What's New
Escaping the Cults
Current Trends
Bible Doctrines
Bible Explanations
 To Discern - selah
Emergent church
Latter Rain
Law Keepers
Word Faith
Popular Teachers
Pentecostal  Issues
Trinity / Deity
World  Religions
New Age  Movement
Book Reviews
Tracts for witnessing
DVD Video
Web Search
 Persecuted Church

up               to date Religious News                       What is happening throughout the World





Pt.3 What happened next in Wimber’s Vineyard church

Acts 2 the power that came upon the disciples was to make them to be witnesses, unto death (martyrs) if necessary. It was not about duplicating signs and wonders of Jesus to win people over. You do not find the believers of the Church going out in the book of Acts doing the miraculous, it was basically the apostles. The gifts that were to function for the local body, it was for believers.

The Scripture is our guideline of how things are to function, and whether something spiritual taking place is true (genuine) or false (counterfeit). If we dispense with checking with the Scripture, then nothing matters and all is permissible; nothing is ever to be found wrong, or false, because we are instead being led by experience and our feelings. This is what Gnosticism and mysticism was about, that were the early competitors of Christianity as the church was being established. And this is what the Vineyard became.

John Wimber originally came to faith in a Quaker church and these concepts in Quakerism were not abandoned but acceptably fitted in the Vineyard church.

It must be pointed out, that all the reasons Lonnie Frisbee was being praised by Wimber and others are the very reasons why Chuck Smith was Biblically led to remove Frisbee out of ministry in Calvary Chapel. It was a combination of Lonnie’s false teaching, manipulation of people and practice of counterfeit spiritual practices (slain in the Spirit), along with what some claim were the continued practice of on and off again Homosexual relationships and adultery against his new wife.

It is important in these matters to pay attention to the dates as many people have the times wrong of when things took place (hopefully we have done them accurately from our research).

Why did Frisbee leave the Vineyard?

Frisbee left the Vineyard in 1983 a year or soy after their fellowship was severed from Calvary Chapel.

Chuck Smith Jr. says he was having lunch with Wimber one day when he asked how the pastor reconciled working with a known homosexual like Frisbee. Wimber asked how the younger Smith knew this. Smith said he’d received a call from a pastor who’d just heard a young man confess to having been in a six-month relationship with Frisbee. Wimber called Smith the next day to say he’d confronted Frisbee, who openly admitted to the affair and agreed to leave.” (David Di Sabatino’s, documentary of Frisbee: The Life and Death of a Hippie Preacher)

There were rumors, and Lonnie’s sexual promiscuity was revealed, we know it was not because of his charismania attitude, which Wimber accepted. Both Wimber (and Smith) did not speak of this in their church history, for different reasons.

What Wimber had seen take place through Frisbee had already stuck with him, setting him on a journey of new openness, widening the road to allow experiences outside the Scripture and contrary to its spiritual principles.

In the early 80'sThe Vineyard church was growing exponentially among the youth, focusing on a "signs and wonders" philosophy among them, attracting adherents that was also developing a new church philosophy. Wimber’s main congregation, located in Anaheim, grew to over 5,000 members by 1983.

Certain types of Eastern mystical practices were also accepted, mixed with Christian interpretation and application. Calvary Chapel pastors were concerned what they were hearing and asked Wimber about the reports t of people being "slain in the spirit," levitating, engaging in aura reading, and a host of other bizarre practices. (some of the exact same we find today in Bill Johnsons’ Bethel Church)

Morton Kelsey's name was used in Wimber's teachings, and Wimber had even dedicated a seminar series to him. Kelsey equated shamanistic powers with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Agnes Sanford 's pastor, Morton Kelsey drew heavily from Carl Jung, and Wimber drew from all these sources. Sanford began the Inner Healing movement introducing her destructive healing-of-memories techniques (The occult technique of visualization is the key to inner healing.) She also taught Eastern mysticism and occultism; that humans existed in heaven prior to coming to earth (like William Branham did).

Wimber's executive senior pastor at Vineyard Anaheim at the time was Sam Thompson, a psychologist. This became a chief therapy of many Christian psychologists and was highly promoted by the Vineyard Fellowships. As Wimber, recommended the writings of Sanford and her inner-healing disciples.

There was also the contemplative prayer teaching of Richard Foster, ‘centering down’ using eastern mystical techniques. Wimber accepted his spiritual disciplines (Foster was once a Quaker like Wimber). Richard Foster’s first book, ‘Celebration of Discipline’ (1978), was accepted by Wimber as well as Mike Bickle who later in the 1980’s worked with Wimber. Foster wrote about an inner life accessed by visualization and silent prayer. The imagination was a method used to contact God, but in reality was the doorway to the occult. Foster also endorsed Sanford’s writing, " I have discovered her [Sanford] to be an extremely wise and skillful counselor . . . ."

