Jul 292015
 

rdozlerDoveWhat does the CCA do?

I’ve been asked this question a lot lately by people who have an issue with a Calvary Chapel.

They write or call the Calvary Chapel Association with that issue assuming that it is the governing body of the movement.

 

 

This assumption comes from a few places where the website speaks of regional authorities who have “oversight” over a group of churches in a geographical location.

They invariably get no response.

It may be helpful to start at the beginning to understand why and what’s happening now.

When the movement was founded it was founded on the principle of the autonomy of the local church.

Chuck Smith would not be told what to do or how to do it, nor did he want that power over others.

There would be no bishops or other oversight, each body would be wholly responsible for it’s governance through elders and the board with the senior pastor always having the final say.

This became the notorious “Moses Model”.

In reality, the “Moses Model” was nothing new in the church

Independent Baptists and others had used a senior pastor centric model before, though without the ridiculous Mosaic explanation.

The movement would not be a denomination, but a group of pastors who “affiliated” with each other on the basis of shared doctrine and vision.

As the movement grew, it became necessary to deal with the flood of pastors who wanted to become “affiliated” with Calvary Chapel.

Thus was born the Calvary Chapel Outreach Fellowship.

That became the agency that handed out the dove.

In time, it also became the enforcement arm of the movement, dealing with issues of moral turpitude, financial issues, and doctrinal fidelity to the “Distinctives”.

That worked…until it became evident that it also created a legal liability for Costa Mesa when one of the “affiliates” got in trouble.

Eventually, Chuck Smith grew tired of “paying for the boys mistakes” in legal settlements and disbanded the CCOF in an attempt to get back to the original plan.

The buck would stop with Chuck Smith and Chuck Smith wasn’t going to have anymore of his bucks going out the door to cover some guys sin, a guy he possibly had never even met.

The affiliates would be liable for their own actions and Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa would only be responsible for it’s own.

That was the case from 2012 to when Smith died.

Smith spoke of no plan for how to govern the movement after his death, so the CCA was formed while he was still around and great efforts were made to show that he approved it.

Whether he did or not is another story, but the CCA was in place when he died.

It was created solely to approve affiliation… the “Leadership Council” would oversee things such as the annual conference and doctrinal statements, but no one was to have any authority over anyone else.

In truth, they don’t.

What the CCA does is type names of new affiliates into a database and removes names that are no longer affiliated for some reason.

Regional pastors submit names, Michelle Wright types them in and the work of the CCA is done.

The harshest “discipline” that the CCA can administer is deleting a name from the CC database.

The leadership is fractured to the point of not even being able to agree on when or where to hold a national conference.

No one wants to or will take on the responsibility or liability for the errors of another affiliate.

No one wants to be sued.

The reality is that for the first time Calvary Chapels are truly autonomous.

If you have an issue with your local CC that can’t be resolved at the church, you’re out of luck.

Period.

It would be helpful and responsible if the CCA website took away any language that indicated that there was any sort of accountability hierarchy within the movement.

It leads people to believe that there is an place to appeal…and there is not.

Any accountability is at the local level…and if there is none there, there is none to be had.

We can debate all day about whether there should be, but at the end of the day we must deal with what is.

This is quintessential American religion…the market will decide if it works.

  129 Responses to “What Does the Calvary Chapel Association Do?”

  1. So their function is to maintain the appearance of the brand. How dreadfully modern.

  2. It’s not even that…they don’t agree on what the brand should even look like.

    I’m out for a bit.

  3. “Appearance of” covers all manner of posturing. Just sayin’.

  4. I suppose one good thing is that the dragons have no control over Broderson.

  5. I know that in the Baptist tradition (for a couple hundred years at least) church autonomy has been the norm, by conviction, not for fear of a lawsuit.

    The cast majority of autonomous Baptist churches have been congregational,not “pastor-centric”, but there are good, biblical reasons for believing in autonomy, not just a legal protection. In fact, i9n the history Baptist cooperation, I can’t think of one time where lawsuits were raised as an issue for remaining autonomous.

    Could it be that these brothers have those same biblical convictions?

  6. Josh,
    The problem with CC was that there was a season of some oversight that defied autonomy in some cases…but not others.
    Thus, there was and is some confusion on this point.

  7. I understand that, but it seems Chuck corrected that mistake in his lifetime.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t know what CCA does or does not do…if anything.

    I just don’t particularly like the motivation for autonomy to be given as a protection against lawsuits.

  8. Plus, it goes both ways. My poor little church has been sued multiple times, and we get no help from the greater convention. If we had access to the hundreds of millions of dollars that the convention has, we could squash these lawsuits immediately. Because we are poor and autonomous, when someone trips on our walkway, we end up in court for years.

