Calvary Chapel: The Splits Begin…
On July 20th, George Bryson held a conference at CC Cypress rallying senior pastors to “stay the course”… to hold to traditional Calvary distinctives that aren’t endorsed (at least in print) by the new CCA.
Chuck Smith sent them an endorsement as well.
On Sunday the 21st, everyone was confused.
Jackie Alnor just reported on her Facebook that John Higgins, a staunch traditionalist, has left the movement.
“We feel that the original calling and vision for Calvary Chapel in 1966 was from the LORD. Therefore, we at Tri City have withdrawn from the present day hype, by notifying the CCA and Chuck Smith personally that we are no longer associated with the CCA or Costa Mesa. I have spoken of this at conferences with interesting results. We speak of being a independent fellowship of believers.This took place right after the June pastors conf in Marietta when Greg and Bob Coy presented their plan for integrating with the apostasies of today.
Our church reps walked out and never returned. As a result, we have lost fellowship with many of the “Calvary’s” in our area as they have embraced these false teachers in hope of growth and (in my opinion) the hope of monetary gain.
We at Tri City go back to 1966 when we were called into the battle field. And not wanting to change our name, (we say they should), are looking to incorporate the idea of the date 1966 in our logo.
However, that is yet to be completed. Our fellowship know where we stand and we are strong in the strength of our Lord.
I hope this gives you and your associates a clear understanding of our position.
We are not fighting against CCCM and its ways but we are fighting for the Truth of God’s Word.
As pastors all over the country begin to come to grips with the fact that sooner rather than later there will be a leadership void at the Calvary mothership, questions about the movements future are finally being asked out loud.
The loudest voice in support of keeping things as they have always been has been George Bryson.
Bryson, well know for his anti- Calvinist polemics, has kept up a steady stream of “educational” emails in support of his position.
My sources tend to discount or even mock him…and in my opinion, that is a mistake.
What Bryson is saying is that those inside the movement need to preserve what made CC unique…the independence of the pastors, the anti-Reformed theology, and the pretrib Rapture doctrine.
He also intimates that Chuck Smith agrees with him…and all the evidence I’ve seen indicates that he’s telling the truth.
The CCA statement of faith is basically a standard Baptistic SoF…unique in no way from any other Baptistic document.
The CCA also establishes regional leadership, bishoprics if you will.
Bryson isn’t interested in having a bishop…nor is Chuck Smith interested in having them either.
In an email to Bryson answering a question on the independence of each pastor, Smith said this;
“No Calvary is under or over another Calvary, we are all brothers in Christ, we all have the freedom to follow our understanding of how the Lord is leading us. If you feel the Lord is leading you in another direction, you are free to go and follow that leading. If you agree to the Calvary Chapel distinctives and desire to fellowship with us, you are welcome. What we do not want is for fellows to call themselves Calvary Chapel, and go a dozen different directions, that will only end in total confusion. The CCA board is intended only as an advisory board, not a ruling board. The men serve on this board only to help when called upon or needed. In Christ, Chuck”
In other words, if you want to tell the CCA to pack sand…be fruitful and prosper.
Some pastors have already…and more will if there is an attempt to oversee them or their churches in any fashion.
As one said to me recently, “I invite them to leave me completely alone”.
While my conflicts with Bryson are now legendary, I hear what he is trying to communicate.
Every denomination has doctrinal identities that make them unique and CC is on the verge of losing theirs.
If I was a CC pastor, that would matter to me.
In the long run, those that it does matter to will have to make their own way…and the splits will continue.