Calvary Chapel, Chuck Smith, The Moses Model: Let the Little Dogs Bark!

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We will soon hear the results of the final hearing (Monday/Tuesday) in the anti-SLAPP motion to halt the defamation lawsuit of Calvary Chapel Visalia (CCV) Pastor Bob Grenier and his wife, Gayle vs his step-son/her son, Alex Grenier and former CCV member Tim Taylor.

I have spent literally hours reading Alex and Tim’s story, the personal testimonies of former members, reading news articles, blog articles, audios of interviews/sermons.  What is going on in these churches?  Why are there so many similar stories of abuse, corruption, cover-ups?  Is there a pattern?  Why do leaders not deal appropriately with alleged abuse?  Why are leaders not held accountable?  Why do corrupt leaders stay in their positions of authority, while others are removed?  What is going on!!  At Spiritual Sounding Board, this is like a broken record, because we have been watching similar patterns since my case.

What is unique about Calvary Chapel is their church governance system:  The Moses Model.  It is my opinion that this system provides fertile soil for malignant pastors to misuse authority without any real accountability.  Those who question authority or report problems are often blamed and accused of being “the problem,” and so the abuse continues.   Just as I have been called and continue to be called names by my former pastor, Alex has also been told he has a bee in his bonnet, etc.  I’ve seen pictures of Alex in news articles.  I’m sorry, I just don’t see this dude wearing a bonnet.  He’s all guy, yet Chuck Smith from his lofty throne dishes out rudeness about Alex who is calling out abuse and saying:  “YO, there is a problem going on!”  Alex has been relentless in attempting to get Calvary Chapel leaders to address these ongoing problems, to no avail.

Here is what I believe to be part of the  problem:  The Moses Model.

In my researching, I came across an article in Christianity Today from 2007, Day of Reckoning. Did you catch that date?  2007 – SIX years ago, the problems of the Moses Model were addressed in Christianity Today and the problem is still alive and well today. HELLLOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

“We take the model from the work that God established in the nation of Israel,” Smith says. “Moses was the leader appointed by God. He took 70 men, and they assisted Moses in overseeing the mundane types of issues that developed within the nation. There was the priesthood under Aaron.” Similarly, he says, “we have assistant pastors, and they look to me as the senior pastor. I’m responsible to the Lord. We have a board of elders. We go over the budget. The people recognize that God has called me to be the leader of this fellowship. We are not led by a board of elders. I feel my primary responsibility is to the Lord. And one day I’m going to answer to him, not to a board of elders.”

Critics say this “Moses model” produces pastors who refuse to let their authority be challenged. Such pastors often resist accountability measures such as financial audits and providing detailed financial statements. Some curious Calvary Chapel attendees, who have sought financial information from their churches, say they were ostracized.

The article continues, but pay close attention to these words by Pope  Pastor Chuck Smith. Watch his response to being questioned.

Other churchgoers say Calvary Chapel pastors also don’t like to be questioned. During the investigation for this article, Smith cautioned CT’s reporter: “The Lord warns, ‘Don’t touch my anointed. Do my prophet no harm.’ I think that you are trying to do harm to the work of God. I surely wouldn’t want to be in your shoes.”

Do you notice how he turns it around and the reporter gets reprimanded for asking questions? Whoa! Isn’t it a reporter’s job to ask questions? Is this reporter a member of Chuck’s church? Probably not, yet Chuck decides to go all Papal on him and put the fear of hell in him. If this reporter isn’t even a church member and gets reprimanded, imagine how a church member might feel. It creates a very strict no-talk environment where the Pope remains high on his throne and you simply do not question that kind of authority – because who wants to be accused of questioning God?

Below are a couple of diagrams found in Calvary  Chapel’s documents describing the Moses Model.  The first diagram is what we find in typical church models.

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Take a look at the Moses Model.

tpomocc2

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It is not the leadership model of the New Testament, but rather of the Old Testament, and only one small part of the Old Testament, at that. It was only for the 40-year period where the people were wandering in the desert. They never got too far under the system and only were under it for the 40 years because of their unbelief. God did not want them (even in the Old Testament) to have a king (Senior Pastor) to rule over them as the other nations.

Exploring the Faith blog discussed the Moses Model:

There are many serious problems with this approach. To begin with, Moses led the entire people of God (probably more than two million people), not just a local gathering of Israelites. If we consistently apply this model to the church, it would lead us to something closer to a Pope than a local pastor. Thankfully, we know that Moses’ role was a unique one, and that he didn’t foreshadow the New Testament local pastor, but the New Testament Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ (John 1:17; Acts 3:22-23; Hebrews 3:1-6). Moses was the mediator who went between God and the people. Today, the pastor doesn’t fill that priestly role—Jesus does (1 Timothy 2:5).

While many insist that the pyramid is actually turned upside down, with the pastor serving the entire body, it still leaves a diagram showing not “one mediator between God and man,” but two—Jesus and the pastor. This is revealed to be more than just a diagram fluke by a pattern of unhealthy authoritarianism. I should hasten to say that many Calvary Chapels and Vineyards are pastored by loving, humble men who seek to do the best for the flock. But the leadership model itself opens the door for serious abuses of authority.

Most of the people in the churches don’t see any of this. But when you become a leader, you’re taught not to question the leadership or views of the senior pastor (publicly or privately). To challenge him is seen as a sin just as Aaron and Miriam sinned by challenging Moses. To even ask questions is often seen as being divisive, and if those questions involve the senior pastor, you’ll be told to “touch not God’s anointed” (misusing Psalm 105:15, and also 1 Samuel 24:6 and 26:9-11). You’re taught that if you can’t agree or follow the senior pastor, then you should quietly leave the church and go someplace else.

Back to the Christianity Today article, we hear from a former Calvary Chapel pastor about the Moses Model systemic problems:

Michael Newnham, a former Calvary Chapel pastor, says his experience suggests the association has systemic problems. “There was adultery in the leadership. There were alcohol and drug problems in the leadership, and none of them were being dealt with. If you did say anything about them, you ended up being ostracized.” Newnham now runs a blog where he reports on scandals and gives a voice to Calvary Chapel members who have been victims of other scandals.

