The Current State of Calvary Chapel: Part 1

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119 Responses

  1. Rich says:

    The seeds of obsolescence were planted early on. Principally in the Moses leadership model.

  2. Michael says:

    The Moses Model is nothing more than the senior pastor system under a different monicker… which was around long before CC.

  3. Duane Arnold says:


    I had a telephone conversation last week with an old friend who has been in the Christian music industry for close to 40 years and we were talking about what has happened, not to music, but to the whole revival we were both a part of in the day. He made the comment that, “We’re to blame for what has happened”. When I asked him to explain, he said that we were far to willing (indeed, eager) to enter the mainstream, along with the opportunities, money, positions, etc.., that the mainstream offered. When we did, we forgot about where we came from and what that revival was really all about. Now, today, we’re paying the price. We can go from church to church and hear the same abysmal U2 tribute praise bands, see the professional show, hear people trying to sound like Chuck, but the heart of it is gone. It has become a genre, that’s now shows itself in a pale, vapid imitation across the independent and mainstream church world. It may be the normal cycle of such things, but all of us who were there bear some responsibility for what has happened… I think my friend was correct, at least in part.

  4. Michael says:


    Well said on all counts…I think your friend nailed it.

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

    “U2 tribute praise bands”

    …it’s because we still haven’t found what we’re looking for

  6. Babylon's Dread says:

    Over and over lately I am struck by the tendency of a group to ‘despise their birthright.’ I think this is the story of Calvary Chapel and more or less true of its subsidiary spinoff, the Vineyard. Participation here clarifies for me that the driver is often, perhaps always, economic. Ultimately as Charles Fromm made clear in his doctoral thesis, economic considerations determine outcomes. Fromm analyzed Calvary Chapel through the grid of the routinization of charisma.

    A movement like Calvary Chapel creates an economy via the process of turning momentum into market share. Exploitation of that market share fuels that economy. Anything that threatens that market share becomes the enemy to be snuffed out. Ironically the charisms that built the market often turn into the problem. Perpetuation of those charisms as they existed in the primary state often predetermines a lesser market.

    Calvary Chapel can be explained quite easily in these terms. Its current state is essentially that of a diminishing market share for all kinds of reasons. Vineyard advanced through this process much more rapidly and much more dramatically. The charisms that founded Calvary Chapel were expelled essentially when Vineyard was spun off. There are of course all kinds of other factors that mitigate this simplistic explanation.

    However, the same impetus that led to Vineyard being spun off also led to Vineyard undergoing a virtually exact process. Vineyard created a huge buzz, eclipsed CC in the music market, then experienced their own crisis when the charisms that birthed them came to threaten their market share. The Toronto ‘revival’ (I am leaving room for dissent with my grammar) caused an uproar in the Vineyard churches leading Wimber to spin out Toronto the way he perceived himself to be spun out by Calvary.

    Calvary Chapel, continued to build the brand after rejecting the charismatic moment that exploded them onto the scene by shifting the focus to end times prophecy. Unfortunately they also fell into the trap of exclusivism with their emphasis on discernment ministries. The former emphasis has a shelf life that is failing fast the latter emphasis devours your own.

    Underneath it all is the children’s greed for inheritance, that is, securing their financial gains.

    The beneficiary is the historic church which is receiving back her youthful rebels who are now looking for the stability of things that remain when other things are shaken. That is illustrated beautifully by the constituency of this blog.

    Dread Not

  7. Babylon's Dread says:


    I see that before I could submit my comment Duane had more succinctly made the point.

    Laborious Dread

  8. Michael says:


    That was excellent…you and Duane have done us all a service…

  9. Duane Arnold says:


    Your comment is much appreciated and right on target…

  10. Miss ODM says:

    Leaven got into the movement early — Chuck did not fully drain the swamp when he expelled Lonnie and Wimber — he tolerated Fromm and Chuck Jr — thereby quenching the Spirit and then Wagner’s business model for church growth – that Chuck resisted for years — got inside via the family and other Sr. pastors who turned to Fuller to learn how to operate in the flesh. IMHO

  11. John 20:29 says:

    “A move of the Spirit”… I found. that phrase almost insulting to God… Yes, the Holy Spirit “moves” among us… but I associate that phrase of the recent past with the child who hides in the living room to catch Santa coming down the chimney…
    Yes, the Holy Spirit did move some years ago, bringing many here to see and choose. Christ… Perhaps men like Chuch Smith and, yes, Billy Graham were tapped by God as was Jonah and other O.T. heroes…. by God’s grace and mercy when we failed to pass the Faith to the next generation (Lutherans excepted ?)
    But then so many waited, like the child, for another “move of the Spirit”. – not all, by any means, as the PhxP peeps demonstrate… We need pastors and teachers … God seems to raise up evangelists, but leaves the pastoring and teaching duties to the unsung, and often unheard, heroes of the Faith … or so it seems to me… Dunno

  12. Jean says:

    “Yes, the Holy Spirit did move some years ago, bringing many here to see and choose. Christ…”

    “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” – Jesus

  13. Eric says:

    I remember reading about the “routinization of charisma” a decade ago.

    I think it’s common for younger leaders to rebel against status quo and for the older generation to be conservative. A long enough memory allows one to notice someone who has taken their turn in both camps.

    If there was a blanket rule that no one was allowed to get rich from ministry, we might have been spared a lot of trouble.

  14. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Back in my early Ocean Hills days, Chuck From was a member and a board member. He was one of those who sold out the church to Skip.
    And then he left the church because he and Skip did not get along.

  15. Babylon's Dread says:

    Miss ODM has graced us with another viewpoint that I think has at least some validity. There is no doubt that the business model got into CC. Income streams is the essence of business and CC excelled there. I do not think Wagner can be faulted though his voice as a church growth man did not think critically about the matter. However, he strayed far from business model promotion after the 1980s and likely during that time.

    It is easier to pick the bones than to grow the flock and Chuck certainly did that in his day as did Wimber.

    #13 a blanket rule cannot be made in our milieu humble observations can. Money always tends to corrupt us.

    I do not think my own tribe has passed the test of money nor do I think it will. Not sure to what degree I have passed that test myself.

    Miss ODM seems to think that some form of CC early days is the purest form of faith ever seen on the planet, that would be hard to sustain in an argument. I do love the borrowing of the phrase ‘drain the swamp.’ It amuses me

  16. John 20:29 says:

    I assume Jean’s scripture quote at 12 is an elaboration, not a disagreement with my pontifying . …. ?

  17. EricL says:

    I think when you strive to sustain an emotion for a long period of time it will either twist into something unhealthy or it hardens into a mask that covers And if you try to experience again what happened “back then” it becomes more the nostalgic memory of that experience than a truly new one.

    That seems to be the case when it comes to trying to keep that original feeling of the Calvary Chapel of the olden days or when we try to recreate Azusa Street or restore the true revival days of the Great Awakening. We are sinners in a fallen world- our emotions are too fractured and fickle to keep it up year-after-year. But we can commit to Him to be His followers even through times when the emotions are cooled and the “best times” seem to be in our past.

    I trust that there will be more sweet moments up ahead, just not the same ones I experienced a decade ago. He remains the same through it all, but how I relate to Him does evolve and hopefully matures.

    I think the same can happen with a church, a movement, or a denomination. Is it a dying off of the fervor or is it maturing from infatuation into a mature commitment- no matter what we are feeling? Wondering…

  18. Shaun says:

    Who are the disenfranchised in my community – that is the only question I want answered. I regularly ask our fellowship, and don’t get answers. I tell them we should be uncomfortable every Sunday.

  19. pstrmike says:

    @6, 15

    I spent some time at Bethel last year, and my thought was that they are making the same mistakes Calvary Chapel made.

    I was around Calvary from the tent days. I saw a move of the Spirit in different manifestations, including some on a small scale of what I saw at Bethel.

    Looking back, the polemical “us vs them” was inherent in the messages that I heard being taught. We were the new wineskin, the place where the Spirt was moving. We rejected dead (or so we thought) orthodoxy. I remember many of the musicians at a huge outreach in San Bernardino by Harvest Church taking pot shots at a gathering that same night in Ontario that was called “California Jam.” We lost our humility, although I suspect some never had it to begin with.

