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p.1 The influence of Lonnie Frisbee on John Wimber and Vineyard movement

Because of the new Jesus film, Lonnie Frisbee has come back into the spotlight, and many are stating that without Frisbee there would be no Calvary Chapel, or Vineyard movements. Wrong on one and right on the other.

What is true, is that Lonnie Frisbee did have a part and influence on the Calvary Chapel movement, but the Calvary Chapel movement would have happened with or without Lonnie Frisbee, because young people were already being drawn to Chuck Smiths teaching (Calvary Chapel) prior to Lonnie Frisbees arrival, it may have taken a little longer, but Kay Smith was already encouraging her husband Chuck, to specifically reach out to the youth of the hippie culture of the day. Not only was Chuck Smith the leader of the movement, but he would also go on to lead the Church by systematically going through the Word to continually grow the movement for the next 45 years until his passing.

What we are specifically looking at is Lonnie Frisbee’s huge influence on John Wimber’s Calvary Chapel Yorba Linda that would eventually become the flagship Church for the Vineyard movement. John Wimber, (as had Ken Gullickson, Vineyard Founder), was already heading in a more Charismatic direction than that of the Calvary Chapel Movement under Chuck Smith.

A cliché developed at that time, that Calvary was a Word Church, and the Vineyard was a Spirit church, these became the spiritual ID’s of each, and was somewhat of a put down by the Vineyard movement against Calvary, because Chuck Smith was systematically teaching through the Word of God and letting Gods Word do the work by the Holy Spirit, while Wimber instead, sought after spirit activity going beyond what was written in the Bible, and the initial catalyst for all this was Lonnie Frisbee.

All this may sound strange, but it will all be laid out in sequence, according to their own words, in the quotes we present in this article and the articles to come.

The Bible teaches that the Word of God is preached first and then the Spirit would move in the early church, with signs, wonders and miracles that would follow when God willed it through the apostles, or by those appointed under the apostles.

Unfortunately today, too many ‘Charismatic speakers’ briefly start with or use the Bible, immediately afterward to manipulate, setting the stage for something to happen that is supernatural. Often fabricated through the emotions of those who are receptive which then spread to others that causes people to do or to feel things that are not of the Holy Spirit.

In 1974, Wimber left the Yorba Linda Quaker Friends Church to join the staff of the Charles E. Fuller Institute of Evangelism and Church Growth at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He studied there for 4 years on the elements of church growth. He was impressed by the statistics which showed that the most dramatic Church growth was being enjoyed by Pentecostal and Charismatic churches.

We later find that Wimber's attitude toward signs and wonders began to change, not because of his study of Scripture, but as a result of a particular meeting that took place with Lonnie Frisbee.

In 1977, John Wimber started a Calvary Chapel in Yorba Linda, California. The church was associated with Calvary Chapel and was later separated in 1982/83 because of something that took place, that we will examine carefully. It was after that time, that it became the flagship church of the Vineyard movement, (Renamed Anaheim Vineyard.

John Wimber, eventually took over the leadership of the Vineyard churches of which Gullikson began in the mid 70’s; Gulliksen first started a church in West LA in 1974, sent out by Calvary Chapel. As the new association of Vineyard churches formed Wimber planted hundreds of churches in the coming decades, first in the US, and then globally. After Wimber death (1997) they continued to expand with over 2,400 Vineyards around the world in 95 countries.

Wimber states: " ... I resigned my position at the Institute of Evangelism and Church Growth and returned to the pastorate ..." (John Wimber and Kevin Springer, Power Evangelism, p. 84). In his book Power Healing, Wimber says it was in May 1977, (on Mother's Day) when he preached his first sermon as pastor. At the time Wimber was associated with Calvary Chapel.

Mother’s Day 1980 Lonnie Frisbee changed everything

Lonnie Frisbee had come back to Calvary Chapel and had been there for three years, not doing the ministry he once had before, when he left in 1971 to Florida.