  9. Josh,
    Chuck Smiths stated reason for disbanding CCOF was the lawsuit issue. That is simply historic fact. There is no doubt that he believed in the autonomy of the local church, but it was liability that made it a fact in CC.

  10. This is well done. And helpful in my opinion.

    The one thing I would ask is this. You wrote “It would be helpful and responsible if the CCA website took away any language that indicated that there was any sort of accountability hierarchy within the movement…It leads people to believe that there is an place to appeal…and there is not.”

    Where do you see this indication? What should be removed because what I read when it comes to the different regions is this:

    “We invite you to reach out to any of the gentlemen listed on these pages for more information about affiliation.”

    more information about affiliation….that’s all it says. Because that’s all it is….

    I think I looked over the entire site…what are you reading that implies otherwise that should be deleted. Thanks.

  11. CK,
    The dragons have failed in every coup attempt. He will continue to do his own thing and those who appreciate it will fellowship with him. The dragons are also free to do as they see fit.

  12. Steve,
    Thank you.
    I’m not at the computer now, but I believe that Wayne Taylor invites questions or concerns .

  13. Thanks, Michael. That gives me clarity.

    And Steve, a CC guy, verifies what you have written, so I have no qualms at all.

  14. Steve,
    I would go so far as to say that a statement about local accountability and the lack of an appeal process would be helpful to add to the site.

  15. Michael, are there any copyright laws or trademarks that would prevent me or anyone from using the name “Calvary Chape of ???” or using the CC dove logo like the one you posted for this article?

    Is the name brand protected?

  16. The name is copy written by CCCM I believe. I have heard that one reason there hasn’t been an official split is over who would own the name . Unconfirmed, but probable.

  17. #10. It would be helpful to remove the word “oversight” from the regional CCA team member pages.

    Quite simply the entire sentence “The following are men the Lord has raised up to assist in the oversight of the affiliated Calvary Chapels in this region” should be removed if the word “oversight” or any other term used is not used with the intent to imply control, watchful care, or supervision.

    See link below
    http://calvarychapelassociation.com/regions-original/ccanortheast/

  18. hmm… could someone copy write a cross rendering? a church copy writing a symbol is offensive to me… if someone steals it for a candy bar, get a cross up and forget trying to be special… IMNSH and nosy opinion here 🙂

  19. just realized that i can’t spell copyright this afternoon

  20. and i guess “Dove” is an ice cream bar, not a candy bar… i think this is the week that i’ve begun to feel my age… now if i’ll just learn to act it… old people get all kinds of perks

  21. Marty,

    I think that is a legit concern.

  22. Dove makes chocolate bars, Em. No need to check into the old folks home just yet 🙂

  23. thanks, Josh and Xenia… hanging in there, even if this is my 2nd childhood

  24. The dove logo and the tradename “Calvary Chapel” are owned by with exclusive licensing rights held by the corporation Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, Inc. and unless CCCM licenses or assigns either, they can never be used without permission. As to the broad use of the dove, Chuck decided ions ago not to enforce trademark rights to the logo recognizing its vast and popular use throughout Christianity, even as he, for many years, refused to collect CCLI royalty fees for the Maranatha Music worship catalogue.

    IMO one of the soundest decisions Chuck made was disbanding CCOF and refusing to allow minions to provoke him to engage in other CC church affairs and be engaged due to a burr rubbing him wrong. For the better part of nine years we discussed CCOF and CCCM exposure due to its existence. I wanted it gone for the reasons stated here and by others in this blog. When CCOF or Chuck himself got involved in such matters, such engagement was irrational, arbitrary and often provoked litigation inthat matter or induced another plaintiff’s lawyer to “hook in” CCCM for that reason alone. Such engagement also caused financial losses, exceedingly high insurance premiums and resentment of PC and CCCM from affected parties like My Friend/Alex, and lastly was a waste of my time cleaning up the messes and defending lawsuits.

  25. Thank you, Jeff!

  26. I have no respect for Chuch Smith. He wanted to eat his cake and have it too. If he was really committed to not having authority over other churches he would not have started CCOF and he would not have played any role in who became affiliated and who did not. He would have just kept his mouth shut while whoever wanted to call themselves CC did so, There would have been no affiliations, no regionsm and no conferences–no nothing, Unstead he thought he could control things while not looking like he controled them,. He did a half assed job and now his legacy is one of abuse, pain, and spiritual emptiness. In another generation no one will rember his name and whatever he accomplished in this life will have completely crumbled into dust.