    “then he left the church because he and Skip did not get along.”

    Not surprised in the least.

  20. Babylon's Dread says:

    @19 — lets talk about that. I am not as close to the Bethel culture as I was a few years ago. Then it was vibrant and alive. I did not hear much of the us vs them ideology. I did see the messes but I always see messes…

    I do think you are correct if you mean the issue of the money

  21. filbertz says:

    In my view, the ‘glass ceiling’ of CC has always been an issue. There is little or no room for ‘advancement’ or progression as experience, education, interests, or opportunities change. There is little networking, coordination, or open lines of communication between churches or staff members of different churches except back channels and ‘poaching.’ One is always ‘welcome’ to leave and start his own work, far enough away, and as God guides, He provides…aka, don’t ask for any cash for transition. I think the money thing comes into play when the starving pastor and wife finally can get paid and the dollars are there…and he is ‘in charge’ of the finances. He paid his dues, now its time to take care of the fam. Just my observations from my corner of the sandbox.

  22. pstrmike says:

    I didn’t hear any negative comments from any of the speakers. It was all from the people that I was able to meet and talk with during the conference I attended. We had a breakout session, and they split us up into groups. They asked us to introduce ourselves, and one guy in his late 40’s told us he wants to be in ministry and has moved to Redding to be a part of the BSSM. He told us that he didn’t need to go to a “cemetery”, but the BSSM was what he needed. I told him he might want to hold on to that judgment about seminaries, and then introduced myself as pstrmike, a seminary student, who is here doing research for my doctoral dissertation. The guy was embarrassed, and I just smiled and let it ride. I met a lot of really nice people there, it was a Medical Healing Conference and the most of the people were a joy to meet, but there was this thinking that the Bethel format was THE way to do church. Reminded me of “new wine Calvary” back in the early to mid 70’s. Such latent elitism morphs into an expectation of power manifested in thinking that we are actually leading something rather than following the Wind that we cannot tell where It comes from or where It is going.

  23. Theophilus says:

    CC was a movement for the times. It reflected, in many ways the values of the times (60’s and 70’s) music was a big thing, as was turn on tune in and drop out, go against the organization, CC struck a chord with that movement—at least in it’s presentation.

    Behind the scenes it was a dysfunctional organization at best. It collapsed for the reasons mentioned but also because it refused to adapt to a changing culture, and prepare for change.

    Those who observed the movement were amazed at it’s success in light of it’s lack of organization. But behind the scenes things were crumbling on the inside.

    At this point as has been stated, CC is irrelevant. Not really worth criticisim or scrutinization any more.

  24. Babylon's Dread says:

    @20 thanks… love to hear about your doctoral research

  25. JohnnyB says:

    Having been at CCCM from when I lived across the street on Church street till Jeff Smith invited me to leave and start my own church in the early 90’s, I have another viewpoint.

    At the first there was a lot of freedom for the Holy Spirit to function in His role at Calvary. Chuck and almost every adult was astonished at what God was doing with the youth and did not want to interrupt.

    Once the land was purchased for CCCM’s current location, and the tent was set up, things started to get serious. Attendance was increasing and more control was needed.

    Around 1972 is when the Holy Spirit started to not have the freedom He used to be allowed. There is an old saying, fish rots from the head down. Leadership started to take control and routine became the norm.

    Then a religious Spirit took over. That is when subtle aspersions upon other churches started to become obvious.

    The spiritual exercise of the gifts of the Holy Spirit took a back seat. What was once called “The after glow” where the gifts of the Holy Spirit were freely exercised after the main Bi le study became just another Bible teaching session by one of the younger pastors.

    This is when I was invited to leave if I was’t happy because I wanted to talk about what was happening.

    Hard to explain what I mean by saying Calvary got a religious spirit. People went from freedom in the Spirit to ritual and routine. Where as before the Holy Spirit would powerfully manifest during those early meetings, things changed to man’s control and there started to be a hierarchy behind the scenes.

    No one seemed to notice but a few hard core originals who got invited to leave as a result.

    Then along comes John Wimber who simply asked Chuck when are going to do the stuff?
    You know, the stuff we see happening in the book of Acts?

    Chuck’s answer was textbook for anyone who questioned how things were being done at Calvary. He got invited, if he was not happy about things, to go and start his own church.

    John left and started his own Church, not affiliated with Calvary at all, The Vineyard Association of Churches.

    Chuck did not speak against the Vineyard. He was called to equip people with knowledge of the Bible and was uncomfortable with allowing the gifts to be freely exercised. But John on the other hand went full tilt bogey into moving in the gifts with little teaching of the Bible.

    Chuck always relied on God to handle everything. Sometimes appearing to be negligent.

    I believe that he honestly felt that God would replace him if anything happened. So after Chuck got called home we see that God obviously has other plans.

    This generation will never be reached by irrelevant cycles from the past. God always relates to a people on their level of understanding. Thusly we see new moves of God take place and we see older moves become just another denomination.

    Michael is right, Calvary is pretty much done. They functioned as the gateway for the hippie generation to come into the faith. Now it is time for others to reach their own generation.

    Some harsh things were said about Calvary, some reality others not so much.

    Today thousands know what the Bible says and can quote scripture because of Chuck Smith.

    I am gratefully pleased that God assigned me to attend Calvary for decades. I have a good foundation of knowing what the Bible says today because of learning at Calvary.

  26. dave says:

    CC was in some aspects noble but by accident. There is no denying it was born out of one man’s inability to be accountable to elders, but on the other hand, the things he was not accountable about were noble, he wanted to get rid of the things that were side issues that stopped people from attending. The problem was he threw out too much baby with the bathwater. If he had only refrained from trying to water down theology to “Keep pews filled” they might be in full force today, alas it ended up being Americas Fast food religion, and moralistic therapeutic deism was the menu from day one because that was one man’s theology and one man ran the show. I interact with Calvary people weekly, nice nice people but they are as a whole superstitious, know little of context and generally think anyone not in a Calvary is apostate. I have hope though, the future crop seem to quote a more historical Christianity.

  27. JD says:


    Sad but thankful that we got ground up and spit out by the Machine, and don’t have to endure the current pain of the Monument and the cold hard stone it is. We’ll always have fond Memories of sweeter times, love, fellowship, simple folk worship, and honest study of God’s Word (primitive though it was).

  28. Link07 says:

    there is a leadership conference in Europe. The pastor at the main cc in Budapest who is very friendly with cca randomly picked up and left and Brian Broderson is going to be speaking there.

  29. Steve says:

    In my humble opinion, CC’s beginnings as well as its eventual downfall can be summed up as an overly pragmatic man centered approach to the church with an occasional reliance on the Holy Spirit at least in confession and word. I honestly can not think of a more Narcissistic church than CCA which in essence is celebrity personality driven along with a fundamentalist moral-ism with Israel and rapture theology more prominent than Christ, him crucified and risen for us. I hope this would grab the ears of the old time big name CCA pastors who some could care less about some fringes in their own congregation and neighborhoods with some of them that they have spit out and never to be remembered by their own corrupt machinery. Shameful!

  30. Josh the Baptist says:

    I think this thread is evidence that people have unrealistic expectations of pastors, churches, and “movements”.

  31. Ms. ODM says:

    NEWS FLASH — The apostasy in the church is almost at its height — Calvary Chapels, however powerless, still has a little light — while the mainline denominations and the signs-followers are further down the road to perdition. All this criticism of this fellowship of churches is due to the fact that they’re the last domino and they have not quite fallen yet — there’s still many individual churches within CC who have not bowed their knee to Baal. — Name one denomination or group of churches that holds truer to the Word of God. Go ahead and I’ll knock it down with one hand tied behind my back — all you living in glass houses!!

    Thanks Alan for hesitant vote of support to my post.

  32. Josh the Baptist says:

    “Go ahead and I’ll knock it down with one hand tied behind my back”


    Chill out, ODM. Get out some.

  33. Josh the Baptist says:

    The lack of self-awareness it takes to type something like that is hilarious and astonishing.

  34. Rick says:

    I was fortunate that my interaction with CC was early enough in their history that it was still a primitive movement. I joined the military and went overseas before the move toward conventionality was made. I was never in the ‘inner circle’, so I saw the results without seeing conflict.