The Counterfeit Manifestations

Frisbee's Mothers Day experience was the fire that set  the Vineyard on a course that was contrary to the Christianity presented in the Bible. Experience is the power, power will bring experience. Whatever the source of that power seen and experienced, it was not tested biblically.

Wimber made two statements in defense of the manifestations at Yorba Linda on which Chuck Smith challenged him on: 1) "God is above His Word"; and 2) "God is not limited by His Word." Wimber did not need a Scriptural basis for the manifestations, his mind was made up by what he saw as results. Wimber accepted what was happening as part of the human conditional response.

After all the high’s and lows of the road Wimber traveled on, he commented in Charisma magazine in 1995, “ there is nothing in scripture that can support these kind of phenomena that I can see and I can't think of anything throughout the church age that would, I feel no obligation to try and explain its just phenomena, its just people responding to God ” (Charisma Feb. 1995 p.26).

Wimber said to Peter Jennings in 1996 that these manifestations were going on for 17 years (ed. Note since 1980) Jennings asked Wimber, “Are you utterly convinced it is the Holy Spirit?” Wimber responded: “ No, I’m largely convinced. I believe it is a mixture of humanity and the Spirit. ” (video: In the Name of God, Peter Jennings)

Methodical Ministry

The problem with Wimber's ministry was not only that he insisted that all the gifts of the Spirit were still in operation today (even the exclusive and rare apostolic ones), he also assumed that the gifts of the Spirit can be manifested through a particular methodology -- that every supernatural gift of the Holy Spirit should be manifested in every believer on a regular basis (Bethel church and numerous others hold to this today). An example was Wimber's citing of Jesus' miracles to validate power evangelism. In fact, he believed that Jesus taught His disciples how to perform signs and wonders.

Al Dager writes, “It wasn't long before Wimber began to categorize methodologies for healing, music ministry, leadership, outreach, evangelism, etc. All aspects of body life became studies of method” (John Wimber & The Vineyard Newsletter)

These methods included inner healing techniques, visualization, meditation, and psychological integration. Wimber's book Power Evangelism has even been updated to include a study guide on how to perform signs and wonders, with his methodologies.

The signs-and-wonders movement was later called the third wave of God's power manifesting in the 20th century by Wimber of which Peter Wagner promoted. But it really was a resurgence of the Latter Rain movement of William Branham.

Vineyard churches confirmed their pursuit on spirit experiences. In a paper dated April 20, 1994, and “written to help teach the Champaign [Ill.] Vineyard church body good techniques for enhancing times of ministry” with “some helpful hints” we find these “Tips for Facilitating Ministry as a Leader”: 3. If you don’t notice any outward manifestations of the Holy Spirit, ask those who sense a strong anointing within them to come for ministry. This might manifest as a burning, tingling, or ‘knowing,’ etc.”

Spiritual experiences can be very powerful and convincing to the recipient, as it does affect ones spirit. Our standard of testing any experience must be the Word. We don't interpret the Word by our experiences, but the experiences by the Word. If reversed as was done in the Vineyard it can mean a paradigm shift in one’s view of God, self and Christianity. Regardless, the testing of these manifestations was minimal, and it is even worse today.

Wimber warned of being "too heavily oriented to the written Word" and made room for spiritual experiences outside the Word, God uses our experiences to show us more fully what He teaches us in scripture, many times toppling or altering elements of our theology and world view. If my experience topples my theology, then I am giving more credence to my experience than to theology" (Wimber, Power Evangelism, p. 89).

Wimber encouraged his members and leaders to experiment by trial and error, as what worked became what was accepted, not what is biblical.

This pursuit of the experiential is seen by a letter to set up the "Catch the Fire" conference in Russia for church leaders from the Vineyard (suddenly the word fire became popular.)

"The theme of this conference is "Equipping Church Leadership With Power." Each Pastor and Worship Leader will participate in three workshops. The workshops are: 1) 5-step Healing Prayer Model, 2) Worship, 3) Small Groups. The workshops have a three-fold purpose. There will be teaching, impartation and practice. The workshops are designed to be interactive and involve the participation of the attendees. We believe this is the most effective way of impartation."

