The Calvary Chapel Chronicles: Crazy Women

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124 Responses

  1. Steve says:

    The farther you get from the leadership and the center of power in CC the less this becomes an issue. To me this primarily stems from their faulty if not corrupt ecclesiology. Having simple congregational voting rights of every member could prevent this abuse. Maybe the woman’s sufferage movement should catch on in the church and get all members to vote these egotistical pastors out of office.

  2. Jerod says:

    Hope to hear from women currently in, leaving,
    or kicked out of CC. What have they seen or experienced?

  3. Michael says:


    We have some women writing as we speak.
    It’s a difficult process…

  4. Richard says:

    Good post, Michael
    Your post addresses the CC culture in regards to sexual infidelity, but IMOHO, the CC denomination has issues with regards to women insofar as patriarchy, treating women, all women, as something “less than”.

    Even pastors who are faithful appear to hold women in a roles that would make a man proud prior to the 19th amendment. At times I feel CC would be happier if it was 1919.

  5. Michael says:


    You have a point there…

  6. Rocksy says:

    I’m currently attending a CC “sister”. Not officially Calvary but it’s roots are entirely Calvary. Our pastor is entirely Calvary. Our women’s conferences are at Calvary conference centers. I’ve been going there for three years. I wasn’t seeking out a Calvary at all but we enjoyed the teaching and the church. I haven’t noticed anything “off” yet. I believe our pastor is one of the good ones. I pray he is. I do know, however, that he came in to replace a pastor who had had an extramarital affair. Possibly with the secretary. Can’t remember. That was before I got there. Our church seems strong and healthy. While I don’t agree with all of Calvary’s doctrine and probably would never go out of my way to find a Calvary again, it is home to us for now. But my eyes are wide open, watching. I’m thankful for your posts to help me understand the culture of CC so that o can be vigilant. I don’t have to go have a meeting with the pastor about them, I can just watch and pray for discernment. I pray for all of the CCs that seem “healthy” that they will remain that way.

  7. Paige says:

    Been there, done that, got a full wardrobe of ‘t shirts’…and lived to tell about it, faith intact…I am still friends with many, solid CC pastors and attendees, still attend a church with CC roots… and frequent a few others that I deeply love.

    I was married for 30 years to the pastor who told Michael that all women were Philistines. I was dumped and shunned and lied about, rep ruined and never defended by God or man. The ex husband went to his grave without apologizing and his second wife/widow continues to slander me and talk trash to my friends and calls my children hers. It’s been a surreal journey.

    The worst part was not the rejection by man or church, but the on going battle of feeling rejected by God and the deep fear that I somehow deserved the rejection. That has been the biggest battle. I have honestly wrestled for years when reading in Proverbs about the ‘wicked’ vs the ‘righteous’…wondered if I was the wicked.

    My late ex husband repeatedly told me I was crazy. He was a “gas lighting” master. When he left me, I asked him “since when is mental illness Biblical grounds for divorce?”

    I’ve met and spent time with a few other CC former pastor’s wives who have endured similar cruelties. It’s a lot like being in an emotional and spiritual blender –for years—.

    You know when you get off a carnival ride, it takes several minutes before your head stops spinning… It’s taken almost 2 decades for my ‘head to stop spinning’ after what happened in my life, marriage and church. God’s GRACE kept me. He didn’t keep me from the trial, but kept me in that fiery furnace.

    My sons hate church and christians. Their faith is the largest casualty. Somehow my daughter clung to Jesus, and even in her own deep trials, is incredibly strong in her Faith in Jesus and dependence on the scriptures. She is still in church, leads worship, hosts a wonderful home fellowship that is connected to a mega church with CC connections.

    A famous CC pastor told me I was a ‘poster child” for that whole scenario. The kindness and validation that I have received from several solid CC pastors over the last few years, has been particularly healing. This blog and Michaels’ validation and kindnesses have been immeasurably helpful.

    I profoundly know that injustice is allowed in God’s economy in this life. But this isn’t Heaven. Suffering, trials, loss upon loss is normal, almost expected. My trial changed me. Changed my life. I still wrestle with feeling useless, like I missed the most productive years of my life. It is what it is. My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ Blood and Righteousness. That is enough to get me through this life to the life to come.

    Michael, you may be aware that my/your former church has once again recently dealt with a similar situation with a worship leader. No apologies, No humility and in just two months, he is back on stage at a church in Medford. I’ve been told that church has the rep of being ‘where the cheaters go”… including you long time good friend .. who is on that same worship team. Baffling.

  8. Em says:

    Don’t hold the other men in the church led by a straying pastor guiltless! It doesn’t take deep spiritual understanding to go after a guy who is straying from his marriage vows and man to man attempt to straighten him out. I have seen non Christian men do that successfully. I call men who say it is none of their business to step in and save the dumb pastor panty-waists (not sure what that means exactly) !

    Just sayin’. again

  9. JD says:

    My advice is to tell the offenders #sand. Sinking sand.

  10. Paige says:

    Em, if only a man to man attempt to straighten him out had worked. Alas, many tried… Once the talons of the enemy are deeply embedded and the delusion of sin has blinded the ‘straying’, anything less than the heavens opening doesn’t seem to be enough to break the spell of adultery.

    Proverbs 22:14 is a VERY thought provoking verse… One has to wonder if it is God Himself who ‘uses’ the adulterous woman to “judge” a prideful man to bring him low.. God knows.

  11. JoelG says:

    Wow Paige…. I’m blown away by your story. You are an embodiment of Grace. Michael asked why we believe? Because of people like you.

  12. Linnea says:

    This culture was unknown to me until I encountered the shenanigans in my local CC. I discovered this website and learned we were not alone- that some churches will do anything to preserve their reputation (except do the right thing). I am amazed at Paige’s resilience and faith after understanding what she went through.

    While I think so much more emotional and spiritual damage comes from this “old boys club” at church than at work, it is also a noxious culture at my place of employment…and that has invited a gender discrimination class action lawsuit.

  13. Em says:

    Paige, i should have qualified that comment, shoukdn’t i? Glad you did.
    I didn’t mean to imply that is was a fail-safe tactic, only meant that the church should not just sit by and watch this sorry scenario unfold

  14. Richard says:

    In many CCs, if anyone questioned or confronted what was happening, the “don’t touch the Lord’s anointed” card was immediately played.
    If that didn’t work, they had other cards to play – the “please go pray about your questions”, and “you need to step back from ministry for a season”.

    If you still weren’t convinced of your error for questioning, you were shown the door. – The trump card was “perhaps it would be best if you worshiped somewhere else” card

  15. Laura Scott says:

    Why is the woman the only one shamed in sexual sin? Even now with all of our labeled progress, it still happens.
    “You know the words. You’re a whore. Baby’s a bastard. But there’s no word for the man who doesn’t come back.” – Polly, Peaky Blinders
    These lines just stunned me when I heard them. They are true and painful and sadly, always relevant. The older I get, the more stories I learn of male pastors shamelessly sinning without one thought to whom will get to bear the responsibility of their garbage.
    And no… it is not enough to pass it off with “God will see they get their justice” when so many lives and reputations are ruined.
    Interestingly enough, I have yet to hear of a telling of a restoration plan for a woman in the church who has been used so poorly. Those women usually have to move on and get labeled again as church hoppers while the men stay behind to get their places in the pulpit or ministry protected and advanced.
    God bless the women who do not get temped to trade up or trade younger and instead, stand by the men they spoke their vows to. Those men have no real idea of the worth of the treasures before them.

