The Calvary Chapel Chronicles
I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the importance of understanding the “reparenting” process wherein many in the first and second generation of CC pastors adopted Chuck Smith as a father or father figure.
Since then, my attention was directed to a copy of “Calvary Chapel Magazine” a periodical that the Calvary Chapel Association took over.
Speaking of Smith at a CCA conference, these were some quotes from the participants…
“Pastor David Rosales agreed: “When I looked at Pastor Chuck, I saw him as a model that I wanted to be like one day. That was ‘dad’—and that was my spiritual father.” He added, “We are supposed to be loving, like a family.”
“David added, “I want to give honor to Pastor Chuck—to thank God for Chuck Smith and his ministry in our lives. He was our pastor.” Suddenly, the entire room erupted in thundering applause, with many standing, smiling, shouting ‘Amen!’—even laughing or crying.”
“Pastor Damian Kyle of CC Modesto, CA, added, with great emotion, “Like a lot of people in Calvary, I got to know Chuck from a distance at first through his cassette tape teachings. … I watched him like a hawk, how he carried himself. He was one of the most influential men of my life. … I needed a father figure; I wasn’t looking for one, but I needed one—spiritually.”
“Another early intern of Chuck’s, Pastor Don McClure recalled how, as the Calvary Chapel Movement grew, Chuck took a lot of criticism from different groups through the years for his stance on various issues—splits within the fellowship, teaching the Word of God, Calvinism, and the working of the Holy Spirit. “We’ve been together for 40 years, and we…always had a father figure. He had that strength. Chuck was like this ship that went through these huge waves…. He took the heat when people didn’t understand. It’s time for us to come together collectively as one—to know who we are and what we stand for.”
Now, this conference was a rally to try to convince the assembled Calvary Chapel pastors that the CCA was the holy side of the split and those leaders knew most powerful way to do that was to invoke ‘Papa Chuck” even if he had already passed.
That is the power of reparenting in these mens lives.
Now, they want the rest of the movement to do the same, even though many never knew or even met him.
The old guys did…and they’ll use Chuck Smith in death just as many of them did when he was here.
We’ve established two things so far about Chuck Smith, first his place as a paternal figure and second ,that he was covering a big secret.
How then did these future leaders respond at the time…in the early years when the foundations of the institution were laid?
They responded by protecting him at all costs…and using him for their own “get out of jail free” card.
One way was to help him construct cultural and theological barriers around his sin…The emphasis on the paternal, the “no talk” rule, the adoption of the threat about “touching the Lord’s anointed”…all of these previously used by scandal ridden Pentecostalism in the early decades of the twentieth century.
The other way was equally effective, a model from the Cold War of the sixties.
Mutually Assured Destruction…or “MAD”.
What kept the United States and the Soviet Union from blowing up the world in those tense times was the knowledge on both sides that if one side launched a missile, the other one would empty the silos…the assurance of mutually assured destruction.
So it was (and is) in Calvary Chapel.
If Chuck tried to discipline someone who knew his secret, that wayward pastor would gently remind Smith that he had a button to push as well.
Compromises could then be made and “grace” could be given.
This created a situation where the fallen pastor was rarely disciplined, but the person or persons who reported him was.
Boards were fired, whistleblowers shunned, and power consolidated.
Raise enough hell about an issue and you would be attacked yourself…”touch not God’s anointed”.
In a bizarre turn of events, this actually created growth for the movement in some areas.
There would be issues in one Calvary Chapel, people would try to address those issues, those people would be given the left foot of fellowship, then they would go start a new Calvary Chapel in the area.
They could do this because they now knew someones secret…
This sounds eerily similar to RCC and their scandals. At least there are civil authorities investigating the horrendous cover up of child abuse allegations in the RCC. In contrast, CC may have secrets so inbedded in their corrupt culture that they may never be exposed! And the Moses model “touch not God’s annointed” Papa Chuck legacy lives on….
I don’t think pastoral “crimes” in CC reach the level of sordidness and criminality that we see in the RCC. We don’t hear too many cases of CC pastors abusing children on a regular basis. Yes, I suppose it might happen, and I think adultery disqualifies a pastor, but CC doesn’t have entire seminaries taken over by homosexuals. We need to be careful of comparisons, even though I made this CC/RCC comparison myself the other day. Raping a child is not the same as a pastor committing adultery with a willing woman. One is a crime worthy of prison; one is a sin that should put the pastor out of the ministry.