One of our WWJS crew commented a few observations after listening to a Chuck Smith audio in which he refers to Alex Grenier:

Chuck says of Alex Grenier, “This guy’s a loose cannon … he makes these wild accusations … there’s no real basis to it … I can’t oversee or police two thousand Churches around the country, and I don’t try to.”

“It’s sad that Alex can’t get a life other than one in which he’s trying to destroy anybody that doesn’t agree with him totally.”

“Let the little dogs bark.” said Chuck

Chuck Smith ends the conversation with this jab at Alex: “You got this bitterness and all, that is eating you up and destroying you and I would encourage you to get a life. Get a life.”

Chuck Smith says, referring to Alex: “Let the little dogs bark.”  Okay, Chuck, with your papal  permission, we’re going to let little dogs bark, but I think you are confused.  Alex is like a freakin’ bulldog.  Go Alex.  Go get ‘em!  I’ll shout the bullhorn behind you!

Setting all snark aside, folks, this is a very difficult and emotional time right before the hearing for Tim and Alex and, of course, Paul Grenier.  Please pray for these guys and other victims of not only Calvary Chapel Visalia, but Calvary Chapel as a whole.  This lawsuit could open the door and really expose the bigger problem going on among some Calvary Chapel churches, and that is why we are trying to expose this story.  Please pray that this system that allows for abuse of children and other corruption will be dealt with appropriately.  Please pray that pastors who do not meet biblical pastoral  qualifications will be removed from their positions of authority.

Please don’t forget #WhoWouldJesusSue on Twitter!

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90 comments on “Calvary Chapel, Chuck Smith, The Moses Model: Let the Little Dogs Bark!

  1. In Frederick Buechner’s memoir he writes about his childhood growing up in the East End of Pittsburgh (where I just so happen to presently reside). He writes: ‘My assumption is that the story of any one of us is in some measure the story of us all.’

    Again: ‘The story of one of us is the story of us all.’

    This interconnected oneness is especially true in the Christian community where we corporately exist as the Body of Christ. When one member rejoices we all rejoice. When one member suffers we all suffer (1 Corinthians 12:12-27).

    Please Church, let us not forget: when one member is abused we all are abused! Calvary Pastors and every single Spirit-filled member, hear the words of Martin Luther: “You are not only responsible for what you do and say, but also for what you do not do and say.”

    Is there not a Calvary Pastor among you who will speak up and with all his power address the Bob Grenier question of abuse? This deceitful man needs to be exposed and deposed so this WOLF may NOT further ABUSE Christ’s sheep! In your silence, Calvary Shepherds, you appear as no more than hirelings who sincerely deserve the WOES that are now coming upon you.

    From my review of Calvary Chapel it appears that these churches are NOT safe places nor healthy environments for anyone—for pastors nor congregants. For these churches to be biblically sound communities the Moses Model of leadership needs to be nailed to the cross as SINFUL and replaced with the Jesus Model of leadership that recognizes that everyone has access to the heart and mind of Christ, to His Spirit, to His Word, to His Will for doing and being Church.

    Presently Chuck Smith’s business construct has made slaves and merchandise of the sheep. Tina says, I’m not trying to ruin [BG’s] business. Maybe not dear sister, but I am. I’d like to see this unchristian stronghold ruined and put out of business, so that in it’s place might arise a community of believers who are led by the Spirit, by true pastors and teachers and qualified elders after Christ’s own heart who realize they are not only accountable to the God they serve, but also accountable to the people they assume to shepherd.

    Dear LORD, hear my prayer!

    [[ Note: I was going to leave this comment under Tina’s Story, but chose to drop it here.

    http://spiritualsoundingboard.com/2013/02/28/calvary-chapel-visalia-personal-story-tinas-story/ ]]

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  2. What Smith said to the CT reporter says it all. The old dodge, “Touch not God’s anointed.” It refers to not doing physical harm to the kings of Israel; in one case, it refers to Ancient Israelites. I don’t think Chuck qualifies as any of those, just as he doesn’t qualify as an OT prophet. Also, Scripture tells us that all believers are anointed (1 John 2: 20, 27). Yes, even the little dogs.

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  3. Great synopsis demonstrating how Papa (pope) Chuck cherry picks scripture to bolster his Big Dog status, while avoiding accountability! Thank you, Julie

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  4. usually, Jeff, the little dogs bark the loudest!

    and as ja draws our attention to—there are some big dogs in this battle too.

    big and little dogs serving to separate the wolves from the sheep.

    allow me to reiterate perhaps the most critical point in demonstrating how unbiblical the Moses Mindset is for Christ’s New Covenant Church:

    We know that Moses… didn’t foreshadow the New Testament local pastor, but the New Testament Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ (John 1:17; Acts 3:22-23; Hebrews 3:1-6). Moses was the mediator who went between God and the people. Today, the pastor doesn’t fill that priestly role—Jesus does (1 Timothy 2:5).

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  5. I am going to postulate something in addition to this. I was once a Moses Model defender, but I learned that the Moses Model was in no way connected to the New Testament Church, where Paul writes to localized churches abroad for the purpose of correcting many failures to apply the Gospel correctly. These letters were written to the churches, which obviously included the congregations.

    The modern evangelical church models are in my view, a more central problem, that has changed the hierarchy of church for the worse. The Gospels and letters to the churches portray “pastors’ in no other light but servants of the church, or the congregations, and further explain explicitly that Christ is the Head of the Church, and Christ grows the church.

    My disclaimer, I am no church historian, so this is speculative.

    The idea of how “church” works shifted at some point. The pastor somehow became the anointed to speak on God’s behalf, and became the vessel through which scripture is interpreted and applied.

