Things I Think

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100 Responses

  1. Jean says:

    Great post Michael!

    On #3, paradoxically, the preaching of grace without holiness also appeals to the flesh as much as the prosperity gospel…and is just as warped.

    Numbers 4 and 7 are real curses that afflict many.

    I love your “parable of the cat #10.

  2. Michael says:

    Thank you, Jean…hopefully we’ll get our server issues resolved soon so the rest of the community can get on.
    We’re working on it.

  3. Jim says:

    “The difference between being hopeless and hopeful is the object of your hope.”


  4. Steve Wright says:

    The final test of a great leader is to know when to pass the torch…
    I mentioned the excellent workshop led by Stipe, Rolph, and Guzik. A key point was that as pastors we often discuss “finishing well” and there are plenty of sermons and conferences around that theme – but to finish well must also involve a healthy passing of the torch to the next man to pastor the church. One man said the key to passing the torch is to make sure the torch is still burning when you pass it.

    Anyway, that spoke to me a lot, for a lot of reasons.It is not finishing well to retire with accolades from those you ministered to while leaving wreckage and/or a burden upon the church….in fact it is quite selfish.

  5. Jean says:

    Steve, that’s a really good point. I hear the “finishing well” comment frequently too. I never thought before about who the speaker might be concerned about.

  6. Bob Sweat says:


    It’s too bad that some pastors are like sports figures. They keep going and going and going not knowing when to quit.

  7. Michael says:

    I hope that session was recorded…I’ve heard a lot of positive things about it.

  8. Steve Wright says:

    Michael, it definitely was recorded. When they had a little Q&A at the end, one of the speakers would specifically repeat the question asked “for the recording”

  9. Paige says:

    Gosh, Michael, the cat story is a great allegory. Ain’t it da trufe.

    Holiness w/o grace…. and the prosperity ‘gospel’, are both impossible, and worse, destructive.Runs a whole heck of a lot of people from church and many give up entirely.

    Good news about hopeful changes at the CCSPC. I read Ezra yesterday, and in Ch 3:8-13, as the foundation of the temple was being built (again) and new young priests were appointed, there was much praising of God….BUT in vs 12, many of the older priests, who had seen Solomon’s temple complained and wept. The sounds of praising and weeping were so loud that listeners could not discern the dif between weeping and praising…

    How’s that for a ‘allegory’ for much current news in church circles, not the least of which is CC. There is truly nothing new under the sun.

  10. Michael says:


    That was really, really well said!

  11. Jean says:

    Page, #9, I agree with Michael, what a great application of the Ezra verses!

  12. Lutheran says:

    Not to pick nits…

    But Luther didn’t really “discover” the doctrine of justification. He blew off the dust and focused on it. It was there all the time.

    For a great read on how justification was always believed by the church, I’d recommend this book, “The Justification Reader” by one of my favorite Methodist theologians and expert on the early church, Tom Oden.

  13. Ms. Alnor says:

    Well, Michael – now that CC is so open and inclusive, what’s stopping you from joining back up with them?

  14. Michael says:


    First of all, I’m very much a Calvinist.
    Despite all the hand wringing from people, there is no move toward Reformed theology in Calvary Chapel.
    Second, I utterly and loudly reject their eschatology…and despite hand wringing and lament from you and your brethren, that eschatology hasn’t changed and won’t change.
    I’m an Anglican at heart…not CC.

  15. Bryan Stupar says:

    Jackie…An argument can be made that CC started off, as you put it, “open and inclusive”, yet with the welcome of divisive discernment ministers (late 80’s) and their absorption into the CC ecosystem, CC *morphed (degraded) into an exclusive tribe impressed w/ their own exceptionalism.

    Perhaps what you’re seeing is long needed shedding of dead skin, revealing something healthy and good.

  16. Pastor Brian David Laurie says:

    I go back to the tent days. It was open and inclusive back then.

  17. Michael says:


    The pretrib rapture and the “imminent” return of Christ was spoken of by almost all the speakers and in all the panels.
    Alistair Begg mercifully doesn’t hold to that.
    Why isn’t this affirmation enough for your tribe?

  18. I think Lutheran has said it correctly. Luther discovered what was already there – something anyone could have done – not a special revealing from God.

    I find it dangerous when people would suggest God needs to do a new work of revelation like he did before. That would make the previous revelation outdated … and I don’t think anyone wants to go there.

  19. Michael says:

    MLD, Lutheran,

    Technically, I agree with you.
    The reality is that the doctrine took hold of Luther like it had no other…and the church was changed.
    I’m open to thinking there may be other things that need the dust blown off them.

  20. Jean says:

    Perhaps it could be better stated: Ecclesia semper reformanda est.

    God’s revelation is perfect, but interpreted through imperfect eyes and ears, which eyes and ears are also confined to their historical context.

  21. Lutheran says:

    I agree, Michael.

