The “No Talk Rule” And The Real Reason Mars Hill Is Falling

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119 Responses

  1. monax says:

    Truly appreciated this, Michael. Thanks!

  2. Michael says:

    Thank you, monax.
    Hopefully , it’s brings some further understanding to what we’ve discussed here so often.

  3. filbertz says:

    In families that invoke the no-talk-to-outsiders-this-is-a-family-matter rule, typically there is no mechanism within the family to address the problem. In effect, it muzzles a person and handicaps them from finding relief. Driscoll is only getting push-back because he exported his message beyond his control group, and outsiders aren’t bound by the same policies…except for his publishers. 😉

  4. Michael says:

    Well said, fil…and an excellent point.

  5. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    At some point, aren’t people responsible for themselevs and their own spiritual well being? I mean why don’t they just leave and never look back?

  6. I agree with SolRod – if the church publish an apology and the pewsters accepted it, well what can I say?

  7. Michael says:


    I’ve had that document for years.
    Copying from it isn’t plagiarizing you.

  8. Ok there is a great deal going on here.

    This piece should open some doors of discussion.
    1. First and foremost the issues being raised with regard to integrity and accountability.
    2. Next the question of actual restoration is in the books … of course I know that there can be no restoration without confession and repentance
    3. I do fear that these particular offenses could lead to a certain level of ‘gotcha’ with regard to what people preach and write. There are a couple people that I would have to admit make my teaching impossible without their writings or mentorship. I am completely at loss without them. People know I extensively use them but they do not get a sermon in quotations annotated. I do fear that I hear a door open to ruthlessly examining one another. That was done by other means in other eras and it wasn’t helpful
    4. Ok I found myself put off by a certain sound of smugness in the dialogue. When you are morally offended it is hard to avoid that but … it still offends the nose.

  9. Michael says:


    All of us who teach borrow heavily from a bunch of sources.
    I don’t think that’s an issue unless we’re taking big chunks of sermons and reading them as our own.
    Honestly, when I read the accounts coming out from former elders and pastors associated with Mars Hill plagiarism isn’t the main issue.
    It’s abuse of power.
    I think if Driscoll were to own this stuff it would be an amazing thing for the whole church.

  10. Michael,

    Thanks, because what it really seems like to me is that Driscoll acts, sounds, and feels like a bully to people. He feels uncorrectable. No one likes a man who seems to know that you cannot touch him.

    On the other hand I thought many times about the interview with Janet Mefferd that really fired this thing to a higher level. I thought Janet was right on the facts but by the time the interview was over I thought she had bullied the bully.

    Then she got all smacked around by the pushback and now she is back on the offensive. Radio is very given to edgy personalities and I get that too. Just saying that I am not as convinced of MD’s great egregious sins with use of media. I really think you are right and the whole thing is about power its use and abuse.

  11. Michael says:

    Mr. TundraMan believes he deserves a shout out for copying from the same book of Taylors I did.

    You can also download the whole document here.

    We used to have it onsite as well, but I don’t know where it went…

  12. Michael says:


    I think his plagiarism is indisputable.
    The turnover at Mars Hill over the last few years would indicate an issue on the other as well.

  13. OCDan says:

    SR and MLD,

    I get your point about the people who attend MH. However, MD has put himself in the public arena and has to live with the consequences of his sin. While we can debate the usefulness of sounding the alarm, sounding the alarm about wolves is what every good shepherd and watchman would do. Scripturally, the watchmen are called to sound the alarm. Sure, we aren’t all watchmen, but some are. Our gracious host and many others are. Also, if you are in the public realm as a pastor, then expect blowback if you are in sin. Look, if he doesn’t publish and speak outside his church, so be it, but once he wants to go into the world, then everything changes w/regard to how we should react.

  14. I don’t think talking about each other in a family is gossip. Healthy families tell all, or at least they do not foster destructive secrets. It is not gossip to tell you dad that you brother is stealing. It is not gossip to tell your mom that your sister is sneaking out at night. It is not gossip to report the truth to people who can bring a remedy. Gossip is twisting things to make someone look worse. Gossip is having a kernel of truth and preaching a cob of lies to others with intent to defame. Gossip has to have malice in it to be gossip. Reporting facts in an attempt to correct wrongs is normal healthy family life. You don’t even have to go to the person first and try to correct them. Especially if it is not about a matter between the two of you.

    Someone told Paul all kinds of things and he exposed, reported, warned and likely embarrassed people with his openness.

    If someone gets drunk and makes a mess and it is reported to me as the pastor. I go to them and say, “I hear you are drinking too much.” When they say, “who’s talking about me?” I answer, “Don’t change the subject until you answer the question.” Then I tell them everyone is talking about them because we love you and want you to stay safe and to stop hurting others. No gossip involved in that stuff whatsoever.

    Rat Ship Dread

  15. Oh and Michael,

    I think the evidence of plagiarism is certainly irrefutable. I just don’t know if it is malicious. Either way he is accountable.

