Calvary ABQ Accused Of “Guilting” Members To Attend

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64 Responses

  1. CM says:

    Skip truly a despicable human being.

    How many in his church (and their family members will get sick and how many will die of COVID to boost his ego?

    But he is only following his Darth Lord Sidious in the White House.

  2. Michael says:

    They’ve already started a “I stand with Skip” social media campaign…

  3. pstrmike says:

    Actually, you can serve from your couch. “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16, NKJV) I would encourage each of us to do so. If you are concerned about contracting the virus, stay home.

    Living over a platform of national or international exposure creates and fosters thinking that is very differently than the common populace. It is that way with politicians, athletes, performing artists, corporate CEOs, top military leaders and religious leaders, including most mega-church pastors. Their lifestyle is often accompanied by an attitude and protocols of privilege, removing their ability to understand life as most of us understand and live. That in itself does not threaten the functioning of an organization as the process in corporate world, politics, and military operations can attest to.

    In the case of church leadership, this detachment from a congregant creates a personality figure separate from the actually leader, in other words, people start to follow an idea, which in a spiritual sense, becomes an intermediary for them with God, and with this, a loss of community that God designed for the church ensues.

    Jesus said, “Kings like to throw their weight around and people in authority like to give themselves fancy titles. It’s not going to be that way with you. Let the senior among you become like the junior; let the leader act the part of the servant.” (Luke 22:25-27, MSG). Jesus’ intention for His church’s organizational structure is intended to be different from that of the world’s system.

    When church leaders insist on using the privilege of their position, the organizational structure changes. While their gospel message may not have changed (at least externally), the reality of their day to day operation becomes more like a corporation, and less like the organic structure of the fellowship of the saints that God intended. The organization will still operate, but there will be times when the leader will feel the need to use unjust means such as guilt and manipulation to keep the system afloat. When that occurs, they are no longer walking in justice or righteousness. God is very patient, but I don’t see Him blessing His church when it is sustained by unjust means. Perhaps it’s time to see if the house will stand, or if it will fall.

  4. Michael says:

    Well said, pstrmike…really well said

  5. Em says:

    The old saying that the Church is not confined to a building must not be taught very much….
    Sad that those who call themselves God’s children aren’t watching out for each other anymore…. A phone call or an Email?

  6. Em says:

    “I stand with Skip?”. Phooey
    if his name was Louie, would they stand with Louie? 😁

  7. filbertz says:

    “All his friends are making hay being focused on “liberty…” Along with wood and stubble.

    We could offer a counter social media option “I’ll skip the stand!” 😉

    Honestly, those concerned need to recognize the fruit of skip’s church and move on. The koolaid sippers will stay regardless.

  8. Steph says:

    “While their gospel may not have changed (at least externally)” <——- You hit the nail on the head with this statement, pstrmike.

    The reasoning of many people who are still faithful Calvaryites, is that the gospel is being preached. It is. I saw this very thing: On Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights the pastor would read (many times word for word!!!) a sermon that he’d given before or that another Calvary pastor had given before, same jokes, same pauses, SAME sermon. For much of the remaining time, the cooperation operated as suited them best. The “My way or the highway”, Moses model.

    I’d agree 100% that it was an external gospel only at the Calvary Corp that I attended.

    No surprise at all that Skip is guilting people to attend on Sunday. He misses his flock. Hahahaha!!! $$$$$$$

  9. Xenia says:

    You will not be surprised to hear that I have waffled all over the place on this issue. Many of the Orthodox leaders that I admire the most have the same opinion as Skip H., with the added guilt-producing element of the Eucharist “which cannot make you sick so if you don’t come to Church and receive Communion from the common spoon you don’t really believe it’s the Body and Blood of Christ.” So I was swayed by this line of thinking for a while although I saw to it that I got in the Communion line ahead of the guy who was sneezing and coughing. My daughters pleaded with us to back away and we were confused- should we obey our Church leaders or our unbelieving daughters? – and there were some others things that happened that I won’t bore you with.