  22. Michael says:


    Great book reference, by the way…

  23. Steve Wright says:

    One of my seminary professors was a stickler for terminology and he used to make the clear distinction between revelation and illumination when it came to the discoveries in the word of God. That we should never say “God revealed something to me” but rather He illuminated something. God’s revelation was in the giving of Scripture through the authors by the Spirit. Illumination is God working through the Spirit in the lives of the readers/believers.

    I try to use those terms separately when I preach…

  24. Lutheran says:


    Thanks, Michael! Really, it’s a great book.

  25. Lutheran says:

    Not sure why my moniker wasn’t right, except I’m on a home network…

  26. PP Vet says:

    Open and inclusive huh ….

    As movements mature the temptation is to evolve away from a center-bounded basis of unity (unified over what/who we are pursuing and what we embrace) toward a boundary-bounded basis of unity (unified by staying away from wrong doctrine or practice).

    In other words, I hate church. (However I live for the manifest presence and compelling immediacy and palpable reality of the Kingdom).

  27. Bill Barry Assoc. Pastor CC Arroyo Grande,Ca says:

    Change is inevitable, church history teaches us that sometime after the founder passes, the movement becomes a shell of its former self, often no longer preaching the truth, becoming powerless. Some (Jackie) believe we are too inclusive, we are beginning to compromise the truth, others (Bryan Stupar) say we need to be more inclusive. Both have some valid points, both have gone to extremes. What to do? I can only speak for my CC, we will continue to hold to the Godly vision instilled in us by the Holy Spirit, through our beloved Pastor Chuck Smith, to teach the Word, continue to worship and operate in the gifts and anointing of the Holy Spirit, continue to be excited and preach the hope of a pre-trib, rapture! How is that so bad? I Don’t think that’s to exclusive or to inclusive, I like how Joe Focht summed it up in reference to other movements, “fellowship, yes, affiliation, no” and as one Pastor said ”yes, pass the torch, but make sure it’s still lit!”

  28. Michael says:

    Bill Barry,

    No one is asking or expecting you to do otherwise.

  29. Kevin H says:

    “Fellowship, yes;affiliation, no”. I wouldn’t expect CCA to affiliate any pastor/church who was cessationist or amillenial or had women pastors on staff. I don’t know why any pastor/church who believed that way would want to affiliate with CC in the first place. But yes, CC should still be maintaining some level of fellowship with other Christians who may believe differently on some issues but are still basically orthodox in their beliefs. There are some who go the extreme and want to harshly judge those who believe differently on secondary doctrines, even to the extent of declaring them not saved. This should have no part in CC, or any church for that matter. But then there are others who may speak of fellowship, but then speak/act in a manner that creates a self-superiority and causes many other Christians to be looked at askew and viewed as lesser, troubled, or even to be feared. There needs to be a humbleness and carefulness when dealing with these differences on secondary issues so that an unhealthy and unnecessary divisiveness is not created within the body of Christ. CC would do itself well to also steer itself clear of these types of attitudes.

  30. Michael says:


    I think that’s what they attempted to model at this conference…and I think they did a good job.

  31. Bryan Stupar says:

    Hi Bill,
    welcome to PP….I had no idea you hung here.
    I assume you were at the conf., yea?
    If not, what I saw/heard greatly encouraged me and those I brought.
    The words “new day” came to my mind on a dozen occasions.

    You said (of me), “others (Bryan Stupar) say we need to be more inclusive”. It’d be helpful to hear what you mean by, “inclusive”.

    I’ve always found it curious that the early days of CC (I wasn’t there) struck me as VERY INCLUSIVE, especially in light of the host of leaders/individuals at the center of the movement, welcomed conference speakers, and those referred to as shaping influences to Chuck himself…Here’s a few from memory, gleaned from my early days working in the CC tape ministry and having access to 1000’s of recordings.

    Lonnie Frisbee
    Kathryn Kuhlman
    Chuck Missler (UFO enthusiast)
    Dave Hocking (Calvinist, cessationist – on staff)
    Alan Redpath (guest speaker at Pastors Conf – Baptist)
    Gordon Fee (his books were sold via The Word for Today – Pentecostal)
    Nathanael Van Cleve (guest speaker at Pastors Conf – Pentecostal)
    Pastor Mama Quan (female pastor from China spoke several x’s at Sunday services)
    Guy P. Duffield (guest speaker at Pastors Conf – Pentecostal)
    J Edwin Orr (guest speaker at Pastors Conf – Baptist)
    Martyn Lloyd-Jones (many of his books hand selected by CS & sold at Chapel Store)

    For me personally what I mean by “inclusive” is EVERYTHING is saw/heard from this conf…not much more. Or in other words, I’d love to see a CC culture which seemed to flourish once prior to those who crept in and sewed fear and division (or what became the “new norm” from the late 80’s to present).