  16. filbertz says:

    can we be sure Solomon was the first to say, “There is nothing new under the sun”? 😉

  17. Michael says:


    Your #14 is gold…

  18. Michael says:


    No. 🙂

  19. In other words I think that definition of GOSSIP at the top is total baloney and is pure spy novel conspiracy garbage. It is what you tell the secret service guarding the president not what you do in your family. In fact that definition of GOSSIP fosters lying, hatred and murder and is the same definition the devil would concoct.

  20. mrtundraman says:

    I don’t deserve a “shout out”. I deserve proper attribution as the one who did the original research and publish on it. Add to that you copied it verbatim from my work and even left in the same typo.

  21. OCDan – I don’t disagree with you, but the call seems to be why don’ the MH people revolt against MD? Not the general public.

    What I would like to see is the client list of this marketing company. i doubt he is the first christian author they have worked with. Who else? Perhaps Keller, Piper and some others?

    Inquiring minds want to know. 🙂

  22. #14 Was good stuff!

  23. Steve Wright says:

    You know what I do when preaching…almost never mention someone by name but simply say “One commentator said it this way…” (or the equivalent). That makes it clear that this idea is not original with me and I am not taking credit for some insight I did not have.

    That though is only when I have a particular fine point to make that someone has made perfectly for me. And it is fairly rare too. On the other hand, also rare but on occasion I might use a detailed illustration from a well known author like C.S. Lewis and I will credit that by name. But nobody in my congregation, and I do mean nobody, is likely to have heard of any of the guys I read in my message prep.

    The formal academic standard to grade-school plagiarism, as I understand it, is if material is common knowledge one need not cite (i.e. referencing George Washington as the first President)

    I think pastors have a standard that if something is fairly common theology, held by many, we need not concern ourselves, just because we had to learn this from somewhere. After all, a kid is not BORN knowing about George Washington either.

    On the other hand, I once heard a message that was in fact lifted almost verbatim from the commentary by Charles Feinberg which I was also reading at the time. That pretty much ended my respect for that guy.

    I also think the standard is far higher when writing a published book than preaching a sermon. Everyone knew Heart was practically copying Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song with Barracuda’s (as to the guitar), but everyone knew they also were heavily influenced by Zep and largely became a band due to them. It’s a different thing though when Zeppelin grabbed Blind Willie Johnson’s ‘Nobody’s Fault but Mine’ changed just a couple lyrics, added their own sound but then called it a Page/Plant song.

  24. Wright’s knowledge of Rock n Roll plagiarism almost made me want to join his church. Gotta love a man who knows his Zep.

  25. Michael says:

    I have no desire for strife with MTM or anyone else.
    If he wants attribution for his work and relates it to this article, I’m fine with that.

  26. Steve Wright says:

    Well, I wish someone would attribute that the translation of “many long years ago” should include the fact that this is no longer sold through Calvary Chapel and that the author himself repented of what he wrote.

    I know nothing ever dies on the internet…and yeah, I know about Calvary DNA and how all the guys who have never even heard of Taylor or this book will still somehow embrace by osmosis this teaching so they can control and abuse their flocks yada yada…

    Surely though I’m not the only one who finds it odd that THIS was needed in order to make a point about Mars Hill and Driscoll.

  27. Scottyoboy says:

    The whole “no talk rule” reminds me of a dysfunctional family where alcoholism has gripped the reins. All the secrecy. Protecting the offender. Pretending it didn’t exist. It’s quite scary to think that people really believe that a person (a person, mind you, not God) has to be protected in this way. Sometimes I want to tell people to get a grip and remember that MD is just a man. Whatever work was done that’s of God was done by God and God gets the credit. MD is the servant and even though he probably worked his butt off to get the church growth, he’s not God. He doesn’t get the credit. He’s not perfect. He’s just a man.

  28. filbertz says:

    you’ve gotta admit, it is a nice stick to measure progress by though. 😉

  29. Michael says:


    It’s the clearest description in writing of this mindset I know of.
    When I talk to sources inside Calvary the “no talk rule” is brought up over and over.
    Driscoll took it to a new level by demanding people sign an NDA.
    As I said, it’s not unique to CC and yes, Larry Taylor had much remorse for writing it in later years.

  30. Steve Wright says:

    It is an abomination. And yeah, it is everywhere. I saw it at the Baptist church where I was for a couple years, even proclaimed from the pulpit there too.

  31. Gene says:

    Hello Michael.

    I feel compelled to add my voice to the chorus of those who are calling foul on a couple of levels with this post.

    First of all, the connection between Taylor’s now disavowed writing and Mars Hill seems unfair at best. I’ve seen your defense in #29, but it’s still more than a bit ungracious to take a writing that a man has personally repented of and use it pejoratively, without ever pointing out yourself in the post that Taylor has publicly and repeatedly recanted from what you quoted. It’s an injustice to him and a misrepresentation of him as an individual.

