About

Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Emergent Monday - How To Hijack A Church

Chuck Smith
June 25, 1927 – October 3, 2013
Say what you will about Calvary Chapel, and I'm sure there's enough criticism for any institution that involves sinful mankind, but when have you ever seen a church adopt a preaching style that encopasses the bible cover to cover, chapter by chapter, verse by verse? It's a beautiful, God worshiping, Holy Spirit praising thing when a church admits that it's God that sets the agenda and not the pastor.

I personally believe that Calvary Chapel founder Chuck Smith put far too much emphasis on pretribulation but that's just me. I love his emphasis and his love for the principle of sola scriptura. Yes, Calvary Chapel depended heavily on contemporary music, but Chuck always made room for good ol' fashion, God worshiping hymns.

Calvary Chapel is near to my heart mostly because it's the church of choice for my wife who is nearer and dearer to my heart, and if we were not already involved in a wonderful God praising small church we would be attending a Calvary Chapel... that is until this whole thing started.

I think what caused it all was that Calvary Chapel got unfortunately huge... very huge. I say unfortunately because I believe that small churches are the best churches. Small churches attract small congregations and tend to stick by their beliefs. Meanwhile huge churches attract huge sums of money along with the people needed to carry it in the door, and that can be addictive. Big congregations need more staff, and big beautiful buildings, and before you know it you're hiring the cast of a broadway musical for your "worship" team.

Calvary Chapel got big - tv stations, radio stations, big beautiful buildings, and not to mention the intellectual property (i.e. books, sermon tapes, etc) which handled properly is a fantastic source of income. Not long after Chuck died of complications from cancer a power struggle broke out for leadership of Calvary Chapel. There were recriminations, accusations and lawsuits, and in the end Brian Brodersen, Chuck's son-in-law ended up at the top of the smoldering heap and all that money.


Calvary Chapel was not an official denomination, a better description would be that Calvary Chapel was a movement, Calvary churches operated autonomously yet they stuck to the doctrine set by Chuck Smith. With Chuck's passing the Calvary Chapel Association fell under the leadership of Chuck's son-in-law Brian Brodersen who took over the Costa Mesa church. Chuck left no clear cut instruction on how Calvary Chapel would proceed when he relinquished power, he simply said "Jesus will run it"

Even before Chucks Passing the Calvary Chapel Association has been drifting apart and many Calvary pastors and church members became rightfully worried. I suppose that the first warning that something was up was when Rick Warren appeared at Chuck Smith's memorial. Pastors and members were stunned and when they asked why he was there, they were told that Rick Warren simply walked up on stage uninvited and turned the spotlight on himself to everyone’s surprise. Mr. Warren has done this in the past to Chuck Smith, but that was on Chuck's radio show, would Rick Warren simply party crash a memorial service? The truth is that he didn't. Brian Brodersen himself invited both Rick Warren and Mark Driscoll while turning a deaf ear to pleas from Calvary Chapel leadership not to invite them.

To be clear Brian Brodersen is in charge of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, this single church is the 'Mecca' of the Calvary Chapel movement. Costa Mesa is the church where Chuck started the movement. In the past what happens at Costa Mesa goes on in all outlying churches in the Calvary Chapel movement. Now Brian Brodersen is at the helm and he's making changes, and with Brodersen's changes at Costa Mesa the numbers who once attended have dwindled. Some of the changes include:
  • No longer is there an emphasis on Bible prophecy
  • Women are given a place in the leadership and allowed to teach men
  • No longer verse by verse Bible teaching which is now called idolatry
  • Old Testament teachings are no longer relevant
  • Sunday morning messages present topical thoughts
  • “Worship” music promotes sensual stimulation with lights and smoke
  • Promotion of Purpose-Driven methods promoting ecumenical unity
  • A definite tendency to reach the youth at the expense of the truth
To me Biblical prophecy falls in the same category as Biblical miracles - they're proof of the power and majesty of God, de-emphasizing them can easily go too far. As for placing women in the leadership and allowing them to teach men - It appears that Mr. Brodersen chose to ignore the Holy Spirit's part in writing the bible and based his decisions on a "possible scenario" of his own invention using terms like "it could very well be that..." and "My conclusion on the matter..." then came up with the conclusion that it is wrong to disregard the scenario he invented and read into the bible, and that following the word of the bible is "reading something into the text that isn’t there" How many straw men gave their lives for this conclusion? The world may never know.

