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God's Forever Family: The Jesus People Movement in America

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  160 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Winner of the 2014 Christianity Today Book of the Year
First Place Winner of the Religion Newswriters Association's Non-fiction Religion Book of the Year

The Jesus People movement was a unique combination of the hippie counterculture and evangelical Christianity. It first appeared in the famed "Summer of Love" of 1967, in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district, and spr
Hardcover, 386 pages
Published June 28th 2013 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published January 1st 2013)
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Greg Watson
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
God's Forever Family is a well organized history of the Jesus People movement in America. Larry Eskridge provides a readable account from the movements' inception in San Francisco to its outgrowth nationwide. Nearly any city of any size would come to have a Jesus People inspired coffee house.

The movement began as a hippie-Christian counter to the secular counter-culture, from which many of the hippie-Christians were recent converts. As the movement grew and the secular counter-culture declined,
Jared Wilson
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Superb. Meticulously researched, exhaustively reported, and deeply insightful. Also incredibly and increasingly relevant to understanding modern evangelical history. Perhaps not for the reader with a casual interest in the Jesus People Movement -- it is long and stuffed with anecdotal minutiae -- the reader with real interest will probably find no better treatment of the subject. I loved it.
Brian Eshleman
Feb 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
The author successfully makes the case that this was a pivotal, if brief, time and the cultural development of the United States. He delves into the currents to which the Jesus Movement was responding and outlines its compelling personalities. He manages to convey the enthusiasm and romanticism of the times without trying to score cool points with his own cynicism or trying to prove his bona fides by reporting nothing but good things. If God has called him to be a historian of this time, he fulf ...more
Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I found the subject of this book, the Jesus People movement and how it evolved out of the West Coast 60s counterculture, really fascinating. It's a fascinating episode in the history of youth culture and evangelism. This was a thorough account of that, written by someone who participated in it and knows the score. I think this book did what it set out to do, it's an exhaustive definitive text, full of info and testimony, I guess I would've connected more emotionally had it been a memoir, either ...more
Jun 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
A fascinating and helpful look into a movement dear to my heart. A little too detailed than necessary, I think, but I found the stories, photos, and accounts very interesting. What a wonderful move of God!
Anthony Locke
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Fascinating dive into West Coast Christianity and into church history over the last 70 years. Listened to this because a friend said JMac recommended it to seminarians. Learned a lot about how the hippie/drug movement intersected with the Christian movement, most notably highlighting the role of music, communal living, and the rise of the come-as-you-are philosophy of ministry. Eskridge describes a series of movements in the book including the Jesus people, Children of God, and Calvary Chapel. T ...more
Scott Jeffries
Mar 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
When I was in college, a "revival" broke out on our campus, at least that is what the papers told us. The word spread among fellow Christians, and people started traveling from all over the state to be a part of our movement. A handful of our students were being asked to come to other college campuses and churches to testify to the movement of God among our young people. We heard reports of lives being changed at these spots where the testimonies were given. Still, I saw very little change in my ...more
Steve Watson
Nov 03, 2014 rated it liked it
First, what I didn't like.

Eskridge took a fascinating topic, and in the second half of the book, lost my interest. Perhaps it's important to take a chapter and focus it on the rise of the Contemporary Christian Music Industry, for instance. I don't know. But the fading years of the Jesus movement likely have more interesting stories and plot lines than what Eskridge provides. The dissolution of various groups into financial disasters or cults is fascinating, but needs a more interesting storylin
Todd Wilhelm
May 07, 2015 rated it liked it
A good overall history of the Jesus People movement. I graduated from high school in 1976 so the movement was winding down in my formative years, but much of the music that came out of that movement was loved by me and my friends. It was interesting to read about all the artists I used to listen to - Chuck Girard and Love Song, Oden Fong and Mustard Seed Faith, Phil Keaggy, Paul Clark, Andre Crouch, Barry McGwire and Larry Norman.

The book dragged in parts, but I guess it's hard to avoid that whe
Dec 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
It has been a while since I've read a more recent history book and it was an interesting experience to read about my parent's generation when they were my age and also about a movement that in many ways made evangelical Christianity (the tradition I grew up in) what it is today. Particularly evangelical youth culture has been greatly changed by the sixties and seventies, something I had hardly realized. Things in the book seem both familiar and strange, just yesterday and eons ago.

The author doe
Chris Schutte
Nov 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Excellent book chronicling the Jesus movement of the late-60s / early-70s
Feb 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Connected a lot of dots for me. This is a pretty thorough look at the movement.
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This has all the marks of well-written history (I say this as a historian myself): carefully researched, logically organised, simply expressed; explaining, not just recounting. It is thought-provoking, not just with regard to what happened then but also to what’s happening now. It is grounded in memory and contemporary reports. Eskridge recognises the pitfalls of memory, but what better source is there at a distance of 40+ years, when the events have faded but the actors are (mostly) still alive ...more
Anthony OAM
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: research
As I read God's Forever Family: The Jesus People Movement in America, memory cells ignited like fireworks on New Year’s Eve. Being born in 1951, born again in 1969 and moving into Pentecostalism pretty well immediately, God’s Forever Family, was a delightful trip down memory lane.