This often leads to the work of the flesh camouflaged as the work of the Holy Spirit, without discerning what is taking place by the Word the door is wide open. Compounding this problem is those pursuing signs and wonders cite Scripture out of context in order to validate their endeavor to get God to work in their behalf. There was a large dichotomy between Wimber's attempt for signs and wonders to manifest and the act of faith with the reliance on the Holy Spirit to minister. For example, Wimber’s Vineyard method to effect a healing they would "interview" the subject; psychology was implemented, taking one back into the past to relive circumstances (inner healing) that may have caused their problem, this was finding the root of the problem. Casting out demons was a process included that could take days or even years.

Methodology was encased in Vineyards ministry. Which led to other assumptions. Wimber is on record as stating that he had achieved the stage of going for long periods of time without sinning. (Michael Sullivant, "What Is Grace Ministries?", Grace City Report (Kansas City, MO: Grace Ministries, Special Edition, Fall, 1989), p. 9.)

From Frisbee almost 9 years later, the Vineyard church and The Prophets and Apostles

Wimber with C. Peter Wagner teaching “signs and wonders” classes had what some claim was damage at Fuller Theological Seminary. Their class on "Signs and Wonders" became the most popular course at Fuller until it was canceled in 1985 when theological and academic questions were raised by some faculty members.

From this class the groundwork was laid to form new doctrines in various ‘ologies’. Ecclesiology, eschatology, missiology, soteriology, any ‘ology’ was subject to spirit experiences, and new revelation.

Toward the mid to late 1980’s, Wimber became enamored by the ministry team at the Kansas City Fellowship, they eventually became known as, "The Kansas City Prophets." Wimber’s connection to Kansas City Fellowship proved to be the catalyst for the beginnings of what C. Peter Wagner was to later form as the “New Apostolic Reformation.” The revived Latter Rain movement became integrated in being part of Wimber’s new church movement.

At an August 1989 conference in Denver, Colorado, Paul Cain, was elevated to a ‘greater prophet ‘status, a prophet above prophets in association with his fellow prophets. www.letusreason.org/Latrain5.htm . Cain had been associated with William Branham and spoke of Braham as the greatest prophet who ever lived.

Jack Deere, a Vineyard pastor at the time, stated that in January 1989 Cain told him an earthquake would occur on the same day Cain arrived for the first time to meet John Wimber at his Vineyard church in Anaheim, California. A relatively common minor earthquake to Southern California shook Pasadena on the day Cain arrived. But this was enough for Deere. Cain said the earthquake would be a confirmation that the Lord had a strategic purpose for the Vineyard movement. This is how they interpreted reality to conform and confirm to their false spiritual teachings.

It was Paul Cain who brought the Vineyard into a new level for their signs and wonders. God’s Word shows that signs can follow the true preaching and exposition of his Word when he wills it. The Vineyard through Cain and others had the signs became a means to end in themselves.

After Branham, Cain had been one of the key promoters of what is called the Manifest Sons of God doctrine that came out of the Latter Rain movement starting in the late 40's. Cain emphatically stated “ I don't care what they think any more... I believe we are going to have the latter rain and I am looking forward to it. ” (Paul Cain, Toronto church on May 28, 1995)

Bob Jones along with Paul Cain taught this doctrine, “ you're gonna behold that glory and become that glory.” (“Selections from the Kansas City Prophets,” audio, from Counterfeit Revival, 1997) The prophetic duo was Jones and Bickle.

Paul Cain's view of the 2nd coming, instead of the physical Christ returning to earth, was a 2nd coming of power manifesting Christ inside the church.

“I want you to know he's coming to the church before he comes FOR the church . … it's not a trip to heaven, but it's really him coming to make his abode IN US, so I guess, … the Lord is coming back again, he's coming to his people !” (Paul Cain Nov.88 tape “My Fathers house” quoted in Mainstream, spring 1995)

Like Branham Paul Cain taught, “Something's going to come so strong to you that you won't even know that there be any baptism of the Holy Ghost compared to the enormous baptism you're about to receive.” (Paul Cain, “Prophecy for the Vineyard,” Anaheim Vineyard, 1989)

It did not matter to him that the Bible said nothing of this stupendous new baptism event. Most understand this as the baptism of fire. Today this continues through The send with Lou Engle. The prophets that entered the Vineyard were, Paul Cain, Mike Bickle, Bob Jones, John Paul Jackson, Francis Frangipane, Rick Joyner, Ruevan Doran, Larry Randolph, Jim Goll, Jack Deere and numerous others. Some of these same prophets became associated with C.P. Wagner: Mike Bickle, Paul Cain, Rick Joyner specifically. We only need to look at what happened to the majority of the Vineyard churches to understand the repeat that is taking place with Wagner/ Pierce.