  16. Captain Kevin says:

    “Those men have no real idea of the worth of the treasures before them.” Amen to that, Laura!

  17. Paige says:

    Em…. there is always so much secrecy in things like affairs.. NO ONE knows, aside from the Gift of Discernment… by the time people figure it out, it’s basically too late for anything short of a miracle….. In the OT, both parties would be stoned to death. The grace centric, woman-devaluing modern church tends to sacrifice the wife, ignore the adultress and extend excessive grace to the man…. mostly caring for him… and expecting the offended wife to take him back without legit TRAINED counseling and on going supervision. … It’s usually a case of closing the barn long after the proverbial horse is gone.

    I was willing for YEARS to take my husband back… and I truly thought that was God’s will and best for my family… keeping the family intact… and sometimes that is the case. It took me a LONG time to see my ‘unanswered prayers’ as God’s mercy and deliverance.

  18. Captain Kevin says:

    The CC pastor who performed our wedding, then several years later dedicated our children, eventually got caught using the church computer to watch porn. He got the boot, left his wife, hooked up with the woman who was his lawyer, started another CC, got caught again, was left BY the lawyer wife, and continued to pastor until he finally “retired.” I’d like to say it was a rare case, but, as this article, Paige, and many others have testified, it’s just one in a long list. Lord, have mercy.

  19. Em says:

    You know one thing we’re overlooking in this examination? Calling these imposters “pastors.” They are not pastors. They are licensed fakes. .. or worse…. IMNSHO. ?

  20. JM says:

    Sometimes I want to put my hands up to my ears and my eyes and say, “No More!” So much pain and suffering because carnal leaders left God in the dirt, put a “Christian” label on something and sinned with impunity. It is doubtful that many of us who experienced CC’s underbelly would not have been affected by it all. Trust is the universal casualty in all of this. I, too have seen families torn apart by these sinful, cruel actions and it is the spouse who was victimized and did not sin who is left to pick up the pieces and suffer with the children. None of it was their fault, but they are left with all the carnage. CC is not only known for upholding the cruel perverse pastor–but for abandoning the abused spouse and kicking her when she is down. No wonder so many of these children walk away. These poor excuses for human beings that are many of these brainwashed pastors from this celebrated “association” just said this is their Jesus. Who in their right mind would want that?

    My relationship with CC was ill-fated from the beginning. In my first encounter, I saw how a young, homeless woman, who had just escaped the real threat of violence against her, was treated. She was desperate and quite relieved to finally get even a small bit of aide that she begged for from a pastor at big CC. She literally had no where to go. When she finally got some needed help, out of reflex, she attempted to hug the condescending pastor and was physically pushed away because she was deemed to be trying to tempt him. This was back in the late seventies. I do not know how overt was their strange treatment of women before that, but this spoke volumes to me at the time I witnessed it. In some ways it was good that I was a witness. It put me on alert that not all was as it seemed. Sadly, it took many years to be sure about my suspicions about Chuck’s infidelity

    Other situations to which I became privy, were the experiences many had in their “marriage counseling” sessions. They completely corroborate what Paige has shared. Husbands were given slaps on the wrists compared to the heavy burdens of guilt that were placed upon the women in these relationships. Many were led to believe everything was their fault. I had a visceral reaction to the accounts of what some of these people were told. Even before I was a Christian–I knew that you do not treat women that way and you don’t give others permission to treat them in such a sub-human way. I always wondered why outsiders could see what “Christians” could not.

    Thank you, Michael, for continuing your series. We continue to remember you in our prayers and hope that you are getting respites from your many trials.

  21. Em says:

    FWIW, i used to tell my husband that, if he was tempted to stray, i’d divorce him and i would not take the children…. (I knew a good attorney and i would have taken everything else)
    We were joking, of course, but i’m pretty sure that i would not have forgjven him, nor would his mother and that woman could hurt you. LOL… ?

  22. Captain Kevin says:

    Em, good point. No doubt at least some of them began with their hearts in the right place, but the power trip was just too good to pass up. 🙁

  23. The New Victor says:

    2 Timothy 3:6 comes to mind in my story but I failed to lead, too.

    I heard on the radio today that 60 massage parlors were shut down in San Jose being unlicensed. The Bay Area is one of the top places in America for human trafficking. Given how rich we are it’s beyond sad. Maybe that’s a big problem. But that sexual sin hurts so many is a huge problem. Raising D6 and S8…. I think easy, yet given the darkness of this world, how to protect them. And given the stupidity and sin of individuals apart from the societal issues. How to protect them?

  24. Steve says:

    I don’t think this is a men vs. women issue. There are some good men out there as well as bad. The issue really is corrupt leadership starting with the “Moses model”. Since CC only has men Moses model pastors, the lack of respect for women is inevitable. But the problem really extends to men as well as women because in CC both are subject to the Holier than thou touch not Gods annointed senior Moses. But I truly feel for the women who have been hurt in this terrible abuse but we shouldnt turn this into a battle of the sexes. I see this more of a battle against corrupt leadership in the church which I am estimating is up to 99% in CC. Every single Moses model pastor as far as I am concerned is guilty until proven innocent. I say this because the unbiblical Moses model is completely bankrupt spiritually.

  25. Paige says:

    Steve, IMO the “issue” is much larger, of course and applies to both genders. It’s sin, narcissism and power tripping. There are plenty of women “home wreckers” in and out of the church. Ultimately it is a lack of the Fear of God. CC is hardly the only place where such tragedy and damage go on and on. For every corrupt CC situation, there are hundreds of great CCs that are glorifying a God, with good leadership who lead the flock to Jesus.

    A friend of mine, also betrayed and dumped by her pastor husband says, “women are wicked. Men are stupid”. Sadly, this is often the case.

  26. Michael says:


    The Moses Model is nothing more than the standard senior pastor model on steroids with a new moniker.
    It is not unique to CC.

  27. Michael says:


    Great contributions here…thank you.

  28. Corby says:

    Not to take away from any of this because I know it’s real, I’ve seen it, had to clean up after it, it’s sin. But I’d like to put this out there and file it under FWIW.

    My wife and I attended CCBC when it was at twin peaks. Over those two years the school/conference center hosted two pastor’s wives retreats, and a number or women’s retreats. I can say first hand that those women, in these instances, were treated as royalty and with respect. That’s not a defense of what this post reports. It’s just that, in terms of CC retreats, no expense was spared to make those women feel special.

    I will add that the then director was one of the people who left his wife for his secretary and now ran the then exploding CCBC. So, there’s that.

  29. pstrmike says:

    Thanks Paige.

    Pastoral ministry is stressful, much mores than most of us believe. Add to that stress, a strong sense of ambition, and you have the remedies for dysfunction. Yet in small churches, where the pastor and his wife do everything – or most of what needs to be done, it can be stressful as well. There are no exemptions anywhere. I wonder if most pastors and their wives struggle in this area.

    Most people can give a decent Bible Study, fewer have the charisma that they are able to turn on to draw and appease a big crowd. We often mistakenly identify both as anointing and calling. They may or may not be. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul or the love of those we love? I have a friend who I know is asking that question this morning as he prepares to bury his adult son.