Thank you for continuing on. We hope so much that you are recovering and doing better now.
I read this post and I confess that, as with some of your previous posts, I become curious to know more. I wonder, who employed this type of “blackmail” to ensure their own continuance in whatever ministry or pastorate they held? It may be the litigious nature of society that prohibits the revealing of their names . If so–protect yourself. It is hard to hold on sometimes-but I believe there is still a chance that God will orchestrate their exposure in time.
If these “men” could rationalize their brand of quid pro quo (aka: blackmail) then we can only assume they rationalized other, even worse things. Unrepentant sin is not static–it progresses. One of the more graphic examples is David, of course. He resorted to murder. Whether something so heinous as that has actually happened–I do not know and do not want to think so. I make no claim that it has. However, I always said, that in light of certain known facts and the inevitable progression of sin–some questions become reasonable. Maybe there was the disappearance of an unborn child that was the fruit of their immoralities. Only certain parties know for sure. It is sad that the actions of these putrid fellows have opened the door to these kinds of speculations, though. Sad and tragic.
Nonetheless, I have no trouble saying that many of us have been a witness to those who have had their reputations murdered by these men filled with what the Bible calls, “selfish ambition”.
In light of continuing revelations of corruption and abuse, one wonders how any rational thinker could still be stuck in the idolatrous camp of Chuck World. But then, I answered my own question. They aren’t rational thinkers anymore. I think rational thinking left the building with Elvis some time ago.
Here I am defending CC again. Sheesh.
But it’s been my experience that each CC takes on the culture of the senior pastor. If he’s a humble guy and just wants to bring people to Christ and teach them the Scriptures then a CC can be a very nice place to go to church, if you are a believer in Dispensationalism, which of course I am not. If you read PhxP you might wonder if your pastor is compromised in some way but I am going to speculate that probably 90 % of CC pastors are not compromised anymore than any other pastor anywhere in the world, RCC excepted. Most CC’s are small and rather sweet places. The bigger they get, the more problematic, I suspect. Unless the pastor is an old-school Chuck devotee or unless one is connected with the Chuck-centric Bible college, I doubt if most CC attendees pay much attention to him at all. Of course, his theology permeates the entire system, but Chuck’s brand of Dispensationalism is not unique to him and was taught by many evangelical groups long before he came to prominence.
Xenia, the point of comparison of CC/RCC is about the power of secrets which seems to be part of Michael’s thesis. Honestly unless anyone of us can peirce this veil of secrecy we will never know what lies underneath the covers. The Moses model system of no accountability is so bankrupt that it scares the hell out of me. But to your point, I’m not sure CC is as bad as RCC but I believe the same satanic power is at work in this dynamic. Love covers a multiple of sins not systematic secrecy. And if my memory serves me right, didn’t Jesus forbid calling any man our Father. Not sure exactly what Jesus meant there but it seems idolizing Papa Chuck could definitely fit the bill here.
I say this very cautiously, because I know it could be taken WAY out of context. People in the midst of this won’t/can’t see it because they are in the midst of it.
Posts like this, that address some behaviors, some mindsets, some cultural elements, (SOME), made sense to me as I was watching the Leah Remini docuseries about Scientology. The no-talk rules, the father figure, consolidation of power, etc. If you watch that series you will see some elements of old-school CC. It was kind of disturbing, especially since I can recall operating that way in my own contexts in those days.
Xenia,. You point about small CCs is well taken. However the problem I see is that many of these small CCs idolize the big ones sometimes referring to them as the home base and the Jerusalem church of sorts where they go to to resolve conflicts and seek advice, and support, etc. For instance CCA is not a bunch of autonomous churches but rather they fall under the cherry picking authority of their regional leader (Moses) mega church and many of these small time pastors aspire to this greatness.
I would not compare CC to the RCC priest abuse scandal in either size or severity. But I do think the parallel of the consequences of covering up sin does hold. While the covering up of Chuck Smith’s secret sin may have had the most immediate consequences on some of the first and second generation pastors who were in the know and took advantage of it, the trickle down effect throughout the whole movement of what Michael specifies as, “The emphasis on the paternal, the “no talk” rule, the adoption of the threat about “touching the Lord’s anointed””, would certainly seem to be significant. Some of the later and/or smaller CC pastors may have very well avoided the negative consequences of such. But I would imagine others have been adversely influenced and affected.
