The CCSPC 14 “Losers”

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111 Responses

  1. I had an opportunity to watch a panel discussion that Brodersen, Laurie, Bob Caldwell and some others were in and Laurie and Caldwell were fantastic. Really appreciated those two’s insights, wisdom and frankness.

  2. Papias says:

    “The far right group won’t be kicked out of the movement, but they would save themselves a lot of grief if they just moved on.”

    I would prefer that this group would take a few moments and breathe.

    After this, they would examine what others like them are saying and maybe… just maybe… begin to see the direction CC is going in….and pray for God’s wisdom.

    And maybe their hearts will be changed to see the beauty of true oneness and fellowship with those outside the CC walls.

    One can hope. 🙂

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

    So very glad for your observations & commentary. The wing you describe, who are not progressives or moderates, hold views and a mindset which is fear based instead of being faith based. Fear retreats, faith embraces adventure, takes risks, dares to see God in the midst and in the unseen, the God who says, “Come sing, come dance!”

    Can we blame the faith based for enjoying Gods party?

  4. Michael says:

    Thank you, G!
    I like your fear based vs. faith based scenario…it’s a challenge for all of us to stay on the faith based side.

  5. Michael says:

    Travis…you had a lot of company.
    I think Greg did a very courageous, honest job at this conference.

  6. Michael says:


    I’m not sure that will happen…this group believes they are the remnant…

  7. Michael says:

    I’m off to take Trey to day camp…back in a bit.

  8. Papias says:

    “this group believes they are the remnant…”

    Is that from their own lips, or is that what others say about them?

    Be careful if its from others.

    I would be concerned if it from others within CC saying that about their own – that would show how deep the divide truly is in their camp.

    If its from their own lips, then what we have been saying about CC splitting will happen sooner rather than later.

    And I don’t think that one CC from SLO leaving constitutes a splitting. Although… once they got past the “we dislike RW and other voices” reasons, the rest of their reasons were pretty legit. I would have rather they led with those reasons and leave the rest out

  9. Nonnie says:

    I am extremely encouraged by what I have heard and read about the conference. The people I know and respect inside CC love and honor God’s word, but they also love God’s people….. and in doing so, can walk together in grace with others they may not agree with on form, fashion, or method, but they can rejoice that the gospel is being proclaimed and peoples’ lives are being transformed by that Gospel.

  10. There are dissidents in all groups – not everyone is happy. So what? The only thing that counts is are they faithful.

    They can operate their Calvary Chapel old school, new school however they like – they are only affiliated -it’s not like CCA shares in their profits or owns their buildings.

    Or, let them leave and they can begin an organization called “The Real Calvary Chapel”

  11. Corby says:

    It’s been a while but I thought I’d share this little nugget. In some conversations I had while at the conference I have started referring to this different groups like this. Bryson and Paul Smith represent what I have come to call the “radical” camp. What Michael refers to as “right wing” I would call “purists”. The rest of us, though I’m sure there could be many subdivisions, I call “progressives.” As was demonstrated at this conference, I think the purists and the progressives can coexist. The radicals on the other hand, not so much. It’s probably that there is a left-wing radical group, but it doesn’t seem as vocal. Perhaps, by their nature, they just leave without cause a fuss unlike the radicals.

  12. Rob Murphy says:

    I would say there are two sides trying to conserve and advance their view of primary legacies and principles of the movement.

    Not a healthy thing to rewrite the historical context of “left wing/right wing” ideology via the reporting of this event – especially because this is a body of Christ context. It provokes a rhetoric of labeling and back and forth that detracts from focus on the issues.

    If I was either side, I would prefer to say that both are working toward conservation and advancement of emphasizing their respective view of the movement’s particular core values.

    Conservation and advancement are inherently positive terms, while “Left” invokes an historic representation of dehumanizing, totalitarian, strong- armed destruction of freedom. Odd editorial selection of words since there seemed a desire in this piece to affirm the side labeled as “left” as being a preferable selection. Contrary to all of history, really.

  13. Steve Wright says:

    You guys are going to confuse readers using political terms in this discussion…

  14. Steve Wright says:

    Rob beat me to it 🙂

  15. Mark says:

    Just curious- from CC Pastors Perspective- how large the so called radical group is- i.e. those radical enough to split. I’d suggest very very small number of CC senior pastors.

  16. Michael says:


    My task as a writer is to try to make situations understandable.
    Culturally, we’ve come to associate “right” with “traditionalist”.
    The moderate or center and left have their own connotations that don’t necessarily have anything to do with political affiliations, but have the ability to form a word picture that is helpful in defining a group.
    My task was to do just that…help draw a word picture, not make a political stance.
    As I wrote, most of the movement is in the center…holding to traditions while willing to move forward.

  17. Michael says:


    Well said…I agree.

  18. AA says:

    Michael thank you for the insightful post, I agree.

    G, liked the fear / faith contrast.

  19. Michael says:

    Thank you, AA…

  20. Just A Sheep says:

    Would the proper analogy be Acts 15 and the Jerusalem Council?

    There is the more closed and rules based Judaism contingent.
    Then there is the more open Pauline contingent.

    I think what is also interesting was that Chuck was much more in Judaistic camp.
    But Costa Mesa was declining under its weight.

    Maybe its the wrong analogy but the discussion made me think of it

  21. Michael says:

    Just a Sheep,

    I’m not sure there is a proper analogy…but in this hyper charged political atmosphere, I’ll take yours next time. 🙂

  22. Papias says:

    Here’s a question: If Don and Joe are of the “right wing” (holding to the Disctinctives, eschewing Purpose driven, Emergents, Calvinists, etc) – then why did they NOT want Paul Smith and George Bryson at the SPC?

    Aren’t they all on the same team?

    Or are some just THAT MUCH farther to the right than the others?

    Are they THAT “cliquey”?

  23. Michael says:


    I think you’re right….it’s small, but with some significant names.

  24. Michael says:


    Bryson has claimed that the CCA was founded on fraudulent grounds.
    I believe he is being truthful, but the burden of proof rests on him.
    He has targeted McClure as the one who has perpetrated the deceit…and McClure made him pay.
    Paul Smith is seen as a martyr for the anti-emergent, anti Calvinst group, but they refuse to acknowledge that those were not the reasons he was fired and he was possibly going to disrupt the conference.

  25. Kevin H says:


    To try to answer your question, I would point to the groupings Corby described in #11. I think Joe and Don are Purists, but not Radicals (Paul Smith, George Bryson, etc.). So although they may eschew to some degree the things you list, they don’t have an extreme focus on them as do the Radicals. I can’t speak to how/where/what the political breakdown is between these two groups (Purists & Radicals).

  26. Papias says:

    Michael and Kevin – Thanks for the explanations!

    If I may….The CC world in a nutshell:

    Left Wing (more openly embrace emergent, or purpose driven, or Calvinist leanings) Purists (DM, JF) > Radicals (PS, GB)

  27. Papias says:

    whoops… that’s not right – it left out the Progressives…. 🙂

    Papias Newbie Luddite

  28. Michael says:


    The vast majority are somewhere in the middle of all of those labels.

  29. Papias says:

    Michael – I know. I messed up with the “less than” and “greater than” symbols – which totally took out Progressives. The revised format:

    Left Wing (more openly embrace emergent, or purpose driven, or Calvinist leanings)
    (Less than) Progressives
    (Greater than) Purists (DM, JF)
    (Greater than) Radicals (PS, GB)

    Better get back to work…. 😉

  30. Master's Servant says:

    I’m sure some want to divide based upon doctrine / traditions, I’ve had conversations with both “sides” and as is the case; “where you stand depends on where you sit”. The greater issue for me isn’t the “flexibility” or maintaining the “old school” it is the heart of humility and brokenness that should be evident as Christ’s disciples. No one that I know can claim that all that hold their doctrines or form of government have no issues with pride, we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God but we must never defend our arrogance, we need to confess and turn from it if we are to grow in Christ. What remains to be seen is, can all sides that make up C.C. get beyond the symptoms to the root and call themselves accountable in the area’s of pride and idolatry. I have no problem with “C.C. Distinctives” or some who which to be more inclusive so long as all display Christ’s heart, towards those that differ. For far to long we at C.C. have tolerated, promoted and defended our arrogance. If we continue there will be no split, no side to take, we will go the way of Ephesus, who left their “First Love”.

  31. Michael says:

    Masters Servant,

    Great word for all of us inside or out of CC…thank you.

  32. Bryan Stupar says:

    Masters Servant, good word.

    “…all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” (Mat. 26:52)

    Should the CC family exchange the more common posture of bloodletting & scapegoating for humble, cruciform service and love to one-another…life as they know it just may flourish.

