Message From Michael: Part 2

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64 Responses

  1. London says:

    I’m a little confused here. Is this about being a place to share the “good things” or about another CC thread? It seems a bit of a mixed message.
    Or, I’m not reading properly.
    I’m all for discussions about topics of positive things happening in the wider body, if that’s what you’re saying.

  2. Michael says:


    I’m addressing those who are disappointed with the fact that I don’t run constant critiques of CC all the time as we used to.
    There has been more than a little speculation as to why that is and I wanted to speak to that as well as the other things I wrote.
    Ironically, I’ll be running a “classic” Phoenix Preacher article on CC next week…

  3. Paige says:

    “I ask that you treat each other with the respect and dignity here that you may have been denied elsewhere…that you model here what you want the whole Body of Christ to be.

    In doing so you will at least change your part of the church”… Amen!!! Amen!! Amen!
    My friend, that’s really all we got…. our little realm/sphere for God’s Glory & pleasure.

    Love you and appreciate you Michael. Take care of you, cuz no one else will… and T needs you.

    Think I’ll change my name to Dee Tachment 🙂

  4. Alex says:

    Great article by David Sessions of Newsweek/Daily Beast. Best article yet in untangling the intricate web of dysfunction and deceit which is the Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel Dynamic.

    I disagree with you Michael that things can’t change and won’t change. I was intricate in helping Sessions untangle the mess and connect the dots. This is powerful stuff and it will make a difference…and there is illegal stuff out there and there is civil litigation coming eventually. Don’t let the one judge in Idaho discourage you. Wait for California or Oregon or another more victim-friendly state.


    We’re in the third inning…and it’s a Double-header.

    Change will come one way or another, Believe that.

  5. Alex says:

    Michael said, “A recent article on the Daily Beast relied partially on the work we did on these issues years ago.”

    Way to pat yourself on the back. If it wasn’t for me not letting up and not giving in to your defeatism and all the bullspit I get from you and others, this article doesn’t happen and and a much broader warning to the World isn’t made.

    Christianity Today is one thing, Newsweek/Daily Beast is a whole new level of exposing the stuff.

    Get back in the Game Michael. And quit discouraging me with your defeatist attitude. You had a calling, you got snowed by Rolph and others. Snap out of it.

    Or, be a Club and leave the stuff to the pros.

  6. n o m a n s says:

    Oh, irony.

  7. Alex says:

    Nomans, you may not like it, but it’s the truth and I’m sick of walking on egg shells. This has been very difficult for me and I have faced a head-wind for some time thanks to some of my “friends” who chicken out when the word “lawsuit” is mentioned. I have gotten very little support from this “community” for quite some time, and now Michael takes some credit for the national article. Bullspit.

  8. Michael says:


    What I do or don’t do here really shouldn’t affect you at all.
    You have your own site and your own ways and you need not pay any mind to me at all.
    This article was about me and this site and how I choose to proceed, not about you.

    I will proceed according to conscience and how I believe the Lord is leading…you should and will do the same.

  9. n o m a n s says:

    (exiting stage left to keep myself from sin)

  10. Michael says:


    I was very involved in those CT articles and ran for years before anyone ever heard of you.
    I’m not taking any credit, just pointing out that some of the work we did is still bearing fruit.

  11. Paige says:

    Michael, don’t take the bait….. and yes, there is lots of fruit….. and more to come…. not everything that is ‘real’ is ‘visible’.

  12. n o m a n s says:

    but it’s the truth and I’m sick of walking on egg shells
    Say the one who argues relative/objective/subjective tirelessly. Has your big 4 become big five? Alex, you have no idea what happened here for years before you arrived… and changed the dna of this place.

  13. n o m a n s says:

    And if you have been walking on eggshells, I can’t fathom you being unrestrained.

  14. n o m a n s says:

    true eggshells = My 60 approved comments against your 600.
    Shouldn’t have gone on, but my proverbial tongue is scarred from keeping it.

  15. PP Vet says:

    Thanks for your efforts and service here, Michael, I appreciate you.

    Years ago when I first started participating in PP, one day the Holy Spirit impressed on my heart that He was using this place to help people recover.

