Thursday, June 26, 2014

Wow Lady

Saint Elizabeth Romanova
Just look at those somber eyes. She has seen a lot.

This lady was born a princess in the German state of Hesse in the year 1864. Her longish name was "Princess Elisabeth Alexandra Louise Alice of Hesse and by Rhine." The story goes that she was regarded as one of the most beautiful women in Europe at the time. She later married Sergei Alexandrovich, who was one of the sons of the Russian Tsar Alexander II. One day, an assassin threw a bomb in the carriage her husband was riding as he passed through one of the gates of the Kremlin. He was blown apart. She was not far away at the time and rushed to the scene. She was stunned but calmly helped to pick up and gather together the bleeding pieces of her husband Sergei scattered in the snow.

Just try to imagine this. When I say "pieces" I really mean that. Pieces. All I can say is "wow, just wow." Later on, she went to the prison to meet the assassin and tell him she forgave him. Think about that a minute. She picked up pieces and forgave the man who did it. And all I can say to that is "wow, double wow." Not long after this, she started a convent in Moscow. The Bolsheviks murdered her in the year 1918. Her remains were later retrieved and are now buried at the St. Mary Magdalene Convent on the Mount of Olives near Jerusalem. She is also known by the name St. Elizabeth Romanova.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Moses Model

I recently came across something interesting. The following screen shot was taken from page 61 of a document entitled "The History of Calvary Chapel" by Chuck Smith.
You can can go and download this document from a web page hosted at calvarychapel.com, which is one of the official websites run by the Calvary Chapel Association. And it is available for anyone to look over. Just go to the bottom of the page where it says "To read Pastor Chuck's personal telling of the history of Calvary Chapel click here."

Clicking the "click here" link will download a large PDF file. So you will need Adobe Reader to view it (unless your browser has a built-in PDF viewer). Apparently the PDF file contains a scan of an earlier printed document, which is the reason why it is about 16 MB in size. I suspect that the original document might have been printed sometime after 1974 but before Greg Laurie had left to minister in Riverside full time, since he is mentioned on page 34 as teaching on Monday nights still. However, looking at a spot on page 43, the document is dated in 1992. But it's possible that this is a later section that was added by Chuck. As far as history goes, this document is not especially illuminating, but Chuck did spend about 30 pages in it explaining his ideas about the ministry in a very long section entitled "The Philosophy of Ministry of Calvary Chapel," beginning on page 36.

Make no mistake about this. When Chuck Smith discusses the role of a senior pastor, the diagram above illustrates the idea that he had in mind. Even if he doesn't use that exact term, the diagram screams "Moses Model," as if it were drawn in bright fluorescent colors. Now if people want to criticize the "Moses Model" — and there is no shortage of people who do — then this is the urtext that they should be studying.

When I look at the diagram, the first thing that jumps out at me is that pastor Chuck has gotten his typology wrong. Moses is the type for which Jesus is the anti-type. It's not the senior pastor, as the diagram above strongly suggests. I can't think of anything in the New Testament that says otherwise. For an example of the typological parallel between Moses and Christ, see Hebrews 3:1-6.

[update 2017 Oct 21] Since the time I wrote this, the original "history-cc.pdf" document has been removed by calvarychapel.com, and I haven't been able to locate a new URL for it. So the links I gave above are not working. Fortunately, the "Wayback Machine" has preserved a copy of the document. The calvarychapel.com website is no longer under the control of or associated with the Chapel Chapel Association. It is owned and operated by Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Gospel Plow

Here is an old American folk hymn titled "Gospel Plow":
Well, I've got my hands on the Gospel plow
I won't take nothin' for my journey now
But keep my hands on the plow of God

Well, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
All those prophets have to Glory gone
So keep your hands on the plow of God

Hold on, hold on, I say hold on
Keep you hands on the plow, hold on

I've never been to Heaven but I been told
The streets up there are made of gold
So keep your hands on the plow of God

Sister Mary she was bound in chains
But every link was dear Jesus' Name
So keep you hands on the plow of God

Well, I've got my hands on the Gospel plow
And I won't take nothin' for my journey now
Keep your hands on the plow of God

Hold on, hold on
Keep you hands on the plow, hold on

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Seven Lights

Lonnie Frisbee died today 21 years ago.