    Second, as someone who has spent a great deal of time online for many years, you must admit that it’s not exactly a White Hat practice to copy a large a section of content from another website and post it without any attribution, hat tip, link or suggestion as to your source. Though the book is obviously public, it DOES seem as though you surfed over to MTM’s site, copied and pasted for your own post. Not the end of the world, but certainly ironic in a post critical of MD. My greater qualm is your attitude toward the clearly upset MTM. Your comments toward him are dismissive and certainly less than respectful.

    Sadly, today I read this post and found that you have positioned yourself as the bully. You may have noble goals in mind, you may be courageously standing for accountability, but today’s activities are not champions of integrity. They display a man who has exempted himself from the highest standard he demands of others.

  32. Owen Wells says:

    It’s probably because I’m new to this whole discussion, but I am floored that a policy such as this is even credible in any church. If any church member handed me this policy and said I need to follow it, I’d have to tell them to give their head a shake.
    Healthy families don’t function this way. I’ll echo the sentiments about BD’s post #14, and also Scott #27. There’s a balance involved. But this policy sounds more to me like a dictatorship.

    Wow. Just wow. I’ve not commented much on the Mars Hill articles, as I’ve not felt qualified (all that I know is what I’ve read here.) But this amazes me, that it’s actually used.

  33. Michael says:


    I hear your point on Larry Taylor.
    I will make a addition to the article making that point.
    MTM and I have a long history of conflict and that is why the comments may appear curt to you.
    I did not copy any of MTM’s original content as the link provided shows.
    I did copy his copy rather than search for my own.
    My apologies for having done so…I truly did not consider copying a public document that we’ve used in the past to be plagiarism in any sense.

  34. That would be because you did not plagarize, Michael.
    You attributed the real author.

  35. mrtundraman says:

    How does “I did copy his copy rather than search for my own.” square with your earlier statements “Mr. TundraMan believes he deserves a shout out for copying from the same book of Taylors I did.” and “I’ve had that document for years. Copying from it isn’t plagiarizing you.”

    Two lies that are Driscollesque….

  36. Last night I actually typed in a quote from Keller on “The Anger of Jesus” post.
    It took awhile to transcribe.
    Later, I found I could have just copy pasted from another site.
    It would have been a lot easier and I wish I had done it.
    As long as I cited Tim Keller and the book it came from I would not have worried about citing the blog I copied and pasted from.
    That is getting a little bit nitpicky.

  37. Michael says:

    It was wrong and I need to own it.

  38. It may have been wrong on some level, but not the level MTM is making it and not Driscollesque.
    You cited the real author.
    Don’t beat yourself up over it.
    Move on.

  39. This is the kind of nitpicking I was concerned about. But Michael says it is to be faced and dealt with.

  40. Plus, Drisollesque means never admitting you are wrong. 😉

  41. mrtundraman says:

    And you have yet to attribute me as the one who did the original research and published on this years ago. Sure people feel free to copy me and act as if they did the research themselves. They have done it for years. Doesn’t make it right. I spent a good deal of time reading all of the CC literature I could get my hands on. Many days in bookstores looking for out of print titles.

    Who first published on the Moses Model of ministry? Yet how many people take it as a given now? Do you have a clue on the crap I took over what I published back in 1996-1997 and how often I have seen my original research quoted as if the person spent the hours themselves? I bet there’s a couple of dozen pages out there which copied my 1981 research and simply stole the quotes without any attribution of where they came from.

  42. Gene says:

    The P word!!!

    My apologies, Michael, if you felt I was insinuating that.

    This is my first time speaking up. I’m sure you gather how intimidating a place this site can be for new comment contributors.

    I’m not out for blood and my hope is that my remarks weren’t unfair. I went through several drafts before I hit ‘Post Comment’, trying to be careful to not be rude, malicious or unreasonable.

    Obviously and clearly you’re not plagiarizing. You quoted a published work with the author’s name!

    Let me clarify my intent – my suggestion for point number 2 was that the posting technique fell outside commonly accepted ‘White Hat’ practices among websites. Certainly it is not a ‘scandal’ as it is being billed over on MTM’s site.

    I’m not searching for further explanation on your part, just wanted to be sure I wasn’t among any who might be (wrongfully) using the P word towards you today.

    I appreciate your comment back to my #31.

    blessings to you and yours.

  43. That would be applicable if he was actually printing some commentary of yours.

  44. Michael says:


    There is no doubt that you pioneered CC criticism and you probably were the first that wrote about this and other related issues.
    You were certainly the first I read back in the late nineties.
    I’m not sure how that relates to everything and everyone who has written on the topics since or to the article I wrote today.
    People have taken from this site and my book pretty liberally, but I don’t get cited very often.

  45. Tundra is back – all things are more fun with him around. 🙂

  46. Michael says:

    He’s not back.
    I allowed his criticism to be fair.

  47. Rob Murphy says:

    Interesting story of pastoral confession . . . it’s from Fox News and I know that’s a touchy subject, but the article seemed timely and intriguing.