    Since then I have certainly been one who has harped on you mercilessly over your efforts to bring change to leaders, which I always felt was outside your calling.

    It is said that Florence Nightingale was a bad shot. And General Patton’s bedside manner was horrid.

    If we are going to be like Jesus, we will have to stay within our divinely ordained sphere.

    Sometimes that is not easy.

    God bless you and all those who have participated in this ministry over the years.

  16. Alex says:

    Nomans said, “I can’t fathom you being unrestrained.”

    LOL, you don’t want to see me unrestrained. It’s not a pretty picture.

  17. Michael says:


    It would be a frightening thing to be sued, although you have written that you welcomed this clash and welcomed the confrontation with your step father.
    I would not welcome a lawsuit as I have trouble just keeping gas in the truck and food on the table.
    I had no guarantee that I would not be named in this lawsuit, as a court order was issued seizing my database, as you know.
    It was my understanding that you have acquired excellent representation and that it was wisdom not to comment on the proceedings for the time being.
    I know of no one who doesn’t support your basic cause here…you have unfortunately created an adversarial situation over totally unrelated matters that has taken away the desire of many to embrace the matter more fully.
    You certainly have had your story told here many times and I have never retracted my initial responses to what happened to you.
    We disagree on methodology and maybe even purpose…but that does not mean we are enemies.
    It means we have different sites for different reasons and they can be complementary rather than adversarial.

  18. Em says:

    #8 – stated lovingly and honestly, if that isn’t clear, i give up …

    i came on this site as an outsider with no history of overt church abuse from any church fellowships and no personal contact of any note with Calvary Chapel; coming here was like arriving at a Civil War field hospital …

  19. Alex says:

    Michael, I don’t view us as enemies, I’m disappointed with how I seem to get thrown under the bus here and how you seem to repeat the mantra that nothing will ever change, etc and how little encouragement I seem to get. It’s always telling me what a jerk I am or that I’m ruining the blog etc etc. Even when I try to follow the “rules” it seems it’s not good enough and someone moves the goal posts. I don’t like how you completely ignored what I’ve done, yet take some of the credit. At least I’m don’t fake piety. I’m proud of the national article. It is much needed. It only got there through responding to the call and through sheer persistence and hard work in exposing the truth despite the massive amount of heat and the David vs. Goliath situation.

    I’m the one guy who really took your old stuff to heart and have worked my guts out to do something. I feel like I am barely welcome around here.

  20. London says:

    We need to honor our friend’s boundaries he’s set on his time and money.
    He has a right, as a grown adult, to choose to spend those things as he wishes.

  21. Alex says:

    I’ve said what I needed to say. I’ll go to by blog and leave you guys alone. Don’t pat yourself on the back too much for what’s coming this year and next.

  22. Alex is so funny – he has written one, I repeat one article on his own blog since Dec. 8th. – and that one article was an article saying he had nothing new to write, He has nothing original to say or to bring to that table.

    Michael writes original material constantly, but Alex only knows how to react.

  23. Michael says:


    I dont believe anything will change until Chuck is gone and even then I have my doubts.
    That is my belief…but it doesn’t mean I feel defeated, it means I have chosen a different strategy…bottom up instead of top down.
    If you look at the history of independent religious associations they survive scandal after scandal…best example being the IFB.
    Again, if people grow to stop tolerating it, the leaders go away from loss of money and support.
    That doesn’t mean there are not times when we shine a light on the top…and I may be doing so again later in the week.
    Even after that I will go back to what I think is more important…empowering and educating the Body.
    To be honest, many have grown weary and more have just left here…because of the fact that you employ such a confrontational and repetitive style of communication.
    It wears people down who aren’t responding to all of these disparate topics with passion to win, but with a desire to discuss.
    You are the only one who can change that perception if you so choose.

    Again, I had nothing to do with the article you mentioned, I take no credit for it.

  24. I have followed Alex at a distance at his blog. Some may think he talks tough and is carrying on the fight, but the best I can tell, about 3 weeks after the lawsuit, Alex stopped making direct accusations against Bob.
    Coincidence? Advise of counsel? Whatever it is, Alex has done exactly what he accuses Michael of doing – compromise.

