The PhxP and CC…

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86 Responses

  1. descended says:

    “…Nobody wants to be on the front page of the Phoenix Preacher…
    …We are now failing those who faithfully plow the Gospel ground and sow kingdom seeds…
    …My hope is that we spend more time lifting up Jesus in any way we can…as He is the answer to all the issues and the model we need to follow…

    I have been feeling the same way about my own faith for awhile. I am still gun-shy about dragging my family through more church politics at some local congregation.

    We ignore those with the faithful faith.

    What does faithful faith look like to you?

  2. descended says:


    Those first two comments must have been awfully hard to write. God bless you.

  3. bob1 says:

    #1 What does faithful faith look like to you?

    I don’t think there’s an easy or uniform answer to that.

    I do think a title of one of Eugene Peterson’s book might say it well, though —

    “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction”

  4. Stephen says:

    Honestly, I don’t know if anyone can help me. I and my family are still trying to figure out life after Calvary Chapel (and being involved with ministry therein).

    (I don’t mean to be merely a lurker these days, but I honestly don’t have much time as we’re trying to get life together.)

  5. JM says:

    I have not had the ability to keep up and was trying to generate a comment on another posting you made about the “Pulse of Phoenix Preacher”. I was so tardy that I gave up. Funny thing is that it seems more suited for this series about CC. I apologize ahead that it is so long. Here goes:

    I haven’t been here long, so I will understand if you give less weight to my comments. My needs and interests are rather straightforward and simple. I do not do much cyber socializing and, over time, have lost the ability to interact as much on blog sites. I frequent only a few these days–yours being among that small number. And… I continue to be grateful for your site, Michael.

    I was brought to Phoenix Preacher by a link on Alex Grenier’s site. When he shut it down and essentially threw the CC victims who had supported him under the bus, I was among many who were grateful that there was still a place to go and be given a voice. Again, Michael, saying, “Thanks!”, isn’t adequate for what you did for so many of us. I do understand that things change and it cannot always be about that subject. I even understand why that would not be healthy for some.

    I will give a partial history, because it is relevant to my other comments below.

    My happy discovery of who Christ was and that He loved me enough to take my place so I would not have to suffer eternal punishment for my sin, was a miracle. I came from a somewhat isolated place and, though I had met some people calling themselves “Christians”, I had never heard the Gospel. After much death and tragedy around me, I remember calling out to a God I never knew, desperately hoping He did exist. When I had almost given up, months later a family member who had been known to be involved in the New Age, came back into our home as a baby Christian and delivered a simple Gospel message to me. I accepted Christ right there. That decision nearly cost me my life because of the influence of a cult upon our family. After enduring frequent threats of violence and surviving an attempt to crush my windpipe by a cult-influenced family member, I fled with another person who, unfortunately, was to go back later. I had lived through both literal and moral filth that was prevalent around me in hopes some day I would get to a place that was better. (There were badly working septic tanks that would back up waste into your bathroom or kitchen sink, open cesspools that the health department seemed to overlook for a fee, a crooked truck stop owner that operated a prostitution ring of which our immediate neighbor was a part, lovers shooting lovers, rapes of even young girls–many graduated 8th grade impregnated, carcasses of dead animals being dumped in a nearby wash, etc.)

    Getting to what was purported to be a better place was worth being homeless and living in an old car if need be. I had even made the long drive to what was “better” while suffering from a physical disorder that could partially disable me for days. But that’s what you do when you have nothing to lose. Looking back, that disorder was a “God Send”. It parked me in that aforementioned, isolated place for many years to where my only solace was eventually reading the Bible. Inside of its pages were directions for, not only my own life in Christ, but also admonitions for godly living inside of fellowship. Leaders were to be chosen in a specific manner and were expected to behave in a specific manner. In its pages was the acknowledgement that we were all sinners and that sanctification was a process that we would all undergo as long as we were in these mortal bodies. Crucifying the flesh was something no one could expect to escape if they wished to truly follow behind their Savior. There were admonitions on how to deal with sinning members of the body so that the peace was preserved and leaven could not spread. There was even a rebuke for not doing so. If all this was followed, things should be pretty clear and no one was above the Biblical admonitions. Both the love of God and the Fear of the Lord would have been honored. The prescribed balance seemed completely doable. These were the expectations I had of myself and the fellowship of which I was about to become a part. Finally, I would be in a better place both culturally and morally with the freedom to see how God could work among His people. Calvary Chapel had quite the reputation and had been at the forefront of the Jesus Movement that had caught me in its net. So…that’s to where this little pilgrim traveled many, many years ago. Suffice to say, after so much suffering and deprivation to get to a better place–I was never to find that “better” place. So what did I find?

    From the time of my greatest involvement in CC (the late 70’s onward), I found unresponsive, secretly immoral pastors, unqualified sychopants being elevated to positions for which they were not Biblically qualified, people who tried to operate in the light and operate Biblically inside of the system, slandered and thrown out, mentally unsound leaders of whom the pastor was warned being allowed to “plant” churches which destroyed all those that followed, immorality within young adult groups and many of the “worship teams”–including CCCM–wherein some of the perpetrators exhibited predatory behavior, an inability to care for the least in congregations (to include the sick, the widowed, the orphaned, etc.), abuse of church funds with no accounting, outright cruelty to congregants by people in all levels of leadership, horrific treatment of couples being “counseled” for marriage troubles, betrayal by CCCM’s leadership of those that went to the Mother church for help, etc., etc., etc. I also saw much more, but will not talk about some of it anymore. I no longer have the emotional energy.

