God's Forever Family: The Jesus People Movement in America  -     By: Larry Eskridge
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God's Forever Family: The Jesus People Movement in America

Oxford University Press / 2013 / Hardcover

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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 spread like wildfire in Southern California and beyond, to cities like Seattle, Atlanta, and Milwaukee.

In 1971 the growing movement found its way into the national media spotlight and gained momentum, attracting a huge new following among evangelical church youth, who enthusiastically adopted the Jesus People persona as their own. Within a few years, however, the movement disappeared and was largely forgotten by everyone but those who had filled its ranks.

God's Forever Family: The Jesus People Movement in America argues that the Jesus People movement was one of the most important American religious movements of the second half of the 20th-century. Not only do such new and burgeoning evangelical groups as Calvary Chapel and the Vineyard trace back to the Jesus People, but the movement paved the way for the huge Contemporary Christian Music industry and the rise of "Praise Music" in the nation's churches.

More significantly, it revolutionized evangelicals' relationship with youth and popular culture. Larry Eskridge makes the case that the Jesus People movement not only helped create a resurgent evangelicalism but must be considered one of the formative powers that shaped American youth in the late 1960s and 1970s.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 400
Vendor: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 2013
Dimensions: 9.25 X 6.13 (inches)
ISBN: 0195326458
ISBN-13: 9780195326451
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

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 spread like wildfire in Southern California and beyond, to cities like Seattle, Atlanta, and Milwaukee. In 1971 the growing movement found its way into the national media spotlight and gained momentum, attracting a huge new following among evangelical church youth, who enthusiastically adopted the Jesus People persona as their own. Within a few years, however, the movement disappeared and was largely forgotten by everyone but those who had filled its ranks.

God's Forever Family argues that the Jesus People movement was one of the most important American religious movements of the second half of the 20th-century. Not only do such new and burgeoning evangelical groups as Calvary Chapel and the Vineyard trace back to the Jesus People, but the movement paved the way for the huge Contemporary Christian Music industry and the rise of "Praise Music" in the nation's churches. More significantly, it revolutionized evangelicals' relationship with youth and popular culture. Larry Eskridge makes the case that the Jesus People movement not only helped create a resurgent evangelicalism but must be considered one of the formative powers that shaped American youth in the late 1960s and 1970s.

Author Bio


Larry Eskridge was born in North Carolina and raised in the Chicago area, where he was involved with the Jesus People movement in the 1970s. A student of evangelicals' relationship to mass media and pop culture, he has been on the staff of the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals at Wheaton College since 1988.

Editorial Reviews


"Larry Eskridge has written what will instantly become the standard account of the Jesus movement and its legacy...all scholars of recent American religion would do well to take a turn through God's Forever Family."--American Historical Review


"This is an important contribution to our historical understanding of American (and global) Evangelicalism." --Encounter


"This book is the first serious, scholarly account of the Jesus Movement...We owe [Larry Eskridge] a debt of gratitude." --The Gospel Coalition


"If you haven't yet checked out Larry Eskridge's God's Forever Family: The Jesus People Movement in America, you should move it to the top of your "to read" list right away. Beyond being beautifully written, the history (or histories) of the Jesus People it narrates should provoke some interesting questions for anyone interested in religion, culture, and politics in the twentieth century... Eskridge persuasively argues that despite the Jesus People movement's relatively short lifespan, it significantly changed evangelical culture in the long run. But God's Forever Family also gives us a much deeper look at the movement itself than previously available, and thus offers us an opportunity to consider it within the broader religious and cultural transformations of the period." --Religion in American History


"[A] painfully funny yet deadly serious study of the Jesus People, circa 1966 to 1976...The book presents a deft study of a timeless process of challenge and renewal in American Christianity." --The Christian Century


"It's extraordinary that it's taken this long for someone to write a comprehensively researched history and analysis of the Jesus People of the '60s and '70s... [Eskrdige] deserves our grateful thanks for this account of how large numbers of young people from the '60s hippie counter-culture embraced Christianity...God's Forever Family fills a vital gap in chronicling a movement which radically changed the face of the American Church and should therefore be on the book shelf of every theological college." --Cross Rhythms


"[A] rich, tender history of one of the more surprising developments of the late 1960s Thanks to Larry Eskridge, the Jesus People finally have a rich, documented history of their own." --Christianity Today


"Right on time for a new generation to reflect on the free flowing move of God that transformed people and institutions...The sheer enormity of fact-gathering in Eskridge's exploration of the Jesus Movement makes this a terrific reference." --Worship Leader Magazine


"Larry Eskridge does a great job of highlighting this often forgotten yet extremely influential segment of American evangelicalism, bringing his own personal experience and humor to brighten up what could have been a dull, scholarly tome. Just a great, fun, enlightening and informative read."--National Religion Newswriters


"This book is the epitome of definitive, with rich, entertaining detail on all the key players and personalities that united 1960s/70s youth culture and evangelical Christianity. Anyone who has background in the Christian counterculture, the 1970s charismatic renewal, or the Calvary Chapel, Vineyard, or Willow Creek church associations, will feel a sense of reading one s autobiography in this book. More broadly, the book is a must-read for anyone wanting to understand the shape of contemporary evangelicalism." --The Anxious Bench


"This rich and surprisingly entertaining book is the definitive work on the Jesus People movement, a significant shaper of contemporary evangelicalism. Eskridge masters an incredible range of stories and sources. For anyone with a background in the Jesus People movement, Calvary Chapels, Vineyard churches, the Willow Creek Association, or the charismatic renewal that began in the 1970s, this is like reading an autobiography." --Thomas Kidd, Baylor University


"This long-awaited book tells one of the most important untold stories in postwar American religious life. One cannot understand the resurgence of American evangelical Christianity without taking into account the way the hippie Christians shaped its character and development. God's Forever Family is a splendid history. Both thoroughly researched and engaging, it will become the authoritative account of the Jesus People." --Tanya Marie Luhrmann, author of When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God


"Blossoming amidst the fads and frenzy of the youthful counterculture, the Jesus People blurred traditional boundaries between conservative religion and consumer popular culture. With clarity and insight, Larry Eskridge unearths the backstories and central dynamics of this curious phenomenon to show how it left a lasting mark on American evangelicalism. Solidly researched, God's Forever Family is sure to become the go-to text on the Jesus Movement." --William D. Romanowski, author of Reforming Hollywood: How American Protestants Fought for Freedom at the Movies


"In this substantial contribution to American social history, Eskridge [...] makes a cogent case for the continuing relevance of the youth-oriented Jesus movement that peaked in the 1970s, was largely neglected by scholars in subsequent decades, and is given definitive treatment here. Eskridge rightly credits the movement with changing attitudes of evangelicals from separatism to engagement in the world. Highly recommended." -G.R. Thursby, emeritus, University of Florida, CHOICE


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