    Someone else have a reason that Alex stopped calling Bob a child beater and child molester in public?

  25. Michael says:


    This conflict has dominated this space long enough.
    Let it go.
    We need your Lutheran perspectives on other matters…this just detracts from it.

  26. Paige says:

    Michael wrote (to Alex)” To be honest, many have grown weary and more have just left here…because of the fact that you employ such a confrontational and repetitive style of communication.”
    I am one of them.
    I have been too beat up in my life to continually expose myself to repeated tirades that necessitate full body armor and shields up. There are much more productive and life-giving things to do with my daily limited energy.
    I prefer kindness as a healing force in this brief life.

  27. Xenia says:

    The Alex vs MLD purgatory is a serious problem here. It’s not just Alex, it’s those who goad him. Adults don’t really enjoy this kind of foolishness. I know I don’t.

    I myself have come to realize that I am not on the same page, theologically, with the blog. I have come to realize that I was compromising (soft-pedaling) my own beliefs, which are in conflict with most of yours, in order to say in the conversation here, and this is not something I am willing to do anymore. (This is not the fault of the blog at all, by the way.) I was given a pastoral blessing (see how that rankles most of you?) to participate here as long as I wasn’t argumentative but I was finding that obedience increasingly impossible to follow.

    Anyway… May the Lord bless you and keep you, Michael.

    All the best,

  28. incognito says:

    I have alot to say but I often restrain myself because I care and because I am a coward in many ways. I to cannot afford to be sued even if I am in the right. In my experience as a Christian retaliation is the first line of orthodoxy. I think all of us support Alex in our own ways. I understand where he comes from in many ways, trying to seek justice. In my efforts to “seek justice” from my father for past “issues” I moved back in and took care of him when he was sick, we eventually reconciled near his death. None of the other kids had that “experience”. Now in the modern apologetic I am a piece of trash and should have let the old sob die alone, then pray he burns in hell forever in a healthy eternal resurrected body for the glory of God. That is one reason I post in semi anon mode. I admit I dont have the guts for this fight, first it cant change. Not it wont it cant, even if God Himself ordained it cant. I came to that conclusion many moons ago and it has always prove more sure then gravity. Of course that is nonsense but it is how I have it ingrained in me so I am pessimistic.

    Second this quote “Chuck Smith along with C.J. Mahaney and all the rest don’t have to change…they are wealthy and powerful and sovereign in their realms.” I have a confession, I envy them and I am personally and deeply ashamed I am not like them or attained their level of success with in the corporation. They live life walking between the raindrops in their own little evangelical bubble. They dont struggle with issues like origins, the historicity of the flood, views of the atonement and so on. They have it all figured out and are so sure. Of course they are blatantly wrong on many of their observations but that is completely irrelevant in the extreme.

    They have it all figured out, down to the last jot and tittle.

  29. Michael – “as you wish”

    I just finished watching The Princess Bride 2 days in a row with my grandson. 🙂

    I will drop the Alex issue.

  30. Michael says:


    I am blessed to call you friend.
    I understand and appreciate your honesty.
    May He bless and keep you as well.

  31. Michael says:

    Thank you, MLD.

  32. Alex says:

    MLD you’re an idiot. Total misrepresentation. Keep it coming and I’ll keep replying until I’m banned (God knows you’re ban-proof).

  33. Paige, i pray the healing continues … may others here do so also … the drive to bring everything to resolution and retribution has to have a cut-off point, eh?

  34. J.U. says:


    I originally was led to Christ by a lady who lived His love in her daily life. Her joy and contentment was so encouraging I had to ask her more about it, and that is how I learned of Christ.

    Your words always reminded me of her. I miss you here on this blog. I respect your decision and reasons, but I just wanted you to know that you reminded me so much of my friend, and that always gave me special joy to read your comments.

    I agree with Michael. I’m blessed to have read you on this blog. God bless you and keep well.

