Move of God or Movements of Men . . . Connecting the Dots

Commentary by Roger Oakland

Throughout my life, I have seen God work in many supernatural and natural ways. God is a God of wonders, and there are many times I wonder at the things He does to help me connect the dots in order so I can understand the times.

Someone once said that connecting dots in order to make a meaningful drawing or picture is easy. All one has to do is use a pencil or pen to join one number to another. Now, while this may sound easy, in the confusing world we presently live in, connecting dots is not so simple.

My calling has been to connect dots in order to help believers, and unbelievers, understand what the Bible has to say about the times in which we live. The Bible helps us to understand the past, the present, and the future and is of paramount importance as it is given to us by the inspiration of God for our benefit. For example, we read in 2 Timothy 3:16-17:       

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Now, for the point of this commentary. First, let me start with John 6. This is the story of where Jesus miraculously multiplied fish and bread to feed the multitude that had come to hear him preach. Afterward, the men whom he fed said, “This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world” (vs. 14). The chapter goes on:

When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone. (vs 15)

Later in the chapter, it explains that the multitude found him and began questioning him as to where he had gone. But rather than answering their question, He brought to their attention the motives of their hearts:

Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. (vs. 26)

Jesus had used the miracle of the loaves and fishes to show them that He was God. But they didn’t see that—in essence, they only saw how they benefited from what He had done. They missed the entire point of what God was trying to show them and do in their lives.

Similarly, this happens today in so-called movements of God. It may even be that God has begun to move, but so often man takes over, sees how he can gain from such a move, and now it becomes a movement of man rather than a move of God.

For instance, during the ’60s and ’70s, the “Jesus Movement” was occurring, and thousands of young people (many of them hippies) were coming to the Lord.

I don’t doubt that many of these were true conversions, but I have always wondered if what started out as a move of God in thousands of young people’s hearts across the globe became more of a movement of man where the precedence became more about following men (and sometimes women) than following Jesus Christ. Before you get upset and write me off, please hold your fire and take a moment to check out Scripture. Following anyone or anything other than following the Good Shepherd Jesus Christ is always a mistake.

John the Baptist is a perfect example of someone who was a part of a move of God and determined to keep it that way. Jesus said of him: “Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he” (Luke 7:28). John the Baptist performed no miracles and healed no one and never drew attention to himself, but many came to hear him preach repentance as he prepared the way for the Messiah. Then when Jesus arrived, he pointed them to the Christ and not himself. His words were, “. . . this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He [Christ] must increase, but I must decrease . . . he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all” (John 3:29b-31). John would not allow his charisma to get in the way of what God was doing, and what started as a move of God remained a move of God.

Biblical history and man’s history are full of examples that show what takes place when men follow men. They may think they are following God when often they are not. Satan is a very clever deceiver as he can act as an angel of light. He is also like a roaring lion, seeking whom he can devour. Christians, if they knew better, would stay out of his way. Unfortunately, so many sleeping undiscerning Christians are misled by false teachers and prophets who masquerade in sheep’s clothing and drive the sheep to the market, which actually can be the pit of hell.

As you can see, this topic I am dealing with today is multi-faceted and may seem a bit confusing. Rather than covering all the bases, we will continue to examine the topic of the Jesus Movement of the ‘60s and ‘70s for now and come back to the question of whether a move is of God or of man later.

First of all, I want to point out that during that time period of the Jesus Movement, there were young people turning to Jesus from all over the globe. A high percentage of these youth were hippies. But while many of these young people were involved with Chuck Smith’s Calvary Chapel movement, there were also youth completely unrelated to Calvary Chapel who were being converted. Knowing this tells me that there was a move of God taking place that was affecting untold numbers of young people far and wide.

In this commentary, however, I want to focus on what took place in Southern California that became known as The Jesus Movement. In actuality, there was a move of God throughout the earth touching the lives of many young people. And part of that spawned the Jesus Movement of Southern California, attributed to being started by Calvary Chapel. I hope you can see the distinction. This is not to say that the move of God did not influence the Jesus Movement.