”touch not God’s anointed” misses the point that the hierarchic nature is an ongoing detriment to any organization.
Case in point, our democracy is founded on the idea that all persons are created equal, with unalienable rights. Our elected and appointed officials are “public servants”.
We are supposed to be “customer focused” in our service to Jesus/others, giving them the best possible enriching experience.
Whenever anyone is irreproachably above question, review, above the law, everyone suffers.
Being post-church I’m quite convinced of this about humans…
“They go crazy in congregations, they only get better one by one…”
Xenia’s 9:53 is very accurate in my experience. Steve’s 10:14 describes behavior I have never witnessed in “local” (ie, not big and famous) CC’s. One other point of clarification (not that it affects the point of the article): I don’t think it’s accurate that CCA has “taken over” the CC Mag. The magazine is funded by a multitude of contributing CCs. At one time I think CCCM was one of the biggest funders. When the split occurred, I think they had to make a choice, as there were obviously two different agendas at play. Whether for finances, theology, or some other reason, they chose to fall under the CCA vision.
This article asserts that the manipulation of Smith was very direct if covert.
Are you actually asserting that the ‘sons’ of this movement owned the father because of the secret and that this was well known? Can you give clear examples that you would cite that take this from a conspiracy to a clear reality?
This article is pretty crass. Did this stuff actually happen so that discipline was largely impossible with the inner circle?
This takes the thing from a suspicion to an accusation. It’s dark.
I am indeed asserting that the manipulation of Smith was direct.
Yes, I’m asserting that the sons owned the father.
Yes, I’m saying that in some cases discipline was impossible.
History is sometimes crass and unpleasant…
I think there is a process at play here, and I have seen it in my own life. As I came out of an impotent religious background and into the born-again, bible believing, teaching in CC, it was natural as a young man, who also had a poor relationship with his father, to look to the man leading for perhaps more than was reasonable. I have been overly loyal at times to the brand and even to the man, ignoring and defending shortcomings. Even my experience here at PP demonstrates that, as I was never before exposed to the level of criticism and accusation leveled at my team, and our coaches. However, in the course of time, and as part of the natural process, I have come to see that the level of loyalty that I had toward the brand and toward the man, was immature. I think this is why God tells the story on all of His leaders eventually… David failed, Moses failed, Joshua failed, Peter failed, Paul failed… in one way or another, God allowed the stories to be told so that we would not worship them, but Jesus. Not every story needs to be trotted out in public, especially while they are fresh, and many lives are impacted, but in retrospect it can be healthy to look back and examine failures -not so we can gloat or cast dispersion, but so that we can grow and not repeat the same mistakes.
Yes, I could name names and give specific examples.
The accused would either remain silent or deny it vociferously.
They would all damn me to the hottest hell.
You can choose to believe or not…but for many these articles are providing revelation that answers long asked questions.
I also think that the OP makes a lot of assertions without verification… something I suppose we have to live with as not all of the sources will allow themselves to be known.
I going to go out on a limb here and it may cut against Michael’s beliefs/knowledge from others, but I do not believe the allegations against Chuck were not well known and certainly were not well known beyond a few CCCM Board members (at the time), the inner family, the woman involved, and perhaps at best a handful of others and this “secret” lay dormant for years.
I do recall one time in my last years at CCCM around 2003-2004 in which, allegedly, one of the current leaders of CCA might have mentioed to one of Chuck’s family or close family friend, the “event.” Apparently that person’s knowledge was passed onto Chuck. It seemed a determination was made by him or the family that the now CCA leader got his information from someone very closely associated with Chuck and a part of his ministry..the closest that I knew. As a result that person was banned from being on campus for a year or so.
My point is not to identify the players, but to merely give evidence to the fact that Chuck’s alleged sin was hardly well known, and likely not known by anyone, or at best a few, beyond the parties mentioned above. If the first generation CCA guy didn’t know as of 2004, I think it a large stretch that any of the first or second generation guys knew of it, so therefore could not act on it. I know others did, and will leave it at that.
In closing, there are plenty of hooks to hang CC issues on besides this one, but it’s role I believe had far less impact than some here seem to attribute.
For those who observe behavior, this explains Chuck’s being keyed into grace as well as his extending grace and a second chance to people such as Larry Taylor, David Hocking, Ralph Wood, and on and on. But again, since I posit very few knew of this issue even late in Chuck’s life, very few could therefore leverage on it.