    This has become more apparent as I listened to some of my old sermons. One of them, my “stock sermon”, pulled when I was asked to speak at different churches, was on the book of Jonah. I used to teach very “applicationally” (not even a word), something I learned from countless hours of listening to Calvary Chapel pastors. So naturally, I taught in like manner, having no hermeneutic, something that most Calvary pastors have never even heard of.

    Post my departure from Calvary Chapel, I began to read all the stuff that was not allowed to be read, according to guys like George Bryson and Dave Hunt. An epiphany took place reading through my first few Systematic Theology books. I started with Wayne Grudem and Louis Berkhof. I realized that I knew very little, and I had been “teaching” the Bible every week for 12 years. By the time I got to Calvin’s Institutes, a very defined picture was being painted. In that picture was a contrast, that man had built, that set apart laity from clergy. This, of course, was something that Calvin hated, and he never missed a chance to obliterate the notion that only the clergy had rights to truth.

    Years ago, I read a silly little book that haunts me to this day. It was called Cat and Dog Theology. The premise was simple. We understand scripture from one of two perspectives. Cat= its all about me. Dog= its all about God.

    Back to the book of Jonah, (I will eventually get to a point here…) I recently reviewed my old sermons on that book, and it became a defining moment in my life, where I knew a line had been crossed in my understanding of how I viewed Church, laity, clergy, scripture, everything.

    Jonah is not a book written about Jonah, but we have been programmed by more modern evangelical thinking to believe it is. We put ourselves in Jonah’s shoes and seek application for our lives. Thus, we make the book of Jonah about us. Jonah is not a book about Jesus. Jonah is quite simply a book about God. More specifically, the sovereignty of God. We learn about God in Jonah. When we remove the notion that we need to get something from this book, we see that Jonah is the bad guy throughout the entire book. He defies God. He runs from God. He runs to the point of suicide twice. Even in the end, he waits outside the city he hates and expects to see the destruction of Nineveh. He fights with God to the bitter end, even over a silly shade tree. The villain is blatantly apparent. The point ends up being that God will accomplish his purposes DESPITE us. So there is not a correct way for a modern evangelical to properly exegete these scriptures, because we can’t make ourselves the winners in the story. It is not about us.

    Back to how this has changed how the church works. The pastor is relied upon in the modern evangelical sense to tickle our ears. We attend churches to get something. The “anointed” provides it. We lap it up, because we are the focus of the scriptures. In this scenario, Christ is not the head of the church. The evangelical church culture relies upon the “anointed” to “interpret” scriptures, making us the focus, and we fail to understand God as a result.

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  6. I have been thinking a lot today, trying to synthesize a bunch of what has taken place over the years at CCV and CC in general. I think there is a silver lining in all the revelations that have been leaking out in the last few years.

    Calvary Chapel is very representative of much of the anti-intellectual segment of the evangelical church today.Their Distinctives are an attempt at giving an historical and theological basis for what they are and what they do. They are trying to simplify several tensions that have origins way back to the Reformation. Much of their practice is a form of pietism; emphasizing bible study and seeking the intimate leadership of the Holy Spirit in everyday experience. They certainly are not Reformed in doctrine but hold to the high view of scripture that the Reformers held. No matter how much emphasis they place on the centrality of the Word of God, they seek an informal and casual experience of faith that leans on impressions from the Lord that doesn’t always square with scripture. In other words, they are squishy theologically. More certainly can be said about that.

    The silver lining mentioned above very well may be the fact that the average, once manipulated and oppressed lose membership that has become exiled from CC, are now clinging more tightly to Jesus, and are studying with their eyes wide open. There is a more informed lay population, and they are searching the scriptures with new vigor. They are also more willing to pay the price of true discipleship by suffering alienation and ridicule from controlling religious leaders, and calling them out regarding their folly and failures. If you know your church history, Luther openly called the Pope the Anti-Christ in his day.

    I see all this as a positive. Suffering always deepens the faith of the true followers of Christ. God never will forsake his own, no matter how dark the journey becomes. .

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  7. Excellent Reuben. Your studies did what all study should do, cause us to pause before we make any definite conclusive statement. Teaching the Bible is anything but simple. I do believe the Lord builds his church on the thinnest of theological and biblical knowledge but that doesn’t mean that we should exalt ignorance. CC should not be so arrogant in their sense of being special and uniquely gifted by God. In light of the wider story of the Church, they have many flaws, and we are seeing the result of those carefree mistakes.

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  8. Reuben, I have never relied on the ‘anointed’ to govern my life. But I did get hoodwinked (I like that word), conned by the casual wonder of it all.Much of the global church is in great need of sound Bible teaching. Heresy and shallowness runs amok in all directions. God still leads though, and he has lit a fire in the Global South, something most preoccupied CC pastors are oblivious to. The whole Bible is a story of the life and work of God. Every application must end with wonder, love, and praise…not of the pastor, not of ourselves for trying to follow God, but of God. If we don’t walk out of a church service relishing in God’s nature, and being deeply grateful for his desire to have us team with him in his work, then we missed what the Holy Spirit is saying to us.

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  9. “The whole Bible is a story of the life and work of God. Every application must end with wonder, love, and praise…not of the pastor, not of ourselves for trying to follow God, but of God.”

    Right. Bingo.

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  10. Reuben – Didn’t know there was a book. All I knew was the joke: When a dog is fed, it thinks, “There must be a God.” When a cat is fed, it thinks, “I must be God.”

    Bryan – I hope you’re right, but it seems to me that there is less discernment and knowledge than ever, at least in this country. About a year ago, I asked 30 believers (not new) what the Trinity was. None of them knew. I’m finding this type of thing to be typical. There seems to be a fear that studying the Bible will cause them to lose contact with the Holy Spirit – whatever that is. The irony is plain.

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  11. Jeff, that is similar to one of the illustrations used. I believe it was written by Gerald Robison.

    The dog says, “You feed me, you pet me, you love me, you must be God!”
    The cat says, “You feed me, you pet me, you love me, I MUST BE GOD!”

