The Jesus People

Former Southern President Duke McCall reflected on the “Jesus People” movement of the 60s and 70s and its relation to the Seminary:

“The Jesus Movement people tended to affirm, “It’s experiential, emotional, and it feels good–therefore it’s true.” This was the source of the new mind-set of the students in the 1970s, and of the surge in enrollment that hit the seminaries in the early years of that decade.

This led to a growth in enrollment that has continued almost without interruption since that time. The first seminary to get the major surge was Southern Seminary. I have always wondered how that happened. I didn’t see it coming, I didn’t understand it after it got there, and I still don’t understand why it hit Southern. I would have guessed it would have hit New Orleans or Southwestern or even Golden Gate first, but the big surge hit Southern before it hit the others. Many people have always thought of Southern as intellectual, rational, sophisticated, and technical.

Yet here was a movement that was not any of those things that broke on the shores of Southern Seminary. Why did the students want to come to this kind of institution? Apparently they didn’t perceive it in the same way that the denominational press would have made them perceive it. I guess the answer is that they didn’t read the denominational press and didn’t know about the controversies.”

— From McCall’s Oral History

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