The Current State of Calvary Chapel: Part 2

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54 Responses

  1. Melvin Partido Sr says:

    Christians ought to be busy working for the Lord, then they will not have the time or inclination to judge or condemn other Christians People who are busy winning souls to Christ have more important things to do than to investigate the lives of the saints!

    Over 35 years ago, on a quiet midnight shift, I ask a co-worker if he knew anything about the Holy Bible. Little did I know, this co-worker was the Worship leader at a Calvary Chapel Church. I knew than, that God wanted me and my family to leave Roman Catholicism in favor of a Calvary Chapel that teaches the whole counsel of God. What is the whole counsel of God. From Genesis through Revelation, book by book, chapter by chapter and verse by verse. After all in Matthew 4:4, Jesus did say “Its is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

    My family are truly blessed that our Calvary Chapel, part of CCA, has not departed from what the late Pastor Chuck Smith guided Calvary Chapel through the years that I have been part of our local Calvary chapel.
    I am not focusing or want to know what caused the Calvary Chapel split. All I know many are coming to the Lord and being saved. When that last person, wherever he or she is in the world, receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, that would complete the bride of Christ. When that moment comes, Jesus will return in the clouds to take all born again Christian saints home to heaven.

  2. Michael says:

    “Christians ought to be busy working for the Lord, then they will not have the time or inclination to judge or condemn other Christians People who are busy winning souls to Christ have more important things to do than to investigate the lives of the saints!”

    Evidently they do have time to post on blogs to do exactly what they’re criticizing…

    I’m glad you’ve found faith and a home and we’ll agree to disagree on your other statements.

  3. John 20:29 says:

    As an outsider, I read all the thoughts here on Calvary Chapel and only one thing seems to stand out – for me, that is . Human nature is being affirmed again.
    Corrupted as we are (an old sin nature is our corrupted birthright), a majority of us cannot handle money, power and notoriety when we find ourselves “blessed” with them. The history of the Church shows that this is our problem, too – from the very beginning as Revelation’s letters to the 7 churches reveal. IMO, of course. 😇
    Now I know.that this is not new information to anyone here. Calling out incompetent, and worse, players in Church business today is a good thing, Do this prayerfully, yes, but keep doing it. No need for apologies and handwringing. Secular or sacred, people get into positions that performance proves they’re not qualified for – sometimes it’s not even their fault…. sometimes…..

  4. Just A Sheep says:

    Michael,

    Here’s a question for you. Since there is a difference between leadership and influence, do you see any of the leaders of this split, on either side, having any real influence, other than the leadership on their respective camp?

  5. Michael says:

    Just a sheep,

    That’s an interesting question.
    I think Brodersen has real influence overseas…more than here.

    Some of the pew sitters hold some of the old guard in esteem,but I’d have to ponder whether they have real influence.

  6. Just A Sheep says:

    I think you are probably right. It’s something that I think about. The older notions that title implies influence no longer exists. I don’t sense that any of the leadership people (on either side) have any real influence. You could be right about Brodersen overseas though. Hmmmm.

  7. Kevin H says:

    In my experience (which is just my singular experience and cannot speak for other situations) wherein I attend a large CC pastored by one of main leaders of the Old Guard, there is most definitely a significant level of influence. There are plenty of pew sitters (even some who are leaders of some level within the church) who are clearly influenced in their thinking as to what a CC church should be, having a heavy emphasis on eschatology and the Rapture, knowing what is wrong with other churches, etc. A reflection of many of the things in Michael’s article. So within the congregation of my local church there is definite influence. How much influence there is within the movement and with other CC pastors and leaders is a different circumstance I could not speak to.

  8. Michael says:

    KevinH,

    You bring a helpful perspective on these things…thank you.

  9. Oengus says:

    Go to the archives of Cuthbert’s Cave for a refreshing and independent perspective on various matters related to Calvary Chapel and its schism-offshoot Vineyard, along with other miscellany.

    If this sounds like shameless self-advertising, well, it is.

  10. covered says:

    KevinH, does JF ever discuss CCA to the congregation?

  11. Steve says:

    I wouldn’t expect to ever get a straight answer from Joe Focht (JF) regarding CCA to the congregation. Rather you will get a clandestine meeting in the Poconos and an article on their web site with all the signatures blasting Broderson. Pathetic and with what Michael put out here the future of CC with this kind of leadership is doomed. There is no membership so who cares what the congregation thinks.

