Does CC Endorse Believers Church?

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64 Responses

  1. Xenia says:

    Does the “P” in the liturgy stand for pastor or for priest?

    You know what this reminds me of… Maybe 35 years ago or so a group of Campus Crusade for Christ leaders became dissatisfied with evangelicalism and formed a group to study the early Church and realized the great disparity between the practices of their group and the early Christians. They began changing the way they “did” church. They eventually formed a group called the Evangelical Orthodox Church (EOC) and had their own bishops, liturgy, etc. Of course, the “real” Orthodox didn’t accept them and the whole lot of them were eventually received into the Eastern Orthodox Church en masse, which was scandalous at the time and has repercussions to this day.

    KP’s group reminds me of the EOC, which is fine with me…. I think they are moving in the right direction, as far as theology is concerned. It’s hard to believe the supporting CC’s are ok with this, though.

  2. Xenia says:

    The EOC is now defunct, by the way.

  3. Michael says:

    This looks more to me like an ATM machine with robes on…

  4. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Might be a cheap shot – we can’t get them on being crooks so how about this – Yikes, they are Catholics!!

  5. Michael says:

    Not a cheap shot at all…and I’ll let the other evidence speak for itself.
    When Jon Courson hinted at the “real presence” during Communion at a pastors conference it was a scandal for years.

  6. Kevin H says:

    The bigger problem here is not how they conduct church or their theoligical beliefs (although we all might have our own opinions of how right or wrong they are). The main problem is that they represent themselves quite differently to their primarily evangelical (and Calvary Chapel) donor base. They are deceptive in their representation.

  7. Michael says:

    Kevin H…exactly.

  8. Kevin H says:

    Michael – One quick correction – It’s Believers Church, not Believers Chapel.

  9. Michael says:

    Thank you…I’ll fix that. 🙂

  10. Kevin H says:

    Xenia,

    In answering your first question, I have been told by those who were part of GFA that they are all called priests in Believers Church, not pastors.

  11. Set Free says:

    I especially like the Intercession part in every Order of Worship.

    “P/D: Let us pray for all the Bishops who lead and guide the holy church throughout the nations of the world, especially our spiritual father, the honourable Metropolitan, Dr. K.P. Yohannan, all our Episcopas, our Vicar Generals, priests, deacons, missionaries and heads of different departments. Let us ask our Heavenly Father to give his grace to lead the church with wisdom and in the power of the Holy Spirit.”

  12. Andrew says:

    CC is like a chameleon theologically. Yes at times they have promoted the real presence in the supper and at times they are more Zwinglian. They got something for everyone, in every place at different times like a smorgasbord buffet. Brilliant marketing strategy but as others are noting here, not very honest.

  13. Michael says:

    I have never, ever, heard anyone but Courson even come close to anything but the memorial view.

  14. Andrew says:

    Coursen is no small giant in the CC fold. First time I went to a Lutheran church I met some folks that came from Coursen’s church which I found interesting. My experience has been more one where the pastor advocated a very mystical union in the communion service. Something I have never witnessed in any other church.

  15. Michael says:

    I don’t think he’s even affiliated anymore…

  16. Andrew says:

    Doesn’t General Boykin have lots of ties to Jesuits?

  17. Michael says:

    I’m not at all sure what either Boykin or the Jesuits have to do with this subject. Those days are over in most CC’s.

  18. Xenia says:

    According to those who have asked GFA, these Catholicky trappings are required by the Indian government? Is this really true?

  19. Andrew says:

    Michael, I am only going with with I am noticing here in the east coast. Boykin has made several appearances recently. Gayle Erwin from GFA speaking in a few weeks, etc.. I don’t have the info on all the CC’s you do but this is what I noticing here.

  20. Michael says:

    Possible. East Coast is a lot more old school than out here and I don’t have many sources out there.

  21. Andrew says:

    Keep in mind all you hear on the news around here is the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia in a few weeks. I wonder how many local CC’s are going to say something. Its a huge deal here.

  22. Michael says:

    Xenia,
    It’s my understanding that it only has to be an episcopy.

  23. Kevin H says:

    I can only speak to my experiences in only one CC. Of course, it’s one of the biggest and maybe most influential CC on the East Coast. If the pope’s visit to our city would be mentioned from the pulpit, I cannot imagine it being said in any fashion that is supportive or complimentary of Catholicism. That’s just not the way things work in my church. As for Boykin, yes he has been here several times. But I think that that has everything to do with Israel and nothing to do with Boykin’s supposed Jesuit connections. And our communion is most definitely strictly memorial view.