    I finally abandoned the movement in the 90’s. After over 25 years I had seen enough to know their problems were not unique to the individual CC’s I had attended. Their problems were systemic. After years of watching lax morality (to include spiritual, legal and sexual) and the devastation it caused, things were brought somewhat to a head during the Hocking debacle back in ’92. Because there was a lack in every CC pastor I knew to be willing to even understand or consider the confirmation of sin in the camp that the Hocking debacle provided I realized how much “Kool Aid” they had already drunk. It turned out later that many of them had dirty hands or moral quirks that kept them from wanting to bring attention to the matter. It would likely bring unwanted scrutiny to their own practices and attitudes and they were satisfied with their mediocre or even tainted morality. I’d seen enough and had enough. If they could rationalize what I saw all those years in “the name of God”, I had to ask, “Who is their god?” I found my answer in the Scriptures. It was their belly (their own will and their own appetites).

    Unfortunately, it was apparent that CC still had the power to deceive, hurt, and destroy people that I loved who were Mesmerized by the rhetoric that CC was “the best there is”* *(Statement once made by Dave Hunt of Berean Call that is probably removed from their site now). This statement was made even in the face of Berean Call’s board member, Rob Yardley’s knowledge of the immoral practices inside of CCCM and its leadership. Disgusting.

    After nearly 20 years, I came back to the CC issue when some of the ODM’s seemed to be willing to expose a few things. I had always been drawn to their information because of the cult influence upon my own family. I never wanted any other family to suffer from the lack of knowledge under which my family suffered. I supported and applauded their efforts because my heart was to set people free. However, over much time, it turned out that, despite the good they were doing, they also had their own, arbitrary standard about what they would and would not deal. Some who were originally willing to expose the duplicities of Chuck Smith and his unbiblical policies (Old Testament Moses Model, Don’t touch God’s anointed, returning adulterers to the pulpit, throwing victims out and slandering them instead of disciplining leaders, etc.) turned back. It became clear that this was because many of these “holy men” would not allow themselves to consider that they, too, were stupid enough to have had blind loyalty to a man who was not acting in God’s best interest–but rather his own. They failed to do their due diligence even in the face of their claims to be discernment ministries! Their hero had long covered up for his own sin of disqualification and they became part of the problem by choosing to remain silent even after they had knowledge of this. Building into the already flawed CC foundation meant these ODMs were liable and they worried more about how their ministries would appear if they ever openly admitted their own slip into being deceived by a very “nice” man. This meant that whatever warning they purported to give about CC and Chuck Smith would always be inadequate because they could not deal with their own deficiencies and idolatry of Chuck Smith. They pulled their punches. They still can’t call immorality by its name. Though I don’t know that I really believe this, their inaction will make it reasonable for some to wonder if they have this same sin in their camp? I hope not, but it happens all too often. If they do not care for their own willful blindness and come clean about what they also know–they will get
    what they get.

    His own sin and skewed view of “God’s anointed” is why Chuck put adulterers back in the pulpit and would not deal rightly with this extremely leavenous sin. His pride (and those that went along with it) meant that it was okay to view gifts and callings above the holiness of God. How many of us down the line are still dealing with what his selfishness caused. Those that went along with the cover up are surely just as guilty. Attitudes about that sin and what was done to keep that ministry going at all costs reveal the true hearts of many to this day. To think that God would enable and endorse doing something unbiblical (cover up a pastor’s sin) so a ministry that was supposed to uphold and exemplify that which is Biblical could continue, is absolutely oxymoronic and shocks me to this day. It reveals a willingness to follow a Gospel of expediency and favoritism in violation of everything a leader is supposed to be. Where is the true witness of God there? Where is the fear of God? What kind of sins and abuses flowed into the congregations of the pastors who never did the right thing by stepping down and suffering due consequences–including CCCM? How loving was it for Chuck to use others to justify his own sin by putting them back and allowing them to also suffer almost no consequence for what they had done? What character development and witness to the world of a holy God was completely nullified and destroyed all those years for sake of one, unrepentant man? What does that say about our own laxity as to what we will put up with? Is God so powerless and stupid that He could not have provided those that loved Him with another, obedient leader? What about the lack of faith and fidelity to God on the part of those that went along with this in the beginning and those who defend Chuck to this day? Where are the Biblical grounds for this defense? I will always ask, “Why do you defend sin in the camp, when it can destroy us all?” Is there any wonder why so many of us with eyes to see remain completely disgusted?