    8 years ago I left another church that had started during that same time period with a similar vision. I am not convinced that it is necessarily a negative thing when people leave an ‘unconventional church’ for a more historically foundational church. I think, in some ways, revival movements are like an emergency triage center; great in an emergency in restoring life, but not as good at preventive medicine and long-term care. The historical churches seem to have a better grasp on this and we should support them.

    Celebrate what they were for the time they were in God’s economy; but let them go when appropriate.

  35. Jean says:

    Mrs. ODM,

    “Name one denomination or group of churches that holds truer to the Word of God. Go ahead and I’ll knock it down with one hand tied behind my back — all you living in glass houses!!”

    The LCMS. I look forward to your response. And please be specific.

  36. Ms. ODM says:

    Easy to do Jean — they teach and practice baptismal regeneration – a false teaching. Their liturgy is by rote, not inspired by the Holy Spirit. In fact, they don’t even believe in the gifts of the Spirit as given in 1 Cor 12 — and they are drawn back to Rome. Anathema – What Calvary Chapel would go along with false ecumenism – see link:

  37. Josh the Baptist says:

    Did you use both hands? Be honest.

  38. Kevin H says:

    Okay, Ms. ODM, here’s a list of denominations with given number of members. Since it’s seemingly not hard for you to do, you should be able to address the apostasy in each one of these specific denominations and have them all sufficiently knocked down within minutes (all while typing with one hand behind your back). 🙂

    Catholic Church – 1.285 billion:

    Latin Church – 1.255 billion:
    Prominent movements (incomplete list):
    Catholic Charismatic Renewal – 160 million
    International Alliance of Catholic Knights – 150 million
    Schoenstatt Apostolic Movement – 30 million
    Blue Army of Our Lady of Fátima – 20 million
    Legion of Mary (active and auxiliary) – 10 million
    International Catholic Conference of Scouting – 8 million
    Cursillo – 5 million
    Worldwide Marriage Encounter (ME) – 5 million
    Marian Movement of Priests – 5 million
    Catholic catechesis – 3 million
    Militia Immaculatae – 3 million
    Knights of Columbus – 1.9 million
    Neocatechumenal Way – 1 million
    Society of Saint Vincent de Paul – 0.8 million
    Catholic religious order (brothers & sisters) – 0.72 million
    Secular Franciscan Order – 0.4 million
    Focolare Movement – 0.14 million
    Opus Dei – 0.095 million
    Community of Sant’Egidio – 0.05 million
    Regnum Christi – 0.02 million
    Our Lady’s Rosary Makers – 0.017 million
    Personal Ordinariate for former Anglicans – 0.012 million
    Emmanuel Community – 0.007 million

    Eastern Catholic Churches – 16.3 million:
    Alexandrian Rite Ethiopian Catholic Church – 0.2 million
    Coptic Catholic Church – 0.2 million
    Eritrean Catholic Church – 0.2 million

    Antiochene Rite Maronite Catholic Church – 3.1 million
    Syro-Malankara Catholic Church – 0.4 million
    Syriac Catholic Church – 0.1 million

    Armenian Rite Armenian Catholic Church – 0.4 million

    Chaldean Rite Syro-Malabar Catholic Church – 3.8 million
    Chaldean Catholic Church – 0.4 million

    Byzantine Rite Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church – 4.3 million
    Melkite Greek Catholic Church – 1.3 million
    Romanian Greek Catholic Church – 0.7 million
    Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church – 0.5 million
    Hungarian Greek Catholic Church – 0.3 million
    Slovak Greek Catholic Church – 0.2 million
    Italo-Albanian Catholic Church – 0.1 million
    Belarusian Greek Catholic Church – 0.1 million
    Byzantine Catholic Church of Croatia and Serbia – 0.05 million
    Georgian Byzantine Catholic Church – 0.01 million
    Albanian Greek Catholic Church – 0.01 million
    Bulgarian Greek Catholic Church – 0.01 million
    Greek Byzantine Catholic Church – 0.01 million
    Macedonian Greek Catholic Church – 0.01 million
    Russian Greek Catholic Church – 0.01 million

    Canonically irregular groupsSociety of Saint Pius X – 0.5 million

    Protestantism – 920 million:

    Historical Protestantism – 300-400 million:

    Baptist churches – 75-105 million:
    Southern Baptist Convention – 15.2 million
    National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. – 7.5 million
    Nigerian Baptist Convention – 5.0 million
    National Missionary Baptist Convention of America – 3.1 million
    National Baptist Convention of America, Inc. – 3.1 million
    Baptist Union of Uganda – 2.5 million
    Baptist Community of Western Congo – 2.1 million
    Baptist General Convention of Texas – 2.1 million
    Baptist Convention of Tanzania – 2.0 million
    Brazilian Baptist Convention – 1.6 million
    Progressive National Baptist Convention – 1.5 million
    Baptist Bible Fellowship International – 1.2 million
    American Baptist Churches USA – 1.2 million
    Lott Carey Foreign Mission Convention – 1.1 million
    Baptist Community of the Congo River – 1.1 million
    National Primitive Baptist Convention of the U.S.A. – 1.0 million
    Myanmar Baptist Convention – 1.0 million
    Cooperative Baptist Fellowship – 0.8 million
    Baptist General Association of Virginia – 0.6 million
    Baptist Convention of Kenya – 0.6 million
    Council of Baptist Churches in Northeast India – 0.6 million
    Nagaland Baptist Church Council – 0.6 million
    Korea Baptist Convention – 0.5 million
    Samavesam of Telugu Baptist Churches – 0.5 million
    Orissa Evangelical Baptist Crusade – 0.5 million
    National Baptist Convention (Brazil) – 0.4 million
    Church of Christ in Congo–Baptist Community of Congo – 0.4 million
    Baptist Convention of Malawi – 0.3 million
    Garo Baptist Convention – 0.3 million
    Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches – 0.3
    Ghana Baptist Convention – 0.3
    Union of Baptist Churches in Rwanda – 0.3 million
    American Baptist Association – 0.3 million
    Baptist Missionary Association of America – 0.2 million
    Conservative Baptist Association of America – 0.2 million
    National Association of Free Will Baptists – 0.2 million
    Convention of Visayas and Mindanao of Southern Baptist Churches – 0.2 million
    Manipur Baptist Convention – 0.2 million
    Baptist Community in Central Africa – 0.2 million

    Lutheranism – 70-90 million:
    Evangelical Church in Germany – 21.9 million
    Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus – 8.3 million
    Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania – 6.5 million
    Church of Sweden – 6.3 million
    United Evangelical Lutheran Churches in India – 4.5 million
    Batak Christian Protestant Church – 4.5 million
    Church of Denmark – 4.4 million
    Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland – 4.0 million
    Church of Norway – 3.8 million
    Evangelical Lutheran Church in America – 3.8 million
    Malagasy Lutheran Church – 3.0 million
    Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod – 2.2 million
    The Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria – 2.2 million
    Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea – 1.2 million
    Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil – 0.7 million
    Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia – 0.7 million
    Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa – 0.6 million
    The Protestant Christian Church – 0.5 million
    The Indonesian Christian Church – 0.5 million
    Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia – 0.4 million
    Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod – 0.4 million
    Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ – 0.4 million
    Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cameroon – 0.3 million
    Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Austria – 0.3 million
    Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe – 0.3 million
    Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia – 0.3 million
    Christian Protestant Church in Indonesia – 0.3 million
    North American Lutheran Church – 0.2 million
    Church of Iceland – 0.2 million
    Simalungun Protestant Christian Church – 0.2 million
    Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil – 0.2 million
    Protestant Church of Augsburg Confession of Alsace and Lorraine – 0.2 million
    The Lutheran Council of Great Britain – 0.2 million
    Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Slovakia – 0.2 million
    Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Hungary – 0.2 million
    Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church – 0.2 million