  48. erunner says:

    Rob, I went to the link in your story to the Christian Post. If true this is very sad in how things transpired on that fatal day.

  49. Anne says:

    LT may have remorse for what he wrote, but unfortunately, whether the concept is in a book or formally/publicly taught is beside the point. The “no talk/gossip” rule is definitely still a part of the DNA of leadership/ministry that is “caught not taught” in dove world. As well as in other non-denom/parachurch orgs.

    MD lacks the charisma and fatherly image with his elders/fellow leaders and followers that CS engendered with his spiritual children. CS’s offspring in the faith have been able to forgive/overlook many of his shortcomings and poor decisions because they feel an emotional parental bond that MD is incapable of cultivating. That old adage “love covers a multitude of sins” is kinda relevant. Dirt, not even as filthy as some in other churches, is going to stick a lot easier to MD because of his own abrasive, cocky attitude.

    tundra – your tirade comes off a bit bitter. Are you disappointed your exposes from almost 20 years ago didn’t get the traction you thought they deserved then and want to make up for it now? Just gotta accept you were up against teflon man of pastors and be grateful there are still voices out here keeping the light shining on the darkness.

  50. Bob says:

    Fil said this:


    Tell me if I’m wrong but the “no talk rule” isn’t just to outsiders it’s to everyone!

    If one doesn’t like a teaching, don’t even tell the pastor (no matter how gracious you think you are).


    Now this is dangerous! Run Forest Run!

    Michael and MTM U thank you both for this information. I learned something new again today and that makes it blessed!

  51. Ixtlan says:

    “. Everyone knew Heart was practically copying Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song with Barracuda’s (as to the guitar), ”

    We did? My lengthy study of music told me otherwise… Or maybe because I ” spent my days with a woman unkind, smoked my stuff and drank, all my wine” *

    * Page, J., Plant, R., “Going to California” Led Zeppelin IV, 1971.

  52. covered says:

    Ixtlan, very funny!

  53. Steve Wright says:

    I think when even Shrek 3 joins the songs, it is an indisputable fact. 🙂

  54. Over the years, I also have heard a number of pastors fail to attribute “quotes” or “portions” of writing to the genuine source. I believe that this largely occurs because of the need of many for “self importance.” They want to appear more gifted than they really are. And they are usually quite ambitious. And their is nothing more dangerous than an ambitious man I the ministry because he will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

    Many lives have been destroyed by ambitious men. Usually they do not care who they step on in their journey to the “top.” However, God is not amused and soon their sin is found out.
    I believe that the reason they believe that they can get away with such un-biblical behavior is that they really believe that they are something special, being “mightily used by God,” or “God’s man of the hour,” or other such tripe.

    What makes it really sad, besides they people they destroy, is the horribly negative witness they leave for Christ and true Christianity.

    The church will survive these “fools,” however, at a price. The current price is the decline of Christianity in America and its influence (salt, light). “American Christianity” is a joke. It will not “work” anywhere else in the world. American Christianity expects to be warm, well fed, prosperous, free from persecution, trial, pain, etc. And, of course, real historic Christianity is far from such.

    Jesus asked the question, “…when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8, NKJV). With the increasing number of power hungry, money grubbing false teachers in the world today, I fear that the answer to His question with be a resounding, “no.”

  55. Andrew says:

    People have taken from this site and my book pretty liberally, but I don’t get cited very often.

    Michael, I didn’t know you had a book published? What is the title and what is it about?

  56. David Sloane says:

    Coming from CCCM I will say that Larry sounds like he was “brown~nosing” at the time when he wrote that edict. I know that Larry had suffered greatly in his personal life and is a good man of God. Calvary operated just as Larry related.

    I recall that whenever the assistant pastor Romain and I would talk together invariably he would say about the senior pastor Chuck, “I love the man.” Never once did he say anything other then praise about Chuck.

    But on the other hand he did tell me that Calvary Chapel thinks they are the only ones that are going to be in heaven. He also said “Too much of the Word and you will dry up, too much of the Spirit and you will blow up, a balance of both and you will grow up.” We were talking about how Calvary had more teaching then exercise in moving in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

    “The code” mentioned by Larry is what allows for abuse and indifference to thrive and rot the Body of Christ from within. To just walk away and look the other way is not the answer and never could be…

    Ricky Bobby has been vilified because he choose to take a stand. And so have a host of others who would face up to abuse when they break “the code.”

    I broke the code and was invited to leave “and start my own church” if I was dissatisfied. I am not alone in that invitation. Even though I was there from the beginning and helped build that church.

    David Sloane

  57. David Sloane says:

    Others have the Larry Rule…

    “Russia blocked access to the internet sites of prominent Kremlin foes Alexei Navalny and Garry Kasparov on Thursday under a new law critics say is designed to silence dissent in President Vladimir Putin’s third term.

    The prosecutor general’s office ordered Russian internet providers to block Navalny’s blog, chess champion and Putin critic Kasparov’s internet newspaper and two other sites, and, state regulator Roskomnadzor said.