There is no shortage of media where people talk about Lonnie Frisbee, and everybody has got their opinion. Strangely enough, however, there are very few video or audio recordings of Lonnie himself actually speaking. After searching around, so far I have found only six recordings, coming from widely separated times.
  • The famous Kathryn Kuhlman "Jesus People" video, where Lonnie "the hippie" appears with Chuck Smith and Duane Pederson. This is probably dated 1971.
  • A short, early video showing Lonnie preaching at Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa, in the original building.
  • A long audio recording of Lonnie preaching at the famous "Mother's Day" service in John Wimber's Vineyard church. This recording, of pretty good quality, is dated 1980.
  • A short video of Lonnie talking about missions, which is dated Dec 21, 1990, and located in Moreno Valley, California.
  • A short sequence within a longer video where a mission team going to Tecate, Mexico, stops at Lonnie's house for a visit. The person who uploaded this dates it as happening in 1990 and also states that Lonnie was living in Poway, California, at the time.
  • A hour long video of Lonnie preaching at Tom Stipe's church in Denver.
LonnieFrisbeeDenver
I should point out that the longer recordings in the list might be broken up into multiple, smaller sections.

Now the last of these is an interesting YouTube video of Lonnie Frisbee preaching at Tom Stipe's church in Denver, probably sometime in the early 1990s, although the person who posted the video dates it "around 1992." The sound quality is not very good, and the video seems to have been shot by someone sitting in the audience. This video has gotten attention from some people because in it Lonnie boldly asserts that he is a "seeing prophet." It is also interesting because further along, beginning at the 28:02 mark, you can definitely hear Lonnie say that he is one of the "seven lights" of Kathryn Kuhlman.

At one time, I was very curious about the "seven lights," and I did track down their origin in chapter nineteen of Jamie Buckingham's authorized biography of Kathryn Kuhlman, entitled "Daughter of Destiny". The idea of the "seven lights" actually came from something Oral Roberts said at the funeral of Kathryn Kuhlman, back in 1976. Here is the quotation from Buckingham's book:
At the funeral service at Wee Kirk o' the Heather in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California, Oral Roberts told what happened to him when the news came to him that Kathryn had died.
My whole concern was about the healing ministry. Then I remembered her words, and they hit me like thunder claps. "It is not Kathryn Kuhlman. She cannot heal anybody. It is the work of the Holy Spirit."
Then I saw seven lights, and I saw twelve people. I said to God "what do the lights mean?" He revealed to me that the light came to people … they were not choosing, they were being chosen. There will be special people raised up out of this. These seven lights will shine out across this land, and in her death, her ministry will be greater than in her life.
Unfortunately, Oral Roberts has a track record of sometimes making up stuff because it sounded "good" for the occasion. Assuming that Buckingham reported this story accurately, it is difficult for us to know what to make of it. Was this genuinely prophetic? Or was the "Seven Lights" where Roberts was being overly poetic while giving a eulogy? In the rest of the chapter, Buckingham goes on to give his own particular spin on what Roberts said.

Later on, after many years, Lonnie definitely came to believe the "Seven Lights" applied to himself, which is not too surprising since he greatly admired Kathryn Kuhlman and her healing ministry. In fact, if you listen to the video, Lonnie says that he had been reading "Daughter of Destiny" and soon thereafter a heavenly vision comes to him explaining that he was one of the "Seven Lights." So is there anything to this? Was Lonnie sincere? Or was he sincerely flipped out? Did Tom Stipe invite Lonnie back after this? I really don't know. These may be questions for which there will never be any answers.

Sadly though, Lonnie would be gone only one or two years after the above video was made. It remains true that if you sow to the flesh, you will reap corruption. And having a charismatic gifting doesn't confer a "get out of jail free" card.

Coffin
We know that Lonnie Frisbee died much too young. Here is a picture of Lonnie's casket being moved after his funeral had ended.

The following is my attempt to transcribe the part about the vision that Lonnie said he was given, and it is very possible that I may have misinterpreted some of his words. The difficulty here is that the sound quality of the video is not very good. In many places what Lonnie was saying wasn't easy to make out:
So I'm there [unclear] I was sitting on a couch that day with a book. It's called Daughter of Destiny. And there were seven lights and twelve churches. And the lights were coming to individuals. The individuals were not coming to the lights.

And then an angel said to me, "you're one of the seven lights." And then he knocked me off the couch, took me out of my body, took me before the throne. (It's exciting.) I couldn't feel my body. That's the way I wanted to be in a drug induced state when I was in the world taking drugs. But this was not fun.

And I got taken before a 90 foot Jesus. And He was sitting on a throne. Gigantic! He was so big. How big was he? I couldn't see his face. The clouds were covering him. I could only see this far.

And the Lord said to me, "You are going to bear an anointing of the Holy Ghost that's going to affect the whole church of Jesus Christ."

I didn't believe … I thought that I was dead. I was really terrified when he … When you go there you're going to be terrified too. [Lonnie does a dance to make a point] It's going to be a terrible day.

And I came before the throne and I … [Lonnie screams to illustrate how he felt in his vision] That's what I did the whole time. [Lonnie then says something very unclear, but the audience reaction indicates it was funny]

So the Lord He said to me, "you're going to be involved in a ministry that's going to affect the ministry of the Holy Ghost all around the world, in all the denominations of the churches. You're going to bring the power of God through the Holy Spirit in these denominational churches."

