Calvinist When They Want To Be
It has become part of the dogma of Calvary Chapel and other independent groups.
When one of their pastors (or someone in authority that they approve of) is caught in some offense, bloggers are chastised for writing about it and congregants are told not to talk about it, but to “give it to God”.
“Pray about it.”
“Let God handle it.”
This teaching has been effective…when we expose these pastors we are often told by their adoring congregants that we should shut up and simply pray for the guy diddling his secretary or taking money under fraudulent pretenses.
I’ve never known exactly how to pray for a guy who’s committing adultery and fornication so petitions for impotence and sexually transmitted diseases were the best I could do.
What I want to point out today is exactly what these boys are telling us to do.
They are telling us to ask God to act without the aid of any human agency.
Calvinists believe that God is able to act sovereignly according to His will without engaging the “free will” of men…though Calvinists also believe that He most usually acts through means and that the primary means He uses is human agency.
Oddly enough, these groups also often despise Calvinists and Calvinism.
Evidently, God can’t save whom He will, but He will mysteriously deal with erring pastors and leaders.
I often wonder what God is to do with these prayers…what exactly are we supposed to ask Him to do that doesn’t involve the participation of people?
Ananias and Sapphira redux?
Let me call this what it is.
It is simply a way to shut up critics and silence victims with faux piety and crappy theology.
It is a way to avoid any accountability on earth while claiming to be accountable to God.
It’s a lie.
They may wish they had received their discipline here when they find out God really did hold them accountable…
Isn’t the very act of asking God or petitioning God a type of human agency?
In a fashion, yes.
However, God most often answers prayers through the actions of other people or in conjunction with them.
I had to go to the doctor yesterday.
I could have stayed home and prayed for healing.
I prayed…but I also went to the doctor.
I need a job.
I could sit here and ask God to bring me one sovereignly…or I can fill out applications and do what I can do while asking God to lead me where I can be employed.
God is sovereign.
Man is responsible.
God has already given responsibility for discipline in the church to the church.
We are to prayerfully act, not pray without action.
I still think you misrepresent the degree to which a Calvary Chapel pastor remains a Calvary Chapel pastor after guilty of adultery. Most examples…MOST examples have that pastor booted out of CC and setting up shop down the street in an unaffiliated independent setting never to return to CC. To state that CC dogma accepts adulterous pastors staying in power without consequence is not accurate – and if any other CC pastors bothered to post around here anymore, I am sure that would get a few amens instead of what I expect will be the response.
Yes, often the adulterers followers..follow. To some new (non-CC) place down the street. But I assure you the CC that boots said pastor is not supportive of losing those people either…in fact the wreckage done is far more than if that church would look the other way and keep the guy in the pulpit.
I have often asked for examples of the CC pastors who stay in their churches, as pastor, after adultery, without missing a beat. Because there is a long list of names we could cite who do not.
Speaking of updates and the duty to inform the Body of Christ to the same degree one has informed the Body in the past….isn’t there an update due around here?
Chuck bragged about putting fallen pastors back into the ministry without anyone knowing.
Is that as prevalent as it once was?
However, there is still a place in CC for Danny Bond, Don Stewart and others who I won’t name.
What am I supposed to update?
I totally agree. One example I have heard preached at CC many times is that God prescribes loneliness for many people so they can get closer to God. While this maybe true sometimes, loneliness is almost always interpreted as a hunger for God in their minds and they discount God’s use of human agency. I think this is dangerous teaching because it down plays what God has done to meet the human need of loneliness and instead CC and other cult like groups can prey on the vulnerable or lonely individual.
I get it everyday on the Mike Kestler and GFA stories.
It’s none of my business, give it to God.
God all ready is at work…still have to do what we’ve already been instructed to do.
The offenses go beyond just sexual sins.
That’s why I wrote “caught in an offense”.
When I called out Heitzig, Kyle, and Erwin for not informing the church about what they saw that made them leave GFA I got ripped repeatedly and told to leave it with God.