    The move was the latest evidence of what government opponents see as a crackdown on independent media and particularly the internet, a platform for dissenting views in a nation where state channels dominate the airwaves. editor Alexander Ryklin called it ‘monstrous’ and a ‘direct violation of all the principles of freedom of speech,’

    More at EFF,

    and in earlier stories at the The Huffington Post,

    and Deutsche Welle,

    which notes, ‘This year’s report by Reporters Without Borders on World Day against Cyber Censorship condemns Russia as one of the “Enemies of the Internet.” “Russia has adopted dangerous legislation governing the flow of news and information and freedom of expression online,” it concludes.'”

  58. Andrew says:


    The code seems to be a code within the code. If you break the first code you will be asked to leave and start your own CC church but are still under the umbrella of CC. However if you break the second code you will be asked to leave the affiliation and give up the name and dove logo. I guess this is similar to Mark Driscoll’s National and State borders. Sometimes you may not even know when you cross the national border until its too late and you are shot.

  59. Jtk says:

    There you go, Andrew.

    It’s a rough read…..
    if you don’t like cats!

    But check out its five star rating.

  60. Nonnie says:

    David, I believe that a lot of CC people feel shame over what Larry wrote in that book, just as Larry does. I sincerely hope that there are no longer people who buy into that belief within the CC movement.
    For example:
    ” In a situation where something in the church is so completely wrong that the sheep in the body are in spiritual danger, then say nothing to anybody, resign, and move on.”

    I know when I read that years ago, I thought it was completely wrong, but instead, I turned it around in my head and assumed that I was the one that was wrong. I know it sounds crazy now, but that is the reality of it.

    I will never fall for that kind of “teaching” again. Now saying all of that, I hold no ill will toward Larry. God bless him. He has repented of it and grown in grace, just as many of us have.

  61. Andrew says:

    Thanks Jtk! Normally don’t like cats but if they anything like Aslan in C.S. Lewis books I probably enjoy.

  62. Nonnie says:

    Andrew, the book is excellent!

  63. Jtk says:

    Johnny Mac blames Mark Driscoll on Calvary Chapel, the hippies and the tongues talkers.

    Don’t miss the claim where the Reformed resurgence is the greatest revival since Jesus; I’d live to see the “math” on that.

  64. Jtk says:

    “Love to see.”

    Couldn’t make it past the mocking sarcasm at 21 minutes in.

    Using the sick to mocking healing just ain’t my thing.

  65. Steve Wright says:

    Ricky Bobby has been vilified because he choose to take a stand.
    Words can’t describe how inane that sentence is. David you REALLY need a history lesson but I know that’s the last thing Michael wants discussed right now here.

  66. Andrew says:

    John Mac isn’t mocking God healing…Quite the contrary. He is mocking the charlatans that claim to have the “gift of healing” where no one gets healed in their church.

  67. Andrew says:

    Words can’t describe how inane that sentence is. David you REALLY need a history lesson but I know that’s the last thing Michael wants discussed right now here.

    Well Steve since you brought it up I would say you are the one that needs a history lesson. Obviously you must not believe the abuse he received growing up or the abuse of his brothers. And you also must be in denial of the lawsuit of his step father took against him when exposing the abuse. Steve, I believe right now you are practicing the “no-talk” rule to a very high degree and I am hoping this article will help you see that.

  68. Andrew says:

    Oh and I forgot Steve the searing public rebuke of Chuck Smith himself from the Costa Mesa pulpit. Old news maybe…? but lets never forget how this was handled unless we go back to the “no-talk” rule again.

  69. Larry says:

    About 20 years ago I joined a nondenominational church. Roughly a year or two into my time there the pastor announced one Sunday morning that small groups would be suspended that week for a teaching on “evil reports” and attendance was mandatory. The teaching sounded very similar to the “no talk rule,” although I didn’t know it at the time. Soon thereafter the leadership of the church visited the Toronto Airport and Brownsville “revivals” and brought back the most bizarre aspects of these events. When the pastor declared that anyone who questioned these strange occurrences was in danger of going to hell, I decided it was time to get out. It wasn’t until some years after I left that I realized I’d been in a very controlling fellowship.

    By the way, that church no longer exists. The last I heard the pastor and his wife had moved 50 miles away and were running a private school.

  70. Bob Sweat says:

    Just listened to the 43 minutes of Johnny Mac. I found it very interesting that he criticized those who claim to have all the knowledge of Scripture, while at the same time claiming he has the correct view. Typical!

  71. Steve B says:

    David @ 56 “the code”

    This was invented by satan. It is a subtle form of idolatry, preservation of brand, image & character. The code can become more important than Jesus Christ Himself. No man can serve two masters, and many serve ‘the code’ over Christ.

    The system must be maintained, even if it requires permanent apostasy to achieve. Abuse victims, kicking people when they are down, authoritarianism, these are all symptoms of the larger problem which is a ‘sandy foundation’ based on things like ‘the code’.

