Calvin Cracks The CC Code

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122 Responses

  1. edjferg says:

    Good grief Janette! Chill out woman.

  2. Papias says:

    That was a good word from Ken. But it sounds like his days at CC may be numbered. he’ll kow this for a fact when he comes in one day and someone else is doing his job. Thats the CC way of getting rid of someone.

    So if Chuck speaks for all of CC, then CC is truly a one man show. (That “if” is like the Greek rule for “if really means since”) . 🙂

  3. Alex says:

    Good to see this stuff out in the open. I think it’s actually very healthy to be transparent and hash these things out, instead of in the smoke-filled rooms amongst the privileged elite of the CC System.

    I admire Sutton for Man’ing up and addressing the issue head on, and not in secret.

    Chuck’s daughter, Bryson and others have the right to disagree strongly and Bryson has never been shy about airing his take on all manner of things (I still think George Bryson should get his own family in order, read his daughter Esther Bryson’s book “There’s a Cult Leader in my Kitchen”, before he tries to McCarthy the CC System/Family into his anti-Calvinist mold.

  4. Alex says:

    Papias, LOL, ya, but I thought Chuck Smith said he isn’t “responsible” has “no control” over other CC’s? At least that’s what he told me, that’s what he stated publicly many times in the Grenier saga and that’s what his attorney’s said in court filings with the State of Idaho over the CC Molestation lawsuit…

    Seems the Truth is a matter of opinion and spin…

  5. Alex says:

    Michael said, “Because Ken broke the public code of silence, the “no talk” rule that has been the norm since I’ve been following CC.”

    Actually I think Bryson has been breaking the “no talk rule” for some time. I think Sutton finally had enough and manned up and spoke out.

  6. Papias says:

    Reading on the CSN and CS debacle yesterday… I had to go get something for my tummy as I felt ill all over again. 🙁

    Chuck KNEW MK had issues, but the money was too much to walk away or to follow his own advice from the pupit about lawsuits.

    I call it advice from the pulpit, since it could not be the Word of God…..according to CS.

  7. Papias says:

    “He’ll know this for a fact when he comes in one day and someone else is doing his job. Thats the CC way of getting rid of someone.”

    And this happened to two of my friends who worked at CCCM – coffeeshop and the record company. Don’t even get me started on how many this happened to in “ministry” positions……

  8. covered says:

    I have a few friends that are CC pastors and everyone of them has had their fill of George.

  9. Chile says:

    Janette seems to reiterate what Sutton said by quoting Chuck, “Don’t go away mad, just go away.” Sutton’s issue seems to be with the fear mongering and Bryson’s style.

    So what is the “truth” she is going to expose?

  10. covered says:

    A few weeks back Michael wrote a scenario where Chuck plays both sides of the fence. It will be interesting to see if he takes a side here or just sees himself as the “peacemaker”.

  11. Papias says:

    This is all about “who speaks for Chuck” or “who is the authority for CC?”.

    Chuck is still alive, so if he speaks, people listen. They can disagree all they want – but “there’s the door right behind you.”

    When Chuck does go to heaven, its going to be messy to determine what he wanted for some things that are grey now in CC. One group(like Bryson) will claim that they have the authority, while another group will not agree with them.

    Then will come “The Splintering” of CC.

  12. Ixtlan says:

    @1 Back off and let Janette speak. Perhaps it is time to let the light shine on an organization that has kept too much in the dark for too long.

  13. j2theperson says:

    Chuck Smith makes me sick. What a jerky thing to say. How does he have the temerity to suggest that Calvinists leave CC while not making the same suggestion to child abusers? It’s disgusting and displays a complete lack of moral clarity.

  14. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    Chuckie bores me now, I am not a Clavinist but yeah that is the least of Calvary’s problems

  15. Alex says:

    It all illustrates that Chuck and the Truth don’t mix well. He obviously has the power in his Movement/Denom…despite his protests to the contrary (at times) when it’s to cover his assets.

    Supposedly “Lying” is an abomination to the Lord, same as homosexuality they say…but I guess there are loopholes.

  16. Alex says:

    Although, maybe some like Ken Sutton will make Chuck out to be a Truth Teller after all…by bucking the Pope and his Cardinal Bryson and be truly Independent as Chuck has stated CC is to judges through his attorneys…

  17. “Because Ken broke the public code of silence, the “no talk” rule that has been the norm since I’ve been following CC.”
    Man, I am really out of the loop with CC. I never knew this rule existed! Just sayin…

  18. covered says:

    Steve, you and I have never talked. From the respect that most people show you tells me that you are a good man and respected pastor. I was part of CC from 1993-2010 and am well aware that people who speak against Chuck get moved out. Do you really not know this?

  19. erunner says:

    It would look terrible if Ken was shown the door over this especially in light of BG somehow still behind the pulpit. I wonder if other means are at play seeking BG to step down which would keep Costa Mesa out of that scenario. I’m happy to see Ken share honestly and in a non hostile way.

  20. covered says:

    erunner, if there’s one thing that we have learned about Chuck over the years it’s that abuse & sexual immorality is one thing but if you go against his “theology”, that’s a whole new can of worms and will not be tolerated.

  21. erunner says:

    covered, I’ve read that so much and it still doesn’t click. I don’t doubt your words but it still causes me great sadness.

  22. covered says:

    erunner, I couldn’t agree more with your comment especially the pain and sadness. If we just take the documented facts regarding the Grenier situation and consider other facts regarding those in the past like Hocking, Heitzig etc. etc, the truth is that crossing CS has more severe consequences than hurting people. At least for now here on earth…

  23. Covered
    I am being as honest as I can be when I say I have never heard that. But, I don’t have pastor Chuck and CC Costa Mesa running thru my blood. I became a CC thru the back door. It defined me, my theology and my teaching and worship style. But I have never really been apart of the culture of CC. So, maybe that’s why.

    I know I know….you are are beginning to wonder if I really am a CC…I am beginning to wonder too

  24. The Dude says:

    Brysons method is pretty common in CC.A pastor with little or no accountabilty pretty much does as he chooses.