  33. Thanks AA.
    Thanks Michael.

  34. Steve Wright says:

    To clarify my earlier point, in the world of Christendom we do use the same political labels to describe ourselves and our battles. There are liberals and conservatives, progressives and moderates. And Christendom right now is being divided over issues like women pastors, gay marriage, and the inerrancy (word chosen deliberately) of Scripture.

    None of that is the case with CC

    Now, there are also divisions at a smaller level over spiritual gifts, endtimes theology, evolutionary acceptance.

    None of that is the case with CC

    I think the conversations that have taken place on this blog have made a pretty strong case from the CC pastors that we see a RETURN to what made CC used by God in the first place, which also is a return to Chuck from not just the early days but even more recently.

    I’ve got my 21 years in CC and the first 8 were sitting under Chuck directly as well as listening to all the (older) taped messages. And I know what I heard and what I experienced and what attracted me to CC when it comes to other believers.

    The issues that may involve some conflict as to CC’s future have nothing to do with progressive, conservative, sorts of labels.

    Put another way, in a very simple example – those who freak out about “associating” (whatever that may mean) with Rick Warren. Does anyone think that if Rick Warren came out tomorrow publicly as fully supporting gay marriage in the church (which would be a huge message even in the secular news), that there is even one CC pastor that would continue to “associate” with him. Of course not.

  35. Michael says:

    Back in my college days when I was writing about music and not religion, we used those same templates to describe different factions in the country music industry and audience.

    I underestimate how hyper political we are now at times.

    It makes me puke.

  36. Steve Wright says:

    Well….those terms as applied to Christendom are hardly new. As applied to the CC conflicts they were born today apparently.

    Frankly, when I read accusations of internal motivations like fear versus faith based, it makes me want to puke. Disagreeing with someone else’s convictions does not warrant treading into areas only God knows for certain.

    Hey, I hate multi-site satellite campuses. A repeated topic at the conference. Does that push me back into the “fear” group?

    There is far, far more that unites the CC pastors than with which they disagree. And the vast majority of us were able to “Amen” what Don and Joe shared just as loudly as what Greg or Levi shared – even if a sentence or two from each man we might take issue or qualify in our own ministries.

    But this would not be the first time that your ex-CC readers claim greater understanding of CC pastors and their motivations than the pastors themselves indicate.

  37. Francisco Nunez says:

    No doubt Humility is the key here as it is the fruit which enables a servant to approach those who don’t necessarily agree with them on non-essentials or even those considered unapproachable by others. It was Christ’s humility that not only enabled Him to approach the unapproachable.(John 1:14,Matt 9:11) but it was again humility that allowed Him to be approachable by the unapproachable(Mark 5:27) . When I say humility I do not mean self-deprecation, it simply means that our feet are on firmly on the ground and we realize who we are in Christ. It also reminds us that only He sits on throne, not us, or any other leader we may admire inside or outside the movement. That throne remains occupied and He who sits on it commands his servants to love their enemy, so why not the oddballs? even if they do differ a little again on the “non-essentials”. Estrangement in our hearts from another brother is not an option that’s up for negotiation. We simply don’t have that freedom, if we are in Christ.

    A good rule of thumb is to ask ourselves the question “Are our hearts like those of the religious leaders in Matt 9:11? “ Although Christ never enabled or participated in anyone’s sin, He chose to love those considered unapproachable by others. He did not estrange himself from those who the Pharisees rejected. Perhaps we can apply this simple truth to our own lives with regard others in the movement who are different or even difficult to love.

    Perhaps a look in the mirror would be good starting point and a good starting question would be “Am I approachable to others in the movement and I am able to approach others inside the movement?” If not , may the Lord reveal to us individually the cause of this barrier.
    Blessings to all.

  38. Michael says:


    My articles on this conference have been written after more interviews and emails than I’ve gotten on any subject since 2006.
    With very few exceptions, the response from CC pastors has been very positive as to the fairness and accuracy of the articles.
    The only objections today have come from you and Rob…both highly involved in politics.
    My intention as I stated earlier was not to put a political template on CC, but to draw a word picture to help explain the different factions.
    Most seem to have grasped that…and you and Rob have fully clarified your objections.

  39. Michael says:

    Francisco…good word! 🙂

  40. In order to communicate with those outside of our subculture we need to recognize the terms used

    “Progressive” = wants change, willing to even consider abandoning the past
    “Moderate” = ok with a little change, don’t abandon what is too quickly, respect what was
    “Conservative” = wants no change, wants to go back to how it was

    what is being missed here?

  41. For me, someone is in “the fear group” if they irrationally dismiss innovation out of hand without dialog.

  42. I’m with Mr. Wright regarding multi-campus-televised-projection-screen-talking-head presenters. I personally think it’s over the top. I’m joining him in NOT irrationally dismissing it out of hand, we both have our preferences and reasons. Some innovations are cheezy

  43. Michael says:


    In my day it went;

    Progressive: Waylon Jennings
    Moderate: Johnny Cash
    Conservative: George Jones.

    Then there was Jerry Lee Lewis…totally beyond control or definition.
    That’s my old man. 🙂

  44. The benefit of freeing oneself from being controlled by fear is evident in the arts…

    Sadly, in the practice of theology, somewhere along the way we lost our joy and decided that anything that was innovative and therefore a threat was worthy of shunning, of excommunication, of burning at the stake, beheading.

  45. I am still a little confused over this report of dissension. What does it matter? Assuming CCA is 21 guys and assuming that the “Old Guard’ won out – what is the effect on the local church.

    What does that change for the way a Greg Laurie or a Levi Lusko or Seve Write for that matter, goes about their day to day operations and how would it effect next Sunday’s worship service in any of the CCs?

  46. or Seve Write = or Steve Wright

  47. Steve Wright says:

    Michael, Please don’t misunderstand me. I apologize for a lack of clarity.

    I think the articles about the conference have been excellent and I am glad to see the interaction from lots of CC pastors too, especially those willing to put their name with their comments. (As ALL of you guys should do I might add). I hope to see more of it.

    What we have seen in those comments, and I think of Dave and Bryan and myself specifically, is the simple observation that a couple decades ago there was not a concern about teachers from other tribes – and of course a big part of the conference itself is that God worked through Chuck in such massive ways because Chuck was open to new things back in the early days.

    I do not know of one single person who desires a return to a CCOF clearing house with a 20+ page application for affiliation process and final green light given by a Costa Mesa centered bureaucracy. Even though that is what was the process in Chuck’s last few years over the movement. The desire is to get back to the old paths, which frankly is not at all inconsistent with the old Chuck (who of course would also be younger-Chuck 🙂 ) Older CCs were not required to jump through all those hoops, so why do it now?

    So “going back to how it was” requires explanation. “How it was”…when? What year(s)?

    Speaking for myself, the foundation is the independence of the local church. No Calvary “over” any other Calvary. Some may think the CCA threatens that, but only time will tell if those concerns are valid – and if they are, then expect me and a whole lot of other CC pastors to quickly move into one of these other camps.

    One of the things right now is that all CCs are not the same. Certainly not in “style” or emphasis, or focus. That’s what you get with independent local churches. We are joined in certain beliefs, but even some doctrinal aspects are debated (i.e. eternal security). I guarantee that if just a typed transcript of my messages was available, sometimes I would sound like a staunch Calvinist, and sometimes a staunch Arminian, and not because I am trying to not be divisive on doctrine, but rather based on how I teach, without equivocation, on soteriological issues from the Bible.

    And at the end of the day, because of the independence of the local church that is foundational to CC, I expect there to be far more who remain and pastor according to their convictions, rather than feel the need to split because someone else in another state shares a platform with Rick Warren or has a Piper or Keller book in the bookstore.

  48. Xenia says:

    In my Church, we believe in preserving the faith as handed down to us by the Apostles. When someone comes along and wants to innovate, we say no, we will be faithful to our commitment. This is not fear-based at all, just a quiet determination to keep what we were given.

  49. What’s often lost (accidentally or purposefully) by those critics of C.C.’s within the movement or without, is that our problems of pride and arrogance are not exclusively doctrinal any more than the Calvinist’s or some other groups. When we discuss the observed failings of any man or movement and reduce their sins to merely intellectual practice we do a great disservice to both them and us.
    To the movement we miss the chance to speak into the real problem and instead give them an opportunity too dodge poor behavior as they defend doctrine.
    To our self’s, we can excuse our own poor behavior while trumpeting the superiority of our intellectual belief.
    Both lose, instead of both gaining, a truly sad state. I have seen that as far as people are concerned there are two things that will quickly ruin a person: Being idol and being idolized! The argument could be made that numeric “success” has been a far greater enemy of the church (Specifically C.C.) than faulty doctrine on non-essentials. I believe that C.C.’s do not have the corner market on either of these. In fact it seems that westernized evangelicalism as a whole, where the church becomes what is lifted up in order to draw all to it’s self instead of Jesus, is at the center of the problem. For me any doctrine that makes Jesus indispensable and visible, while revealing that I am still the greatest sinner I’ve ever known is a good doctrine. The problem with C.C.’s and western evangelicalism is that it is far more interested in being right than it is in behaving right and until we gaze more closely into our own mirrors instead of throwing rocks out our windows, it is not likely that we will change.