The hippie movement was not as big in Australia as the USA but happened none the less. You can find a picture of me with beads, a tie dye shirt and ostrich feather out of my second-hand army hat on Facebook to prove it
Sir Michael Röhm
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent look into the origins, spread, and demise of the Jesus Movement, and the effect that it had on American evangelical Christians.

Largely forgotten now, the Jesus Movement was a series of evangelistic outreaches to the 60s counterculture. These outreaches often popped up independently across the country, suggesting more at work than just human effort (hint hint), and it reached a large number of kids disillusioned with the realities of hippie life, but desirous to still positively change
Madison Lessard
Sep 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another school book! This was a detailed exploration of a movement that supposedly had a heavy impact on modern evangelicalism. The author makes a convincing case for the lasting influence of the Jesus People.
Nate H
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Academic and sympathetic exploration of the Jesus movement. Argues persuasively that they changed American evangelicalism profoundly and hindered the impact of the sexual revolution which was otherwise devastating American youths.
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fascinating look at the Jesus People Movement in America. We still feel it's effect in our churches today.
Jamie Moore
Dec 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent account of a very important but overlooked period in the history of the church. One of my favorite reads this year.
terry meyenburg
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Intense Great Book

More than just the Hippie Movement , was so much more in Truth that is Jesus! Be informed read this book.
May 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a tremendous book, a great work of recent history and a fascinating tale of the merger of evangelical faith and hippy culture. There are so many things to appreciate about Eskridge’s book. It is well written, thoroughly researched and insightful. The narrative starts in the Haight-Ashbury section of San Francisco as young Jesus followers started to share the gospel with hippies. These early evangelists motivated only by a love for people and deep devotion to Jesus found a population of y ...more
Jun 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
God's Forever Family delivers this important story in a very readable and accessible way - (if you know Eskridge, you'll not encounter academic verbiage but hear his voice through the text). As a Milwaukee teenager in the late '60s and making no connection with my church or the Christianity I grew up with, I had a personal stake in this story. Eskridge's recounting of this important piece in American church history gave the chance to read one of the broader stories of what was going on around me ...more
The other John
I didn't intend to read about Christian hippies, but my daughter brought this book home to read and then got my wife interested in reading it and then my wife read it and then talked me into reading it. And so it goes. Anyway, this is a look at the Jesus People movement of the late 1960s-early 1970s. Most people tend to look upon it as a fad, but Mr. Eskridge contends that it was influential in transforming the nature of evangelical Christianity in the United States. He doesn't dwell too much on ...more
Cathy Reavis
Dec 26, 2013 rated it liked it
A little long and redundant -but tells the story of the generation of Christianity -of which I am a product. Interesting to re-visit the roots of the movement of the Holy Spirit in the late 60's and 70's and it's impact on the church today. From the introduction of contemporary worship music to various discipleship models that have swept through the church - some discarded and some which are here to stay. The book reminds us of the impact of "The Living Bible" translation and "Good News for Mode ...more
Dennis Henn
Jul 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
I became a Christian just after the Jesus People movement began to fade. I was not even aware of the scope of this revival that started in Southern California to hippies and spread throughout the States. It birthed the Calvary Chapel "denomination," Vineyard ministries, Contemporary Christian Music (CCM), and a few cults (Children of God). I have prayed for revival--not just smart church marketing in seeker sensitive churches--but a revival to non-believers brought about through the miraculous m ...more
Jamie Howison
Jan 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
A fascinating overview of the "Jesus People" movement from the late 60s and 70s. I'm just old enough to have been in contact with some of the echoes of that whole movement, particularly through my involvement in Young LIfe. As an adolescent I was approached by a member of the Children of God in downtown Winnipeg, trying to evangelize me in their particular view of Christianity. I even saw Larry Norman in concert in Winnipeg... twice!

Packed with stories and anecdotes, for me this was an irresisti
Aug 06, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
Lot's of good information and some needed revisionism. As a high schooler in the 70's I wasn't that conscious of the Jesus Freaks, but this book has altered my understanding of my own conversion experience and shed light on some of the experiences that I had.

The book suffers from needless repetition, almost as if the chapters were written as free standing works. The conclusions and analysis, both of the "straight" and "hippie" culture, both in and out of the church are not very satisfying. After
Feb 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was a superb and well-researched book published by Oxford. Larry Eskridge really did his homework with this one, tracing the Jesus Movement back to its very inception. Citing various sources and looking at the reach of the Jesus Movement in history, this book was informative, engaging, and enlightening. I learned so many things about this period in history, and how the Jesus movement changed the face of Christian music, the emphasis that Jesus people put on the Spirit and end-time events, a ...more
Jan 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
The quintessential, contemporary, semi-scholastic overview of the Jesus People Movement of 1967-1979. If you came of age in that era, especially as a Christian, this will be a work of staggering nostalgia. If not, it's still fantastic history, one every believer in Jesus should know. The movement gave us much; most of modern evangelicalism reflects its roots. A crazy time, but a blessed one. Perhaps we need its likes to come our way again.
May 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
If you want a window onto the Jesus People Movement of the 1960s and 70s and enjoy the narrative details, this is an informative, enjoyable read, and probably the best book on the subject.

Its amazing how much of this movement affected my life, and I'm a Gen Xer. The legacy of these people is significant and lasting, which is remarkable considering their small size and few resources.
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