  24. Kevin H says:

    My understanding from what I have been told by GFA is that the Indian government requires an episcopal or episcopal-like structure. However, GFA and Believers Church seem to go far beyond what is required.

  25. On what is required by the Indian govt, ask anyone who tells you that for the statute which requires it.

    No statute requires Believers’ Church to consider the bread and wine to be the body and blood of Christ.

    The structure of the church might be required but I have seen no proof. After several months of checking these GFA claims, I don’t believe anything without checking a primary source.

  26. Bene D says:

    Question.

    Gospel for Asia’s Canadian director Pat Emerick is listed a) as a missionary out of Calvary Chapel Olympia.I would assume he is a member.

    He is ordained in the Gospel for Asia ‘Believers Church. That makes him a member doesn’t it?

    There are no Calvary Chapels in Stoney Creek Ontario, so he must be attending another denomination.

    Is he funded as a missionary to Canada by CC Olympia?
    Does CC fund missionaries who are ordained elsewhere and attend elsewhere?

  27. Michael says:

    Bene D,

    Those are excellent questions…

  28. Michael says:

    Thanks, Warren!

  29. Eric says:

    I wondered whether Believers’ Church might have been influenced by the Church of South India. CSI is one of the major denominations in the southern states so many BC members will previously have been in CSI. CSI have an episcopal structure although their heritage is mixed protestant. Their clergy like to dress up too what what I’ve seen.

    But the CSI liturgy I can find from a quick google is not that high-church. The BC liturgy here is far more sacramental. I wonder what the rest of their worship look like.

  30. Eric says:

    I remember seeing the GFA website a few years ago. Being a large org, funded mostly from the West, I imagined they would want to come across in the best possible way, but wouldn’t have thought the reality was too different from pictured.

    The evangelists pictured were Indian men and women, all in plain clothes, holding a bible. It comes across to us as generic evangelical, humble hard-working servants, with no one getting rich out of the operation.

    What we’ve seen in recent months has shattered the illusion, although I assume there’s plenty of gospel work proceeding on the ground despite the problems of the org. The financial impropriety and other dishonesty is terrible but we have seen such things before. The manifold change to high church is just strange. Why?

  31. Kevin H says:

    Bene D,

    Not only would the ordination make him a member of Believers Church, but it also made him a priest thereof! (Of course when I asked GFA about this, they used the term pastor, not priest. Just an example of how they mislead and deceive.)

    And speaking of that ordination, here is the oath that Pat had to take (I have posted this a couple times before):

    KP: “Are you resolved to accept and obey the given orders, responsibilities, and disciplines of the church and the ministry and discharge them in absolute submission in accordance with the constitution of the church?”

    Pat: “I am.”

    KP: “Will you promise to submit to my leadership, my successors, and authorities of the church and the ministry set over you all the days of your life and ministry?

    Pat: “I firmly make this pledge and promise in the name of God and before this congregation that I will submit and always remain loyal and faithful to your leadership and to your successors and in all matters.”

    I don’t know about anybody else, but this has red flags all over for me in regards to a leader (KP) who is demanding way too much control and is making the situation ripe for abuses of power.

  32. Bene D says:

    Thanks Kevin.

    I checked the Ontario Registar General site and federal sites.

    I’m not seeing The Believers Church registered as a denomination in Canada.
    Emerick isn’t registered as a priest in Ontario – he can’t hatch, match or dispatch, so it doesn’t mean much except to him I guess.

  33. Kevin H says:

    As for the Indian government’s requirement of an episcopal structure, I’m only going by what GFA told me. I haven’t seen that documented anywhere else, then again, I haven’t looked very hard on that one. So maybe it’s true. But then again, I don’t really trust anything GFA says. I know they mislead me as to what degree Believers Church is episcopal-like and that they supposedly only do a few episcopal-like things to appease the government. So they tried to deceive me in that regards.

  34. Kevin H says:

    Bene D,

    I was told by GFA that it was an ordination service for him to become a pastor (code for priest) in Believers Church. I wouldn’t know where you would have to look to find that in official form. Maybe it’s only applicable in India or something like that. Who knows with the way GFA does things.