Steve, I am not a first gen guy and not in CA… but I knew about it as a youth pastor in the late 90’s… no details, but just that there was an affair.
We’ll agree to disagree.
These are things I was told in the early 2000’s by some of the same folks running shows today…complete with corroboration of specific incidents.
Sorry, that was directed to Jeff…
“I also think that the OP makes a lot of assertions without verification… ”
Like another blog that had a headline stating I was dying…
Let me give clarification and perhaps correction to my comment above. Michael, I agree that the word was bleeding out by the late ‘90’s, but it was very third party info… more correctly in the category of rumor. Like I said, you may have more info., but I only saw very few people personally leverage Chuck on this info. to gain advantage or benefits, but I am only one person and I cannot deny that there could have been more.
The incident I am most familiar with happened in the early 80’s when a very prominent pastor was asked by Smith to step out for a season because his notoriety as a skirt chaser was becoming embarrassing. The offender told Smith to go pack sand…and got away with it because he knew the family secrets. I’ll fill you in privately when I get a few minutes at the same time you do… 🙂
Matt,. Not sure if you remember the letter Don McClure sent to all the affiliates when CCA was just birthed. He talked in that letter about giving real “authority” to the regional leaders. Something that was once tried but this time after Smith’s passing they attempted to institute. Where did this notorious list of CCA regional leaders come from and why would any local affiliate go along with this usurped authority? Maybe they already idolized their regional pastor in the same way the first generation pastors idolized Papa Chuck. This was McClures vision for the continuation of CC.
Steve, in my experience, I never heard a regional leader referred to as home base or Jerusalem, nor idolized. Not all the regional leaders (at least in my area) are mega churches. The regional leaders were intended to be the “first level” supervisor, for conflicts, affiliation and things like that. In my experience it was a fairly healthy relationship and provided advice or accountability. I guess it’s possible and likely that some regional leaders behaved otherwise, but certainly not as black and white or as common as your comment made it sound.
The smaller CC’s went along with it because that is how Chuck laid it out awhile back and CCA kind of co-opted it more recently. Like every other form of polity, it’s not necessarily/inherently a bad system–>it just depends on who is in the leadership positions.
This still goes to the point I was making last week. If what we read here is true (and I am not casting doubt on it) then the building of CCCM out of the Jesus Movement may have been the work of the Holy Spirit until the “Event” in the early 70s.
After that it was all built by deceit, corruption, blackmail and the resulting favors given by Chuck Smith to sidestep the blackmail.
I don’t know where the rest of you come down, but I would suggest the Holy Spirit was gone from CCCM by 1980.
I don’t know how we can say the Holy Spirit was gone from a place when people were still coming to Christ.
We can say that this was a helluva mess starting about that time…
In the New Covenant, the Spirit is in Word, Sacraments and believers, not in places.
I believe what MLD describes is written here:
On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
Apparently A.G. is owed a large apology because when he published on this topic at his blog years ago he was pretty unanimously criticized for doing so, instantly, by this community (which I recognize has changed in terms of active participants). Some were quite angry at A.G. while others were sympathetic along the lines of “this does not help your cause” claiming it as an example of how “hurt people hurt others”. In either case, the uproar was enough that I believe that article was taken down within 24 hours at most. I know it came down very quickly.
Maybe A.G.’s mistake was writing when Chuck was still alive and healthy???
I am confused because, since A.G.’s article was the very first time I had EVER heard of the accusation – despite my rather lengthy time in both the movement as well as at Costa Mesa specifically, I privately wrote Michael asking if this, indeed, was true.
My confusion is in the response I received back at the time – I’d quote it verbatim if it was possible to easily find among years of old private Messenger discussions, but I remember the substance like I remember the day my daughter was born. (You can imagine my trepidation in asking the question and what Michael might tell me)
The reply was in effect that there had always been rumors and a lot of smoke but nothing confirmed.
Considering I asked at the same time about another pastor and his adulteries, and was told (and here I remember the quote) that his trysts were as long as your leg, I would assume the reply on Chuck then would have been at least similar to these articles. Michael and I certainly had a very direct, open, relationship at the time, and I am most definitely not some “needing a father” type in the movement whose delicate psyche couldn’t handle the truth.
