Things I Think

You may also like...

163 Responses

  1. onlybygrace says:

    Michael – what kind of changes has BB made to CCCM that has these people up in arms?

  2. onlybygrace says:

    By the way … while I’m brand spankin’ new to posting here, I have been lurking in the background, reading your blog for many months. I’m a former CCCM-er of 30+ years… Thank you for your blog! It is both informative and a breath of fresh air! Blessings to you, brother. 🙂

  3. Michael says:

    He changed some staff, he changed the worship, and he is “ecumenical” in the sense that he will fellowship and learn from the whole Body of Christ while maintaining pretty standard CC theology.
    He has spruced the place up and there is a different attitude toward many things.
    He does not take a hard line on the “Distinctives”.
    He has a network of friends and associates that skew young and that in itself can feel like a threat to men who are used to doing things their way.

  4. Michael says:


    Thank you for the kind words…I’ll save them, because I’m probably going to need them again. 🙂

  5. Charles Barrington says:

    What I find funny is that if Brian is senior pastor, why is he always in New York or England or San Francisco? Never seen a senior pastor with that large of congregation travel that much for such a long time.

  6. Kevin H says:

    The whole Driscoll/Mars Hills and CCCM/Smith-Brodersen church/family fiascoes leaves me with such a strong mix of feelings of sadness, anger, disappointment, and frustration. These things are just such a blight on the Church.

    Michael, in your opinion, why did Chuck Smith leave without setting the record more firmly and unambiguously as to what he wanted? Why did he allow different factions, both in his family and the church, to apparently believe quite different things about his wishes? It would seem this is the case unless one or more sides is just blatantly lying about mostly everything. Why would he allow Brian to continue pastoring the church, yet also have these meetings with his brother in which case he’s telling him things like he wants him to create an “explosion”, whatever that’s supposed to mean? It would seem Chuck had to have known there would be turmoil after he was gone.

  7. Ps40 says:

    Rare is the fallen minister scenario that ends in a full restoration to the Body of Christ. Rare is the saint who can differentiate between the local church restoration and the restoration to the Body of Christ. (IMO) I have come to believe that the greatest evidence of genuine restoration–a real work of the Spirit–is the Fallen’s ability to reconcile with the WHOLE Body. (which would include the internet Body) Is there humility towards saints who are not their same “brand”? Is there humility towards their accusers? Is there a sense of genuine grief about the pain–unhealed injuries–they have inflicted upon those they were in charge of leading/protecting? Is there a genuine attempt made to understand why these injuries would warrant corrective actions? Has he discerned that this is the most loving thing His “Lord” could possibly do for him?
    Or is there just a general defensiveness and a deep drive to resume some sort of power-position?
    As long as MD refuses the long and arduous path of being reconciled to the Body–the whole Body–he will remain toxic to everyone who comes in contact with him.
    God have mercy on his wife and children. God have mercy.
    This is really something to grieve.

  8. Ps40 says:

    I feel redundant right now. But often wonder if my church family will EVER get this. 🙁

  9. Michael says:


    Well said…you should write a longer piece about this…for us. 🙂

  10. 7. I’ve been asked what I think about the Ebola crisis. I’d like to answer intelligently, but…

    Why is this so hard to answer? I am against it! We should do whatever it takes to keep it out of the USA. We cannot help the world if we are stuck in a critical care mess here.

  11. Michael says:


    I believe Chuck was clear. If he wanted Brian gone, Brian would be gone.
    Smith was also known to tell two sides in a conflict what they wanted to hear and then let them fight it out while he did whatever he wanted to do.
    Now, I don’t doubt that he was not in line with much of Brian’s thinking on many things and their relationship was stressed…but Chuck had the holding hand.

  12. Laura Scott says:

    Charles, in CC life, that’s not so surprising. Skip Heitzig left his congregation hanging for six months at one go. I should know; I attended during that time.

    He came back one weekend and reintroduced himself as the senior pastor and continued on as if nothing had happened. Oh, well.

  13. Michael says:


    CCCM has missionaries and schools all over the world…and Brian’s heart has always been with missions.

  14. Michael says:


    I tend to agree with you.
    It all reminds me of the stories we read about the Black Death in the Middle Ages…

  15. Kevin H says:

    Thanks, Michael. One would think it would have been much better for him to try to quell a lot of the conflict before he was gone rather than allow it to fester (and maybe even contribute to it), knowing that it would only flare up even more once he was gone and would harm his family and the church.

  16. Michael,
    We had 2 ladies that traveled to west Africa this month and just returned on Friday. They had gone with a larger group from anther LCMS church in the area.

    The other church told all the returnees – including their pastor to stay away from the church and school for 21 days. So as congregational president of my church I called the 2 ladies and told them the same thing – and told the church.

    And they weren’t even in the infected areas – but why take chances?

  17. Xenia says:

    Here’s the problem which I think should be obvious to all. These churches were started by the founding pastors. No one appointed them, they, in an entrepreneurial manner, started up their own Popsicle stands and no matter how much they tried (and I believe sincerely tried) to give all the credit to God, in their hearts they felt the success was due to them. They are the ones with the “good teaching,” in wisdom, the vision, etc. This can’t help but have a deleterious effect on their egos no matter how sincere they try to be in giving the glory to God. We’ve talked about this here before. “I started this church, I am the founding pastor, it’s all of me” no matter how sincerely they want to think otherwise. If I were an evangelical (will never happen) I would never attend a church that was started by one man who had a vision, etc. He thinks he owns the place.

  18. Michael says:


    Well said and wise.

  19. Michael says:


    That was probably wise as well…

  20. Michael – this way I don’t have to investigate who had contact with who at the church or school. We can’t afford to lose the offerings or tuitions. 😉

  21. Steve Wright says:

    Xenia, whom I love dearly as my sister in the Lord, has had some pretty rough things to say about Chuck and CCCM the last couple days – but in areas not related to the legitimate criticism. In my opinion, there is a cause and effect argument being put forth that is not accurate

    So let me just say, I disagree with her, and despite the problems in the aftermath of his death, and the imperfect vessel that Chuck certainly was on earth, I believe there can be no serious claim made that God did not use both Chuck, and the Calvary Chapel movement for great purposes for His glory in a multi-generational way that continues to bear much fruit today throughout the world.

  22. Kevin H says:

    Steve, while I do find some value in the things Xenia has been stating, I do agree with you that God used Chuck and CC and still uses CC today. While God has only broken vessels with which to work here on earth, I do believe Chuck was faithful in preaching the Word and in his accepting of the hippies back in the early days. I just wish Chuck would have done more to quell the divides that have seemingly been building for many years and now are coming more to the fore.

    In some ways, it’s like playing a good game but then missing an extra point at the end that costs you the game. 😉 (I know it’s not the perfect analogy, but I couldn’t pass on the chance to use it this week. 🙂 )

  23. Anne says:

    According to the bible, God also used the Hittites, Judas Iscariot etc. Being used by God should not bring extra glory or honor to the one being used. Nor does it give pastors and/or teachers of the gospel a pass for poor choices or behaviour. As I know you agree, Steve.

    If I ever reach a place again where I can get my legs to walk me into a church, it will be EO or Anglican. With eyes wide open to their particular flaws and idiosyncrasies. But I am so so done with celebrity, lone ranger, “God told me” commercialized American fundyvangilism. The only reasons I keep my ear to this blog is because I have dear ones still dealing with the whole dang mess. And my great fondness for Michael and those I’ve met on the PP trail the last 6-7 years.