    Methodism – 60-80 million:
    United Methodist Church – 12 million
    African Methodist Episcopal Church – 2.5 million
    Church of the Nazarene – 2 million
    Methodist Church Nigeria – 2 million
    Methodist Church of Southern Africa – 1.7 million
    Korean Methodist Church – 1.5 million
    African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church – 1.5 million
    The Salvation Army – 1.4 million
    United Methodist Church of Ivory Coast – 1 million
    Free Methodist Church – 0.9 million
    Christian Methodist Episcopal Church – 0.9 million
    Methodist Church Ghana – 0.8 million
    Methodist Church in India – 0.6 million
    Methodist Church in Kenya – 0.5 million
    Wesleyan Church – 0.4 million
    Evangelical Free Church of America – 0.4 million
    Methodist Church of Great Britain – 0.3 million
    Methodist Church in Brazil – 0.2 million

    Calvinism (Reformed churches) – 55-85 million:

    Presbyterianism – 40-50 million:
    Presbyterian Church of East Africa – 4.0 million
    Presbyterian Church of Nigeria – 3.8 million
    Presbyterian Church of Africa – 3.4 million
    Presbyterian Church in Korea (HapDong) – 3.0 million
    Presbyterian Church of Korea (TongHap) – 2.9 million
    National Presbyterian Church in Mexico – 2.8 million
    Church of Christ in Congo–Presbyterian Community of Congo – 2.5 million
    United Church of Canada – over 2.0 million
    Presbyterian Church (USA) – 1.8 million
    Presbyterian Church of Cameroon – 1.8 million
    Presbyterian Church of India – 1.3 million
    Church of Central Africa Presbyterian – 1.3 million
    Church of Scotland – 1.1 million
    Presbyterian Church of Brazil – 1.0 million
    Presbyterian Church in Sudan – 1.0 million
    Presbyterian Church in Cameroon – 0.7 million
    Presbyterian Church in Korea (HapDongBoSu II.) – 0.7 million
    Presbyterian Church in Korea (BaekSeok) – 0.6 million
    Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana – 0.6 million
    United Church of Christ in the Philippines – 0.5 million
    Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa – 0.5 million
    Presbyterian Church in America – 0.4 million
    Presbyterian Church of Pakistan – 0.4 million
    Korean Presbyterian Church – 0.4 million
    Presbyterian Church in Korea (Koshin) – 0.4 million
    Presbyterian Church in Ireland – 0.3 million
    Uniting Church in Australia – 0.3 million
    Presbyterian Church in Rwanda – 0.3 million
    Presbyterian Church in Taiwan – 0.3 million

    Continental Reformed churches – 20-30 million:
    Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar – 3.5 million
    Protestant Church in Indonesia – 3.1 million
    United Church in Zambia – 3.0 million
    Protestant Church in the Netherlands – 2.5 million
    Evangelical Church of Cameroon – 2.5 million
    Swiss Reformed Church – 2.4 million
    Christian Evangelical Church in Timor – 2.0 million
    Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa (NGK) – 1.1 million
    Christian Evangelical Church in Minahasa – 0.7 million
    United Church in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands – 0.6 million
    Protestant Church in Western Indonesia – 0.6 million
    Evangelical Christian Church in Tanah Papua – 0.6 million
    Protestant Church of Maluku – 0.6 million
    Reformed Church in Hungary – 0.6 million
    Reformed Church in Romania – 0.6 million
    Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa – 0.5 million
    Toraja Church – 0.4 million
    Reformed Church of France – 0.4 million
    Lesotho Evangelical Church – 0.3 million
    Evangelical Christian Church in Halmahera – 0.3 million
    Evangelical Reformed Church in Angola – 0.3 million
    Christian Church of Sumba – 0.3 million
    Karo Batak Protestant Church – 0.3 million
    Reformed Church in America – 0.3 million
    Christian Reformed Church in North America – 0.3 million
    Christian Reformed Church of Nigeria – 0.3 million
    Reformed Church in Zambia – 0.3 million
    Kalimantan Evangelical Church – 0.2 million
    Javanese Christian Church – 0.2 million
    Indonesia Christian Church – 0.2 million
    Church of Christ in the Sudan Among the Tiv – 0.2 million
    Church of Lippe – 0.2 million
    Evangelical Church of Congo – 0.2 million
    Evangelical Church of Gabon – 0.2 million
    Christian Evangelical Church of Sangihe Talaud – 0.2 million
    Central Sulawesi Christian Church – 0.2 million
    Evangelical Reformed Church in Bavaria and Northwestern Germany – 0.2 million

    Congregationalism – 5 million United Church of Christ – 1.2 million
    Evangelical Congregational Church in Angola – 0.9 million
    United Congregational Church of Southern Africa – 0.5 million

    Anabaptism – 4.0 million:
    Mennonites – 2.1 million
    Schwarzenau Brethren/German Baptists – 1.5 million
    Amish – 0.3 million
    Hutterites – 0.05 million

    Hussites – 1 million:
    Moravians – 0.825 million
    Czechoslovak Hussite Church – 0.14 million
    Unity of the Brethren – 0.035 million

    Quakers (Religious Society of Friends) – 0.4 million

    Modern Protestantism – 400-500 million:

    Pentecostalism – 280 million:
    Assemblies of God – 67 million
    Apostolic Church – 15 million
    Fangcheng Fellowship – 12 million
    International Circle of Faith – 11 million
    China Gospel Fellowship – 10 million
    Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) – 6 million
    International Church of the Foursquare Gospel – 9 million
    Church of God in Christ – 6.5 million
    Jesus Is Lord Church Worldwide – 5 million
    International Pentecostal Holiness Church – 4 million
    United Pentecostal Church International – 4 million
    The Pentecostal Mission – 2.5 million
    Christian Congregation of Brazil – 2.5 million
    True Jesus Church – 2.5 million
    The Church of Pentecost – 2.1 million
    Universal Church of the Kingdom of God – 2 million
    Pentecostal Assemblies of the World – 1.5 million
    Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa – 1.2 million
    Church of God of Prophecy – 1.5 million
    Association of Pentecostal Churches of Rwanda – 1 million
    God is Love Pentecostal Church – 0.8 million

    Nondenominational evangelicalism – 80 million:
    Calvary Chapel – 25 million (just let us know how many of the 25 million are apostate as apparently there is a remnant that is still holding true)
    Born Again Movement – 3 million
    Association of Vineyard Churches – 15 million
    Christian and Missionary Alliance – 4 million
    Church of God (Anderson, Indiana) – 1.2 million

    African initiated Protestant churches – 60 million:
    Zion Christian Church – 15 million
    Eternal Sacred Order of Cherubim and Seraphim – 10 million
    Kimbanguist Church – 5.5 million
    Church of the Lord (Aladura) – 3.6 million[153]
    Council of African Instituted Churches – 3 million
    Church of Christ Light of the Holy Spirit – 1.4 million
    African Church of the Holy Spirit – 0.7 million
    African Israel Church Nineveh – 0.5 million

    Seventh-day Adventist Church – 20.0 million
    New Apostolic Church – 10 million
    Chinese-originated and Chinese Independent Churches – 10 million

    Local churches or Church Assembly Hall – between 1 and 10 million:
    Eastern Lightning – 1 million
    The Shouters – unknown, probably less than 1 million

    Restoration Movement – 7 million Churches of Christ – 5 million
    Christian churches and churches of Christ – 1.1 million
    Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) – 0.7 million
    Community of Disciples of Christ in Congo – 0.7 million

    Plymouth Brethren – 1 million

    Anglicanism – 85 million:

    Anglican Communion – 80 million:
    Church of England – 25.0 million
    Church of Nigeria – 18.0 million
    Church of Uganda – 8.1 million
    Anglican Church of Kenya – 5.0 million
    Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan – 4.5 million
    Anglican Church of Australia – 3.9 million
    Church of South India – 3.8 million
    Anglican Church of Southern Africa – 2.3 million
    Episcopal Church in the United States – 2.1 million
    Anglican Church of Tanzania – 2.0 million
    Anglican Church of Canada – 2.0 million
    Church of North India – 1.5 million
    Anglican Church of Rwanda – 1.0 million
    Church of the Province of Central Africa – 0.9 million
    Anglican Church of Burundi – 0.8 million
    Church in the Province of the West Indies – 0.8 million
    Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia – 0.5 million
    Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean – 0.5 million
    Church of Christ in Congo–Anglican Community of Congo – 0.5 million
    Church of Pakistan – 0.5 million
    Church of Ireland – 0.4 million
    Church of the Province of West Africa – 0.3 million
    Anglican Church of Melanesia – 0.2 million