Lonnie explains how he got out of the car for the morning service with his friend Mark going to John Wimber’s church meeting and all of the sudden Zion came into his mind “ I told mark I said we're going to Zion” it used to be a mountain specific place but now Zion the mountain of God is where the people of God gather and I said we're going to Zion right now. Then John said turned to Hebrews chapter 12 and he preached on Mount Zion .”

His spiritualizing this passage that has no validity to be used in this way and becomes typical way to interpret scripture by those in the signs and wonders movement.

On Mother's Day John Wimber states in his own words the first time he invited Frisbee to give the message. After morning service: “ I was coming out of the church service it was Mother's Day of all days Mother's Day, you'd think you’d be safe in church on Mother's Day. I'm walking out of the church and the God says to me that tell that young man to preach tonight… Wimber responds, “I heard he was a little strange and I said Lord you want me to have him preach. I heard the Lord said very clearly to me yes, so I went up to him and I said Lonnie would you like to preach tonight at my church, he says oh yeah I've been wait for the chance, I thought, oh no, I'm telling you I died a thousand deaths all afternoon, all afternoon I agonize is it all God you got me into it again you got me into a mess he's gonna mess my church up and the Lord said when did it become your church, I said well that's right, that's right.”

(Wimber may not own the church but he was to shepherd it to green pastures, not into the weeds)

Lonnie speaks and is giving a testimony, having the people laughing, Wimber recalls how it was going fine, and he was relieved, and then he does the weirdest thing I ever heard of.” Lonnie “stops and says well that's it he said you know the church has been offending the Holy Spirit a long time and he's quenched but he's getting over it and we're going to invite him to come and minister now come Holy Spirit and whamo!”

We read elsewhere “Frisbee invited all the young people 25 and under to come forward and invited the Holy Spirit to bring God's power into their lives. Witnesses say it looked like a battlefield as young people fell and began to shake and speak in tongues .” (David A. Roozen, James R. Nieman Balmer. Church, Identity, and Change: Theology and Denominational Structures in Unsettled Times - Page 134 . Retrieved May 18, 2007). Wimber states in his telling of the story that calling those under 25 would be his whole church.

Wimber: “ He says ‘come Holy Spirit’ the next thing I know people are falling and bouncing her and her land of one are talking like Turkeys and one kid, one kid he falls and the microphone falls with him, you know it's laying right in front of his face and he's speaking in tongues, I mean I'm not talking about two minutes I'm talking about 45 minutes he's talking through that microphone off and we're wading through bodies you know trying to get over to them, we can’t get the microphone we can’t get to him and Lonnie is going like a banshee you know he's running through the crowd and raising his hands and you know and I'm thinking he's pushing people over he's knocking down but he's not even touching them he's walking by them and he’s going wham, wham they're falling everywhere .”(Mother’s day, Wimber video)

This is how Wimber describes it, as chaotic, much like so many other meetings that we see today. The same occurred at other spirit gatherings, at Brownesville, and Todd Bentley later on at Lakeland, this became a new normal for many that conduct their spirit meetings.

At this Mother's Day service (1980) and there was an unexpected outbreak of strange physical manifestations, along with speaking in tongues . “I asked one boy, who was on the floor, "What's happening to you right now?" He said, "It's like electricity. I can't move." I was amazed by the effect of God's power on the human body.” ("Carol Wimber, A Hunger for God." Kevin Springer, ed. Power Encounters. Harper and Row. 1988.)

Nothing in the Bible speaks of feelings like this, but this electrical description comes up over and over by those who attend these type of meetings.

Al Dager wrote, that Wimber's wife had become a charismatic. She had undergone what she called a "personality meltdown" through the work of the Holy Spirit to change her attitude toward charismatics (Carol Wimber, "Hunger for God: A Reflective Look at the Vineyard Beginnings," The Vineyard Newsletter, Vol. 2, No. 3, Fall, 1987, p. 1).

Wimber recalls his initial reaction on Mother’s day “ the first time that the Lord Jesus Christ sent his spirit in great power among us I was fit to be tied for days I was so angry I was so upset I wanted to get out of a ministry I said no way am I going to put up why that's absurd what God did of course I wasn't absolutely sure it was God but even after I was convinced it was God I had difficulty with it.”