  24. papiaslogia says:

    So sad about MD resigning from MH versus going through a restoration plan. Since he quit, he should not be getting a severance package from the church – no matter who he is.

    One can only surmise the conversation that took place in the Driscoll household when informed of the plans to place him under restoration, perhaps something along the lines of, “You want to buy me out? No, I buy you out, you don’t buy me out.” 🙁

  25. Steve Wright says:

    Not only do I agree, Anne, I never said otherwise. The comparison to Hittites and Judas is duly noted.

  26. Jean says:

    It’s clear from the stories regarding Chuck Smith and CCCM, and Driscoll and MH, why Christians should never confuse the church with the kingdom of God or (for those who adhere to a 2-kingdoms doctrine) the church with the kingdom on the right (i.e., Christ’s spiritual realm). Luther was astute to recognize this truth, which is as true today as it was 500 years ago.

  27. Steve Wright says:

    papiaslogia, proving the truism that every situation in life can be connected to a Godfather quote. 🙂

  28. Captain Kevin says:

    Anne, it is nice to see your ear today! 😉

  29. papiaslogia says:

    Steve – I was wondering if anyone would catch that. 🙂

  30. Xenia says:

    I am on a mobile device and lack the patience to type out a full response but I think it is a mistake to blame these situations (Driscoll, the Smith family debacle, SGM, Skip H., etc.) on character flaws of the main players. All of these stories have come about because of evangelical ecclesiology which is the root of all these problems.

  31. papiaslogia says:

    There is much truth to Xenia’s comments @ 17.

    They may not be true in every case, and may be the exceptions in fact, but its those exceptions that are the most glaring and get the most attention.

    In photography, its a known fact that when you look at a photograph your eye is drawn to the brightest object in the picture.

  32. Jean – you are doing very well. In fact much of the church is actually Left Hand Kingdom stuff.

  33. Xenia said ” All of these stories have come about because of evangelical ecclesiology which is the root of all these problems.”

    Which is similar to my comment the other day – “It’s the theology stupid!”

  34. Captain Kevin says:

    #10 Michael, does my “friendship” with you on Facebook cancel out the friendship we had prior to that? Please say it isn’t so.

  35. Xenia says:

    To simplify my thoughts: the evangelical “great man” style of ecclesiology *can* bring out the worst in *some* people. These are the people we talk about here every day.

  36. Charles Barrington says:

    So does Christ still love his bride even if it’s broken and divided? Or does He look for another bride that can love Him unconditionally without any thing to distract her from Him?

  37. fyi says:

    Xenia, if you will be honest, you also must admit that this ecclesiology can bring out the best in some as well. It seems out of character for you to comment as you have today. Judgmental, even condemning. As a pastor who did pioneer a work, who risked everything to follow the calling of God, being where I am for nearly 20 years has not fed my ego at all; in fact, I am continually being humbled by the privilege and honor of serving our Jesus. It’s unfair for you or anyone else to invalidate the calling, the enormous fruit of the ministry, and the (literally) thousands of lives changed by the Lord in the process. It is your right to worship where/how you desire; it is unkind to condemn others who disagree.

  38. Steve Wright says:

    Xenia would have had the hippies (adults mind you) be sent back to the homes and churches that failed them in the younger years. Interesting to compare to Jesus’ words to leave unbelieving family and home to follow Him. She says this even now, with the benefit of hindsight and what God has done the last 40+ years.

    Xenia would also have had the church I pastor be told that I am illegitimate and that only a stranger to the flock be allowed to receive the office after official appointment. And, that stranger by the way would have been chosen by that godly man of integrity in the video causing all the chaos this past weekend. Unless of course the question is moot if given the existence of our church at all is illegitimate.

    Xenia’s way, frankly, would have had a lot of people be damned who have been saved through the ministries of those horrible evangelical churches and their pastors, missionaries, and laymembers with a desire to share Christ with the lost. Because they sure weren’t being reached by the Orthodox, Catholics, or mainline denominations.

    At some point, God needs to be allowed to be God. He saves, using His servants, and He guides His sheep to their homes of worship.

    And at some point, people do hold personal responsibility for their sins, not blaming some system in order to puff up one’s own less than perfect tradition in the larger Body of Christ.

  39. Michael says:


    Not at all…we’ll always be friends.
    I just have noticed that some folks neglect the flesh and blood relationships they have around them in order to cultivate and pursue cyber ones.

  40. Michael says:

    Steve, fyi,

    Would you not agree that the entrepreneurial model is also more prone to corruption than other systems?
    Perhaps the corruption levels are the same, but the procedures to deal with the corruption are different…

  41. Hi Michael,
    Regarding the “Ebola Crisis”, here’s an excellent link to diffuse the fear, confusion and political & media hype…

  42. Anne
    Your #23…
    sending a big hug your way

  43. Michael says:

    Thanks, G…I tend to listen more to nurses as they are the front line…

  44. Anne says:

    I was one of those young, rebellious hippie kids who thought the square church had failed me which made me ripe for the picking. It boils down to the truth of the matter that new movements do not really believe in the power of the gospel & word to save on its own, but on the delivery, ‘new’ interpretation/visions and eagerness of the hearers (especially youth and young adults) to lap it up. I think many of us hippies/addicts etc were rebelling more against the hypocrisy of our parents, govt, and the most common rebellion of that time of life – authority. Shiloh/CCCM was a real smooth bait & switch operation regarding the whole authority thing and has time has shown over and over, not to be outdone on the hypocrisy either.

  45. Captain Kevin says:

    Fyi and Steve, with all due respect, I think Xenia ‘s emphasis on the words CAN and SOME render her comments less harsh and judgmental than you are attributing to them.

  46. Steve Wright says:

    Michael, corruption depends on who is corrupt. So yes, maybe more prone to pastoral corruption, but less prone to other forms. Once more, the Catholic mess shows us that.

    Why is it that the average term at a church for most pastors is only a handful of years. Are all these guys just bouncing around for their own,selfish purposes, or are they being driven off by hostile, demanding Boards. Are they being burned out so they just quit?

    Rather than every 5-7 years be told “here is your new pastor” – Is it healthier for the people of God to have one man with them for 20-30+ years, through the different stages and trials of life (good and bad). Births, deaths, marriages, illnesses.

    That’s usually the case in most CCs. A man pours his heart into the people and the place and it is a life commitment. All the more if the man planted the church and was the pastor from day one. God still is the one Who builds His church.

    I served in a lot of ministries at multiple churches and was on my way to a new adventure in the chaplaincy when I accepted the Senior Pastor position at CC Elsinore that was offered to me by the leadership of CC Elsinore and confirmed by the members of CC Elsinore. I accepted it, with the unstated but heartfelt commitment that I was now parking myself and my family here for the next 20+ years (unless the Lord chose to do something very unexpected which He always has the right to do). That the next 20+ years of my life would be devoted to these people that God brings here. And as the Chief Shepherd He has and continues to bring new people who repeatedly praise Him for guiding them to their new home here.

    Now, I did not get that pastoral mindset of commitment to one place from the greater church at large, but rather from my roots in CC. And likewise, when it is my time to move on, I am not about to just make a call to the CCA and ask them to “send us a new pastor” (as Xenia says is the only proper way). I will make no apologies in having a large say in who the next Senior Pastor might be, and in fact will make sure that we have certain protections in place so that whoever that man might be, he will be hindered from easily destroying the church of God’s people. I will then most definitely step aside and not seek control from the sidelines, but (assuming I am vertical) my love for the people will compel me to help them have the best possible pastor in my retirement. Not power, control or any such negative thing.