  27. J2the person

    I can compltely identify with your feelings and hurts. But for a minute consider this scanario:

    Chuck and the radio ministry called ” The Word for Today” is now heard on some 250 radio stations throughout the US ( pre CSN) and clearly at that time is ministering and teaching those peple who listen to it and even request it for a station more local to that listener. At the same tme churches and pastors are using the Calvary Chapel name with the expectation that there will be similar style and thru the bible teaching as well as the same theology in general. Those listeners, having gone to “Calvary Chapel” named churches are disappointed in whaat they hear on the radio and at their church. So they incessantly complain to Chuck and feel betrayed or even defrauded. That is some of the reasoning why Chuck tradenamed Calvary Chapel, so even as you can go to 200 McDonalds and get the same tasting Big Mac, so too you, for the most part, can be assured if you visit a Calvary Chapel church, you will get similar teaching as on the radio.

    So while I understand what you say, please consider that there were other problems and issues at hand that were required to be addressed.

  28. I had a very long bitter diatribe but deleted it, nice article Michael I hope it helps people in the organization really ask these questions.

  29. Any church, fellowship of churches, or denominations is only as strong as the men driving it. Calvary Chapels were the best thing going until evil men came in unnoticed. Leaven spread and now there is not a single group of churches that is not tainted. The great apostasy is in full swing. Get used to it.

    “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.” – James 3:18

  30. Regardless of the organizational structure or lack of it, I think the chain of CCs have done a fine job of promoting Jesus Christ to an unsaved world. I am sure that there are thousands of fully satisfied families to every single dissatisfied family. And that is with all the dysfunctions we talk about.

    The reason? – nobody cares how the sausage is made … and that may be the right way to look at it. And I would guess that almost all attenders have no clue – wait, I take that back – have no thoughts even about a ruling body. I would bet money that most Lutherans, 90% couldn’t name our district president or the synod president.

    Americans especially are not that curious.

  31. You know, my husband doesn’t hesitate to recommend the local CC for new believers–he knows they will get a verse by verse expository of the word of God.

    I, on the other hand, have dissimilar criteria for a body that builds me up in the word of God.

    I think the educated body of Christ is looking for a place to call home….and they haven’t found one yet.

  32. What’s the deal with Brodersen? Does the old guard have enough steam to remove him by coup d’etat? I suspect there are those who want a return to good old halcyon days when Calvary Chapel was ruled by Papa Chuck much in the same way Chairman Mao ruled a bygone China.

  33. Muff,

    I think the coup attempts are done for a season.
    Now, they want to move the capital to Philly and I see a two state CC from here on.

  34. Who are the “dragons?” Who are the “evil men?” Why not name these people instead of setting up this bifurcation of ins and outs? I don’t know, maybe there is good cause for the innuendo and encoded language, but with all the calls for honestly/clarifying “helpfulness,” such seems rather hypocritical or at the very least disingenuous don’t you think?

  35. Damon, just keep checking back throughout the day, I’m sure you’ll receive a few answers to your questions 😉

  36. Marty is correct, and the word “oversight” has meaning. Unless it doesn’t…

  37. Actually, the word “bishop” is derived from epískopos which means “overseer,” implying one who has oversight. The use of the word “oversight” suggests a bishop who has authority. I doubt if this is what they meant, it is just a sloppy use of vocabulary.

  38. “…Now, they want to move the capital to Philly and I see a two state CC from here on…

    Rome and Constantinople eh? The irony is rich no?

  39. Damon, IMO the reason the ‘dragons’ aren’t named is for the same reason as why the “oversight” committee was disbanded. Some in the CC ‘leadership’ have proven to be particularly litigious. Rather than being disingenuous, I think it may be self-preservation. You know, because these “blogging bullies” have their own legal team at the ready. Ha.

  40. Poison Alert! (inside joke)
    I’ve always felt sympathy for a few CC pastors I’ve known (some now “uncalled”) who were grieved over the actions (or inactions) of other CCs for which they were knew nothing could be done about it.
    For the past decades or so, there have been not-so-quiet rifts between them over such things as not being evangelistic enough, not being focused on missions enough, and if you lived in SoCal, the newest CC would be “called” so closed to the last one, you can practically park in one CC’s parking lot to walk to the other (see two CCs in Carlsbad on the same street).
    There have been enough cheap platitudes or ignorant statements about “all CCs” so I won’t make grandness statements.
    However, I’ve always been thankful for the few CC guys I’ve known who’ve always put people above previous issues mentioned. Also, I’ve respected them for staying faithful, though they know not all of them are.

  41. Damon,

    The “dragons” would refer to the old guard that has done everything they can to to undermine or even remove Brian Brodersen from influence and even attempted to remove him from his pastorate.

    You would have to inquire of Ms. ODM who the “evil men” who snuck in are…

  42. I won’t parse semantics and I see the point about “oversight” as a word, but there also is a context and that context repeatedly is the affiliation process.

