Jul 312013

On July 19, Chuck Smith sent an email blast to all Calvary Chapel senior pastors endorsing the new Calvary Chapel Association.

On July 20th, George Bryson held a conference at CC Cypress rallying senior pastors to “stay the course”… to hold to traditional Calvary distinctives that aren’t endorsed (at least in print) by the new CCA.

Chuck Smith sent them an endorsement as well.

On Sunday the 21st, everyone was confused.



Jackie Alnor just reported on her Facebook that John Higgins, a staunch traditionalist, has left the movement.

“We feel that the original calling and vision for Calvary Chapel in 1966 was from the LORD. Therefore, we at Tri City have withdrawn from the present day hype, by notifying the CCA and Chuck Smith personally that we are no longer associated with the CCA or Costa Mesa. I have spoken of this at conferences with interesting results. We speak of being a independent fellowship of believers.This took place right after the June pastors conf in Marietta when Greg and Bob Coy presented their plan for integrating with the apostasies of today. 

Our church reps walked out and never returned. As a result, we have lost fellowship with many of the “Calvary’s” in our area as they have embraced these false teachers in hope of growth and (in my opinion) the hope of monetary gain. 

We at Tri City go back to 1966 when we were called into the battle field. And not wanting to change our name, (we say they should), are looking to incorporate the idea of the date 1966 in our logo.

However, that is yet to be completed. Our fellowship know where we stand and we are strong in the strength of our Lord.

I hope this gives you and your associates a clear understanding of our position.

 We are not fighting against CCCM and its ways but we are fighting for the Truth of God’s Word.

 In Jesus,


As pastors all over the country begin to come to grips with the fact that sooner rather than later there will be a leadership void at the Calvary mothership, questions about the movements future are finally being asked out loud.

The loudest voice in support of keeping things as they have always been has been George Bryson.

Bryson, well know for his anti- Calvinist polemics, has kept up a steady stream of “educational” emails in support of his position.

My sources tend to discount or even mock him…and in my opinion, that is a mistake.

What Bryson is saying is that those inside the movement need to preserve what made CC unique…the independence of the pastors, the anti-Reformed theology, and the pretrib Rapture doctrine.

He also intimates that Chuck Smith agrees with him…and all the evidence I’ve seen indicates that he’s telling the truth.

The CCA statement of faith is basically a standard Baptistic SoF…unique in no way from any other Baptistic document.

The CCA also establishes regional leadership, bishoprics if you will.

Bryson isn’t interested in having a bishop…nor is Chuck Smith interested in having them either.

In an email to Bryson answering a question on the independence of each pastor, Smith said this;

“No Calvary is under or over another Calvary, we are all brothers in Christ, we all have the freedom to follow our understanding of how the Lord is leading us. If you feel the Lord is leading you in another direction, you are free to go and follow that leading. If you agree to the Calvary Chapel distinctives and desire to fellowship with us, you are welcome. What we do not want is for fellows to call themselves Calvary Chapel, and go a dozen different directions, that will only end in total confusion. The CCA board is intended only as an advisory board, not a ruling board. The men serve on this board only to help when called upon or needed. In Christ, Chuck”

In other words, if you want to tell the CCA to pack sand…be fruitful and prosper.

Some pastors have already…and more will if there is an attempt to oversee them or their churches in any fashion.

As one said to me recently, “I invite them to leave me completely alone”.

While my conflicts with Bryson are now legendary, I hear what he is trying to communicate.

Every denomination has doctrinal identities that make them unique and CC is on the verge of losing theirs.

If I was a CC pastor, that would matter to me.

In the long run, those that it does matter to will have to make their own way…and the splits will continue.

Jul 302013

links_image1Older women feel ignored in the church and culture…

Gods promise of peace to the restless…

Is Rush Limbaugh finished?

Why the local church should cultivate discipleship…. those guys still need Bill Kinnon to define discipleship for them

Americans more concerned about loss of civil liberties than terrorism…finally.

When churches produce heretics instead of disciples….