  30. Steve says:

    Michael I have no idea what the standard senior model is but I run far from it especially when it’s on steroids. May not be unique to CC but the CCs I knew of embraced the distictives which were distinctively absent of true congregational involvement and no accountability for the senior alpha male.

  31. Em says:

    The comments that i read here are insightful, heartbreaking, challenging and wise… as someone noted, evil is not limited to one gender… One observation, however, i have not seen…
    If you are a woman of character and you find yourself in a position to ruin another’s marriage, GET OUT OF THERE NOW… leave, whatever the cost, it is not comparable to the destruction of a family… even if the wife is portrayed as a horrible person (she could be).
    I know there are likely folks reading the PhxP for whom those words were not heeded or come too late… Ask God’s forgiveness and, like most of us do in one way or another, carry on repentent, ashamed and, hopefulky, wiser in grace and mercy.
    Hard words, i know… But needed – IMV

  32. Steve says:

    Ok, this will be my last post on this. But I wanted to get this off my chest. I don’t think it’s healthy to normalize the stardard senior pastor model without stating what it is and why is it normal. To me there is not much difference to the standard pastor model than what we see in the Catholic Church model for preists of which the abuse of children is unthinkable. Does this abuse automatically make the model wrong? No but it is strong evidence that this model is dangerous and spiritually and biblically bankrupted. I wish the standard model in church was the Senior Jesus pastoral model. Now that would be a church worth going to.

  33. Michael says:


    Last time I checked, Jesus has not physically appeared in a church in some time.

    Many Baptist churches, almost all independent evangelical and charismatic churches, and a host of other sects run on a senior pastor model.

    The truth is that no ecclesiastical system has been able yet to stop abuse in church…including congregationalism.

  34. Steve says:

    Not all independent Evangelical churches run on senior pastor model. I go to one such church and probable would leave if we adopt the senior pastor model. But I hear your point that they are common and normal but that doesn’t make it healthy.

  35. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I believe Jesus is physically present each week in my church – in, with and under the bread and wine. I don’t know how he does it but he did promise he does.
    Sorry to those who do not have Jesus physically present each week in their worship. 🙂

  36. UnCCed says:

    I’m surprised I’m the first to mention this, but when I read of someone’s actions, especially a leader (under “greater judgement”), negatively affects another’s faith, especially “one of these little ones,” Jesus’ teaching on the millstone comes to mind.
    Just saying.

  37. Steve says:

    MLD,. I would probably become a Lutheran if I didn’t have so much distrust in the clergy. The robe turns me off and makes me think what is so special about this pastor?

  38. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, you would think you would trust someone more who wears what has been assigned to him, a plain white linen alb and a seasonal colored stol than his Brooks Bros suit or lavishly expensive Tommy Bahamas shirts.

    But it is odd that you would reject good theology because what someone wears. Others dress vocationally – police officers and soldiers dress differently – do you wonder what makes them so special?

  39. Em says:

    I remember our Presbyterian minister, Clarence Kerr, striding speedily out onto the platform after the morning preliminaries with his robe billowing out behind him … ?

  40. Steve says:

    MLD,. Im not rejecting the theology other than I’m not sure we need a bonafied, certified and LCMS pastor to guarantee the real presence. I don’t get that part seriously.

  41. victorious says:

    Praying for the women who are writing out their testimonies. May you experience His affirming, strengthening and protecting influence and that your stories will tear down strongholds and deliver women and men from the tyranny of religious cultures so that they can experience the Shalom of His Kingdom culture..

  42. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, I don’t know where you are going with the pastor thing, but you would be hard pressed to find a non Lutheran body that believes the supper is the real physical presence of Jesus.

  43. Michael says:

    Next year I will be wearing a cassock, surplice, and stole every Sunday…

  44. DavidM says:

    I’m pretty sure I know the CC couple Michael mentioned. I remember when he was in the process of divorce, he told me “she’s crazy”. She wasn’t, and even had she been, is that the grounds for divorce? What I saw first hand was the “circle the wagons” attitude of the CC pastors in general. “He was a CC pastor, he said his wife is crazy, so it must be true”. It is an ugly, dishonest way of dealing with a serious problem. The pastor of the large CC that has him teaching should be ashamed of himself.
    The pastor mentioned by Captain Kevin was someone I worked alongside for a few years back in the early ’80’s. I always saw him as buffoonish, not to be taken seriously. I watched him humiliate his wife to the point of tears, in the name of humor, in social settings. I could never understand how he lasted in a ministry position so long. But, really, it is because he had no accountability to anybody. It is a sad commentary on how the CC’s are regulated.

  45. Xenia says:

    but you would be hard pressed to find a non Lutheran body that believes the supper is the real physical presence of Jesus.<<<


  46. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Xenia, I could have been more clear in saying non robed bodies.(although many robed bodies deny the real physical presence)
    In my defense, I did say hard pressed and not impossible. 🙂

  47. BlueSky says:

    I attended a CC for many years (over 15), when I first starting going there shortly after getting saved the pastor was an older man. A few years in he left to start another CC and the reigns were turned over to a very young pastor from CCCM. He was strictly by the book, Moses model, very prideful and arrogant. People were afraid to go to him even if they had a problem. People felt uncomfortable and nervous around him. When he first started as pastor he used to move quick after service and hide out in his office so he didn’t have to talk to people. Real heart of a pastor huh? I didn’t grasp all this until I got further into the behind the scenes “” group”. Many years after he had been there I went on an overseas “missionary trip” with him and bunch of the church youth. He and I were the only real adults on the trip although some of the kids were were in their very late teens. In the two weeks we were on the trip he probably said 20 words to me. I had to find out our days agenda and what we had planned from the kids. I had a very good reputation at church and there was no reason he should have treated me this way except that I was a female. And that was the reason. Needless to say a few years later the Lord, through circumstances directed me out of that place.

  48. Steve says:

    Curious, what would happen if a regular Joe or Sally pewster comes to the divine worship surface dressed in the preists vestments, would he/she be mockedd, laughed at or thrown out for impersonating a man of the cloth? Ok, it’s getting close to Halloween but why not dress like an ordinary person like the rest of the congregation? What about the preisthood of all believers? What did Paul do? What did Jesus did?

  49. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, you clearly have a misunderstanding about the priesthood of all believers.
    Personally, I would point and snicker at a non clergy person coming in fully vested.

  50. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    We don’t know how clergy may have dressed but we do know that God dressed the priesthood a certain way.
    Paul coming out of a rabbinical background may have had his rabbinical clothing – at least a shawl and headpiece.
    Perhaps Jesus’s clothing was “special” to his calling. It seemed to have significance for the Roman guard.
    The Christian divine worship service was almost a copycat of the Jewish synagogue service – perhaps down to the clothing worn.

  51. Steve says:

    MLD, why don’t you explain what clergy is to us all and while you are at it explain the preisthood of believers. And while you are at it, explain what Paul did when with non Jewish believers. I seem to recall him saying in an epistle that he became all things to all people so as to win them to Christ. Now why exactly are we copying old testament practices and putting them into a new testament context?

  52. Michael says:


    Are you opposed to any hierarchal offices in the church?

  53. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, only short answers as I am out. Priesthood of all believers is not synonymous with all Christians are called to be pastors.
    I see you have a similar lack of understanding for Paul’s claim to become all things to all people. Paul did not cast off what he knew was right under God. To the who’re, Paul did not become a who’re. To the drunkard Paul did not become a drunkard.
    As to the OT – have you discarded your to protect from bringing it into the NT?