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  12. Bryan, I’m learning much from you guys on the squishy, anti-intellectual and arrogant climate of Calvary. Thank you. And I’m looking forward to your write-up on this as the LORD provides. We need sound Education!

    Reuben, what I just read from you has helped me enormously toward understanding the Calvary Pastor’s mindset. You know, the Systematic Theologies of Grudem and Berkhof are two books I often like to give away as gifts to my thoughtful brothers. There’s no one like Grudem who can break theology down so accessibly for us.

    In Richard Wurmbrand’s book The Oracles of God he states succinctly: “Know that you need good teachers in the Church. Know that they are scarce.”

    I LOVE your reading of Jonah. Nice!

    David

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  13. Jeff…I am hearing that the state of the American Church is quite unhealthy. I do know that I don’t enjoy the church life like I did 20-30 years ago. I copied a link on my blog post today from John Armstrong. He is someone to read when you get the chance. Go to…7communities.wordpress.com and read the most recent post. John is very very informed.

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  14. monax…are you referring to a write up related to the Distinctives? If there is still a desire for it, then I’ll keep looking at it.

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  15. monax…I’m going to link your readers to a few resources that will rock their Christian worldview for the better. Every Christian in America must study the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. Google it and you will find it. It is the best big picture overview course laying out God’s plan for all time. If you want to shift the emphasis from a me centered gospel to a God centered focus, then at least study the first five lessons that build the Biblical basis for God’s grand mission to bless all mankind through the Seed of Abraham.

    Look up John Armstrong, even though he is focused on discipling young church leaders, read his blog posts.He knows his stuff, and is well placed within the larger evangelical American leadership. See Act3 Network.

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  16. yes Byran, there’s an enormous desire and need for it.. i’ve been praying all week for you toward this end… i’d like to connect with you behind the scenes if you’re willing. you can Gmail me @ DiscerningSpiritualAbuse

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  17. Pingback: How to please God « daily meditation

  18. Since CC likes to associate so much with Moses and various OT examples, maybe it is time to visit Achan and see what spoils he has been keeping hidden. God is not pleased with any character blemish in his camp.

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  19. Yes, Bryan, it would be good to revisit the Distinctives. A fresh crowd to the boards need an intro to what makes a Calvary Chapel, or what makes a Moses Model church government and why that sets even good men up to fail. It also helps explain why the “attenders” (there’s no membership so the pastors don’t have to share how they spend the money.)

    I’d also like to see a rehash of the book Larry Taylor wrote (though he repented of it later and left Calvary Chapel) that taught assistant pastors how to operate. The most memorable line was where they are taught to keep their ears open and tell the pastor everything they hear. It actually says, “Be a narc for Jesus.” I’m not kidding! You just can’t make this stuff up. To be fair to repentant Larry, he said he was teaching what he learned from watching Chuck Smith. So if we don’t like the “be a narc” idea, then we can blame Chuck.

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  20. JulieAnne, I appreciate this blog post. The day I saw the organizational chart that Doug Guilliand put on the CalvaryChapel Wiki, was the day the light went on! I could visually see the problem in an instant … the rest was details … details I hung on that chart.

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  21. Great article Jezzy! You captured the dynamic very well. Thanks all of you guys for your prayers and support. Tomorrow’s a big day, we’ll see what happens.

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  22. When I reread the Distinctives, I wonder if Chuck ever thought it would be read by the Church universal? Has anyone with theological weight ever dissected Smith’s theology? It’s flimsy and squishy. I can’t think of any other words to describe it at the moment.

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  23. You guys should’ve been a fly on the wall in the “meeting” at the Logos Building board room with Chuck Smith, Dave Rolph and Chuck’s attorney Janet Carter. It was a few hours and got very intense at times. The old man is all biz behind the scenes. It was quite an eye-opener for me. The radio interview showed a glimpse of the non-Papa Chuck Smile® and more of the real man behind the curtain.

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  24. Larry Taylor may have repented for writing it but most if not all ideas from his book are still being practiced! I remember reading it and it made me sick! One of the things that stood out to me was that as an assistant pastor you need to realize that the pastor is NOT your friend. He doesn’t have time for you. His ‘vision’ is more important than you and he needs to carry it out, or have you carry it out for him. I thought it was one of the most harsh books I’ve ever read regarding the ministry. No relationship and so cold. Just the opposite of Jesus. This is exactly what I saw in CC.

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  25. Wow, I’ve been at a volleyball tournament all day and just made the 4-hr drive home. I see I have a lot of catching up to do. :::: JA adjusting pillow and getting comfy for some good reading :::::

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  26. Summer, so true. The book has not been roundly renounced, it’s more like they’ve created some cover b/c they got caught and it looks bad in public, not b/c they don’t believe and practice what the book says…they do practice it, in spades.

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  27. I just spent another two hours pouring over the CC Distinctives. I’m amazed that a seminal document like that is so poorly written. C. Smith’s understanding of Church History is not very balanced, and his knowledge of anthropology and the History of Christian Mission is weak or ill informed. At one point he says he looks to the book of Acts as the model of the church, then castigates most of church history as a bad example to follow. The acts of the apostles are part of the record of church history, and there were falling outs and controversies even in Peter and Paul’s time. What part of Acts does he model CC after? What does he think of Ananias and Sapphira? I’m just getting started…

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  28. Bryan said: Julie did a great job. I’m impressed at her speed of compiling all that in such a short time. Best to you Alex.

    Thank you, Bryan, I had to tell those WWJS guys to quit sending e-mails and distracting me so I could concentrate because I had limited time. ;) My poor little laptop is getting full of Calvary Chapel stuff. There’s just so much. I completely understand why Alex is relentless. He needs to be relentless. This system is messed up.