    Luckily for the church body, we don’t have to “join a system” to serve the Living God. We can assemble with Christians without having to say “I am of Spurgeon, I am of Luther, I am of Darby”, etc. We do not have to adopt their corruption, we can keep our eyes focused on Christ, and follow Him as our Commanding Officer over the local “pastor”.

    The Word trumps all. God certainly has spiritual leaders today…but we first have to examine fruit to see if our local leader is even following the same God as us. It could very well be that they follow a “different jesus” that they have created in their own image.

  72. Andrew says:

    Amen Steve B! Just a couple observations regarding your post. Nothing major but I am sensitive to it:

    Christ certainly commands but I am hesitant to relate to Him as a “commanding officer” because that term has way too much baggage for me. First, Christ is not just an officer but He is the Lord of all. Second, Christ has presented himself to us in his first coming as a loving shepherd and a brother and not as a militant “commanding officer”. And third, if I were to think of Christ being the “commanding officer” of my local pastor than that would imply that my local pastor is the “commanding officer” over me in a chain of command type of way. None of that is true however. I would reconsider rephrasing ” follow Him as our Commanding Officer over the local “pastor”.” to “follow Him as our shepherd including the local pastor”. The pastor and the congregation are all in this together and Christ set the example not as one of a “commanding officer” but rather as one of a shepherd caring and leading the flock. I am not sure if you are a pastor or not but this is just some food for thought.

  73. Protestantism in the internet era is heavenly; everyone is a bishop and gets to come to the church counsels, heretics are declared daily, creeds rewritten at will, canons get listed quicker than want add personals are revised. Great view from the tower.

    Babel Dread

  74. Mark says:

    Michael, you “conveniently” left off a key closing to the section on Gossip which must be reprinted:

    If the sheep in the body are in spiritual danger, then say nothing to anybody, resign, and move on. (ADDED MATERIAL FOLLOWS) If the church is a Calvary Chapel affiliate, then take your concerns and share them privately with Pastor Chuck or with Oden Fong, then drop it; leave it alone. Let them handle it. Trust God. He’ll correct the situation.

    So Calvary set up a mechanism to deal with Pastoral abuse. Tell Chuck and Oden about it- and let them handle it. That is a key point. Your reprint makes it sound like when serious abuse happens, you leave the church in danger. That is not the CC way. I hope it was not your intent, Michael, to deliberately leave this section off.

    Now- we can argue all day about whether Chuck Smith and Oden Fong properly dealt with the situation- but at least CC encouraged the whistleblower to report it.

  75. Michael says:


    It’s also the complete antithesis of wanting everything to be dealt with at the local church level, to say nothing about the fact that it’s completely unbiblical.

    This document and the thinking behind it is indefensible.

  76. Andrew says:

    Mark, Thanks for the added commentary. Chuck certainly didn’t handle it well and towards the end of his life seemed to take a 180 degree turn about that “none of it was his problem”. So you can’t have it both ways. On one hand saying there is a mechanism to deal with abuse and than on the other hand, that mechanism saying there is no mechanism to handle abuse. This reminds me of Malaysian flight 370 that no one can seem to find. Where is the mechanism if there is a flat out denial that there is a mechanism?

  77. RiBo says:

    “Now- we can argue all day about whether Chuck Smith and Oden Fong properly dealt with the situation- but at least CC encouraged the whistleblower to report it.”

    You are stating that Chuck did have issues reported to him and that he did do something.

    Chuck Smith told me to MY FACE that he never did such a thing.

    One of you is a liar.

  78. RiBo says:

    I emailed Steve Wright, Dave Rolph, Michael Newnham and Shaun Sells the details I’ve uncovered about both the Rob McCoy situation and the Brian Brodersen situation.

    They are all pastors. Steve, Dave and Shaun are Calvary Chapel pastors.

    I asked for advice and help in sorting this one out.

    All of them claim to be concerned about the church and the abused etc. All seem to defend the Calvary Chapel institution (except Michael). Well, they are all directly involved in these matters now. I am not a pastor, I am not a Calvary Chapel Associate/Affiliate and I with the McCoy situation, I honestly don’t know what to do. The Brian Brodersen situation appears more cut and dry.

  79. RiBo,
    Very cool how you have given the pastors here an opportunity to love and serve God and His people.

    I will patiently and prayerfully think of you all as you navigate this.

    May God be glorified.

  80. I wonder what the 3 pastors can do other than forward the email to McCoy and Brodersen?

  81. Andrew says:


    A few things they can do if it warrants it.

    1. If it is serious enough to warrant a police report or investigation they should get those authorities involved. RiBo may have done that already but coming from him might not carry the weight of respect that is due and he may not live in the state where he knows a crime or wrong doing was done. I’m only guessing here.

    2. If the concern is serious enough they can make it public to warn the flock and the general public at large. Again, RiBo may do this at some point but he has already gotten sued once and that case is still tied up in court so it may be a difficult thing for him to do.