If you know anything about the Southern California Jesus Movement, the name Lonnie Frisbee will be very familiar to you. In order to develop this topic properly in this commentary, it would take a book full of documentation. For now, based on what has been written, I believe you will be able to connect your own dots and formulate an opinion. In case you still don’t follow me, let me give you a clue and ask you one question.

Lonnie Frisbee was a hippie in the ‘60s who was converted to Christianity in 1967. He had been living in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. From there, he ended up in Southern California and ultimately met Chuck Smith (founding pastor of Calvary Chapel). Pastor Chuck invited Frisbee to be part of that group and help reach out to the hippies who were on the beaches in S. California. Frisbee’s presence at the church drew thousands of young people to Chuck Smith’s church. Few would argue that Frisbee had a strong influence in and largely symbolized the Southern California Jesus Movement.

But by 1971, Frisbee and Smith had parted ways, yet Frisbee’s influence and “charisma” had made its mark on Calvary Chapel. Many of today’s Calvary Chapel pastors were brought to Christianity via Lonnie Frisbee. Much of Lonnie’s emphasis had become centered around the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” and supernatural experiences; people like Katherine Kuhlman and John Wimber (of the Vineyard movement) were enamored with the young converted hippie, who would later die in 1993 at the age of 44 from AIDS.

It is clear that from the earliest years of Calvary Chapel’s history, men were placed in positions of high honor and respect, and put in situations where they would be followed by masses of people. Lonnie was the first one, but many others would follow. While I know there are Calvary Chapel pastors in the history of the Calvary Chapel movement that have put God’s Word first and have not allowed themselves to be followed but pointed their students and congregations to the Scriptures and to Jesus Christ, it is clear that others have not followed down that same path and became part of movements of men veering from a move of God.

How can we know if something is not a move of God? In today’s church, there are two significant signs that can be looked at to answer this question. They are summed up in these two words: The Pope and Kundalini. The Pope is providing not only the road to Rome but also the road to a one-world religious body that will eventually include all faiths except biblical faith. Kundalini represents what 2 Corinthians 11:3-4 describes as another spirit, another gospel, and another Jesus. Sometimes all three can be convoluted and intertwined in such a fashion that it is very difficult to discern the times.

With those two signs in mind, we must ask, where is the evangelical church (and many Calvary Chapels) presently heading? It is clearer today than ever before—into the arms of Rome and ultimately an ecumenical global religion; and this will occur through a pseudo spirit (i.e., the false god of this world’s kundalini spirit). What I am saying is not crazy, and it is easy to plainly observe. Pay attention! When you hear that something is of the Holy Spirit and when you hear that God’s “Presence” is in a move, ask yourself, is this really the Holy Spirit of God, and is this really His presence, or could this be another spirit, another gospel, and another Jesus?

Even though Lonnie Frisbee has been dead for many years, we must ask some hard questions: Why was Lonnie Frisbee buried in the former Schuller Crystal Cathedral Mausoleum? What about the Paul Crouch family burial site that was located in that same location but is no longer there today? Why was the name of this location changed from Crystal Cathedral to Christ Cathedral and taken over by new management with headquarters in Rome?

Stay with me. More information will help connect additional dots in the future. There is a method, using the Bible, that will clear up the picture. Let me leave you with this. John the Baptist was a forerunner preparing the way for Jesus Christ. The Bible says that as we approach the end of the age, there are two “Christs” coming: one, Jesus Christ, our Lord who has promised to return; and two, the Anti-Christ described in the Book of Revelation. Each has forerunners preparing the way for his coming. Today, there are many forerunners for the Anti-Christ, some even within the church (wolves); in contrast, there are some preparing the way for the return of Jesus Christ. You must ask yourself—which ones are you listening to?