    IMO, If CC remains on the trajectory set forth from this PC, I sense good things ahead.

    But, these are just my opinions… 😉

  32. Greg Fadness says:

    A hearty amen to Bryan’s comment!

  33. Steve Wright says:

    I think I’ve mentioned this before but my Charles Hodge commentary on Romans was purchased at the CC Costa Mesa bookstore back in the mid 1990s. 😉

    (Bryan, sorry we did not connect at the conference. Maybe next year.)

  34. Dedicated to Miss Kitty…

    “Crumbs From Your Table”

    From the brightest star
    Comes the blackest hole
    You had so much to offer
    Why did you offer your soul?
    I was there for you baby
    When you needed my help
    Would you deny for others
    What you demand for yourself?

    Cool down mama, cool off
    Cool down mama, cool off

    You speak of signs and wonders
    I need something other
    I would believe if I was able
    But I’m waiting on the crumbs from your table

    You were pretty as a picture
    It was all there to see
    Then your face caught up with your psychology
    With a mouth full of teeth
    You ate all your friends
    And you broke every heart thinking every heart mends

    You speak of signs and wonders
    But I need something other
    I would believe if I was able
    But I’m waiting on the crumbs from your table

    Where you live should not decide
    Whether you live or whether you die
    Three to a bed
    Sister Ann, she said
    Dignity passes by

    And you speak of signs and wonders
    But I need something other
    I would believe if I was able
    I’m waiting on the crumbs from your table

  35. Michael says:

    When Dave Rolph had a bookstore in his church it was the best place in O.C. to buy Puritan greats.
    Dave is not a Calvinist…but he’s not afraid to hear them out and allow people to think for themselves.

  36. Michael says:


    She’s reading that from my lap as we speak…good word for all of us!

  37. Michael says:


    Good to see you among us again…

  38. Greg Fadness says:

    Thanks Michael….I have lurked off and on……there’s no place like the PP!

  39. Pilgrim says:

    Regarding # 5: If only one side gets to speak, guess who wins the argument? I didn’t go to the conference but I did watch most of it and it left me with the following thoughts . . .

    A Calvary Chapel movement, where no Calvary pastor would dare admit to being reformed, was not that long ago. The Calvary pastors that admitted such a thing knew that they would hear from Pastor Chuck, “Don’t go away mad, just go away.” Let’s be honest, in the CCA version of Calvary Chapel, it includes Calvary Chapel pastors (those in and under the oversight and leadership of the CCA council), who are now able to join another association (The Gospel Coalition-TGC) in which a CCA pastor can only be reformed. TGC will only let a CCA Calvary pastor join that is reformed in their theology. But Calvary Chapel pastors, in and under the CCA council, can no longer have an all non-reformed association of pastors? Now how fair is that? And from the rank and file of the CCA (with permission from the CCA council) CCA pastors are joining TGC, therefore we know those pastors have agreed with TGC’s reformed theology. Can you imagine? A CCA pastor can join an association of pastors in which they do not allow any non-reformed CC pastors. “You are kidding me right?” I wish I were. This destroys Calvary Chapel, as all Calvary Chapel pastors under the leadership of Chuck Smith once knew it, because they cannot have an all non-reformed Calvary Chapel pastor movement that they always had under Pastor Chuck’s leadership. The only way to be a Calvary and reformed in theology under the leadership of Chuck was to lie about it. This also represents a serious problem for the CCA council and for all those who see themselves in or under the leadership of the CCA council.

    Under the leadership of the CCA council you can have (in CCA) a pastor in an association that is for reformed pastors only and only allows reformed pastors in. This is not just a future possibility under the CCA council. It is a present reality. What does the CCA council do when the day comes (and it will) that pastors, in or under the CCA umbrella, decide that they do not want to be in an association that allows CCA pastors to be in an association with them (i.e., in CCA) that excludes the non-reformed CCA pastors from being in their other association (TGC) with them? It sounds like a “get to the back of the bus” arrangement for a non-reformed CCA pastor. What will the CCA council do when the CCA reformed pastors insist that CCA become reformed as the TGC council did, and as Calvinists are known for doing?

    After all, is the CCA able to resolve the 500 year plus difference between pastors that passionately believe in reformed doctrine and those who are just as serious about rejecting reformed doctrine? Remember you cannot currently be in the CCA without including pastors that are in an association that is for reformed pastors only, which are those who have aligned themselves with TGC. A CCA pastor can be reformed only but they cannot be in an association that excludes the reformed CCA pastor. The non-reformed CCA pastor, under the genius of the CCA council, has to allow in the “reformed only” CCA but cannot keep out the non-reformed pastor. If this is really what they want I can hear Chuck from heaven say, “Go For It.”

