A fiery Southern Baptist preacher who ignited Berkeley’s counterculture with his unconventional ministry.
Hubert Lindsey, known affectionately as “Holy Hubert,” was an ordained Southern Baptist minister and a notable figure in Berkeley, California, during the tumultuous 1960s and 1970s. Born in 1914 and passing in 2003, Lindsey’s life and ministry were marked by his distinctive approach to evangelism and his encounters with adversity and violence. His early years were characterized by a profound spiritual awakening at the age of 15, after which he felt a calling to preach the gospel. Despite initial challenges, including a lack of memory for scripture, Lindsey developed a unique method for memorizing the New Testament, using colors to stimulate his memory—a technique he claimed was divinely inspired.
Lindsey’s ministry was fraught with danger; he was shot in the pulpit in the 1930s, stabbed by a gang in the 1940s, and faced threats against his life and those of his associates in the 1950s. Despite these challenges, he continued to preach with unwavering commitment. He built and established 11 Baptist churches and preached alongside some of America’s most renowned evangelists. His theological journey was enriched by his friendship with Rabbi Zeigler, a convert to Christianity, who tutored Lindsey in Judaism and helped deepen his understanding of the scriptures.
In the 1960s, Lindsey felt a divine calling to Berkeley, the heart of the counterculture movement and a hotspot for radical demonstrations. With no financial or institutional support, Lindsey embarked on a ministry that would see him preaching in the open air for hours on end, directly engaging with protesters, radicals, and students. He was known for his bold and confrontational style, often using the slogan, “You don’t need a revolution on the outside, you need one on the inside,” to capture the attention of his audience and redirect them towards spiritual transformation.
Lindsey’s time in Berkeley was not without conflict. He was physically assaulted numerous times, but his resilience and dedication to his mission earned him the respect and admiration of many, including those who initially opposed him. His ministry in Berkeley contributed to the spiritual awakening of numerous individuals, and he became a pivotal figure in the Jesus Movement, a revival that swept through the counterculture in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Despite his confrontational methods, Lindsey’s message was one of love and redemption. His legacy is remembered for the thousands of lives he touched and the unconventional methods he employed to spread the gospel. “Holy Hubert” Lindsey remains a symbol of fearless dedication to faith and an example of the transformative power of preaching in even the most challenging environments.