re just capturing one aspect of it in this movie.”