She waited until a week or so ago to tell me.
She thought it might upset me.
My grandma, my mother explained, was not what you thought she was.
To understand the gravity of such a statement you would have to know the history.
I was Grandmas boy…to the extreme.
So extreme that when she was done pouring out her affections on me, there wasn’t much left for anyone else.
She tolerated other humans, but I was the prince of the world.
In her eyes, I could do no wrong…even when caught in the very act of wrong.
My grandfather loathed the little royal imp in her life and looked for every opportunity to tarnish my crown.
One evening I came home so drunk I could barely walk and stumbled through the front room on my way to the bathroom to get sick.
“I told you so!”, he thundered…”He’s DRUNK!”.
He could barely contain his joy at catching me in the arms of hard liquor…which we all knew Grandma despised.
“Shut up, you old bastard!” “He’s got the FLU!”
I laughed about that one for years…how could she possibly not know?
Not only could my Grampa not convince her of my sins, no one else could either.
God help those who tried…and many did.
Whatever I wanted was mine…and she spent a small fortune on making sure that I had all the books and music I desired and I desired a lot of both.
I loved watches and AM radios and I always had the latest one available.
She lost her mind slowly but surely to dementia…after she died they found a drawer full of watches and AM radios still in their packaging.
Evidently, she would forget she bought them and buy more every trip to town.
Even in her delirium, I remained her boy.
She was not what you thought, my mom explained…
Grandma was a bit wild…quite a bit wild…in the years before I was born.
I found the details interesting, but unimportant and thought no more of it until a few minutes ago when four words woke me up.
She knew all along…
We all believed she was willfully blind to what a hellion I was… naive and ignorant, unwilling to either hear or speak a word that besmirched my character.
Now I know the truth.
She knew I was a teenage drunk, a skirt chasing menace to all that was holy and pure in our little town.
She knew I wasn’t out late studying, I was out late with the girls and the whiskey I stole from Grampa.
She knew Grampa was right.
She knew…but refused to let others know so she could protect me.
She knew…and didn’t care what anyone else thought of her.
She knew…but chose to believe the best about me anyway.
She knew…but love covered a multitude of sins.
She knew… but sacrificed herself for my benefit.
I heard the Lord chuckle as I rose from my bed to write this.
“I know too” He said.
Make your own application…
The Wicked, and such as be void of a lively faith, although they do carnally and visibly press with their teeth (as Saint Augustine saith) the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ; yet in no wise are they partakers of Christ: but rather, to their condemnation, do eat and drink the sign or Sacrament of so great a thing.
Who is it then who cannot partake of the Lord’s Supper?
Of course, we can all say the Bible. But what other books have been the best ever? It can be fiction, or non. Fantasy? Do you like Harry Potter books? (I promise, I won’t tell your pastor) Are Chilton Manuals your favorites? Do you read steamy romance novels? Stephen King?
I don’t get into stories for whatever reason. Books that have a point or 50 are much more up my alley. Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology is my favorite book. There are a number of things in there that I don’t agree with, but it is still my favorite. Coming in at a close second is Calvin’s Institutes. I only have the first edition, so I have probably missed quite a bit. Here is an interesting fact, a Calvary Chapel pastor gave it to me. No, George, I am not going to tell you who.
Lets talk about books we love! Participation Required!
I have been inundated with copies of an email blast that George Bryson sent out to a number of Calvary Chapel pastors.
By clicking on the link above you can read the entire text.
Because I was prominently noted in the article and that noting included no small misrepresentation of my motivations, I’ll attempt to answer it here
“Pastor Chuck has spoken clearly, repeatedly and emphatically about the issues of which my Email Articles are concerned. There would not be a need to write these Stay the Course articles if there were not some outside Calvary Chapel (i.e., the Trojan Horse folks) and inside Calvary Chapel (i.e., the Fifth Column folks) calling and working for a change in direction and doctrine for the Calvary Chapel movement.”
First of all, let me agree with Bryson.
Chuck Smith has made it clear that he agrees with Bryson about the issues that George is writing about.
Those who want to believe otherwise are delusional.