    Continuing Anglican movement and independent churches – 0.6 million:
    Traditional Anglican Communion – 0.4 million
    Anglican Church in North America – 0.1 million
    Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa – 0.1 million

    Eastern Orthodox Church – 270 million

    Autocephalous churches – 224 million:
    Russian Orthodox Church – 150 million
    Romanian Orthodox Church – 23 million
    Church of Greece – 15 million
    Serbian Orthodox Church – 11.5 million
    Bulgarian Orthodox Church – 10 million
    Georgian Orthodox Church – 3.5 million
    Greek Orthodox Church of Constantinople – 3.5 million
    Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch – 2.5 million
    Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria – 1.5 million
    Orthodox Church in America – 1.2 million
    Polish Orthodox Church – 1 million
    Albanian Orthodox Church – 0.8 million
    Church of Cyprus – 0.7 million
    Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem – 0.14 million
    Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church – 0.07 million

    Autonomous churches – 13 million:
    Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) – 7.2 million
    Moldovan Orthodox Church – 3.2 million
    Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia – 1.25 million
    Metropolitan Church of Bessarabia – 0.62 million
    Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric – 0.34 million
    Estonian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) – 0.3 million
    Finnish Orthodox Church – 0.08 million
    Chinese Orthodox Church – 0.03 million
    Japanese Orthodox Church – 0.02 million
    Latvian Orthodox Church – 0.02 million

    Non-universally recognized churches – 27 million:
    Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate) – 19.5 million
    Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church – 0.8 million
    Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church – 2.4 million
    Macedonian Orthodox Church – 2 million
    Orthodox Church of Greece (Holy Synod in Resistance) – 0.75 million
    Old Calendarist Romanian Orthodox Church – 0.50 million
    Old Calendar Bulgarian Orthodox Church – 0.45 million
    Orthodox Church in Italy – 0.12 million
    Montenegrin Orthodox Church – 0.05 million

    Other separated Orthodox groups – 6 million:
    Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church – 5.5 million
    Old Believers – 5.5 million
    Greek Old Calendarists – 0.86 million
    True Orthodox Church – 0.85 million
    Evangelical Orthodox Church – 0.07 million

    Oriental Orthodoxy – 86 million

    Autocephalous churches – 84 million:
    Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church – 48 million
    Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria – 15.5 million
    Armenian Apostolic Church – 9 million
    Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin – 6 million
    Holy See of Cilicia – 1.5 million
    Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople – 0.5-0.7 million
    Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem – 0.34 million

    Syriac Orthodox Church – 6.6 million:
    Jacobite Syrian Christian Church – 1.2 million

    Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church – 2.5 million
    Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church – 2 million

    Autonomous churches – 1 million:
    French Coptic Orthodox Church – 0.01 million

    Churches not in communion – 1 million:
    Mar Thoma Syrian Church – 1.1 million
    Malabar Independent Syrian Church – 0.06 million
    British Orthodox Church – 0.01 million

    Restorationism and Nontrinitarianism – 35 million:

    Latter Day Saint movement (Mormonism) – 16.1 million:
    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – 15.9 million
    Community of Christ – 0.25 million

    Jehovah’s Witnesses – 8.3 million

    Oneness Pentecostalism – 6 million:
    United Pentecostal Church International – 4 million
    Pentecostal Assemblies of the World – 1.5 million

    Minor denominations – 4.4 million:
    Iglesia ni Cristo – 2.3 million
    La Luz del Mundo – 1 million
    Unitarian Universalism – 0.6 million:
    Unitarian Universalist Association – 0.2 million[206]

    Church of Christ, Scientist – 0.4 million
    Friends of Man – 0.07 million
    Christadelphians – 0.06 million
    Family International – 0.01 million

    Independent Catholicism – 18 million:

    Philippine Independent Church – 6 million
    Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association – 5 million
    Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church – 5 million
    Traditionalist Mexican-American Catholic Church – 2 million
    Old Catholic Church – 0.1 million
    Polish National Catholic Church – 0.025 million
    Apostolic Catholic Church – 0.005 million
    Palmarian Catholic Church – 0.0015 or 0.001 million

    Minor branches – 1 million:
    Church of the East (Nestorianism) – 0.6 million:
    Assyrian Church of the East – 0.5 million
    Ancient Church of the East – 0.1 million

    Messianic Judaism – 0.35 million

  39. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Mrs ODM – you deny clear scripture that states “this baptism saves (and several others like Titus 3:5.
    We believe in many of the gifts of the spirit – but unlike you we do not believe that the Holy Spirit works separate from his word – I had many CC years where that was the CC liturgy.

    If the Holy Spirit instituted the liturgy – why wouldn’t you use repetition and rote? It is like your stand to not use the Lord’s Prayer because it is by rote.

  40. Josh the Baptist says:

    No way Calvary Chapel has 25 million people.

  41. John 20:29 says:

    pstrmike @ 22 said something to which i’ll add an amen… the Holy Spirit moves and moves on… like the Wind indeed
    but those who would live on those manifestations without study and the resultant growth are missing something, also IMV
    so, the question, at least for me is, do we need organized churches for that individual growth to take place?
    i don’t know where i heard it, maybe here… but someone observed that churches don’t need to own real estate… better to use/rent an existing facility as necessary…. chewing on that still not sure… thinking…

    Mrs. ODM, don’t take Jean’s challenge 🙂

  42. Jean says:

    Ms. ODM,

    First the link. Here is from the final paragraph:

    “So, what does this mean for Lutherans and Roman Catholics as we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation? It means that sadly the differences between us and the Roman Catholic Church are still there. In fact, it would even appear that they may have in fact increased in some ways. In light of this, as I said before, we pray. Pray for the Church to be united.”

    Second: Baptismal regeneration: Titus III, V; among many other verses.

    Third: If you ever bothered to look at our liturgy, you would see that it must be inspired by the Holy Spirit because it is 95% pure Scripture.

    Fourth: Gifts of the Holy Spirit? What greater gift is there than salvation? But what gift do you think we’re missing? Please explain.

    I thought you could do better. Sigh!

  43. pstrmike says:

    my my Kevin has been busy ;).

    I didn’t think Calvary Chapel was that large, nor did I think Messianic Judaism was that small.

  44. Ms. ODM says:

    #37 LOL

  45. Kevin H says:

    And I typed that all up within minutes with one hand behind my back. 🙂

    Or I can confess it’s a copy and paste from Wikipedia (with some minor editing to make it look cleaner). You all can blame them for the numbers. 🙂

  46. Ms. ODM says:

    Just a quick one-handed look at the LCMS’s doctrinal statement I read the following — they reject Bible prophecy and the LORD’s promises to Israel — and they reject the clear teaching of the Scriptures regarding the LORD’s rule on earth – again , gag me with a spoon.

    “With the Augsburg Confession (Art. XVII) we reject every type of millennialism, or Chiliasm, the opinions that Christ will return visibly to this earth a thousand years before the end of the world and establish a dominion of the Church over the world; or that before the end of the world the Church is to enjoy a season of special prosperity; or that before a general resurrection on Judgment Day a number of departed Christians or martyrs are to be raised again to reign in glory in this world; or that before the end of the world a universal conversion of the Jewish nation (of Israel according to the flesh) will take place.”

  47. Ms. ODM says:

    #38 – Kevin – thank you for listing those groups that are further down the road in the apostasy than Calvary Chapel. — Man certainly does love ‘religion’

  48. Josh the Baptist says:

    Kevin – What is the link for that? That Calvary Chapel number has to be WAYY off. That would make them the largest protestant denomination, and unless they’ve multiplied exponentially in the last ten years that can’t be true.

  49. Dan from Georgia says:

    So which group has it exactly right…

  50. Kevin H says:


    There was no reference for the Calvary Chapel number. Some numbers had references, others didn’t. So who knows where that number came from. It didn’t seem realistic to me either.

  51. Kevin H says:

    I wouldn’t have even included the numbers but then it would have taken forever to edit the copy from Wikipedia.