Hey, maybe new information just came to light in the last few years. I guess the A.G. article and my private correspondence it generated would have been maybe 2011 or so? 2012? Not really sure but sometime in that realm. I think A.G. posted it after his meeting with Chuck, but again, I have a harder time with remembering specific dates more than specific content. (It’s why I can quote large verses of Scripture but be at a loss for a reference citation – as anyone who listens to my messages knows well)
Anyway, it is what it is. The years march on, times change, and so do the history books.
Just thought I would add that into the mix, only because THIS article seems to have advanced a thesis quite a bit farther than the last article (as seen in comments like Babylon’s Dread above). The last article did not warrant my inclusion…I felt this one did.
It will be my only comment in the thread.
P.S. I trust one can reach A.G. and offer apologies if warranted. I can imagine what he must think to see all the “This needs to be said” sort of replies compared to the condemnation his article brought upon him when he wrote while Chuck was still living.
A quick followup.
If anyone wonders at the lack of interaction – just read Jean and MLD’s comments. How timely they are (as I was writing the first comment)
It’s not about Michael (or politics).
How would you like to constantly be called an unbeliever, even a tool of Satan, whenever seeking to offer something relevant to the community discussion…..
Steve W. I think it’s helpful to separate the CC institution from believers that may be caught up in it. How folks can remain in a corrupt institution is another question altogether but I know good people this happens to. I view you as one of the good guys.
You may want to go through the comments from last week’s article as I pushed the same point – “If what we are reading here is true…”
There seems to be a big “if”.
Also, I began last week’s comments (the 2nd comment of 133) with a question About 8th commandment violations and passing gossip.
I am pressing the issue against those who would claim a great work built on the Holy Spirit vs whay may have been a great work built on – as I said – deceit, corruption, blackmail and favors —- if what we are reading is true..
Sorry, but that’s the last name I want coming back here…
I’ll answer Steve Wrights wonderfully passive aggressive attempt to discredit me later…have my hands full at the moment…
To be concise, you have two choices here.
I’m telling the truth as I know it from years of this beat, or I get up in the morning and make this stuff up.
It’s that simple.
Sorry Michael. I thought it might fit into the series.
It does but it also invites strife and trouble I can’t and won’t contend with.
I once felt called to start a Calvary Chapel. It was there that I learned how not to be a pastor. 😉
I understand Michael.
Steve wrote at September 12, 2018 at 11:51 am
” Not sure if you remember the letter Don McClure sent to all the affiliates when CCA was just birthed. He talked in that letter about giving real “authority” to the regional leaders. ”
I remember that clearly. I was a bit concerned at being “under” my regional pastor, mainly because I did not know him and there was no relationship. Everyone I spoke with or blogged with tried to tell me there was no authority to be “under.” It was nonsense and I began to wonder if I was the only one who had not drank the Kool-Aid.
I remember when McClure and company power played and took over control of CCA. He was originally going to be an administrator – that was it. They severed relationships, discredited Brian and I had enough. It was a usurpation of what had already been established. Today I fellowship with the Calvary community by being a part of CGN.
I wondered about this nigh on two decades ago. I’m not implying it’s related.
John Courson goes to the Mothership and begins a long weeknight study series of Revelation. And then, he’s not there. Was it just a temp gig?
I can’t recall the study getting out of the first chapters, but I might have just been distracted.
So… in answer to Steve’s “questions”…
Yes, more information has been related to me in the last few years, particularly since Smith passed away.
Previously, knowledge of this affair was assumed by insiders and used to explain away things that seemed to need explanation.
In particular what I’ve gained are details…a filling out of the story and the players that put the whole thing together and in context.
Why wait this long?
Lots of reasons.
I knew that when I did finally write it I’d better be ready to defend everything I wrote and be prepared for the melee that would accompany it.
The second thing that needed to be right was my motives.
If I did this simply to cause pain to a group I’m historically at odds with, then I would be in a real bad place with my God.
I’ve got enough problems, thank you…
Finally, I knew that writing this would cause heartbreak to people I care about…and that was a big factor in why I waited.
There you have it…it won’t satisfy those who already think me evil, but it is what I did and why.
Courson was auditioning.
He was too well received and the audition was closed.
Steve Wright called me out for citing Matthew 7:22-23. This passage gives great consolation to Christians who have worshiped under a fallen pastor.