  12. David says:

    I think some of the Calvary Chapels are seeing attendance declines in general, but I don’t think it will bother them. They will attribute it to people generally not wanting to hear much of any of the Bible taught.

  13. Kevin H says:

    covered,

    He will rarely speak directly about CCA or especially its issues. But he will regularly talk about them, especially it’s issues in a roundabout way. Many who are not in tune with CC politics probably have no idea of the relation to CCA or Calvary Chapel as a whole.

    He will sometimes refer to getting together with other CC leaders such as Raul, and Damian, and Mike MacIntosh to help decide things about Calvary Chapel. Sometimes he will call these meetings important. But I don’t recall him ever calling it the Calvary Chapel Association except maybe once. And I’ve never heard him talk anything about the structure of the organization or the split.

    Now he will never talk to the issues directly, but will bring them up indirectly during sermons. He will regularly talk about the importance of CC’s all being the same. The need for them to be faithful to things such as verse-to-verse teaching, empasizing the Rapture and End Times, etc. In general he will also regularly criticize/condemn things like pastors who drink, those who don’t believe in or emphasize the End Times, etc.

  14. Disillusioned says:

    The CC we attended lines up with Michael’s article.

    My observations, now 5 years out: the hypocrisy and exclusivist attitudes of the so-called leadership there pretty much negates anything they may have tried to teach.

    My family is still in CC recovery. The way they worm their way into your mind and try to control you with their own twisted interpretations of pet scriptures has left shattered trust in their wake.

    I don’t know if I’ll ever attend church again…

  15. Steve says:

    Disillusioned. I hear your pain but try not to give these phonies that much power. The CCA institution is not a church. Its a joke.

  16. ( |o )====::: says:

    Jesus is the same, yesterday, today & forever.

    …so, churches and movements come & go, but He is the one constant, and love for all people, in the church, or not yet, is our calling.

  17. Bobby Grow says:

    When I attended CC Bible College, and CC Costa Mesa I experienced so much spiritual warfare it is hard to quantify. Some of it was simply cognitive dissonance being imposed upon me by CC’s anti-intellectual approach and elevation of their leadership as God’s authority. Growing up the son of a Conservative Baptist pastor I knew there was a world outside of CC, and so I got out after about 4 intensive years within (95-99). I mean the Lord was still able to bring some ministry to me through some of them (Chuck and Hocking), but overall CC really made me feel cut off from the rest of the body of Christ; amd sociologically like I was in a (personality) cult.

  18. Every movement has systemic flaws. Those who build walls to maintain greatness box themselves in and cannot move forward. I f your leadership is closed off to criticism your future is limited. There are new wine skins waiting for new wine. The spirit moves on, continuing the reformation.

  19. Mayonaise says:

    The problem is that Michael attempts to negate the power of the church with his blog. He makes the erroneous notion that he can replace thousands of years of church government structure and replace it with gossip under the cloak of “accountability”. Truth is that Jesus didn’t need bloggers to shed light on church infractions, he left it up to the Bride to handle their own affairs. I guess when you have a vendetta and roots of bitterness there has to be some sort of harmful outlet. Real noble work you’re doing there Mike, keep it up big guy. Dilly Dilly…

  20. Bobby Grow says:

    You gotta love anonymous commenters challenging the integrity of someone. And then erroneously suggesting that blogs are inherently inadequate mediums to bring accountability to movements, leaders, etc. How silly can you get mayonaise?

  21. Jtk says:

    CC is what brought me here.

    But it has so very little to do with what has kept me here.

    Blog on, Der Blogmeister Michael!

  22. Jeff Sheckstein says:

    Mayonnaise,

    “…the Bride handling church affairs.” Really. How well did “the Bride” handle embezzlement and conversion at a large well known Calvary Chapel church when the senor pastor, asst. pastor and senor pastor’s son converted without notice to its Board, or anyone else for that matter, $1.3 Mil to purchase and own (for themselves) a cycle apparel company? And then losing money was forced to sell it for less than $100k a couple of years later.

    Or how about $11mil or so in funds being used to build an organization under the misrepresentation to leadership and the church that that organization is titled in, owned and controlled by the funding church? when in fact it was controlled and ultimately owned by a few managers?

    Tip of the iceberg my friend.

    Now let’s not even broach the issue of sexual abuse, marital affairs of senior pastors, etc.

    Accountability my behind.