  52. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Mrs ODM, I understand your angst and the lack in you theology. As Lutherans, yes we do hold the position that all prophecy has been fulfilled in him who is Israel reduced to one, Jesus Christ – and we proudly defend our position.
    You on the other hand are defenseless trying to defend your Replacement Theology position where you have replaced Jesus with ethnic national Israel as the sum and total of biblical prophecy.

  53. Jean says:

    Ms. ODM,

    You are stuck in ideology. If it’s not taught in Scripture, why on earth would you expect to find it in the Augsburg Confession?

  54. TheRegulator says:

    Bethel? With their gold dust and angel wings falling from the ceiling, and rolling around on the floor jerking healing sessions… ya that’s a real sound movement. SMH. I’m surprised you would give it any credibility.

  55. Jim Jacobson says:

    Michael, while I appreciate your continual attempt to chronicle the CC changes, I think your OP is not as hopeful as some of us in the movement are. While I am opposed to much in the current system, it’s still a work in progress. The guys who are leading (on both sides) are aging, and will, in the course of the next several years, be replaced. While it could all dissolve and fall apart, God will continue to work with what remains and that will be a good thing.
    It’s also *possible* that men will repent of their foolish and petty bickering and unite in the Spirit of Jesus. In the meantime, I personally have simply chosen to not participate much in the national scene, either CGN or CCA and am looking elsewhere for leadership.
    This year I will be attending a non-CC pastors conference, and am looking forward to being anonymous and ignorant of individuals and politics. I also think Greg Laurie gave us all something to think about with his dual affiliation -something more than one CC pastor is looking at.

  56. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Mrs ODM, if they are so clear, will you please point to one clear “Jesus will return to rule on the earth.” passage?
    I do see in Acts 2 Peter clearly stating (present tense to him) that Jesus IS ruling and reigning from David’s throne.
    I would imagine that your theology would have Jesus returning to earth driving a Ford F-150 and pulling a U-Haul trailer with David’s throne.

  57. JoelG says:

    Lol MLD

  58. Michael says:


    You just made my case for me…

  59. John 20:29 says:

    “I would imagine that your theology would have Jesus returning to earth driving a Ford F-150 and pulling a U-Haul trailer with David’s throne” that just may be the key to MLD’s problem… LOL

  60. Michael says:

    I think CC is probably somewhere between 2-5 million…if that.
    A lot of the CC megachurches have shrunk and the vast majority are around a couple hundred people or less.
    If all 1600 churches averaged 500 people that would still put them at less than a million…

  61. pstrmike says:


    have you ever been to Bethel Church?

  62. Steve says:

    Ms. ODM, I don’t teach or really believe in baptismal regeneration for reasons that are a bit too complicated to go into here but I am not so fundamentally opposed to the idea that I consider it as the dangerous theology that you do. However, I do consider doctrinal issues regarding the trinity a far greater concern. With that in mind, I’m curious, why you think this baptismal regeneration is such a serious error? At the same time I’m wondering if you will take a stance against pastors at CC that seem to have less of an orthodox understanding of trinity that appears to be more inline with modal-ism. I await you answer.

  63. Josh the Baptist says:

    Steve – Baptismal regeneration adds a necessary work to Salvation. Rather than by Grace Alone, it is Grace + “get baptized”.

  64. descended says:

    that was an exceptional, deep post.

    I started at CC in 2003 in Temecula, Ca. When my Dad came to check it out, he had the impression that these were old men trying desperately to hold on to something that wasn’t theirs in the first place. 15 years later and he seemed to have been very right back then.

  65. Babylon's Dread says:

    ODMs believe with the depressed Elijah that they alone remain … the lack of confidence in God, the Gospel and the Work of Christ in the world is stupefying

  66. Steve says:

    Josh, your understanding of baptismal regeneration is a bit shallow. LCMS Lutherans would never say that baptism is a work of man. Its one reason they baptize infants because they know an infant isn’t trying to earn their salvation by agreeing with their parents to get baptized. It doesn’t work that way but nice try.

  67. Josh the Baptist says:

    You asked why it was considered a serious error. You should have asked for the Lutheran justification of it if that’s what you wanted.

  68. Steve says:

    Josh, I really wanted to know Ms. ODMs answer and why she thinks its so serious and why no concern about modalism being taught and practiced in CC.

  69. Josh the Baptist says:

    Oh, sorry. Proceed.

  70. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – as Steve says, we LCMSers AND the Bible would never attribute baptism as a work of man – in fact the Bible plainly states that it is God’s work.
    Titus 3 – “4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,

    No matter how it gets twisted “he saved us” – he washed us (water stuff) – and through this baptism, he gave us the Holy Spirit – just as it says in Acts 2.

    All God stuff – All God work.

  71. Josh the Baptist says:

    I know the Lutheran line.

  72. Steve says:

    I view baptism as “Sign” and “Seal” but I do reject baptismal regeneration and I’m not quite sure but its not for the reasons Josh laid out. I do appreciate MLD’s explanation here and I think we are closer than we are apart.

  73. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – thank you for conceding that the Bible (such as Titus 3) is the Lutheran line – we try to stick to the scriptures. 🙂

  74. Josh the Baptist says:

    MLD, the Lutheran’s are good at making the bible say whatever they want. I’ll give you that one. 🙂

  75. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – I’ll bet that if you look in your Holman Bible, it will say the same thing. 🙂 Then once you realize that, you too can say that baptismal regeneration is the Baptist line — look it up. 🙂

  76. Josh the Baptist says:

    Do Lutherans rip all Scripture from context, or just that one verse? Asking for a friend? 🙂

  77. Michael says:

    This article is about the current state of Calvary Chapel part 1, not Lutheran theology part 27,536

  78. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    But I would much rather discuss Ms ODMs replacement theology – where she is still holding out for prophecies not fulfilled by Jesus that are earmarked for the “greater than Jesus” – Israel. I find that position fascinating.

  79. descended says:

    Mrs. ODM

    My family and I tried really hard to make it work in CC for fourteen years. We served where and when asked, we tried all the uncomfortable group things. They considered myself a deacon. However, when I began realizing that the Holy Spirit was not working in my own home, and therefore was most likely not affecting my ministries, I stopped serving. Then I was saved and the Holy Spirit miraculously healed my mind of porn addiction. All this I made known to the pastors and elders. I was re-baptized there.

    Two years later I came to the pastor confronting him with issues that I believed were detrimental to the local church, namely plagiarism. Wiersbe, McGee, MacArthur, Guzik, Sermon Central… even Barnes and Spurgeon. He admitted it and we moved on. I didn’t pay attention to it for a year. But it struck me funny one Sunday and I looked. Still doin it. So I confronted him again but this time the entire board was dragged into it on the advice of another elder. I wasn’t looking to dismiss him or anything, just exhort and encourage to get back to what I believed he had been doing for the last 14 years I had known him – I made this known to the group. I was accused of being of a critical and divisive spirit. I was told I had replaced my porn addiction with being critical of others. I had no clue my confessions were being retained for later use against me. I was accused of being unhelpful for the last 14 years. Apparently, I was unhelpful for 14 years participating in and running five different Ministries at various times whenever asked and often volunteered. I was told by the pastor that he had been doing it that way for 30 years and if I didn’t like it I could leave. I asked for time to finish out the year with Awana so as to provide consistency for my students, my wife’s students, and our three children, but even that was not allowed. I was asked to leave immediately.

    Coming out of CC, having listened to former Calvary Chapel members, the current state of my thoughts on Calvary Chapel is that it is plagued by pharisaism exhibited from the pulpit and the elders and taught to the congregation. Moreover because of this there is in some Calvary chapels almost a kind of cultic behavior. Out of the hundred or so families we served with and more who’s lives we touched only one family bothered to stay in contact.

    I listen to your friend Jacob prasch quite often and listen to more pastors more often from moriel Ministries and Affiliated Ministries. I like their hermeneutic and I appreciate their candor, and I appreciate their Ministries in Southeast Asia and Africa. David Nathan preached a sermon one time that elucidated for me how subtle pharisaism can be. He says that Satan can even tempt us to make the word of God become more important then the Lord himself. Mind it says that the Lord holds his word above his own name. I believe it is because only the Lord can do that. Your comment saying Calvary Chapel is the most faithful church group and you can prove it by holding it up against any other denomination and knocking “it down with 1 hand behind my back” smacks of the hubris that Calvary Chapel is plagued with.
    I’ve read a lot of your stuff and I’m appreciative for your ministry and I don’t think you are plagued with it but we can all make mistakes sometimes. In my view, and in my and others experiences, that Pentecostal streak of my way or the highway runs deep in Calvary Chapel. And it burns sheep and it has a beer can methodology to service and faith towards its congregants.