  50. Steve Wright says:

    you and Rob…both highly involved in politics.
    To end on a lighter note. We have a family that are regulars for well over a year who left an excellent CC for ours because the other one talked about politics too much and they wanted more straight Bible teaching. Oh the irony, huh

    My political involvement consists of reading blogs, voting, and some facebook and PhxP commentary. 🙂

  51. Thanks for this post, Michael! Our pastor was really encouraged by most of the content of the conference, and I liked what little I heard online.

    Guitar Man, Faith-Based vs. Fear-Based pretty much sums it up!

  52. Michael says:


    Thank you!

  53. Michael says:

    Masters servant,

    You have some good thoughts…stick with us.

  54. Master's Servant says:

    Thank you, will do! I read these blogs, but almost never reply as I’m more interested in being transformed, then I am interested on arguing for some non-essential.

  55. “But this would not be the first time that your ex-CC readers claim greater understanding of CC pastors and their motivations than the pastors themselves indicate.”

    Over the years I have attended 5 or 6 CCPC’s. Most of the time, I got permission from Chuck himself (via mail). As I have stated before, they were the most lonely times I have ever had at any gathering. The “pastors” stuck to themselves and if memory serves me well, none ever reached out to me. While I may of not done a good job of reaching out myself, every time I made an effort to do so, I was usually rebuffed by something like, “yeah, uh…,” and quickly returned to “fellowshipping” among themselves.

    There were some exceptions: Mike Macintosh, Pastor Romaine (whom I miss very much), Allan Rigg, Bill Walden, Jon Clayton, Gayle Erwin, even Paul Smith (there may of been others, so if I have forgotten, please forgive me). But for the most part, they were/are the most closed off, self centered, condescending (toward those who are outside) individuals that it has even been my unfortunate privilege to associate with.

    Certainly, there are some who would say that I am “bitter.” I prefer the word “observant.”

    There are a lot of guys out there that love the Lord, teach the word, and care for others that do not “fly the dove.” This may come as a shock to others. And a word of caution: Inbreeding has only one result.

  56. CrucifiED says:

    Randall, I felt it to be like that if you are in Calvary Chapel too, but aren’t on the same level or have the extroverted type A personality as the rest.

  57. Randall.

    I also had observed what you observed. There was most definitely a “Good ole boy” insider privileged group mentality among those who had “made it” into the inner circle.

    And we were truly made to feel that we were not in it. Raul R never fit the mold of that group, he is a very humble man by my own experience with him at the Pacific Amphitheatre many years ago.

    He sat next to me in the audience chatting me up and showed keen interest in me as a person. at the time I did not know who he was, he was just another brother in the Lord, until he said, “Well I have to go now.”

    And I said, “Where are you going, it is just about to start?”

    He said, “I know, I am the opening speaker.” I said, “Who are you?” He replied, “Raul R.”

    It was really nice to see a man of God in his position be so humble and so down to earth in his treatment of others ( Me ) .

    Oden Fong is another who some have said made them feel special and appreciated.

    Off topic, I have a picture of a long haired smiling (with great joy) Randall coming up out of the water after having been baptized by Brant Baker.

    Someone told me that it was of you, the drummer at Shekinah.

    Could it have been you?

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

    Thanks CK!

  59. David, Raul is a great guy I left out. I met him years ago and had a great conversation with him. Oden is a good guy as well.

    And yes, I am the drummer coming up out of the water.

  60. Pilgrim says:

    Sorry I’m a bit late to this thread but I don’t get to spend a lot of time on here. Here are some more thoughts . I apologize for the length.. .


    Once upon a time there were two Christian associations. They were alike in some ways but very different in other ways. They were alike in their mutual convictions about and commitment to Evangelical Orthodox theology. That is, they both believed in:

    1. The Trinity
    2. The true humanity and full deity of the God-Man Jesus Christ
    3. They both believed in the virgin birth of Jesus
    4. They believed in the sinless life of Jesus
    5. They believed in the bodily resurrection of Jesus
    6. They both believed in a real and literal heaven
    7. They both believed in a real and literal hell
    8. They both believed that Jesus was the only Son of God
    9. They both believed that Jesus is the only savior for the world
    10. They both believed that only through faith in Jesus can a lost person be saved
    11. They both said that they agreed that salvation was by grace alone,
    through faith alone, in Christ alone and for good works alone and to the glory of
    God alone
    12. They both believed that man was born in sin and spiritually dead but they held to
    some important differences as to what this spiritual deadness implied, relative to
    spiritual deadness

    These associations were different, in that even though both of these associations believed that you cannot see or enter the kingdom of God unless you are born again, one of the associations (I will call the A association) believed that you must be born again so that you can believe in Jesus Christ and be saved. In this view no one can choose to believe and be saved unless he is first born again. In other words, no one can choose to be born again and be saved. The other association (I will call the B association) believed that you can and must believe in Jesus Christ so that you can believe in Jesus Christ and be born again and saved.

    The A association believed that God’s plan is to save a group of people they call the elect and that these elect people and only these elect people can and will be saved. Their election is purely unconditional and some would say arbitrary. The B association believed that God’s plan is to save all who will choose to believe in Jesus Christ. They say everyone can choose to believe in Jesus Christ and thereby choose to be saved.

    The A association believed Christ only died propitiously or savingly for the sins of the elect people. The B association believed that Christ died propitiously or savingly for all the sins of all sinners.

    The A association believed that faith in Christ and salvation is irresistible for the elect. In their view, the elect not only can believe but they will believe and eventually they must believe in Christ and be saved. The B association believed that faith in Christ is a matter of choice and can be resisted or rejected, leaving the unbeliever lost or unsaved or saved if they choose to believe in Jesus.

    The A association believed that living a holy life (albeit imperfectly) is inevitable for the elect. Once the elect trusts in Christ for salvation, they are justified by faith. Inside and inseparable from the faith that saves without works is a working faith that is never without works for the elect after he is saved. The B association believed that although living a holy life is expected and commanded, despite God’s gracious enablement, holiness is not inevitable for the believer, though they wish it were. Although justification is by faith alone, sanctification requires a working faith or a faith that works.

    The first association is an ecumenical association and has a lot of options as to what its pastors can believe and remain in their association. I do not use the word as a pejorative and liberal in any way. Beyond their Evangelical-Orthodox beliefs, which are essentially the same for both associations, the first association, only has one requirement (or doctrinal distinctive) to be in or remain in their association.

    The second association is not so ecumenical. They must believe in a pretrib and premil eschatology (be dispensational), their pastors cannot drink alcohol recreationally, must teach verse by verse, chapter by chapter and a few other things that are a part of some doctrinal and practical agreements that were required of them to come into and remain in their association. On one of their distinctives (on their respective doctrines of salvation or who can be saved and why) these two associations are polar opposites. This is despite the many things they believe in common.

    To be in the first association, all of their pastors must be Reformed relative to their doctrine of salvation. This first association is “for Reformed pastors only.” On many matters this first association is very ecumenical. On their doctrine of salvation, they are anything but. To get into their association only the Reformed need apply. A pastor cannot get in if he is not Reformed and he will be removed if it is found out that he is no longer Reformed in his doctrine of salvation.

    To be in the second association, a pastor cannot be Reformed in his doctrine of salvation. For a pastor to get in and to remain in the second association, a pastor must be and remain non-Reformed in his doctrine of salvation. The second association is for soteriologically non-Reformed pastors only. The only way to be Reformed and in the second association is to be dishonest. Remember, this is a once upon a time story, at least for one of these two associations.
    There is presently a number of ecumenical associations that perfectly fit our once upon a time first association. No matter what else you believe (and there are a lot options within the range of doctrinal Evangelical-Orthodoxy) the leaders of this association cannot admit or allow a doctrine of salvation that is non-Reformed among their pastors. The Gospel Coalition and the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals perfectly correspond to our first association in our once upon a time story of our two association that are, in some ways, very similar and, in some ways, very different.

    There was (note the past tense) an association of churches that perfectly describes the second association. Calvary Chapel, under the leadership of Pastor Chuck, corresponds to the “only the non-Reformed need apply association.” The men who claim to be the leaders of the Calvary Chapel Association of CC pastors seem to have been snookered, hood-winked or taken for a ride. This is so, unless we can say they knew what they were allowing to happen. You should consider the facts and decide for yourself as what really happened. Was this by design, neglect or were they just out maneuvered, out check-mated to pile metaphor on to metaphor?