    Under the leadership of Chuck you could have an all non-reformed association (i.e., Calvary Chapel) and under the leadership of Chuck they did. Those who wanted to be reformed could have many options outside of Chuck’s Calvary to be all reformed, like TGC or Acts 29, etc. Under the leadership of the CCA council you can have an all reformed association but you cannot have an all non-reformed association. And George Bryson was given the boot for starting something new, such as planting Calvary Chapels through an old group called Calvary Chapel Church Planting Mission but CCA is not starting anything new or different through a truly new association called CCA? Has the CCA council given more options to the CCA pastor or less? The CCA council, along with Alistair Begg, James McDonald, Mark Driscoll, Timothy Keller and the whole TGC council are on record supporting CCA reformed pastors being allowed into a “reformed only association”. They are also opposed to allowing a “non-reformed” CCA pastor into that same association.

  40. covered says:

    Is Greg Fadness Jeff Fadness’ brother? Good man that Jeff Fadness.

  41. Michael says:


    I know some non-Reformed, non CC, pastors that are in TGC.
    Their involvement has little to do with theology and everything to do with support for missions, etc.
    Nobody on the CCA council is even remotely Reformed.
    I’m a Calvinist…and I have no desire to either join CC or “convert” it.
    You are worried about something that’s not even on anyones radar.

  42. Michael says:


    I believe so…

  43. Paige says:

    ” CC *morphed (degraded) into an exclusive tribe impressed w/ their own exceptionalism. ” . wow…. (Brian Stupar)…. I haven’t attended a CC in 8 years, after 36 years of uber involvement, having been saved before the tent days…. Now, whenever I met a CC person, they are generally very arrogant, exuding the “I’m right””our church is right” energy… I almost visited one recently, but after spending 5 minutes with two ‘members’, changed my mind. I MISS the inclusiveness and openness of ‘the old days”…. the days when God was Love and Grace was abundant at CC. I suspect this is still the case in some. I hope.

  44. Greg Fadness says:

    I can’t remember who it was at the conference who said (more or less), ‘We have been accused of being light on theology. But in fact, we have chosen not to place a theological grid over the bible, which then forces us to interpret all passages through said grid. We just teach through the bible and sometimes we sound Reformed…sometimes Arminian.’
    Hey, I know that that is going to sound like a cop out to many, but I really do appreciate that perspective. It seems to me that we could all benefit from out of humility giving those with different doctrinal perspectives some respect….

  45. tbro says:

    @32 Great lineup, Bryan. And what was appreciated of these men and women was Christ in them and Christ who flowed from them. They weren’t seen as representatives of distinct theological schools and systems – they didn’t advocate for their distinctive theological school and system. They advocated and preached Christ. Something precious was poured out on us as they ministered. Again, they were seen as men and women in Christ – that was all and that was enough.

    Even as a young man or woman becomes more self-aware and self-conscious with age, CC has become self-aware and self-conscious. A result of this self-awareness is the cognition of the similarities and dissimilarities between us and other movements/systems/churches. A consequence of this self-knowledge is the Calvary Distinctives – here’s who we are and here’s what we think about this, that, and the other. It communicates a philosophy of ministry that in a real sense establishes our borders.

    At the same time, other schools and systems have become more self-aware and cognizant of the substantive differences between themselves and other streams of Christianity. There were times when the nation of Israel saw itself in national unity and times when national solidarity devolved into tribal feuding. In a similar way, the family of God can devolve into tribal squabbling. We are in a season when we seem to be more aware of our differences than our commonalities. All of us (CC included) are pushing the superiority of our system than the excellence of Christ.

    I am not Reformed, I think I’m deformed or unformed… But what I long for is to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. When I read Bryan’s list I instantly yearned for the simple days, the early days when it was all about Jesus – regardless of who swam in what stream. I long for the days when Jesus was bigger than our systems and we championed Him and not our tribe. May God be merciful to me if I have ever exalted tribe and system over Savior and salvation.

  46. I wonder if Calvary Chapel people even understand Reformed theology. You will need to go find it, but one of the interviews in the tent was with Brian Brodersen and one of his sons. Sorry, I don’t remember his name.

    However, he was living back in New York and studying full time at Tim Keller’s church … which for those who don’t know is a Reformed church. So, when the topic turned to reformed theology, the kid said he had not run into a problem – from everything he had seen, the church was not emergent and was not watering down the word and as far as he could tell, Keller was not trying to reform anything.

    Brodersen sat there nodding and I almost fell out of my chair… but I was at work and I have pretty strong arm rails.

  47. Michael says:


    I think most CC guys think Reformed theology=”limited atonement”…period.

  48. Bryan Stupar says:

    MLD, you’re referring to Michael Smith (not the CCM singer)…he’s a good man.

    He’s BB’s son-in-law.