    And I would challenge you on The ecumenical issue you raised. There are plenty of authors whom Calvary Chapel sell that you would be not quite so comfortable with, and others whom they don’t that you would wonder why they don’t. There are plenty of outreaches and Endeavors that take place where other ecumenical or false religious systems (such as G.O. and Roman Catholicism, in my view, and I think in your view, too) are cooperating with CC’s.

    The holy spirit foretold through Daniel that the power of the holy people would be shattered. I believe this is not due to outside influences only but self-inflicted damage upon one another. Again, John says that our greatest gospel is our love for one another. And Jesus tells us that the love of most will grow cold because of lawlessness. Jesus says that the law is upheld in two ways. In my experience Calvary Chapel as an institution fails at both and is going the way of the Catholic Church. It is a dying Institution grasping on to other institutions for survival which is the basis of ecumenism in my opinion.

  80. Kevin H says:


    Now you’re exaggerating. We’re probably not any further than Lutheran theology part 27,450, not 27,536. 🙂

  81. Michael says:


    I was practicing generosity… 🙂

  82. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    This is the state of CC – one of their great defenders put out the Lutheran challenge. The state of CC is to deny salvation to Lutherans as presented by one of their great defenders.

  83. Steve says:

    MLD, who was that great defender?

  84. Chris Long says:

    The only thing funnier than reading Ms. ODM who I’m guessing could probably find something damnably wrong with just about anybody, is seeing the Lutherans rush to defend themselves as being the ones that are the True Church (nobody said it, just implied) and thus not worthy of Ms. ODM’s scorn. You are not going to win that battle. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an ODM give up any ground – it’s an even rarer sight than a hardcore Lutheran giving a concession… It just doesn’t happen. They are fully committed to their belief that everyone but them and their ODM cronies are following the spirit of antichrist. At least that’s my perception – I hope I’m wrong…

    On the CC front, I thought BD’s #6 and JohnnyB’s #25 were very worthwhile.

  85. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve @ 83 – the CC great defender is Ms ODM

  86. Kevin H says:

    “The only thing funnier than reading Ms. ODM who I’m guessing could probably find something damnably wrong with just about anybody”

    Chris, I’m still waiting for her to do that point by point with my list at #38. 🙂

  87. Steve says:

    Ah, I didn’t quite hear her say that she was denying salvation to Lutherans but she did say Anathema! So I do see your point.

  88. Chris Long says:

    Kevin @ 86: I SO hope she will! Oughta keep her busy for awhile anyway. HAHAHA I loved your post Kevin! And actually, I really kind of DO hope she does – maybe by the time she gets halfway through the list, she might get a revelation…

  89. Jean says:

    What I thought was an extremely sophomoric and ignorant assertion for an ODM was Mrs. ODM’s claim:

    “Their liturgy is by rote, not inspired by the Holy Spirit.”

    Since when are the Scriptures not inspired by the Holy Spirit?

    When did non-inspired extemporaneous liturgy trump Scripture-based liturgies?

    When did something written or wrote become something bad?

    Is there anything in the Bible that supports any such asinine claims and inferences?

  90. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, actually it’s worse – but I chuckle at the controversies. One time some years ago she told my I was unsaved because I didn’t believe in the earthly millennium – which she may have also said today.

  91. Steve says:

    MLD, glad you can chuckle. I think you guys will both make it into heaven but I do hope she is up to Kevin’s challenge @38. hahaha

  92. Jean says:

    Speaking of context:

    “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

    Not only is this a beautiful text on the grace given in baptism, but notice:

    “he saved us”
    “according to his own mercy”
    “by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit”
    “he poured out on us”
    “justified by his grace”

    Who does everything?

    Where is man’s part to play? Where is the sinner’s prayer? Where is “make a choice,” “surrender your life to God,” “ask Jesus into your heart,” “receive Christ as your savior”?

    What does it say? “not because of works done by us in righteousness.” Is this a clause that we can all agree on?

  93. Duane Arnold says:

    #89 Jean

    Most people who use such arguments concerning liturgy have seldom, or never, been in a liturgical service based upon a traditional model.

    Of course, in the technical sense, most churches of whatever variety practice a liturgy… they just don’t use the word…

  94. Josh the Baptist says:

    3 verses is not context.

  95. Chris Long says:

    Jean, you make legit points in your 89, but if I was to take Ms ODM’s position on that, I think the issue is that when you just do something over and over by rote like that it can seem very lifeless and devoid of the Spirit. And I say that Jean because that’s how it seemed to me when I was in the Lutheran church and was absolutely one of the biggest reasons I left. I don’t dismiss the value in sometimes using liturgy like that, but I’m just telling you as a personal example that it came across lifeless and fake to me when that was all we did was monotonously stand/sit and repeat all these phrases – especially as a young believer. Very rarely did it have any meaningful effect on me spiritually – meanwhile I had gone with people to some other churches where the life of the Spirit was abounding and God was speaking powerfully to me. The Holy Spirit often seemed the dismissed member of the Trinity in my Lutheran days. Ironically, it was a Lutheran-sponsored retreat I went on (Cursillo for those in the know) that was more Holy Spirit-centered and love-centered, that started opening my eyes more to what God had for me that was largely being neglected in Lutheran services. Yes I know the arguments Lutherans use for why they do it as they do (safety in just repeating Scriptural truths word-by-word etc.). Like I said, I’m not at all dismissing the whole practice and think you totally made some legit points, but I do see the other side on that one too. Anyway, just food for thought – not really wanting to get in a back and forth on that one (esp in deference to Michael’s 77).

  96. JoelG says:

    I returned to our local LCMS Church last Sunday and have found a resting place. I found peace in confession and absolution. I found comfort partaking in Christ’s True Body and Blood. This broken sinner feels the Spirit led me back there. I don’t know that for sure. But I’ve found a home.

  97. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Chris – even in retrospect now that you have played with charismatic / evangelical churches you think saying the creed, the Lord’s Prayer, the Kyrie, the Sanctus, the Pax Domini. singing the Angus Dei or completing Holy Communion with the Nunc Dimitis is boring, or rote and mechanical.

    I understand the holy spirit electricity that runs through the 7/11 songs, but really?

    But the funny side is the time Skip, trying to be “religious” said – today we are going to recite the Lord’s Prayer. He got part way through, messed up the wording – started over, messed up again and then said, “see, this is why we don’t do these rote things!”

  98. Jean says:

    Hi Chris,

    I totally respect your desire not to get into a debate, and I also respect Michael’s 77. I would like to only offer an additional support for my preference for Scripture based liturgy, using the following texts:

    “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

    “As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.”

    “Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”

    I would argue that God intends and desires that His people have the Word of God implanted in their hearts and minds. The blessed man…his delight is in the Word of God and upon that Word he meditates day and night.

    I would further argue that if the worship in the Bible is designed around fixed and set rituals and ceremonies, places and times, which are specifically designed to mold the people of God into a holy people.

    Lastly, I am not aware of any better way to memorize Scripture than singing and chanting. Then, you have that treasure in your heart and can remember it when you need to or share it with someone in your path that needs to hear it.

  99. Corby says:

    I’ve been sitting here way too long trying to think how to boil down what I’m thinking and some things happening in my world that might take me back into the direction of ministry. Because I want to avoid the pitfalls of my own past and those who have gone before me.

    I’m sure I’ve quoted this before but I’m learning that this idea can be applied to many contexts. “If you build the church, you don’t always get disciples. But when you build disciples, you always get the church.” Mike Breen.

    I think Chuck in his 4sq days and early days really wanted to build disciples. I think that could be said on into the mid to late 70s with things like the 8-week Bible School program that eventually became CC Bible College.