    3. If there is a victim in this story, maybe he/she needs some counseling or help, ect.. and the pastors can reach out to this individual to get their story. Again RiBo may not be in a position to do that. But he has helped to at least arrange for a pastor’s meeting before with Bob Caldwell in another situation. Possible this is the kind of assistance that is needed.

  82. Andrew – how can you do anything without conferring with the accused.

    If a co worker at your office received a similar email about you, which of your 3 suggestions would you want him to do BEFORE speaking with you.

  83. Andrew says:

    I don’t even know what is in the mail. I am only giving potential scenarios of what a CC pastor could POTENTIALLY do. It all depends on what is in the email.

  84. Andrew says:

    If I see a guy raping a young lady, I don’t stop to get his side of the story. I call the police. That is just one example.

  85. No, the rape is something YOU are seeing – the email is just an accussation made by a 3rd party.

    Let’s try this – Andrew, someone just came in my office and said they heard from another person that you slapped your wife this morning. I have no idea if it is true, which action should i take
    1.) forward the email to you and say “what’s up with this?”
    2.) call the cops?

    Let me know.

  86. Michael says:

    RiBo is handling this matter responsibly and well behind the scenes.

  87. his #78 may have broken the pattern of responsibly and behind the scenes. 🙂

    he was just tossing out red meat.

  88. Andrew says:

    Like I said, I don’t know what is in the email. It could have an imbedded illegally obtained pornographic video that someone secretly taped of their dad with a much younger women than their mom in a hotel room.

    Maybe this person is also accusing their Dad (running for elected office) of molesting them when they were little but is afraid to make it public. This lady presented this illegal video so that someone would hopefully believe her but at the same time doesn’t want her name known all over creation. What would you do?

    1.) Forward the email to the man running for office.
    2.) call the cops?
    3.) Help the poor girl?

  89. Andrew, you avoided my question to you in my #85 – if it was you, what should I do?

  90. Andrew says:

    MLD, It is impossible to answer your question. I don’t know the facts surrounding any of it. It may be appropriate to forward it to the accused and it may not be. This is my point that it is situation-ally determined. If there is a history of a lot of abuse and the accused has already been confronted and the story is very credible it may be more appropriate to bypass the accused. It all depends.

  91. RiBo says:

    I just want advice from the pastors. I am extending an olive branch to them and asking them for their input. They are under no obligation to respond and they don’t have to report anything (they aren’t required to). I do think they should try and help as they are part of the Association and they are fellow pastors of these guys and they also have critiqued me for being too anti-CC and too antagonistic (which there is some truth to that). I wasn’t prepared for what has happened in one of the situations. It affected me. It actually rekindled some faith and I felt something I haven’t felt in quite awhile.

  92. “I wasn’t prepared for what has happened in one of the situations. It affected me. It actually rekindled some faith and I felt something I haven’t felt in quite awhile.”


    standing with you, RiBo

  93. RiBo says:

    That’s all I’m going to say until I finish my due diligence and consider the victims in this scenario and their thoughts and concerns as well. I won’t tie up the blog here and get in a tit for tat back and forth, I just wanted to clarify. I want so much to for the victims to be validated in CC and for there to be change that when it doesn’t seem to come I want to force it or nuke the whole thing. Something happened in one of these situations that I didn’t expect and I wasn’t prepared for and it has affected me and caused me to reconsider some things. I don’t want to be viewed as a serial antagonist and I want to help the issues become a reality and I might be wrong about how I’ve approached some things in the past out of frustration and deep disappointment.

  94. Andrew, You are missing the point – I was addressing you. If I received an email about YOU slapping your wife, do I consult you first or just turn it over to the cops?

  95. Andrew says:

    MLD, I’m not giving you advice what you should do, lest you use it in a real non hypothetical situation. First, we never met and you don’t know who I am. Second, you don’t have my email. But to entertain your silly question I encourage you to do what you feel is right.

  96. Well, I know what is right, it is you I am trying to persuade to think rightly also. 🙂

    Ylou don’t just call the cops because someone tells you something in an email. That is why I said up at #80

    I wonder what the 3 pastors can do other than forward the email to McCoy and Brodersen?

  97. Andrew says:


    You probably know more than I do in the above situation. This is why I can not comment. I know that contacting the accused isn’t always appropriate.

  98. Kevin H says:


    I obviously do not know the details of the situations you’re working through right now, but from the little that has been shared here, it is at least encouraging to hear of your current approach.

  99. ” I know that contacting the accused isn’t always appropriate.”

    If I was given information 3rd hand, I cannot imagine when it wouldn’t be appropriate.

  100. I only know what I read at the other blog – the fix is in and McCoy has bought off the cops to get the investigation covered up..At least that was an accusation that was allowed to be posted.

  101. and it may be true – I don’t know.

  102. Steve Wright says:


    Received the email and intend to respond. Been very busy today and will stay busy for awhile longer.