  49. Bill Barry says:

    Bryan, I discovered the ‘PP” through the CT article some time ago.I’ve found man of the posts to be anti cc and to be frank,gossip. I never posted because I couldn’t improve upon the views of Dave Rolph,Oden Fong,Steve Wright,etc. After reading the comments from the Pastors conf.,I decided to weigh in. Yes the early days did include many of the above mentioned. Except for Kathryn Kuhlman,we went to her tv shows to preach the Gospel. Lonnie was a original cc guy who struggled with all kinds of issues,whom Chuck reached out to a couple of times,same with Hocking. As far as the others,they were simply guest speakers whose expertise pretty much lined up with the CC vision.Is that inclusion? You bet. Where would I draw the line? Again “fellowship yes,affiliation ,no”,Chuck never planted churches with Baptists or Pentecostals,or took on the main tenants of their visions.In the past few years,there has been some who want us to be more reformed,to accept their views on eschatology,gifts of the Spirit, to plant churches with them. This is where I would draw the line and would say,and have said to this mind set,why do we have to change? As I posted, the CC vision is simple,the Word,Spirit filled worship,moving in the gifts,and an excitement about the pre-trib rapture,I believe these things with my whole heart,I’m not asking other movements to change their vision,please don’t ask me to change mine. And yes,I’ve seen some in the CC movement who are exclusive to the point of guilt by association to the point if they see a photo of Rick Warren with Chuck or Greg, they think CC has gone emergent, this to is wrong. I agree, this was a good Pastors conf, ,lets pass the torch,just make sure it’s still lit.

  50. Bryan, I am sure that he is a great guy. They even spoke how he and Brodersen do Bible studies together over the phone.

    I just thought in light of his residency at a big Reformed church that his definition of reformed theology was odd.

  51. Bryan Stupar says:

    The elevation of
    “Affiliation” (acceptance into a subgroup)
    “fellowship” (true Christocentrictic unity)
    not only runs counter to the gospel but boarders on idolatry.

  52. Bryan Stupar says:

    My comment got cut off for some reason and I meant to add…

    “Bill, I’m sure you’d agree”.

  53. Bryan Stupar says:

    Auto correct doesn’t like the word “christocentric” as it changed it in my above comment.

  54. Dave Rolph says:

    It is funny how people tend to see history in a linear way, and therefore see trends of deterioration, and make dire predictions about the future. Reformed theology has always been around Calvary, in different degrees. Years ago, I think in the 80’s, the director of the CC Bible College was a five point Calvinist, and taught it unapologetically for years, at the CCBC, and prior to that at the Calvary Chapel he pastored. There are a lot of CC pastors who are Reformed. There always have been. Ten years from now no one will care.

    Seeing Calvinism as primarily about Limited Atonement is funny. Everyone except Universalists believe in some sort of limits. “Sufficient for all, efficient for some” works for most. Obviously, the more critical question involves the heart of God. Does He love everyone and desire that everyone has an opportunity for salvation, or does He create most people without any interest in their salvation? And I am not saying this flippantly. It is not an easy question to answer. Everyone finds support for their position in Scripture. People who love Jesus more than me would disagree with my answer. Humility would enrich the discussion on all fronts.

  55. Kevin H says:

    It is encouraging to see the apparent tone that was displayed in this last conference. My experience in CC has been one that sees more of the exclusive rather than inclusive side of things. I would hope that will change, but we’ll see. The exclusiveness I have seen has not really been much around Reformed doctrine that is being spoken about here, but rather more around other issues/topics. Much more criticalness around things like those who believe differently on the end times and Israel, or the “Emergent” church, or Rick Warren and purpose driven, or those who are “denominational”, or warnings about “bad” books (the Shack, etc.). Again, I wouldn’t expect CC as a whole to affiliate with pastors who have significantly different doctrinal beliefs, or in the case of my local CC, to take on pastors/staff members/board members who differ significantly. But when it comes to fellowship (which Bryan earlier pointed out is of the greater importance) I would think we should approach these differences with humbleness and respect when speaking to or of those with whom we may have some disagreement.

  56. Pilgrim says:

    Michael, your friends have pulled one over on you and I know that is not an easy thing to do. You can like something about TGC without being a pastor in TGC. But you have several things you must read and agree to be in TGC. The most notable is that your doctrine of salvation must be Reformed. Ask Keller and Carson.

  57. Pilgrim says:

    One more thought, they say it is a “broadly reformed association of churches” but each church has to be reformed.

  58. Michael says:


    No one has pulled one over on me…at least in regard to this matter.
    There is no singular “Reformed doctrine of salvation”.
    Keller and Carson have slightly different soteriology and mine is significantly different from both.
    TGC doesn’t seem to have purity tests, though it wouldn’t bother me if they did.
    The other thing here is that there is a difference between being “Reformed” and being “Calvinistic”.
    I don’t have time this morning to explain that, but it needs to be understood.

  59. Michael says:


    If Dave is correct (and it would be folly to dispute with him) that there have always been Calvinists among you, what has changed?
    What do you believe is being threatened?