    You are lucky Michael has not opened the coffers of information gathered or brought to him, mostly about CC’s, that he has. But if this missive is not sufficient for your mind, email Michael and request my email and I’d be glad to guide you down the rabbit hole. I suspect your characterization of Michael’s and Alex Grenier’s blog will no longer meet your characterization of “gossip.”

    Lastly, for clarification purposes, it is the Word of God, the blood of Christ and the Holy Spirit that has the power, not the institution called the church.

    Take off the blinders my man.

  23. covered says:

    Sheck sounds a lot like an attorney 🙂

  24. Muff Potter says:

    Great article Michael!
    Made me think of a story board for a new season of Game of Thrones, or even an H.G. Wells time machine jaunt back to Medici Italy.

  25. filbertz says:

    bologna sandwich with mayonnaise…and a koolaid chaser.

    Still popular in some circles.

  26. JonnyB says:

    I was impressed with your words concerning this side of the Calvary split. Very insightful. History just might repeat itself in when some of these upper tier leadership dudes start being called to heaven. Wonder if they, unlike Chuck Smith, will have set in place their replacements? Will their fiefdom split?

    Moonbones, is the Vineyard really a schism of Calvary Chapel? I don’t think so. John Wimber was invited to leave and go start his own church if he did not like how things were being done at Calvary Chapel, just like many others.

    What John built had nothing to do with Calvary or Chuck. Admittedly Lonnie Frisbee was present at building both churches.

  27. Michael says:

    Jtk,

    That comment meant more than you can know…thank you.

  28. Michael says:

    Thanks to all the rest of you as well…long timers will remember when these articles generated a lot more heat than light…

  29. Michael says:

    Sheck,

    It’s literally to the point where I don’t remember most of what we’ve slogged through.
    I’m not sure if that’s a bad thing…

  30. Steve says:

    CCA and the old guard Moses Model practitioners are on the wrong side of history. We are in the age of #metoo and accountability in government and the like. We have never seen anything like this and for CC to not change and remain as accountability-less as always is their death blow. They are finished unless they change and have some transparency like real membership. Donors are becoming more and more suspicious and won’t give to these phonies without accountability (my opinion) in the long run. I’m not a prophet but these are my predictions. This heavy handed style of leadership is for the history books and for all practical purposes will be dismantled of its corrupt ways in less than a decade (my opinion). I hope I am right. Just so we are clear with folks like Joe Focht, accountability is not all about refraining from a beer like that is the most serious sin to be concerned about. No its actually about transparency in the government of the church. Clandestine CCA meetings in the Poconos to figure out how to gain control and market share of a brand is about as far away from accountability as the east is from the west. Shameful!

  31. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve,
    Still missing from the conversation is that the vast majority of CC attenders, regardless which branch affiliation truly love CC and the current governing style ie, Moses Model.
    No matter what anyone says about accountability, membership and having quarterly business meetings – no one cares. It is the right of Christians to be uninvolved. Most do not want to know how the sausage is made and to foist that upon them is unchristian.

    If someone has gone to a CC for 20 yrs and has never asked “where is the money going?” they should be left in peace. If someone has gone to a CC for 20 yrs and has never asked, “how assistant pastors are chosen?”, they should be left in peace.

    And, to almost all attenders, their pastor and who they may hear on the radio is CC in it’s entirety — probably 99% have never heard of Joe Fotch or (fill in the blank).

  32. Steve says:

    MLD, I agree with you. I’m just pointing out a trend in our society that is picking up momentum. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see the attendance of these CCs drop big time over time. I could be wrong and I’m not claiming I am a prophet but time will tell if I am right. I hope I am. The problem I believe with CC is they will never be able to compete with the huge mega monster churches for market share unless they really sell out to the world. Since they still have some authenticity left in them in that they have a high view of the bible, they really can’t compete as much with the world. However, once the congregation starts learning the bible on their own which is becoming easier now a days with the internet, folks are going to demand a more educated clergy with accountability. Its inevitable in my opinion but maybe I am completely off base.

  33. Chris Q says:

    I come to read things here from time to time out of a morbid sense of curiosity. There needs to be some clarity here, because blanket statements are just that, and they do not apply to all.

    We have what you people like to call the “Moses Model” at our CC affiliated church. Our board receives financial reports at every meeting and they routinely ask questions and demand accountability. Our bylaws give them the ability to remove me for immorality, unethical business maters, etc. I encourage this and made sure it was part of our bylaws, so that accusations, could never be brought of a dictatorship and yes men. The congregation deserves this and they are free to look at our financial information, if they are people who support the ministry financially. A person coming off the street would be told they have no right to look, since they have no stake in the matter. We are able to do what some people say is only possible by membership. We are able to that while never making people feel like a number.