    On Calvinism in Calvary Chapel…..Reformed theology is pretty mainstreamed into the fabric of the laity.I spent 24 years in 2 CC’s and Calvin..Sproul and Piper were extremely popular.

  25. Shaun Sells says:

    Steve, you and I have the same issues. We didn’t grow up Calvary and we didn’t come from Costa Mesa. Long term our background will be the norm as the now thousands of Calvary’s begin to bring in replacements for their aging, retiring, and dying pastors…

  26. PP Vet says:

    At my CC, they call me a CEO.

    I call that empowerment.

  27. Frank says:

    It seems to me that maybe some of those folks need to grow up a bit. Calvinism is not some conspiracy.

  28. cnce a cc guru says:

    cc golden rule: touch not god’s anointed…or his buddies!

  29. Fly on a Wall says:

    Playing Devil’s Advocate, nothing has happened yet. If Sutton gets fired for this, then it’s news. It’s just CS’s daughter getting snippity on FB.

  30. Reuben says:

    I fear that the truth that is to be revealed is that Calvinists are the bane of Christianity. Sympathizers can go to hell with them.

    George speaks evil, division, and wickedness into the ear of the old man. Chuck is about the only guy who will listen to George, because in theological depth, they are just about equal.

    Yeah, I said that.



    Go call my former employers and friends again, see if you can get me in trouble or whatever…

  31. Alex says:

    Courson sent an attorney letter to a congregant recently, Bob Caldwell’s CC in my area allegedly had a guy arrested recently (new info coming in, the situation doesn’t sound good) will try to get both sides, but CC doesn’t respond, so…

    Many others are contacting me about potential lawsuits, protests, scandals, abuses etc.

    But, the Calvinist Inquisition is much more important…

    Could a Church System’s Leadership be any more tone deaf?

    Err…I guess there’s SGM, the RCC and the IFBC so don’t answer that.

  32. To Be clear, my #23 was in response to the question Covered asked in #18 and in no way reflects upon George Bryson. I don’t agree with everything George says but he is a dear friend. Also when I say I am not in tune with Calvary culture, I am referring to all the goings on within the movement. I am a part of CC culture in that I wear the brand and it describes my theology, teaching style, eschatology, etc but we just kind of do our own thing up here in the sticks!

  33. covered says:

    Steve, thanks for your honesty.

  34. mrtundraman says:

    “Steve, you and I have never talked. From the respect that most people show you tells me that you are a good man and respected pastor. I was part of CC from 1993-2010 and am well aware that people who speak against Chuck get moved out. Do you really not know this?”

    Picturing fingers in ears and someone saying “la, la, la, la..”

  35. mrtundraman says:

    I guess I’m just a slight bit softer against Bryson being that I like his books against Calvinism. Bob Passantino once told me that he helped Bryson with the “Weighed and Found Wanting” book which I realize Calvinists think is rubbish, but I think it is pretty good.

    But I do think Bryson fits into the crazy ODM types with their nutty conspiracy theories (the Pope is taking over CC, etc). I like that there are critics it’s just the nutty ones that give the rest of us (making the assumption I’m not a nutty one here) a bad rep. The LHT types are as bad as Missler (AntiChrist is an ET) and the worst of the CC nuts in the movement.

  36. mrtundraman says:

    I remember (actually before my time) that the first CC critic was a real nutcase. If you are unfamiliar with the story:

  37. Fly on a Wall says:

    From the Witchvox article on John Todd:
    “His records indicate evidence of an unstable home background and possible brain damage as a result of beatings. The second examination… labeled his malady ’emotional instability with pseudologica phantastica’. Todd finds it difficult to tell reality from fantasy… It spoke of homicidal threats he had made on another, false suicide reports, and a severe personality disturbance. It saw no hope for change and recommended Todd’s discharge”

    Real classy Tundra man, let’s pick on the psychological disturbed guy.

    He told a lie. That’s it. He wasn’t a CC critic.

  38. Fly on a Wall says:

    Chuck Missler on the other hand, what a tragic story. Little did I know that his story is repeated a hundred-fold throughout CCCM’s existence.

    Whatever happened to Missler? He made a comeback in the early 2000’s, I even bought some of his books (I’m a sucker for numerology and conspiracy theories). Guy isn’t a total nut-case, he’s actually very intelligent, but he either understands something mere mortals cannot or he’s caught up in his numerology bullsh*t. Honestly, I can’t decide.

  39. Fly on a Wall says:

    Did Missler say Anti-Christ is an ET, or that the beast would be a creation of man, a machine or robot of sorts?

    I believe the latter, but I keep it to myself. Just saying.

  40. brian says:

    Sometimes I forget just how grateful I am to God for all He does for me. Sometimes I just get lost in my pain and frustration and keep picking open the scars Christ is trying to heal. Sometimes I forget, no actually I often forget. I even drive the goodness God has shown me out of my mind and heart so I can hold onto my pain. Because my pain anger and frustration are “comfortable”. I am so use to them they are sort of old friends like some lost aunt or Mother / Father inlaw that get under your skin but you cant imagine your world without them. It is scary to actually practice grace, the radical transformation of a human heart.

    What I forget, at times, but often remember in the back of my mind in the dark hours of the night when the fear comes. The cross and the resurrection, His Holiness, my brokenness and sin. I often forget but the still small voice keeps reminding me to come home. There are times, actually most of the time I just dont know how to thank God or even talk to Him in prayer or listen to His Word. The goodness of God is beyond my understanding, and I am glad of that. If that makes any sense.

  41. Jim says:

    #30 video is awesome.

  42. Fly on a Wall says:

    Brian says: “Sometimes I just get lost in my pain and frustration and keep picking open the scars Christ is trying to heal. Sometimes I forget, no actually I often forget. I even drive the goodness God has shown me out of my mind and heart so I can hold onto my pain. Because my pain anger and frustration are “comfortable”. ”

    I want to challenge you Brian. Sometimes forgetting is more comfortable. Sometimes running away and being silent is more comfortable. Sometimes it’s more painful to speak out and confront.

