Green Berets For Jesus -- By: Monte E. Wilson
RAR 8:2 (Spring 1999) p. 121
Green Berets For Jesus
It was late one evening when a friend came to my dorm room at Samford University. I had been practicing piano for hours and was just getting to my room for some dreaded work on a Western Civilization assignment. The friend excitedly told me of a revival at one of the Baptist churches there in Birmingham, Alabama. Apparently, he had “never seen or heard of anything like what was going on there.” Being the son of a Southern Baptist pastor, I seriously doubted if there was anything I had not already seen or heard. However, since I was weary of being secluded in a windowless room for three hours of piano practice, I “felt led” to go to church that night.
We arrived forty-five minutes early and there were no more seats available in an auditorium that seated 750 or more people. Rather than standing outside with all the latecomers and listening to the service via loudspeakers, I led my friend around the back where we sneaked in through some closets, crawled through the choir loft and sat down on the floor directly in front of the pulpit.
After some rousing music, the janitor came out to do something with the pulpit. I knew he was the janitor because he had long hair, was wearing faded blue jeans, a pullover and sandals. To my surprise, however, the “janitor” turned out to be the speaker—Arthur Blessit, the “father” of the Jesus Movement. For forty-five minutes, Arthur exhorted the crowd of young people to give their
RAR 8:2 (Spring 1999) p. 122
lives to Jesus Christ. The man’s very pores exuded the love of Christ. I was mesmerized by his passion for the lost and his obvious devotion to reach those whom the church had ignored.
When the sermon was over, an invitation was given for people to come forward to give themselves to Jesus. Scores came down the aisle and emptied their pockets of drugs and related paraphernalia. While Arthur was working his way through the crowd, I could see that he was moving in my direction. As I tried to back up and give the pagans room to talk with the man, I could see that he was focused on reaching me. When he took my hand, before I could say-”I am a Baptist who hasn’t missed Sunday School in fourteen years and my dad is a leading pastor in the denomination so don’t confuse me with the riffraff”—he told me to sit in a pew and not leave until he had spoken with me. His tone was stern, his demeanor was commanding.
While I had the urge to run, I waited for Arthur to return. “No one talks to me in that tone. What happened to the love that was dripping from his every word? Why did he look so angry with me? Does he think I am one of those pagans?” Before I could let him know th...
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