Wimber’s first instinct on what happened was correct, but he was convinced otherwise. He was stunned that such kinds of physical manifestations could occur. Wimber did not refer to the Word for guidance. He prayed asking God if the pandemonium that swept through the congregation was of divine origin. Unaware of what had transpired at Wimber's church, a pastor friend from Colorado called early in the morning (Tom Stipe who we find out is friend of Frisbee) saying that he had been divinely instructed to call and to tell Wimber, I have a word for you; the Lord says,this is Me.’ Which assured him of his question he was wrestling with.

But was it really from God, or is there something else going on here?

First: What are we to make of Lonnie speaking the words come Holy Spirit’ and wham, he immediately comes in power! This is completely unbiblical, why? Because the Holy Spirit is already present in all our meetings when we gather (and with us individually) his is peaceful presence. Lonnie spoke the words to summon the Spirit and release the Spirit in power. Furthermore, it is that Jesus sends the Holy Spirit, (as when one is born from above). Lonnie is speaking and directing the Holy Spirit to produce a supernatural experience. We know this from his own words as he spoke. The Bible describes us waiting on the Holy Spirit, there is nothing in Scripture like this. So what was this, it does not take place at all in the New Testament?

This type of action later becomes the trend and ID of Benny Hinn and so many others who promote the anointing activity in todays meetings.

Here is what Lonnie spoke to prep the people for this to take place. “ I think the Lord's gonna meet us tonight in a special way so I want you to be in expectancy for a move of the Spirit of God the Lord says wherever two or three are gathered in my name there I am also in the midst of him wherever two or three will agree as touching anything it shall be given unto them this morning.”

The Scripture he cited is for reconciliation in the body of individuals who have broken fellowship but Lonnie (and many in the Latter Rain movement) use it as an open ended promise for just about anything supernatural to happen.

Lonnie states, “ John and I met three years ago at the pastors conference and the Lord told us that he was going to join us together and has taken three years to do it because I'm a chicken I kind of shy away from authority.”

That would be 1977 when Lonnie came back to Calvary after he left. It does not seem like Wimber agrees with his statement, since he did not want Lonnie to speak at first. Lonnie shying away from authority did become a large problem in his life.

Lonnie when he was speaking gives his background at this meeting of the Lord meeting him in the SF Canyon, which he makes to sound eerily like Saul out of the book of Acts.

These are portions of his words he spoke and we will look at them biblically.

“I was going into the desert and I was taking off all my clothes and said God if you are really real reveal yourself to me. and one afternoon the whole atmosphere of this canyon that I was in started to tingle and get light and it started to change and I’m, oh oh I didn't want to be there but the Lord identified himself he said I'm Jesus, he said I build nations and I throw them down it's better for a nation never to have known me but to have known me and turned their back from ne that's one of the first things that God told me.”

Lonnie forget to mention that he was on LSD at the time (1967 at the age of 18. Lonnie also took a Nazarite vow?)

“I'm gonna send you to the people and I saw a vision of thousands of people and they were wandering around in a maze of gray darkness bumping into one another with no direction or purpose for the lives and then the Lord showed me, there was a light on me, that he was placing on my life and it was Jesus Christ and I was going to go there the word of the Lord so I started to immediately look around for a staff because you know all prophets have staffs…”

So he is high, knows nothing of the Bible and is commissioned by God, like Saul, but he is not anything like Saul who became Paul who was educated and knowledgeable in the Scriptures.

What most do not know is Lonnie’s past in other churches. While he said he was not part of an organized church before Calvary Chapel he did go to numerous Pentecostal meetings before he even met Chuck Smith. Some of these pieces of his past need to be stated to understand better what is actually taking place at Wimber’s church on Mother’s day.

A quick overview of his past, at approximately 18 years old (as far as we can tell is accurate) “ I was living in a cutting-edge Christian community in Northern California that was birthing a major move of God … “ In addition to being a hippie, I had taken a Nazarite vow, which meant I could not cut my hair, trim my beard, or drink any wine or grape products.”