    No matter how much “good” Chuck Smith was purported to have done, it did not and never will justify all the evil that was allowed during his tenure. No one can justify disobedience before God, yet many still try to twist things to say that staying in the pulpit after Chuck’s disqualification was somehow “different” or “necessary”. Yes, the rest of us just do not understand. Despite all the Biblical qualifications that God has set for a pastor and many of us wanting to honor God by being faithful to them, we are the ones who are “unloving” and expect too much from our leaders. Expecting too little and condoning sin then became the acceptable standard. The fruit of such an unholy policy has shown itself to be horrendous to this day. You will never find an okay for what Chuck and CC did in Scripture. Infact, God says that he puts obedience above sacrifice. Disobedience cost Saul his kingship and, eventually his life because one unrepentant sin led to many more. All of this is serious and nothing a God-fearing person in leadership should ever, ever rationalize.

    There is no “good horse” in the CC race for survival. The CCA camp is a bunch of self-righteous, blind woosies who have held allegiance to a man–not the right thing. They went off track a long time ago, but have the facade that makes everything “look” okay. They pride themselves on having the “Chuckie Stamp of Approval”. Well, in light of the above paragraphs, how much do you think that is worth to those of us who know the truth about how they have operated all these years? There is much sin in their camp and they have made themselves spiritually impotent by their inability to deal with it.

    Unfortunately, whatever slander has been lobbed by the ODMs, I fear that Brodersen’s hands are not entirely clean either. Where is the public statement against policies and abuses of which CC has been guilty all these years? When he took on the name, he took on all that came with it. He wanted it–now he needs to find his “big boy pants” and deal with it. Much abuse has been catalogued and presented right here on this site. Where is Brodersen’s sorrow over all the people who were hurt in CC’s name and proof of policy changes to avoid this sort of systemic abuse in the future. These things were exposed publicly and need to be addressed publicly. He has not. That leaves no hope in this writer’s mind.

    Some in both camps try to rationalize that, because of the way the association was always set up, it does not allow for interventions. Chuck showed us that was always a lie. Besides, I don’t care what their manmade policies say, nor should anyone else. We are commanded to do good when we have the opportunity. If we do not–it is called sin. Show me the Biblical injunction against the right thing. We constrain ourselves with manmade policies when we are always free to do the right thing. Shortest distance to caring for a situation is still a straight line. Does anyone think God will be impressed with pastoral fidelity to their so-called, hands-off, loose association if it allowed sin and abuse to proliferate? One Guess?

    I cannot conclude this without one more comment. Though every reason is given to mistrust and abandon a system that became corrupt within a very short time of its inception, we are not without hope. If our faith is in God and not a man or a system, we will always be okay. If you were blessed by some good things in CC, then what is stopping you from gleaning out some of the good and starting over. Leaven is a powerful thing, so you would have to make sure you have identified and cared for every bit of it before you start over. We often get what we settle for. We look at what we are given by man and give up on what God has prescribed. Any church that has stagnated and lost its ability to repent and keep humble before the Lord will alway be a bad place. We need to believe God for something better and act upon it. We always have choices.

    Though I have waited a long time for certain truths that I have known for almost 40 years to come out, I may go back into the woodwork.

    We continue to pray for you, Michael, and hope that God will lead you (and all of us for that matter) to where we should be and what we should be doing at this time in history. May He always send you worthy counselors and comforters. We sincerely hope you are well, Michael, and send you our best.

  6. John 20:29 says:

    Sometimes the way one’s efforts appear from down here look quite different from where God sits, Michael
    I suspect the Father is pleased with your efforts… I’d – ahem : bet on it. ?

  7. bob1 says:


    Do you and/or family members have any background, even from childhood, with any churches other than CC?

  8. Stephen says:


    Long story made short.

    We both were saved in a closed country by missionaries (I was working there, my wife was born and raised there). I was saved via CC missionaries, and she by less biblical missionaries but she came to true faith when she talked with and learned from the missionaries who I associated with.

    So for her: no.

    For me: I was a Roman Catholic for a few years as a child (forced to go to a Roman Catholic school because it was close to my grandmothers house), then spent time with Jehovahs’ Witnesses (never became one of them, tho…it was simply to keep a living situation going or I’d have been homeless). So, for me: not really.

    Our CC experience in the closed country was very different (in a good way) than what we experienced since we got to Japan and then now to the US.

    (Too much info? lol)

  9. Bob Grenier says:

    Hi Michael. Thank you for what you do, and have done and will do for the glory of our God.

    Would you consider giving an analysis or your own hearts understanding, of how the Sovereignty of God as you see it, fits in with the comings and goings of Calvary Chapel?

    Also, the providence of God.

    I know we look at men on the outside, but only God can see the inside of anyone’s heart.

    And, it’s easy to be pragmatic and not look up over circumstances to what the Lord may be doing behind the scenes as it were.

    I realize we cannot fully know the mind of the Lord, but genuinely think your thoughts would be appreciated in this regard.

    Thank you, Michael.

  10. Steve says:

    Bob Grenier, Is this your first time posting here? I’ve heard so much about you over the years by your step son. I think if you haven’t yet, its probably time to doing some explaining about the situation with Alex. His blog became much more than about you but since you are posting here, you owe it to the readers to go into a lot more detail of what really transpired. I am so happy that you and Alex are at peace but that doesn’t answer the million questions many folks still have.

  11. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, I think Alex has made it clear that the fault was with himself and that it is now a closed private family matter.

