The Life of a Hippie Preacher and his Vineyard friends

18 Feb

2 days ago I was able to talk to Bob Fulton about the Lonnie Frisbee movie. Bob is a Vineyard leader who was interviewed in the movie and was a long-standing partner of John Wimber. We got connected since he found out I was writing a book about the Vineyard and also mention Lonnie. frisbee It seemed important to him to share his perspective on the things that happened around Lonnie’s life and how they are told in the movie. I invited Martin Dreyer into the call since he also was very interested in the movie and so we had a chat. Let me again say: I love the movie and hope that a lot of people will see it. We will show at our church actually some time. However!…

Bob shared how Sabatino came to interview him. They talked for a while what happened with Lonnie. After an hour of sharing positive experiences of Lonnie’s life Sabatino started the „you kicked him out of history“ questions. Bob shared some of his frustrations that the movie portrays him (and Wimber and the Vineyard) as the people who tried to get rid of Lonnie. Here where his questions: why was all the good we said about Lonnie not included? Why was that told only by his wife and Chuck Smith Jr? Why were the 2 hours edited to 30 seconds where we are only put on the defense? There are 2 history books on the Vineyard (from Bill Jackson and Carol Wimber) – both mention Lonnie by name. The power healing book speaks of „that young man“, but it is not about history. Even Bob Fulton is not mentioned there by name.

frisbee movie So what happened? From Bob’s perspective John and the Vineyard was not aware of the homosexual lifestyle of Lonnie. So they gave him a stage because they saw his talent and anointing. At some point Chuck Smith Jr told them about Lonnie’s tendencies and then they talked with Lonnie. He agreed and they took him off the public ministry – just as with anyone else that has issues to deal with. Lonnie was place under Bob Fulton – to help him work through the issues. Bob said: „It was hard for Lonnie. He liked the stage and be in front of people. God used him and that was good. But it was painful since Lonnie loved the crowds. We put him under discipline and that was clearly to restore him, not cut him off.“ At some point Lonnie left, but nobody kicked him out. Bob and him stayed friends. In the last year of his life, John Wimber paid for the apartment of Lonnie and hired a care-taker for him. Lonnie’s brother still goes to a Vineyard church. That doesn’t sound like a kick-out-the-rebell-story to me.

So why the Lonnie-kicked-out-story? It seems that the movie has an agenda. It is somewhat pro-homosexual. Lonnie seemed to be a good poster child for that. Did Sabatino ever have contact with Lonnie? Where was he when Lonnie died? The movie criticizes others (Smith, Wimber) for picking up a charismatic figure as a poster child for their own purposes. I wonder if this criticism doesn’t come back to the one pointing the finger.

Why do I use all these words for a behind-the-scene info? I am sure people will benefit from the movie whether ever detail is correct or not. I have. Others have. Lonnie’s life is powerful and I am glad the movie is out. On the other hand, if something goes down in history that was not correct, it is frustrating for the people who are affected. Just as it would be unfair to kick Lonnie out of the history books (which didn’t happen) – it would be unfair to kick his leaders and supporters in the pants after they did all they could.

10 Antworten to “The Life of a Hippie Preacher and his Vineyard friends”

  1. haso 18 Februar, 2007 um 12:49 pm #

    i too love the movie and have benefitted from it. but i am also thankful for your additional remarks and informations, because they are helpful in evaluating the whole thing.

  2. cat-zle 21 Februar, 2007 um 9:03 pm #

    Hey Marlin! I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I love your last sentence about „kicking the leaders“. I think that’s sth what happens pretty often. People do as much as they can for someone or something good – and in the end they get kicked. Good to know, that god knows! He knows what we do and what we get.

  3. Bobby Taylor 25 Februar, 2007 um 4:51 am #

    That is wonderful that John Wimber helped him out financially when the chips were down. True Christianity there.
    The movie should have included that fact for a more acurate portrayal of what actually happened.

  4. Martin.D 26 Februar, 2007 um 10:04 pm #

    I was happy to be invoved in that talk, thanks again Marlin! Beside the right things you shared, I was wondering, that Bob said, he didn’t not see the movie yet. It sounds to me, that he just heard from others, who heard from others, … saying the movie is telling lies about history. For me it was important to make clear, that I was very inspired by it, God even was able to heal an inner wound in my heart thru the film. God uses a non christian like sabatino to do a good pice of work there, for his glory.
    So I do wounder, if the truth lays here also somewhere in between. I do understand, that leaders of a congreagtion have a hard time, to tell openly about theire founders, if the founders are fallen ones. I just heard a tape by John Wimber, where he was telling his story, during a Konferenz in beginning of the 90’s in Germany. He mentoined there some names, but Loonie is only refered as „the young men“, like Sabatino claims in his movie.

  5. SG-Team 3 Januar, 2009 um 11:09 am #

    Thanks for your comments Martin about your talk with our friend Bob Fulton of AVC.

    It was great seeing the otherside of the story in your article on your wordpress blog, I only wish you would have taken it further in details and content about your conversation with Bob.

    The Lonnie Frisibee story is one that we initially avoided when the movie was being developed and even after its launch. In fact only two of us that I know of here at SOG, not including myself have seen this movie. It is now on my list of movies to see, since God seems to be stirring things up again with the history of the Jesus Revolution – i.e. redigging the wells.

    Cheers mate.

  6. Jack 10 März, 2009 um 7:57 pm #

    Did Sabatino ever have contact with Lonnie? Where was he when Lonnie died?

  7. Jack 10 März, 2009 um 7:59 pm #

    Did Sabatino ever have contact with Lonnie? Where was he when Lonnie died? Attending Seminary in Canada.

  8. marlster 10 März, 2009 um 8:11 pm #

    good point, jack

  9. John O 27 Juli, 2009 um 10:08 pm #

    I went to the Vineyard in the early 80’s and I also attended Bob and Pennys home group. Bob is a stand up guy who has my utmost respect – I just can’t see him trying to cover anything up and I take his account of how they treated Lonnie to be gospel


  1. Secretos de familia | La Viña: cronicas muy personales - 20 Januar, 2015

    […] [8] En una consulta informal, Bob Fulton reveló que en el último año de vida de Lonnie, John Wimber pagó el alquiler de su apartamento y contrató a una persona para que le cuidara. […]

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