  35. Set Free says:

    @27, it looks like some CC’s do fund missionaries who are ordained elsewhere and attend elsewhere. CC Modesto’s website lists both David Carroll and Daniel Punnose as missionaries. Both are ordained priests in Believers Church and neither regularly attends a CC. CC Roswell also lists David Carroll as a missionary.

  36. Steve Wright says:

    According to those who have asked GFA, these Catholicky trappings are required by the Indian government? Is this really true?
    ————————————————————–
    Good grief, no. In fact I am not sure even what anyone would mean by “required”..required for what??

    Lunacy. Utter lunacy and if someone is saying that is the only way they can get some food and medicine to poor Indians in Jesus’ Name, then they are lying through their teeth.

    Maybe it is the only way for the government to allow you to keep a few million on hand…that I would not know.

  37. Disillusioned says:

    Finally! The million dollar question.
    I would love to hear some answers from any CC pastors….

  38. Michael says:

    Disillusioned,

    We’ve heard from quite a few here who have dropped support.
    Steve has been helpful with our understandings of how things work in India.

    One of the things we have to consider is that most of these CC pastors would be victims of this group as well.

    I want to hear from Gayle Erwin and Heitzig…they owe their brothers some answers.

  39. Steve Wright says:

    One Sunday in India I was shuttled around to speak at four different church services. I gave a different message at each because each church was different (and I did not want my host to hear the same thing four times either).

  40. Bene D says:

    Do the sponsoring CC churches (Modesto, Olympia and Roswell) even know that these missionaries have been ‘ordained’ and have said;’ “I firmly make this pledge and promise in the name of God and before this congregation that I will submit and always remain loyal and faithful to your leadership and to your successors and in all matters.”?

    Is Gayle Erwin also a Believers Church priest?

  41. London says:

    Anyone who makes an oath like that does not understand what it means to say “Jesus is Lord.” No one who submits to the ruler of a kingdom would ever give that promise to one of His servants.

  42. Kevin H says:

    One more FYI. I have seen pictures of Pat Emerick and David Carroll amongst others in their “priestly” garb. I would not think that people who are just members or attenders would be required to dress up in robes and vestments.

    And again, just for emphasis – We can argue as to whether or not church should be conducted in this manner and clergy should have to dress as such (although I do think the oaths are deeply troublesome). However, the big problem is that GFA has been and continues to be deceptive as to what goes on within GFA and Believers Church. This is where they have definitely been in the wrong.

  43. Set Free says:

    @41, Gayle Erwin is not a priest in Believers Church.

  44. ChainsBroken2x says:

    Kevin in number 43–You are right on target. The heart of the matter is the misleading and deception (not just to donors but to staff also) all for the sake of $$$$. When people put their entire trust and loyalty in what they thought were godly men (leaders) and their trusts are then betrayed by those leaders it is devastating. Those men are no longer worthy of trust in my opinion and experience so everything now comes into question. Many other long time staff have come to a similar conclusion and they are now former staff. Many of those people are now suffering through the mental and emotional anguish of what I consider abuse by so called spiritual leaders. Previous donors have also talked to me recently and as they become aware of the testimonies of the gfadiaspora (former satff) these donors suffer loss too because they feel some form of betrayal also.

  45. nathan priddis says:

    Michael

    @39

    Skip sounds like a surfer dude. I think Mr. Erwin may be more of the axil that holds the GFA spokes together. I have gotten the idea that CC pastors suported GFA because of him.

    What are your sources telling you about him? I came across some odd stuff that makes me wonder if he was networking inside CC as far back as the mid 70’s. I figure there is an entire generation of CC pastors who knew him when they where younger?

  46. Ryan Ashton says:

    This is nuts. At what point will critical mass be reached? How much more must be dug up before Calvary Chapel takes any action at all? Why are they _still_ silent? That, to me, is the bigger scandal.

  47. Michael says:

    nathan,

    Underestimate Heitzig and Co. at your own risk.
    He is not someone to be taken lightly, nor are the people he surrounds himself with.
    His ambition is unmatched and his methods are whatever it takes.

    Mr. Erwin is someone that I can’t even imagine holding a board position…

    You are correct about Yohannan being a picture in CC for a very long time.

  48. Michael says:

    Ryan,

    It will have to be one CC at a time…there is no one who can speak or act on behalf of the whole.

