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Controversy surrounds new movie “Jesus Revolution”

The poster for "Jesus Revolution" movie features hit actors Kelsey Grammar ("Frasier") as Chuck Smith, Joel Courtney ("The Kissing Booth") as Greg Laurie, and Jonathan Roumie ("The Chosen") as Lonnie Frisbee.

photo by justjaredjr

Greg Laurie (Joel Courtney) and Cathe Martin (Anna Grace Barlow) share a moment of reconciliation and love within their faith.

photo by usatoday


“Jesus Revolution” is an inspiring and uplifting movie about a nationwide movement in the 1970s. It emphasizes the message of Christ is for everyone, encouraging Christians to show love, not judgment. However, society sometimes feels followers of Jesus are often viewed as unaccepting and cold.

“Jesus Revolution” shows the story of a young Greg Laurie, Lonnie Frisbee and Pastor Chuck Smith. Greg and Lonnie are both hippies who come to faith, while Chuck must remove his past prejudices to accept the brokenness in his church. The film differs from the stereotypical religious films seen in the past. Not only does it portray the inspiring message of the revival, but it also depicts the struggles in faith.

The moral of the movie is important for Christians and non-Christians alike, for it shows God’s mercy for all. However, with any move God makes, Satan stands ready with his clever rebuke. Controversy spreads around the true reality of one of the film’s main characters, Lonnie Frisbee. Lonnie is portrayed as a healer and one of the main leaders of the revolution. As the film progresses, he becomes more self centered and problematic. He leaves abruptly in a dramatic and painful scene, putting Greg’s faith to the test.

This is the last Lonnie is seen in the movie, but his heartbreaking story isn’t revealed on screen. In real life, Frisbee moves away, divorces his wife, allegedly committs homosexual acts and dies at the age of 43 due to AIDS. His fate was not once alluded to in the film.

Naturally, the media is having a field day. Why not include this? Why would the filmmakers hide this from the audience? Is it because they worried these facts would invalidate the story? Actually, director Brent McCorkle explains why he chose to exclude this part of Lonnie’s story:

“During this era that we shot, we felt very very compelled and almost convicted to just be with Lonnie where he was at and not try to bring in other things” McCorkle said.

Lonnie was not struggling with homosexuality at the time when the movie takes place. The controversy draws people away from the real message of the story. Every Christian is imperfect. Those who are focused on and discriminating against the directors for leaving the details out about Lonnie’s life after the revolution have clearly missed the point.

The film received an estimated $6 million in the box office. Despite low expectations, the movie is Lionsgate’s highest grossing film since “Knives Out” in 2019, reaching over $39 million. It received a 7.8 rating on IMDB and continues to be successful despite the efforts of the media to shut it down.


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