Crucifying Christian art…

Why millennials are leaving the church…

A surprisingly good response to the above link…

Tim Keller Q & A…

Odd pastoral assignments…

Ancient critics…same as modern critics…

The return of private confession and absolution…

Rethinking the $3000 mission trip…

The return of Art Bell…

According to one estimate, a Christian is martyred every five minutes…

Jul 292013

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x3251. The biggest theological problem today (and the one that we have ignored to our ruin) is holiness.

Until you come to grips with the holiness of God and His demands for holiness from His people you cannot begin to comprehend the biblical narrative in a meaningful fashion. It is only when you understand  the holiness of God and the unholiness of fallen men you begin to understand the difference between you and God…and your desperate need for a Savior.

2. We have so stressed the immanence of God in this generation that we have begun to despise the God who is transcendent. Without a knowledge of both, we worship an idol of our own making.

3.Charles Spurgeon said;“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.” The question before the house is do our words and actions look like pleading with the lost to be reconciled to God or like we’re pushing them to the pit in Jesus name?

4. Psychologist Rollo May identifies five kinds of power that leaders can exert. (1) Exploitative power uses physical force or the threat of violence and leaves the other with no choice but to comply. (2) Manipulative power uses the covert cunning of the con man rather than the gunman. (3) Competitive power employs an I win / you lose strategy. Only one can win, and it results in shrinkage of community. (4) Nutrient power is likened to the parents’ care for their children; they exercise their power to do them good. Problems arise when “care” becomes smothering and when it insists on doing children good the parents’ way. Such methods create dependency.(5) Integrative power works with the other person to enable them to grow both mentally and spiritually. I thought that was interesting, especially in light of the fact that I have very little to offer today.

5. The G.R.A.C.E. statement on child abuse in the church has only gathered about 1400 signatures despite being seen by hundreds of thousands of readers. Make your own application…

6. This link is better than anything I’ll write this week…

7. When I was a lad there were many cultural role models,( both real and fictitious) that assisted in forming good character. The children of today are stuck with us. How are we doing?

8. This is what I taught on Sunday night;  “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,”(2 Corinthians 10:3–5 ESV) The battle from the beginning has been with supernatural darkness, (not other people) and the battleground is your mind. We’ve lost many battles because we have chosen to use the weapons of the world instead of the ones of the Spirit. The biggest win of the enemy has been to divide us against each other…and the war goes on.

9. The aforementioned war goes on whether you choose to acknowledge it or not….and you are a participant whether you choose to acknowledge it or not.

10. The biggest takeaway from my little break in the woods? There is still a vast amount of beauty, peace, and grace on this broken planet…and it’s worth pointing to as much as that which is broken.

Jul 272013

Word of GodWhat did you teach?

What did you learn?

Did you hear the Gospel?

The Heidelberg Catechism

(A. D. 1563)


1. What is thy only comfort in life and death?

That I with body and soul, both in life and death,1 am not my own,2 but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ;3 who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins,4 and delivered me from all the power of the devil;5 and so preserves me6 that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head;7 yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation,8 and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life,9 and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him.10

1. Rom. 14:7, 8.

2. 1 Cor. 6:19.

3. 1 Cor. 3:23; Tit. 2:14.

4 .1 Pet. 1:18, 19; 1 John 1:7; 1 John 2:2, 12.

5. Heb. 2:14; 1 John 3:8; John 8:34-36.

6. John 6:39; John 10:28; 2 Thess. 3:3; 1 Pet. 1:5.

7. Matt. 10:29-31; Luke 21:18.

8. Rom. 8:28.

9. 2 Cor. 1:20-22; 2 Cor. 5:5; Eph. 1:13, 14; Rom. 8:16.

10. Rom. 8:14; 1 John 3:3.

2. How many things are necessary for thee to know, that thou, enjoying this comfort, mayest live and die happily?

Three;1 the first, how great my sins and miseries are;2 the second, how I may be delivered from all my sins and miseries;3 the third, how I shall express my gratitude to God for such deliverance.4

1. Matt. 11:28-30; Luke 24:46-48; 1 Cor. 6:11; Tit. 3:3-7.

2 .John 9:41; John 15:22.