“In a surprise announcement, he [Wimber] said that Bickle and his associates had agreed to submit themselves to his oversight and become part of Wimber's Vineyard Ministries. The KCF network of fellowships would become Vineyard churches." ("Resolving the Kansas City Prophecy Controversy," Lee Grady, Ministries Today, Sept.-Oct., 1990, p. 51).

In 1990, Kansas City Fellowship under the Association of Vineyard Churches and was renamed Metro Vineyard Fellowship. As the Kansas City prophets were incorporated in the Vineyard prophet Bob Jones who formed the basis for many of the teachings in Kansas City which permeated the Vineyard prophesied that Wimber was to         “introduce to the body of Christ the apostles that were yet to come in the 90’s.” (Many later, year 2,000, became part of C. P. Wagner's NAR)

Wimber stated of Cain, “Paul was given a mission, the mission as he states it is to initiate the end time ministry.” Which meant the sons of God were to be revealed in power and glory.

The teaching that was introduced was represented by Mike Bickle (speaking at a Vineyard Conference in 1989) he said, "Christ is the Alpha and we are the Omega."

Scripture says Christ Jesus is both the Alpha and Omega! This developed in teaching the manifest sons of God  teaching into the Vineyard Church, our being the ongoing Incarnation of Jesus (Just like Branham taught).

The head prophet Paul Cain spoke of this ministry as: "God's raising up a NEW STANDARD, a BANNER if you will, that's going to radically change the expression, the understanding of Christianity in our generation... God has invited us to have a part in establishing this NEW ORDER of Christianity. .. God is offering to this generation something HE HAS NEVER offered to any other generation before. . . beware lest OLD ORDER brethren rob you and steal this hope from you." (VINEYARD, Prophecy Conference 1989.)

This old order brethren adhered to the Scripture, they used discernment. What was underway by these prophets entering the Vineyard church would be the slashing and utter disregard of the Word. When they were done barely anything would be left. This has disarmed the church into having people go through a paradigm shift (Using Hegel’s dialectic methods). They were now mentally, spiritually prepared for power revivalism (which is what we see taking place today). This lack of Biblical discernment continues in our current condition, the majority are much less likely to be Biblical and objective about these matters as they rely in new revelation over the written word.

Wimber, by his acceptance of false prophets, paved the way for an unquestioning acceptance of "prophets" in general. But these "modern day prophets" would not submit to the tests of Deut. 18 and Deut. 13 or what is said of the prophets in the New Testament. In fact, these prophets actually excused themselves on their margin of error, explaining that the Lord had graciously allowed them to be only 30-60% accurate and they are improving with age (the new wine turning old).

"prophetic words" were abundant and personal, "Many if not most personal prophetic words given today are conditional, and as such are invitational, not certainties " (John Wimber & Kevin Springer, Power Points: Your Action Plan to ..., p. 56).

In 1991, Wimber did stop promoting Bob Jones, because of his immorality, not his heresy, that was abundant. To their credit, "Vineyard leaders took strong steps recently to discipline well-known "prophet" Bob Jones after Jones admitted to "Sexual misconduct (not adultery)" with two women." Kansas City 'Prophet' Disciplined", Christianity Today 36 (3): 67, March 9, 1992) Jones had women undress in his office so they could stand “naked before the Lord” in order to receive a “word,” through him.

Later during the time of Lakeland revival in Florida (2008-09) Paul Cain was under reprimand by two other Latter Rain false prophets, Rick Joyner and Mike Bickle because of the discovery of his drinking and homosexuality. Both of these men are heavily involved with the prophets and apostles today.

Interestingly enough, when the Kansas City Prophets began to be exposed as fraudulent, they went to Wimber for "correction." But, Wimber never stopped promoting the specious teachings of what he now was accustom to known as the Latter Rain.

p.4 The Vineyard's apostolic /prophetic trial run before Peter Wagner’s reformation (NAR) in 2,000.



Copyright (c) 2023 The material on our website can be copied and used in its original format Portions lifted from articles can be reproduced for ones personal use for witnessing or for teaching and apologetics.  Any other use, such as posting is to have the permission of Let Us Reason ministries. 

If you have trouble printing an article please copy the web page. Highlight the text first - then click copy -  then paste the article into a word program on your computer.


We would like to hear from you. Please send us  an e-mail and let us know how we can be of any help.   Our time is just as valuable as yours.  Please keep in mind, that we only have time to answer sincere inquiries. We will use discretion in answering any letters.