  103. Steve B says:

    Andrew @ 72

    I see your point on the commanding officer analogy. I would revise to say that we are to submit to the leadership God places over us, per the scriptures, as long as said leadership does not contradict the Word of God (which is final authority).

    If your particular organization is employing ‘the code’ or other extra-biblical fantasies, I would suggest taking what they say with a grain of salt.

  104. erunner says:

    RiBo @ 93 “Something happened in one of these situations that I didn’t expect and I wasn’t prepared for and it has affected me and caused me to reconsider some things. I don’t want to be viewed as a serial antagonist and I want to help the issues become a reality and I might be wrong about how I’ve approached some things in the past out of frustration and deep disappointment.”

    I hope this could be a turning point for you RiBo. I’ll be reading and hoping this is a good thing. Time will tell.

  105. Steve @ 65
    I was thinking about the abuse that Ricky Bobby went through as related by him on his own blog. And #57 brought that out in his post.

    I don’t see anything inane about the sentence, unless you believe that Ricky Bobby fabricated his own experience that I am referring to.

    I am open to correction. Your statement was strong…so you must be privy to some knowledge that I don’t have. Again, I only know what I read on Ricky’s blog.

    You used a word, “inane,” that I hope you can back up with fact pastor Steve.

  106. Steve Wright says:

    David, I can be reached at pastorsteve (at) calvaryle (dot) org

    (Obviously you use he proper symbols for the at/dot)

    I just wrote a civil, and I hope, helpful, email to RiBo in reply to his request. It is not my intention to repeat 4+ years of PhxP history when all of us desire and seem to be moving forward.


  107. brian says:

    RB life tends to do that, throw us a few curve balls. Take this for what it is worth, I am a heretic, maybe even an apostate, but I am still somewhat human. I wish you the best, I pray this works out for you. Pastor Wright thanks for sending an email to RB. Michael thanks for being a pastor and friend. MLD thanks for being a guy that kicks clowns like me in the butt once in a while and makes us thing. Actually thanks to all this community, you keep me going on a regular basis. Above all Thank you Jesus for putting up with us / me.

  108. brian says:

    thing = think sorry

  109. Mark says:

    I’d recommend caution when dealing with RiBo. He’s pulled the “I’ve changed ” routine too many times to keep count. I hope this time it’s sincere. The fact that he announced on this blog what he’s working on behind the scenes won’t keep it behind the scenes much longer

  110. erunner says:

    No comments allowed on Open Blogging?? 🙂

  111. Michael says:

    I fixed it.

  112. RiBo says:

    Mark said, “I’d recommend caution when dealing with RiBo. He’s pulled the “I’ve changed ” routine too many times to keep count. I hope this time it’s sincere. The fact that he announced on this blog what he’s working on behind the scenes won’t keep it behind the scenes much longer”

    You misunderstand. I don’t claim to have “changed”…I’m still the same person. You are imposing some weird transformation gospel dynamic on me. I am not claiming I’ve “changed”…just considering changing my approach in some areas.

  113. RiBo says:

    I would recommend caution in dealing with anyone, and I’m being warned to exercise caution with CC pastors…but I’m willing to give it another shot b/c I care more about the Macro-Cause than individual beefs with personalities.

  114. If you have the goods on these people, I don’t recommend caution – I say go all out scorched earth on them.

    If McCoy has already interfered with a police investigation as suggested over at the other blog,, then by all means you have no other duty than to go with the victim to the DA.

  115. Steve Wright says:

    I want to express publicly here my appreciation and thanks to RiBo for removing the blog article about me from his website.

    That means a lot to me. Thank you, RiBo.

  116. brian says:

    Pastor Wright I hope all is well, I had a long diatribe but decided to delete it. I hope you have a nice Lord’s Day. RB take care of yourself.

  117. Jeff Chalmers says:

    Mark Driscoll should be hammered for “plagiarism”… In fact, his Church should fire him, for both the plagiarism AND the scam to get the book on the NYT best seller list. I am a Engineering Professor at a major University and have convicted students of plagiarism for less than what I have seen MD do, and I have seen a Professor almost fired for less plagiarism than less than MD did!! MD behavior is premeditated.. this was not an “accident”

  118. daniel says:

    I knew a pastor Larry Taylor of Calvary Chapel in Colorado Springs in the early 80’s. L was a volunteer in the offices: preparing bulletins,sweeping…whatever to help out..Once I”moved” the pastors chair to clean-up and was told by the secretary, “oh, no,don’t touch the pastors chair. he “prays” in that..This pastor also had a NO gossip rule..I watched often as he and this secretary walked arm and arm out to lunch…A week or so later later he “announced” to the congregation that he never loved his wife(nor the kids??)and was getting a divorce! His 12 yr. old comitted suicide, his wife was broken and the church scattered..Guess who he then married!? Why his secretary..Shhhh, don’t TELL anyone..

  119. Michael says:


    I would also have you know that Larry Taylor was crushed by grief and the weight of his sin, repented, and renounced the CC way…

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