I was mocked for bringing it up at all.
michael, perhaps what Steve is speaking about is the update due re: Tim Taylor and Paul Grenier recanting their stories and the apology that should also be coming from PP. You have really been proclaiming the responsibility to admit when you are wrong, repent, and the result will be finding grace–abundant grace–in the body of Christ. Why have you not followed your own advice?
As I read your post I muse to myself that you are thereby an Arminian when you want to be. You are calling on human agency to effect divine outcomes. In other words I am not sure on this particular point that there is a distinction that constitutes a difference.
I unabashedly believe in human agency in concert with the divine work to accomplish God’s work in the world. I think you do as well.
Of course I also argue that to be a theist is to believe in sovereignty. One cannot be God and yet unable to rule or reign. By definition that would be a god not God.
not speaking for steve,
I’m not sure but I believe we did run a story Pauls…Taylor left his comment on a back page.
The question then becomes why men who have sworn statements are now recanting those statements.
Is it because they lied in the beginning or because of other reasons like the stress and expenses of being sued?
I can’t answer that question and at this point I am waiting for the trial where all these things will be answered under oath.
Until we hear the trial testimony, I’m not convinced that there is much to say at this point.
I did run Paul’s recantation…
If it soothes your souls I can run Taylors…but it raises more questions than it answers.
those recantations mentioned sound like the wording of a lawyer … which makes their purpose pretty clear doesn’t it?
FWIW – agreeing with #11
It is indeed an…
is it not?
funny, when potentially chastising moments come, those same pastors/leaders shape the narrative to be ‘suffering for Christ,’ personal attack, persecution of the church, a cross to bear, a trial to endure, etc. They shape the dialogue coming and going and there is never accountability, only greater ‘spirituality.’
What really saddens me is to know men of God like John Doe (Not his real name) who bought into this kind of hypocrisy.
When i first met him in 1972 he was a very spiritual Christian.
Since we were room mates for a season or two i got to know this man of God quite well.
What really impressed me about him was his grasp of spiritual power in Christ.
One Sunday night, coming back from Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, we came into Woodland Drive in Laguna Beach where we both lived at the time.
There was an oppressive atmosphere of chaos in the canyon that warm summer evening.
It literally pushed down on us and seemed very evil.
Back then woodland drive had no street lights and it was pitch black out.
Dogs were barking and cats were snarling all over the canyon.
John says to me, “Watch this,” he then proceeds to say out loud, “Be silent in the name of Jesus!”
Just as suddenly, every dog and cat went silent, and it remained as such for the rest of the evening.
The heaviness lifted and all seemed normal.
Needless to say i was shocked and impressed.
Another time we were on our way to church when his orange Volkswagen bug just would not start. It seemed to me that his battery was dead.
John gets out and says to me, “lay hands on the hood of the car.”
So we do it,we speak out in tongues and he says, “Start up in the name of Jesus!”
We get back in, at his direction, and he turns the key and the darn bug fires right up first turn of the key and off we go to church.
Once John officially got in the ministry at Calvary I noticed that his deep spirituality took a Hugh hit, or at least it seemed as such.
He started to “tow the company line” and no longer seemed to walk in the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit that he previously had.
I saw this happen to a number of individuals who bought into Chuck Smith’s world view and brand name.
It saddened me at first and then it eventually made me bitter to observe it time and time again as men of God sold out for a man’s world view over and above the moving of God’s Holy Spirit.
These men became loyal to a mere mortal man and his world view instead of the Holy Spirit.
They “rode for the brand” instead of for the Body of Christ.”
They sold out to “Brand name Christianity” and lost the anointing that they had in Christ in my opinion.
Sure they got power and position in the denomination, but they lost out to the true power of God that they were originally destined for.
They sold out for a man’s paradigm over the walk in the Spirit.