A hippie; as confusing as this is we are told “ I had a mission in Haight-Ashbury.”

Let’s look more carefully on the events, Lonnie says h e became a hippie in Haight Ashbury in 1967. This appears to be for a year at most. But was he a hippie or a Christian? According to the book “Not by Might, Nor by Power: The Jesus Revolution” by Roger Sachs published in 2012, he was already a Christian. He writes His grandmother brought him to a little Pentecostal church close to his house “ I was saved as a little boy and around my grandmother’s church, there were people who stood up in the meetings and shouted out with shrieking glossolalia—you know, the typical Pentecostal, fanatical, shrill utterances.” (ibid.)

How does any of Lonnie’s childhood story conform to him calling out in the canyon, “Jesus, if you are really real––reveal yourself to me!” David DiSabatino in his movie ‘Frisbee: Life and death of a hippie preacher’ records Lonnie saying, “I took my LSD, laid down on the floor a couple of hours and when I could get together to get up, I got up as a Christian. Its just that simple…”

Is it that simple? Can one become a Christian without the gospel? This is referring to what he called a vision he had.

There is a lot of confusion present in this story. What we do see is Frisbee was already exposed to this type of Pentecostalism at a young age. In his travels at 17-18 he met a man in Huntington Beach (at Teen challenge) that told Lonnie he would take him to Fullerton Foursquare. The pastor of the church was Chuck Kruse, “and he was a rockabilly Pentecostal. A visiting evangelist from Texas on the platform. But he does not remember the man’s name, as they were having an altar call, Lonnie because he was dressed as a hippie was being singled out as they were “begging me to get saved, “ Lonnie says he already born again” to them. “ There was a call to come forward to be filled with the Holy Spirit, …That was why I had come there.” He says he had the Holy Spirit because “I had conversations with the Lord.”

Wimber tells us Lonnie on Mother’s day (1980) at his church changed everything. Frisbee in his own words describing in his Mother’s day sermon at Wimbers’ church mentions what happened previously in a four square church, “The visiting evangelist had been preaching away …sweating like a pig. He was screaming, ranting and raving, and strutting around while whipping the microphone cord out in great loops across the stage. He would go back and forth … with a white hanky in his hand. Sweating profusely and continually wiping his face with the hanky. … When I finally walked forward, this man slapped his hand on my forehead and screamed, “Woo-hoo! Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Jesus!” The volume was way over the top and way past acceptable … when he laid his hands on my head, heaven came down! It wasn’t a light, fluffy experience. It was heavy oil. The power of the Holy Spirit started coming down through him as an instrument of ministry, and the power of God filled my whole body with about ten thousand volts of electricity .”

“God filled every atom of my being with the resurrection power of Jesus Christ. There was not one ounce of my body that wasn’t filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.”

(This is not describing the Holy Spirit, which cannot be transferred from man. Filling in the Bible means to be controlled by Gods Spirit that will bring out the fruit of the Spirit. See the article: The electronic God)

Shades of Rodney Howard Browne, Benny Hinn and William Branham, here we have the standard kundalini counterfeit of feeling electricity described by those teachers of the Latter Rain, “ I was plugged into heaven's electric light supply…My whole body was on fire. (Rodney Howard Browne. “The Touch of God” pp. 73-74.) Browne describes “ The anointing of God as wonderful as it is, is electricity.” And is transferable” (as does nearly every Latter Rain promoter believe today. The common denominator in these experiences prove the source is not a biblical power but an occult one.)

Benny Hinn describes the anointing on someone as, “ He’s being electrocuted by God’s power.” Another example was John Lake when in Africa described Gods power as , streams of liquid glory and power, that it flowed consciously off my hands like streams of electricity . I would point my finger at a man and that stream would strike him.”