    So we watched some other parish’s Liturgy online, and it was not a satisfying experience. We started out all serious, lighting candles and incense before my laptop, but after a few weeks we were eating bacon and eggs and playing with the dog while Liturgy was playing on the screen. Better not to watch it at all than to be so disrespectful, so went back to Church for a month and some things happened that I won’t bore you with so now we are home again, doing the Reader’s Service at home before our icons, which is more authentic than online Liturgy. Our daughters are happy, some in our parish are not happy with us, and we still feel unsettled. I stopped listening to my favorite EO teachers because they seem entrenched in Right Wing stuff, which is great when they are talking about morality but distressing when they talk about politics and viruses. So I love ’em and I will return to them when all this settles down but I can’t listen to them at the moment because, like Skip H, they are trying to make me feel GUILTY when honestly, my husband and I are trying to do the right thing.

    So that’s where we’re at over here… confused and unsettled.

    But one thing I do know: it’s not worth losing friends over Shoot, last week I was about to stomp out on Michael and that was terrible. I am sorry. 🙁

  10. CM says:

    Another observation. Don’t the Scriptures say, “Where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them?” Well Xenia and her hubby count as two gather in Christ’s name, so there you go.

  11. Em says:

    CM ! Aha and amen! ! !

  12. Xenia says:

    The main focus of a liturgical service is the Eucharist, which cannot be done at home.

    So it’s still problematic for us.

  13. pstrmike says:


    I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised that the same guilt is being peddled in an Orthodox parish, but I am. I would defer to the early desert fathers and mothers.

    “So we watched some other parish’s Liturgy online, and it was not a satisfying experience.”

    When we were quarantined, I did a sermon the night before and then posted on the website. On Sunday mornings, I didn’t watch any live services, I read Wisdom literature, or poets and writers such as Wendell Berry, John Donne, Malcomb Guite, Francis, Anne Lamott, Christine Valters Paintner and others. One Sunday, I watched a part of a sermon from a friend’s church, and although I agreed with about 97% of what he said, it felt sterile. Based on that web experience, I probably wouldn’t consider that church if I were in the market for a new church.

  14. Xenia says:


    Some Orthodox parishes are completely compliant with the Stay At Home orders and say this is how we can love our neighbors. Some say attending Church is how we show our love for God.

    Love God, love your neighbors. Take your pick.

  15. Duane Arnold says:


    Most Eucharistic communities are facing this issue. There’s no easy answer…

  16. bob1 says:

    Don’t the Scriptures say, “Where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them?”

    Yes! All of a sudden, all the nonliturgical churches (well, maybe not all ):) are acting like the church building is somehow sacrosanct. Geeeez. What a crock. Go figure!

  17. Linn says:

    My church recently “reopened” in spite of some recent cases of COVID. They claim First Amendment and Heb. 10:24. I wish they would just call it civil disobedience and get on with it. I am not attending except on Zoom, and there have been comments. I hope it doesn’t take more cases and a possible death to make the elders come to their senses. They are in violation of both state and county ordinances.

  18. Em says:

    Is there any place in the Scriptures that say weekly participation in taking part in the Eucharist is required of every child of God?

  19. Duane Arnold says:


    Not required, but normative (1Cor. 11:20-24). We also know it to have been the regular mode of Christian worship from the Didache (c. 90), Ignatius (c. 100), Clement (c. 110) as well as other late first and second century sources…

  20. Xenia says:

    There are people who only show up for Christmas and Easter and therefore only receive Communion a few times a year but we call them nominal Christians.

  21. Yah, but Duane, you guys are consistent. Your doctrine is long standing and garners respect on this account.

    The frustrating thing for me is the fly by night low-church. It has claimed all along it is a relationship, not a religion, like high-church. But now low-church is looking a little hollow. Both are struggling alike, but one has tradition and history to show it has endured troubles before, and will do so again.

  22. CM says:



    I think the more “high-church” whether Anglican, Continental Reformed, Presbyterian, Lutheran, EO, etc. has the history and the track record show as well.

  23. CM says:


    Of course, _every_ time you take it you need to make sure you do not take it unworthily as Paul stated in his Epistle. I would argue that if you feel that you cannot take it in the correct manner, God would honor it more than you didn’t.

  24. Duane Arnold says:


    I feel a bit of a fraud in addressing the issue of that Xenia raised (not being able to participate in the Eucharist). The reason being, I’m a priest and I can celebrate the Eucharist in my home with my wife. That being said, I am separated from the parish I attend. I miss everything from crossing myself when I enter the church to the coffee hour after the service.

    I have friends who serve in active parishes who have had their doors shut for months. They cannot visit hospitalized parishioners. They conduct funerals with only one or two family members present at the graveside. It is beginning to wear them down… but I think they are doing the right thing.