Let’s say you have a pastor, who at one time was a believer, but then falls into unrepentant sin and apostasizes. He continues to preach the Word, but himself has fallen away from the faith. What is the status of the folks who were at his church, who may have come to faith under that pastor? What this passage says is that even an unbeliever can “prophesy in [Christ’s] name, and cast out demons in [Christ’s] name, and do many mighty works in [Christ’s] name”.
This is great consolation, because (1) we know of pastors, for example, Reuben, and others mentioned in articles, who either departed the faith or were in unrepentant sin, but we cannot read hearts so we may not know who they are at any given time; and (2) their work in the name of Christ was still efficacious, based on the power of the Word of God and not the piety of the pastor. Isn’t this comforting?
On Courson, ever read his commentary? A theologian he is not. Simpleminded, yes.
Jacobson, “trotted out in public” is what the Bible did, and somehow it is not appropriate to have these things trotted out in public? God did not cover up anything if he was indeed the author. Apparently the Bible taught you to not do as it does…?
To Simpleminded folks, did you really postulate that Michael was on death’s doorstep? Do you guys hate him that much that you would converse on such a topic? Wow. Just wow.
Here’s what I’ve never understood and would appreciate insight on, seriously, what about all the downstream CCs with associate pastors (or leaders in some sense) who regularly “touched the Lords anointed,” in other words, isn’t wasn’t about Chuck, but numerous 2nd & 3rd generation pastor/Caesars, who had plenty of dissention, but no secret to be blackmailed with?
It happened so often, it became a joke in SoCal, “how do you start a CC? Have a disagreement with your pastor, get uncallled, go right down the road, start the same thing…,” (setting aside the amazing stats on how often God “called” someone to start a new “work” because of a “burden” just feet from the last one when for years many stated had none or very few CCs to rescue Gods people from the evil denoms).
My point is, for a lot of us, the “growth” came from drama having nothing to do with Chuck. I can’t tell you how many times I heard or knew of bitter battles between these guys, then when they talk about it from the pulpit, it’s some glorious plan?
Why the lies?
The Lying Pastor Phenomenon is not unique to to Calvary Chapel.
I saw exactly what you are describing when one of the corrupt CC churches we attended was said to have birthed a “spin off”. (We knew there was a rift.)
Another CC was spawned when a man in another church sucked up to the pastor so successfully, that he was sent to “plant” a new CC with full blessings. The pastor was warned about the “planter”, but, he was “God’s anointed” and he was always right. Everyone who went with the “planter” suffered and many came back having lost everything.
Basically, despite the slobber peddled to us, it may be that very little of their “church planting” was due to “the call”.
Hopefully, all kinds of these “myths” and untruths will fall here.
His wife knew also?
What years did the affair take place? I’m wondering if it was during the time I was there
I had to think on this for a couple of days. From where I sit it comes down to a community built upon an ideal initially based on good intentions, fostered out of an unparalleled and unexpected counter cultural God experience. This community initially had a simple doctrine, and allowed for a new kind of expression through art and music that had not been previously embraced. It had young men who looked up to their pastor like a father. They emulated him and were more than willing to be the foot soldiers in a new kind of spiritual army. And for a while it worked. Until human weakness reared it’s head and truth and justice not given its proper place. They just didn’t know that the decision to protect the church by hiding the facts would lead to it’s demise over decades. And they had not realized how much money and power would have impact on people who were once hippies content to walk in the church barefoot. This further led to misuse of people and resources over time.
Chuck was just a man. He deserves respect for having opened his church up to something new and dynamic allowing for the creation of a community where many people came to faith under that banner. And still he was just a man. He knew better and he made mistakes. I think he is to blame for allowing the hero worship. I think all the people who promoted his humble greatness are equally to blame for perpetuating his demagogue status. And now whats left is a steady rerun of precepts and verse by verse distinctions that lack the wonder and innocence of those early years.
I am very careful to admit my own humanity and imperfections to God while being straight up about what I saw, what I experienced, and what I felt at the realization that this place called Calvary Chapel was broken. I carry in my chest the pain of it, and the loss of so many years dedicated to Oz. There was a lot of good that came out of this church called Calvary Chapel, but the day the powers that be said they would pay no attention to missteps of the man behind the curtain so that things could go on as if nothing bad ever happened, that was the beginning of it’s end and has since led to the final acts in the grand play that was once the Jesus People.