    Weren’t we (Calvary Chapel pastors under the leadership of Pastor Chuck) by choice a movement in which no pastor could be a Calvary Chapel pastor and Reformed at the same time? What happened? TGC is still a “Reformed only” association of pastors. They are what they were. Pastor Chuck stood his ground and helped CC pastors stand their ground. The CCA council gave away everything but the kitchen sink. The CCA council either knew or did not know what they were allowing. Either way it does not look good for the CCA council and those following them.

    I believe the CCA council when they say they are not Reformed. Please allow me a little comparison. I also believe the CCA council when they say they are not 7th Day Adventists, which apparently no one needs to say. But the CCA council took their eye off of the ball. It is not enough to say I am not a 7th Day Adventist. The CCA needs a council, (assuming they need a council) not only willing to say that I am not 7th a Day Adventist but a council not willing to permit a CC pastor to be CC and a 7th Day Adventist pastor at the same time. 7th Adventism is a position the CCA council should and does reject. 7th Day Adventism is not a distinctive of any CC pastor. If the CCA pastors need a council of the kind the CCA has, it certainly needed a council that not only said they are not Reformed but that would stand up under a little pressure and say if you want to be Calvary (and no one has to be a Calvary pastor) you cannot be a Calvinist. That sort of sounds like what Pastor Chuck used to say.

    This is time to congratulate Alistair Begg. He is a “council member” of the two largest associations that are “Reformed only” for pastors. So far, all of the “Reformed only” associations for pastors have maintained their status as a “Reformed only” associations of pastors. They have done this because they do not allow in non-Reformed pastors, not even Calvary Chapel pastors that are not Reformed in their doctrine of salvation. To be non-Reformed and in a Reformed only association of pastors, you simply can’t be an honest non-Reformed pastor. For a Calvary Chapel pastor to get into a Reformed only association of pastors, as is the case for a number of CC pastors, assuming they were honest, they had to reject their non-Reformed status they claimed to be when signing up with Calvary under Chuck’s leadership. Otherwise, The Gospel Association of Pastors could not be a “Reformed only” association of pastors. Alistair Begg was not going to let that happen. It was his job to make sure it did not and does not happen.

    Why did Don or Joe let Reformed pastors join what was a previously a Reformed-Free association of pastors? Alistair has set an example of standing up for what you say you believe in. The CCA council has dropped the ball in a big way. Did the council want an all non-Reformed association of pastors to become associated with an association that allows no CC pastors in their association that are not Reformed? Certainly, the CCA council could have done what our all Reformed pastor associations did in reverse. The CCA could have refused to accept pastors into their association that do not believe what they say they believe.

    Instead they made a deal to make a few CC pastors happy at the expense of a majority of CC pastors. They could have done what the council leaders of TGC did. Instead they said to the few CC pastors who wanted to be Reformed and join TGC, you keep what you want and what you believe in (i.e., Reformed soteriology) and we will give up what we say we believe and what we say we want as if what we believe and want does not matter. It seems that all that matters is that TGC can keep what it believes and wants. And whose fault is that? It is as if TGC made up the rules for Calvary and said “heads we win and tails you lose”. Worse yet, it is as if the CCA made up the rules for TGC and Calvary which says “If it is heads, Calvary loses and if it is tails, TGC wins. What a deal! What skillful negotiators those CCA council men are! What did CC pastors gain or lose? What did TGC gain or lose?

  61. Michael says:


    Please read some Reformed theology written by someone other than George Bryson.
    My information is that any Calvinistic leaning pastors where there under chuck’s watch, with his knowledge.
    Otherwise I understand your concerns and it’s refreshing to hear someone speak clearly about the desire to draw sharp lines.

  62. Truth Lover says:

    Why are so many afraid of Reformed Theology? It is GLORIOUS and so God centered! Yet there are so many lies and mis-representations about it. ie. Hyper Calvinists. Reminds me of how the Devil works to suppress the Gospel because it is the TRUTH. So many deep and wonderful teachers come out of the Reformed tradition compared to non Reformed. Reformers care about doctrine (IMO) more than non Reformed. It’s evident in their teaching. Why can’t there be an Association made up of both reformed and non reformed? Can’t agreeing to the essentials be enough? And yes avoid reading George Bryson and others who completely mis-represent us. They are causing unnecessary division in the Body of Christ. We are Christians too, so why the harsh treatment?

  63. You cannot be Reformed in the Lutheran Church – they are like oil and water. But then you don’t have Reformed trying to get in the Lutheran Church and you don’t have Lutherans inviting in the Reformed – and no one thinks anything of it – it is not a discussion.

    So I guess the question is, why are people trying to match them up in the CC environment? Do the Reformed see CC as a good breeding ground – or are the CC so schizophrenic they don’t know who they are or who they want to be?

    The other thing because I hear this all the time – “can’t we just agree on the essentials?” – who gets to decide the essentials?

  64. Master's Servant says:

    Church history is full of people who fell in love with a particular doctrine & identified so much that they join others who are like minded. Their linking together inevitably causes some to leave one group for another. This causes the groups to further define their difference instead praising their similarities. For me I am a saved heathen & it was C.C.’s that God used to teach me, but I was discipled under Ray Stedman’s material. I wasn’t fited into C.C. but Christ & His love. Was Peter a Calvanist? Paul a C.C.? I know George, I love Him & look forward to spending eternity with him & all my Calvanistic brothers & sisters. There we will all get our theology fixed by the Lord who loves us.

  65. I appreciate the desire of both “associations” mentioned by Pilgrim to maintain the purity of their respective movements. However, my experience is, in the long run it actually weakens both.
    Though there are distinct and important differences between reformed and non-reformed theology, we have far more in common with each other than either side realizes most of the time.
    I spent 15 years in Calvary Chapel and eventually became reformed in my theology. I found that many in CC, had a misunderstanding about what “those Calvinists” both believed and practiced. I found that by simply living out what I believed and faithfully serving in church, it eroded much of peoples misconceptions without ever needing to list my proof texts for TULIP.
    I have dear friends from both traditions and have learned much from both. When we isolate ourselves into our little sub-groups (within the bounds of Orthodoxy) we can end up having an unhealthy inbred theology that isn’t challenged and sharpened. We feed pre-digested and pre-approved thought to our church members thinking it will keep them safe from “bad” theology, and actually weaken their ability to think and process God’s word for themselves.
    We should’t soften or downplay our convictions, but rather we should, as Paul says “let everyone be fully convinced in his own mind” and encourage healthy ecumenical relations.

    On another note, I am encouraged by the direction of this years Senior pastors conference, but until the unbiblical “Moses Model” leadership model, and issues of pastoral accountability are addressed, Calvary chapel will continue to have serious systemic problems. Hopefully this was a step in the right direction.

  66. Pilgrim says:

    Observations Not Accusations

    I have been reading the Stay the Course Emails written by George Bryson for as long as I first heard about them. I have even tried to read those Stay the Course Emails written by George before I started to receive them in my email box. I have never read anything in which George has accused the CCA council of establishing the CCA fraudulently.

    “Bryson has claimed that the CCA was founded on fraudulent grounds. I believe he is being truthful, but the burden of proof rests on him”.

    In fact what I have read from George is that Chuck Smith acknowledged the existence of the CCA council but authorized them for a role much different (and it would seem less than they were happy with and found acceptable) that they claim for themselves.

    Everyone seems to acknowledge a letter written by Chuck to George about the role or the limits of the role that Chuck intended or authorized for the CCA council. Even though George sent it to the CC pastors while Chuck was still alive, this letter was posted and discussed on the Phoenix Preacher. It seems to me that the “burden of proof” should be with the CCA council. They can explain what Chuck meant by what he said or why they can or ignore what he said or why they and we should believe that this letter claiming to be from Chuck was not really from Chuck. This letter has already made it to the Phoenix Preacher and once private email is made public I do not believe it can do any harm to write your readers and remind them as to exactly what this letter said and all that led up to what Chuck said to George:

    From: George Bryson []
    Sent: Saturday, July 27, 2013 11:26 AM
    To: Charles Smith
    Subject: Typical but important letter

    Dear George

    I am a relatively young Calvary Chapel pastor but grew up in Calvary, graduated from CCBC and went through the affiliation process several years back. I have read your email letters and what Pastor Chuck has written you and this represents what I “signed up” for. Nevertheless, I have a couple of questions about the process of affiliation that might be involved or required for my assistant, who we are planning on sending out to start a new church within the next few months. While he has no “personal” problems with any one of the CCA pastors in our area, he says he wants to be a Calvary pastor but he does not know all of the CCA board members. He has told me that he is very uncomfortable with the direction that some of them seemed to be going in their building bridges to ministries like The Gospel Coalition, Acts 29 and men like Mark Driscoll, Alistair Begg and James McDonald. He assures me that it is not a personal issue with him because he does not know these men except for what he has heard them say on the Radio or in Video clips or in reading their websites. In reading their websites, it does seem, as you have pointed out, that they are not compatible with Calvary Chapel even though there are a number of Calvary Chapel pastors that have joined the Gospel Coalition and some are even working with Acts 29. I can vouch for the fact that although my assistant is even younger than I am, he is Calvary Chapel in doctrine and practice “through and through”. So here are his questions and mine as well.