  12. Steve says:

    Hmmm, So Alex was a complete total liar? I never heard him say that yet.

  13. Michael says:

    I’m not at home to moderate this. This topic is not what the thread is about and I choose to close commenting on the subject. Further inquiries can be sent to Bob or Alex privately.

  14. Steve says:

    I have no interest in contacting either Bob or Alex but I sincerely wish them well and I encourage both of them to stay off of the blogoshere for credibility reasons.

  15. JD says:

    Thanks Michael for providing this blog out of love for the brothers and sisters in Christ as a place to express concerns and to vent off emotions after leaving CC. Thanks also for the encouragement from the many others who comment here, who for various reasons have also left their church homes. May we all find caring fellowship at the church of our choice, when God opens a door for us. That might take a long time for some of us, so let us continue to support one another in prayer that His Spirit would steadfastly minister to us as we seek His will for our lives.

  16. JM says:

    Amen, JD. Amen. 🙂

  17. Michael says:


    When I speak of our failures it is in the area of changed policy and clear guidelines.
    Never gonna happen.
    So…the reality is that we will always be here as a deterrent…I’ve made arrangements that even after my death the site will stay up.

    Thank you for taking the time to share your journey with us…it matters.

  18. filbertz says:

    just as many folks have moved on from the CC days (or daze) and are doing well elsewhere, I think the PP has moved on…still acknowledging the roots or routes, but doing well in the moving on. I’m struck by the hopefulness of that process.

  19. filbertz says:

    I suppose that speaks to the faithfulness and mercy of God.

  20. Michael says:

    Thank you, fil.

    We do want to move forward, but leave no one behind and honor our heritage.

  21. Michael says:


    Thank you…

  22. filbertz says:

    Left Behind is not a PP thing… 😉

  23. JM says:

    Michael, your words are beyond kind and greatly appreciated. On your behalf, we pray there will be no need to pass along the stewardship of this site for many years to come. Though we might try, we probably still have no idea of what it has been like for you all these years. I hope people that have been shy about sharing their gratitude for your kind forum will do so now.

    There’s a tiny matter I would like to clarify, if I may. Upon rereading my above post, I realized that the way I phrased something in one of the last three paragraphs did not jive with the pronouns I used earlier in the same paragraph. I worry that mistake could easily have made what I said sound like a personally directed remark. I would not have wanted that and wouldn’t have meant that. The section I am referring to should have read, “If we were blessed by some good things in CC, then what is stopping us from gleaning out some of the good and starting over. Leaven is a powerful thing, so we would have to make sure we have identified and cared for every bit of it before starting over.” Just in case, I hope that will help.

  24. Just A Sheep says:

    @5 – what “sin of disqualification” is being referred to here with Chuck Smith? What cover-up of his sin?

    What is JM talking about?

  25. Michael says:

    Just a Sheep,

    Chuck Smith had an affair that almost all of the first generation of CC pastors were aware of.

  26. Just A Sheep says:

    WOW!! Did not know that. That changes things.

  27. CM says:

    Just a question:

    This Chuck Smith affair has been referred to from time to time and that it was an open secret among the first generation of CC pastors. Has anyone laid out the whole story of this affair, how did it happen, was Chuck confronted about it and urged to step down, etc.? It seems like the whole story has never really been told.

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

    Any story about such a thing would only be harmful to Kay and the family.
    It would be pointless.

    Why not just call it “done” and move forward with grace and mercy, and focus on those Jesus called us to care for, the injured and sick, the widows & orphans, those in prison, the lonely.

    Let’s be about “the least” and find Him in their faces.

  29. The New Victor says:

    Agree with G-Man. The past is past because it’s passed.

  30. Almost Lutheran says:

    I’ve been lurking here for years. I initially came for the CC gossip. Stayed for the other stuff. Keep on keeping on, Michael.

    Also, reading MLD’s comments over the years almost convinces me to become a Lutheran. But it at least made me a fan of Rev. Fisk and the rest of those guys.

  31. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Hello Almost Lutheran – I love hearing stories of those who are on the brink of becoming Christian 🙂

    Have you listened to Once For All? It’s Evan Goeglein’s more serious side when he is away from Bryan Wolfmueller.

  32. Josh the Baptist says:

    People like a very narrow, black and white message.

  33. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “People like a very narrow, black and white message.”

    I know I do – I was listening to Rob Bell the other day and couldn’t figure out his christian message.

  34. Josh the Baptist says:

    Yep. It is evident. The CC narrative that will win out is the one clearest (in any direction) and leaves no room for interpretation.

    Same with politics.


  35. Babylon's Dread says:

    Jesus said, “wisdom is vindicated by her children.” For that reason I think the whole story of CC ought to be told. The children showed evidence that the wisdom of the patriarch might have been off kilter. Why has there been so much scandal that remained un-confronted and/or undisciplined? Why was the Lonnie Frisbee matter serious enough to write him out of the history while other failures went unreported or requited. A story can be told without destroying the value of the subject of the story. Our texts of scripture vindicate that profoundly. A movement that put so much value on actual moral behavior should be weighed on that scale. But if it never is told … let ‘God be true and every man a liar.’