  25. Rapturesaint says:

    We all are accountable to God Almighty for our deeds for every word that proceeds from our mouth. I don’t live in New Mexico nor attend Pastor Skip Heitzig Calvary Chuch. But I have high regard for Skip’s bible studies on the radio and when he visited our church as a guest speaker.
    What you have provided may be the truth, or you have been caught up in God’s delusion in 2 Thessalonians 2:11 which makes you a genuine person not being truth.

  26. CM says:


    I wonder if there is a way to do contactless communion (visit each home) with all the social distancing, masks, etc. Perhaps book them like appointments in your Google calendar? Just a thought.

  27. Xenia says:

    CM, there is an Orthodox parish up in the Bay Area that does (or did) do confession and communion by appointment, at the church building.

  28. Jean says:

    My Lutheran congregation offers private confession and communion in the home by appointment. We are small.

  29. CM says:

    Xenia, Duane, MLD, and others:

    Here is another idea that is perhaps more pertinent in this COVID age:

    What are your respective traditions regarding intinction as a means of communion? Under what circumstances (and whom makes the authorization) is this means of distribution permissible? This coupled with the local parish doing the home visits for communion by appointment seems like a good way to go. I understand this method was traditionally used for performing communion with the sick for them to receive the Eucharist.

  30. Jean says:

    The mega-church model was never built for pastoring, much less pastoring during a pandemic. Mega-church pastors do not even know all the names of the parishioners under the care and responsibility. How can that be in Christ’s church?

  31. CM says:

    Sorry, the problem-solving engineering geek in me is working here. Hence the commentary.

  32. CM says:


    How very true. Interestingly, in the Roman Army, the century consisted of about 80 men and was led by a centurion. In the modern era, this corresponds to a company-sized unit. Both reflect the approximate size of a group to be effectively led by an individual who can actually know and follow the details of the individual in his unit. I would stipulate that the maximum size church to be effectively ministered by a pastor would be a congregation approximately of 100-200 people, thereabouts.

  33. Jean says:

    “What are your respective traditions regarding intinction as a means of communion?”


    There are 4 traditions that I am aware of:

    1. Drinking from a single chalice.
    2. Drinking from individual cups.
    3. Intinction.
    4. Drinking from a spoon drawn from a chalice.

    I think that as Lutheran would ask, what did the Lord command? If he commands something then you do that. If something is left unspecified, then the church has the freedom of conscience to institute a practice that upholds and promotes the practice of Communion.

    Jesus is very clear in First Corinthians, Chapter eleven, when through Paul he says, “do this.” So, there are some specifics. On the other hand, not everything is 100% specified.

    As to the direct question you asked, all I would say on an ecumenical blog is to follow the above principles.

  34. Em says:

    One of my children has found a 100+ year old country church hanging on in their original building in the midst of encroaching development…. Most of the congregation are older and this has been their home church for decades…. She loves it.. .. A group of unassuming, honest, born again folk who make sure to know your name and include you in their prayers…
    Big churches with celebrity pastors? Okay i guess if the congregation understands the first two commandments and practices them, but…. is there such a church?

  35. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I don’t see much difference between common cup and the little cups – they are both filled from the same source.

    I have a problem with injunction as the way Jesus laid it out and Paul repeated, communion seems to be a 2 step process.

    The spoon? I guess I would need to look into the genesis of that mode.

    But I might also mention that I would be most concerned what was in the common cup, little cup or spoon.

  36. Steve says:

    Actually, Skip made it even easier to “vote with your feet”. Really all you need to do now is “vote from the couch”. It’s just a click off away.

  37. filbertz says:

    using guilt and shame to spur people’s behavior is simply manipulation. Skipster is a manipulator. Perhaps a master at his craft. It is consistent with all his actions over the years. I suppose one shouldn’t be surprised.

    But ‘he’s a good teacher’ and we are ‘delusional, bitter, or jealous…’

  38. Abides says:

    I believe they could have avoided so much of this controversy by simply requiring people to wear masks during the service. There have been claims that everyone is wearing masks during worship, but all you have to do is look at the pictures in their instagram posts to clearly see that a large percentage of congregants are not wearing them.

    Too, pastor Neil Ortiz stated to the congregation that Lenya H was sick with a “seasonal ailment”, so they were staying home out of an abundance of precaution. Approximately 24 hours later, Lenya announced she had COVID for the previous 2 weeks as well as other family members. Was pastor Neil lying to the congregation, or was he told a lie that he repeated? I don’t think Neil purposely lied……..