    1.To be an affiliate pastor in Calvary Chapel do I have to accept the CCA board and their regional leadership team in my area as my leadership team? Are they “over me” and am I “under them”?

    2. Can I just make sure my assistant or someone else I may want to send out in the future has “proved” himself to be Calvary in doctrine and practice, vouch for him and then send the evidence into the main CCA office?

    3. Before I call a brother a CC affiliate pastor, do I need to get the permission or approval of the CCA leadership in the area in which he wants to start a Calvary Chapel?
    George, the last thing I want or need right now is controversy so I would appreciate remaining anonymous until some of the issues that seem to be dividing some of us are settled. I would not be troubled if Pastor Chuck reads this letter but for now I would not like to have anyone know who I am. So long as information is given out that does not identify who I am and where my church is, you have my permission to share my concerns with other pastors. More than likely, there are a few others who have the same or similar questions. I would not be bothered if you passed these questions on to Chuck, Don or others on the CCA board. Sincerely, in the love of our Lord and Savior…
    So the letter was forwarded to Chuck:

    Dear Chuck,
    This is just one of the letters I have received over the last year that you may want to address. Here is what I want to write him back.

    Dear Brother,
    It is my understanding that it is not necessary for you to consider yourself in CCA or to see or view the CCA board or leadership as over you in anyway. It is also my understanding that as an affiliate Calvary Chapel pastors, if you can be sure that your assistant is CC in doctrine and practice, you can lay hands on him, send him out to start a Calvary Chapel pastor anywhere in the world and you do not need the approval or permission of anyone else. I would add as a side note that all of us need to be respectful about what someone else is already doing in an area and not do anything to undermine, divide or discourage other Calvary Chapel pastors and ministries. As I have said in my Stay the Course Email Articles, every CC pastor is and should be as free as Chuck Smith was/is, as free as Mike McIntosh was/is and as free as John Higgins was/is. Allow me to echo Pastor Chuck and say “Go for it”! In Christ, George

    Dear George,
    I am in full agreement with your assessment, and advice. No Calvary is over or under another Calvary. We are all brothers in Christ. We all have the freedom to follow our understanding of how the Lord is leading us. If you feel that He is leading you in another direction, you are free to go and follow that leading. If you agree to the Calvary Chapel distinctives and desire to fellowship with us, you are welcome. What we do not want is for fellows to call themselves Calvary Chapel, and go a dozen different directions, that will only end in total confusion. The CCA board is only intended as an advisory board, not a ruling board. The men serve on this board only to help when called upon or needed. In Christ, Chuck

  67. Master's Servant says:

    By all means, be convinced of what you believe, be able to know why you believe what you believe. But I will be more inclined to listen & possibly agree not by what you believe & how articulate you can share it, no ill be more interested in “how you live, what you believe”. If you say is essential for me produces the work of flesh instead of the fruit of Spirit, no thanks, I already have enough of my flesh, what I need is more of Him & less of me. Blessings

  68. All of this Reformed / CC stuff revolves around pastors – not the individuals in a congregation. So, while all you folks can’t understand why a Reformed can’t be a part of CC have you asked yourself, if you were on the call committee of your reformed church, would you call a non reformed pastor / staunch Arminian pastor to your reformed congregation?

  69. Michael says:


    George has stated that the letter sent out from Chuck and two emails sent out afterwards concerning the council were forgeries.
    I think he’s right…but have no proof .

    The hard truth that your side needs to embrace is that many in current leadership do not give a rats ass what Chuck wanted or what Chuck would think.

    Chuck played both sides against the middle for most of the last five years, willfully left no succession plan for the movement, and generally made life miserable for many who were trying to act with foresight.

    That’s reality…and further reality is that the CC that you and Focht and Bryson envision will only occur with a split.

    My impression is that you folks are welcome to go along for the ride, but if you want to go backwards, you’ll have to buy your own train.

  70. MLD, while part of it revolves around pastors, I agree. Much of it is around the congregation as well. Many CC pastors and leaders are concerned about folks in their congregation listening to Piper, Sproul etc. Many are becoming reformed- I know, I was one of them. So many are on the lookout to weed out folks in the congregation who have reformed leanings and they are actively kept from serving in church. This isn’t the case in every CC, but it is happening.
    The days of being able to feed your congregation only what you pre-approve is over. People can now listen to whoever they want online. It’s a double edge sword, I think. It helps to tear down the walls of denominational-ism, but also allows for much garbage to be perpetuated.

  71. Michael says:

    The whole thing is much ado about nothing.
    To be “Reformed’ is more than just a Calvinistic soteriology.
    It means a subscription to Reformed confessions of faith and adoption of Reformed views on worship and liturgy.
    There are no, none, nada , zilch, Reformed pastors in CC, nor do I know of any who would be remotely interested in joining them.
    There are a view who lean toward a Calvinistic doctrine in soteriology, but the numbers are few.
    Now, if we’re going to worry about what Chuck thought, he seemed to want a middle ground between Arminianism and Calvinism.
    The movement is infested with Arminians …who will lead the purge?

  72. Steve Wright says:

    The whole thing is much ado about nothing.
    As a CC pastor, the question is simple, at least today. Does one want to give up the fellowship found among likeminded pastoral brethren, 1000+ of them, because some guy you likely do not know is part of TGC or has Piper and Sproul in the bookstore.

  73. Pilgrim says:

    Michael I have heard what you are saying about fraud before. I do not doubt that you have heard it as well. And you may be right about the fraud. But I have not read this. Could you quote what you have read in a letter that says that someone on the CCA council is guilty of fraud? I would love to take this up with George. A short or long quote will do. Maybe something will come of it

  74. Michael says:


    Go ahead and take it up with George…I’m sure he’ll fill you in.

  75. Pilgrim says:

    Michael, please do not be offended. I am not asking a trick question. Are you saying you have heard what I have heard but, like me, you have never read anything said that you can quote that is accusing a CCA council member of fraud? I have talked to George and he told me that he has only heard what you say he has heard and what I admit I have heard; But he says he does not believe he has said or has read anything about what he supposedly has said that justifies this reading of what he has written or said.

  76. Michael says:


    George’s emails are copy written.
    I would suggest that George is being disingenuous.

  77. Steve Wright says:

    Pilgrim, just ask George to send you his letter.

  78. Pilgrim says:

    Michael, if what you say is true, why not email me whatever you have & I will confirm it with George. Or, better yet, email him yourself.

  79. Pilgrim says:

    And Steve, I can happily do that but I want to make sure we’re on the same page, talking about the same letter.

  80. Michael says:


    I don’t send source material to anyone.
    That’s why I still have sources.
    If you and George want to deny this, then that’s fine.
    I stand by every word I wrote.
    Bryson refuses to communicate with me…I’ve invited him to do an interview on the matter and got no response.
    We don’t like each other…but by the same token I’m the only media outlet that has confirmed him.
    I’m not interested in playing this game…you are free to reject what I have written, but that won’t change the truth of the matter.

  81. Master's Servant says:

    “We don’t like each other…” Michael, that admission ought to drive you to your knees. As you will both before the throne of His grace…it is because of these attitudes that the name of Christ is rejected. Over what…is your differences greater that the shed blood of Jesus? This stuff as a pastor drives me nuts. Better men than all of us have argued over these. Some hate Moses model, well don’t have it but that won’t stop pride & arrogance. Michael show me the true Calvinistic doctrine by your love of the bretheren.

  82. Master’s Servant,
    Why are you publicly calling Michael on the carpet and disagreeing with his words. Are your differences with him greater than the shed blood of Christ? Do you not know that the name of Christ is rejected because of such dissenting statements?

    Shouldn’t you being showing love of the brethren (Michael)?

  83. Michael says:


    There are people in the Body of Christ whose differences and disputes have escalated to the point where one or both have no desire to fellowship together and will not experience reconciliation this side of the kingdom.
    Bryson and I have a long, nasty, adversarial, history that is personal as well as doctrinal.
    Despite this, I’ve tried to be fair in reporting on the current mess and have invited George to present his case in front of the whole group.
    He has declined.
    “Calvinistic” doctrine has nothing to do with it…that’s extremely insulting.
    There are biblical admonitions to reconciliation that have nothing to do with doctrinal allegiances.

