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.
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.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.
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.
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.
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.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.
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."
Lonnie does seem to have a specific purpose behind talking about his vision. It provided 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? This is vert hard to say, but we can make some reasonable guesses. 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. Another possibility is that this vision might have occurred during the interval when he was in Florida.
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? 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.