Today we see the true fruits of this whole denomination as the inner circle of family members try to take each other to court over who gets what of Calvary Chapel and it’s vast holdings.
It is my hope and desire that those who were captured by this denomination discover a true walk with God where truth and reality reign over and above being loyal to “the Brand.”
Those of us who knew what was going on early on were always invited to, “Perhaps you should go and start your own church if your not happy about how things are here.”
I have the privilege and honor of hearing those very words from Chuck’s son Jeff to me.
I left and never looked back, not once!
I shook the dust off my feet and moved forward.
There is only one Body of Christ!
Not only one accepted denomination that if your don’t like it your out/?
Knowing full well that there is only one Body of Christ, i now feel very comfortable no matter what theological or apologetically viewpointed Christians may be.
I am very pleased to say that John Doe made his way out of that Calvary Chapel Matrix and is now ministering to his own church gathering of Christians.
I can not say if he has returned to the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit that I witnessed way back when we were so young.
But I can say he knows the Word of God intimately and that when he leads worship the Spirit of God moves in powerful ways over the people present.
It has always been like that and I know of a certainty that it will always be as such.
I have always had visions when present during worship at John’s Church gatherings.
One time I saw all of us worshipers in a shallow impression and water was slowly flowing like gentle water falls in a circle around us and we were being bathed in living waters from the throne of God.
It was very real to me at the time.
I have had so many visions during worship when John is leading it.
He is indeed a man called to lead Christians in worship of God Almighty.
That is his main job as far as I can tell.
Anything else takes a back seat to that.
All of us have been called and equipped to do our jobs in Christ.
Satan will try anything to detract and to distract us from fulfilling our calling in Christ.
Some of us get a taste of this worlds riches and will compromise to get as much as we can in any way that we can no matter how bad we look to others.
But you know what, none of us can ever take it with us, no Uhaul trailers observed in grave yards.
Michael has done his best to exert change, but sometimes it is a futile effort.
“If you don’t like how we do things here, perhaps you should go and start your own…”
At least there are a few honest voices crying in the wilderness.
Whether anyone will take heed is anyone’s guess.
All we can really do is intercede.
Here is some great words assembled by Diane S. Dew at http://www.dianedew.com/interces.html (She requires credit for it.)
I. Great responsibility is involved in the ministry of intercession.
A. Because the Lord God did not find anyone to “stand in the gap,” to intercede for the land, He was requited to pour out the judgment due its disobedience.
B. He would not have destroyed Sodom, because of Abraham’s persistence, had He been able to find ten righteous men in the city.
C. Moses’ intercession for the people of God, in pleading with the Lord for mercy, held back the hand of God from consuming the nation in His wrath.
Exodus 32:7-14; Deuteronomy 9:8-9, 12-20, 23-27, etc.; Psalms 106:23
D. Because “prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God,” Peter’s “chains fell off from his hands,” “the iron gate … opened to them of its own accord,” and he was led out of the prison by an angel of God!
Acts 12:5-12, etc.
E. God told Jeremiah to search the city and see if he could find even one righteous man; that then He would spare the entire city (chapter 5:1). But Jeremiah knew that their hearts were all hardened against the Lord; that they were reprobate, beyond the place of repentance (ch. 5:3). God told him therefore to not even intercede for them (ch. 7:16; 11:14; 14:11).
II. God Himself seeks faithful intercessors.
Psalms 14:2 (2 Chronicles 16 :9) “The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children
of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God.”
Ezekiel 22 :30 “And l sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge,
and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.”
A. The ministry of intercession is of divine appointment.
Isaiah 62:6 “I have set . . .”
B. But it is the responsibility of each individual to take the initiative to “stir himself up
to take hold of” God.
C. Scripture says that God was amazed “and wondered that there was no intercessor.”
III. The Bible expresses in a descriptive way the very nature of this ministry and the great heaviness of spirit and burden of prayer experienced by those in intercession.