  36. Xenia says:

    No, we do not need to know the details.

    In fact, I refuse to read them if they are published.

  37. Xenia says:

    #29 This is one of those happy occasions when I agree with (|o)===:::

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

    I’m praying God will change me to give you more happy occasions.

    This is perhaps another of them, I will join you in NOT reading them.

    Peace, my sister
    ( |o )====:::

  39. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I thought this was still under the classification “alleged” affair. If so would the conversation be gossip? Even from those behind the scenes who claim to be in the know?

  40. Michael says:

    It’s not alleged,it is a well known fact.
    It will either be written by me or a more qualified historian for the simple reason that you cannot possibly understand much of the last fifty years of CC doctrine and practice without examining it.

  41. Babylon's Dread says:

    @41 Yes

  42. Xenia says:

    If you must discuss this matter at all, (and I don’t believe that you should), then all the should be said is “It is alleged that Pastor Chuck fell into sin many years ago and that it was covered up.”

    Giving details and names will only hurt people and will cause the Chuck-haters occasion to sin by rejoicing in the sins of others.

    There are people who will want to hear all the salacious details. Don’t feed these people.

  43. John 20:29 says:

    I can see both the wisdom in #s 41 & 42 and in the cautions posted by Gman and Xenia….
    If it isn’t acknowledged, then it becomes an unsavory cover-up whenever a person stumbles onto the story
    A Pastor commuted a serious sin against God and his family – did he repent? should he have continued in ministry? (I’d say yes with some caveats) There is a level on which it should be examined, but with names and salacious details? No, of course not.
    Just saying … again. ?

  44. Josh the Baptist says:

    I thought we had a fairly detailed post about it here once before?

  45. Josh the Baptist says:

    There it is. I don’t know how there could be much more detail than that.

    I’m the PhxP historian 🙂

  46. John 20:29 says:

    It was interesting to go back and skin through Josh the B’s link… there’s been a lot of wisdom posted here….
    If C. Smith never stood before his flock confessing that at one point in his life he had committed the egregious sin of adultery and that he had confessed to God and his life partner, his wife, then whatever good he accomplished in his ministry – he did accomplish good – was most certainly God working with what He had available. To God be the glory, period.

  47. Chris Long says:

    RE #47:

    I don’t know what he said or didn’t say and don’t know any details of whatever may have happened. And I think I might have posted this before sometime, but this short 2-minute video taken sometime not long before his passing, is the best thing I’ve ever heard from him.

    It’s clear he knows that all the good he did was because of God and not him and that he’s banking solely on Christ. I hope and pray that everyone here, regardless of the failures OR successes that we have had, would say the same.

    I don’t discount a potential church history interest in examining things that may have happened in regards to how it affected the movement as a whole etc. So I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong to discuss per se in that light. But outside of that, I see no point to it and I tend to be with G-man: Better to move forward in grace and mercy. Love covers a multitude of sins… For whatever faults Chuck Smith may have had (just like all of us here have faults), he was used powerfully by God, and I rejoice!

  48. Xenia says:


    Peace to you too, G-man.

    And thanks.

  49. JM says:

    It should go without saying that a story designed to simply delineate the details of Chuck’s affair would serve no purpose other than to hurt his family or feed the prurient appetites of some. That would not be right and should not be done. It does not negate the fact that there are multiple attestations that it happened and was never cared for. It is also significant for what it set into motion. Further, the fact that he was a pastor with a high public profile meant that what he did had a greater effect upon the body of Christ than someone without that power or prestige. It affects our credibility if we are silent or give unbiblical renderings about wrongs done in the name of Christ. Worse, it means we do not represent the one who suffered and died for us well. We are not arms and legs strewn about. We are, in reality, the body of Christ and we should be concerned about our corporate health. If we cannot bring ourselves to examine our own house and stop putting up with things, we will die a deserved death of impotence.

    The sad part is that, if Chuck would have done the right thing over 40 years ago, we would not be having this discussion right now. With the plague and proliferation of the sin of adultery among pastors across the “Christian” world, we have to ask ourselves if men like him would have done the right thing all those years ago, what would be the state of the church at large– and CC, specifically–today. (Coy, Caldwell,etc. etc.) If he would have taken his lumps and honored God’s Word above his own comfort, he could have shown the world what godly repentance and obedience looks like. This is a sorely needed response in the wake of the church’s present, debase condition. God’s prescription, as it is for each one of us, was for him to truly repent. God is always faithful to forgive. So–it wasn’t God that told him to defy Scripture and not come clean. If he would have been obedient, God could have used Him in another capacity and even blessed him with contentment as he served. It is a lie to think that was never an option. Truth and the right thing should always be the first option for a believer–especially if he is a teacher of God’s Word. It was never necessary to view his position as an ” all or nothing” proposition by anybody. God is omnipotent and, if he provided the “lamb”, he would have provided another, qualified shepherd for His flock. Everyone who went along with this was guilty of a serious lack of faith and a willingness to dishonor God. These are sorry qualities for teachers of God’s Word. The fact that Chuck and the others had no problem with protecting “God’s anointed”–even in sin– should tell you how far this sick policy had gone into the minds and hearts of those who were in the know. That would signify that the leaven of unaccountable leadership was already codified and ready to wreak havoc upon people in the pews in due time. It was and always will be evil. In deep sin–there is deep forgiveness—–if we truly repent. True repentance in this case would have meant stepping down. The end never, never justifies ungodly means to get there. That is a dangerous path to be upon. It’s called, “lawlessness”.