  47. Jean says:

    “All of these stories have come about because of evangelical ecclesiology which is the root of all these problems.”

    I agree that ecclesiology is a major part of the problem facing many churches today. But another important part of the problem is the theology of many churches:

    Who is the man at the pulpit teaching his members to follow, explicitly or implicitly?

    Where is the man at the pulpit leading his members?

    What is the local church and the Christian life all about?

    I wish I could say I’ve found a church, movement or denomination which has it all right (as if I was qualified to judge), but I haven’t. However, Christ didn’t go for perfection when he picked Peter and the other disciples to establish his church and neither should we. Perhaps that’s why He boiled the commandments down to: love of God and love of neighbor, something we all can understand (though putting them into practice all the time is another matter).

  48. Steve Wright says:

    Anne – we had a newcomer dinner a week ago, and I don’t know that anyone there was under 30. There were many people who came and in talking to most of them I found very few with even a casual history with other Calvary Chapels and several that just assume CC is the name of our church with no clue of any affiliations or “movements”

    What I did find were a lot of stable adults from all walks of life blessed to have found a church home – mostly after their prior churches failed them in some way

    Now, I was not part of the hippy movement or that chapter in Calvary’s history. So if you want to conclude as you have above, who am I to argue with you. The bait and switch, the ripe for the picking commentary. Fine. I wasn’t there.

    What I do know is that God saved me through the power of His word and Spirit alone (no church or other Christians) and then, once saved, as I checked out a few local denominational churches that were rather disappointing for this new on-fire believer I “happened” to be led to Costa Mesa – led by an old guy in a suit in a nice sanctuary leading us in a hymn and the teaching of the word. And it was there in a couple of years that I went from not just being a new Christian (despite plenty of worldly accomplishment by that time – the “anti-hippy” if you will) but someone who would give his life to serve Christ no matter the financial, family and professional cost. And here I am now, 21 years later….

  49. “Rather than every 5-7 years be told “here is your new pastor” – Is it healthier for the people of God to have one man with them for 20-30+ years, through the different stages and trials of life (good and bad). Births, deaths, marriages, illnesses.”

    But then this makes it about the man and not the office. People in churches need to be taught that it is the man in the office that teaches them, administers the sacraments to them, hears their confession, offers counsel, marries and buries them and not the man himself. Even if they had a different guy every week, it should be satisfactory (not ideal perhaps)

    But people aren’t taught like that.

  50. fyi says:

    Michael, I do not think the entrepreneurial model (I don’t like your choice of words however) is MORE prone to abuse than other systems. I think history is squarely on my side of the argument here. I do think that your blog (and others) deal almost exclusively with this system because this is where we live. In fact, your church is the same model as mine is; the people call you pastor, choose of their own free will to attend and learn from you about Jesus, and grow in their faith and knowledge of Jesus. That is what we are called to do. They will keep coming as long as you are faithful to your calling and as long as they feel loved. The reason I don’t like the term you used is because most of us (by far the majority) have no profit motive in doing what we are called to do; when I said earlier I risked everything to come to a place I had never been, a place where I knew no one, even eating was a challenge for a long time. I had no salary, no retirement plan–just Jesus’ promises that He would care for my wife and I. I have poured out my very soul into these people and, like Steve, love them too much to allow a stranger who does not share God’s vision for our church to come in. I have spent years pouring into the man who will replace me (I am at the age where that could happen any moment) and I know the people here will be loved and taught well. In that order. When I leave, people will come to church the next Sunday (or Wednesday or Friday) and know exactly what to expect and know they are loved. What happens if I go off the rails? Simple, my by-laws allow for me to be removed by a majority vote of my (local) elders if I am spiritually or mentally disqualified. It is far better than some stranger being appointed by another stranger to pastor the people I love. For the record, as a CC pastor, I am embarrassed by the reported salary figures of some of my colleagues. I do not think it right for a pastor earn any salary above the median-level of those he serves.

  51. Xenia says:

    Bishop-appointed clergy can stay with a particular parish their entire life. I never talked about moving people around willy-nilly, I was talking about what to do when a pastor is incapacitated.

  52. Steve Wright says:

    Translation – Ritual churches can be led by a robot. 🙂

    But seriously, MLD – are you going to argue that it is more spiritual for a stranger to lead a funeral, lead a wedding, baptize your child, then it is someone who has been a friend for many years and walked through life with you.

    The office is held by a flesh and blood human being. No need for this false dichotomy you posit here.

  53. Steve Wright says:

    Bishop-appointed clergy can stay with a particular parish their entire life. I never talked about moving people around willy-nilly, I was talking about what to do when a pastor is incapacitated.
    I never said you did, Xenia. That was a reply to Michael. What you DID say though was clear, namely that Paul Smith should have picked a stranger to take over at Elsinore. That is how what you are preaching would demonstrate itself in the real world of ministry in a real church here in a real town.

  54. Steve Wright says:

    Amen fyi @50

  55. I won’t argue that it is more spiritual at all – I guess what I am saying is that it is not any less spiritual.

    Look, I know first hand from a couple of CCs I was a part of that the pastor never, and I mean never would announce that he was going to be out of town the next week – because even he knew that he was the draw and not the word of God and he knew attendance would dip.

  56. Xenia says:

    Steve’s 53

    There’s no reason to assume it would be a stranger. But even if it was a stranger, I would have confidence that our bishop, in his God-given roll as overseer of his flock, would send us the right person, based on his love for us as he models the love Christ has for the Church.

  57. Jean says:

    “I know first hand from a couple of CCs I was a part of that the pastor never, and I mean never would announce that he was going to be out of town the next week – because even he knew that he was the draw and not the word of God and he knew attendance would dip.”

    Why wouldn’t attendance drop? If you’ve come for the 35 minute message, who wants the substitute teacher?

    Hey, I know of a church with a super duper worship leader, and when his band is out of town attendance drops.

  58. Xenia says:

    “God-given roll.” Ha! Pass the butter!

  59. Steve Wright says:

    Yes, MLD, anyone can preach a funeral, preach the truth of the gospel, and say “Sorry for your loss” to the survivors as they read from an index card about this stranger that is being put into the ground.

    And yet, for some reason, most people would rather someone who loved their dearly departed be the officiant.

    As to your other comment – so that is two CCs you know of, right. Well, I can add one to the other side of the ledger (and maybe fyi or someone else will add also) that we always advise when going to be absent. So maybe you can drop that one as some big point in your arsenal 🙂 –

  60. SJ says:

    fyi and Steve in 37-38 thank you! This site is pretty even steven with the many perspectives.
    One note on fyi mentioning thousands, per the GL and CS clip the other day it is over a million that have been touched by Jesus in the CC movement.

    Steve, so you are in Elsinore. I fish out that way so I may have to pull a afternoon sesh at Diamond Valley to catch your morning on a Sunday.

  61. So many small Lutheran churches (and it is not limited to Lutheran) have no pastor of their own so they must share – but they don’t care, they just need someone to preach the word, administer the sacraments and be the voice of God to pronounce the forgiveness of sin.

    And they gladly take what they can get.

  62. Steve Wright says:

    SJ – we have four Sunday morning services…starting at 7:30, last one at 12:00 noon.

    Make sure you introduce yourself afterwards if you come some week! 🙂

  63. fyi says:

    SJ, my reference was just to the church I pastor. I am not in CA and we don’t have tens of thousands and certainly not millions. God bless you.