Well I’m probably in the minority when I say the very beginning of CC was built on the work of the flesh. The Lonnie poison.. Smiths arrogance and pride led him to start a system where he didn’t have to answer to anyone. Thus the whole “the pastors not a hireling” and the Moses Model mess. He didnt want to answer to any elders, and we know any “elders” in CC are just yes men to the senior pastor, good ole boy club. I guess he sure would not have wanted to be accountable to an elder board if he was caught in an ongoing affair. He would have been kicked to the curb. But in CC who could remove the Pope Chuck Smith? That’s right, no one. Sometimes reaping what was sown takes a while. But where rotten seeds are planted one might expect rotten fruit.
I understand that the Moses Model often gives too much authority to one man, and it’s often abused, but I know of many CC pastors who are humble, God-fearing men who don’t use the Moses Model of leadership in a dictatorial way. At our CC the elders and other leadership pushed the founding pastor out, in an almost discreet manner, because they were tired and frustrated with his “old school” Moses Model ways and desired to change the church to an elder-run church. So the youth pastor they have raised up as the pastor is really a yes man to the elders, who are now running the church. I fail to see the difference in this type of leadership over the other. Someone is always at the helm, be it pastor or elder, and if they’re not humble, God-fearing men, then they do what too many are doing: doing what is right in their own eyes. It’s sad, but it’s the times we’re living in. We must pray for these men and keep our eyes and hearts on the Lord. Men will always fail us!
A few random thoughts….
Given the abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, the re-arrest of Tom Chantry, SGM scandals, etc., and how the upper management of these organizations conspired to cover up multiple sex abuse crimes of minors, I will not be surprised to see the RICO statutes amended to make Sex Abuse crimes a predicate offence. The shuffling of priests and pastors around within the organization for them to avoid being fired or criminally charged smells of a criminal enterprise.
If the church and the various structures will not police their own, the God will use the state and the world.
The Least of These…”that was the beginning of its end and has since led to the final acts in the grand play that was once the Jesus People.”
Your statement reminded me that whatever act of God man tries to organize and contain for it’s own purposes is an affront to God. I’ve seen it over and over again. God raises up a group of people to do His work and someone always feels the need to control and organize it, subsume it under some approved church program, as if the Holy Spirit didn’t know what He was doing. Man tries to glom on to something heavenly, and like manna stored more than a day, it rots.
I will concede that your thesis makes sense of the many strange and arbitrary moves that CS would undertake for certain pastors (the CC Laguna situation and the moving of that bizarre individual up north comes as an archetypical example to my mind), but there is a problem with connecting too many dots without verifiable information. I fear that you run the risk of blunting your original purpose (to quote Hamlet’s ‘papa’), and may appear less grounded and credible.
There is an epistemological standard for “Justified true belief” and this particular blog entry falls short of that rational standard. The very most that should be said here is that the possibility of x may account for (___) behavior or event. Either that or give names/positions/titles and approximations of quotes to avoid the appearance of playing a rumor game.
If what you say is true, let us not add obscurity and anonymity upon obfuscation, you are the phoenix preacher, man! Shine light! Drive a stake into the heart of this matter and lets be done with it!
If this stuff is true, and then we proceed to harbor and enable the whisperers (or sources), does that not make this forum guilty of what it criticizes?
I hope that you do not take this the wrong way; I say it with love in my heart.
Oops. I posted twice. Please delete the earlier.
You laid down a lot of big Vocabulary here, then proclaim saying it with “love in your heart”. How bout being more “plain spoken”, and less passive aggressive. How about (for a simple minded person as myself), putting out a response that a reader/s can put your written pieces together in a coherent way.
Oh, come now. There is nothing passive about what I wrote, nor is there aggression; and in all due respect, I am not writing for the ‘simple-minded,’ though it was certainly simple enough.
In addition, the phrase ‘passive aggressive’ is defined by indirect resistance to a demand and avoidance of direct confrontation. My post could not be more opposite to that definition.
I wrote it as one soldier speaks with another—as iron sharpens iron. While this medium is not ideal for capturing such tones, if you read it charitably, you would probably see it.
I did read it, but I do not see it as being charitable, so I guess I will not see this, as you said.
Roy, I think that you may be misunderstanding the last sentence.
The conditional (if-then) statement is referring to the reader. That is to say, “if” you read the post charitably “then” you would probably hear the tone that I described (from the prior sentence), not “if” you read it as charitable, then you will hear charity.
Ok. Now I understand?