  54. Steve says:

    Michael, put I’ll put it this way, I’m opposed to seeing “org” charts that have God at the top where the senior pastor reports directly to Him and the other pastors point directly to the senior pastor and the congregation points directly to the board of pastors or elders and everything flows through the top dog. Shouldn’t there at least be a dotted line reporting or some kind of matrix-ed responsibility of the congregation to God. But when ever I see this typical org chart I want to puke. But I am not opposed to a pastor being a mentor to a younger pastor and having that sort of relationship which seems very biblical.

  55. Steve says:

    MLD, Jesus never told us to become a whore or a drunkard. Jesus’ commandments to us are enough for me. I don’t need the entire Jewish wardrobe to become spiritual. It seems to me this was kind of what Paul was getting at in writing the book of Galatians to begin with. If your priests want to wear the vestments have at it but to some of us it seems like a Halloween costume , and to others its down right scary if you were abused by a priest growing up. But your comment that only robed churches believe in the real presence ties these two things together and there is where you falter.

  56. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, a couple of points. I never made the vestments a requirement. I only suggested that we know 1 century clergy dressed for the occasion. You made a flat statement about dressing like the ordinary people – we have no indication this is true. Show me.
    Also you misquoted me on the 2nd half. I do not hold to the real presence terminology as many groups have downgraded and distorted it. The position I hold is the real physical presence – that Jesus is there in the supper in his true physical body – not some spiritual manifestation.
    Where do you find that in your circles?

  57. Em says:

    how do we know that first century clergy dressed for the occasion… imitating the O.T. tradition?
    and… if the real presence of Jesus is only in the host, why did He say where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name, there I will be also? God is a Spirit etc.

    that said, i do think modest apparel becomes the pastor and he is not up there to make a fashion statement for God or anybody else…. IMNSHO

  58. Steve says:

    Great points Em! MLD, regarding the priesthood of the believers, I never associated that with everyone being a pastor; however, you to seem to be adopting the stance that the modern day pastor is somehow an extension of the OT priest. Isn’t that Jesus’ role?

  59. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, now you are purposely lying about my position. I never tied today’s pastors to the OT priesthood. I answered your claim that clergy should always dress like the common parishioner – to which I brought up the view that God dressed the clergy in the OT.

    Remember one thing, in this case you are the narrow minded legalist as you made the claim you would not go to a Lutheran church solely because they wore robes and then associated clergy wearing robes to molestation – quite the strange theological bias and bigotry.

  60. Steve says:

    MLD, I said, that it turns me off regarding the robes, not that it would prevent me from going. Big difference and it appears you are the one lying now. I am sympathetic towards those that have been abused by men wearing the robe. Where I am in Pa, there are over 1000 kids abused that is still being litigated in the courts that were sexually abused by priests. Sorry, but some of these kids dislike the wardrobe for this reason and I don’t blame them. I’m not against anybody wearing the vestments but you have not given one good reason to wear them other than you somehow think they were the practice in 1st century church. You might be right but you haven’t answered Em’s question and you certainly haven’t given one theological reason to copy the OT garments of the priests. Like I said have it. Its not my style but I don’t hold it against you.

  61. Michael says:

    This went south in a hurry.
    Vestments have become optional in Anglicanism…I am choosing to to wear them.
    I am choosing to do so because each piece of the vestments and the colors being worn carry theological significance.
    They also proclaim that I am walking in an ancient tradition as those who have served before me…that I’m not making yet another evangelical innovation.
    They say that I am participating in something holy and when you see them you understand that we are engaging in something sacred in this place, not the common or profane.
    They also can carry theological and sacramental meaning.
    Historically, vestments are not replicas of OT priests.
    The clergy simply continued to wear the robes that everyone wore in the Roman empire when the laity changed fashions…
    The role of the priest is to physically mediate the gifts of God in word and sacrament to the people…it is a sacred office and it should be easy to recognize…

  62. Duane Arnold says:


    Firstly, I appreciate your comments.

    As to the Pennsylvania report it is simply evil and horrendous – no “buts”, no excuses… I do, however, think that the root of the problem was the culture of “Father says…”, which is similar to “Pastor says…” It incorporates many of the cultural factors laid out in Michael’s fine article above.

    Concerning vestments, they seem to have been in use from a very early time. There are catacomb paintings from the third and fourth centuries which affirm this. We know that symbolism was attached to dress – those to be baptized were to be robed in white, for instance. In terms of the elders or priests of the congregation, a vestment was intended to hide or cover his identity, not to enhance it. Vestments were clearly a part of Christian worship from the second/third century through to the Reformation. At the Reformation, some groups abandoned eucharistic vestments, but tended to replace them with academic gowns, as the sermon turned into a lecture. It is only in the mid-19th century that we see a more wide-scale abandonment of robes or vestments, so it is really a rather recent innovation in light of the 2000 year history of the Church.

    For myself, I wear vestments when I celebrate the Eucharist. I’m not interested in people seeing “Duane Arnold” at the altar. “Duane Arnold” has many issues… he gets angry, he has preferences, he likes some people better than he likes other people… and so much more. In a vestment, I’m not “Duane Arnold”. Instead, I am at the altar as a servant wrapped in a garment like our Lord who served the disciples. The stole that I wear symbolizes the yoke that Christ gives each of us. With the congregation, I say the prayers and at the Eucharist I say the words of institution on their behalf… in their stead. There are several good books available that discuss this.

    Yet, I do have some sympathy with your view. The symbolism of vestments may have had greater value in the past than it does currently. Yet, the issue of symbolism in the modern era is not limited to vestments. It is also an issue in our places of worship, our music and, indeed, coping with symbolism which is a part of scripture. For instance, when is the last time you saw a flock of sheep and a shepherd, much less studied their actions? So, all of this is not binary and requires some careful thought.

  63. Duane Arnold says:


    Please tell people we were not on the phone… AGAIN ?!

  64. Michael says:


    I don’t talk to anyone but the cats this early… 🙂

  65. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve – in your 11:59am from yesterday you directly linked robes to your distrust of pastors. Not their teachings, behavior or actions – just robes = distrust.

    To Em’s question about clergy dress in the 1st century I am sure you can pick up a book on the manners and customs of Jesus’ surroundings. I think we know the Pharisees dressed special. But my argument with you was your insistence that clergy are to dress like the common man. Many dress vocationally.

  66. Steve says:

    MLD, I never insisted that the clergy dress anyway but you never bothered to even answer one of my very question of exactly what the clergy is and exactly why they are set apart from the Joe and Sally pewster in such a profound way. It seems that the very first Christians were ALL filled with the Holy Spirit and they all had individual gifts for the entire church. Sorry, I am making this difficult for you but I don’t make the huge distinction that you seem to make between the clergy and the not so clergy people. Now to your robe vs. distrust question, they were two separate sentences and two thoughts but my distrust is not about robes but probably more of what I just wrote this definite distinction you make between clergy and laity. Paul was a tent maker supporting his missionary pursuits. Tent making wasn’t exactly a very sacred thing to do for an apostle which kind of blows up this idea of clergy vs. everyone else idea. But I know I an a minority opinion here and I respect Duane and Michael for what they are doing.

