More on the Bakersfield "Jesus People"

Cecil Willis
Marion, Indiana

A few weeks ago I wrote an article on the Bakersfield, California "Jesus People," and regarding the paper which these, our wayward brethren, publish, Maranatha. These brethren are so "far out" it will be nearly impossible for some brethren to imagine that I am correctly representing them.

Brother Marty Hooper is the editor of Maranatha, a paper which boasts of a circulation of 10,000 and who advertises among its staff "Technical Editor: God." The paper is not too carefully done, and since God is the "Technical Editor," they make God look rather bad at times. For example, they have God spelling "roaring lion" as "rouring, lion." If God is the "Technical Editor," He should have spelled "presence" instead of "presense." God must have made an oversight and spelled "Revolution" as "Revelution." They also spell "pollution" as "pollution." It is sacrilege to represent God as the "Technical Editor" and then have so many mistakes in the paper.

But there are things a lot worse wrong with Marantha than their spelling. For example, they have a section in the paper which they print as though God had just revealed it to them. One portion of God's revelation Volume I, Issue 8, which was just received this week, reads as follows: "For even as the lightning Hashes, yea, and the rain doth come down in torrents, my word shall go forth among my prophets. I am preparing, yea, my prophets to invade these university campuses and some of you shall be my prophets, some of you shall be my hand-maiden servants. And I shall cause you to go forth with the sword-the anointed word shall go like a two edged piercing sword, and it shall cause, yea the enemy to retreat, and not only to retreat, but to be defeated. Yea these Goliaths that are stalking about the campuses yea, I have a word to you Goliaths. I am raising up my little Davids, and they shall appear shortly on the scene and you shall fall." The Marantha writers make it appear that God is giving some new revelation through them.

In their effort to attain relevancy, some of the Marantha writing is vulgar and repugnant. One editorial starts out: "Hey brothers and sisters in Jesus! Praise God, the victory is in Jesus! The pressure is out there in the world. Right? The fight is on! Wow! And big red is not holding back any punches. ... Don't fret and worry about the sins you are going to commit today. Move on out in faith, knowing deep in your guts that there is no condemnation to those who are in . . . Christ Jesus. . . ." "You are not walking a tightrope over hell after all but you are saved, secure in the hands of the biggest, I mean the heaviest, most loving dude in the universe -- God Almighty." Interspersed through the paper are "PG" (Praise God) and "PTL" (Praise the Lord), like a bunch of Pentecostals.

Among other items which they announce are the following: "Addict's choir, Monday, 6 pm ... Rap at 8 pm; Saturday, 12 noon, prayer and witnessing seminar for ell JESUS PEOPLE." It might just be appropriate here to remember the words of the apostle Peter: "If any man speaketh, speaking as it were oracles of God" (I Pet. 4: 11).

Like some others among us, the "Jesus People" would minimize the importance of the kingdom of God's dear Son (Col. 1: 13). Maranatha states, "Praise God I Jesus did not come to start any 'Church' (organization), bit merely to save people. . . . There is no Church, (organization) that is the one and only one. There is no organization that can claim a patent on being -- the called out ones." Their speech sounds like that which Charles Holt was mouthing a few years ago. Now it is being spread by Harold Spurlock and papers like Integrity and Sentinel of Truth. It would be interesting to do a study on the similarities between the "Jesus People" and the more sophisticated antiestablishment people among us. While the anti-establishment people would disregard the church as an organization, the Bible still declares that Jesus died for the church (Acts 20:28), that He is the builder of the church (Matt. 16:18), that He gave Himself up for it (Eph. 5:25-27), and that He is the head of it (Col. 1: 18).

Some of the outlandish positions taken by some who still claim to belong to Christ are unbelievable. They are even bizarre!

TRUTH MAGAZINE, XVI: 17, pp. 3-4
March 2, 1972