And then the lord took the Holy Ghost from me. [Lonnie crumples up to illustrate]

He took the Holy Ghost from me. No! [unclear] "Take not thy Holy Spirit from me." Say that.

[Audience repeats the verse]

Yeah. David said that. And He took the Holy Spirit from me. [Lonnie gasps] That was horrible. But he could do this — just took the Holy Spirit from me. And it was horrible, like a fire was consuming me.

And then He put the Holy Spirit on me. That was terrible. Then he put the whole [unclear] on me. And I felt different the kinds of fire: Fire of death, fire of holiness, fire of patience, fire of burning out of the self so that Christ is conformed. Whether it's done in the process of a life time or whether it is done in an instantaneous touch, the Lord wants us to have the image of Jesus Christ conformed in our image. Though the outward man perishes, the inward man is renewed day by day.

And so He took the Holy Spirit from me, twice. And He put the anointing of God on me, twice. And then he said, "What do you want?"

Now that you mention… [unclear]. I was… I didn't dare look up at the king, but he was letting me see him anyway.

And so he said, "what do you want?"

And I said, "Ah … Ah" [unclear] when I change my mind.

And so … then I said, "Lord, thou knowest". I was speaking to Him in King James, the Lord's English.

I said, "thou knowest."

And He said to me, [unclear]

[Next, Lonnie gives his response] "[unclear] if don't do it, I'll be like that son who said Yes, but didn't go and work in the field. And so you know that I am dust. If you know how I am made up. If you know all about me, Lord …" and so I said, "the decision of what [unclear] in your hands."

And He lowered a golden scepter at my head, and He said, "Thou art received in the Beloved. Now call Chuck Smith."

I was brought back into my body. I called Chuck Smith. I hadn't talked to him in years. And I said, "[unclear] Oh, I am one of the seven lights."

Old Chuck spoke to me, "you need prayer."
I broke off at this point because it was the end of the vision about the seven lights. Many parts were very difficult to understand due to the bad quality of the audio, which was further aggravated by the terrible acoustics of the auditorium. Now the parts in brackets above are my explanatory interpolations, and in them the word "unclear" simply means that I simply couldn't make out what was being said in the video. The ellipses also indicate where Lonnie himself breaks off, making an incomplete sentence. You will notice that Oral Roberts originally mentioned "twelve persons," which, now that I think of it, reminds me of the Twelve Apostles. But Lonnie mistakenly recollects this as being "twelve churches," or at least that is what it sounded like in the audio. Also, in the part where Lonnie said "Christ is conformed," I think he had in mind the scripture verses in Romans 8:29 and Colossians 3:10. But since he was talking off the top of his head, without any notes, he rather garbled it, unintentionally, but I think the audience probably understood what he meant.

Lonnie does seem to be a specific purpose behind talking about his vision. It provides the run-up to where he talks about how he started going on mission trips overseas. Apparently, he considered his missionary work to be the outcome of this vision or connected to it. When did this vision supposedly occur? That is hard to say, but we can make a reasonable guess. At the end of the vision, Lonnie describes how he is told to call up pastor Chuck Smith. At this point, he also adds that he hadn't spoken to Chuck in years. Since Lonnie's second, rather short tenure at Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa, occurred after his return from Florida, which would be about 1976, this would imply that the vision Lonnie was relating must have happened several years after 1976.

While his evangelism ministry in various places did involve healings, especially during his missions overseas, Lonnie never had a "healing ministry," at least not of the magnitude that Oral Roberts seems to imply in the quotation given by Buckingham. Besides, we could ask where did the other six lights go to? And who are the other eleven people? So far it looks like Oral's "seven lights, twelve people" prediction — if that's what he intended it to mean — hasn't been fulfilled, at least not entirely. But it is a curious footnote to a sad story.

Addendum, 2016 May 13
Yesterday, a video was posted by Set Free Posse on YouTube where Lonnie preaches at a church. The event is dated 1990. This is a two hour long video of a church service, which probably occurred at Phil Aguilar's Set Free church. However, Lonnie doesn't come on stage until a little after the one hour mark in the video. And he preaches a rather short sermon, about 15 minutes, taken from 2 Kings chapter 7. This was apparently the occasion that explains some odd pictures that I have seen of Lonnie wearing a clerical collar. I don't think that this video has ever appeared before. The would be the seventh instance that I know about of a recording of Lonnie speaking. The audio quality is fairly good. So this is a good example of his preaching style.

Addendum, 2016 Dec 19
Roger Sachs has put together a small collection of some other short videos where Lonnie Frisbee is speaking, which I had not seen before. The sound quality is not very good, unfortunately. And there is no information on the locations or the dates, although I suspect they are sometime after 1980.