  67. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, you are a funny character. I did not bring up robes – you did. I made no distinction between clergy and others – you did.
    I show respect towards clergy while you show disdain and ridicule as noted when you said they were not to be trusted as they thought they were better than others, when you compared them to Halloween characters and when you said they were prone to be molesters.
    Would any of this be related to your relationship with your pastor?
    Clergy are distinct in that they do have a separate calling.
    Perhaps not in your tribe.

  68. Steve says:

    None of this is related to my current pastor. I have a great relationship with my pastor. My ex-CC pastor not so much but not because he wore a robe. More because he was just arrogant and a jerk. Regarding “clergy”, I have no idea your definition of this, so every-time you use it, it runs hollow to me.

    As Duane elegantly pointed out, and he is right, this is not just about vestments but about a lot of symbolism.

    Regarding the Halloween costume, I mean no disrespect but when I see the pope wearing his hat and the cardinals wearing their stuff, it does seem like a Halloween parade. I’m not used to all this and it definitely seems weird. Again forgive me if I’m being insensitive to your tribe. I mean no disrespect. I’m sure it has great symbolism. I’m just not familiar with it. The cross has a lot of symbolism to me. I love seeing it displayed. It is one of my pet peeves with CC that they did away with displaying the cross for the most part. To me that is a shame.

    So for what its worth MLD, you have the best logical arguments on this site. But quite frequently you put words in peoples mouth a lot. I never said that wearing the robe makes you more prone to be a molesters. I said I sympathize with those that have been molested as children by priests wearing the robe. And those kids have a problem with it. It is kind of similar to a 911 survivor that may get the heebie jeebies when they see the Muslim hijab covering when boarding a plane.

  69. bob1 says:

    Good grief…aren’t vestments an example of adiaphora? I mean, really…what a waste of time and energy here.

  70. Jean says:

    “Good grief…aren’t vestments an example of adiaphora?”

    Yes, bob1, you are correct.

  71. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    bob1, I don’t understand – what time and energy were you required to put in here?

  72. Jean says:

    “Clergy are distinct in that they do have a separate calling”

    MLD is correct. There are a multitude of NT passages that speak of the office of pastor under a few different, but interchangeable, titles. It is a distinct role within the congregation. It has a distinct list of qualifications, and is held to a higher standard. In one passage, it is written that not many of you should be teachers.

    The office of pastor does not imply or signify that the pastor is more holy or that he is more important than other offices in the church. The pastor is a sinner who has been called to shepherd a congregation through preaching the Gospel and administering the sacraments.

    I would imagine that a faithful pastor probably suffers more than the average Christian, in that Satan attacks the congregation at this focal point, he carries the burdens of his congregation in confidentiality, and gets criticized for anything that goes wrong. However, Paul pronounces this blessing upon the pastor: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

    I can’t wait to see a picture of Michael in a cassock. He will be a stud, no doubt. 🙂

  73. Steve says:

    Jean, thank you! you bring a refreshing voice. However, I never interpreted the verse, “how beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” to only refer to pastors. I see a lot of application to the Christian missionary. Not all missionaries are pastors by any stretch.

    I can agree with you on the office of the pastor. I just don’t call the pastor a priest like they do in the Catholic/Anglican tradition. To be honest, not sure where the priest terminology comes from. My suspicions are its from the old testament priests. Not sure if Lutherans call the pastor a priest or not either. I tend to see a big difference between a pastor and a priest. And when I hear the term vicar of Christ I really shudder. I look at Jesus as our high priest so I don’t get the idea of calling pastors priests. I’m not sure if this is just semantics or whether there is a lot more behind this.

    But if the clergy is really those dedicated to the service of the church vocationally, why wouldn’t this include the church janitor or the organist or anyone else on the church’s full time payroll budget devoting all their energies to the church? And then there is the invisible church that I won’t bother to go in detail with but there a many Christians doing the work of the Lord that you or I may never know about.

  74. Jean says:

    Steve, Christian clergy who use the term “priest” may get it from Romans 15:16. In the NASB and some other translations Paul refers to himself as a priest of the Gospel.

  75. EricL says:

    Okay… this is another post where the comments have veered off into the woods. Maybe Michael can chop off the last half of the comments and paste them to a new article entitled Calvary Chronicles: Hawaiian Shirts vs. Vestments. 🙂

  76. JD says:

    I’m surprised no mention of Cheryl Broderson here. She seems to wear the pants around CCCM as much as she teaches on the radio. She might be part of the reason behind the split.

  77. Duane Arnold says:

    Appropriate to the discussion from BabylonBee…

  78. CM says:


    I read that Babylon Bee article a while ago. Very funny.

    EricL: I always thought Hawaiian shirts were the Calvary Chapel clerical vestments…

  79. Kathi says:

    This breaks my heart to read this post. And Paige, I’m so sorry for what you have been through. What a mess.

    I’m amiss at how congregations find this behavior acceptable. Either they are so deep entrenched that they overlook and find this behavior normal, or perhaps they are horrified by it as well but feel powerless to do or say anything about it. This is nothing more than abuse of power. And, if a pastor has sex with a member of the church this is clergy sex abuse. The pastor is in the position of power and has a responsibility of maintaining the integrity of his position.

    My only experience with CC was knowing about it when I lived in SoCal for several years. I don’t recall stepping foot in a CC, though I may have. And, I visited a CC in Russia twice to help with some women’s retreats. The Russian churches were lovely and I did not sense an abuse of power. If you have any understanding of how the US CCs influence CCs in other countries I would find that interesting.

  80. Mack says:

    I know that Calvary Chapel is recognized as a legitimate protestant denomination, but I have had experience with Calvary Chapels from Russia to Massachusetts to California and in all my experiences they are way too close to being a cult than a denomination.

  81. Ray says:

    Since it was mentioned regarding Communion in some denominations…I have another question regarding Jesus possible literal presence today on the earth.

    – Since Jesus became a man….and apparently remains a man…albeit in a glorified body….should we thus believe that Jesus can only be in one place at any given time? Unlike the Holy Spirit or Father that apparently can be in many places at once since they are spirits.

    – In Acts 3:21, it seems to say that Jesus will remain in Heaven until His return….so can he literally be on the earth at any time until then? Whether in or around the Communion wafer, or anywhere else.

    Yes, He is here on earth in the presence of the Holy Spirit. But is that then specifically what it means when we say Jesus’ presence is with us at this time…by the Holy Spirit?

  82. Jean says:

    These verses pertain to Jesus Christ:

    “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

    “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?”

  83. Jean says:

    The simple words cannot be taken to mean “by the Holy Spirit.”

    Those words were known to Christ and Paul had they wished to use them. They did not. Therefore, we can only conclude that the words mean Christ and that He is is on earth as well as in heaven.

    In fact, Christ is omnipresent.

  84. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    What Ray describes is an old Christian heresy titled modalism or sabellianism when the Father, son and holy spirit are just 3 different manifestations the one God reveals himself to us. (Simple version for this discussion.
    In this case Jesus would take off his human costume, hang it in the closet like Batman does his and appears to us as the Holy spirit – like Batman does when he wants to present himself as Bruce Wayne. 🙂

  85. Eliza says:

    I have not been a witness to the sexual abuse existent in CC churches, but I can attest to the dehumanization of women. My mom and her previous husband of 25 years were members of a CC. She still is, and her current husband has recently joined.
    Before joining the CC, they were church-hoppers, with her husband constantly finding fault in a denomination’s teachings after a few visits. When they finally settled on the CC, I watched my mom become weak and diminutive, always agreeing to the holier than thou hateful words and actions of her husband. My mom stopped standing up for herself, wouldn’t make even the smallest decision without consulting her husband, who was always right and could do no wrong.
    My mom’s new husband has a similar demeanor to my mom. He doesn’t have a CC background but joined the church at my mom’s insistence, I think, because she missed having a man control her life. I can only hope he doesn’t succumb to the misogynistic
    superiority complex that consumes so many men in CC churches.