  64. Steve Wright says:

    MLD – I am aware of what you speak concerning the small town churches…given my Oklahoma family roots.

    Question though…why must there be a professional pastor? Why can’t you, like the dreaded evangelicals, raise up Lutheran pastors who are willing and able to work with their own hands and support themselves, while pastoring the flock?

    You make it sound like as long as Sunday morning is free, the people aren’t expecting much of the pastor’s time during the week.

  65. fyi says:

    MLD at 55: I, too, always let our church know when I am not going to be there and they know one of my staff pastors (who they know and loves and know loves them) will be teaching. Maybe I should be embarrassed that attendance doesn’t drop off? 🙂

  66. j2theperson says:

    I don’t know where you’re getting the idea that mainline churches run through pastors at a quick clip. My pastor has been at our church for many years.

  67. Xenia says:

    I think when some folks hear the word ‘bishop’ they think of some ornate medieval simoniac pedophile who sells indulgences to enrich himself. When I hear the word ‘bishop’ I think of our own beloved bishop in SF who visits us regularly and loves us.

  68. Steve,
    I guess we just can’t get enough of them through seminary to get them in a position to be bi vocational.

  69. Xenia says:

    To Steve’s 64

    Many EO priests, including my own, do have outside employment so as no to be a financial burden on the parish.

  70. Steve Wright says:

    I don’t know where you’re getting the idea that mainline churches run through pastors at a quick clip. My pastor has been at our church for many years.
    The average tenure is less than 4 years. And I did not just call out mainline churches on that score but I did make a comparison to CC.

    Glad you have an exception to the norm. I am sure your church is better for it – which was my only point in bringing that stat up

  71. Steve Wright says:

    I guess we just can’t get enough of them through seminary to get them in a position to be bi vocational.
    Nobody “got me” through seminary when I was working. You either have the commitment to do it, even with no promise of a paycheck on the other end….or you don’t.

  72. Steve Wright says:

    When I hear the word ‘bishop’
    When I hear the word, bishop, I think overseer, pastor, elder – as that is how the Bible uses the word…

    Have to run now, all. Nice chatting with you all

  73. SJ says:

    fyi 63 noted. Thought you were speaking on CC and evangelicals as a whole.

  74. LorenHaas says:

    Thank you for #41. My wife is a Critical Care Nurse and has been combating misinformation online for weeks. This will be very helpful. It is frustrating to watch educated people respond with fear instead of appropriate science.

  75. Steve #71 – but seminary was not a requirement of you being a pastor … paid or unpaid.

    Since a different event is happening in the Lutheran Divine Worship service, there is a different set of skill sets required.

  76. LorenHaas,
    Glad to be able to pass along a solid resource.


  77. Daniel says:

    @ Steve (#52), but here’s why I side entirely with MLD and Xenia on this issue. So I happen to attend (sadly)one of these churches that was started by a guy. You said that these type of “churches” are great because the guy will marry you, baptize you, and eulogize you. Seriously???? At my “church” no way “the guy” is doing any of that. He’s got 20-something underlings to do that kind of “menial” work. Sorry, you’re kidding yourself. The fact remains, this type of eccclesiology makes the “church” all about the person of the Sr. Pastor.

  78. fyi says:

    Daniel, you paint with too broad a brush. That may be true at your church so get another one. It is not true at my church nor is it true of LOTS of churches/pastors I know.

  79. Daniel, fyi beat me to it, and I appreciate you siding with me — but I have a question – why do you stay in a church like that if it is not for “the big guy” on stage?

    Is the coffee that good? 😉

  80. Xenia says:

    People remain at churches they don’t like for many reasons, often for the sake of family members.

  81. Steve Wright says:

    Daniel – you describe the issues of a megachurch, which was not my topic at all. There is a Lutheran church in Wisconsin which lists thousands of members. There is no way the one pastor is doing all the work there either….(unless it is one of those churches where membership inflates attendance by about 95% or so) 🙂

  82. PP Vet says:

    ” … the people in charge of the media are the people with the power.” True enough in an earthly, Marxian kind of way. True in the same way that “money is the answer to everything” is true, as stated in Ecclesiastes.

    However, the prayer war is the air war, and that is where real power resides.

    If you don’t believe that, no wonder you have no prayer life.

  83. Steve Wright says:

    but seminary was not a requirement of you being a pastor … paid or unpaid.
    Since a different event is happening in the Lutheran Divine Worship service, there is a different set of skill sets required.
    I was hoping to have some time to address that MLD – since I did “get” your seminary shot earlier in response to my first question.

    So connect these dots for me. You admit that in the small towns there is very little the Lutheran pastor needs to do, nor the people expect him to do. Yet, you also say that before your church will allow these things to be done, one has to go through a church-approved seminary at the cost of thousands and thousands of dollars and years of commitment. And of course, seminary can’t be pursued until an undergrad degree (also at Lutheran Univ. no doubt) is secured.

    Do you really think your lack of such a degree makes you ineligible to be a lay pastor in some podunk Oklahoma town that desperately needs a minister to (quote) “to preach the word, administer the sacraments and be the voice of God to pronounce the forgiveness of sin”…but is not big enough to afford to hire one?

    I doubt you would learn a whole lot in Lutheran seminary that you have not already studied. You are saying that man’s stamp of approval is required before God could ordain someone like you to fill a need amongst His Lutheran people. Better they go without then to be ministered to by you?

    Yeah, that is where we differ. But you miss the larger point of my question. Yeah, CC does not “require” seminary. However, a whole lot of us have made the effort to go anyway. But you Lutherans who require it, and have a great need, can’t find enough guys to go. Why aren’t laypeople with no demand for a paycheck going to seminary to become “eligible” to serve in the Lutheran church. Is it a calling, or just a job akin to dentistry?

    And CC does promote the idea of ministry education. My School of Ministry experience at CCCM was on par with most any seminary class I had for my MDiv years later – and I think the Psalms class I am teaching at the Bible College would hold its own to something similar at Concordia.

    It just seems if the truth is found in Lutheranism, there would be a lot more Lutherans getting equipped to minister it to the people.

    As a total aside, I did hear twice today paid commercials for Concordia’s Masters program…in coaching and sports administration though, not the gospel.

    Apparently it is the best such degree in the nation. Good for the Lutherans.

  84. Steve, oh, I could probably do the function – but am I qualified? I could be a CC lay pastor in some podunk Oklahoma town no problem – but as I said, a different event is taking place as I am sure you are aware..

    Surely you are not suggesting that what happens in CC is the same as what happens in a Lutheran church? (I am not suggesting good / bad – better / worse. Dave Rolf at lunch one time said I believe in magic.) But the differences are huge.

    Concordia Universities are liberal arts schools – a little broader than Bible schools.. We train people to be prepared to live out their vocation. We train people to be nurses, teachers the whole gambit. ( do you realize how many Lutheran schools there are i the system that need teachers?) Within Concordia, say at Irvine, is Christ College which is the theological wing. These are not to be confused with the seminaries.

    As an ex jock, you may be interested to know that the guy who does the coaching program is a buddy of mine at church and the new professor for the sports medicine program, who just came out from Kentucky, just joined our church yesterday after going through our 4 week program for Lutheran transferees.

    As to can we fill the slots – hey we have 6,400 churches – it’s not easy. there are guys in the midwest that are pastor to 3 churches.

  85. “So connect these dots for me. You admit that in the small towns there is very little the Lutheran pastor needs to do, nor the people expect him to do.”

    That wasn’t the point – there are certain things that only the pastor can do. You need that for a minimum.