  60. Bryan Stupar says:

    Bill, you said,
    “I’ve seen some in the CC movement who are exclusive to the point of guilt by association to the point if they see a photo of Rick Warren with Chuck or Greg, they think CC has gone emergent, this to is wrong.”

    I agree completely, this is unfortunate. These types of vitriolic/conspiratorial responses seemed absent in the CC “early days”. From what I can tell, they come later.

    The seeds of “suspicion” (Are they one of us, or one of “them”?) had already been planted in the early 80’s when Vineyard folks were asked to pull away from the affiliation/communion table. By the late 80’s, “discernment ministries” had been broadly welcomed and began challenging/training CC’s to be watchful of the deception which had already seduced many if not most of the other churches in ones city, along w/ the hearts of *other* believers (that is, if they hadn’t already apostatized). Fear commandeered many pastors, and a not so subtle suspicion was cast upon any/all who were not cut from the same CC cloth. As generous time was given w/in CC pulpits to those who played this single-stringed instrument, the CC culture (DNA) began to change…

    Experiences similar to Kevin H’s seemed to be the familiar norm (though not in all CC’s)
    “My experience in CC has been one that sees more of the exclusive…criticalness around things like those who believe differently on the end times and Israel, or the “Emergent” church, or Rick Warren and purpose driven, or those who are “denominational”, or warnings about “bad” books (the Shack, etc.)”

  61. Bryan Stupar says:

    From my own personal experience (which I didn’t want to add to the above) having been at the very first speaking engagement of Dave Hunt (and dozens after) at CCCM (I sat front row) I can say this…it influenced me.

    As a young, naive believer, Hunt taught me to be very afraid of things I had never heard of up until that point. I learned either explicitly or implicitly that:
    -All “psychological disorders” were falsely diagnosed and that whole field of science/research must be distrusted and exposed as lies.
    -Calvinism is evil
    -Most signs/wonders are in fact *lying* signs/wonders, and must be distrusted and exposed. To be fair, I believe he was a non-cessationast but this is how my young mind heard it.

    I learned to be VERY skeptical (and eventually, critical) of all outside the CC tribe.

    I alone am responsible for the sinful arrogance and exclusivism I portrayed toward other good brethren outside my CC world. Through the years I have apologized to many.

    That’s my story…I’m sticking with w/ it 😉

  62. Michael says:


    Those teachings on psychology and mental illness have done untold damage to so many…

  63. Bryan Stupar says:

    Hunts’ teachings on psychology sounded eerily similar to Tom Cruise’s, nuanced w/ Christian terminology.

  64. Papias says:

    I heard Dave Hunt at CCCM speak about ….. I’m not sure what the original subject was at the time… Woman who rides the Beast… or Anti -psychology. Whatever it was, he seemed disorganized, pulling articles out of a binder and making logic leaps.

    But my takeaway of Discernment Ministries and CC involvement – reminds me of a band going on tour. Having the “kickoff show” at CCCM and then taking the show on tour to other CCs – since they’ve played their show at Costa Mecca, surely if your want to be associated with PC then you too will open your churches doors to have this DM come to your church?

    And if you don’t want to have a DM come to your CC? Then are you possibly Emergent or Purpose Driven or Calvinist leaning – why wouldn’t you want to have them in your church – do you have something to hide?

    And no, I don’t think this is JUST a CC thing – I see it in other places as well. Either jump on the bandwagon to be relevant or get left behind. Pity the pastor who just wants to feed his flock.

  65. Bill Barry says:

    Bryan, I would disagree W/# 52,just because I don’t want to plant churches with those that don’t hold to my vision, doesn’t make me an idolater, it would if I said our movement is the true movement, which we are not even close. Yes, we have to be discerning with some of the discernment ministries. Yes, that did become an issue that’s being corrected.

  66. Michael says:


    Who is asking you to plant churches with those who don’t hold to your vision?

  67. Lutherans usually do not work with others just for the confusion it causes. If we work on an African water project with the Baptists – what do we do when the village comes to Christ?

    Are we going to baptize the babies or not? What kind of a Christian witness would it be to have the Lutheran and the Baptist fighting over the doctrine … physically and / or theologically?

  68. Bill Barry says:

    Michael, different folks from time to time over the years wanting us to change our vision,,missionary’s changing their views and expecting us to still support them, and to be frank, speaking in love, I get that impression from some who’ve posted on your blog.

  69. Michael says:


    No one is demanding that you plant churches at all and if you choose to, no one is telling you who to staff them with.
    You are free to do as you please.
    Why deny the same freedom to those who want to partner outside the movement?

  70. Michael says:

    I keep trying to get people to be specific about their objections, online and off…and it’s like herding cats.

  71. Anne says:
  72. Michael says:


    I don’t even get to use a horse… 🙂
    Good to see you, my friend.