But did Brodersen actually call reading the bible "Idolatry"? He sure did 
“My goal is that people will know the important kind of key points of each book. Because I started thinking about– I really started think about the new person that comes in to church, whose never been through the Bible and I started thinking about, man, going like literally reading every word of every book of the Bible, that could be pretty brutal, especially for some... And that’s in a sense where you could call it idolatry. Where you have to read every word. I mean I felt that way for a long, long time.”
Did Brian Brodersen say the Old Testament is no longer "relevant"? He sure did. In the same video:
"What I really think is, Sunday morning is obviously for most everybody, it’s the largest gathering so you have the most people there Sunday morning. So to me that’s our real opportunity to impart truth to the congregation on Sunday morning. So I feel really strongly that we should be teaching the New Testament on Sunday morning... Here’s my point. I think you can preach the whole counsel of God without teaching all 66 books of the Bible"  
Mr. Brodersen refuses to teach from the old Testament in favor of the New Testament, but what did Jesus and the Apostles teach from? There wasn't a new testament yet, so all their teaching of course came from the Old Testament. This is a vital connection between the two Testaments that will be lost when the Old Testament is ignored. It appears to me that all of Mr. Brodersen's changes are not only "for the youth" but to make life easier for him. He claims that The Old Testament is  not relevant (ignoring the fact that the main teaching of the Old Testament is about man's sinful nature) yet I've heard over and over good Calvary Chapel pastors making the Old Testament relevant and doing it over and over. No, it's not easy

And of course we have to ignore bible prophesy because it's scaring the children. Brian said:
And look, I believe in the rapture, I believer in the Second Coming but I think all f us should have learned by now that none of us know when that’s gonna happen and if we get up every week of if we’re constantly banging that drum of you know Ezekiel 38 and all of this stuff, what you’re indirectly sending a message to the younger gen. That there’s nothing left for you to do it’s all been done so just hold on tight the rapture’s coming and you know, my experiences is that they don’t want to hear that. They want to hear that we can do something for god just like you guys did. 
"do something for god just like you guys did" - is it just me, or does that sound like Kingdom -Dominion theology?

On October 31, 2016 a gathering of Calvary Chapel Association pastors including Joe Focht, Jeff Johnson, Lloyd Pulley, David Guzik, Sandy Adams, Bill Stonebraker, David Rosales, Don McClure, Mike MacIntosh, Raul Ries, Malcolm Wild, Damian Kyle, Wayne Taylor, and Jack Hibbs released a letter that stated in part:
For the past three years, the Council has taken the time to seek the Lord together and try to move forward in unity. As individual pastors we have spoken in support of our core values, but we now feel the need for the Council members to speak with one voice. As our signatures to this letter attest, we are steadfastly committed to our roots, and want to clear up any confusion caused by those who have questioned the Calvary Chapel doctrine and philosophy of ministry statements.
Exactly one week later Brian Brodersen released a letter stating that there were "a few minor differences on a few secondary issues." and because of these "secondary issues"
It is for these reasons that I have decided to resign my position as a member of the CCA Council. I do believe that this is the best way forward for us all. I maintain a love and close friendship with many of the CCA Council members and trust that we will continue, in many ways, to co-labor together for the kingdom. To some degree, this comes down to a difference of vision. 
And now you have the Calvary Chapel Association (CCA) who intends to "Stay the Course" advocated by founder Pastor Chuck Smith and now you have the Calvary Chapel Global Network (CCGN) whose aims lean toward seeker sensitivity and eccuminicism. Why would he do this? Why would he tear apart a church that has lead so many to Christ? According to Emergentwatch.com:
The real reason Brian has “resigned” from the CCA is because they were ready to remove him. No doubt the CCA had witnessed his continual compromises with, and endorsements of numerous false teachers. The final straws were, first his endorsement of women in the pulpits teaching men and women... and then his apparent disdain for Bible prophecy, for the Calvary Distinctives, and his insulting comments about Calvary Chapel founder Pastor Chuck Smith at the Northwest Pastors Conference [NWPC] on Sept. 26-27

Much of the contents of this article comes from the incredible research of Amy Spreeman and Marsha West at Berean Research. If I get anything wrong with this article it's me, not them

1 comment:

  1. I went to Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa for over 30 years. I go by there still to interact with people I know who are serving the Lord and love Him with all their heart. They are also living dedicated selfless and extremely fruitful lives. Please know that good fruit does not come from a bad tree. Brian does things differently, but many changes are totally within the scope of Biblical Christianity. Please consider walking in the shoes of someone who actually experienced Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa for many years and is more acquainted personally with the people that go there before setting yourself up as a judge. I personally believe that the letter written by other Calvary Chapel Pastors was unfortunate and will be unfruitful. My recommendation is for them to live their lives in such a way and conduct their own ministries with such excellence that we all will see their example and be drawn to follow it because they remind us so much of Jesus Christ and his Glory and Love.

    ReplyDelete