  86. Steve says:

    It’s not surprising to find modalism in CC as MLD pointed out. It kind of goes to Mack’s claim that CC operates more like a cult than a denomination.

  87. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, Ray didn’t say anything about CC. I run into many who sloppily describe their experience with a bodyless Jesus.
    As you described earlier, it is close to Halloween, so perhaps Jesus will pull his human costume out of the closet and wear it this week.

  88. Michael says:

    Ray is not talking about modalism.
    He’s asking a question that has been roundly debated by orthodox believers for at least 500 years.

  89. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael, I did not say He advocates, but if you read closely it is as I said – he describes modalism when he says Jesus is here on earth in the presence of the Holy Spirit. Classic modalism. One becomes the other.

  90. Steve says:

    MLD, this is a Calvary Chapel chronicals article so seemed reasonable it’s related to CC.

  91. Ray says:

    No I did not mean that Jesus becomes the Holy Spirit. I misstated that. Perhaps I meant “by the Holy Spirit “…like the H.S. substitutes for him on the earth at this time. I don’t believe in Modalism.

    The thing is…people are always talking about Jesus’ presence in earth…whether in the wafer or otherwise.

    My question is…how does that happen? Did not Jesus, who was the Word, become at a point in history a man? Does he not remain a man (now glorified in heaven, of course). He is one man, is he not?

    How can this one man be now omnipresent? Yes, He is God…but he took on the limitations of human flesh, did he not?

    Also…please read what Peter says of the risen Jesus in Acts 3:20-21. It seems that he is saying that he will remain in heaven until his return:

    “… And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”

    I mean…we all speak of Jesus’ return to the earth someday in the future. OK…well doesn’t that also mean he can’t be here now? If he is…what was the ascension and promise of return all about?

  92. Michael says:


    The Lutherans can answer for themselves…they have quite a developed theology on the matter.
    Anglicans simply (for the most part) leave it to mystery and partake by faith.

  93. Owen says:

    ” n the Sacrament, our Confessions further teach, the same Jesus who died is present in the Sacrament, although not in exactly the same way that he was corporeally present when he walked bodily on earth. With Luther, the Formula of Concord speaks of “the incomprehensible, spiritual mode of presence according to which he neither occupies nor yields space but passes through everything created as he wills….He employed this mode of presence when he left the closed grave and came through closed doors, in the bread and wine in the Supper….”[FC SD VII, 100; emphasis added”

    I have to be honest here…. I have attended a Lutheran Church all my life and never fully understood this.

    But, as Michael mentioned, I am fine with the mystery. Sometimes I think we try to figure out too much.

  94. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Owen (and others). We do not say is is understandable, this is why we use the phraseology that Jesus is physically present “in, with and under.” We try to cover our bases by being overly descriptive.
    What we do understand is what Jesus promised – to be physically present – this IS my body, this IS my blood.
    Where some get in trouble is when we let our reason dictate our Christology – and not the words of Jesus.

  95. Owen says:

    MLD, I wasn’t trying to argue with you. I know we don’t claim to understand it all. If we understood it all, where would faith be?

    Besides, my reason can be too easily attached to my pride….

  96. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Owen, I wasn’t challenging your statement – just trying to clarify for the group that we Lutherans confess the words of Jesus, not what we can reason or explain.

  97. Jean says:

    “who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.”

    Where ever you read of Jesus sitting at the right hand of God, the meaning is not of a fixed location somewhere, but of His ascension to the throne of divine majesty and power. Christ now exercises the right hand of God.

    “he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”

    I plead with everyone not to imagine God, whether the Father, Son or Holy Spirit, confined to a certain location in the cosmos. This is not at all what the Gospel’s teach. Jesus is Immanuel, with his Church always to the end of the age. Where ever two or three gather in his name, Jesus is there among us. These verses, in particular, promise His presence in His three most important ongoing works in the Church: Absolution, Baptism and Holy Communion.

    The Scriptures are replete with verses (see, for example, directly above – “him who fills all in all” ) describing God’s omnipresence. The Father is omnipresent, His throne and right hand (which are anthropomorphisms for his omnipotence, dominion and omnipresence) are omnipresent, Christ who has ascended to these honors and powers is ominpresent, and the Holy Spirit is omnipresent.

    When the Scriptures speak of Christ’s return, it is speaking of the last things. That is, what he will accomplish upon his return.

  98. Jean says:

    One of the reasons why many of your churches have been turned into a lecture hall, is because you have banished Jesus to heaven, placing him in his own purgatory, instead of inviting him into His own body the Church.

  99. Steve says:

    Jean,. Maybe you can help me with this. When I think of omnipresence I think of being at all places at all times. When I realize this, the Lord’s supper, the absolution and babtism can’t be the only times Christ is physically present. Infact,. He is physically present all the time whether we recognize it or not. This is one reason I have no problem with the real presence but also don’t have problem taking Communion at a non Lutheran Church. They may do it in remembrance of Jesus which there is nothing wring with that and for those who choose to accept it he is also there physically which he promises. Infact when I eat my peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I also know he is there in, with and under the peanut butter and jelly sandwich especially when I am with 2 or 3 other brothers which he promises. I don’t mean to diminish the significance of Communion by ephasizing that Christ is always with us but what I want to ephasize that He Is always with us. Is there something wrong with this thinking?

  100. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    This is funny. Yesterday we had a short conversation about modalism based on a comment by Ray. Now Ray did come back and said he misspoke an reworded his comment.

    This morning we have Steve professing what he thinks is omnipresence but indeed is textbook pantheism.

  101. Steve says:

    MLD,. This is why I started with the definition of omnipresence. Would you like to take a stab at that definition? No, I’m not a pantheism by any stretch.

  102. Jean says:

    Hi Steve,

    I love where you are headed. If we all were cognizant of the fact that Christ is with us all the time (e.g., “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me”), can you imagine the impact that would make on our neighbors and our own consciences?

    That being said, but not to diminish what was said, Christ has promised to personally deliver gifts to us, when, for example, He absolves us of our sins, baptizes us into his death and resurrection, and gives us his body and blood for the forgiveness of our sins.

    In the personal battle that every Christian faces – the opposition of the flesh and the Spirit – it is these gifts from Christ that free us from the curse of the Law, the fear of death, and the accusations of the devil, to keep in step with the Spirit. Therefore, a Christian needs Christ and His gifts continually.

    Martin Luther described the Christian as a donkey in the middle of two riders; on one side is Satan; and on the other is Christ. Whoever rides the donkey determines where it will go. And the donkey doesn’t decide who will ride it. The two riders battle for the saddle. This is a battle that is easily won by Christ: “for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” HE WHO IS IN YOU!

    When receive Christ’s gifts, it is He who mounts the saddle and make us, as one brilliant theologian described us, “Royal asses.” Sounds a lot better than Satan’s beast of burden, no?.