  73. Nonnie says:

    When I read comments from pastors like Bryan Stupar, I am excited about where the CC movement is going. There is a diverse and beautiful world of Christian writers, thinkers and brothers and sisters out there that we can learn from and also speak to about what the Lord has shown us. In our ministry, we are linked with the CC movement, but we have worked alongside several other denoms and groups. I know my life has been enriched by that!

  74. Bryan Stupar says:

    Bill, I didnt suggest planting churches.

    I was merely stating that when any sub-group affiliation (denominational, tribal or other) is given a greater status over the universal fellowship we have w/ each other (across denominational/tribal boundaries), via Christ, we are prone to form ranks divisions the gospel abolished. (See I Cor. 3)

    Also, I wasn’t implying you’ve done this. I apologize if I inadvertently gave that impression.

    Lastly, as I see it, part of the beauty of CC is the freedom we have. So if one church was intent on supporting a church-planter/missionary in a foreign country because of there commitment to the gospel, then great! It’s very similar to what my good friend (and fellow CC) Bill Waldon does in Mexico in supporting/working alongside/training ALL BRANDS of pastors (baptist, Pentecostal, etc).

  75. Q says:


    I believe MLD was talking about the interview with Braden and Brian Bodersen…Braden went and sat under Keller and others at Redeemer. It was a big endorsement for Keller and his books imo.

  76. Bryan Stupar says:

    you’re probably correct.
    I hadn’t heard it. I just knew his son in law lives in NYC.

  77. Michael says:


    Have you ever read Keller?
    Do you object to him being endorsed?

  78. Q says:

    Michael, why doesn’t more CC people know what Reformed theology is?

    It seems if a huge part of the church is reformed or amillennial then pastors should teach what it is and how it is different from what they believe and why or vice versa, and then people can study these things out for themselves, it’s hard to study things out when you are not aware they even exist.

    There must be at least ten or twenty topics like this including discernment that should be taught on, even from the pulpit. If not it leads to tunnel vision.

    I’ll bet even less know what Lutheran or Orthodox theology is.

  79. Q says:


    I have read some of the stuff he has written and listened to a interview or two, I should probably read more since he has influenced so many pastors.

    I would not endorse him, would you?

  80. Q,
    I don’t think any of that stuff should be taught from the pulpit – at least not on a Sunday morning. Sunday preaching should be about Jesus Christ, his death and resurrection for you. Anything else really isn’t a proper Christian message.

    As to teaching other views, that has to come in a classroom setting where questions can be asked and a bit of back and forth dialogue can go on. But how do you teach all the variations. When I teach variations, I teach them as wrong, otherwise they wouldn’t be variations, they would be my view.

    I just finished teaching (in a classroom) 4 weeks in Daniel 9 (3 weeks were on the actual prayer). But when I got to the juicy verses, I said that the 12 volume Left Behind series was erected erroneously on those verses and then I spent a good amount of the hour tearing down the ‘rapture theology – anti christ’ view that comes from that.

    Then I leveled my guns, took sight a blew them away with the fact that those verses were not even end times verses at all – but were verses about Jesus putting an end to the sacrificial system

    That’s my view on how to teach the variations.;-)

  81. Michael says:


    The concept of “endorsing” someone eludes me.
    Keller is a fine thinker and writer and well within orthodoxy.
    He’s not on top of my reading list, but I would have no problem if he was on someone in my churches.
    Actually, I wouldn’t worry about any author being read, for the most part.

  82. Mark says:

    Tim Keller taught a Bible Study for years at Trinity Church in lower Manhattan that I attended and I never found him anyhting but a solid teacher or God’s Word bringing a slightly more intellectual point of view to the exegesis. I found nothing he ever said to be offensive to my CC tradition.

  83. Michael says:


    The main reason that most CC people aren’t up to speed on other traditions is the lack of seminary training combined with the demonization of other groups over the last twenty years or so.
    It takes a lot of work and study to get a handle on theses things…and most people, CC or otherwise, aren’t interested.
    I do agree with MLD that such should be taught in Sunday School classes…

  84. I have read a couple of Keller books – they were fine. I would have no problem handing someone Keller’s book The Reason for God.

  85. Bill Barry says:

    Michael, of course I’m free to do as I please, so is everyone else, I just chimed in because the CC vision context, what constitutes a CC, ect. I’m not denying anyone anything, just giving my opinion on the definition of a CC.

  86. Mark says:

    Michael I agree with your last post that most people, CC or otherwise (glad u added that), are not interested in other traditions. Back in my Methodist days we had both service and adult Sunday school and we covered other denominations beliefs. However there is much to b gained from focusing study on Christ crucified and loving righteously. Most folks have more than enough trouble just doing that ( including me)

  87. Papias says:

    Q: How open is CC to other tribes?

    A: What are they carrying in their bookstores and CDN? Who do CC pastors quote from their pulpits?