Bill Johnson who was greatly influenced by Wimber speaks of an experience, “in the middle of the night, God came in answer to my prayer for more of Him,…Unexplainable power began to pulsate through my body, seemingly just shy of electrocution. It was a though I had been plugged into a wall socket with a thousand volts of electricity flowing through my body. My arms and legs shot out in silent explosions as if something was released through my hands and feet.”“This was simply the most overwhelming experience of my life. It was raw power. . . IT was God

There is no comparable reference to these descriptions in the Scripture. But the same description is found in experiencing Hinduism’s Kundalini power, an Occult source of a different religion.

From Roger Sach’s book on Lonnie’s life it further describes some other details. The “ … four square Church when I got baptized with the Holy Spirit and there was this evangelist from Texas he was kind of dressed like this, hahaha, and he was the kind of man you know Who through the microphone cord around and said ‘in the name of JESUS! You know and hes sweatin’ all over the place and where I got it you know I couldn't help but get it, it was like ten thousand volts of electricity but these people were falling down on the floor and when they fell down on the floor And when they threw blankets over and I thought that must be the mantle of the Lord ha ha, you know like God like in the Old Testament when they threw the mantle over the chariot and he picked it up and he touched the seam so I thought that that was the mantle of the lord I didn't know that they were modesty blankets I didn't see that they were just throwing them on the women to cover up their knees, I thought but I thought it was the anointed mantle of the Lord so I got my own, I didn't like the, the blankets they were using so I got a deerskin to be my mantel and I painted a picture of Jesus on it and I wore it like a cape, (people laughing) so when I would pray for people in the spirit of God would come on them I take off my cape and throw the mantel all over the top of them like this, ( laughter) … there was an anointing oil it and that God gave a recipe for so all right I got a big old wine bottle old one with cork in it and I got some olive oil from the Holy Land and I poured it in this wine bottle and I got a cinnamon stick and put that in there and got a frankincense and myrrh put that in there, you know the Catholic flavor”

“I carried my bottle of anointing oil because he read in Psalm …so I always wanted to do everything Scripture when I would anoint people I would anoint them real good and so when the Spirit of God started moving in the ministry and people were go under the power I take the cape up and put it over them like this to take the oil out take a clerk of my teeth like this and anoint them” (people laugh ). (this is also included in his Mothers day sermon)

Lonnie in his mothers day sermon continues using scriptures of Gods glory being seen, his power felt. Continuing in his message “and I sensed that we're experiencing a second wave of God I believe that we're having an outpouring of the Holy Spirit something similar to what I sensed back then 11 years ago. I, I sense it in the atmosphere, I sense it in the eyes, I sense it in the voices of the people that I… I hear responding to the Lord in this hour God is moving upon you in a very blessed way and some of you are just new to it you're just being introduced to it … I want to encourage you tonight to go on it what God is doing, press into it”

“what God wants to show the church a lot of places learn, move, flow it'll be a little dangerous Learn how to step out you know a little bit more when the Lord's has come, the Lord is saying come the Lord tonight is saying to you come let's go into a greater dimension,” he then cites Isa. 61 arise and shine (taken out of its context) These are all being used to setting up something to happen.

After the testimony of how Lonnie describes when the Spirit moves, He continues to heavily suggest that this is what is about to happen at this meeting.

“enter into the atmosphere of the Lord, let's sing it through once and learn it good and then we'll wait upon the Lord everybody stay in the atmosphere of prayer and expect the Spirit of God to move, his name is as ointment poured forth you say the name of Jesus four times and then repeat his name is as ointment poured forth everybody sing and everybody sing out loud … everybody 25 years old another come forward … 25 years younger is a sign his name, okay I don't wanna lay our hands out for young people right now let's sing it again stretch it out for young people to Congregate my name is as ointment the young people just hold your hands in a in a yielding position of availability, the adults you find a group of young people and you stretch your hands out.

let the power and the anointing of the Holy Spirit come on you right here let him move on you … I bless you the name of Jesus look at me let the power of the Holy Spirit come on your whole body right now… the Spirit of the Lord is moving and great power that the Spirit of the Lord move over here and the name of Jesus I bless you in his name, receive the anointing … the Spirit of the Lord the power of God is coming on this guy… open your eyes watch, watch this is a class of the Spirit open your eyes the Spirit of the Lord is moving Spirit of the Lord is moving in Jesus name in Jesus name let the power of God come in Jesus name I slapped you in the norm and alarm that the anointing of the Lord fall hallelujah let the power of the Holy Spirit come … this is like Pentecost that the Spirit of the Lord move over here that the Spirit of the Lord move over here in Jesus name”

That is how it went down on Mother’s day at Wimber’s church. To understand this further we need to know what Lonnie viewed himself as and who influenced him.