    I would also say that many of the pastors and churches who I know have the exact same structure. In case people didn’t know churches like ours are in CCA, now you know. There are more than you know, FYI. So measuring all churches, based on the actions of some higher profile ones who abuse power, is not telling the whole story. There are many of us, who are CC in the classic sense, who still walk in the fear of God.

  34. Steve says:

    Hi Chris Q, I appreciate your willingness to post here and give your perspective.

  35. Corby says:

    “Having said that, they have won more of the battle for pastoral numbers and mind share than Brodersen’s Calvary Global Network has.”

    You gave a couple of good reasons why they are succeeding, but I think you left a very important one out; the other side has no interest in fighting back and I think that’s a good thing.

    Someone asked or mentioned having influence. From my experience, the desire to have influence over others is part of what defines CCA, and CGN has no interest in that, and again I think that’s a good thing.

    I get the impression that Brian isn’t interested in pastoral numbers and mindshare, because those are exactly the cancers that caused a large portion of all of this. It’s supposed to be a fellowship of churches built on relationships, and a few of these churches are huge with resources they want to share (is Bible Colleges, camps, etc.).

    If there is a war, only one side is fighting, and while it appears they are winning they are still going to lose for the very reasons they are winning now as outlined above; namely internal leadership attrition. They are the mini-Chuck’s who will also die one day and without a plan of succession will possibly and ironically find a “Brian” stepping in to ideologically and methodologically right the ship, because that’s what the fit is about. Ideology and methodology. Not theology, not doctrine.

    If I were an illustrator I’d draw this picture, in my head it kind of looks like a traditional political cartoon style drawing. Two children, one holding a doll that says “Moving On,” and the other holding a “Chuck” doll away from the other and shouting, “Mine!”

    That’s kinda what this whole thing feels like.

  36. Corby says:

    Thanks for posting that ChrisQ. I’ve always held that the Moses Model can be done well. I had it in the little church I pastored but in practicality I was constantly asking for input from people. It’s supposed to be accountability and responsibility, not the power to dictate. The fact is, any leadership model can be abused by those in it.

    The problem isn’t the model (usually), it’s the saved sinners in the model.

  37. Chris Q says:

    Every model is prone to abuse and corruption because it has humans involved. There is no model which is superior to another, since all have people involved.

  38. Michael says:

    “I come to read things here from time to time out of a morbid sense of curiosity.”

    I watch your “conferences” for the same reason…

  39. Chris Q says:

    Fair enough

  40. Jeff Sheckstein says:

    Just thought I’d ring back in with my two cents worth.

    I am glad to see “structures” as Chris describes it that are not truly a “Moses Model” type in its original or truest sense. They are more typically aligned with a corporate governance structure. I drafted a version like Chris describes some eleven years ago that I suspect is a Genesis template that is likely found in dozens of CC’s today. I know I gave out quite a few after the CSN debacle and my leaving the mothership. I wish the last Moses Model I was involved with was the one I made in Hebrew school with the plaques. Anyways I digress.

    But I must add one other point. This structure Chris describes can also be easily abused. PC made many decisions without regard to taking them to his board which almost any set of bylaws would require, be it investing church funds, making church loans, funding ministries, etc., all in the tens of millions. I have seen this behavior replicated in dozens of CC’s. While for the most part Chuck was a “sophisticated investor,” nonetheless it circumvented church government mechanisms and was left unchecked even when made known to his board.

    Therefore bylaws should contain provisions calling for removal under these type circumstances.

    Chris, you are correct in saying the need for fear of God is essential, unfortunately when the fruit of the senior pastor is such that reasonable doubt can be drawn from improper behavior, both personal and corporate, there needs to be consequences as expressly found in church governance documents.

  41. Michael says:

    Jeff,

    Thank you as always…your input here is invaluable.

  42. Jeff Sheckstein says:

    Ps. Corby. I wholly (and holy) agree with your assessment and perspective on the matter. Blessings

  43. Melvin Partido Sr says:

    Any moment, Jesus Christ will return in the clouds to take “all born again Christian saints” home to heaven in the Rapture of the church. All our questions will be “irrelevant.” Come Lord Jesus, come quickly…

  44. Michael says:

    Melvin,

    That’s one view…

  45. Nathan Priddis says:

    Melvin.