    There is a contingent of those that were part of the cover up and in agreement with this sin of disobedience that are still alive and still in pulpits. Their knowledge and complicity still demand an answer. They are not above being accountable to the body of Christ. Infact, they remain liable because they enabled. Due to their lack of repentance, God has allowed some of their deeds to become public knowledge. That, in turn, demands public repentance. Even though, throughout Biblical history, when leaders repent it yields wonderful fruit for everyone–reality means no-one is holding their breath because their history is more one of entrenchment. Nonetheless, their exposure is needed for the health of the body of Christ.

    When one suffers–we all suffer. It should not be burdensome to any of us to do this on behalf of those who have suffered more deeply under CC’s spiritual despotism and whose stories fill many pages on this blog. It is not good to wrongly state or oversimplify this issue. It can do great disservice to real people who have suffered real abuse.

    I remember reading one case of extreme abuse inflicted on a congregant of CCCM with the full knowledge of Chuck Smith. It resulted in a suicide.
    Here’s the link:

    I cannot speak for others, but for me–this situation has never, ever been about pay back or any other type of pettiness that some would slanderously assign. I saw and lived through the decimation of part of my family due to the lies of a cult. Being put into any kind of spiritual bondage is wrong and should always be identified–even if it is inconvenient to the memories of some. This is about upholding the true and attainable best that God has for all of us and exposing the liars that would make us believe we must settle for less. No matter how “nice” someone is, if they do not step out of the way when their actions subvert God’s best for you or anyone else–that’s not love. In the words of he who says it better, “make your own application”. 🙂

  50. descended says:

    In trading Chuck’s screw ups and their Ripple effect throughout Christendom and its effect on the motivations of other pastors all we’re doing is trying to paste or presuppositions on other men’s hearts

  51. descended says:


    Should be “rehashing”

    Voice diction still trying to keep up with Mumbles

  52. CM says:

    In regards to Michael’s #41…

    Perhaps a historian would have a dispassionate approach to the Chuck Smith and CC story.

    Speaking of historians, one author wrote perhaps the definitive biography about Aimee Semple McPherson.

    The good, the bad, and the ugly.

    As everyone knows, Chuck Smith came out of the Foursquare denomination. Perhaps this author could write a history of Chuck Smith and CC.

  53. JM says:

    Babylon #36 — Well thought out. Well-stated.

    Michael #41 – Thankful for your re-iteration.
    Hope you will be able to be the one who writes the story.

  54. Sylvia says:

    I hate “open secrets” because “everybody” allegedly knows them, but nobody is allowed to use their knowledge to bring about any kind of change/justice/action/warning.
    And then, after enough time passes, the people naive enough to be shocked and demand information get scolded because surely they will only hurt the people involved by bringing it up now that it’s all smoothed over.

  55. filbertz says:

    somehow, the ‘open secret’ escaped my awareness, not that it in anyway makes a difference in my goofy world…but it dispels fog from my brain regarding the behaviors of some second generation CC pastors to whom being ‘like Chuck’ seems to have included the aforementioned side shuffle into ‘alleged’ iniquity. I was always perplexed by the frequency of these walks around the block and the consistency of the smooth cover up and never-skip-a-beat resumptions of duties.

    a historian’s examination and tale of caution may make for salacious reading, but likely won’t cause readers to fear the consequences…because there weren’t many that I can discern this side of the grave.

  56. John 20:29 says:

    “open secret” that is the problem, isn’t it…

    IF C.Smith had confessed his sin – no details needed – asked God’s forgiveness and his wife’s and then went on about his business thinking it was a private matter and settled, i think he was mistaken…
    considering his position – a public figure and preacher of righteousness – he should have informed his congregation, used it as an example of falling, confessing and rising up to walk with God and never ever repeating the stupid selfish and treacherous behavior… no details needed in doing so… but i think the Bible is pretty clear that pretending you have not sinned doesn’t set well with God

    just my opinion from where i sit this snowy morning

  57. Xenia says:

    What not put a charitable spin on this story? Maybe Pastor Church confessed to everyone involved and truly had a repentance of heart. Maybe he had a conversation with his confidants, to the effect “If I make this public, what effect could it have on all the young people coming to Christ through the ministry of Calvary Chapel?” Maybe a public confession was a luxury he felt he could not afford.

    He certainly did not owe me, or anyone outside his circle, a confession.

    This explains the charitable attitude he has had towards other adulterous pastors. Possibly he felt it would have been hypocritical to have expected them to resign if he himself kept his job.

    If he had a bishop over him, he would have been put out of the pastorate, as I think he should have been. But when you disdain hierarchy, you are are your own and do what seems best in your own eyes. This is what most evangelicals want: No hierarchy, just being led, as they believe, by the Spirit, not by man. I am sure Pastor Chuck and those involved would claim the Spirit led them to keep the story quiet. And maybe t his IS what the Spirit said, who am I to say?

