When Doves Cry
On this day it was his brother Paul with a friend…Skip Heitzig.
According to multiple sources they had a proposal.
Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa would need a new pastor when Chuck was unable to overcome the inevitable course of the disease that was ravaging his lungs.
Brian Brodersen would not do…he had no star power and he was not a traditionalist…and the traditionalists were splitting from the movement.
Costa Mesa had to be the flagship of the movement and Brian Brodersen wasn’t a captain of that magnitude, they reasoned.
Skip could take the pulpit and more importantly, his wife Lenya could take over Cheryl Brodersens womens ministry that many saw as the heart of the church these days.
Paul had already written the letter that would exchange Brodersens resignation for a million dollar payout.
This was the direction Costa Mesa must go, argued Paul…this is how we keep the Calvary Chapel we know alive after Chuck is gone.
Chuck Smith rejected the proposal.
Paul Smith was staying at his brothers home at this time…after two more weeks of pressuring his brother on the matter, Paul gave up and went to his own home.
When the door closed behind him, the door closed on the Calvary Chapel movement as it has been constituted to this point.
The traditional wing has been most clearly represented by George Bryson with encouragement behind the scenes from Heitzig and others.
They want to keep the “Calvary Chapel distinctives”, as well as the Moses Model and the emphasis on eschatology…along with separation from anything and anyone that smacks of Reformed theology and Calvinism.
They fear that a “Calvary Chapel Association” with leaders with ties to Mark Driscoll and other leaders outside the Calvary camp will distort both the message and the methodology of traditional CC practices.
More than anything else, they reject any change that might compromise each churches independence from outside oversight from a governing body.
They have support from one part of the Smith family…brother Jeff and sister Janette.
In a sad and lengthy case of sibling rivalry they have always felt that Dad likes Cheryl more…and they want to even the score before Chuck passes away.
Insiders have told me that only those close to the family can understand the intensity of that war…with Papa Chuck caught in the crossfire he created.
Brian Brodersen has tried to stay above the conflict…preferring instead to focus on pastoring his flock and believing in faith that this is where God placed him.
Caught in this crossfire without knowing it is the congregation of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa.
The church itself is no longer the 20,000 member powerhouse it once was but the 5000 or more that do attend have embraced the Brodersens as the successor to their beloved Pastor Chuck.
This matters little to the combatants…they have been, in the words of an observer, “objectified”.
In other words, they could become collateral damage for the power brokers…for the “good of the movement”.
At this writing it appears that the matter is settled, and that Broderson will emerge as the pastor of CCCM.
The fate of the CCA is very up in air with many in that group expecting a split into three or four different factions.
The effect of all of this on the local CC on the corner will be minimal at this point…until they have to decide which faction to follow, if any.
Smith now must preach attached to a thirty foot oxygen tube and that tube is the lifeline keeping CC from the anarchy that will follow his homegoing.
The Calvary Chapel movement as we know it will die with Chuck Smith…and I’m not sure he would have it any other way.