What Is Calvary Chapel Today?: Part 2
Frankly, I find it difficult to be “fair and balanced” about this group.
Headed by Don McClure, this is the side that forced the split by making it nigh impossible for Brian Brodersen to continue in fellowship with them.
Having chronicled this movement long before the split and after, (as well as having impeccable sources inside it), I say without hesitation that this side was born and thrives on the basis of deceitful narratives.
Those narratives include “this was Chuck Smith’s vision going forward” (it wasn’t, he hated the idea), “Brodersen has compromised CC distinctives”, (he hasn’t, he has just broadened the tent a bit, which may indeed be a compromise to some), and the idea that they are the true keepers of the flame that Chuck Smith sparked.
That flame was extinguished when he passed.
Narratives are more powerful than facts, however, and this group has used those stories and others to attempt to exercise power over the movement and it’s future.
They are not above using financial coercion to exercise that power, particularly on the mission field.
While the split has been mostly a side show here in the states, it has been anything but that overseas.
Missionaries depend on the support of local churches here and some have been forced to take sides in order to continue the work that God has set before them.
Brodersen has made no such demands on those Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa supports.
The tactics have worked to a degree and at the conference next week you will hear the narratives reinforced.
There will be much talk of “old paths” and “restoring foundations”.
Heathens should make a drinking game where one takes a shot every time the name “Chuck Smith” is invoked… it would be a sure fire way to get crocked quickly.
Still, this is an effective strategy within a group that is accustomed to “strong man” leadership.
Despite any short term success this side may gain, the future is cloudy.
The main power brokers are all in their late sixties and early seventies, many with physical ailments.
These traditionalists are aging out, often without succession plans or with plans to turn their churches over to less gifted family members.
There will soon be a leadership void at the top of the Calvary Chapel Association.
Combine this with the issues that Brodersen faces with the Calvary Global Network and one wonders what “Calvary Chapel” will be in a decade.
My guess is that the one word answer would be “irrelevant”.