Lonnie speaking on Kathryn Kuhlmann’s TV program ‘I Believe in Miracles ‘(1971?) “because these are the last days, God has chosen himself some prophets,” Lonnie said He was one of the prophets. Lonnie was so enamored by Kuhlman (with author Roger Sachs) and dedicated his books to Kathryn Kuhlman, not pastors Chuck Smith nor John Wimber, nor anyone else that may have influenced him. In this book he tells us “ For about seven years, I would go up to the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles each month to the Kathryn Kuhlman meetings. I witnessed undeniable miracles.” Frisbee states he “longed for the gift of healing and miracles in my own life.”

Stating “The presence of the Holy Spirit would be so powerful that it overwhelmed me.” “Chuck Smith taught me in the Word. Kathryn Kuhlman taught me in the Holy Ghost .” “This unusual and unique woman taught me about the Holy Spirit, and she is my absolute hero of the faith.”

This is disturbing to find his influence before both Calvary and Vineyard was Kuhlman, but it does explain a lot.

In this sermon he also states “before I had been turned my life over to the Lord I have been reading a little Edgar Cayce and he put witch hazel” with his oil. Lonnie was into Edgar Cayce before conversion. Cayce (known the sleeping prophet) continued to believe he was a Christian as he channeled prescriptions to heal while in a trance and taught on past lives, reincarnation and karma.

In another testimony of him being in the canyon a different time than his conversion,“he pulled out his Bible and he got into a kinda yoga position and he says ‘We’re gonna read the Bible now.’ He was reading about John the Baptist and how John the Baptist baptized and he baptized us up at Tahquitz Falls, even though we were all on drugs.”

“I kind of relate to John the Baptist down in the wilderness baptizing in the River Jordan… I can feel the presence of God coming down upon me and upon the person being baptized.” (from video ‘Frisbee: life and death of a hippie preacher’) There are other quotes from his on his how he viewed his ministry; Lonnie stated his ministry is apostolic in nature. (this will be further covered on Lonnies background)

Depicted as a forerunner is making a convoluted reference to William Branham just a few years after his death, who believed he was a prophet (forerunner). This makes me wonder what else he read or was exposed to at church meetings along the way. We find that Lonnie would lay his hand on people’s forehead and even wave his coat as a mantle over them, something that Benny Hinn would do after.

And last of all Lonnie called himself a mystic (which is the very opposite of the true spirituality described in the Scripture). Frisbee ministering at Tom Stipe's Vineyard Church in Denver Colorado states what he thinks (and always thought) he is, “I'm a third world missionary my calling is apostolic in nature, I am a prophet that means that uh I experienced in my mind what the catholics call infused prayer with God and mystics experience this and it's called infused prayer with God us protestants don't know about any of that because it comes out in catholic theology but I am a mystic and I experience infused prayer with God and I'm a seer and the lord will go and you'll show me things in the spirit that are more real than what's happening in front of me.” (Not sure of the date of this seems to be after 1980)

Some see this as the Spirits work, I challenge them to understand this biblically, as another spirit, a counterfeit at work. These same metaphysical experiences and descriptions have been spoken of by mystics within and without the church (Benny Hinn) and are all to be subject to the test of the Scripture. The Word has the final say on all this and we will look at the fruit of Vineyard that came from this particular day with all the other unbiblical manifestations and teachings that came after.

p.2 What happened next in the Vineyard- A Latter Rain invasion. the aftermath of Lonnie Frisbees introduction to the Spirit’s power.



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