    The whole thing is sad really

  39. Linn says:

    These are the kinds of things that are causing me to lose faith in my church leadership. They closed for a weekend three weeks ago without really saying why (I thought because of the recent new county mandate on indoor gatherings). The following week, they finally announced that there had been a case of COVID among the staff and everyone was quarantined. Then, I found out it was a pastor and his family plus two other church families. Apparently, that is all now in the past, and besides resuming Sunday services, they have also planned three in-person Christmas eve services and we are all encouraged to come. Meanwhile, because of all the different family connections in the congregation, the virus is probably hopping from family to family.

    Today’s newspaper headlines included the purchase of body bags/refrigeration trucks for future deaths, two county hospitals that are above ICU capacity, and the possible rationing of care. I just don’t know what the leadership can be thinking, and I may find my way to different church (after 20 years) when this is all over.

  40. Michael says:


    Lying is part of Neil’s job description and he’s done his job well for years.

  41. Michael says:


    I hear you.
    What I would also say is that pastors are under tremendous pressure from their congregations which are split over the severity of the virus and mitigations.
    There will be more than a few retirements and resignations when this is over.

  42. Linn says:

    I agree, except an overwhelming number are still staying home. I would say about 1/3 are attending-I think it’s more our senior pastor who has been heavily influenced by a certain SoCal megachurch pastor who also runs a seminary and has been to court several times. We never even heard this guy’s name prior to the arrival of the new pastor a few years ago.

  43. This article is claiming what I believed since early 2020. The lack of a COVID response was not incompetence, it was intentional.

    Where I go beyond the reporting is my belief the pandemic morphed into, snd remains, a culture war. The culture war predated the virus, and it’s only natural to utilize random objects and events to harm opponents in a conflict.

  44. Michael says:


    I have a friend whose church is between the one you speak of and Jack Hibbs church…like being in a vise…

  45. Linn says:

    I am just fervently praying that people, whether they are attending or at home are doing so according to their conscience before God, and b) that no one becomes seriously ill and dies. I don’t know what else to do.

  46. Michael says:


    That’s all you can do.
    I don’t plan on in person services until the summer now…if i still have people to pastor.

  47. Abides says:

    Michael, the statement by Ortiz was my first experience with an obvious lie. I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt and was originally thinking it had been handed to him, but I have no other information to form an opinion. You are obviously aware that this is a systemic issue. Thanks for your input.

  48. Michael says:

    I’ve been writing about that church for 20 years….this is standard operating procedure.
    For further information check out the Christianity Today archives on Heitzig…

  49. jtk says:

    “I hear you.
    What I would also say is that pastors are under tremendous pressure from their congregations which are split over the severity of the virus and mitigations.
    There will be more than a few retirements and resignations when this is over.“
    ~our blogmeister

    Please pray for those of us in the ministry!
    These are challenging times.

    We regularly hear how hard it is for medical staff, which is certainly true.
    But so many of us are seeing the stercorous toro that Carl Lentz claimed-“lockdown made me sin sexually.” For those of us who actually shepherd others, this hurts us. I’m seeing this with young men here.

    So many others are seeing their church’s finances radically impacted in a negative way. The stories concern me. Fortunately this hasn’t affected us as much.

    The small businesses, small business owners and such I know are really struggling, especially in my relatively poor town.

    I’ve lost track of the young and the older I know (2nd and 3rd degrees out, as in the 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon) who have killed themselves. 3 teenagers recently in the same high school. And the suicide rate was already up phenomenally pre 2020.

    Your local church pastor needs your care, concern and prayers.

  50. jtk says:

    Michael, do you still drink Kahlua?

  51. Michael says:


    I affirm your exhortation…
    I am an a drinking sabbatical…it would be too easy to lose control in this stress.
    When things stabilize, I will resume with joy and thanks… 🙂

  52. jtk says:

    I came here in the early days of the return of Skip to CCABQ. Been here ever since.

    Although I’d say I am an 8/10 re: caution, I know people from 1 to 10 in ministry on the COVID cautious scale. (Im really curious if others here would “rate” where they are on that scale).

    But I hope others would rather just quietly move on rather than publish this level of criticism. That’s my preference, mostly for the reasons in my above post.

    An additional factor: A local pastor in town I know lost members of his church because he wouldn’t denounce Trump from the pulpit, AND because he wouldn’t PROMOTE Trump from the pulpit.