  35. London says:

    Hey Xenia,
    Good to see you. I’m not rankled 😉

  36. I do want to say something about the Daily Beast article, but first I must admit to never having read that blog before – so perhaps it is their style. This is a journalistic statement \ question and not about the content.

    It seems to be that the author did no first hand investigation or reporting. Everything was old news, except his tie in the the NM family killing. He relied on all old stories, things told in the past or published previously. It seems that his article was just a clearing house for old information.

    Some of you may know David Sessions – does he ever do first hand investigation?

  37. Lutheran says:


    Good to see you. Blessings to you and your house. .

    Don’t know why anyone on here would be rankled, though. I think what you did was quite wise.

  38. Fly on a Wall says:

    From Alex: “I’m the one guy who really took your old stuff to heart and have worked my guts out to do something. I feel like I am barely welcome around here.”

    Alex, I’m glad you’re here and I’m blessed by the work you are doing.

    The story comes to mind is of David and Solomon. David wanted to rebuild the Temple but God forbid him because he was a man of blood, so he had his son do it. It’s kinda the same, but roles are reversed. Alex is a man of blood (well, kinda, he’s definitely not pious, nor does he pretend to be) but Michael is still a pastor of God. I wouldn’t feel good if Michael devoted 100% to what Alex is doing. Also, Alex has his personal testimony, so it adds more significance, while shedding light to others who had smaller, less evident abuse.

    So Alex, whether you stay or leave, I hope you continue what God has put on your heart to do. As a fellow believer, I feel you’re doing the right thing and you’re aligned with God’s will.

    But I do hope you don’t alienate those who are drawn to you by your testimony. I’ve praised you several times on the good job you’re doing. But I hope that you continue to stick to facts, being respectful, even to wrong-doers, and being objective and unemotional. Your interview with Chuck Smith was a great example. You were respectful but you didn’t back down, just like any good interviewer.

  39. filbertz says:

    Michael, thanks for the two messages, I appreciate your perspectives and candidness. The fullness of my schedule as well as my recent health issues allow me a sense of the tasks you face. I have not been engaged in prayer in any manner other than sporadically, but will make it a matter of priority to pray specifically for you for a season. It may mean little more than a fart in a blizzard, but who knows…

  40. Fly on a Wall says:

    And Alex, please keep us updated, so we can pray for you. Many here are cheering for you. What happens in your case can case ripples in the Evangelical and legal world. What you are doing is important… and scary. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I believe many want to help you and see you succeed.

  41. London says:

    Alex has a blog you might find of interest if you’re curious about what’s going on first hand.
    Click on his name and it’ll take you there I think.

  42. Michael says:


    Your prayers matter, but you matter more.
    You and your wife make me feel better even when we just have a moment to speak with each other.
    I’ll be praying for you as well…

  43. Nonnie says:

    Michael,you are appreciated and respected, and loved. I am very grateful for this community.

  44. Misty says:

    You truly are your own worst enemy Alex.

  45. sarahkwolfe says:

    Man, I missed all the fun.

    How about this: we just got two kittens so now I can join the cat discussions 😉

  46. Michael says:

    Cats teach good theology. 🙂

  47. Em says:

    in the future, i don’t expect to do much posting – i find myself erasing most of my posts for a variety of reasons; the greatest being that i am wasting my time and Michael’s blog space … gotta break this addiction … where’s that 12 step thing?

    just saying … in case anyone might think that i’ve died 😐

    for the fun of it, maybe, if i do post, i’ll do so incognito 😎

    God keep

  48. cas says:

    Michael, I affirm your testimony here. Please take care of yourself. Best blessings friend.

  49. Alex says:

    Misty said, “You truly are your own worst enemy Alex.”

    Ironically, there’s probably a lot of theological/philosophical truth to that.

    We’re probably all our own worst enemies in a sense.

  50. Steve Wright says:

    MIchael, I can’t speak for your neo-Calvinist brethren, but from the CC perspective only. And of course, even there, I only speak for myself. And in my opinion, a few years ago this blog was having a far greater impact towards CC reformation when there were multiple CC voices present and active. At least of the sort you showed concern for, namely pastoral accountability.

