Reaching the Hippies

It was Aaron, especially, who established a rapport with the hippies. He earned the nickname “Space” with all the kids as he always looked like he was more in another world than in this one, so much so that he was often stopped by police, who searched him and accused him of being stoned on drugs. And his songs were like nothing they had ever heard before!

It was Aaron who also led the way in what proved to be the Lord’s method of getting His message broadcast throughout the nation: One summer day he wanted to get the witness before the thousands that were gathered for a big political rally on the beach for presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy. So he got the “crazy” idea of making a ridiculous-looking sign on a piece of styrofoam to wave above McCarthy’s head on a long stick so that everybody would see it, including the television cameras! It read “ONLY JESUS CAN SAVE US!”

As a result of what even David thought at the time was a rather rash and ludicrous action, that message, “ONLY JESUS CAN SAVE US”, in big, bold letters that anybody could read, was seen by 5,000 people at the beach, millions on television, and tens of thousands who read the newspapers! “Only Jesus can save us”—not a new president or party system—only Jesus!

And where did Aaron get such a crazy idea? From the Lord, through a scriptural prophecy given by Grandmother when she met with them back in Texas during the fall of 1967: “And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it, because it will surely come, it will not tarry” (Habakkuk 2:2, 3).

The next time they had a beach baptism, they decided to carry that same sign, along with a few others, as they marched in a long line to the waterfront before hundreds of people, singing hymns as a walking testimony and witness for the Lord—and it caught on! They had found a new way to witness for the Lord, so that “he may run that readeth it”!

David later said it was this youth-to-youth approach by his own children who had forsaken all to follow Jesus that began the Revolution for Jesus. It was a fire that had been kindled in their hearts by him, and it was fanned and kept going by the Lord through him and his determination to start such a conflagration that nobody would ever put it out.

David said he never would have been ready for the Huntington Beach hippies after he had gotten thrown out of his church in Arizona, and wouldn’t have touched them with a ten-foot pole, he was so religiously self-righteous. But the Lord had mercifully brought him along step by step, a process that was considerably slowed down by the years of religious indoctrination he had received, by worry of what others might think, and even by outright opposition from members of his own family.

Then there was also the feeling that surely there must be some way to use all that manpower in the churches, people who already knew Christ, if he could just train them to get out and do what Jesus said to do. And he tried with members of his own generation, but found he could never blast them far enough out of their ruts to get them in orbit for the Lord. But by the time his new ministry began to unfold at Huntington Beach, he was so angry at the churches for their hypocritical, do-nothing religion that was robbing the rest of the world of salvation and sending millions of poor, lost souls to hell, that he was ready to declare war on the church system and the educational and commercial idols it was worshipping instead of God!

David’s first public declaration of war occurred with a bang on the night of Shadrach’s betrothal. It was one of the biggest crowds they had ever had at the Light Club, including a lot of his recently departed mother’s friends. The press was there too, to witness and record the explosion:

Hippies See the Light

Daily Pilot (Orange Co., Cal.) 9/7/68

(Public) education is the greatest enemy today of true civilization.”

So said David Berg, founder and promoter of the Light Club in Huntington Beach, preaching to the hippie congregation in the aftermath of the first local double betrothal ceremony...

The sandaled minister then spoke of his condemnation of the church as an institution and the hopeful revolt of youth against the established church...

“The church is about as far away from what Christ preached as capitalism is from communism,” he yelled.

“All you guys that get busted are in good company. Christ and all His followers were put in jail, and so was I. They got you with your backs against the wall in some cities here. You can’t even stand, sit or kneel on the sidewalks if you’ve got long hair...”

David Berg and his followers, after almost a year in Huntington Beach, continue the daily prayer sessions, Bible study lessons, singing on the beaches and passing out free food in the hope of creating a spiritual revolution.

“I am here for revolution,” he said emphatically, “not violence, guns, swords, or Molotov cocktails. This revolution doesn’t kill; it gives eternal life.”

David said, “It was my moment of truth, and I’m glad I did it! I openly declared war on the hypocritical old bottles of the religious system who were lined up on the back seats, and I cast my lot in with the outlaws, drug addicts, and the younger generation, and became a traitor to my own. I made the decision in a flash as I turned toward the audience under the inspiration of God alone, and I let that back row have it with both barrels. I raved like a madman; I cast myself on the mercy of God and the kids, and they both loved it—but the system walked out on me.

“But the little girl newspaper reporter that God saved there that night turned on too, and that resulted in the first front-page publicity of our first attack on the system with our message—to the horror of some of our friends and family!

“But at last we had found some on-fire radicals like ourselves among the outcasts of society, the hippie generation, the fed-up youth of America. It had begun! The Revolution for Jesus was on its way and it was going to turn the whole hip generation crazy—about Jesus! And it all started with a little flame of faith kindled in the hearts of my own kids by their religiously weirdo David whom God and His Word had convinced that real Christians could still live like those radical, religious revolutionaries of the early church and Jesus’ disciples!”