A. “Mine eye runneth down with rivers of water for the destruction of the daughter of my people. Mine eye trickleth down, and ceaseth not, without any intermission, till the Lord look down, and behold from heaven.”
B. Job cried, “Oh, that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbor!”
C. When God speaks of His intercessors (“watchmen”) and their persistence in prayer,
He says that they “never hold their peace day nor night” and “give Him no rest.”
Isaiah 62:6-7; Lamentations 2:18-19
D. “Their heart cried unto the Lord, O wall of the daughter of Zion, let tears run down
like a river day and night: give thyself no rest; let not the apple of thine eye cease.
Arise, cry out in the night: in the beginning of the watches pour out thine heart like
water before the face of the Lord …”
E. “Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar,
and let them say, Spare Thy people, O Lord, and give not Thine heritage to reproach…”
F. Moses told the children of Israel that in his intercession for them “I stood between
the Lord and you.”
Deuteronomy 5:5; Psalms 106:23
G. Jesus “began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; and saith unto them
(his disciples), My soul is exceeding sorrowful … And He went forward a little, and
fell on the ground, and prayed . . .”
IV. Certain people should be the focus of intercessory prayer on a regular basis.
A. Leaders and government authorities.
I Timothy 2 :1-2
B. The people of God.
Joel 2:12-13, 17; Romans 1:9; Ephesians 6:18
C. Those in spiritual leadership.
2 Corinthians 1:11; I Thessalonians 5:25; Hebrews 13:17-18a
1. That they may have boldness to speak the truth.
2. For their divine protection, spiritual strength, and victory over the enemy.
Luke 22:31-32 ; John 17:15; Acts 12:5; 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2
3. That they will have an open door of ministry.
Romans 15:30-32; Colossians 4:3; 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2
D. The community in which we live, or any city or nation.
Psalms 112:6; Jeremiah 29:7; Daniel 9:3, 16-19
V. True intercession involves more than prayer in general. The intercessor bears a sense
of burden and responsibility.
A. Great cries and tears in travail of prayer are known to those who have felt the
urgency of a burden revealed to them by God.
Ezra 10:1; Nehemiah 1:4; Isaiah 22:4 Jeremiah 13:17; 23:9
Lamentations 2:18-19; 3:48-51; Joel 2:12-13, 17; Hebrews 5:7
B. It often involves fasting.
Deuteronomy 9:8-9, 12-20, 12-27; Ezra 10:6; Daniel 9:3-4
Joel 2:12-14, 17-18; Jonah 3:5-10
VI. Characteristics of a successful intercessor.
A. Persistence and determination.
Lamentations 2:18-19 “keep not silence, and give Him no rest…day and night …”
Isaiah 62:6-7; Lamentations 2:18-19
D. Severe self-discipline and selflessness (due to personal identification with the need).
Mark 14:33-35; Lamentations 3:48-50
My mind seems to regularly reflect on that interview that you have posted a few times here that I think was recorded at Christal Cathedral. I seem to recall one example of an afterglow that was given to a young to teach rather than lead in the exercising of the gifts. Everyone wanted to sing in the Spirit (according to one of the men on the clip), and the young preacher rebuked them.
One of the things that struck me was a strong sense of the priesthood of the believer that seems to want to override the direction that a leader was heading. It is as if everyone is hearing from the Spirit, but they are hearing different messages. Such is the trouble with Christianity in general and the charismatic movement in particular, ” nobody’s right, if every body’s wrong”. The impasse quickly establishes itself and there is rarely any recourse other than to walk.
Indeed, adultery is not the only sinful activity CC pastors engage in.
Wright on, Steve.
(And I’m sorry.)(for the bad pun)
I think Mark Driscoll was the first pastor that was ousted by just being a “jerk”. I would say this type of sin is probably more in vogue with CC pastors than the adultery type but I’m sure that exists as well. Not sure how pride got turned from being sinful to being some kind of spiritual gift. It is astonishing to me to see these one man shows run from the pulpit.