The Calvary Chapel Chronicles
I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the importance of understanding the “reparenting” process wherein many in the first and second generation of CC pastors adopted Chuck Smith as a father or father figure.
Since then, my attention was directed to a copy of “Calvary Chapel Magazine” a periodical that the Calvary Chapel Association took over.
Speaking of Smith at a CCA conference, these were some quotes from the participants…
“Pastor David Rosales agreed: “When I looked at Pastor Chuck, I saw him as a model that I wanted to be like one day. That was ‘dad’—and that was my spiritual father.” He added, “We are supposed to be loving, like a family.”
“David added, “I want to give honor to Pastor Chuck—to thank God for Chuck Smith and his ministry in our lives. He was our pastor.” Suddenly, the entire room erupted in thundering applause, with many standing, smiling, shouting ‘Amen!’—even laughing or crying.”
“Pastor Damian Kyle of CC Modesto, CA, added, with great emotion, “Like a lot of people in Calvary, I got to know Chuck from a distance at first through his cassette tape teachings. … I watched him like a hawk, how he carried himself. He was one of the most influential men of my life. … I needed a father figure; I wasn’t looking for one, but I needed one—spiritually.”
“Another early intern of Chuck’s, Pastor Don McClure recalled how, as the Calvary Chapel Movement grew, Chuck took a lot of criticism from different groups through the years for his stance on various issues—splits within the fellowship, teaching the Word of God, Calvinism, and the working of the Holy Spirit. “We’ve been together for 40 years, and we…always had a father figure. He had that strength. Chuck was like this ship that went through these huge waves…. He took the heat when people didn’t understand. It’s time for us to come together collectively as one—to know who we are and what we stand for.”
Now, this conference was a rally to try to convince the assembled Calvary Chapel pastors that the CCA was the holy side of the split and those leaders knew most powerful way to do that was to invoke ‘Papa Chuck” even if he had already passed.
That is the power of reparenting in these mens lives.
Now, they want the rest of the movement to do the same, even though many never knew or even met him.
The old guys did…and they’ll use Chuck Smith in death just as many of them did when he was here.
We’ve established two things so far about Chuck Smith, first his place as a paternal figure and second ,that he was covering a big secret.
How then did these future leaders respond at the time…in the early years when the foundations of the institution were laid?
They responded by protecting him at all costs…and using him for their own “get out of jail free” card.
One way was to help him construct cultural and theological barriers around his sin…The emphasis on the paternal, the “no talk” rule, the adoption of the threat about “touching the Lord’s anointed”…all of these previously used by scandal ridden Pentecostalism in the early decades of the twentieth century.
The other way was equally effective, a model from the Cold War of the sixties.
Mutually Assured Destruction…or “MAD”.
What kept the United States and the Soviet Union from blowing up the world in those tense times was the knowledge on both sides that if one side launched a missile, the other one would empty the silos…the assurance of mutually assured destruction.
So it was (and is) in Calvary Chapel.
If Chuck tried to discipline someone who knew his secret, that wayward pastor would gently remind Smith that he had a button to push as well.
Compromises could then be made and “grace” could be given.
This created a situation where the fallen pastor was rarely disciplined, but the person or persons who reported him was.
Boards were fired, whistleblowers shunned, and power consolidated.
Raise enough hell about an issue and you would be attacked yourself…”touch not God’s anointed”.
In a bizarre turn of events, this actually created growth for the movement in some areas.
There would be issues in one Calvary Chapel, people would try to address those issues, those people would be given the left foot of fellowship, then they would go start a new Calvary Chapel in the area.
They could do this because they now knew someones secret…