    The Law and its lectures can tell us what we ought to do, but it cannot give us the power to do what it requires. In fact the power of sin is the Law. But for some reason, that’s the antidote that our modern churches think befits the preaching office.

    The Law was never intended to make a man or woman righteous. Thus, what Christians need is the power of the Gospel, the Word made flesh, given for you, who sends us the comforter, and hides us with Himself in heavenly places…for now.

  103. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, if you end up with God being everywhere and in everything, even your PB&J, that is pantheism.
    Is their a verse that says Jesus is omnipresent with that definition? I walked 6 miles this morning – I don’t think I was breathing in Jesus with each breath (and I take many).
    Jesus’ presence is where he wants to be when he wants to be.
    Btw, I don’t think you are applying Matt 18 correctly.

  104. Jean says:

    I am going to respectfully side with Steve on his definition of the omnipresence of the Triune God, based on Scripture. Here’s another passage for your perusal: “And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. “

  105. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I should have included that Jesus places himself in the communion elements at the time of (or around the time of – I don’t want to get too technical) the institution. If Jesus were in (or in, with and under) at all times, there would be no need – he would be packaged in the wine bottle.
    This is what I mean when I say that Jesus’ presence is where he wants when he wants.

  106. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I think folks are confusing transcendence with omnipresence.

  107. Steve says:

    MLD, I’m not reading into any verses. I just looked up the definition of omnipresent that Jean first started using. As I stated if you would like to redefine the term omnipresent for me be my guest. But I do take Jesus words very seriously in Matt. 18 about his promise of Him being with us when 2 or more gathered. I would love to hear from you specifically exactly what Jesus meant to say about this promise that somehow I am getting wrong.

  108. victorious says:

    I am still praying for the women who will be sharing their story/testimonies and that we make them feel welcome, affirmed and valued and as a result experience an greater measure and new season of Christ’s healing and empowering presence.

    Also, that we receive,learn and grow from what they have to share.

  109. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve – I am not taking issue with the term omnipresent by itself – I am asking if the Bible declares that Jesus is physically omnipresent?

    Matthew 18 has a context of gathering to judge a brother – as you need 2 or more witnesses – not just for any occasion. – 15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed[f] in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

  110. Steve says:

    MLD,. It would almost appear that Jesus is omnipresent since he is God and we know God is omnipresent. Unless you want to be a Nestorian and have two versions of Jesus. Human Jesus locked up in heaven except during Lutheran divine service and the other Jesus doing God stuff holding the universe togther all the time everywhere. I think we have one Jesus holding it all together.

  111. JM says:

    I am finally able to get back and read all the comments. I always get so blessed by the diverse reactions to what is presented.

    Paige, I did not come to this site soon enough to know all of your story, but what you have shared at times continues to break my heart. It is grievous that you should have so many “sisters” who have suffered as you have. May God give you the desires of your heart and heal your family. May you also be blessed for what you are able to post now. It is full of both truth and grace. Thank God for the great work He has done in you.

    Steve–I think of your post back on Oct. 19 @6:04 am and agree that it should not be a battle of the sexes. No gender owns evil. I suppose it comes up more about men because, traditionally, they have had most of the power. In the long run, both genders would be shooting themselves in the foot to advocate any kind of war between the sexes. That extreme would only serve the Enemy of our Souls.

    Steve, you also quite correctly highlight the policies and practices of the ill-conceived Moses Model that Calvary Chapel both rationalized and defended. (Michael’s statement put a good frame around it, too. ) Surely other denominations have committed their share of abuse, but here we are speaking specifically about CC and their use of that insufferable “model”. I do feel reasonable and completely justified in going farther in regards to my critique of Calvary Chapel. CC was unique in how they implied magnificent and unusual spiritual things about themselves in regard to the move of the Holy Spirit and in regard to their chosen method of teaching the Bible. Certainly acknowledgement should be given to the fact that some of their claims were true and some of their methods effective. However, it seems that they loved forgetting the obvious–it is a two-edged sword! If, as they always implied, they were “given much” (one side of the “sword”)–then–“much is required” by Biblical standards (the other side of the “sword”). They were liable for both. Instead–somehow, someway, something awful happened to rational thought and they chose to follow a path in which they put themselves above God and the Word they purported to teach. Consequences were for other people. Their excuse was mainly that Chuck said it was okay, so it must be true. They abdicated their own minds and parked them at the altar of Chuck worship–and at the fantasy that was CC.

    We now know a great deal as to how Chuck’s own sin back in the 1970’s–and the policies/actions surrounding it–opened the door to rampant and sometimes extreme systemic abuse inside of this “association”. We also know that this entity’s policy of silence in the face of immorality and/or abuse by some of their other pastors could very well be explained by who knew Chuck’s “secret”. In the real world–not CC fantasyland–they call that “blackmail”. But… Chuck’s affair had to be covered up to “save the movement”. God was too ill-equipped and short-sighted to further the movement He started. He needed help from these much wiser, albeit perverted men. God was too stupid to know ahead of time that one of His vessels was possibly a little randy, so He would have never had a plan to help those who were truly seeking Him. These “noble” men had to step in. How could God care for those who were sincerely seeking Him if they didn’t step in? I’m sure God was very happy with leaders invoking His name while committing and covering up disqualifying sins as well as doing worse things to their wives than the men that were rebuked in the book of Malachi.

    My Bible promises that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled. (Apparently–the Bible that CC used was different.) Their brand of stupid propagated the belief that God needed help from unrepentant (sometimes unregenerate) men. Keep in mind I am not dissing the use of “Imperfect” people. It is perfectly Biblical and the only thing possible this side of heaven. But–I am dissing the use of deliberately unrepentant men! Are we really that deficit in our mental faculties to condone such a thing? Are we really that faithless?

    One has to shake their head and cry at all the pain and suffering that has come from this entity when you know much of it could have been avoided if men found their integrity so many years ago. But, don’t ya know, it’s all excusable because they have also done “so much good”. Remember–CC was different. Their sin didn’t count. God needed this entity to spread the Gospel, so He overlooked all the sin, payoffs, lying and various other trivial sin and perversion. The creator of the Universe needed Calvary Chapel–even though they embraced the gospel of expediency in exchange for the true Gospel of a Holy god and a loving Christ. Chuck did such a noble thing when he invoked the policy of “the ends justify the means”. Just because it is a form of godless Utilitarianism, we shouldn’t worry. Though some would call it “Relative Morality” or “Situational Ethics” without need of the absolutes of God’s commandments, we shouldn’t worry.

    “Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining!!”* Christians should rightly call all of that sick and wrong!

    Here’s a sampling of what Jesus said about men who (unlike CC pastors) actually had the right lineage to sit in Moses’ seat:

    Matthew 23:1-5a, “Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things, and do not do them, And they tie up heavy loads, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men;…”

    From Matthew 23:13 onward there are at least 8 woes pronounced against the men who sat in this “Moses seat” and abused the authority they were given. Verse 28 stood out in relation to CC: “Even so you too outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” I’ll let those who want to, explain verse 33.

    Jeremiah 23:14a “Also among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing: The committing of adultery and walking in falsehood; And they strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one has turned back from his wickedness….” If that didn’t turn out well for those fellows, why were the eventual pastors from the CC movement who were among those who received the Holy Spirit and prophesied among themselves back in the 60’s and 70’s above any of this? (Though there is a difference between the gift of prophecy and the office of a prophet–the principle of flagrantly disregarding God’s holiness when you are a leader among His people is not to be discarded.)