Now as to what I’m “working for”… I couldn’t care less about the doctrinal stance of CC.
My goal is not to stealthily introduce Calvinism as a sort of germ that will spread like either a disease or a vaccination depending on your point of view.
If Calvary Chapel wants to have an Arminian statement of faith that is not my concern, any more than pushing Acts 29 to be Arminian is.
The only directional change that I am truly interested in is some sort of movement wide accountability standards.
An added bonus would be to see the hostility ended between traditional CC’s and the greater body of Christ and the parochialism that has marked much of the last twenty years of the movement.
“For example, outside Calvary Chapel there is a blog (frequented by some Calvary Chapel pastors) dedicated to bringing about the kinds of changes that the anti-Chuck lead blogger on that blog says Calvary Chapel must undergo to satisfy him.”
First, thank you for the recognition that CC pastors do indeed read this blog.
Second, let’s talk about being “anti-Chuck”.
I do have large issues with how Chuck Smith has led this movement that I written about extensively.
The way he is handling the current conflict is one of those issues.
That does not mean I’m opposed to him as a person or as a brother in the body of Christ.
Third, I’m not sure that anyone does or should care about what satisfies me unless it impacts the greater body of Christ.
Those are the issues I try to address.
“While he considers himself a Calvinist, his understanding of Calvinism seems to be in transition.”
The true Calvinist is always reforming, George.
“Regardless he sees me as a blue meanie for my intransigence and misguided/hard-hearted ways because I am trying to keep Calvinists from becoming Calvary Chapel pastors and Calvary Chapel pastors from becoming Calvinists.”
Not really. Few of my friends or readers would self identify as Calvinists and we get along quite well. As I stated earlier, the doctrinal stance of CC is beyond my pay grade.
My disputes with Bryson are well known and regrettable, but they have nothing to do with this situation.
The rest of the article serves (to me) as confirmation of the conflict that I wrote about last week and was roundly criticized for by some here.
The unnamed CCA board member that Bryson keeps referring to is Brian Broderson.
It’s rather obvious that Bryson doesn’t accept Broderson as the successor to Chuck Smith either at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa or as a prominent member of the new CCA.
To George, this is a “Reformed friendly” vs. “anti-Reformed issue”.
To my knowledge, Broderson has never been pro-Reformed, nor does he have any Reformed leanings that I’m aware of.
He is not, however, overtly hostile to those with such leanings and seems to enjoy fellowship across doctrinal lines.
I don’t believe that the real issues here are about Calvinism.
They are about who is going to lead Calvary Chapel now and in the future.
Many inside the movement believed that to be settled with the formation of the CCA…but as George notes, that is anything but settled.
That…was my point to begin with.
This is the video Bryson refers to;
I will put my article that was referred to in the comments section.
1. I was a late arrival at the Brennan Manning party. As I was reminded last night, when asked about him a decade ago I quickly dispatched him as a heretic. I hadn’t actually read him, save for the out of context excerpts provided by those who wanted me to join with them in their joyous condemnation of someone outside their box. To my shame, I did. Being in the box was more important to me than being honest enough to read and think for myself. Never again…
2. Mannings autobiography “All of Grace” should be the standard we hold all other “Christian” biographies to. He told the whole truth about Himself and because he did, we were able to see the whole truth about the God who saved him.
3. If you actually read that book you will understand that Manning is painfully honest about what his “sin” and “licence” cost him…but that would take all the fun out of throwing rocks at his grave.
4. After reading the responses to all of the well publicized deaths in the greater Christian community I can truthfully say that the spiritually sickest people in the church are the ODM’s and their followers.
5. I taught on 1 Cor 13 last night…“And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”(1 Corinthians 13:2 ESV). So…even if your doctrine is the most correct doctrine since the Ascension, if you don’t practice it in love you are nothing. Nothing.
6. You can’t hide your hard heart behind “I hate what God hates” when you are speaking against someone else in the body of Christ.
7. The minute you write the word “Illuminati” in a post or a comment I know that you’re an idiot. You may well be beloved of God, but you’re still an idiot.