  84. Master's Servant says:

    Calling all us on the carpet, friend, all of us. Fresh water & salt water can’t come from the same stream. You & may not share the same opinion on non essentials…but I don’t diss like you…it was Michaels admission…without any thought in his reply that this needs to be dealt with. Friend, which is greater….to be right or behave right? You all have some great observations about C.C.’s I thank God that you can often learn more about yourself from critics then your friends…but we ALL need more time in the mirror & less time throwing stones out our windows. Blessing friend

  85. Michael says:

    If I had a dollar for every CC guy who despises me I could retire tomorrow.

  86. Master's Servant says:

    I don’t despise you…my grandma use to say it takes two to fight. I don’t agree with Geroge, but I love him, so far I can say I don’t agree with everything written on this blog but I dont consider you my enemy, you all are my brothers. I have two enemies, satan & the one I saw in my mirror both have been defeated at the cross. Debate on….blessings!

  87. Pilgrim says:

    Thank you MS, you are spot on and Michael, I hope you don’t take it personally that we are in disagreement on this. One of the reasons I am rarely on this blog any more is the viciousness people seem to have toward each other, the brethren, when they disagree on an issue. It IS possible to disagree lovingly. And since you won’t send me the letter, can you at least give me something to identify it? If it was George that wrote it (and isn’t that what you’re inferring?) he should be able to produce it and I believe he would give me permission to post it here. Otherwise, I will have to think you really have no proof of what you say. In my lengthy Observation post I got George’s permission to post before doing so.

  88. Michael says:


    I don’t send out source material.
    If you believe I am in error, then ask George and you can post his denial…and we’ll go from there.

  89. Pastor Brian David Laurie says:

    Are you on George’s mailing list?

  90. Pilgrim says:

    Yes I am.

  91. Pilgrim says:

    And Michael . . give me something to go on here. I have no problem talking with George but he is out of the country at present. Just give me a sentence or something I can search on my computer for. Thanks!

  92. Pastor Brian David Laurie says:

    Then you already know about this, don’t you? So, I presume with you its either a matter of whether you believe George, or whether you feel he has provided adequate proof?

    This is no light-weight charge. Fraud is a criminal offense. And if it is true, someone needs to resign from any and every position of church leadership that they hold.

  93. Pilgrim says:

    No, I don’t know. That is why I’m asking for something so I can search on my computer. Either I didn’t get that one or I’ve forgotten. I’m not trying to be coy.

  94. Pilgrim says:

    So no one can help me out here? I did a search for “fraud” and nothing came up. So now I am left to think, if you can’t give me a key word or even a sentence, that you either have no proof of what you state or perhaps you’re not being completely truthful. I am not asking you to give up a source.

  95. Steve Wright says:

    Pilgrim, Michael wrote above @69 “George has stated that the letter sent out from Chuck and two emails sent out afterwards concerning the council were forgeries.”

    Is that news to you?

  96. Michael says:


    It must be news to him and he’s evidently not as in the loop as he thinks he is.

  97. Michael says:


    Once someone says I’m a liar it’s game on.
    You’re playing me and my readers…and let’s hope I don’t find out who you are.
    It will get real ugly from that point on.
    Real ugly.

  98. Truth Lover says:

    Wow! What is this, the Christian Mafia?!

  99. lordtheoden says:

    ” the right wing….” of CC…oh you mean those that hold to biblical standards and not into kumbaya ear itching as you are ? ya right.

  100. Michael says:


    Your comments are brilliant.
    Please assure me that you’re not a pastor…

  101. Michael says:


    No mafia.
    Simply put, once you accuse me of dishonesty, you forfeit your right to anonymity.
    You’re going to accuse by with your name or I will find the name that made the accusations.

  102. Truth Lover says:

    So what you mean by it “getting real ugly” is, you will reveal someone’s true identity. That’s all? But doesn’t that violate the ethics of a blog? So what , if someone thinks you may be lying. I’m sure this isn’t the first time. Why can’t you just take it Michael? Listen I’m not against you, just behavior that is so unfitting as a Christian. Disagreement is the nature of a blog. Not everyone will believe what is posted. So what? Your character discredits your words. I would be more worried about that. All I’m saying is, can’t we all just act like Christians?!

  103. Francisco Nunez says:

    Dear Brethren,
    When we so freely post hurtful anonymous comments about another brother who we don’t see eye to eye on before a Holy God ask yourselves “would you still post those comments about the brother with your identity revealed ?” if the answer is “No” then we should ask ourselves “who are we fearing?”

    I personally may not agree on everything our brother Michael but I don’t have the freedom not to love him or to dishonoring him or any other brother on this blog in any way. We must not forget that Christ sits on the throne not man thus we must fear Him not man. Just remember that if you so freely comment anonymously here before a Holy God but are afraid to say these things directly to the brother, ask the Lord to reveal to you, “why must I remain anonymous?”

    Do we fear man or do we fear God? Lets not forget Who sits on throne and lets fear Him. 1Peter 2:17.
    Blessings to all.

  104. Apologia says:

    And the Calvary Chapel debate becomes a microcosm of the proof that you cannot – in a fallen world – expect there to ever be anything resembling a harmonic, peaceful body called ‘Christians.’

    Sad. But true. And Biblical.

    When ‘progressives’ presume the arrogance of knowing better than their forebears, there’s pride. Is there a Biblical precedent for regarding elders as stupid old men stuck in old-fashioned traditions, and casting them out of the way?

    There’s a polite way to go about agreeing to disagree, and quietly departing to go off and pursue your own convictions. What concerns me the most in the ‘modernist’ or ‘progressive’ mindset is that so much assumption is made about the traditional, the elder, being wrong. Yet no one can demonstrate that faithful adherence to a conservative, traditional understanding is in any way dangerous, in any way incorrect, in any way problematic. What IS problematic, however, is the very human manipulation involved in attempting to counterfeit something which was spiritually unique and spiritually organic, to put new wine in old skins, if you like. Whatever it was that God did with Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel, it is a fundamental mistake to believe that it was given to successive generations after that. The Calvary Chapel identity was built on faithfulness and agreement and thus fellowship on a very narrow and very specific number of details. The ‘traditionalists’ are honestly, and faithfully sticking to exactly that. How dare anyone fault them for their honesty.

    Anything beyond that, anything more progressive, is divisive. How dare anyone promote that? The traditionalists have not divided Calvary Chapel. The progressives have. Shamefully. By deception. By subterfuge. By intrigue.

    It becomes paradoxical to pursue any kind of progressive-led perceptual ‘restoration’ of unity in the form of broadening in a church movement, just as it is to pursue the concept of ‘tolerance.’ In order to promote ‘tolerance’ you inevitably have to become intolerant toward the intolerant. The end result is simply another form of selective tolerance, tolerance of another flavour. In order to force a group with a defined identity into an inexplicable and unnecessary situation where they are torn from their comfortable environment and thrust into something which makes them uncomfortable, unhappy, anxious, troubled, you inevitably become a persecutor. You suddenly have to form sides and run someone out of town – but rather than some terrible crime of doing so in order to enforce the identity of the group from its infiltrators and usurpers, you’re effectively hijacking the group, stealing it out from under the people for whom it was adequate, enough, satisfying, and safe.

    I don’t really give two hoots what doctrines anyone wants to chase, what new ideas anyone wants to try, or how they twist and manipulate scripture to justify their compromises and modernisations.

    What the progressives have done to Calvary Chapel is shameful. And their current ‘success’ is nothing short of a testament to the shamefulness of what they’ve been doing for years. They hid in a movement which had a strict identity, not because they honestly harmonised with that identity, for if that were the case, they would have left when their identity was no longer in harmony with the group. They did it because they smelled a meal ticket, they needed a name. They wanted to be ‘something’ in a group that didn’t require seminary degrees or perfect character in order to elevate a ‘Pastor.’ They wanted the brand. They wanted the vibe. They wanted whatever the perks were. Having got them, those things quickly became all CC was about. To such a degree that they can stab brothers in the back, they can speak disrespectfully of their traditions, their conservative contemporaries, their founder, as long as they get their share of an empire, and get to stand in the glow of a well-marketed brand which can count celebrity pastors among its figureheads.

    Deceiving your brothers in a defined fraternity for a day, a month, a year, ten years is deception. It’s a sin.

    Betraying them, the people in your own camp, in order to forge a political agenda with the people in another camp is treacherous. It’s a sin.

    Shattering a movement, condemning it for being too insular, criticising it for having found its own place to keep its own members safe and comfortable, and blasting the walls open in order to bring in a flood of things that make others feel unhappy, but you’re perfectly happy with is absolute selfishness. It’s a sin.