  86. brian says:

    Um speaking of Ebola

  87. Em says:

    as to God using people, the question to ask is, for what purpose is He using them? If He is using them to punish His people (and He does this), they are going to be rewarded with punishment themselves… He’s even used an ass, faithful and innocent ass, on at least one occasion…
    FWIW, I think Chuck Smith was used of God to bring many of a confused, distrustful generation to the Truth (The One Who is “The Way, The Truth and The Life). Chuck’s service to Christ will be rewarded and his wood, hay and stubble projects will be burned up – hmmm, maybe here as well as in Eternity now – dunno
    reading down the thread here and only on #25, so my comment may be redundant

  88. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    Problem with Mars Hill disciplining Driscoll is that they are not the True Church and Institutional Churches that are 501 C 3 have no authority regarding Ekklesia matters!

  89. Jean says:

    #83 and #84,
    Having investigated seminary personally, I see two sides to the issue:

    1) On the one hand, if one is going to shepherd a congregation both in accordance with the tradition of the denomination and with theological fidelity, neither of which is an insignificant responsibility, one can easily argue that a graduate level education in the field is essential.

    2) On the other hand, it sometimes seems that denominations use ordination requirements like “union” requirements, to protect opportunities for the existing clergy. Especially because denominations are generally declining in number of churches, it serves the self interest of clergy to keep numbers in check.

    We could add to these issues the high cost of seminary, but that’s another issue entirely.

  90. Daniel says:

    Regarding comments 78, 79, 80….thank you Xenia, glad to see that someone here “gets it.” To fyi…..this story isn’t about me. Nice try on moving the goalposts. Xenia’s point stands: These “churches” where it’s all about the person of the Sr “pastor” are a simply wretched form of ecclesiology.

  91. Steve Wright says:

    Jean, excellent point about the “union” illustration. Job security indeed.

    MLD, you wrote “Steve, oh, I could probably do the function – but am I qualified? I could be a CC lay pastor in some podunk Oklahoma town no problem – but as I said, a different event is taking place as I am sure you are aware.”

    You see, I grant that your belief system is that a “different event” is taking place – my point still missed is you see “qualification” to come from that expensive degree and not from God. God won’t bless your ministry of the table unless your credentials are in order. You somehow get the “power” once you graduate, even though I imagine most of those graduates know far less about Lutheran theology and life experience than you do, MLD.

    The Lutherans in small towns actually have to go without the administration of the grace of the table, rather than have a faithful, skilled, educated Lutheran like MLD administer when the need arises because MLD has not paid thousands of dollars to the Lutheran higher education racket….

  92. Hmmm, I will need to think about this on the way home. Why would someone think it’s about the learning and the degree and not think it is about the training and the vetting of the call?

    I guess that is why like Xenia said, the independent guys can just go plant their flag and open their own popsicle stand.

    You never can tell, perhaps someday we too will get desperate enough and lower our standards back to a high school education. 😉

  93. If I was just handing out grape juice and crackers I would do it. Why not?

  94. Jean says:


    Steve, there’s a dark side in non-denomination churches pertaining to job security as well: sound theology, ecclesiology and the Gospel are often compromised in the quest to grow members and increase revenue (when those metrics become a litmus test). This is not a victimless problem either.

  95. Alex says:

    Actually Bob Caldwell at CC Boise is very accessible and very much hands-on with the folks there. So far, it’s been a very positive experience. He intentionally deemphasizes himself and really does seem like a guy who really wants to help people. He hasn’t tried to b.s me once, he answered questions directly, was transparent with the finances, has solid child protections, didn’t cop an attitude with me for asking etc.

    My wife actually likes him, too…and she has good antennas. It is changing both our opinions about Calvary Chapel. Now if more of the guys like FYI and Bob Caldwell etc could be the example to admire and be the peer pressure to emulate in CC and not the Bob Coy’s, Greg Laurie’s, Raul Ries’s and typical celebrity mega-pastor etc. that would be a good thing.

  96. OCDan says:

    Sorry to but in, but I seem to recall a some Nazarene and his 12 followers, inc. one guy who betrayed Him, that weren’t well educated by worldly or man’s standards. Heck the academics of that time even looked down on them as not be learned.

    It seems to me that much of this seminary need arises from several issues:

    -Clone pastors
    -Create a “union”-type org.
    -Gatekeeping, this is a biggie in academia, trust me I worked in graduate school libraries for 11 years and much of the higher-ups believed, but kept it to themselves (not all, but many)
    -Promote a certain belief system
    -Money making opportunity

    A large part of this whole problem, if I may, is that people want things done according to tradition, biases, belief system, etc. and pastors are looked at as leaders, rather than brothers in Christ. Furthermore, too many people just don’t read the bible for themselves or read it as much as they should, moi included. Esp. in this country, we want to be spoon fed, just look at all the churches, para-church groups, tapes, CDs, DVDs, bible translations, books, sermons, commentaries, speakers, conferences, etc. What has taken an almost infinite amount of communication by men and women, took about 1500 chapters of writing by the Creator of the universe. My point is that we just make this more complex than it is.

    Love God with everything you’ve got and love your neighbor as yourself. Sure, keeping that is a lot tougher than understanding it, but why do we need so much talk, etc. about it. Sometimes, it seems like we need that home Depot ad about more doing.

    Sorry for going on, but it just seems to me after 47 years alive and 21 years as a new creature, that we have interpreted the bible to death, so to speak, we need more action.

    I guess my feeling is that so much of what passes for Christianity in this country is more about me and/or the pewsitters than about God and my neighbor, which is why we have our dear host and many others have blogs and the commentariat pointing this issues out.

    In the end, does it really matter if the guy pastoring is a seminary grad, a Th.D., or McDonald’s manager, or a farmer? No! Does he preach the word, does he interpret the word correctly, is he humble, a servant, does he care about his neighbor (and their salvation).

    People, too often we overthink this and then we wonder why we get the pastors we get.

    Then again, just do what MLD always says, leave.

  97. Xenia says:

    Someone above commented that I didn’t sound like myself today, that I seem a little harsh and judgmental.

    I have probably been an evangelical longer than any of you folks and over my five decades in that camp, I have been part of many different churches. Every single church had pastor problems. Every single one of them, including:

    1. Congregational churches with deacon boards that ran the pastors ragged and caused them to bail after a few years, as Steve’s statistics demonstrate
    2. Moses-model pastors that had…. let’s say, difficult personalities that had to be forced out.
    3. And a whole assortment of pastors who were lazy, had crazy wives, you name it.

    In all these cases, the pastor had to go, whether it was his fault or not. Either the deacons couldn’t manipulate him or the congregation couldn’t stand him or he was ambitious to move to a more prestigious church- again, you name it. So the pastor left, almost *never* on good terms, almost *always* under a cloud of ill-will (not always his fault) and turmoil, intrigue, gossip and division in the church.

    Then comes the spectacle of finding the replacement, which in congregational churches means a ministerial version of American Idol. I was only directly involved one time; the rest of the time I was just a pewster observing the spectacle and trying to decide whose side I was on. Maybe ten times this has happened over the course of my time at assorted evangelical churches? It’s horrible. Every time one of these storms happens, people quit church and never attend again. My own mother is an example of this. She would rather never go to church at all than get embroiled in another of these dust-ups.

    I have never, in my 50 years as an evangelical, been part of a church that did not end up throwing out its pastor. Sometimes it was the pastor’s fault, sometimes not. No matter, it was still disruptive AND UNGODLY.

    So if I sound strident today, I have my reasons.