    I know we here aren’t neutral on him, but still imagine how tough that is for a man of God.

  53. Michael says:


    I’m an 11.
    As to this criticism…it’s grounded in my belief that Heitzig is a hireling and all his decisions are about what benefits him.
    The only hard decisions for him are deciding which action profits him more.
    He is not a pastor.

  54. CM says:


    Whatever happened to Skip’s replacement that he overthrew when he came back (something Nelson was his name)?

  55. Michael says:


    His name is Pete Nelson.
    Today he pastors a small church in Southern California.
    The hell that he and his family went through has repercussions for all of them still today.
    I get enraged just thinking about it…

  56. jtk says:

    Michael, I sure hope you know the spinal tap reference…

  57. Linn says:

    Thank you for the comments reflected here on hard the COVID situation has been on pastors. I have been careful not to comment with folks at my church about the push for us to attend (and the reason isn’t financial-end of year income looks very positive), but almost all of the comments from the elders/staff have been very strident: not abandoning meeting together (Heb. 10), how the government is trying to shut the church down; how we need to persevere. When the three families came up in quarantine, I did a “what the…? (I sound like my students). I mean, one of the families was still in quarantine when we were all invited back to church. The “bubbles” are always morphing depending on who wants to have a playdate with whom, and it’s a perfect petri dish for a super-spreader event. I hope I’m wrong, but we’ll see what happens after the Christmas Eve services (three of them!!!). No one in the church seems to understand “community spread”-that the virus is so endemic in the community that the most loving thing is to stay home. However, your comments are helping me to pray more carefully, and I hope lovingly, for the situation in my church.

  58. CM says:


    Regarding your Pete Nelson reply. I completely understand and with you on that one.

    In a previous era, Skippy would have had the living s*it beaten out of him (multiple times) for all the stuff he has pulled.

  59. Abides says:

    Though Covid took away my long-term ministry this year, we looked at it as an opportunity to draw closer to God and to have a much-needed period of physical rest. From our couch: A multitude of zoom meetings with family where we’ve grown closer than ever in the Lord. We’ve been able to minister to each other over a niece’s suicide, a grave bodily injury to an in-law and pulling together to get those needs met. We’ve shed a lot of tears and laughed a lot together. It’s been tough but a blessing. Studied and learned new languages and reading the new testament in a foreign language has opened my heart and eyes to different and unique expressions of God’s character. It has been just amazing. We have befriended a foreign couple who are trying to learn English and can now share with them about God’s love for them in a language they understand while also helping them learn English. I think I can call all that a ministry from the couch?
    We’ve also gotten to know our neighbors better than ever and it has been amazing to watch people come together to assist the elderly and ailing and just to discover there are other believers nearby and some very cool people. So, is there anyone that has the right to say you can’t do ministry from your couch? In our small neighborhood and from our couch, God reigns and continues to do His will.

  60. The New Victor says:

    Whatever the strategy was from the top, implicitly of explicitly, I think that Americans are so divided both politically, and culturally, nothing the feds might have done would have made much difference.

    I’ve been off work all week since the kids mom exposed them to their aunt last Sunday who felt sick Monday and then tested positive. The kids turned out negative today. O expect my result to be negative tomorrow so I can return. The aunt was in isolation since Larry Monday, but my ex was still asking to borrow the kids to go to a birthday party with 5 households mixing and like 16 people. No! Then only this past Saturday, “oh, my sister tested positive.” They mixed 3 households, and her SIL is a nurse, so more likely to contract it. Thankfully, the rest of that home tested negative, and the sister is doing OK though she did feel sick.

  61. dusty says:

    pstrmike said, ”
    Actually, you can serve from your couch. “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16, NKJV)

    because it is worth repeating…. ;0

  62. Frank Norte says:

    Silly headline, clickbait commenters. Listen to the sermon explaining what he actually said. I just watched it. Very clear no one is guilting anyone

  63. Guy Lockrey says:

    Here us what I told a fellow Pastor , if the church body caves into these restrictions then the next step of taking the mark will be an easy one .thankyou Pastor Skip for preaching the truth And holding the high ground we are commanded to forsake not the assembling of ourselves together …I can’t see Jesus holing up till a flu bug passes over May God Bless you Pastor Skip

  64. Michael says:


    Thank you for filling our quota of stupid for the week early…

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