    But, as was so perfectly quoted earlier, when things went “mainstream,” the focus had to change from building disciples first to building the church first. What that practically looks like is focusing on metrics first as a measure of ministry and not maturity (how’s that for alliteration!). It’s never about the numbers, until its about the numbers. I’ve sat in too many staff meetings where we started with spreadsheets looking at nickles and noses.

    Attached to all of this is the very real responsibility of a mortgage for the facility, salaries, people’s lived and livelihoods. It’s not that easy to dismiss. It’s a huge pressure and responsibility. But even all of that is a gauge revealing how the mark got missed at some point and we started focusing on the church and not disciples.

    Having said all of that, like JimJ, even though I’m not officially in the movement, I’m more optimistic. For me, I’m optimistic because of the split. Not optimistic that this big thing will still be around and be big, but that it will become useful again, productive, again, forward-looking and thinking again. Because I could sure use that if things play out the way they might for me.

    Small-batch, hand-crafted discipleship and church is where it’s at says I. There is strength in small numbers. But when those small numbers work together, God can do big things through lots of people instead of just a few from the stage.

  100. Michael says:


    There’s nothing better than finding a home…

  101. EricL says:

    Kevin @ 38- the Vineyard numbers on that Wikipedia list are also greatly inflated. We claim 300,000+ people in 2,400+ churches, not 15 million. Wow, that’s way off. I know we don’t report our numbers in some sensitive countries, but I seriously doubt we’re hiding that many folks 🙂

    (Stats listed about halfway down the page, in the section titled Celebrating 40 years)

  102. EricL says:

    “Small-batch, hand-crafted discipleship and church is where it’s at says I. There is strength in small numbers. But when those small numbers work together, God can do big things through lots of people instead of just a few from the stage.”

    Love that line, Corby @99. I’m so done with super-stars and their shows. Hand-crafted discipleship indeed.

  103. JoelG says:

    Thank you Michael!

  104. Michael says:


    Well thought out response…thank you.

  105. Chris Long says:

    To be more clear for Jean/MLD/etc: I’ve said before there are things about the Lutheran experience that I have a love/hate relationship with. The rote liturgy is my best example of that. I have no problem with reciting common things we believe corporately together, and truth be told, I wish sometimes that more evangelical churches (i.e. CC) wouldn’t be afraid to do that sometimes. So yes, I do miss that sometimes, but no, not enough to ever want it in my life again on a regular basis on the level it’s done in such churches. I go back periodically anyway, and I always just end up leaving kind of frustrated (not just for that reason). When that’s all the majority one does in church is recite words on a page (no matter true they may be), it just comes across monotonous and fake and boring to me when done week in and week out. And that still is my impression all these years on. But like I said, I don’t dismiss the practice entirely and do see value in it, and if you or anyone else loves that mode, I say “GREAT – ENJOY!” 🙂 🙂

    Getting back to CC, I agree with Michael that Corby’s #99 was a good read!

  106. Chris Long says:

    On the CC front, several years ago, maybe a year before Chuck died, I woke up one morning in that hazy half-awake state with this line burning in my spirit: “Calvary Chapel, I love you, but you’re breaking My heart.” I hadn’t even been thinking about CC at all. I knew it was the Lord and could sense His presence strongly. While I have ALWAYS been very skeptical (and still am) of anyone writing as Jesus, I also knew I was hearing the Lord and He had a message to give. Starting with that line and the Lord just continuing to give me words, 20 minutes later I had a letter that I believe was from the Lord (not to say some of my flesh might not have creeped in too – I would not and DID NOT represent it as being 100% accurate as Jesus) – I then sent it to both Chuck and Brian with a cover letter. I have no idea if they ever read it or not. I think I ended up deciding to send it anonymously so it might have just gotten tossed. Without reprinting the letter, let me just say that it basically was a call for CC to get back to the simplicity of living by the Spirit and being known for their love rather than doctrine and get away from the criticizing others/ODM nonsense and business machine/formula stuff and just living off of past glories. It ended with the same line it started with: “Calvary Chapel, I love you, but you’re breaking My heart. Please come back.”

    Personally, like Corby and some others, I don’t see the split as necessarily a bad thing in the long run. And I’ve been excited to see some of the moves Brian/CCCM have been making. JD in #27 mentioned something similar, but I’ve heard the timeline of ministries originally birthed in the Spirit described as going through this cycle: “Movement -> Machine -> Museum -> Mausoleum”. In my opinion CC as a whole (not on an individual church level where of course there could be great variations) was largely in the Museum stage (just looking backwards to all God did in the past) and was on its way given enough time towards Mausoleum (where it’s lifeless). So I’m excited that Brian is trying to interrupt that cycle and reboot and, like the name of his radio program, get “back to basics”. That takes great courage (since others will lob every arrow they can at you – and they have been). I’m excited to see what God still has for CC, however it all shakes out.

  107. Scooter Jones says:

    Well, Mrs. ODM was certainly successful in taking the focus off of CC! LOL

  108. pstrmike says:


    “So I’m excited that Brian is trying to interrupt that cycle and reboot… ”

    So am I. Brodersen’s time at Costa Mesa prior to becoming the senior pastor there exposed him to so much, and I hope he learned well not only to develop the vision, but to navigate the sometime treacherous waters to get there.

  109. Corby says:

    Thank you Eric, Michael, and Chris. Agree with 106.

  110. Ms. ODM says:

    #38 – Kevin – Still working on it, but I had to untie that hand. It would seem that there are more ‘Christians’ than there are people.

  111. Theophilus says:

    Chuck and CC were used at the time. They were culturally relevant in the 70’s and early 80’s but not so much any more. Culture has changed and so have it’s values and the CC thing doesn’t work well any more. Most in their churches are older folks.

    Having said that, I don’t know of any church or movement that is making an impact in the current culture.

  112. Theophilus says:

    Sounds like of you disagree with Jackie or Mrs. ODM on any issue you are labeled a heretic or abhorrent

  113. Theophilus says:

    I didn’t know that one’s position on eschatology defined one as a true believer!

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

    Life after Calvary Chapel, having returned to simply following Jesus

  115. Babylon's Dread says:

    Miss ODM doesn’t play well with others. She never has.

    Like your website Theophilus but where is the young generation of leaders.

  116. Theophilus says:

    Great question. I came to this older generation church a year ago. Since then, we have grown and are intentionally going after and attracting and discipline younger men and women. After a year of discipleship, 7 young men about to be appointed in leadership. One of my areas of responsibility is music. Ive been training a group of young musicians. They are beginning to take the lead in that area too. So, to answer your question, we’re working on it. It just takes time.

    Good things is we have the support of the old duffers

  117. Theophilus says:

    “Good things is we have the support of the old duffers”…of which I am one. Ive got a few years left. But my job, IMO, is not to be up front, but to train and push the young men and women forward. It’s one of the reasons I stepped down from my church of 20 years. I put a younger man in my place.

  118. Theophilus says:

    We CC pastors must be careful not to resist change when it is directed by God. In Jesus day, the Jewish leadership was content with their religious life under the law and saw Jesus as a threat.

    Those of us from the Jesus movement are bald, and grey and aging. God did a wonderful thing in the 70’s and 80’s. But he is raising up a whole new group of leaders who love God but express it in a different way. We can’t be threatened by that. Instead, we need to be their cheerleaders encouraging them to build upon the foundation we poured and find ways to reach their culture and express themselves before God in ways that are biblical but maybe foreign to us.

    It’s a different world. Technology has effected culture as much as the painting press did. We aged Christians can be the old wine skins of Luke 5. We aren’t necessarily bad, we just grew up in a culture that knew phones with cords on them, turntables and vinyls records, Kodak cameras, books not kindles, we went shopping at Penny’s and Woolworths instead of ordering clothing and food on line,. To us a virus is something your kids come down with not something on a computer. We aren’t necessarily bad, but the world, as it does, progressed beyond us. We old farts need to recognize that the world has changed and encourage the younger to embrace their world in Their way and use toolls like social media et al with the gospel just as we did in our day

  119. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    “When Smith died, there was no one of his stature in the group who wanted to take over, but plenty of lesser lights who desperately wanted the position.”

    The Iron Throne is empty.
    Let the Game of Thrones begin.

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