    If its all CC people, then you stay introverted to your own tribe. When you start to read and quote from other tribes and sources then things get a little stickier…but then welcome to the larger family.

  88. Q says:


    Tim Keller has a Reformed soteriology, a Covenant hermeneutic, practices Paedo-baptsim, and has what appears to be an Amillennial eschatology.

    I can see how this would not offend a CCer, but it is definitely different (opposite) than what CC has been in the past.

    I think it is important to know where someone is coming from because if not, many times, a person won’t understand what the other person is saying, they just think they do.

    Chuck Smith use to say something like, CC was distinct from the other churches and that it was important…if not they might as well close the doors and join the church next door.

  89. Bill Barry says:

    Michael, lack of seminary training? Demonization of other movements? Really? Talk about painting with a broad brush! I’ve never been to seminary, yet having sat under Chuck Smith (10 years) Walter Martin (several years) Pastors conferences’ with J Edwin Orr, I was well aware of the basic distinctive of other church movements ,learned to appreciate some and reject others. It’s this kind of overgeneralization that gives the pp a bad name.

  90. Mark says:

    I do not need to know anything about a persons BG or beliefs to experience the revelation of the Holy Spirit in a bible study. In fact the less I know the better as I am not tainted and am open to the full counsel I receive. If Mr Kellar ever spoke something totally nuts like denying the trinity orthe virgin birth of course I would recognize that. I took copious notes back then. Maybe I will dig them out. But I only remember looking forward to Kellars teaching and being blessed

  91. Mark says:

    I know one thing for sure. I never recall Kellar calling out others doctrines for being incorrect or mistaken. He just taught that days passage. I recall his teachings were topical though not verse by verse

  92. Michael says:

    Bill, I wasn’t aware that the PhxP had a bad name.
    That sounds like a rude generalization.
    I was asked a general question and gave a general answer.
    If you would like to have a less than irenic conversation, I’m more than willing to indulge you.

  93. Kevin H says:


    I attend a large CC. Over the years, I have encountered a good number of people who seem to know very little of what others outside of CC believe. Now to be fair, I have had similar encounters with those from other church experiences so this is not unique to CC. Although I would say the percentages are probably higher in my CC experiences. What is definitively different are the attitudes I have often encountered with some from CC in relation to how they view other churches/Christians outside of CC. Attitudes of fear and/or superiority. There is no question that the amount of CC people I have encountered with attitudes like these is far greater than those of other church experiences. I do not think this is a coincidence.

  94. Mark says:

    Kevin that may be true in your experience at a very large CC. I have experienced some if that also and have been guilty of it myself. But I’ve also had denominational experience where the words “born again” were anathema and Christ crucified was never preached. But God as mother, evolution and special collections for a new PA system were the norm. Where folks warned against “going overboard” on that Jesus stuff. In fact I’d wager that is the case in manysmy more churches on Sunday than what is happening in CCs. Not saying either I’d right but I know which one I’d prefer.

  95. Q says:

    Kevin H,

    “Attitudes of fear and/or superiority”

    I think that is why some see CC as cult like.

    Plus the whole Moses model thing. It needs to go.

  96. Kevin H says:


    Indeed I only spoke of my experience. Obviously others may have had different experiences than me. But I did bring it up because I think it gives at least some credence to some of the the things being spoken here. And just to clarify when I spoke of my other church experiences outside of CC where I haven’t encountered nearly as much of the same attitudes, those have been primarily with evangelical Christians of orthodox beliefs.

  97. Q says:


    A person cannot go overboard on Jesus. (I’m a Jesus freak).

    Yet a Christian needs sound doctrine.

    If a person’s testimony is all about God this or God that, but does not include Jesus to the max it seems dubious at best.

    I think maybe they found their supposed ‘purpose’ in life.

  98. “Where folks warned against “going overboard” on that Jesus stuff.”

    I warn people against going overboard on that Jesus “stuff”.

  99. Bill Barry says:

    Michael and Kevin,

    If I gave the impression of judging your motives, forgive me,that was not my intent. Kevin,your observations grieve me,I would not want folks in my cc to have those kinds of attitudes,we strive to be known by our love. Michael my posts were not meant to argue,just to clarify,don’t think there’s any need for any personal reconciliation. I ‘m simply grateful for the Lord’s calling on my life,and being involved in the CC movement,realizing our imperfections,yet knowing that as we yield to the Lord,we will continue to be perfected. Chuck used to say, in reference to how God blessed his work “how do you control an explosion?”, that’s a good question, that can only be answered by being steadfast in what God has called us to do. I will as the Lord strengthens me,continue to love His Word,worship in the Spirit,be excited about His imminent return. And in the process fellowship,as the Lord leads,with any who call on the name of the Lord. I am a Phil 1:18 guy. May the Lord Bless you as you preach Christ.

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