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  29. You’ll be happy to know Julie that Mission History is filled with courageous women who taught men. Just think of Elisabeth Elliot teaching the very men who murdered her husband. If more men would obey God’s command to go into all the world, then maybe the women could rest a bit…:)

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  30. Bryan – I can’t wait to see what you put together.
    Alex – Thanks! They placed 2nd, but were disappointed because they knew they could have played better. Oh well. It will keep them humble.

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  31. Exactly, Bryan. Have you seen Wayne Grudem’s list here: http://goo.gl/oGvR2

    Once I saw how ridiculous this list was, it told me a lot about Wayne and people like him who spend an enormous amount of time trying to convince the world that male headship is a gospel issue. I just cannot go that far with that kind of thinking.

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  32. So Chuck Smith played the “bitterness” card. Doesn’t matter if it’s the IFBC guy up in Canada, or Watchdog in Jacksonville, or the Wartburg Watch ladies or Mars Hills critics. Their motives will all be attributed to “bitterness.” Any criticism of the powers that be are due to bitterness. Totally predictable.

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  33. Julie Anne

    In your post you ask…
    “What is going on in these churches? Why are there so many similar stories of abuse, corruption, cover-ups?”

    Because – These are NOT churches… AAARRRGGGHHH!!! – ;-)

    These are – “501 (c) 3, non-profit, Tax $ Deductible, Religious $ Corporations…
    They are businesses, corporations, run like a business.

    “The Church of God” is His People, His Sheep, and Jesus is the “ONE” Shepherd.

    “The Church of God” – The Ekklesia of God” – “The Called Out Ones of God” – “The Body of Christ” – In the Bible – are – You and Me and We – and ALL the lowly sheepies becoming one with – Jesus.

    In the Bible – “The Church of God” – “The Body of Christ” – Are We – And…

    We, His Body, can “Hear His Voice” and follow Jesus. NO middle man. John 10:27.
    We, His Church, can learn directly from Jesus. Jesus will teach us all truth. John 6:45.
    We, His sheep, are His Kings and Priests unto God. Rev 1:6, Rev 5:10.
    We, His People, are His Bride. He is our husband. Isa 54:5, Rev 21:9.
    We, His Body, are His Servants and He pours out His Spirt upon us. Acts 2:18.
    We, His Church, are His sons “Led” by His Spirit. John 1:12, Gal 4;6, Rom 8:14.
    We, His sheep, His Disciples learn directly from Jesus. NO middle man. Mat 16:24.
    We, His Called Out Ones, His Ambassadors, deliver His message of love. 2 Cor 5:20.

    And, an Ambassador, is the highest diplomatic representative,
    that one sovereign power sends to another.

    There is NO one in the Kingdom of God higher then – You or Me or We…
    NO wannabe-leader, NO wanna-be pastor. No wanna-be “God Ordained Authority.”
    God’s highest representitives are ALL of His lowly sheepies, His servants, His sons…
    Who are Ambassadors for Christ. ;-)

    I NO longer have faith in humans who think they are shepherds or leaders.

    Because…

    Jer 50:6
    “My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
    **their shepherds** have caused them to *go astray,*

    1 Pet 2:25
    For ye were as *sheep going astray;*
    BUT are now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

    I’m Blest… I’ve returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of my soul…

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

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  34. “The idea of how “church” works shifted at some point. The pastor somehow became the anointed to speak on God’s behalf, and became the vessel through which scripture is interpreted and applied.”

    This occurred when Christian churches started returning to “mother hen” (Roman Catholicism).

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  35. One of the components in my book: “Spiritual Abuse Recovery: Dynamic Research on Finding a Place of Wholeness” was to take a look at the factors that lead Christians to accept a hierarchal view of church leadership without factoring in a hard look at leadership found in the New Testament.

    Information about this book can be found on http://www.ChurchExiters.com

    An excerpt from Ch. 3:
    “A mixed model of leadership confuses New Testament principles of leadership. This fashionable hybrid is a result of resorting to an Old Testament authoritarian model of sacred administration, rather than an understanding of the function and responsibility of Christian leadership. The paradigm of church ministry leadership, which was taught and modeled by Christ, has become a curious blend of old and new concepts. Hierarchical structures have become the accepted means of administering church affairs. The hierarchical/authoritarian model has continued to be retained without question and it is still the one deemed appropriate for Christian ministry.”

    I point out that this type of leadership style is rarely challenged and is assumed to be the fully biblical model. It is obvious that those who have been wounded in the church have learned the hard way how flawed this type of church leadership can get. Although it ‘looks’ biblical, the fallout is beginning to be recognized. People are rethinking their paradigm of leadership in the church and are getting back to what exactly is a biblical model and how can this be worked out in the 21st century..

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  36. Steve B: Here’s some thought on the shifting of the church throughout history you might find interesting.
    “In the beginning the church was a fellowship of men and women centering on the living Christ. Then the church moved to Greece where it became a philosophy. Then it moved to Rome where it became an institution. Next, it moved to Europe , where it became a culture. And, finally, it moved to America where it became an enterprise.” –Richard Halverson, former chaplain of the United States Senate

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  37. Reuben said:
    “Jonah is not a book about Jesus. Jonah is quite simply a book about God. More specifically, the sovereignty of God. We learn about God in Jonah. When we remove the notion that we need to get something from this book, we see that Jonah is the bad guy throughout the entire book. He defies God. He runs from God. He runs to the point of suicide twice. Even in the end, he waits outside the city he hates and expects to see the destruction of Nineveh. He fights with God to the bitter end, even over a silly shade tree. The villain is blatantly apparent. The point ends up being that God will accomplish his purposes.”

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  38. Oops. I didn’t give my reply to Rueben. Ha!