    Not only was there active participation, but pastors actively were referring others to ‘check you out’ and while not agreeing with every point, nonetheless seeing with eyes outside the bubble the real challenges. And then, individually, church by independent church, making changes to our own houses. I know I was referred here by another. As no doubt were many.

    You were not seen as an enemy. And I at least believed you would love to see the CC churches thrive and continue to minister to the many thousands that call them home. You certainly had plenty of good things to say along with your criticisms.

    Articles like the Daily Beast won’t do a thing. Just read the comments. Half of the people sound like atheists or at least haters of all things ‘church’ and religion. Others just talking about money when the real concern (of you) has first been about people. No CC pastor is going to read that article connecting a horrible murder scene with old scandals of the past and do a thing, in my opinion. In fact, I think using those murders as a pretext for the article is quite shameful by Sessions.

    However, in free, encouraged, participation here – things were done.Changes were made. I know I can’t in good faith encourage other CC pastors I know to join this community. And I can think of a dozen or so off the top of my head (and you no doubt could add many more) that all seemed to have moved on

    And I think it is a shame. Not looking to debate my opinion with anyone. Just my two cents.

  51. Alex says:

    CC pastors are leaving the Bad Brand, just got word about a group in Central Cali who are gonzo. It’s a trend that’s taking shape. I hope more will follow. If you dont’ agree with Chuck and the way he does things, if you don’t agree with the Moses Model, if you don’t agree with the enabling, lying, misdeeds etc, then why be voluntarily Associated/Affiliated to it and promote the Bad Brand?

    At some point, apologizing for a Bad Brand must get old and maybe it’s time to move on.

  52. Alex says:

    Steve has asserted in the past that it would disrupt his church and he’d lose folks and lose money etc. I’d push back and suggest that Principle is more important and that I think folks are going to eventually be soured by the stench coming from Costa Mesa and the bad stuff that is happening and not dealt with in a righteous manner.

    Why propagate the lie of “100% independent”? If you are truly independent, then go the whole way and Dis-Affiliate. It’s dishonest, IMO, to affirm a lie and then claim that it would hurt you to be independent…if being truly independent is an obstacle, then you can’t truly be independent now, as Chuck claims you are.

  53. Alex says:

    If the CC Brand and Association and Affiliation doesn’t amount to some level of Control, some level of dependence on Chuck and Costa Mesa, etc…then what’s the fear of leaving the Brand?

    Fear of leaving the Brand and resulting loss in people proves the non-independent relationship and the connection to Chuck Smith’s coat-tails and Costa Mesa’s Brand.

  54. Ixtlan says:

    Are you at liberty to say who in Central California has left Calvary Chapel or how many?

  55. Lutheran says:

    ‘Articles like the Daily Beast won’t do a thing.’

    Yes, it will.

    It will give a certain group of fundagelicals a (false) excuse to cry “persecution” when they’re looked down at by secularists.

  56. Anne says:

    Hopefully articles like that will also help folks who are looking for a church home to be a bit more discerning, to ask more questions. Perhaps it will cause folks to vote with their feet and pocketbooks who were unaware of some of CC’s dark underbelly. Or they will work to demand change in their congregations.

  57. Well I just went through all the comments at the Daily Beast. I was under the impression that they had a big readership – but they have only 103 comments.
    Anyway, their commenters don’t exactly express a very sophisticated audience.

    The majority of the comments are from the anti religion – tax the church crowd.

  58. Anne says:

    One cannot judge the number of readers by the number of comments, nor the impact information is having on readers who are not commenting.

  59. ” In fact, I think using those murders as a pretext for the article is quite shameful by Sessions.” Agreed Steve.
    He could have made an article with the rest, but the pretext for the story is out of context. There is no suggestion of anyone doing anything bad, but the killer himself. I do agree with MLD earlier, he needs to do some investigating of his own. Who knows he could find some things that do need to come to light from the multiple other articles he mentioned.

  60. Anne, that’s fair, but the information was summer reruns as I said in my #36.

    David Sessions used the NM killings to make a different point… unless his point was that the victim was an evil CC leader who deserved to be killed. I couldn’t tell.

