“Blame it on 68” was the title of the last Langstaff Letter, where we examined the critical events that happened in or around 1968 that still have an impact today – the cultural revolution of that time period that carried over into the next century.
The question remained, “What was God doing while all these things were happening in the world?” First, remember what God’s word says, in Isaiah 59:18, “When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.” So, at a time when the world was turning away from God, as documented in the Time Magazine article ‘Is God Dead?’ (content.time.com/April 8, 1966), God began to move in new ways, both in the natural and the supernatural in 1968.
SIX DAYS IN JUNE
Although a year earlier in June of 1967, the 6 Day War in Israel belongs to this time period of flux and change. “Six Days in June,’ written by Andrée Seu Peterson recounts the story.
“At 7:10 a.m. on the morning of June 5, 1967, the first squadrons of Israel’s fighter jets take off for a preemptive strike on Egypt, a move they are cornered into making. All but 12 of their fleet of outdated French planes head west for the Mediterranean, then turn sharply south, diving low to fly 500 miles per hour 60 feet above the waves to avoid radar detection.
The fuse is lit by a Russian report to Egypt that Israel is amassing troops on Syria’s border with malicious intent. It is a lie. But also the plausible justification Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser needs for blocking the Straits of Tiran from Israeli shipping. He asks the United Nations to evacuate its peacekeeping forces, and Secretary-General U Thant obliges without even consulting the Security Council. Over three weeks, Nasser rushes 100,000 troops, 1,000 artillery cannons, and 900 Soviet-made tanks to Israel’s doorstep in the Sinai. Having failed in 1948 and 1956 to “get rid of Israel . . . the dream of every Arab” (Washington Post, July 27, 1959, interview), Nasser is hoping the third time’s a charm.
Israel goes hat in hand to her allies for help. America declines. France says, “Non.” Israel is utterly alone. Realizing that she has been abandoned by her friends, citizens of the Arab world erupted in chants of “Death to Israel.” Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan begin moving forces to Jordan. They have three times as many planes, twice as many soldiers, and four times the tanks of Israel, who begins calling reservists and digging lots of graves in public parks.
Around 7:15 a.m., Jordanian radar operators are alarmed by the number of Israeli planes in the air and send a coded message to warn Egypt. But the Egyptians have changed the code the day before without bothering to notify the Jordanians. Moreover, Arab commanders have chosen this morning for a joint inspection tour and given strict orders that, for their safety, artillery guns not be operational while they are aboard a transport. The IAF steals into Egyptian skies during this one-hour window and destroys two-thirds of the Egyptian state-of-the-art air force in four hours. In two more hours she annihilates the Syrian fleet. A few moments more is all it takes to vaporize Jordan’s air power.
The war lasts a Biblical six days, after which Israel controls 3½ times as much land as a week earlier, land she is willing to trade for peace. (World Magazine June 9, 2018)”
I have heard it said that when God does something major in the physical/natural Israel, something major happens in the spiritual Israel. So let us take a look at some of the events that came to the church at that time.
CHARISMATIC RENEWAL TAKES OFF
The beginning of the Charismatic Renewal is often traced to the events surrounding Dennis Bennett in his Episcopalian Church, where “on Apr. 3, 1960, Bennett preached a sermon in which he revealed to his congregation that he had experienced “baptism in the Holy Spirit” and had spoken in unknown tongues (Episcopalchurch.org).”
Although renewal began to happen all over the country, it was not until 1967 and onwards that it really took off. For example, at that time a group of students met at Duquesne Catholic University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where they received the Holy Spirit in fullness, that came as a result of reading David Wilkerson’s book ‘The Cross and the Switchblade (Catholicsun.org).’
The renewal began to move into other denominational settings, as people, hungry for more of God, discovered the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Then it began to spread worldwide and by the early 1970’s the charismatic renewal that taken root in many countries, such as England, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. With it came a new form of worship. Up until that time, worship was comprised of predominantly hymns, but now worship included scriptural and spiritual singing, the forerunner to today’s contemporary praise and worship, with churches such as Hillsong in Australia. Other movements arose at that time, including Word of Faith, Signs and Wonders Movement, Prayer Movement and the New Apostolic Revolution.
Likewise, in 1967, a movement amongst the young people began in the hotbed of counterculture in San Francisco. It came to be known as the Jesus Revolution. Time Magazine eventually recognized what was happening with a front page article on this new youth movement (content.time.com/June 21, 1971). Thousands of young people came to Christ, highlighted by such events as water baptism services in the Pacific Ocean led by Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel. But it did not stay restricted to California. Rather, the Jesus Movement began to pop up in Christian coffee shops and churches across the county.
NEW BREED OF LEADERS
It seems that many leaders recognized that something was released during that period; that it was the beginning of a new move of God. Youth with a Mission is an example of this. Although YWAM began with Loren Cunningham in the early 1960’s, it was 1967 that was a pivotal year for the organization. “Is That Really You God,” a book by Loren Cunningham tells the entire story of what happened. I know for Dorothy and myself, 1967 was a key year when God completely redirected our lives, and we went out with an Abraham call, not knowing where it would all lead to.
Now, fifty years later, we need to see these things happening again in a fresh new way to meet the challenges of a new era. We need:
To pray for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit; that there would be a new hunger for God in the hearts of His people
To pray for a new move of God among the young generation today; a generation which has been drifting from God.
To pray for leaders to be raised up to meet the challenges of today’s society.
To pray for Israel; that God’s plan for that nation be fulfilled.
Let us pray that old Chinese prayer, “Lord, send a revival and begin it in me.”