    Come home? To where? Calvary Chapel? So we can see the same abuses go on and nothing gets done about it?

    Grace happens when there is repentance. It’s when someone realize they’ve been abusive and asks for forgiveness. It is not grace to look the other way, pretend that everything is fine. Grace is when that person, for the 100th time, loses his temper and asks for forgiveness and the person forgives them. It is not grace to roll over and allow to be abused. Grace is when someone comes out of jail a changed man, and the victim believes him. It is not grace to be victimized by that person again.

    If there is no repentance, how can there be grace?

    I’m only being harsh because I hear Pastors use this term “grace” and what it really means is, “I’m a coward, I don’t want to deal with it.”

  43. Fly,

    About brian…

    You need to know the brian we’ve known from the years of night watches, evening self revelatory posts. He is one of the few here whom I will unashamedly speak of with great admiration. Dear transparent brian, our brutally honest brian.

    You’ve completely mischaracterized him, what he wrote is without guile.
    The “come home” is exactly what he wrote, come home to Jesus, not friggin Calvary Chapel, not anything other that what he says.

    Fly, please, just dial it back a little bit, get to really know each here, assuming the best, asking questions before attacking.

    I really appreciate you, your excitement, your joy, your zeal, but going off on brian is totally wrong, uncalled for, way the hell out of context, any context.

    Just, breathe, my friend, Fly.

    Beautiful, simply beautiful.
    Thank you.

  44. brian says:

    Fyi thanks for your questions first I spell my name brian because I stand in respect to the BrianD that posted so much good content here. One reason I keep my b small. I have never been part of a CC, if we have to sent a date, I “accepted” Christ in 1981 or so, but I did not accept Jesus, I hated Jesus with all my heart until He kicked down the door to my stony hard hearted soul and busted in. OOps is that reformed I better hide my magic decoder ring, maybe the Jesuit infiltrators are going to get us. From the cheap seats I do not want my name capitalized, I think God is full of grace.

    A moment of honesty I heard about Chuck Smith back in the mid or early 80’s though I may have the time line wrong. My first response, and I mean no offense he sounded like an Amway salesman to me and I said that on a few occasions. I mean he spoke about people to wearing shoes, sitting on the carpet and other such nonsense, I wondered about how we protect from God’s truly elect. I lived in a house with several guys and we wanted to live the Christian mindset back in the 80’s so some of us supported Bob Lar$on and Mike Warnkee and Dave Hunt. I give Dave Hunt a pass as he actually believed his rhetoric the other two were corporate shills. No offense to them and I wish them well but they were shills.

    Well FYI I am not comfortable because I hold to an old earth, evolution is a valid theory to explain the diversity of species on our planet, and to the rest of it I doubt Chuck Smith gave much thought. What pisses me off is that CS did not give much thought to my friend Alex and his brothers allegedly having the living shit beat out of them. I am sorry I have to add that but that is the modern apologetic. It is an apologetic of Probabilities instead of absolutes. Now my father was not a true believer like Pastor Smith, but he did rush several enemy held positions, I mean really held positions in WW2 and he never claimed divine guidance, he just tried to do right by his kids. Now Chuck and his crowd would have my father assigned to the depths of hell. I cast my lot with my father and his ilk that fought that war and in other real wars. Alex and Micheal understand this, they have the scars of battles that should not have had to be fought if people actually believed the bible.

    This is the best I can explain. I know I want peace for each side, I even hope that Alex’s family will be restored and a great work of the spirit will happen and there would be restoration. The world would marvel and the gospel would be extolled. Of course that will not happen it will be cya as normal with in the corporate structure and people will continue to be hurt. But I hope, that was my point I hope, I will always hope.

  45. brian says:

    May I add I could have totally defecated on my father’s memory and accused him of all sorts of vile crap ( and I wont go into detail) accused him of such events. My father never would have denied us a place to stay, a meal, or a conversation. My father begged his children’s forgiveness at his death, and showed more Christian Charity then the true believers ever did. If I had to cast my lots I would cast them with my father. If Pastor Smith has some connection with the Holy Spirit, you would think he would understand this. Give me an honest “pagan” any day of the week.

    My father said some horrid things to me, some of them were true, but he never denied me and on his soul he never would have sued me. My fathers death was caused by bad medical care, even on those grounds he would not have sued. When given a “gotcha” report my mother and me agreed we would not sue, report yes, but not sue, because we understood my fathers wishes. Seeing Chuck Smith seems to have a hot line to God. You would think he would pick up on that. I loved my father and mother with all my heart, to think I was the reason they went to hell truly made me cry (though not in public as a true christian does not ever do that). I dont parade my family issues here to achieve anything. I hope it helps others when I post.

  46. Alex says:

    I agree with G re: brian. He presents an out-of-the-box style…but if you keep reading him with an open ear…you’ll learn a lot…and you’ll probably change your mind about his approach over time. I think he’s brilliant and has found a unique and powerful way of communicating some great points about the Faith.

  47. mrtundraman says:

    Fly – read the other links to see that Todd’s claims, although limited to the CC connection to MaranathaMusic! were broader than you may realize.

    And yes, he was a nutcase. Sorry if you feel that it low class, but that’s the best term I can come up with.

  48. mrtundraman says:

    Here’s a bigger account of John Todd (Feb. 2, 1979 Christianity Today):

    “CONCLUSION: Without a doubt, John Todd has one of the most amazing stories about “the international Satanic conspiracy” of any person reportedly speaking for the Lord Jesus Christ today. In 1978 we were flooded with cassette tapes of his talks in churches, but free speech is free indeed within the auditorium of a local church. The complexion changes when rigidly put in black type on white paper, or broadcast over public communications media. Therefore, when we were deluged with requests to present Todd’s message over our radio ministry, we asked him to document everything he had said. After the initial contact, when Mr. Todd agreed to be a guest speaker, providing documentation would be given, we never heard from him again. Anyone can accuse others of anything, or promote himself to any desired degree, as long as he is not asked to prove it. It was apparent to us from the questions fielded by Mr. Todd that he had been associated with witchcraft; all other claims and statements had to be accepted strictly on faith that he was telling the truth. Anyone making charges against so many prominent personalities should be willing to offer documentation.”