    Also from the same link:

    The following are men the Lord has raised up to assist in the oversight of the affiliated Calvary Chapels in this region. If you have any questions regarding affiliation, or any questions in general we invite you to contact any one of these gentleman for further assistance.

    I don’t think there is any hint at “call us if you are having a problem with a pastor or church and we will look into it” – questions about affiliation or even in general are not complaints or offers to tell ones story.

    But I do cede the point and would like to see a clear, direct statement to the effect that affirms the independence of the local church so there is no confusion whatsoever possible.

  43. UnCCed@UnCCed.com, yes, I agree! There are some wonderful CC leaders who love Jesus and love the flock He has blessed them with.

  44. Michael,

    In reference to the original question, “What does CCA do?”, I think you accurately described it: Just add or delete the names of men it has deemed worthy to be called CC.

    Let’s remember that CC does not affiliate churches, it affiliates the senior pastor of that church.

    Which has always been the problem – the focus always goes to the one in charge – ie. Rauls church, Skips church, yada yada.

    God bless.

  45. Question for CC guys – or those knowledgable…

    The purpose of having the SBC is primarily to cooperate on sending missionaries (we have 4,000 or so fulltime missionaries overseas). The idea was that we can do more together than we can separately.

    I don’t see anything like that on the CCA site. Do you guys cooperate on missions at all, or is it just each church sending and supporting whatever missionary organization that it wants?

  46. Josh,

    There is no cooperative effort.
    Each group does as they se fit.

  47. “each church sending and supporting whatever missionary organization that it wants”

    Yes. Some churches do indeed cooperate together, and many missionaries that come from CC churches raise their support from other CC churches – but by & large, it’s all independently done. There is no denominational money flow back and forth to CCA.

  48. Gotcha, thanks guys.

  49. Josh, I have heard by email from the CCA a few times in the past when there is a disaster somewhere in the world, with contact information for the CC that already has a presence and is active in that part of the world. For any other CCs who might want to assist. That is helpful in my opinion and I imagine I would contact CCA if something happened in the cities of India or Romania where we have our connections.

    I have also heard from them on a few occasions with a serious prayer need.

    One thing you might be interested in is that CC affiliation has always encouraged pastoral fellowship on a regular basis – the senior pastor conference thing not really being the major one either. CCA will send info on the big SPC, but there is a lot that goes on organically amongst the churches that CCA does not deal with at all.

    There are three different pastoral get togethers on a monthly basis that I could go to if I so desire. (I’ve been to all 3 but usually just go to one a month).

    Also, it is quite common for a CC to invite other CCs in the area to some event they may be hosting…There is an excellent childrens ministry event that one of the churches around here hosts and we send all of our childrens workers to it each year (who want to go). A larger CC had a large child trafficking seminar with a variety of workshops and information booths. Our church in the past few years has had an annual mens conference and we have had some of the local church pastors deliver some of the messages and invite their men. And of course there is the annual Harvest Crusade that many CCs help promote and serve at.

    I get a mailer of something going on somewhere almost every week – and sometimes we encourage our church to participate and sometimes not, depending on the thing.

  50. Thanks Steve, that does sound good.

  51. I should add that our assistant pastor, who is also a very gifted musician, used to host at our church a musician’s worship conference on a regular basis….lots of CC guys would come to that from all around

  52. Strangely, in real concrete ways like that, most SBC churches don’t cooperate. We just all give to a fund that supports missions and the seminaries. I mean, we have the occasional conference that we go to, but those are usually more like vacations than actually cooperating with someone else.

  53. I forgot to include (here) the connection with Calvary distribution for books and materials…and also forgot that there have been some cooperative insurance programs amongst the calvary chapels. We used to participate in one relating to health insurance and there is also one relating to property/liability insurance.

    I’m sure I’ll remember some other things later…the point is that a CC pastor basically is saying he does not want to be a lone wolf. There is a difference between independence of the local church and not wanting a bunch of other guys who don’t know our church sticking their nose in our business (or me sticking my nose in theirs) – and saying someone does not want any fellowship with other pastors.

    Oh yeah, forgot the different Bible colleges and ministry schools too. When I went to School of Ministry in the 90s in Costa Mesa most of the men in my class went to CCs besides Costa Mesa. I was one of the few who did. Same is true with the Bible Colleges. I taught last Fall and there were several pastors like me, from different churches, volunteering to teach one class during the semester and most of the students I found out were actually from out of state or way out of the CA local area.

  54. Josh, now you know why most of us don’t just bail on the whole thing because some guy we have never met can’t keep it in his pants. And for every prima donna jerk (and those guys don’t usually come to the local stuff anyways) there are dozens and dozens and neat brothers in the Lord and some great fellowship and also opportunity to influence and educate some of the younger guys, as well as learn and share amongst us all.