    You are describing a congregation passively, faithfully, waiting for the end of the World. All while wearing burlap bags over your heads.

    How is that different from Jonestown, Waco or any other religious hellhole?

  46. Jim Jacobson says:

    Corby @35 you said “the desire to have influence over others is part of what defines CCA, and CGN has no interest in that…” -What? Brodersen has methodically sought to be the CC messenger. He controls what he calls “Your one-stop online-hub for Calvary Chapel and the Calvary Global Network”. It may not seem as though CGN desire interest OVER others, but controlling the message IS control over the group.

  47. Tami Avants says:

    I have heard a few things regarding this split so I would like to get some straight answers. First is it true that Brian Broderson is taking CC to a place like Hillsong? Meaning they have been pro gay from what I have seen. Are you going progressive now like some churches are with affirming gay marriage? Also a friend who is a CC pastors wife went to a women’s meeting and the speaker was a married lesbian. Can you explain what’s going on?

  48. Michael says:

    “Can you explain what’s going on?”
    Yes.
    You’ve been listening to people with the intelligence of hamsters and the ethics of rabid badgers.
    Brodersen has been clear that the position of CGN is “non affirming”.
    A “married lesbian”?
    And how would your friend know?

  49. Michael says:

    If you want to know about Brodersen and CGN go to calvarychapel.com and access all the videos and articles he has written…let him speak for himself.

  50. Daryl Mc Cutcheon says:

    This January I left a Calvary Chapel due to witnessing a lot of changes going there, the was becoming more worldly resembling a corporation- spectator show, which was beginning to troubled me, Calvary Chapel when I first attended was a great joy to attend to read line by line verses, organic worship from a very organic passionate to Lord worship Pastor, only as time rolled on I began to witness Associate and Worship Pastors leaving and people I knew in droves, only in time for me to make that final exit out the door, I am out of season at this present time, when I get in season I will be Praying and Seeking a Book of Acts – New Testament Home Church not a registered 501 (c) 3 tax exempt corporation

  51. Me;l says:

    In Matthew 4:4 Jesus said “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

    My family and I have been attending Calvary Chapel for over 40 years. Calvary chapel churches teaches from the Bible, book by book, chapter by chapter and verse by verse. Prophecy updates according to the bible is also being shared.

    I truly believe Calvary chapel church is a true example of the Church of Philadelphia in the book of Revelation. I have not sense any worldly values entered the teaching at Calvary chapel.

    We have enjoyed the teachings of Calvary chapel pastors, Bill Stonebreaker, Derald Skinner, Raul Ries; Jack hibbel, Mike McCintosh and a few others that were guest speakers in our local Calvary chapel church.

    I just don’t know what’s your problem with Calvary chapel. But any moment now (immency) Jesus Christ is returning to take all born again Christian home to heaven. You do believe that, don;t you? Well if you do, stop being concern with whatever problem you have with Calvary chapel because everyone concern will be in heaven praising God Almighty.

  52. Mel says:

    to Phoenix Preacher: All praises and glory to God almighty for your kind words. But I really do want to know your differences with Calvary Chapel. I presume your difference is with Calvary Chapel Association (CCA) I believe that’s the name, not the global one that Brian Borderson heads.’

    I don’t intent to open a discussion with you of any disagreement you may have. I just want you to be truthful on what’s on your mind about the Calvary Chapel Association.? God bless you

  53. Michael says:

    Mel,

    Every prophecy update in history has been wrong.
    You think about that.
    I’m not in the mood today…

  54. So, you care nothing about eschatology when the Word says that wolves will wax worse and worse. That we should study one third of the Bible, which is prophecy. From what I have seen Broaderson is joining with one noted wolf, Rick Warren and appearing to not have a problem with ecumenicalism with the Pope’s plans. The problem is not that young men will eventually replace the old Guard, but what will be their caliber? If it is the likes of Lusko, Fertick, Lenz, Hilltop people, or those who partner with Catholic laity, or Emergents then Calvary Chapels have an increasingly apostacising future. The Word of God is being thrown under the bus. God bless the Joe Fochts who are trying to hold the line. The issue is not so much styles of leadership or ministry , but the absolute flood of apostacy in the Laodicean church of these endtimes that is happening. Sorry to see how you despise the wisdom of elders. Indeed, God warned the women and children will rule over Israel as its curse. We see it happening with Women becoming pastors and a sort of youth cult occurring within the church at large.

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