    Many Christians are suckers for these sorts of nutcases and don’t ask for real substantial documentation. I don’t care if it’s “Chuck Smith is in league with the Jesuits” or any other sort of nutcase allegations. All the same to me.

    No lie can be a friend to the truth. The only thing that is a friend of the truth is truth.

  49. John Todd and Lonnie Frisbee – 2 great church hoaxes – con men contributions from SoCal.

  50. Fly on a Wall says:

    G and brian: my humblest apologies if I offended anyone. G you got me all wrong, I always read brian’s post, he’s one of my favorite posters.

    But I’ll admit, I don’t always understand what he’s saying. I did take it as grace = forgiveness, it was late, my brain was not working. But as I reread his comment, it wasn’t that at all.

    I’m sorry if I sound like I’m always attacking people. I’ll try to change my tone. I get caught up in all the snark and chest-thumping that goes around here, but it doesn’t mean I need to contribute.


  51. Fly on a Wall says:

    Mr. Tundraman: I can be snarky with you, right?

    Why would you include this mentally unstable guy in your Wiki? C’mon man. Some church group decided to take advantage of Todd’s mental instabilities, the guy thought the Illuminati was funding Marantha music.That’s like me saying I’m having Obama’s love child.

    How is that in the same realm as what Michael and Alex are doing?

    It’s kinda mean to bring him up, I’m sure people want to forget about Todd, including Todd himself.

    MLD: putting Todd and Frisbee in the same sentence is just wrong. Frisbee was NOT a fraud, he was a dirty, rotten sinner saved by God’s grace. (we’re all dirty rotten sinners, btw) He did amazing things for Calvary, his fellow man and for God. It’s a shame his ministry and his life was cut short because of his sinful lifestyle.

  52. SO… fly is having Obama’s baby?

  53. Fly on a Wall says:

    SO… fly is having Obama’s baby?

    Only in my pepperoni-pizza-induced dreams.

  54. Andy says:

    I wouldn’t want to be in a CC that had calvinist influences. Just my personal preference. And Chuck Smith made some very strong statements against calvinism in the past, and I appreciated him doing so. Smith and Bryson are on the same page with this, and the consistency is better than trying to appear “open” on something that in my opinion, they shouldn’t be open to. It’s not like the local presbyterian church is going to be open to CC theology. So why should CC be open?

  55. Fly on a Wall says:

    Is Andy new here? Are we allowed to be snarky to him?

    Andy, I don’t know if you’re just expressing an opinion, which is fine. But I want to let you know that you missed the point of Michael’s post. Sutton himself does not want Calvinists within the Calvary system, but Sutton does not like is Bryson’s Calvinist-witchhunt within the CC Movement.

    He probably thinks there’s bigger fish to fry, such as witnessing to heathens.

    He just expressed an opinion on his personal blog. He might get fired over it. (but he may not). If you think Sutton’s comment is worthy of being fired, then you’re commenting on the wrong blog.

  56. Nonnie says:

    Wow. From Jannette Smith’s comment, it sounds like ther is a power struggle going on at CCCM. Sad

  57. Andy says:

    Fly, I’m sure I did miss that point. I was making a different point altogether, which I know is contrary to the consensus here. I am closed-minded on many things, and the calvinism issue is one thing I am closed-minded about. I’d leave any church that became calvinist-influenced. I would assume that such a point is not welcome here, so I will vanish. 🙂

  58. Andy, no need to vanish. I’m not a Calvinist, and even though Michael is, he even says Calvinists should leave Calvary Chapel. Sounds like we agree.

    Except for Fly, but you can’t trust her. She’s been fraternizing with Obama.

  59. Andy – don’t leave.

    My church would boot a Calvinist pastor in less than a minute – but then again, we would probably boot an avowed Arminian pastor also.

    If ya ain’t Lutheran, you don’t get behind our pulpits.

  60. Fly – Frisbee was a long haired Elmer Gantry – nothing more, nothing less

  61. Bob Sweat says:


    Did you ever meet Lonnie?

  62. Papias says:


    I would be interested in what you think Calvinism is.

    I would consider myself a 3, or at most, a four pointer – as Ken has stated. I don’t agree with Limited Atonement and I’m not too keen on Irrestitable Grace, but open to discuss.

    I have sat in front of Chuck in SOM when we reviewed Calvinism vs. Arminianism, and he is believes in Total Depravity, but is “Calminian” on Perseverance and Election. So while I do think that some CC’s lean more toward Arminianism, Chuck himself(at one time) seemed fairly middle-of-the-road. That may have changed over the years.

    But the point of Kens post was to say that Bryson does not speak for CC, or PC.

  63. CrucifiED says:

    I think this attitude of CC against Calvinism is just silly. I was a part of CC from 1992-2010 and even though we were always taught that Calvinism was bad theology I can’t think of anytime or any teacher who didn’t quote from Calvinist teachers or use some of their doctrines to lend some support to their grace and glory theologies.

    Chuck Smith and other CC pastors have always gleaned spiritual truths from Calvinists teachers. I had never heard of Calvinism or knew of any Calvinist doctrines from the churches I grew up in until I started attending CC and learned about men like Spurgeon, whose writings I now love, from Chuck Smith and other CC pastors.

    I learned more about the sovereignty of God from Chuck Smith than from any of the other churches I grew up in. The more I learned about the sovereignty of God through CC teaching the more intrigued I was to dig in to the subject even more which is what eventually led me to learning how the initial protestant reformation teachers have a view of justification that is 180 different from free-will churches such as CC.

    The more I learned about Calvin and Luther’s doctrine the more I began to be able to make sense of the scriptures and all of the confusion I had lived with because of my free-will theology melted away…Thanks be to God!

    I am learning to be a Lutheran now but still am intrigued by and appreciate Calvinist doctrine so much that I feel like a Lutheran with a Calvinist edge. And I have to give most of the credit to CC for sending me in that direction.