    In the next couple of months I am going to be helping at one of these monthly meetings with other pastors in the area and we are going to deal with the issue of marriage – and what our churches are doing (or not doing) in terms of formal statements in the by-laws, procedures about having marriages in the church, or by the pastor and so forth. I expect it will be profitable for all who participate as we learn and brainstorm with each other.

  55. Steve

    You are coreect in your statements re copyrights, etc.

    I would recommend as part of your monthly meeting on marriage to contact the Pacific Justice folks (Brad Dacus) to review their materiaks and bylaws insert on marriage. I used them when revising the CC South Bay bylaws some 2 years ago.

  56. I have heard a lot of flack on here about independent churches that really not all deserved. Its not good to be a lone wolf pastor and that I agree with. And then I hear this stuff that CC pastors want the fellowship of other pastors and don’t want to be a lone wolf. And then I hear all this stuff about how independent CC pastors are. This is all very confusing. The way I see it is that CC wants it both ways and they for the most part only want fellowship with themselves with other CC pastors and not the larger body of Christ. Its very much isolated from the rest of Christianity. So in a way, these local guys are less independent than some denominational churches but very independent within their group of churches from the rest of Christianity. Its a strange thing indeed and for the most part not healthy in my estimation.

  57. only want fellowship with themselves with other CC pastors and not the larger body of Christ
    —————————————————————
    Yep…I know that is why I post here. To stay in the CC bubble

    In all seriousness, I believe you will find just as much fellowship with other denominations and groups as those other groups have with others as well. But as a general rule the Baptists are going to hang with the Baptists, the Lutherans with the Lutherans and so forth….

  58. Blogs are fundamentally different than churches but I agree the Lutherans hang out with Lutherans and the Baptists hang out with Baptists and the CC folks hang out with GFA and CC folks. 🙂 I get the basic idea. And this is why I like being truly independent but independents get blasted on this blog a lot and don’t think that is deserved because many independents actually get most of their pastors from local seminaries which to me is much better than being self taught and self proclaimed pastor in my opinion.

  59. But the distinction in CC is with the pastors and the laity. In my experience with CC, the pastors had their conferences and membership and book club, ect.. but the attendants felt like they were part of this but they have been fooled.. Since there is no membership for attendees, they are the ones who pay the bills, get abused, neglected and blamed for everything. Its a big problem but most don’t even know until its too late and they realize they have no say in an important matter. The pastors should know better and never let this happen.

  60. I’m no expert on copyright laws, but I did a copyright search of Calvary Chapel logos and materials awhile ago and found out a few things.

    1. The books are copyright, so no plagerism.
    2. Only a couple of bigger CCs actually copyrighted their church logo and name. The “dove’ and the name ‘Calvary Chapel” are not copyrighted.

    One could literally name their church, “Calvary Chapel of Anytown USA” and use the dove without violating any laws. I actually heard of a couple of Calvary Chapel churches long before I heard of Smith. One of these was affiliated with the Presbyterian Church and the other was an Assembly of God.

    The real issue is why use the name and dove? If you want to be associated with the CC of Smith fame then join the organization. If it’s all about marketing a fake CC (like the Chinese knock off Apple products) then go somewhere else.

  61. Bob

    U r mistaking copyrights from tradename and trademark law. When a name is a tradename/mark it is protected to the exclusive use of the holder. Therefore you analysis is flawed. See my comment above. Using a tradename such as “calvary Chapel” in a written text and then copyrighting the text does not grant protection or ownership of the tradename, but is actually a violation opf the holder’s rights. Moreover, the fact a tradename was in use prior to it being granted tradename status under federal law does not deny the tradename holder’s right to obtain the tradename. Hence, some entity using the name “Calvary Chapel” before CCCM obtained tradename rights does not give that entity the senior right to use that name against the holder.

  62. But as a general rule the Baptists are going to hang with the Baptists, the Lutherans with the Lutherans and so forth….

    We only hang with certain kinds of Lutherans . 😉

  63. And we with certain Baptists.

  64. And both Josh and MLD you would be welcome to hang out with us and even take communion as long as you were baptized.

  65. Oh yeah, Andrew, I was just joking around. All are welcome at my church, too. Baptists just have a well-earned reputation for fighting amongst ourselves.

  66. One has to be baptized in order to partake in communion?

  67. I know you were joking Josh but I don’t think MLD was. And it doesn’t surprise me because he has been the harshest critic of independent churches.

  68. One has to be baptized in order to partake in communion?
    _____________________________________________________________________

    I have never seen it enforced but it is mentioned time to time. Being baptized is synonymous with being part of Christ in the Bible so it makes sense.