  61. Now here is some investigative journalism I was impressed with today.
    The first part in a fourteen part series posted today. Actually a quicker read than you would think.

  62. Julie Anne says:

    I’ve been following the Calvary Chapel Abuse site before before the lawsuit and also following SGM abuse stories for about 5 years. I, too, was wondering why Sessions used the murder as a springboard to address the CC/SGM issues. One connection that he did not make was that this family was likely a “quiver-full” family of 10 children (quiver-full means no birth control whatsoever) and they homeschooled their children. It is also very likely that the dad was Patriarchal because this fits the pattern that we often see within the “homeschool movement”. This common thread extends to Sovereign Grace churches where a large portion of their members are homeschooling families, hold to patriarchal teachings and some to full-quiver teachings.

    Some may be unfamiliar with this, but as one who has been a part of this “movement”, it can be very legalistic environment. Take a look at the SGM lawsuit – – lots of criminal activity and the church covered it up and failed to report. A lot of this has to do with the mindset of the leaders. Husbands are head of the home (patriarchal), church leaders must be obeyed at all costs – parents were even told not to report to authorities because they – church leaders – know better how to handle abuse cases than civil authorities. One of the plaintiff’s stories included 2 child victims who went to church leaders to report their dad’s abuse and get help. Instead of the pastors seeking outside help and reporting the dad’s abuse, they disclosed to the dad/perpetrator that his children had discussed the abuse with them. The 2 child victims were sent back to their father and re-victimized. No outside authority was notified. Patriarchy breeds this kind of climate where fathers know best, church leaders know best and anyone who bucks their system is an enemy.

    There will always be church abuse; however, I think the lawsuits, media, and blogs are definitely making a difference in awareness, in the healing process of survivors, and also putting pressure on church leaders to clean up their acts. Pastors are becoming aware that bloggers are going to be calling out their foolishness. Pretty much on a daily basis, I leave comments on “celebrity” pastor/church leader’s blogs, engage celebrity pastors via Twitter. I “remind” them about these lawsuits and the victims’ stories. Social media is great. I think if more people speak out and expose abuse, it will make a difference. Look at what the Penn State case did for sex abuse. We must keep fighting on behalf of victims who have no voice.

  63. Fly on a Wall says:

    Steve Wright: I’m glad that you are here.

    Why are you here? It seems very anti-megachurch and anti-Calvary Chapel, even a tad anti-fundy and anti-Evangelical. Just your presence here tells me you’re not the CC Yes-man people accuse you to be.

    Just a tip, one that I learned from Pastors over the years, is to not point out specifics and call out names (unless that person has done wrong). From the little I’ve read about Pastor Steve, he’s not doing the things we complain about so on this blog, so I don’t think it’s right to constantly bring up things he said in the past that have rubbed us the wrong way. He’s still part of this community. It’s not us versus him (but that may not be the case on Alex’s blog).

    For example: instead of saying “Steve said he’d lose money and people if he left the CC Movement”, why not say, MOST CC’s do not speak out against other CCs, even though they know their behavior is not biblically aligned with the guidelines given in Timothy. My conclusion is they fear being outcasted from the Movement, who cares more about upholding their brand name rather than doing what they know is right.” The words still carry a lot of damage, but it’s not personal nor petty.

    As for Alex’s blog, I don’t agree with everything he writes on there, but it is his blog. But more importantly, it’s one of the first attempts to check and balance the authority in CC. (but from personal experience and from prayer, I honestly don’t think a reformation will happen in CC anytime soon. People have become too powerful and this power has been unchecked for too long.) So mainly… Alex’s blog has become a community of sorts, where we rally against a cause and people who have been wronged don’t feel so isolated and alone.

    Steve, I hope you see the value in that. And I hope you stay. I know we’ve bumped heads but I enjoy reading your comments (even if I disagree with them). You have a very unique angle because you are a CC Pastor BUT you come from a Lutheran background. You can easily play devil’s advocate for either side. I’m sure you have an interesting testimony concerning your theological beliefs and why you’ve decided to embrace the CC Movement.

  64. Fly on a Wall says:

    I’m being moderated again. Did I do something wrong?

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