    On the other hand, in my 12 years and three parishes as an EO Christian, I have never seen anything like this happen. Nothing remotely like this. There are other kinds of problems but not this kind.

  98. Xenia says:

    I take it back, I just remembered one Baptist church in Ohio that I attended for about a year that kept its pastor for a good long while.

  99. Andrew says:

    Xenia, I think you nailed it on the head when you spoke of the evangelical ecclesiology being at the root of the problem. I also whole heartily agree with your comment at 17. I think many here have given you are hard time because they just can’t stomach the truth regarding this.

  100. OCDan – why would you trust someone as a teacher who only “reads the Bible for himself.” Talk about the potential for a whacko teacher – someone who never bounces ideas off another.

    A seminary education does not make you an academic – in fact an MDiv is barely a recognized degree in most settings and is really an entry level qualification. What is important again isn’t the ‘learnin’ , but the training, the development of thinking patterns and the vetting over a long period of time.

    Why people feel more comfortable with uneducated clergy is beyond me …

  101. You gotta admit, evangelicals are nuts. I would like to welcome back Mark Driscoll who was out speaking today … what you couldn’t go more than 2 days without him?

  102. Babylon's Dread says:

    Well there it is.

  103. filbertz says:

    You can’t believe everything you read or hear on the internet? Funny, Driscoll built much of his empire via the tool they now blame for taking him down. Selective hearing, selective application, selective evidence. Driscoll is now reframed as the victim. Wild.

    For the pastors at that conference to affirm Driscoll in that fashion should create fear within the members of their congregations.

    If Driscoll had the same sense of ‘family’ for his congregation as he did for his own, perhaps he would have asked for prayer for the Mars Hill family, too. Was the shepherd in it for the wool?

  104. Em says:

    things I’ve gleaned reading here lately…
    Traditions? Some glorify Christ – some smother Him in sanctimonies…
    Evangelicals? What exactly is an evangelical? What are the entry requirements to be one? As ham-handed and corrupted as they are accused of being, does anyone spread the Gospel out among the “unwashed” better than they do? I wish I were one… willing to be a foolish, one trick pony for Christ… He choses the foolish and the base, I’ve read…
    Lutherans have wonderful manners and questionable ethics – the ones I’ve known
    Evangelicals have awkward manners and ethics that are all over the map – the ones I’ve known
    Orthodox? never known one… or never knew that I knew one….
    G-man observed awhile back on another thread that one man can’t be both a good teacher and a good pastor, if I remember correctly… I think that makes sense just from the perspective of the number of hours in a day… perhaps it depends on how the duties are defined and, perhaps – sadly – we want to pay someone to do what we’re all supposed to be doing: ministering Christ, visiting the sick etc…
    Xenia makes the case that most of our churches look for personality boys to fill the pulpit… to fill the seats… to pay the bills… sad to say
    see, you’ve all given me food for thought – thinking, thinking, thinking…

  105. brian says:

    Well I am sorry for his family and him being put through the intimidation and threats. It is very typical in some religious circles to do this. The media circling a helicopter around his house. I dont like the American Media, you can’t get them to give a good story about what happened, offer him a chance to respond then move on. The type of rhetoric like say twitter, fake driscoll is extremely well done in my opinion and never comes close to crossing the line. Posting someone’s address online should be actionable in my opinion. My issue is that the same or similar tactics were used against his opponents when he was driving the bus full speed ahead. The hubris it takes to say you are now the victim and not admit you helped create a culture that tacitly condoned similar actions.

    This culture does not take these death threats seriously enough making a threat to physically hurt or kill someone online is illegal and can be a felony. These people should be tracked down and prosecuted.

  106. Em says:

    one last comment – superficial and biased – Driscoll stood up and declared for Christ and I don’t doubt that he meant it and intended to be an honest, non-churched, tell it like it is and cut through the religiosity. Didn’t he come on the scene in the midst of Seattle’s grunge wave? He wasn’t prepared to lead even tho he may have had the makings of a leader – like Chuck Smith, was he a man for a moment in time? did he not pipe some wandering souls onto the path that led them to Christ? dunno – may God rescue his faith and focus, his life

  107. victorious says:

    Xenia- Honestly your last post translates to me something like this whether you intended it or not.
    ” I AM the Senior Evangelical and my opinion of my greater experience trumps yours and corresponds with reality in a greater way than yours”. I would say this is out of character for you even though I know you to be a person of strong opinion.

    Do you enjoy the EO church because it is the best place for you or do you believe it is the superior place for everybody?

    Have I misread you? I am open to clarification and / or correction.


  108. Babylon's Dread says:

    I cannot even count the ways that the Gateway video troubles me. There were so many possibilities to navigate that moment. None of the were taken. All that I can say is that I understand a man who speaks up for his friend.

    The rest is … oh my … so sad.

  109. brian says:

    “All that I can say is that I understand a man who speaks up for his friend.” I was thinking the same thing, I tend to be like that when my friends got the boot out of church, I was always told it is a moral failing and I am hating my friends because I am standing up for them. I always found that rather strange.

  110. “G-man observed awhile back on another thread that one man can’t be both a good teacher and a good pastor, if I remember correctly…”

    I pretty much have relinquished that opinion.

    Any woman or man can be :: both :: a great teacher and great pastor if they have emotional intelligence and are committed to seeking to communicate with their listeners while, themselves, listening.

    It was never supposed to be a monologue. There still needs to be debate, questions, and honest admissions that the one up in front of others isn’t perfect or has arrived.

  111. Xenia says:


    In my post, I am talking about ecclesiology only, not any other aspect of Christian practice. And in my 50 years as an evangelical I was a personal witness to considerable strife and chaos caused by what I consider to be a faulty and unbiblical ecclesiology. If my strong opinons on this topic, which are based on five decades of experience and observation, make me sound unXenia-like and “superior,” then take this as a token of how seriously I view this problem.

    Usually here on the PPhx I express milder views of things than I really feel. I might feel 100 percent about a topic but post a milder 75% to keep from being too offensive and to keep the conversation going. But frankly, if people can’t see that defective ecclesiology is the root problem of the people we talk about here on this blog, all the was from the days of Skip H. thru SGM and Driscoll and now the troubles with the Smith family, then I am frankly dumbfounded.

  112. victorious says:

    BD. I get it when a man speaks up for his friend. But should not MD have deep friendships with those in the church that he labored with for 18 years? Is it not true that those that Driscoll should have had deep bonds with have deep wounds?

    That man at Gateway is not Driscolls friend. If so,he would have turned him away from his sins and been faithful to inflict the healing wounds in the name of Jesus .

    The whole show looked like a fraternity during rush week.

  113. Xenia says:

    In the cases I referred to in my #97 it might appear at first glance that the pastor-problems were dissimilar. But they all had one thing in common: each church was a law unto itself. Under the Moses-model churches it was the pastor who was the law and in the congregational churches it was the elected deacon/elder board but none of these churches had any authority over them, no “bishop” who could step in and set things aright.

  114. Xenia says:

    I’ll end for the night with two book recommendations:

    1. The Letters of St. Ignatius of Antioch
    2. Yertle the Turtle.

  115. victorious says:

    Good leadership is characterized by good and competent people. Good in terms of character and competent in terms of the development of their skills/abilities/ giftings.

    Good leaders can inherit flawed leadership models or structures and change or adjust them over time as necessary provided they have mentored and developed leaders of good character among their peers and the upcoming generation first.

    Bad leaders will mess up good systems and further empower bad systems.