  69. I don’t want to get into a baptism thing – but you got to admit that the Bible says in baptism you are buried and raised with Christ and it also says that in baptism you are clothed in Christ.

    So I would assume that no baptism means you have neither – and if you are not clothed in Christ and have not been buried and raised with Christ are you a Christian?

  70. And I don’t think they care when, where or how you were baptized as long as it was a trinitarian baptism and not a oneness pentecostal baptism.

  71. But then I forgot about those who believe in dehydrated baptism 🙂

  72. the pastors had their conferences and membership and book club, ect.. but the attendants felt like they were part of this but they have been fooled.
    ———————————————————
    Well, I don’t know why attendants would feel slighted at not being invited to pastoral conferences and lunches….and the “book club” is in fact a connection to a publishing/distribution arm for any church that wants to have a book store and/or provide such materials to the attendants. I already described the many opportunities for the Christian to enjoy what affiliation brings in fellowship with other Christians from other CCs.

    But the chief advantage of affiliation amongst the pastors has always been focused on the people, Andrew. The whole idea, as was already stated up there by Jeff was so that if someone moved into a new town they could find the local calvary chapel and get basically the same kind of doctrine, worship, and philosophy of ministry as the calvary they may have been used to.

    And as was said by Michael, CC did not invent anything new here with the idea that discipline or personal issues among the people of the local church would stay within the local church. I’m sure nobody can come to Josh’s pastor and expect him to arbitrate a beef they had with their baptist church 50 miles away.

    And in point of fact, I have never once been approached by someone asking me to so do. Nor to my knowledge has anyone ever approached another CC and ask them to intervene in something happening in Elsinore (with one very notable exception that has been well documented already)

    As is always stated, if someone wants and expects that sort of hierarchical oversight structure, then CC is definitely not the church for them and I would advise them to find another fellowship. That does not mean though that I also do not advise my fellow CC pastors to have formal guidelines for handling such issues in house amongst the fellowship (and that is the sort of thing that might be discussed at pastor meetings)

  73. One has to be baptized in order to partake in communion?<<<

    Of course! It's been that way for 2000 years!

  74. FWIW and IMV there is a good case to be made for what MLD wrongly calls dehydrated baptism (yes, i believe in the obedience of water baptism)…

  75. and what would you call waterless baptism? 😉

  76. Who does waterless baptism? Seriously?

  77. But the chief advantage of affiliation amongst the pastors has always been focused on the people, Andrew.
    ________________________________________________________________________

    People bring in revenue that pays the pastors salary and their wives salary and their kids salary and they get all the perks for free. Its part of the business model. You have to have the people but Its hard to say its focused for the people. For instance, I have never been to one CC that had a library of used Christian books. Most have new book stores right inside the church. Why? I’m not saying there aren’t any but you can tell its about the revenue that a new book store brings in, not the community of library where every one can use for free. Most cannot afford to keep buying new books all the time. So if its about the people, why do you push new books at them? But the readers sure would love to have a library where they could share. You see the difference?

  78. Josh,
    When the Bible makes any reference to baptism saving people or delivering the holy spirit, some here deny that it is water baptism.

  79. Oh. Yeah, I agree with that.

  80. Steve, speaking of church discipline of the attendees, I have heard from the CC pulpit many a time that they would honor the church discipline of an attendee from a different CC church. What does that mean? If you are put under church discipline under one CC, you immediately seem to be put under this guys discipline. Without intervening or even investigating you are potentially giving the benefit of the doubt from one abuser to another.

  81. The bible says there is only one baptism – that of water and the spirit.

  82. “What do you call waterless baptism”?
    Quakers call it “dry cleaning”!

  83. Andrew, I don’t know what to say. If I speak of people finding a church home your default is somehow money motivated if CC is involved.

    In addition, your little anecdotes are almost always the opposite of my reality in 20 years, and I do not think I have some unique experience. Book stores don’t make money and most churches are closing them – we did, and all we ever sought in the past was just to break even and provide a resource for people (and the only way we could break even is no staff and no rent). Meanwhile, we have plenty of books (most of them mine) available to read at one’s leisure if they so desire.

    I also keep hearing of more and more large churches shutting down their book stores.

    Same with church discipline (your opinions versus my reality and experiences). The reality is that most churches don’t listen to the prior church – and they will welcome with open arms into their fellowship. But here again, you want the door to swing only one way – to not let the pastor warn another church about someone in sin…but to take responsibility for rooting out all the wife and child abusers throughout the entire movement.

    My larger point was ignored..namely that people around the country can visit a CC and basically know what they are getting when it comes to doctrine, fellowship, and philosophy of ministry. If you think it is just to get CC pastors rich, there is not much more I can say to you….