  64. Papias says:

    This talk of Chuck and Calvinists reminded me of something:

    I was getting ready to teach from the Gospel of John, and was contemplating which commentaries were better for that. So I was at CCCM one day, and Chuck happend to walk by and I asked him who he liked for a commentary for that book. He replied:

    “Well… Pink will tell you more than you need to know…”. He went on to mention several others, including GC Morgan.

    My point is that Pink… couldn’t get more Calvinist than him! 🙂

    Thats the disconnect I have with the Calvinist witch hunt that Bryson claims should be going on in CC. From Chuck on down, CC pastors have gleaned from teachers that they may not realize are Calvinist.

    Ask Chuck what he thinks of “The Doctor” = D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

  65. Paps – to be a Calvinist, you must believe all 5 points – each point builds on the previous. If you take away 1, you automatically eliminate those following.

  66. Bob Sweat says:


    How would a Lutheran define total depravity?

  67. PP Vet says:

    Calvinism has some wonderful insights.

    When it becomes an epidemic, it is a problem. So I sympathize with the Center for Calvinist Disease Control on this one.

    Most at risk are white males age 26 plus or minus 3.

    Something about that stage of the development of the brain: a need for order and certainty.

    A ypung man has the “Calvinist epiphany” and it is all over.

    Almost never affects women, although they may follow their man. Oddly, less frequent among other races.

  68. Vet – Is there a known antidote?

  69. Nonnie says:

    I love to read Calvinist writers, but I just cannot accept “Limited atonement.”
    John 3:16 comes to mind. God loves the world and whosoever who believes on Him will have eternal life…..
    I firmly believe that Christ died for ALL sins of ALL mankind. And for as many as received Him, to them he gave the right to be called children of God. John 1:12. The gift is there, ready to be received, all by grace…but some will refuse.

    Now, saying that, I certainly would not break fellowship,nor vilify a brother or sister in Christ who had other opinions.

  70. PP Vet says:

    Antidote, JTB?

    Oddly, in googling trying to find Calvinist Epiphany testimonies, what I find is more ex-Calvinists giving their related testimonies than Calvinists. That surprised me.

    I personally have known a few who have gone into a sort of remission – still ascribing to Calvinism, but without the smug superiority. But almost none who have been completely cured.

    A very slight case may actually be a good thing, dunno.

  71. covered says:

    Does anyone know of a response from Bryson in regards to Sutton’s article?

  72. Kinda like the flu shot.

  73. Alex says:

    I think the church stuff is too corrupt and a real downer, I think I’ll advocate for less ugly and less controversial things like politics 🙂

  74. Bob,

    “How would a Lutheran define total depravity?”

    As being SOL.

    Lutherans are zero point Calvinists as Lutheran theology was developed before Calvinism came on the scene. Calvinism is it’s own theological thought pattern.

    Now, as a zero point Calvinist, being force to use Reformed terminology, we would agree with (T) total depravity and the first half of the (U) unconditional election – at that point we are out.

  75. mrtundraman says:

    1 John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for [the sins of] the whole world.

  76. Covered
    It’s not George’s way to respond to criticism. If he does, he will probably do privately it in an email to the pastors on his mailing list. It may interest you to know that the pastors in the NW were sent a link to Ken’s response by the guy overseeing this region. Apparently he wanted us to read it

  77. Reuben says:

    But it is George’s way to dish criticism out.


  78. covered says:

    Thank you for your response Steve.

  79. mrtundraman says:

    Here’s Taylor’s book. Maybe the first CC writing against Calvinism.

  80. Reuben says:

    Tundra, I had read that once, a long time ago. I was miles across the “other side” of that debate at the time, and found his wishy washy descriptions on Calvinism to be satanic. Of course, I had read “What Love Is This” by Dave Hunt prior. I much preferred his writings on the subject. Hunt’s book used to make the rounds in my CC circles. Bryson threw a few more logs in the fire.

    Maybe Bryson needs to write a book on Arminianism, and how vile that is? He can’t because CC superstars have never been but full blown Pelagianism in deed, and only slightly veiled in teaching.

    I was “with” CC when I was “studying” for teaching John 17:9. I had an iPod full of CC pastors who had taught on the passage. I listened to quite a few. I never heard a single straight answer to what was being said there. I saw a dance, contorting the context, fitting the verse into something else, or walking right past it.

    I know you disagree with my position completely, and I am not telling this story to incite a fight, but to point out the fact that CC is selective in this matter. They always have been. The very roots of CC are planted in “turn or burn” Pelagian theology. They can’t address the flip side of Calvinism, because they are the flip side of Calvinism.

  81. victorious says:

    #81 Wow. Reuben.I guess Calvary Chapels cannot be comprised of individuals created in the image of God and being conformed to the image of Christ; who, as they are learning and growing; are resisting the conformity to social pressures in doctrine, lifestyle and ministerial methodology.
    I guess I can take my testimony out to the trash because your testimony defines us all.

    At least Michael Horton only refers to my kind as Semi-Pelagian with a semi-disdain.
    Maybe the Calvinist Crusaders will get to me before the Islamic Invasion. 🙂

  82. vic,
    I think the concern is the pastors and other teaching leaders.

    I don’t understand why outsiders have a problem with a church insisting that the pastor preach and teach the company line.

  83. Reuben says:

    Missed the point, Vic. I am not attempting to convert or fix anyone. The point is that CC claims a middle of the road position, but fails to attack the flip side with the same fervor, because they are the flip side. CC is fully conformed to narrow and extreme doctrine. Right or wrong is irrelevant. Taylor’s venture into that debate is cute, but not reality.

  84. victorious says:

    Reuben. Learn Christ,engage individuals and stop fighting the crowd dynamics.
    Try reading what is revealed in your statements that goes beyond engaging a point.

  85. Reuben,
    I do agree with you. CC does a terrible job of pretending to be neither Calvinists nor Arminians. They just want to take away the controversy.