    It’s also hypocrisy.

    You can take the holy high ground and claim that you felt so burdened for the poor people who were excluded from Calvary Chapel that you just had to let them in, but you’re alienating a whole group who were perfectly happy, and perfectly harmless being allowed to fellowship in their own camp. You were uncomfortable with them, so instead of leaving and going where you were more comfortable, you decided to make yourself more comfortable by making those you were uncomfortable with uncomfortable.

    Shame on you.

    It doesn’t even matter what the conservatives have done or said before, during or since then. The progressives are claiming the high ground, they’re claiming the spiritual place, and they’re claiming the victory. If God is ‘IN’ what they’re doing, why did it require so much lying, selfishness, disrespect, deception, betrayal and pride to accomplish it?

    I’m afraid I can’t reconcile the excuses made for ‘one side dominated by fear, the other by faith.’ It’s nonsense. It’s a lie to justify men doing what men want in men’s way.

    If the progressives had ‘faith’ rather than the ‘fear’ of being left behind as the culture changes and trends wax and wane, then they’d have been on their knees asking God to lead them somewhere new, not slandering and defaming their conservative and elder brothers, not sneaking around pretending to conform to the group’s identity while nurturing an itching-ear desire to step beyond those bounds.

    You don’t need to go searching for convoluted, non-sensical spiritual metaphors to explain the divisions in this camp. They’re simple and as old as time.

    Usurpers rose up in a pretty orderly tribe, began agitating, and then converted or killed all those who weren’t keen on handing the authority to them. The end result was the foundational principles, the organising factors of the group were torn down, without consent, without discussion, and without regard, and the the whole thing was redefined in a divisive and confrontational way which left those who are combative enough to fight for their security and their home swinging swords wildly, since they’ve been taught by their betraying and deceiving brothers that you can’t trust anyone in the group, and those who don’t have the stomach for combat are left either steamrollered into something they are fundamentally uncomfortable with, or are left homeless and feeling betrayed.

    And you expected this to have a happy ending? The progressives are as deluded as they are sinfully impulsive.

    The whole thing is saturated in sin, and every last person contributing to the wholesale change of this movement needs to repent and do the right thing – go start something new and let God do something afresh, instead of laying hands on someone else’s work and trying to make it your own, clearly without the leading influence of the spirit of God, who would not demean Himself to such levels of pride and poor-behaviour in order to do a work.

    Calvary Chapel should have been left alone – if it died, then it was God’s to allow to die; if it thrived, then it was God’s to allow to thrive. The longevity of the movement, the popularity of the movement, the cultural influence of the movement was never ours, should never have been taken as ours. So instead of spoiling Calvary Chapel for all those for whom the original, authentic Calvary Chapel meant something, and in the process showing the movement – and its legacy – up as a bunch of fractious, deceitful individuals believing that the movement and indeed their role as a pastor was an entitlement or an inheritance, the progressives should have left. Not last year, not the year before, not a decade ago, but indeed the moment they realised that they no longer fit what Calvary Chapel’s identity afforded.

    And instead, surrounded by Pastors who have ‘stuck it out’ and lived with ‘living a lie’ or ‘slight deception’ or ‘being conservative with the truth’ or ‘learning how to sign certain things on affiliation documents that you didn’t really mean’, all of which are just another way of saying ‘lie’, we have an unholy mess in which people who should not have been in the line for a world of hurt and confusion are dumped right in the midst of it.

    The conservative Calvary Chapel faithful – integrity, faithfulness and sincerity to everything they’d established for years.

    The progressive Calvary Chapel faithful – pragmatic, deceitful, political, unfaithful, untrustworthy, changeable, unstable.

    God’s faithfully led Pastors shouldn’t need to lie about their beliefs, politic their way through a movement to gain influence, strive over possession or power, justify their disrespect and antagonism for their elders and brothers, and abandon the harmony and wellbeing of the body of people they chose to marry themselves to in pursuit of a younger, more glamorous model.

    There are just so many issues here.

    And that’s why Chuck wasn’t striving to prop the movement up. It’s why he could speak absolute agreement with Paul and George and the conservatives who faithfully spoke out in representation of Chuck’s position, while at the same time doing nothing political to secure it. It’s why a group of men who Chuck treated like sons could manipulate words and make themselves busy cutting off and railroading all the other men who Chuck treated like sons. It’s why Cain and Abel has been allowed to happen all over again. Because in the midst of all the ‘stuff’, Chuck had faith in God and knew that the interference of men’s hands would only result in disaster. There’s every reason to believe that Chuck said enough in his lifetime for it to be clear that if he were alive today, his heart would be with the traditional faithful. And if he were alive in ten years, his heart would be with the traditional faithful. Which makes it all the more pertinent that the traditional faithful have been so profoundly mistreated, disrespected and disregarded in a new paradigm which is led by those who have an impossibly compromised and vested interest in their own continued semblance of success and influence, and who have used such questionable tactics and tenuous justifications to accomplish the control they strove for.

  105. Apologia says:


    #85… I didn’t know there were that many CC’s!

    Master’s Servant…

    ““We don’t like each other…” Michael, that admission ought to drive you to your knees. As you will both before the throne of His grace…it is because of these attitudes that the name of Christ is rejected.”

    Are you genuinely stating that you believe that it is because Christians can be honest enough to say ‘I can’t work with that guy’ or ‘I choose not to shoot the breeze socially with that guy’ or ‘I choose not to believe what that guy tells me I should believe’ that ‘the name of Christ is rejected’?

    I would have said that the name of Christ is rejected because man is in rebellion against ever submitting himself to Christ, obeying Christ, or even acknowledging his need for Christ, and because Satan has a vast amount of influence in this world which is directly focused on steering people into a passive or active rejection of Christ.

    I can find lots of Biblical reasons for even believers having something of a parting of ways.

    You can repent all you want of having a difference, but the truth will always be a divisive sword – intended to be so. And while we as individuals may not always have the authoritative grasp of ‘truth’, our perception and our understanding brings us close to a state in which we define our ‘values’ on that basis. If I believe something I perceive to be truth, and you believe something different, we are never going to arrive at anything other than a cordial agreement to agree to disagree. We can forge whatever kind of peace you want, but all we’ll forge is an illusion. We can behave like we adore each other. We can behave like we’re best of friends. But if that isn’t natural then it becomes pride – the desire to be known for what you’re not, and the unwillingness to be known for what you are. If it isn’t real, then it is fake. We end up ‘keeping up appearances.’

    Personally, I don’t really think that’s what Jesus wanted us to do. I don’t ever read in the word a place where what we believe should be compromised by how we should appear to others. I’m one of those strange conservatives that believes that truth comes first, and that ‘loving your brother’ does not mean ‘affirming everything he says as being wonderful and true, lest he take offence that you don’t regard him highly enough.’ I also don’t think ‘see how they love one another’ means ‘see how they all walk around with a sickly grin, gritting their teeth every time one or other comes up with a new and novel way to reinterpret scripture.’ I find that idea fundamentally at odds with ‘contend earnestly for the faith first given.’

    I’m less worried about Christians being honest in their humanity – that they don’t like one another all the time, or even most of the time – that like any family, they disagree on right and wrong and are each entreated by the Father to live out their own lives, to heed their own conscience, and to be mindful of the law of God and open to his instruction. And I’m more worried about the implications of Christian leaders deceiving one another, selling one another out, betraying those in their own camp in order to form alliances with those in another camp. There’s a reason why humanity forms camps – safety, peace, common understanding. We’re complex beings with complex personalities and complex minds. It isn’t enough to try to boil down a few ‘essentials’ that we can agree on, and then believe that a house packed with nuances and possible ‘optionals’ can exist and stand when it is so divided. This is why we form small manageable groups, based on our honesty about ourselves – what and who we like and don’t like, what and why we believe what we believe, who we do and don’t want to open ourselves up to the influence of. In every possible way, we do it. And I can’t find a word of Scripture that speaks against it. Indeed, I even find the apostles – agreed on love, but equally agreed on honest separation.

    Try asking anyone to be unfaithful to their own convictions. To live a lie or a pretence. See how far you get before they suffer some kind of meltdown.

  106. Apologia says:

    I think I’ve come in at the end of a debate here, but am I getting it right – that there are people disputing the suggestion that the CCA has taken a position and made statements which are not authentically representative of Pastor Chuck?

    Is that even in dispute?


    Does anyone believe so highly in the supreme integrity of the power players in this scenario that they believe that this is impossible?