    It is clear to this poster that, over time, they used their seeming advocation of “orthodoxy” to cover up their lack of orthopraxy. They gave the appearance of superior Bible exposition which blinded so many for whom Biblical fidelity was extremely important. It caused way too many to not even consider there was a perversive darkness behind it that pervaded the whole system–even in the face of what was slowly becoming known. (The Hocking debacle was bigger than anyone knew at the time.) It seemed illogical to many to think, that, if they could preach as they did about morality and respect for God’s Word that they were capable of using such twisted rationale that allowed them to do such cruel things. This should cause anyone who got caught up in and blinded by this fantasy to go back and see where they left their discernment. I think there’s a lot of people who are resisting this call. I have nearly given up on the original pastors who knew about all the corruption as well as the power-hungry sycophants who came after. I know that if they do not come clean on their own, God will expose them even if it takes someone from the outside of their circle. That’s what happened to Bob Coy. Even though many in leadership knew plenty–they were so impotent that God had to make a circumstance in which an outsider did the right thing. I think some of those corrupt men are still there. I hope those impotent men will likewise be exposed. And the beat goes on.

    One could easily see this is a subject that I am passionate about. I wish to re-state that I am well aware that CC does not own cruelty or sexual perversion. The news is replete with stories that speak otherwise. However, I wish to also restate that it is perfectly reasonable to hold Calvary Chapel more accountable than certain other denominations because of, not only what they said about themselves, but also what God gave to them during that time of revival.

  112. JM says:

    Tried to Post, but it didn’t appear. This will be my test. 🙂

  113. JM says:

    Well, there it is. 🙂

  114. Em says:

    JM’s lengthy post at 11:22 … reading it now, it occurs to me that, when a preacher today uses the book of Matt. as his justification for his pastoring M.O., perhaps we should be wary… There was a reason that our Lord knocked Paul off of his horse and directed him to preach to the gentiles… All those letters weren’t written just as fill in the future Christian Bible. God made it pretty clear that, if you want to pastor a flock of His sheeo, you’d better be walking the talk consistently….
    I am not discounting the gospels, not by any means.

    Will i sin if i pick up a lottery ticket when i go into town this aft?

  115. Steve says:

    Em,. I almost forgot. You reminded me I got to go pick up my lottery ticket on my way home today from work. :). If I win big, I’m planning to send a little something to Michael to keep the blog going.

  116. Ray says:

    Personally, I never like it when people attribute their personal beliefs that make no sense to “mystery.” The fact is, there is not that much mystery regarding these things. God has given us much revelation in plain words and clear language in order to help us understand. God wants us to understand, I believe, where Jesus is now…so that it comforts us in His absence. For Jesus himself spoke clearly and at length spoke to the apostles about this in John 16. It’s not a mystery.

    John 16:5 …. but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. 7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
    12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

    It is the Holy Spirit that speaks, acts for, and glorifies Jesus on the earth today. Jesus does live in us…BY the Holy Sprit. It’s not Modalism….it’s acting and being present on Jesus’ behalf….much like Jesus did on the Father’s behalf when he was on the earth.

    Jesus is in heaven until he returns. Again, for the third time….look what Acts 3:20-21 says.

  117. Michael says:


    I find the Bible to be laced with mystery and paradox.
    Your position is perfectly orthodox.
    However, the three oldest and largest expressions of Christianity all hold to some form of the Real Presence in the Eucharist.
    They have biblical and theological reasons to do so.

  118. Jean says:

    Hi Ray, you wrote:

    “It is the Holy Spirit that speaks, acts for, and glorifies Jesus on the earth today. Jesus does live in us…BY the Holy Spirit.”

    This is not to argue, but just to point out for you and the readers that in order to make your assertion, you have to add to the simple, clear words of Scripture in various places, some of which I have quoted above. If you feel authorized to add to the words of Scripture, I suppose everyone else does too, and if everyone else does, then is there anything in Scripture that Christians can be sure about?

    Moreover, if you add to the words of Scripture to make them say what you think they mean (or should say), are you not also saying that the Spirit did a really poor job of inspiring the apostles? Is it your contention that the Spirit is one of confusion, leaving the finer points to the wisdom of man?

  119. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Ray, Jesus giving us his true body and blood in the supper seems to be the antidote for your Christless Christianity.
    Not that I would say you deny Christ but now instead of modalism, you have turned Jesus into a deist Jesus – one who has done his work, left us and is no longer involved in our lives.
    Jesus is locked up in heaven and we cannot get to heaven to interact with him.
    No, Jesus has not left us. This IS my body and this IS my blood plays out physically, and weekly in the vast majority of Christian churches.
    There is a reason many of us speak of the real presence of Jesus in our churches, while the remainder must be preaching the real absence. But heck, what do I know?

  120. Outside T. Fold says:

    The implications of what Michael wrote about in the original post (and Paige’s testimony of her experience) is just too [expletive]-ing painful.

    I came to the site, saw the headline, winced, opened the post in a tab, read the first sentences, and looked away again. I did not return to this post for days.

    For the pastoral clan to claim to be an authority of a most high divine being while treating half of the population of human beings as subhuman, as expendable trash, is appalling and infuriating.

    And Paige, I believe you. I am so sorry that you were treated the way you were. You did not deserve that.

    Of course, this is not the first (nor the last) example of how the church TAKES ON culture but does not transform it. A benign example: Why is Church at 10am on a Sunday? Why 10am and not another time of day? A centuries old tradition in pastoral communities in Europe: Let those with dairy cows wake up early and milk their cows, and after that chore is done, get cleaned up and go to church!

    This entire series is about exploring cultural factors around CC. Tho this is extremely painful, Michael, I appreciate that you are spelling out historical and cultural and economic factors about the Calvary Chapel phenomenon.

    I will say this today like a mantra: The least of these, the least of these, the least of these.

  121. Em says:

    As i read this morning’s posts i don’t find much to say amen …
    Outside the fold expresses such trauma – so much damage done by power hungry men (and wonen) who do not fear God
    MLD and Jean, essentially presume to instruct Ray accusing him of heresey? Against Lutheranism, perhaps, but not against our Lord. Not seeing the literal body and blood of Christ in the wafer and the wine does not imply that one sees our Lord sitting impotent at the right hand of The Father … among other accusations made … but this drive by goading does not produce good theology on either side IMHO
    It is time to focus on the wonder of John 3:16 and the hope of the promises in the Book … or so it seems to me this morning….
    God have mercy? Yes, He does, praise His holy Name
    God keep us

  122. Jean says:

    From the lost verses of the Gospel According to Matthew:

    “And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, ‘Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’ “

  123. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Em, I have never claimed to see Jesus’literal body or blood in the elements – I have not seen them…at all. I do believe they are there, sight unseen because Jesus said his body and blood were there.
    My issue with Ray’s comment is that Jesus is locked away in heaven and has nothing to do with his church or with individual Christians until some date in the future.
    Jesus has turned the reins over to the Holy Spirit. Jesus has left the building!

  124. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    Ever notice a LOT of dysfunctional churches are into Male-Supremacist ideology?

    “Just like the Manosphere, Except CHRISTIAN(TM)!”

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