    But they are 100% the poster child for Arminian, semi Pelagianians

  86. Reuben says:

    “Try reading what is revealed in your statements that goes beyond engaging a point.”


    “Reuben. Learn Christ”

    Oh, ok.

    Roll eyes.

  87. “Learn Christ”????????? O_o

    What does THAT mean, other than it being christianese for “shut up”?

  88. MLD
    Couldn’t agree more. I am glad to wear the brand but as a CC pastor, I dont think we have ever been given a position paper or been told how to think these issues. But I could be mistaken. Any thinking person knows how complex the matter is. It was a difficulty in the first years of the church and still is

  89. victorious says:

    “Learn Christ”is modified by the words that followed it. “Engage the individual” . But you can extract it out of context and shoot at it if you so choose.

  90. Exactly how does stifling Reuben and exhorting him to “learn Christ” allow him to interact in freedom, explore his observations and discuss the with others?

    “Learn Christ”

    Learning Christ is about working through the many misconceptions that others demand you adopt.

    What else was Paul speaking of when he told his reader to do so?
    He was encouraging the active reexamination of where the reader was at that point of the spiritual journey, and I would say that Reuben is spot on in his analysis of not only the crowd but the individual luminaries of The Calvary Movement.

    Larry Taylor’s fawning pamphlets were fodder for a generation of us who would trek up to Twin Peaks Conference Center. We really believed these missives were about balance, and how God had raised up CC to be that voice of reason.

    Fast forward to this blog where we start talking about common themes of suppressed thought and how you were looked down upon if you read or asked questions about classic Christian theologies outside of CC and you arrive here, today, with us asking legitimate questions.

    Please don’t deride Reuben in his freedom to work through this

  91. “engage individuals” is not always required here. Last time I looked, Michael never posted house rules for this free-for-all, so speak your preferences but get ready for someone across the table to rightly question why you are shutting a guy down with a “learn Christ” curveball.

    Sometimes letting fly an observation or releasing a rant, or just authoring analysis and posting it, not always for discussion, but to get to out of one’s head is a super valuable part of the process.

    Many of us have dared not speak out loud, so to get it out of our head, let it be public, that is a valuable part of working through this stuff.

    I applaud Reuben for his candor

  92. I always tell Emergents to “Learn ABOUT Christ” but they refuse and rebut me. 😉

  93. victorious says:

    My belief is that it would be more profitable for himself and others if Reuben would use some restraint in working through this. He is far from the only one who has or is doing this.

    Hopefully the name and personal presence of Christ that name represents ( when followed with desriptives); is a welcome name of re-direction and exploration to our endeavors.
    That’s all folks. 🙂

  94. MLD,
    Be helpful, go mow the lawn

  95. Yep, Vic, that approach is exactly what the Calvary Culture demanded of us, that we suppress instead of confess, which is why we are here, being free for the first time in our lives.

    Jesus took a different approach, encouraged the dialog, didn’t shut people up, his followers, not so much.

    How about you ask Reuben how you made him feel, if you squashed his spirit?

  96. Reuben,
    The personal presence of Christ is not chased away by your baring your soul.
    The personal presence of Christ is not offended by you asking tough questions, making observations, venturing guesses and opinions.
    The personal presence of Christ abides with you, and me, and even those who would silence you.

    Be free, Reuben.

    Praying for and standing with you.

    …the day is unfolding and it’s glorious.

  97. Alex says:

    Steve H said, “I am glad to wear the brand”

    Setting polemics aside and responding to this in as diplomatic a manner as I can muster for your consideration:

    Comments like these are “triggers” for those who have spilled their guts on here and elsewhere and whose stories you are very familiar with (I assume, from your participation).

    The impression given is that you reject the bad stuff in CC and still think the Brand is good, despite the 3 million hits on my blog and despite all the bad things people have shared with you and despite all the folks you have gotten to know on here who have been deeply hurt by the Brand.

    Are you really “glad to wear the Brand” despite all the stuff you are aware of, from Heitzig to CSN to Grenier to present and how all that stuff has been handled?

  98. Alex says:

    G said, “…the day is unfolding and it’s glorious.”

    Amen brother! Carpe Diem! Life is so brief, there is so much to enjoy! As tough as the battles can be, the “glory” of life and this existence is greater! Praise God for the good and the wonder.

  99. G,
    I was just testing you open mindedness as I bared my soul. 🙂

  100. Ixtlan says:

    “But they are 100% the poster child for Arminian, semi Pelagianians”

    No, they are not. Learn Pelagius.

  101. mrtundraman says:

    “Maybe Bryson needs to write a book on Arminianism, and how vile that is? He can’t because CC superstars have never been but full blown Pelagianism in deed, and only slightly veiled in teaching.”

    Not sure I understand this line of argumentation. Pelagius was an ascetic, as far from a Calvary Chapel pastor as a person can get.

    Even Augustine referred to Pelagius as a “saintly man.” Again, no comparison…

  102. ( |o )====::: says:

    Weed the planters

  103. Ixtlan,
    I was speaking of his son Semi.

  104. David says:

    “I dont think we have ever been given a position paper or been told how to think these issues.”
    I’ll respectably disagree, at least at the CCBC level. We were given the position paper (Larry’s booklet) and were told what to think. When I was there (92-94), anyone who disagreed found themselves not at CCBC anymore. It was made pretty clear what positions were the safe ones to take, and the only acceptable arguments were those against reformed theology. I learned fairly early to keep my reformed leanings to myself, but my friends that did not were asked to leave.

  105. Reuben says:

    MLD, that was funny!


    ascetic = characterized by or suggesting the practice of severe self-discipline and abstention from all forms of indulgence, typically for religious reasons…

    I had to look that up. But I still stand behind it. Ed Taylor over here in CO is perpetually hammering alcohol, (because he was an alcoholic) and has made people get up in front of congregations and confess to drinking wine. Now we know that many CC pastors are far from practicing what they preach, but spend enough years in the pews, and rock music, smoking cigarettes, or watching TV will in fact send you straight to the flaming pit. They veil it with talks of grace, but practice no grace.