    My reply is:
    Jonah was a prophet. All prophesies are about Jesus. That is what Peter was discussing IN CONTEXT when he said that no prophesy is of private interpretation. It’s about Jesus. All about Jesus. Jesus himself pointed to it when he said that as Jonah was in the belly of the whale 3 days and 3 nights. Instead of looking at the villain of Jonah, we are to look at the spiritual story about Jesus. It has nothing to do with the sovereignty of God accomplishing his will despite us. Jonah chapter 2 has to be dissected with the rest of the bible in its key words and phrases. I know that most Calvinists do not use the KJV. But you will find key words and phrases in there. If people miss the spiritual story of Jesus in the Law and the PROPHETS, then they miss Jesus. For example, do we really think that the feasts of God for the Jews really have something to do with rituals of food and drink and such? No. It is telling a spiritual story that most people miss, because the spiritual is not being preached. What is being preached is how to be obedient. Yawn. Wake up people and preach the spiritual. Jonah Chapter 2 needs to be dissected with Psalms 18 and 2 Samuel 22. Do you see Jesus after comparing, or do you just see a villain named Jonah?

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  39. yes ja—Grudem! i don’t exactly see eye to eye with his brand of complementarianism… but his Systematic Theology and his Bible Doctrine (a distillation of his systematic theology) are in my estimation quite worthy reads—Grudem’s is even, as far as i’m aware, the most accessible and orthodox of any systematic approach to theology to date.

    and i’d love to have this issue of “male headship” discussion with you after our BG/CCV—CS/CC campaign is over. . bait me sometime later dear

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  40. chapmaned24,

    I appreciate your response, and fervor in the matter, but I humbly reject your idea that Jesus is in all Old Testament texts. Jonah was in the belly of a great fish because he chose suicide over the Will of God. This is not allegorical to, or a foreshadowing of Christ at all. Evangelical dispensationalists get tied up in numbers, looking for special meaning where there is none.

    I am a Calvinist and I read the KJV.

    There is no denying that the Old Testament points to the Messiah. Jesus himself said so, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.”

    Jonah did not take on sins. He created them. Jonah may well have been made to pay for them by God keeping Jonah alive in a fish, but there is no comparisons there either.

    That Jesus is to be identified in all text is a curious thing. Jesus is one of the trinity, and the Bible speaks of ALL persons of the trinity, not limiting itself to one. So we impose that limit. It is a creation of modern Evangelical culture to make scripture fit a singular hermeneutic.

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  41. monax is right about Grudem. I am not a Complimentarian by a damn sight. I have left behind throwing the baby out with the bath water. Grudem is a solid teacher, and a major theologian. I would put his Systematics up against almost anyone else’s, and I have read quite a few of them. Next to Packer, and his lectures on Systematics at Regent, I doubt there will ever be better theologians.

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  42. Julie Anne,

    I have the Systematic Theology text book by Grudem right in front of me. Pages 937 – 942 address this from a strictly Biblical perspective, pointing out that the preponderance of scripture points to male authority, but Grudem’s personal convictions on the matter are not included.

    The post that you left back there is obviously his personal convictions on the matter, and are not found in his Systematic Theology text book.

    I personally believe the fight for Complimentarianism to be based on historical cultural mandates made by Paul to a specific church. IOW, it was not written to you, it was written to a different church in a different time in which uneducated property (women) were running their mouths off at “church” disrupting the ability to accomplish anything. So Paul told them to shut up. That is not the case today, nor would anyone in their right mind, especially those married, even postulate such things in this culture and context.

    So I would say Grudem is entitled to his opinion. And while I disagree, I still love the guy to death. And thats ok.

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  43. Reuben,
    Your logic makes it sound as prophecy of Jesus within Jonah is nothing more than an “oh, by the way”. It isn’t about Jonah. Just like the promised land is not about the physical land of Israel, etc. It is about heaven. We need to look at the spiritual, and not the carnal. I am sorry that you only see Jonah as a carnal story about a bad man, rather than seeing Jesus as one who was in the heart of the Earth for 3 days and three nights in Chapter 2.

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  44. By the way, Reuben, I am not trinitarian. I believe that Jesus is God, and that he is the only God. I am not Pentecostal, either. God came in the flesh. God is a spirit. Spirits live in bodies. People in 325 A.D made a decision for me that I don’t agree with. Father is spirit (John 4:24), Jesus was God in the Flesh (body of a man). I know that I go against the grain in that thinking, but so be it. I can’t believe in one God being three separate and distinct individuals, as defined by a meeting that I did not attend in 325 AD.

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  45. chapmaned24, your theology dictates things that I cannot agree with at all. So it would be futile for me to argue this point with you.

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  46. Reuben: Have you seen the CBMW folks talk about complementarianism as if it is part of the gospel message? I listened to an audio of a few CBMW guys even mention the “gospel” importance of complementarianism. I think that is a stretch. I just do not see giving something so much importance – especially to the level of gospel importance – if it is not plainly shown in scripture.

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  47. Reuben, I would be more than happy to discuss this with you, but I see that it is your way or the highway, huh? This is how Calvinists react. Unwilling to be challenged. It is that word, Exegesis, that you miss Jesus. You miss the spiritual, by using exegesis, and strain at a nat while swallowing a camel.

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  48. I don’t know that I have followed CBMW much, but I have read the debate online various places quite a bit. I am infuriated by the debate, so I choose to not get involved much, (keeps me from getting into trouble) except where I author and moderate at the Phoenix Preacher. Even there, I have done so sparingly, and caught quite a bit of flack for it.

    I am going through official catechism with the Anglican church, and our particular branch of the Anglican church is very orthodox, and holds a very staunch position on this issue as well. It is not a make or break issue for me, so I choose not to let it get in the way of things. My priest knows my position on this, and so does a majority of the congregation as I was vetted for the position Vestry. The church still voted me into leadership with a 100% vote. I don’t think many folks in the real world consider this to be a valid point to argue anymore, but because we, as a church, choose to align ourselves with the strictest theologically orthodox wing of the Anglican Church, and as we consider other issues to take precedence over a thing such as complimentarianism, we overlook the issue, and hope at some point it will be revisited fairly.

    There is a bigger issue at work in most denominations, in that when most denominations say a woman can be an elder or pastor, the next logical jump is to ordain openly gay women to every position in the church, as happened with some wings of the Anglican church, and especially with Episcopalians. This, naturally does not have to be the case, but it is what typically happens, so more orthodox wings simply close the matter, right or wrong.