    How else do you explain that Chuck’s family is divided? That siblings are divided? That people who talked to Chuck personally got one ‘version’ of the future of CC from him, which bears little resemblance to the version presented by CCA on ‘behalf of Chuck’? How do you explain a conservative Chuckite version, succeeded by a progressive version? You do realise that Chuck was anything but pragmatic and progressive, that he was in many ways deeply and exceedingly prejudiced in his convictions, persuasions, understanding and perspective? Don’t mistake his graciousness, or indeed his committment to leaving the future of CC in the hands of God – to either allow men to make a hash, or to allow the Spirit to work with those who had integrity. Chuck had a ‘will’ for Calvary Chapel. He made it clear and spelled it out in his teaching, his conversation, his years of ministry. We came to call them ‘the distinctives of Calvary Chapel.’ His will was for those distinctives to continue, for faithfulness to prevail. His position on progressiveness was this: if those guys want to do something new and different, God bless them in their departure. He would never have sold out those with whom he had established decades-old personal kinship in order to perpetuate something so wrong and mythical as ‘a movement’ with its own life. For Chuck the ‘movement’ was what God was doing with people who were agreed, and his ‘fellowship’ with them was based on their common understanding and their common agreement – not on the ‘minimal requirements’ of ‘GospelLite’ but on the more complex details of intelligent faith and Bible study.

    Chuck would absolutely, entirely, completely be nothing short of disgusted with where CC has gone so ‘officially’ in a few short months. He believed the best in several people, despite being warned that those people had other agendas which represented a compromise to the foundational principles of the CC group. He accepted on face value their reassurances that they were conservatives attempting to be sensitive to progressives, rather than pragmatists with a finger closer to the pulse of the spirit of the times, rather than the holy spirit, attempting to appear to be conservative enough to keep the conservatives on board, while giving the progressives what they want.

    This is politics.

    Chuck knew it would be politics.

    Most conservatives knew it would be politics.

    They’re uncomfortable with it, and not one of them wants to have to change the name of their fellowship just because they were deceived and betrayed by another agenda, but they knew it was coming.

    Amongst the Conservatives, to be honest, there were an awful lot who would have told you that the best thing to happen after Chuck went home would be that the movement would disband, and avoid the chaos and damage caused by forcing it to become something evolutive in order to chase after something so tenuous and fleeting as ‘relevance.’

    You don’t need documents posted on the internet to know that when someone like George or Paul suggests that a misrepresentation, a counterfeit, a fraud has taken place, that there are grounds to believe it… You just need to have known Chuck. And then there’s no question.

    I know of a meeting, nearly 20 years ago, in which one of the striving new ‘progressive’ leaders sat down with men older than him, more experienced than him, more established than him, who had all affiliated with CC on the basis of their personal relationship with Chuck. It was the time when the concept of the territorial division of CC was really being brought to the floor – but was not gaining much traction with Chuck or the ‘traditionalists.’ That man sat in that room and his first statement to the group there was ‘when I speak, I speak for Chuck.’ Now… that statement set a tone in that ‘territory’, and it served its purpose. The established generation of CC Pastors who knew Chuck personally and were CC because of their common agreement effectively walked that day. I doubt that any of them had not called and spoken to Chuck within 48 hours. And all of them stayed CC to the present day. But none of them, ever again, listened to the man who sat down and said ‘I’m Chuck’s voice.’ That man then led a ‘new’ Calvary Chapel, which he rose up in that territory out of unholy chuch splits making utility of the rebels, and by the mass ‘sending out’ of ‘church planters’ from larger churches Pastored by those who now head up the CCA.

    And that was at the beginning of this split between ‘progressive’ CC and ‘conservative’ CC. The proxy tried, thinly, to appease both sides but his affections for the progressives were too strong. Chuck tried, thinly, to tolerate both sides, but his affections for the conservatives were too strong. And it is now a matter of record that when addressing the question of the points of difference being raised by the progressives who were agitating and asking ‘how far can we stray off the CC script’, Chuck was nothing short of exasperated in asking ‘why do they want to affiliate with me, I don’t want to affiliate with them? Why can’t they just go do their own thing some place else? Don’t go away mad, just go away…’ His proxy, on the other hand, was desperate to appease the new, at the expense of the old.

    And while Chuck was alive, the conservatives were uneasy, the progressives were unhappy, but the movement stayed generally true to course.

    But Chuck has since passed… and he has not changed his views in the duration since his passing. Nor has he issued forth a hand from eternity and re-scripted the foundational principles or established history of Calvary Chapel.

    So any rewrites, any revisions have to have come from a hand other than his.

    Ergo, the leadership of the movement has been usurped.

    That cannot happen as quietly and completely as it has, with a new leadership in discord with the old leadership. Therefore it can only have happened assisted by deception and politicking. If these changes had Chuck’s blessing, they would have been spelled out while Chuck was alive. He would not have wasted moments, from diagnosis to departure, writing and speaking to the faithful conservatives and admonishing them to ‘stay the course’ or affirming the distinctives, or separating himself from the ideas that were flooding in through the cracks in the Calvary Chapel defenses. There would be no question at all.

    Learn from politics.

    Beware those who, after decades of established tradition, emerge from the bedside of the departed clutching a deathbed amendment to a well-publicised will, or a last moment change of heart.

    It’s as old as time.

    The continuity has been broken.

    By all means, let those who have invoked change declare that the old is passed and the new here to stay.

    But to appeal to the authority of authenticity, of continuity, of establishment, and claim that there is a passing of a torch from the former to the latter; to ride on the coat tails of an inspirational figurehead; to assassinate their lieutenants and claim ‘I had the exclusive ear…’

    Well… I’m decidedly uncomfortable with what it takes in order to do that.

    The evidence is abundant. What Michael has stated, what George and Paul have suggested, none of it requires that they should all be in agreement with each other or even be friends – all it requires is objectivity and intelligence, and then anyone can see, there’s more evidence supporting the possibility that this is the truth, than there is to explain that it could not possibly be so.

  107. Master's Servant says:

    Michael, I never stated that you couldn’t disagree as clearly I do. My position is on the most effective way in doing so. What is the goal, what do you hope to achieve in your disagreement? Most arguments are about winning which happens either by conversion, compromise, or surrender. I said in an earlier post, “by all means, be convinced”. State your views, know what you believe & why you believe it….I have a problem with this & never stated I did. But what happens to the cause of Christ, it is after all His kingdom. Can we agree to disagree agreeably? Much of what the above writer wrote about I don’t have any first hand observations on. I’m not certain I would call one group progressive & the other conservative, but he is the writer. I believe their is enough sin on all sides for us to repent of….but hey that’s just my oppinion. Blessings

  108. Michael says:


    I only have a few minutes, so I must be brief.
    The deception is coming from the “traditionalist” leaders…one in particular.
    You either don’t know or are neglecting to recognize that Chuck also was legendary for speaking out of both sides of his mouth…telling who ever was in front of them what they wanted to hear.
    Chuck Smith is to blame for this mess…he is the one who refused to make succession plans….that’s not being led of the Spirit, it’s ego driven irresponsibility.
    The last thing…the thing the progressives have embraced…is that Chuck is gone.
    The traditionalists need to do likewise.

  109. Michael says:

    Masters Servant,

    These issues aren’t about my opinion.
    I’m reporting on a situation and my goal is to be factual, not partisan.

  110. Kevin H says:

    Different camps seem to have differing opinions as to what Chuck Smith wanted. I am in no position to know who is right or wrong or closer to the truth than others. If Michael is right in his assertion that Chuck spoke out of both sides of his mouth, then maybe every camp is just as right and wrong as every other camp. But when we are so focused on keeping Calvary Chapel just the way that Chuck wanted (whatever that may have been), aren’t we missing the far more important factor? That being keeping/making Calvary Chapel as God would want?

    Chuck was not God. Yes, God used Chuck mightily, but Chuck was also fallible. If there are things within Calvary Chapel that are wrong or weak and can be improved upon, is that not what God would want?

    It is disturbing when the focus on a man appears to be stronger than the focus upon God. It is also disturbing when the focus upon winning the political fight causes unhealthy and unnecessary division and disunity within the church/Church. Yes, not all division is not necessarily unhealthy or unnecessary as we all are never going to agree on every single point of doctrine or methodology. But certainly some acts of divisiveness are unhealthy and unnecessary. Just for one quick instance, forcing one’s political points into their sermon is unhealthy and unnecessary, especially when there is no real correlation with the text/topic being studied. Even if 98% of the congregation may be unaware of the political ramifications behind the criticism of pastors who drink socially and are loose in their language (“frickin” and “sucks”), this is serving no good. Even for those unaware of the politics, it only serves to create condescending attitudes within the body of Christ when the subject is handled in this manner. Take that as you will.

  111. Michael says:

    Kevin H,

    Focht is stuck on “frickin”.
    Like we don’t have bigger issues to deal with…

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