    Pray more, study more, stay away from psychologists, don’t listen to that guy, pray more, get in the Word more than the refrigerator, pray more, study more, do it till problems magically go away, because outside these walls are zombies, and their sin will rub off on you…

    But I see your point.

  106. Reuben says:

    David, I am really sorry you and your friends had to endure that.

  107. MrTundraMan says:

    “Couldn’t agree more. I am glad to wear the brand but as a CC pastor, I don’t think we have ever been given a position paper or been told how to think these issues. But I could be mistaken”

    And you are mistaken on this subject. Chuck Smith actually has written a position paper on the subject “Calvinism. Arminianism and the Word of God: A Calvary Chapel Perspective” by Chuck Smith.

    And as to whether or not that position paper tells you how to think it only does that if you want to stay a CC pastor. Smith has already said Calvinists need to go.

  108. Reuben says:

    I distinctly remember talking with a pastor from somewhere in Colorado over coffee one morning at a CC leaders conference. He was telling me how his church was really struggling over the whole “Harry Potter Issue”. I made the mistake of asking what the struggle was. He told me that he actually posted a sign on the doors of his church that said that if parents were letting their kids read these books, they were no longer welcome. He then told me that he had done the same with folks who had gotten into the whole purpose driven thing. The guy was genuinely shocked that I had asked such a silly question.

    Disclaimer here, before I start getting angry e-mails. I also attended a CC conference a year before that had Purpose Driven everything in the bookstore. So I am aware that not all CCs are the same. But it is probably a good portion of the reason why that particular church was not used the next year for the next conference…

  109. covered says:

    When I was an assistant pastor here at our local CC, the Sr. Pastor told the church that if they or their children were watching anything related to Twilight, that they needed to step down from their ministry.

    The same pastor reminded the church that they need to be grateful that he doesn’t exercise his right to go into their homes and see what was in their refrigerators or what dvd’s they were watching.

    Finally, while teaching from Song of Solomon every time he came across the word “breast(s)” he would place his hands over his chest to simulate what the Bible was talking about as if we couldn’t comprehend what the Word was saying. I will never forget in SoS 8:8 where it says, “And she has no breasts”, that he went on and on about how flat chested she must have been.

    You can’t make this stuff up! 🙂

  110. ( |o )====::: says:

    “Feed my sheep… feed the hungry… shun families that let their kids read fantasy fiction!”
    …said Jesus never

  111. CrucifiED says:

    What has Reuben said that isn’t true? I went through the CC experience from 1992-2010. My whole life was centered around that ministry the entire time. I know CC VERY well!

    To anyone who wants to argue Reuben is wrong or wrong for saying it, I second every word he said and can back up everything he says with great detail and clarity.

    Reuben’s words are dead on correct and true and my experience was not just an unfortunate one I had with my local church. It is the way it is.

    I began CC thinking, how great these men say what they mean and mean what they say. In the end I had to leave because I couldn’t make sense of what they meant about anything they said.

  112. Lutheran says:


    Cool that you’re studying Lutheranism.

    You’re right — Calvinists and Lutherans have a chunk of theological common ground.

    Anglicanism is a good example. The early Anglicans were heavily influenced by Luther and their sacramental theology is a reflection of that. They also have what I would call a moderate Calvinism woven in most everything they do.

    I suspect Lutherans and Calvinists hold more in common than do either group with low-church Bapticostals.

  113. John 17:9 is a prayer specifically for Jesus’ disciples. He broadens the prayer at vs. 20.

    That is an argument for Calvinism?

  114. CrucifiED says:

    Thanks for sharing that Lutheran. I love reading and learning about the history of these denominations and what their doctrinal foundations are.

    I think I’ve told you this before but you and MLD were a big factor in sparking my curiosity of Lutheran theology and beginning my journey into Lutheranism. Thank you for that.

    And thank you Michael for providing a forum where we can discuss these topics and learn new things from each other.

  115. Michael says:


    You’re more than welcome…

  116. DJ says:

    Though I have read PhxP several times over the years I have never commented. I always find the dialogue very interesting and stimulating. Having received and read all of the Bryson emails I was especially disappointed with Sutton’s response on his blog. I assume most of those commenting here have read the blog in question. If not some of my response below will make no sense. I am a CC pastor (hey, I hear those boos and hisses!) and I do have an opinion on Bryson’s emails. However, my response here is to Sutton’s blog. With Bryson, his articles/emails were sent to a specific group of people. They were not “public”. That the first “insider” blog to “break the public code of silence” was done so poorly is what bugs me. That the PhxP referred to the article as “gently rebuking George” is further evidence of a lack of discernment. I despise “christianeese.” Though I am at times just as guilty of using it, I do strive to have it removed from my vocabulary. I’m not sure if 1500 word responses are acceptable here, if not I apologize. Otherwise thanks for the opportunity.

    Why Ken Sutton Doesn’t Speak For Me

    I have decided to respond to the blog article by Ken Sutton that was recently forwarded to me via Calvary Fellowship of Seattle, titled “Why George Bryson doesn’t speak for me.” Though this type of writing is not my forte, I am compelled to respond just the same. I don’t doubt that some may consider my approach to be rude, harsh, full of “tone” or just plain stupid and uninformed. To that I say, “If the shoe fits wear it,” if not press delete! For what it’s worth, I have no intention of being offensive to anyone. I have attempted to eliminate any “tone” though one cannot anticipate exactly how others will perceive written words including sarcasm, attempts at humor, etc. As far as “tone” goes, in my opinion, any pastor or business person who has utilized email for more than a few years and is still talking about or drawing conclusions on the perceived tone of an email or a written word should get into a different line of work.