    I hope that makes sense.

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  49. chapmaned24,

    Calvinists, Arminians, Baptists, Anglicans, Eastern Orthodox, etc etc, and even Catholics believe in the Triune God. You don’t, so spare me the Calvinist crap. You have no idea who I am, or what I am like, I won’t argue with anyone who denies the nature of God as expressed in scriptures. I call it heresy. Good day.

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  50. Yes, Reuben, it does make sense. With the folks I am referring to at CBMW and the like, it doesn’t appear to be an issue of women taking up a position of eldership (and beyond) at church, but specifically within the husband/wife role. The difficulty I have seen is the staunch authoritarian response by those in this camp who lord their position over their wives. This can lead to an oppressive husband/wife relationship and easily translate into emotional/spiritual abuse or even domestic violence. Having a blog that deals with a lot of abuse, you can be sure I get those kinds of e-mails. What starts out as husband is head over wife can go overboard. That is what I am concerned about.

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  51. I track with you 100% and this is something that my “tribe” will get no support from me on at all. Husbands, love your wives and Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself up for her. Scripture seemed to hold a very different position on this issue than my peers do.

    I am not at all into the “Driscoll” thing. It does swing the doors open for abuse, and it has. We will see the fruits of this in the not so distant future.

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  52. It sounds like “we” are tracking on our understanding of each other, but I still can’t get how you hold so strongly to Grudem. He was one of the founders (along with Piper) of CBMW. If this guy can produce a document laying out 83 things women can/cannot do, and cannot back it up with scripture (and they are crazy ideas), then how in the world can he have much credibility with anything else? I have to question anyone who aligns with Piper and some of these Neo-Cals. They seem to be making up rules as they go.

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  53. Well, read his Systematics and judge for yourself. There are variations in any group. Calvinists are a vast sea of differences. Calvin, whom I have also extensively read, was not a “Calvinist”. It was based on his commentary, and postulated by his scribe. John Calvin capitalized on a great many things, and TULIP was not at all one of them. I was shocked and amazed to read Institutes of the Christian Religion and find that there was nothing “Calvinist” about it.

    Like I said, I don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Complimentarianism is a very distant secondary issue in my book. I do not defend a few positions Grudem has. I am finding myself much more in line with Karl Barth than even Wayne Grudem on some things, but for “the most part” Grudem is a solid theologian. I think he holds to some positions for traditional reasons, and he really can’t back them up scripturally.

    I look at it this way.

    I will no longer align myself with Calvary Chapel, because the very DNA of the system breeds failure. However, if I were a pastor of a church today, I would teach book by book, chapter by chapter, verse by verse. I believe this to be a good teaching method if done with a bit of education. It is something that my time with Calvary Chapel taught me was beneficial. You can keep the rest.

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  54. Yes Reuben…expository teaching/preaching is superior to topical. I don’t hold to just chronological study from book to book. I just say be faithful to the context. In most cases I would teach through a whole book, but at times a passage of keen importance to discipleship growth is OK in my view. Spurgeon was a master at this.

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  55. It seems Reuben, you are in the perfect place to give insight to the Moses model, and particular critiques from the Distinctives. Who else but a former CC pastor can do this well?

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  56. Reuben, I do not deny the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit. I just believe that all of these are the same person, rather than three different beings. But I wasn’t there at the meeting in 325. I didn’t get the memo. If I were, I would have proclaimed that the trinity thing is heresy, the same that I get accused of. But, we are also spirit and soul and body. Three in one. Besides, if you ask a trinitarian to explain trinity to human understanding, “it’s a mystery” is about all we get.

    Bottom line, however, Jesus pointed to Jonah as a sign. That’s a hint that Jonah was not about Jonah, but about Jesus. Jesus isn’t just a sidebar topic here. Jesus is the topic.

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  57. Reuben,
    What did Jesus tell Philip when he told Jesus to just “show us the Father, and that will be sufficient?” So, when you get to heaven, will you also ask Jesus to show you the Father, too? Jesus will answer you the same as he did Philip. But will you respond, “No, Jesus, really…is he tending the Garden, or is he busy talking to Abraham? Just show me the Father, and I will be satisfied.” What did Jesus say to Philip? Or was Jesus speaking a “mystery” to Philip, speaking in a parable, or not really clear to Philips understanding?

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  58. Pingback: #WhoWouldJesusSue: Here’s to Internet Activists «Who Would Jesus Sue? Who Would Jesus Sue?

  59. Reuben,

    Jesus actually called Jonah a Prophet. Why would Jesus do that if Jonah was a bad man? How many of the prophets prophesy about Jesus? The following verse explains:

    Luke 24:27 (ALL the prophets…that includes Jonah)
    And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

    He didn’t say “all but Jonah.”

    Matthew 5:17
    Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

    Fulfill what?

    Matthew 11:13 (What did all of the prophets prophesy?)
    For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.

    Matthew 12:39
    But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

    There is that word “prophet” again, in regards to Jonah.

    Luke 1:70
    As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:

    Ephesians 2:20
    And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

    Jonah is included in the foundation.

    It’s all about Jesus.

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  60. Moses represents the Law. Why did Moses not get to see the PROMISED LAND? Look at the spiritual. Because he represents the law, and by the law (Deeds of the flesh) of Moses, no man shall enter into the Promised Land (Heaven). The law of Moses is not of faith, and the Law of Moses is a barrier to faith. If Moses would have been able to cross the Jordan, then it would represent that people can make it to heaven by obeying the law of Moses, not having faith.

    Romans 3:20
    “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight…”

    Romans 3:21
    “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;”

    Freedom from Moses, through Jesus:

    Galatians 4:24
    …for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage…

    Jesus is about freedom. We should be under the Jesus model. We get to the Promised Land thru him, not Moses.