  58. Michael says:


    My incredibly patient literary agent has been waiting three years for a book that should have taken about six months.
    Part of that has been because of my health and family issues, but part of it is trying to get it done right taking into consideration all these factors.

    What is undeniable is that the incident set the paradigm for how CC deals with these issues and set up the worst abuses the system produced.

  59. Jean says:

    That is a charitable construction, but there’s a problem: The Spirit does not contradict the Word. In other words, the Spirit does not overrule the Word.

  60. bob1 says:

    when you disdain hierarchy, you are are your own and do what seems best in your own eyes.

    I think this is pretty obvious if you look at groups like CC and others in the nonliturgical
    Protestant world.

    But hierarchy isn’t a magic answer, either. Just one example: the RCC and its
    abusive priests.

    I think maybe a checks-and-balances system is preferable. There’s still order, but
    no one’s ‘above the law,’ as it were. Everyone’s accountable to someone — and not
    just God.

  61. Xenia says:

    the Spirit does not overrule the Word.<<<

    I agree, Jean. But when you come to believe, because of evidence of success, that you are specially anointed by God you feel free to pick and choose which Scriptures to take literally because you have deluded yourself into believing you hear from the Spirit in a way no one else does.

  62. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I don’t usually get involved with the pastor issues at independent churches. They choose who they want to lead them and in many cases they choose Satan.
    First let me say that I do not think the widow Smith needs protecting. If this did indeed happen I am sure she knows.
    Second, if we demanded public apologies from Coy and Tullian. why would we not do so with Smith?
    Thirdly, if it is a sure bet as stated here that the first generation guys knew, why are we not calling them out publicly to resign immediately for their part in the cover up?

  63. JM says:

    Don’t know how long I will be here today. However, for what it is worth, I wish to express thanks for all the comments (from #55 on down) that I have been able to read this morning. These stand out:

    “but i think the Bible is pretty clear that pretending you have not sinned doesn’t set well with God” John 20:29–THANK YOU!

    “What is undeniable is that the incident set the paradigm for how CC deals with these issues and set up the worst abuses the system produced.”–Michael –THANK YOU!

    That is a charitable construction, but there’s a problem: The Spirit does not contradict the Word. In other words, the Spirit does not overrule the Word.” — Jean — THANK YOU!

    Those words are more priceless than you know.

    Hope I can check back later.

  64. JM says:

    #63, MLD, your comments came after I sent mine. I hope you will accept a heart-felt THANK YOU from me as well. You have stated the situation more succinctly than I and have given what I have always considered a reasonable expectation on the matter. Kudos!

  65. Xenia says:


    Be careful this is not a motivation.

    (I do not believe it would be Michael’s motivation.)

  66. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    JM, not a recommendation, just following the logic who think it is our business. The only serious part was the statement that many times these churches choose Satan to lead them.

  67. Duane Arnold says:

    #66 Xenia

    I would agree. There is more than just a little “prurient interest” in situations like this.

    Also, I think we must admit that in certain strands of evangelicalism (especially within some charismatic groups) there was a “culture”. Often everybody knew about things going on, but the culture encouraged one to turn a blind eye to what was somewhat apparent.

    That being said, I have seen similar situations among Anglicans, RCs, etc. It would seem that no group is exempt…

  68. Chris Long says:

    I think I will sigh with Michael’s 59, but for a different reason. According to MLD, “many” independent churches are led by Satan, and that’s what people want. And of course MLD’s tribe’s churches are the ones led by the perfect pastors. Give me a break….

    There’s good and bad across the board and I would argue all are both to some degree – neither 100% white or 100% black.
    And we ALL deal with this thing called sin.
    Just because a pastor falls into sin doesn’t make him the devil.

    I would MUCH rather assume that most pastors, regardless of church, are there because they believe God has called them to be ministers to people to help them in that role and are doing their best to do that, rather than assume that “many independent churches are led by satan”.

    We all as humans are always looking to assume and amplify the negative in others – it’s what our culture does. I think we’d do well to consider ourselves and OUR OWN failures before lobbing arrows for others’ sin.

    As for Chuck, I could easily see Xenia’s #58 being the reality.

    That doesn’t mean that Michael or others are wrong that the CS thing (which I know nothing about beyond what I’ve seen here) had a profound effect on CC and how it handled things and that maybe discussing it in the context of church history or CC history isn’t such a bad thing.

    It also doesn’t mean that CS wasn’t used powerfully by God. One would have an impossibly hard time convincing me that God didn’t continue using CS powerfully after whatever took place took place. He was a great encouragement to myself as I watched/listened to him quite a bit in his last few years here. It’s not like God turned his back on CS and wasn’t willing to use him. And the man I see in the 2min video I posted in my #48 isn’t one who’s rebelling in sin or that thinks he’s “all that”, but a man who is broken and knows he’s broken, and is looking solely to Jesus. Regardless of what he did or didn’t do, I’ll take that approach ANY DAY over some of the prideful arrogance that is so often what gets displayed in our world (and churches, and websites…).