  49. Kevin H says:

    Michael,

    You are right that it will have to be one CC at a time. But it sure would help if a big name or two would speak up publicly and say that they have decided to end support of GFA from their church and that they would implore others to investigate the GFA situation and make an informed decision of their own.

  50. Papias says:

    Question – If a church supports GFA and someone in that church is concerned about what is going on in GFA, how does a person in that church bring their concerns to the leadership of the church without becoming ostracized?

    If my a part of offering was being used to support GFA, do I say something to the pastor…or stop giving to the church?

    Unless the pastor agrees to have the church no longer support GFA, its tricky to stand and tell him that you don’t want your offering to go there.

    Just thinking things through for the church goer… where the money comes from.

  51. nathan priddis says:

    Michael,

    No I do not take this lightly. I would like to talk more with you about Erwin and Co. Would you mind?

  52. Michael says:

    nathan,

    Anytime…except today. 🙂
    I’m headed into the woods to the Rogue River for the day and won’t have any online capabilities.

  53. nathan priddis says:

    Papias,

    You have to say something like this…

    I’m sorry, but due to some unpleasant reports I am no longer able to contribute to the Church. This will continue until I am able to get an understanding on how corporate financial decisions are made, perspective missions are evaluated and Church leadership’s accountibility to the congregation.

  54. Michael says:

    KevinH,

    I completely agree and I’m going to write about this soon.
    I have to get away and get my bearings first…

  55. Set Free says:

    @30, the closest influence is the Mar Thoma Syrian Church. Their present head, H.G. The Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Mar Thoma visited GFA headquarters in Wills Point, TX earlier this year.

  56. Disillusioned says:

    Is Steve Wright CC? Not sure who the others are who’ve commented here. Have any of these men talked to Skip or Gayle? Or any other pastor? Saying it on a blog is one thing, taking it to the streets another.
    Chains 2x nails it with the tragic truth. Many have been … like me… ‘disillusioned’ by the actions of these (and other) so-called Christian leaders, to the point of not wanting to even enter a building that calls itself ‘church.’. All of their teachings come into question when you discover their unrepentant lies, to the point of having to strip down one’s understanding of the Bible to the brass tacks and begin anew.
    This is devastating to so many people…yet the leaders in CC remain silent. I call that cowardly.

  57. Kevin H says:

    Disillusioned,

    Steve Wright is CC. He can correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe his church does not and has not supported GFA.

    There are other CC pastors who comment here from time to time, although Steve is the most regular commenter. Don’t know if any of them know Skip or Gayle at all, besides one who commented they knew Gayle from the past but have not talked to him for many years now.

  58. Papias says:

    Does CC endorse Believers Church?

    en·dorse…verb..declare one’s public approval or support of.

    CC is not a monolith, even though they have fellowship over the things they agree upon.

    Maybe the better question would be, “CC attender, do you approve of the GFA liturgy? Would you attend a church that has this liturgy? Would you financially support a church with this liturgy? If the answers are “No”, then why does your church do so?”

  59. Disillusioned says:

    I dare say it would be a surprise to most who attend a CC that there is absolutely no one who claims responsibility for this so-called movement.
    A pastor is someone who is supposed to lay down his life for the sheep, yet I don’t see anyone in that position willing to speak up for the masses who are STILL pouring money into what appears to be a money pit with no accountability.
    How hard is it to reach out and make a phone call? That is, if you REALLY have the best interests of the people in mind.
    I lay this at the doorstep of CC because they, as a group, brought GFA to the people and still promote them as a fiscally-responsible ministry.

  60. Michael says:

    The guys on this site would do better to shout out the back door than call Heitzig.

  61. Disillusioned says:

    Michael,
    That may be the case. But he is by no means the only link in this machine.

  62. Set Free says:

    Interestingly, KP loves the music of the Taize monastic community in France. http://www.taize.fr/en. He sent one of his worship leaders there for a week and later planned to send another, but they left first. The Believers Church that was held at the U.S. headquarters sang virtually every English Language Taize song available. (Most are written in Latin.). Taize music consists of a few words repeated over and over, and seems to encourage placing oneself into a kind of spiritual trance. For example, one song consists only of the words “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” sung over and over.

  63. “Taize music consists of a few words repeated over and over, and seems to encourage placing oneself into a kind of spiritual trance.”

    Very similar to contemporary praise music.

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