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  61. The Führerprinzip [ˈfyːʀɐpʀɪnˌtsiːp] ( listen), German for “leader principle”, prescribed the fundamental basis of political authority in the governmental structures of the Third Reich. This principle can be most succinctly understood to mean that “the Führer’s word is above all written law” and that governmental policies, decisions, and offices ought to work toward the realization of this end.[1] In actual political usage, it refers mainly to the practice of dictatorship within the ranks of a political party itself, and as such, it has become an earmark of political Fascism.

    Interesting, Headless Unicorn Guy.

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  62. Everyone with a brain knows CC is phony as the day is long. BUT, if you stay on the edges and avoid the leadership they leave you alone. This I find very desirable in a church. I go there because I know what they are and I don’t get involved. It’s just a place to hang out on Sunday. You get involved with them you’ll join the long list of casualties.

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  63. Pingback: Pastor Chuck Smith, Founder of Calvary Chapel Churches, Dead at 86 | Spiritual Sounding Board

  64. Several problems exist with the CC movement. First, they are fundamentalist. This means they are often biblically inaccurate/imprecise and over-zealous. Sometimes they are even heretical and stupid. Secondly, these churches are ruled by one person (Moses Model). That was fine in the scenario to which Moses was assigned. The book of Acts and the Epistles, however, show us a situation involving a plurality of elders and congregational participation. So we are obligated to follow the New Testament model of church government, even if we do not have all of the details on how it was initially practiced. Thirdly, there is something wrong with any movement that is marked by strict uniformity and control. Behaviorally, CC operates like a cult, even though its beliefs are by and large Christian. So in considering these three points, I would not align myself with the movement.

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  65. Fighting about the ‘correct’ way to ‘church’ in the context of the NT is nothing new. All you have to do with any CC is watch them ‘lie through their teeth’ (knowingly IMO) to defend the way they do stuff. You don’t have to stay, or get involved. Unless they know you have $ or are going to give them a problem, they are happy to ignore you. They use cult like techniques especially the closer you get to the control at the center, and Christians would be wise to avoid them (again MO) The MP is as laughable as most of the other stuff they use to justify their behavior. Just don’t ask questions, you’ll be OK.

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  66. Yes, I think you’re right. They don’t operate like a church but like a cult. They are very strange, and this is coming from someone who has been a Christian for many years. I really don’t understand them. It’s as if they had some clandestine motive.

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  67. I wish to comment further. As I continue to review the blogs out there about CC, I’m struck by the number of complaints and allegations that have arisen over the years. This has been no secret. That’s why I continue to believe the only solution is to fix the church’s polity. As long as one-person rule exists, it will breed serious problems. The Moses Model is inappropriate. We are not in that situation. Pastors are not in Moses shoes and we are not the Israelites being led out of Egypt. It is an altogether different scenario. We are the New Testament church. The church began under the leadership of elders. Pauline theology teaches that all its parts must work together in mutual submission. So there is a model. There is an example. We need to follow that. The Calvary Chapel movement was flawed from its inception. It held to a false model. It’s power-structure was what we might call un-biblical.

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  68. Jon,
    The elder model is a good one as long as it is a New Testament elder model. Paid staff should not be elders. Elders are all of those who have been Christians for some period of time, usually in single digit years (preferably mid-range), and members of the local body for a different, shorter period of time, perhaps a year. From that pool, all officers of the church should be elected, including a committee to handle interim between business meeting of all of the elders. The pastor should not be an elder and should stay out of the business affairs of the church, and from setting the general theological and ecclesiological positions of the church. He should preach within the elder’s concept of the direction of the church, rather than imposing his own. In fact, unless requested for a particular purpose and issue, the pastor should not be involved in the meetings of the elders, so they can have frank discussions. Not a vision shared by many in the mega-church business. But, in other than denominational churches with a supervisory role over the local body, it is a structure that provides oversight of the pastor and staff by the laity and can prevent abuses.
    In Baptist churches, the elder function traditionally was handled by the deacons and in monthly congregational business meetings.

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  69. Thanks for that. It sounds like a sensible approach, but I’m thinking in terms of the early church practice witnessed by Scripture. All I see there is a plurality of elders at the level of the assembly with district elders perhaps overseeing several churches at once. I guess that’s presbyterian government. I don’t know of any distinction between a teaching elder/pastor and the group that governs. I think that arose later and gave rise to something more akin to episcopacy, according to the scholars I’ve read. I envision a group of elders taking turns preaching and teaching and also ‘leading’ the congregation with whatever that entails at their end. I still suppose congregations participated in the life of the church and its decision-making for the simple reason that all parts contributed to the whole–that’s part of basic Pauline theology. Where might we find this in practice? I don’t know because so many approaches have arisen and evolved over the centuries. We have many hybrids. I do sense the fundamental problem with CC is not theological per se, neither is it corruption except perhaps secondarily, but one of false leadership. You’re taking one person and putting them in charge of a group, and you’re not even putting anyone in charge of that one person. It’s their Moses Model. Why on earth would someone take an example like that from the Old Testament and apply it to the New Testament church? A New Testament church leader is certainly not in the position of Moses and we are not the Israelites being led out of Egypt. One-person rule in our circumstances is neither practical nor godly. The CC was never a theologically informed movement, and they really didn’t feel compelled to follow the early church’s tradition on the matter. This, I believe, is why the movement suffers from so many problems. It is my argument that they will not overcome these issues until they revolutionize their form of leadership. And I can’t imagine them doing that since it would require them to yield their own power and eliminate a defining characteristic from the start. Calvary Chapel has always seen the Moses Model as something awesome. They considered it dynamic and powerful. People need to revise their thinking on it. That’s going to be difficult.

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  71. Pingback: Calvary Chapel Pastor Bob Coy’s Story of Moral Corruption Leads Calvary Chapel Members to Share Their Personal Stories | Spiritual Sounding Board

  72. Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge? I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers! Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated? No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren! Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, (I Corinthians 6:1-9 NKJV)

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