8. Just when I got caught up with “Words With Friends,” along came “Phrases With Friends”. I may need to have my iPhone surgically removed…
9. This story is more than I can handle…
10. The whole church will be healthier when we realize that all of our leaders are as sinful and broken as Brennan Manning admitted he was…and we are too. That’s the first part…the second part is realizing that it’s biblical to love them and each other anyway.
Be for me all my truth and all my life.
Lead me into the crucified life, which is the real life, the eternal.
Lead me away from every lesser thing.
By Your love, renew my inner being so that I can receive Your love, and know it truly, and be Your love to others.
Lord Jesus, Savior, Servant . . . help me to dream again.
Rekindle in my heart that fire of the disciple who sees his calling everywhere, hears Your invitation everywhere, reaches out to Your children in greater need . . .everywhere.
I really do want to live Your life in mine—to serve, to care, to give, to sing Your song—for Your glory and pleasure.
“Because salvation is by grace through faith, I believe that among the countless number of people standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palms in their hands (see Revelation 7:9),
I shall see the prostitute from the Kit-Kat Ranch in Carson City, Nevada, who tearfully told me that she could find no other employment to support her two-year-old son. I shall see the woman who had an abortion and is haunted by guilt and remorse but did the best she could faced with grueling alternatives; the businessman besieged with debt who sold his integrity in a series of desperate transactions; the insecure clergyman addicted to being liked, who never challenged his people from the pulpit and longed for unconditional love; the sexually abused teen molested by his father and now selling his body on the street, who, as he falls asleep each night after his last ‘trick’, whispers the name of the unknown God he learned about in Sunday school.
‘But how?’ we ask.
Then the voice says, ‘They have washed their robes and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’
There they are. There *we* are – the multitude who so wanted to be faithful, who at times got defeated, soiled by life, and bested by trials, wearing the bloodied garments of life’s tribulations, but through it all clung to faith.
My friends, if this is not good news to you, you have never understood the gospel of grace.”
Brennan Manning 1934-2013
Every Sunday night before church, Trey and I stop there for a little snack.
Every Sunday night (much to Treys amusement) we go through the same routine.
We give the clerk our order and she asks for a name so they can call us when it is ready.
I say “Michael”…and she says “Mike”.
The first week I corrected her…”no, my name is Michael.”
The order was ready…”order for Mike”, they called.
The next week, the same routine with the clerk…but this time I lectured her.
“When a customer gives you their name, don’t change their name.!”
The order came…”order for Mike”, they called.
Trey experienced much glee at my discomfiture.
The third week I corrected her yet again…and she glowered at me and took the order.
“Order for mikHELL”, they called.
Trey was on the floor…I wanted to “run for the border”.
Last week, we gave our order and the clerk sullenly accepted both our order and my name.
“Order for # 186” they called…
Taco Bell flat refuses to accept who I really am.
Such is the nature of the world.
It will name you, then change the name at will.
Early last Friday I was “employed”, a “manager” with all the accepted meanings behind those names.
This Friday, I’m “unemployed”, another statistic with all the meanings that come with that term.
There is a place, however, where my name…my identity…never changes.
A place where I’m called;
Someday, they’ll call my name from there…and it will be “Michael”.
They know who I am.
Make your own application…
The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another, but rather it is a Sacrament of our Redemption by Christ’s death: insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith, receive the same, the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ; and likewise the Cup of Blessing is a partaking of the Blood of Christ.
Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.
The Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper, is Faith.
The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was not by Christ’s ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped.
This is a really different spin on Communion than I was ever used to. The Anglican Church has Communion every gathering. It is the centerpiece of the congregational gatherings. However, it is made clear in liturgy every Sunday what it means, and why we partake.
In many previous communion experiences, it was lowering the lights, play the soft music, think on yourself for a while, someone hands you a tray, you take some stuff from it, preacher unloads a long guilt trip, you cry, and fortunately, you don’t have to deal with it for another month or more.
I guess it would be hard for me to articulate the differences. I need to think on it more.
Feel free to go wherever with this article, so long as it has nothing to do with MLD’s Dodgers, or any other hell fire stench infested works of iniquity.