  84. I remember when Dave Rolph had the best bookstore I’ve ever seen in a church…maybe the best “Christian” bookstore I’ve ever been in.
    He sold things at barely over cost…I loaded up when we visited there.
    He closed it up…it was costing both money and space.
    Bookstores are a bad idea if you want to make money…or even break even.

  85. The reality is that most churches don’t listen to the prior church .

    ________________________________________________________________________

    Steve, we are not talking about most churches, we are talking about CC which favors the affiliated Moses Model pastor with no investigation or involvement in the manor. It was even Chuck Smith himself who coined the phrase “Don’t touch God’s anointed”. Believe it or not that phrase was used against me when I dared to bring any such complaint against a CC pastor. What makes a CC pastor so special to use this kind of jargon?

  86. I was talking about most CC churches, Andrew. I assumed you would realize that my 20+ years of experience referenced was not with the Lutherans or the Presbyterians

    You’re once more bringing up new stuff (which is really old stuff that has been discussed with you specifically, by me specifically for a couple years at least), ignoring prior answers to this thread’s discussion….

  87. Xenia @ 74 – is that requirement found in scripture or is that tradition?

  88. Steve, this article is about CC of which Michael only seldom writes on. I hardly comment on this blog any more. You prove my point that most CC pastors want it both ways.

  89. Andrew,

    I wrote this article and the follow up piece in “Loose Ends” exactly for people like you.
    It obviously didn’t inform in the way I thought it would.
    There is no one monolithic “CC”.
    I would even quarrel with Steve’s position of uniformity across the movement in doctrine and practice…most of the guys I know have significant differences with each other in both.

    Simply casting out aspersions against the group as a whole is pointless and inaccurate.

    There are wonderful churches and pastors in the group…and some of the most abusive and vile bastards I’ve ever known as well.

    I’ll write more on this last point later…but the risk for CC right now is in becoming a group without an identity at all.

  90. I would even quarrel with Steve’s position of uniformity across the movement in doctrine and practice…most of the guys I know have significant differences with each other in both.
    ——————————————————–
    I agree with that too. I was speaking in broad strokes. But you most likely are not going to find Dread’s eschatology, G-man’s Bibliology, Xenia’s soteriology, or MLD’s ecclesiology in any CC.

    Eternal security is one clear example where many of us split from Chuck’s stated view (and those who agreed with him).

  91. Michael @ 90 – CC or any other church / movement / denomination needs to have their identity in Jesus Christ alone, anything else is just a social club.

  92. Col46,

    That’s a pious cliche, but utterly irrelevant when we’re speaking of denominations or affiliated groups like Calvary Chapel or the Southern Baptist Convention.

    It is assumed that all “Christian” groups are at least attempting to be grounded in Jesus.

    That being said, there are tremendous variations throughout Protestantism.

    The SBC has no real identity that separates it from other evangelical groups anymore as their doctrinal statements vary greatly on secondary matters.

    That is the future I see for CC.

  93. Thanks Michael, I see your point. My intent was not to come off as pious or cliche. My point was if CC loses their identity, so what? If the identity is in a brand then it should be lost, if the identity is in Christ then there’s nothing to worry about.

  94. Col46,

    A church having “it’s identity in Christ” is so broad and nebulous as to mean nothing.

    Identities are helpful for those attending or looking for a home church.
    Someone looking for a classic CC would be most unhappy in my church…and vice versa.

  95. A church identity or dare I say personality should be determined by those that attend the church and not one monolithic leader. Michael you are absolutely brilliant in your understanding of CC and other church groups. I think this concept probably ties into the cult of personality of many big time mega churches. If the church identity is determined by the celebrity pastor than when the celebrity passes away (ie Chuck Smith) the church looses its identity and I definitely see this happening to CC.

  96. Thanks for responding, but I am unclear who the old guard is. Are these most everyone over “x” years old? The gen1 guys? Or some other group? For instance are you talking about Joe F? Don Mc? Raul R? Jeff J? Greg L? Jack Hibbs (I know he is different vintage from the rest, but a “big wig” in his own right)? Reason I ask is, it sure seems all those guys are on board w Brodersen…and it is hard for me to guess who else the “old guard” could be.

  97. damon,

    If you think Joe, Don, and Jack are on board with Brodersen, you live in a parallel universe.
    That will be my last comment on that…for now.

  98. Andrew,

    Thank you for the kind words.
    Unfortunately, it’s been my field of study every day for two decades.

    Yes, when Chuck died, the movement lost it’s main identity.

    The dirty secret of CC that no one dare speak out loud…is how many that are glad he’s no longer in control.