    Focus on character first and then let those of good character fix or adjust the system or structure as necessary. Good leadership has an element of fluidity and adaptiveness to it.

  116. brian says:

    As a Christian of the evangelical corp one thing defines good leadership, raising and maintaining a constant revenue stream. Period. The rest was just white noise.

  117. “The whole show looked like a fraternity during rush week.” I agree. That was not what Mark Driscoll needed.

    Having said that, if what he claims about his family being harassed is true, especially as it pertains to his children, that makes me sick to my stomach. I don’t care what kind of pastor the man was, he and his family do not deserve having rocks hurled at them in their own backyard. What the hell is the matter with people?!!! I pray God’s mercy on his family, and upon the people who would do such things, especially if they claim to be part of the body of Christ.

  118. once upon a time says:

    I would like to apologies to Brian Brodersen and all of you for the strong statements I made against Brian in the thread about Paul speaking out. Though I strongly disagree with Brian being the pastor of CCCM and his strongarm style of leadership, I believe it is wrong to degrade ANYONE on the Internet and “cyberbullying” though easy to do, can have devastating consequences…

    So again, I do apologies and want to end it here and now!

  119. E says:

    I do pray for Marks children and wife, Lord Jesus. And pray you protect you these little ones from people who have intent to physically or verbally injure these children. I pray the gates of hell will be closed and that Godly sorrow and repentance will do its perfect in Mark and others. And ask that real Holy Spirit restoration will come forth into this man. Amen

  120. Nonnie says:

    Anyone who goes after or tries to hurt children, is evil. I don’t care what the father or mother did.

  121. j2theperson says:

    I agree that it’s wrong to threaten children or spouses because of what their relative did. At the same time, unless there’s actual evidence to the contrary, I will continue to assume that Mark Driscoll is grossly overstating the seriousness of the “threats” his family has received.

  122. Jim says:

    Love a good, long conversation about ecclesiology, devoid of Scriptural references.

    “I think this…, I think that…”

  123. So Jim, is that what you think? Do you think the Bible is the instruction book? You don’t think that the first generation leaders hashed some of this stuff out themselves and that tradition has brought it down intact?

    We already know from scriptural not everything Jesus said and did was written in the Bible – and many here have acknowledged that Paul, Peter and James obviously wrote more than their letters.

    So perhaps we look to the Fathers to see how they modeled ecclesiology … nah! never happen

  124. filbertz says:

    Jim, in reality, even with the attachment of ‘scripture’ to ones perspective, it is still an opinion and a choice about the model of ecclesiology that one makes. That is the nature of interpretation & reliance upon the hermeneutics of evangelicalism. The only outcome possible is a plurality of opinion including some in far orbit from center. If one subscribes to the evangelical mindset, one must anticipate far-ranging conclusions.

  125. papiaslogia says:

    Surprised that MD shows his face at a conference of pastors. I guess I shouldn’t be. He has no shame.

  126. victorious says:

    once upon a time – wanted to acknowledge and commend your apology.

    Blessings to you.

  127. Captain Kevin says:

    Once Upon,
    Thanks for stepping up to the plate!

  128. Mark says:

    Michael- I have remained silent up until now- but want to weigh in. As I’ve said numerous times before- the tens, if not hundreds of thousands who attend CCs around the world have no interest in these backroom political infights at CCCM. You report the facts like you are doing a great service for the CC attendee. The CC attendee could care less. They are interested in what is happening at their local CC- where they are being blessed with the teaching of the Word- multiple and various ministries, children’s sunday school, consistent prayer warriors, etc. in a vibrant living body of Christ. The majority of folks on this blog interested in this story are ex-CC or never been CC- looking for the dirt- as you have acknowledged.

  129. Babylon's Dread says:

    I wasn’t in on the stuff “once upon a time” is referring to but I am glad to see his apology acknowledged and received.

    Makes us all think.

  130. Michael says:


    You’re wrong.
    The volume of email I receive on these issues is incredible and most want more information,not less.
    I understand it offends you.
    The solution is simple.
    Don’t read it.

  131. Michael says:

    once upon a time,

    Thank you…

  132. once upon a time says:


  133. Kevin H says:


    I know I have responded to your line of reasoning before with my own personal circumstances and I will do so once again. I am a CC attendee. I am only a CC attendee as I have no position of leadership or influence within my CC. I often hate politics and would rather avoid them when I can. Unfortunately, what happens (or has happened in the past) in the backroom political fights at CCCM does interest me because in some ways I can see the effects on my church. You see, my CC has been significantly influenced by Chuck Smith and the way things have been done at CCCM and CC as a whole.

    Just to give one situational example to lend credence to effects I am speaking of is in some of the emphases I have seen in my church over the past year. I have seen am increased emphasis on things like U.S. and global politics, the importance of Israel, and topics like alcohol and especially pastors who choose to drink. Now is it wrong to ever speak about these things? No, of course not. However, there is a time and place for them, and regardless of where one stands on these types of issues, I am concerned there is now being an overemphasis being placed on them that is being manifested in an unhealthy manner.

    Their connection to CCCM and Chuck Smith? As there has been an ambiguous situation left by Chuck as to what he clearly wanted to take place in CCCM and CC as a whole, it is causing different sides to rise up to try to claim control and influence the situation. I believe those efforts to influence are having a negative effect on the church I attend. Now this is just my personal opinion and circumstance and I am sure not every CC attendee is experiencing the same. But I would also be very surprised if their aren’t other stories out there of CC attendees who have interest in these things because they are being affected, and even more so than my circumstance.

  134. Steve Wright says:

    Jim…I tried @72…

    it didn’t take 🙂

  135. Mark says:

    Kevin- you attend CC Philly NO? Have you seen any drop in attendance? Are you having many discussions with other men about a negative impact on your church?

  136. Mark says:

    Michael- you satate that volume of e-mail is “incredible”. Is it in the 100’s? The 1000’s? Even if you received e-mail from 1000 different people- that averages out to about 1 person per CC across the world. Do you really believe that is significant? Or are you overstating?

  137. Mark says:

    Also- how would the CC attendee even know about what is going on in CCCM? Do you guys think it is being announced from the pulpit? In my CC- the vast majority of the attendees (over 600) probably never heard of Chuck Smith- and don’t even know there is a CC affiliation. They just know they are going to a great church that ministers to them

  138. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    Evangelicals can be a little nutty especially if you speak against their Heroes, they threaten my loved ones then I would be tempted to be not a nice guy. That’s why it’s important for people to leave false churches such as Mars Hill and CCFTL instead of trying to reform them.

  139. Kevin H says:


    Yes, I attend CC Philly. Drop in attendance? I would have no idea. The church doesn’t publish attendance numbers other than to occasionally put it out there that they get about 10,000 a week between their 5 services. So unless there was a drastic drop, I wouldn’t be able to tell. It would be hard to tell a drop from 8,000 to 10,000 spread across 5 different services. But attendance isn’t the issue. I’m not worried about negative things causing a drop in attendance. I am concerned about how the negative things negatively affect and influence those who do attend. As far as having discussions with others in the church in regards to my concerns? When you have commonly heard from the pulpit that if you don’t like the way things are done here, you can vote with your feet, it certainly gives the strong impression that leadership is not interested in hearing countering opinions. So I’ll leave it at that.

  140. Mark says:

    Kevin. That’s free will in action. 😉

  141. covered says:

    Mark, the fact that just about all of your posts are overwhelmingly favorable to all things CC and rarely about Christ and His Word makes your drivel less and less tolerable. I am glad that your CC experience is better than most but your refusal to acknowledge any fault is nauseating.