  69. Anne says:

    The attitude in CC towards dealing with sexual impropriety affected more than just the pastorate. At the same time as the Flores sexual abuse story it, came to my attention that a jr high teacher at the school had a problem being uncomfortably physically affectionate with his female students about 15 yrs earlier. Knowing many young women who had gone through the school system there, I approached Cheryl to inquire what she knew about the allegations. I did not have a name. The former students not wanting to disclose. Even w/o name, Cheryl immediately knew who I was referring to. She assured me they had heard the reports, had counseled the teacher involved to be more discreet (?)and mentioned that in fact he was still employed there, a valued member of the staff. In my view, draping ones arm over the shoulders of young girls while casually copping a feel, pulling them close to him with arm around their waist etc was more than indiscretion.

    This and so many more of the attitudes prevalent throughout my hx with Shiloh/CC mde so much more sense when I first learned about Smith’s own Skelton’s in the closet.

    And per usual, here as throughout our society, the impact of his actions is focused on him, his work, his legacy, his family. Until recently the impact on the other party is a shadowy footnote. #metoo #churchtoo

  70. Anne says:

    BTW, it was probably 25+ years ago that I first heard rumors, which I did not believe. 15 yrs ago verified sadly beyond a doubt via 1st generation folks close to the situation.

  71. Anne says:

    Because one is apparently being used by God seems a pretty poor excuse in the grander scheme of things when you consider the OT used the illustration of speaking through an ass when necessary to get a message across.

  72. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Chris, you keep hiding under the cover of ‘well everyone is doing it – even the Lutherans.’
    Hey, church what I actually said. The independent churches choose who they want and many times they choose Satan. Do you deny that?
    When I was at Ocean Hill’s we chose Satan to lead us. Ask Michael.

  73. Chris Long says:

    I haven’t been hiding under anything MLD and I spelled out what I think in my post above.

    I would have issues with the choice of your word “many” and that many people in “independent churches” are choosing Satan to lead them in church. Most people want and are looking for someone Godly to lead them and believe that is what they are doing. And most pastors I would think are wanting to be that for them. They also can mess up, just like you and I can.

    That’s not to say that there aren’t some people in pastoral positions that shouldn’t be there, or that there’s pastors that could stand to have some good oversight that don’t have it. And I’m not defending abuse or immorality in the pulpit.

    Not gonna debate this one with you further. You often go for the most outlandish, exaggerated statements you can make (presumably to try to get people to debate with you? IDK)

  74. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Chris, how can you say outlandish and exaggerated? I used a personal example of my experience with my local independent church choosing Satan for leadership. My church wasn’t either unusual or unique.

  75. Chris Long says:

    That’s why. 🙂 You used your specific experience in believing that your church “chose Satan” and extropolated that out to “many churches” doing the same. And don’t play coy, brother. You’re a smart guy and you knew full well that when you said “I don’t usually get involved with the pastor issues at independent churches. They choose who they want to lead them and in many cases they choose Satan” that it was a broad-brushed inflammatory statement…

  76. Jean says:


    Back when MLD had more energy and stamina, he baited me into so many arguments that I became Lutheran just for relief.

  77. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Chris, not so – you will never see me piling on a pastor. If I do anything near that, it is always based on doctrine / teaching – not actions or lifestyles (as we are all sinners).
    I have never said a bad word about Chuck Smith, I have never criticized his use of the Moses Model (although I have said I wouldn’t stay under it).
    I have never said bad about the other CC pastors who follow along and remember it was me who tried to keep the word “alleged” in the adultery charge.

    And I wonder about your claim that there are not many churches out there who have Satan as their pastor – all churches that go astray doctrinally are pastored by Satan.

    I would hold up Paula White as a current example – but perhaps you have a lower threshold than I. 🙂

  78. Chris Long says:

    77) HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! 🙂 🙂 I don’t blame you really! LOL

  79. John 20:29 says:

    All churches that go astray doctrinal are pastors by Satan? ?

    I can not say amen to that blanket declaration … Think!

  80. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    In Rev 2&3, Jesus refers to them as Balaam, Jezebel and Nicolaitans.

  81. John 20:29 says:

    Well Jesus was specific as to the errors attached to them, while your “blanket” declaration of any skewed doctrine throws all churches under the bus and, from where I sit, that includes yours, so…. Nope I can’t say anything close to amen to your #78 ?

  82. bob1 says:

    And I wonder about your claim that there are not many churches out there who have Satan as their pastor – all churches that go astray doctrinally are pastored by Satan.

    What a pile of dogcrap.

  83. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    So the Holy Spirit leads them astray?

  84. John 20:29 says:

    A distraction or an inaccurate interpretation of a portion of Scripture is not to be equated with Satanic pastoring… unless you equate every sin you commit as a Satanic infusion and not your fault – your premise just doesn’t yield to sound thinking in my view…. There is some logic to it, yes, just as my response to my mother when she’d tell me I had to do such and such, “No I don’t; there’s only two two things I have to do: be born and die!”

  85. Michael says:

    “When I was at Ocean Hill’s we chose Satan to lead us. Ask Michael.”

    While I would jokingly affirm that statement, it’s not true.
    They chose a celebrity without Christian ethics, but the devil was previously committed…

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