Kelsey Grammer as “Chuck Smith” and Jonathan Roumie as “Lonnie Frisbee” in Jesus Revolution.
Photo: Dan Anderson
By Tom Campisi
As a young man in early 1970’s Southern California, Greg Laurie’s life was adrift. He attempted to fill his emptiness with drugs and other vices, but was soon swept into the Jesus Movement, what many have called the last Great Awakening in the United States.
The story of Laurie and his girlfriend finding hope and meaning is a subplot in the bigger picture that is the Jesus Revolution movie, which opens in theaters nationwide on Friday, Feb. 24. In the film, young Laurie (Joel Courtney) is radically changed when he meets charismatic hippie-street-preacher Lonnie Frisbee (played by Jonathan Roumie of The Chosen). Together with Pastor Chuck Smith (Kelsey Grammer), they open the doors of Smith’s languishing church to an unexpected revival of radical and newfound love. Other cast members include Kimberly Williams Paisley (Father of the Bride, According to Jim) and Anna Grace Barlow, who plays Charlene Laurie.
In a recent blog post—entitled “Is Another Jesus Movement Beginning to Happen?”—Laurie, who went on to become a pastor and evangelist, writes with faith-filled optimism about the current student-led Asbury University Revival and segues into his new movie. Will the seeking prayer, worship, and repentance movement that is currently happening at Asbury University and on other campuses launch an awakening in 2023? Will the movie add fuel to the flame?
“In a time not unlike our own, God worked a miracle in American history,” recalled Laurie.
“There were riots in the streets, racial tension, the fear of nuclear war in the air, and what appeared to be the unraveling of our nation. There was talk of ‘revolution,’ and one actually took place. But it was not a political revolution or a moral revolution—it was what TIME Magazine called a “Jesus Revolution.”
That Jesus Revolution of the late 1960s and early 1970s “changed the nation and the world,” Laurie said.
The movie, written by Jon Erwin and Jon Gunn, is based on a book by Laurie.
“[Jesus Revolution] follows two unlikely people coming together—a staid pastor, Chuck Smith and a young hippy evangelist, Lonnie Frisbee,” Laurie said.
“It was like Nitro met Glycerin, and the result was explosive. Thousands of young people, most of whom had no church background, came to faith all at once.”
Laurie is hopeful that another Jesus revolution is at hand.
“Our prayer is that God will be glorified in the telling of our story, and that others will find the fulfillment and meaning we so desperately searched for during the Jesus Revolution,” he said. “I pray it happens again.”
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