    I get a little suspicious when people attempt a rebuttal or argument by including sentimental support for the person they are challenging/criticizing. Especially when appealing to one’s love for someone and their family or establishing a supposed favorable historical past association with them has absolutely nothing to do with the facts. It has been said that, “the worst thing about people is not the insults they hand out, but the compliments.” Well maybe it’s not the worst thing about people but the statement, unfortunately, can too often represent reality. The statement is similar to “damning with faint praise.” At its best such an appeal is unnecessary and at its worst it can appear to be manipulative. One thing is certain, simply stating one’s love for or history with a person is hardly evidence of operating “in a spirit of love.” Contrary to the dictates of the proponents of “political correctness”, discussing, debating or even arguing over issues need not be so white-washed that people fail to say what they mean and mean what they say. Never mind all the sappy talk of loving one another. Just love one another!

    That George Bryson has refrained from citing names, in his recent emails, should be considered respectable. I see it as a courtesy allowing those he supposedly has issues with to choose publically, or not, to present their positions. It seems to me that most of what George has “quoted” has been from writings or events that are rather public and can be confirmed or denied. In which case inquiring minds can likely determine the origin of the quote, excepting of course personal conversations or email correspondence. George has named a few names that he seems to be confident are in support of his position, and therefore supportive of Pastor Chuck’s desire for Calvary Chapel and Calvary Chapel pastors to “Stay the Course.” In my opinion this is an acceptable approach to this type of debate. As for quotes taken out of context, keep in mind there is an immediate context and there is the on-going larger context. We may read or hear something which we are not one hundred percent sure of the intention or meaning of the writer or speaker. In such a case we don’t draw conclusions. However, we may also have access to some of the on-going, larger context of the actions, statements or teaching of the person, which can help us gain further clarification. So the complaint, in this case, of the unnamed-out-of-context-quotes is a nonsensical position when we are dealing with, I hope, mature Spirit filled servants of the Lord, i.e., Calvary Chapel pastors.

    The way I see it, the five points of Suttonism are grave misrepresentations of what George has advocated via his emails. I see no reason to go over each point but will summarize my understanding of George Bryson’s alarm-sounding-emails. This may not be how others see it, but it is my take. The issue is NOT one’s quoting of Piper, Driscoll, or Spurgeon, et al. The issue is NOT debating degrees of Calvinism. NOR is the issue one of demanding blind loyalty or allegiance to a man or organization. The summary question presented to us is (paraphrased); “In the event there could be or are pastors, inside or outside of Calvary Chapel, calling for “building bridges” to groups or individuals that represent the antithesis of what Calvary Chapel stands for (i.e. The Calvary Distinctives), in a way that would include partnering in church planting, pastoring or teaching in a Calvary Chapel or Calvary Chapel ministry, should we “Change the Course” that we have historically taken and allow for change, or should we “Stay the Course” and make no allowances for such change?” By the way, even if it could be proven there are no Calvary Chapel pastors with such designs or desires for changing course, this is a great and necessary debate. Call it an alignment job! Every person or organization needs one every now and then.

    Unfortunately the five points of Suttonism are clearly a straw man argument filled with red herrings (mixing metaphors I know). Even the quoting of Scriptures like 1 Corinthians 1:10 can be a smoke screen. George has been fairly respectful of people in his emails while challenging positions or practices he disagrees with. There is no hint of un-lovingness in the “tone” or words of his emails and to accuse him of such is a cheap shot and unwarranted. By the way, according to the standard established in the five points of Suttonism, Ken would be guilty of violating 1 Corinthians 1:10 by referring to positions or practices of our brothers and sisters in various other churches with such derogatory words as “Charismania,” “Toronto madness,” and “health and prosperity heresies.” Beware of the “one rule for you, one rule for me” mindset.

    Of course, there is the possibility that Ken is not fully apprised of all that George has written. After all, he had asked to be taken off the mailing list because he didn’t agree with HOW he (George) wrote the letters. I bet that just sent poor Georgie into a tizzy. However, because others have forwarded the emails to Ken and he just can’t escape them, the chances are he may be reading some or all of them. Just the same, I will give Ken the benefit of the doubt here and assume that he has not read all of George’s emails and therefore simply is not qualified to comment or know just HOW George has written them or the intended TONE of George when writing them.

    Ken Sutton is a pastor on staff at Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa under the leadership of Pastor Chuck Smith. I would expect that Ken has more potential access to Pastor Chuck than most of us. He would do well to follow George’s example in asking Pastor Chuck to read and approve or disapprove of his blog article before launching it. Not that such an action would typically be expected, but because of the nature of George’s communications, Ken’s criticism of said communications and the connection to Pastor Chuck. Ken is perfectly free to declare that George Bryson does not speak for him. Frankly and technically George doesn’t speak for me either, though he has provided me with some very interesting information. Yet one thing is for sure, George Bryson, in the emails in discussion here, does speak for Pastor Chuck Smith. Perhaps Ken has his reasons for attacking George on a sentimental, emotional, and illogical level, twisting the facts and avoiding the actual issue. Though what those reasons could be are unknown to me, what I do see in Sutton’s blog are smoke and mirrors, straw man arguments and cheap shots. There are times when we can observe the old Chinese proverb in action, “Those who say they know, don’t!”

  117. Michael says:

    Here’s your problem. Smith approved Suttons article too. That’s what people are missing in this matter.

  118. DJ says:

    Thanks for the response. I admit I should of edited that part out before I posted. I had actually heard that, through the grapevine, but didn’t see it on Sutton’s blog. However, Michael, is that the only problem with my response? I admit I too can be a perfect example of “those who say they know, don’t!” Chuck Smith’s endorsement or not was the least of the points in my comments.

  119. Michael says:

    I’ll respond when I get off work.

  120. Jon says:

    I think the Calvary Chapel movement is a cult. Its laypeople are gullible and its pastors tyrants. Its fundamentalist, too, which doesn’t help. This movement has witnessed more complaints and allegations than any other Christian organization or church, yet it remains the same. Its problems will not be solved, of course, until it reorganizes its power-structure. The New Testament never suggested one-person rule. It is neither practical nor godly. We find in Acts and the Epistles a plurality of elders. There must be a reason for that. We should pay attention to that. Unfortunately for the CC movement, its leadership will have to give up its power to solve its problems. I’m not sure that’s’ going to happen.

  121. Greg Stultz says:

    Chuck is a Calvinist now;)

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