    I first heard about this site from a CC pastor who was hitting on women at the church he still pastor’s and his comments to me were, “this site is used by Satan…” I finally looked at this site when some of his victims told me that there was a place for victims who have been abused by pastor’s (not just CC pastor’s).

    Mark, you are an exception to the rule with your experience with CC but bashing the host and idolizing the dove is not much of a platform.

  142. Mark says:

    Covered- you are wrong. I may be the exception to the rule on this blog- but the overwhelming majority of CC attendees have never suffered abuse. Even the majority of those who have suffered “abuse” have moved on and dont spend their time whining about it on this blog.

  143. Oh No says:


    Since you seem to be an expert, where do you get your figures?

  144. Mark says:

    Also -lets speak facts. I have acknowledged multiple CC faults- Hietzig – Coy- Grenier. I have commented on multiple topics on this blog – including in-depth discussions of God’s Word and Christ. You must have missed those.

  145. Kevin H says:


    You are right in saying that the overwhelming majorityof CC attendees have never suffered abuse. The exception to the rule are those who have been abused. However, do we just ignore those exceptions and pretend like they never happened? Do we not make attempts to change things to prevent further “exceptions to the rule”? I have no idea how many people attend Calvary Chapel churches overall. Let’s just throw a number out there and say there have been 1 million people who have attended a CC for some period of time during their lifetimes. Now let’s say only 1% of those 1 million have suffered abuse. That’s still 10,000 people. Do we just write them all off and tell them they just need to get over it?

    And then beyond abuse, I am sure there have been many more people who have had experiences in CC that may not be categorized as abuse, but were still negative experiences in some significant way. Either within the Calvary Chapel system or within individual CC churches themselves, often there have not been avenues to properly deal with these abuses or negative experiences. That is why blogs like PP and others exist. Doing these things on a blog is certainly far from ideal, but when better avenues are not made available, then blogging is better than feigned ignorance.

  146. Michael says:


    I you don’t like the blog, you’re gonna hate the book…
    I write about what I think is important and what I think can make an impact to create a better church in general.
    Some people think I write about Calvary Chapel too much, others not enough.
    I write what I believe is worth thinking about.
    Your mileage may vary and that’s ok…you’re free to start your own blog.

  147. Steve Wright says:

    I have been asked by a small number of oldtimers about the CC mess going on right now. It is safe to say the majority of our church would not know or care, but it is also safe to say there are several who do…and grieve…

  148. It’s interesting to read over on Facebook these past couple of days John Duncan blowing up CC and CCBC – even saying that in the community CCBC is considered a cult training ground.

    I think he is upset again.

  149. Jim says:

    MLD @ #123,

    So much for the sola’s.

  150. “So much for the sola’s.”
    So much for another person who is clueless as to what the solas are and their purpose.

    I will take your answer to be that to you the Bible is an instruction manual on par with how to assemble a bicycle and that you do nothing in church unless it is specifically laid out in the instruction manual.

  151. Xenia says:

    even saying that in the community CCBC is considered a cult training ground<<<

    Well, there's some truth to this, NOT that the Bible College is a cult training ground but it does have that reputation in the area. I learned this from my son-in-law who was a student there a decade ago. He told us the neighborhood did think the place was a cult. The guards at the gate may have fostered this opinion. I had a CC friend who had an interest in attending the Bible College and drove down there for a look-see and they would not let him on the grounds. I suppose they had their reasons- not doubting that- it just looks odd to outsiders.

    To repeat, I am NOT saying that it's a cult, just reporting what my son-in-law said.

  152. Steve Wright says:

    Good grief it is not a public university. All it takes is for one of those young girls (could be one’s own daughter) to be raped, kidnapped or killed and the entire Christian world would decry their horrible protection policies and the PR and lawsuits would shut the place down – not to mention the horrible loss of that young girl and the devastation to her family. If my kid went there I would be grateful for the security in place, as I am sure the parents of most of the students happen to be.

    If someone “had an interest in attending the Bible College” then it is not hard to call and express that to someone in administration. Enrollment this year I understand is packed, and the majority of my class does not even have a Calvary Chapel background and are from out of the state – probably from towns far safer than found around here.

    Whose initial decision process for a college is based first by walking around the grounds unattended and checking out the scenery (human and otherwise) anyway?

    If security for our young people, most away from home for the very first time, is not “odd” to outsiders then they must not watch much news because it seems like weekly (this week being no exception) the news is dominated by a missing female co-ed at some college.

  153. Steve Wright says:

    not “odd” should read NOW “odd” – I don’t normally fix typos but that one is important.

  154. Mark says:

    When my daughter and I visited the CCBC Marietta campus back in 06 (prior to her enrollment)we had an appointment and were welcomed at the gate. CCBC gate policy no different than many other universities (Seton Hall for instance).

  155. Daniel says:

    @ Victorious (#107), sorry, but that post to me reads…..”I don’t care that you’ve been around a long time. Experience means nothing.” Just curious, why do you think you can’t learn anything from someone who’s been in the movement for 50 years?

  156. Daniel says:

    @ j2theperson (#121), SPOT ON!!! Given what we know of MD’s character, my natural assumption is that….well, I’ll put it nicely……he’s overstating the case. Look, of course, everyone here is opposed to physical violence against him and/or his family. It’s just that some of us here don’t believe for one second that there is any real threat of tha happening. But, it also must be said, if I had personally screwed over numerous people over the years, I’d be looking over my shoulder all the time. I think that might have something to do with reaping and sowing…..

  157. Em says:

    When my son was in the Marine Corp and stationed at Whidbey Naval Air Station I’d occasionally call the base… oh never mind, this would be a long prelude to my comment…
    I would think that the Bible College might have their gate guards educated in good P.R. manners and equip them will some lovely informational brochures explaining their policy and their school etc… IMHO

  158. Perhaps they are confused. In the vicinity on Gillman Springs Rd between Banning and Hemet their was a Scientology compound that i don’t think you could get into with a Sherman tank. But then who would want to? 🙂

    Remember the source of this controversy – John Duncan.

  159. Xenia says:

    I emphasize in my post that *I* don’t believe the Bible College is a cult compound but that some of their neighbors do.

  160. Xenia says:

    A lot of people think Orthodox monasteries are cult compounds and some of them also have guards at the gate.

  161. Jean says:

    If you find yourself in a cult compound, I recommend passing on the punch. Seriously! Stick to bottled water.

  162. Andrew says:

    I believe Kevin when he says that the mess at CCCM is having a negative effect on ccphilly for those that attend. I don’t attend but I was corresponding with one of the pastors there for a long time and the sense I got is the church is in big trouble not by what he said but what he refused to answer. Again just my opinion but my sense is that Israel at times pushes Jesus from center stage and of course I believe the Moses Model also gets ones attention off Jesus and onto the pastor. All not good in my humble opinion. I did see some positive steps in removing some very questionable CC pastors from the guest speaker resources. Whenever I see a CC affiliates messages removed it does get me thinking that some kind of split is on the horizon.

  163. Mark says:

    Wow Andrew. Really. You know there’s trouble because nothing was said? Wish I had that gift of discernment. No one ever responds but I’ll throw it out there again. What about the HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of CC attendees who r being blessed daily by CC ministry throughout the world? I know u don’t want to hear it but CC has no more problems than any other group but I’d venture has much much more successful ministry than most groups. But I’ll leave you to another round of pointing out the specs while ignoring the logs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Discover more from Phoenix Preacher

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading