Friday 25 September 2009

Life In the Order of Melchizedek VII : Lonnie Frisbee (1950-1993)

So far - Life In the Order of Melchizedek has been a rather airbrushed series. Much like the charismatic church at large. Much like my blog. The truth is some of the biggest breakthroughs occur in the "pinch" of some of the most terrible failures. So does that mean we go out bent on failing? Well you just try it!!! Is all I can say. Hell on Earth is a terrible place. If we go back to acting as vehicles for the devil, even if never again being outright containers, well the things we reap are real...because we are going back again to the old law of sin and is only our faith in the finished work of Christ that kicks starts another dimension, to begin sowing another kind of reality...with fruit that the Bible says go on for a thousand generations.It is our faith which is a God birthed thing anyway, that literally draws the Kingdom out of heaven to make a landing on our patch of ground surrounding us, our families and neighbourhoods.

I remember the rather sniffy attitude someone in Salt and Light had to Todd Bentley's previous failures. Yeah right. But can you ever think of a revival, let alone a world revival, that was ever started by a Luke type character? Come on. Honestly? I suppose John Wesley was pretty erudite...but I don't think that was the sum of his character.

St Peter was fairly typical. Todd Bentley. Rob Rufus. Morris Cerullo. St Paul was a bit of an exception, (I mean he was learned)...but he was in the game because he was terribly bitten!! In what way? His snakebite if you will was that he had ordered the death of Stephen whose very face shone with the glory of God as he went down under a hail of chunky stones. That image burned on Paul's retina for the rest of his life.

God starts these things with people who will jump out of the boat, hold their nose, and hit the surface of the water running.... They are not the careful, studious, detail-oriented, Luke types.These go-for-it types just say "Well let's get on with the job then!"

Which has been the problem for the last 20 years in particular as the worldwide church has been wandering around the same charismatic mountain :Mount Hillsong. These rush out and do it all types, these gobs on sticks, as Gerald Coates used to describe himself, are too busy gobbing and miracling to pause long enough to realise that there's some quietly spoken Body ministries out there like George Warnock, Norman Grubb as was, Brian Coatney, Eldred Linden, Brett Burrowes ,coughing quietly and in a Lukian fashion saying....

"UM excuse excuse me....I say would you mind listening? We're not finished yet. There's um...a third levelllllll......oh......Rob Rufus has just disappeared into the distance surrounded by a cloud of smoke along the great Wall of China.....Too late.... I'll er.... grab him as he comes off the plane in another 20 years."
I was pondering this today while tuning when suddenly I thought of Watchman Nee in jail for the second time. You don't suppose that the reason that God allowed the silly Chinese authorities to cut his tongue out, was not just because they do not value their prisoners....the real reason was something like this:
"Yes Lord".
"You know I've got you in here for my purposes?"
"Yes evangelise and see the jail converted. And it's happening".
"Well actually that is not the whole reason. Um, you know you are a gob on a stick?"
"Yes Lord. That's what you have called us to be."
"Well to a certain extent. But I've got you here for a much bigger 3rd level plan?"
"What!! to convert the key authority figures over the jail?"
"No much bigger than that! I tell you what if I get them to cut your tongue out, can I have your undivided attention for about 10 months before you die having achieved your intercession?"
"OK Lord. That's a bit radical!"
" Yes, but it's the only way I know of getting you to sit down, and shutup long enough while I move through you."
"OK what's the project?"
"Are you sure you're ready for this?
" I'm listening"
"'s to birth a whole new generation of Christian. A third level generation of Christian like it says in the psalms: who will volunteer freely and completely in THE DAY OF MY POWER."
"Sounds good. Where will it start?"
"The Jesus People Wave in America and later in Europe."
"What's the 3rd level Lord?"
"It's what you've been writing and preaching about all your life - except I'm going to raise up a whole tidal wave of new believers who find this level and operate in it."
"Um like evangelicals?"
"Sort of"
"Um like Pentecostals?"
"Sort of"
"You're not being very clear Lord"
"It's not really something you can conceive of....but I'll let you watch the results from heaven. How does that sound?"

Well this a non-airbrushed tale of a guy few have heard of over in the UK, but we are well aware of the resultant fruit of this particular Christ in his form kind of guy. He was Lonnie Frisbee. And this account comes from John Crowder's book : Miracleworkers,Reformers and The New Mystics.
John Crowder writes:
Lonnie Frisbee was about as"natural" as you can get, although he was an extreme miracle worker. Frisbee was the hippie evangelist of the Jesus People Movement who can almost single-handedly be credited for igniting three major moves of God.

Lonnie had long hair, a huge beard, and he preached in blue jeans. Before he helped start the Calvary Chapel move­ment, Lonnie and his wife had been members of a hippie commune called The House of Acts in California. When the Jesus Movement hit the media, Lonnie was often interviewed and photographed in major national magazines like Time. When he preached, miracles followed; people were often healed. They would regularly be filled with the Holy Spirit, falling to the floor, shaking, prophesying, speaking in tongues, and seeing visions.
Lonnie baptized people in the ocean. He did not have any reli­gious pretention. He was very "earthy." My in-laws remember seeing him at their hippie church in California, where he wore a clerical collar then ripped it off in the middle of the service to prove a point. Lonnie was a self-described "nudist-vegetarian-hippie when the Lord called me. I was going into the desert, taking off all of my clothes and I'm saying, 'God, if You're really real, reveal Yourself to me.' One afternoon the whole atmosphere of this canyon started to tingle and change. The Lord identified Himself to me and said, 'I'm Jesus. I build nations and I tear them clown. It is better for a nation to have never known Me than to have known Me and turned their back from Me' I thought all roads led to Rome, but He explained to me that He was the only way to know God.'"
Lonnie first worked alongside Chuck Smith as the primary evan­gelist to birth Calvary Chapel—today a multi-million dollar interna­tional denomination. Once the movement got structured and comfortable, Lonnie's power evangelism was too risque for Calvary, which distanced itself from him and his strong belief in spiritual gifts. But in the early days of Calvary, Lonnie was bringing in 1,000 converts a month, just in small churches.Frisbee then moved on with John Wimber to start the Vineyard movement, going so far as to suggest the name "Vineyard." Many would say his influence and the spiritual manifestations that accom­panied his preaching were the very catalyst that would later explode into the Toronto Blessing, a year after he died. In 1980, Lonnie said, "come Holy Spirit" on Mother's Day in the Yorba Linda Calvary Chapel—suddenly God stepped into the room and the Vineyard movement began. When you say "come Holy Spirit," you better get ready—He keeps coming and coming, because He never ends! It was later in January, 1994, just after his death, that Toronto was sparked—also out of the Vineyard. The very phrase "power evangelism" comes from Lonnie's ministry. He would later travel to South Africa with Wimber, where many more healings took place.
My wife was saved in one of Lonnie's altar calls as a child, and later as a teenager, he called her out by a word of knowledge at a home group meeting, where she was filled with the Holy Spirit and fell to the floor with her right hand shaking—a common manifesta­tion in his ministry.
But Lonnie's life was not without error. In the early 1970s, he and his wife divorced. He also struggled with homosexuality, which would later lead to his death from AIDS. Although Lonnie was repentant, the churches he helped establish were quick to snub his name from their histories. He was not the first or the last great power mystic to succumb to gross sin. As we will see, many great men of God made equally great errors. At Frisbee's death, he was portrayed as a Samson figure—one through whom God worked mightily, yet he was snared by his own weaknesses.
Lonnie was clearly ahead of his time, although a number of min­istries are now beginning to walk in the level of power that he once did. I believe that, in many ways, Lonnie's very life was a signpost of the available power and the struggles that are now facing our gen­eration. It is interesting that Lonnie believed youth culture would play a powerful part in God's latter day move, as prophesied by Joel.
Some would find it ironic that physical manifestations of the Holy Spirit were a part of Lonnie Frisbee's ministry, and he was a major catalyst for the Calvary Chapel movement and the Vineyard. While both of these backed away from the supernatural manifestationsin the Toronto renewal. Some of the biggest critics of Lonnie's style of power ministry came out of the same churches that he founded. This is why we need to understand our roots.
A friend of our family and a powerful minister, Jonathan Land, was close to Lonnie, and it is amazing how many major prophetic voices today were also influenced by him at some point in their walk—ministers including Marc Dupont, Jill Austin, and others. Land remembers a meeting where two troubled teenagers came in, unsaved and profane, and were sitting in front of him, mocking and laughing.The Lord told Land to pay attention to what was about to happen to these young men.
As Lonnie began to speak, the power of God began to move in the room. Here's Land's account of what happened:
"Just then the boys' heads started slowly wagging, in a few minutes their heads were jerking and slashing back and forth and sideways so fast and so violently that I actually felt some fear that they would be injured or even killed. The speed of the jerking heads was so extreme and so fast as to be impossible. They stood to their feet and their arms and hands started flapping rapidly and violently. It was just a demonstration of the power of God that was extreme. Remember that no one laid hands on these boys. Frisbee had merely asked them to stand when they began manifes­tations. As they flapped and jerked for what seemed like an eternity, they began to speak with tongues. Really, really loud.They became Christians that night by a direct interven­tion of the Holy Spirit. From mocking and laughing they began to worship and praise the name of Jesus."
It is said that Lonnie's greatest critics could not deny that God was with him. "I can say that in spite of the stupid things that Frisbee did, he probably impacted the planet more profoundly than is commonly realized. In many ways he was an invisible prophet. Wherever you see the Holy Spirit moving today, I can almost guar­antee that Frisbee had been there," said Land.
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