3. John 17:3; Acts 4:12; Acts 10:43 .

4. Eph. 5:8-11; 1 Pet. 2:9, 10; Rom. 6:1, 2, 12, 13.


Jul 272013

God of our mothers and fathers long gone and treasured,
God of our grandchildren yet to be and awaited,
God of our years, our days, and even this moment:
Our lives are deeply rooted in miracles before us,
Our faith is richly set in courage running thick,
Our vocation is shaped by all those
who have risked for your purposes.



And now, in our remembering, we are made mindful
of our own place of call, and our own time of obedience.
We pray for ourselves and for your whole church,
courage beyond our easier timidity,
vision beyond our present tense,
restlessness beyond our steady settlements, and yielding beyond our will to manage.

Give us appropriate yielding that we may be like our remembered ones in freedom and in love for you.

We pray in the name of Jesus whom we remember until he comes again.


Walter Brueggemann From Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth

Jul 272013

IMG_0570To me and countless others over time, Crater Lake is the most beautiful place on earth.

For those unaware, it is a volcano that blew up, collapsed into itself and slowly filled with the clearest water on earth.

Another cone came up through that, and now it’s the deepest lake in North America, seventh deepest in the world.

It is a wonder of the world, breathtaking in it’s unspeakable beauty.

What it really is…is a scar.

A scar of God.

Before the cataclysmic explosion it was “just” another mountain in the Cascade range, a home for myriad animals and Native Americans.

The eruption was powerful, terrible, awesome.

The mountain was destroyed along with all the surrounding area.

There was nothing beautiful left.

If you had lived here and managed to survive the blast, you would have had to move on…the life you had known before was no longer.

It was all over…but it wasn’t.

Slowly, the land healed…and what God created in the devastation was far greater than what had been before.

It took a very long time, a very long time indeed.

Now, people come from all over the world to see the scar of God.

Some of us find healing in it.

The transformation has triumphed over the devastation.

It always will.

Make your own application…and now, it’s all yours today.



Jul 262013

IMG_0569When I opened the cabin door the stress just evaporated.

We’d arrived late but, praise God, we had arrived indeed.

The scent of pine floors and warm fir needles enveloped me like a grandmothers arms and I knew I was home.

I needed this…I needed peace and restoration and time away from “real life” to hear the voice of God.

I needed the silence of nature, which in reality isn’t silent at all.


The creation does more than groan…it sings and claps and dances and all of it is praise to the God I know, but with whom my relationship suffers due to lack of attention on my part.

I was going to fix that.

I was going to listen and sing with the waters, the birds, the trees, and the breezes.

There was another voice accompanying me however…

“I’m hungry”.

“I want to go swimming…now”.

“When does the ice cream stand close?”

“What kind of rock is this?”

“How deep is it here?”

“What if I fall in?”

“Have you ever seen a bear here?”

“Can I make a fire now?”

And on and on without ceasing…

All the praise songs of nature drowned out by the constant inquisition of an eleven year old.

Finally, in frustration, I muttered to God under my breath, “I just wanted to hear from you and hear what I’m supposed to be doing!”

He said…”You have….I just asked you if I could start a fire now”.

Make your own application…



Jul 252013

Domestic and family violence. Little girl asking for help.There has been debate in the church for years if domestic violence or spousal abuse is a biblical ground for divorce.

Traditionally, only adultery and desertion have fit that qualification in the eyes of many clergy.

It has never been a question for me…the answer has always been a loud “yes”.

Spousal abuse is a desertion of the responsibilities and covenant of marriage.


Now, Reformed scholar Carl Trueman adds his affirmative answer.

Listen to his argument on this edition of his podcast “The Mortification of Spin”.

Not only does he affirm the right to leave a physically abusive marriage, he sets down hard guidelines for how the church should react to both spousal and child abuse.

This is a powerful and important word for both pastors and people who may find themselves in an abusive relationship.

This…is a word that has been needed to be spoken by someone of Truemans stature for a long time.

Jul 242013

IMG_0560I’m getting ready to leave for the woods tomorrow.

I’ll be heading for Union Creek and Crater Lake, Oregon, where I grew up.

It’s my ground and water…where I was born, where I now go for healing, and where they will scatter my remains when this is all over.

It’s my favorite place on earth.

Where’s yours?