  99. Michael, I hope you write a book about the history of CC and tell it like it is good, bad and ugly. This kind of analysis can make sense of my own experience and put things in perspective for many.

  100. Andrew,

    I’m writing it…and the sole reason is so people can have a deeper understanding of these dynamics.
    I’ll probably have to go into a witness protection program afterwards… 🙂

  101. Jeff

    I didn’t miss the trade name issue. People were asking and referring to copyright issues.

    I’m well aware the laws of the USA and States protect names and such even when they are neither registered or copyrighted.

    I also stated the real question was why would someone want to mimic a CC?

  102. BoB, “I also stated the real question was why would someone want to mimic a CC?”

    $$$ in the franchise name, it sells…

  103. conscientious objector,
    So what you are saying is that the CC pew sitter is guilty of just wanting to participate in ‘star power’

    You can’t sell something unless there is a market for it. Perhaps it is today’s American Christian who has created whatever you think the problem is is CC?

  104. It’s 2015.

    The idea that somehow CC is the hot thing that everyone wants to be a part of is ludicrous.

    You guys need to update the script…

  105. Thanks Bob for correction. Sorry I missed your point.

    As an excuse, am heavily sedated with a left should and arm block in place from surgery yesterday …a capsular release due to stiff should. In April I had a pretty bad ski accident which fully fractured my left humeris in four locations and severed it under the clavicle. Surgery than for rod insertion and thiteen screws delayed physical therapy for fear of rebreaking healing bone. Shoulder froze and two months of therapy three times a week produced much pain and incremental gain.

    All to say asking for prayer for full shoulder movement so I can rebreak it skiing. Blessings all.

  106. Jeff,

    I almost passed out just reading about your afflictions.
    Praying for you, my friend.

  107. MLD, not the pew sitters, they are already duped, it’s the wanabe rock star franchise owners I’m talk’n about.

    Steve… “It’s 2015. The idea that somehow CC is the hot thing that everyone wants to be a part of is ludicrous.You guys need to update the script…”

    Times are tough and it getting harder and harder to make a buck these days, especially if you don’t like to work…

    The answer for many is to become a franchise pastor. We know the pay and perks are good if you become successful and sell lots of jesus burgers. Just ask Bob $500,000 + a year Coy how he did it. Or maybe KP? I wonder how many big named cc pastors make over $250,000 a year with perks of jesus money?

  108. If I had the time and money, I would love to do a survey of what the average size of a Calvary Chapel is.
    I know of a bunch that are under a hundred people and there ain’t any cash in that.
    There may be some “brand” value on the West Coast, particularly in Southern California…but in terms of being the “hot” brand I think that started to decline about a decade ago.

    I know of too many failed CC plants to put too much stock in the power of the brand at this point.

    This is a very uncertain time for CC.

    The most notable of the big time CC pastors are all in their 60’s and approaching times of succession…often leaving massive debt loads to those succesors.
    The classic dispensational theology that marked the movement is in steep decline among younger people and theologians and without that “distinctive” they are just another flavor of Baptists.

    My point is this…if I were buying a franchise today, I’d pick 5 Guys over McDonalds.
    If I wanted a hot brand in the church I would either be independent or Acts 29 before I took on the CC baggage.

  109. Michael: “My point is this…if I were buying a franchise today, I’d pick 5 Guys over McDonalds. If I wanted a hot brand in the church I would either be independent or Acts 29 before I took on the CC baggage.

    True! but there are scores of guys being pumped out of the cc bible college system every year that “need” to do something… And usually they do what is familiar and dream to start a cc franchise that will produce.

  110. conscientious objector,

    You’re making some assumptions here.

    There are a number of people coming out of bible colleges and seminaries.

    I would assume that most of them desire to be teachers and pastors because of their faith in Jesus Christ and a desire to serve His people.

    You seem to be assuming that their desire is fueled by financial considerations.

    If they are doing so because of that reason, they are among the biggest fools in all of the educational system.

    The chances of starting a successful church plant are small, the chances of starting one that produces anything approaching wealth are even smaller.

    I understand the frustration and anger of those who have been burned by CC.
    However, just throwing blanket accusations against the wall and hoping they stick is counter productive to all of us.

  111. Agreed, I truly hope most are sincere and serve Jesus with an unfeigned heart…

    However, you must agree that there are some bad apples who reign at the elite levels of the CC Moses Model structure to whom the underlings look up to and aspire to emulate, just like the heroes of faith who achieved their own Moses status and are mentioned by name in the book of… “Chuck”.

    This is why CC IS a brand name and will continue to operate as a franchise. Even if every franchise is 99.99% autonomous.

  112. C.O.,

    There are some really bad apples in the CC food chain.

    However, when I went to Geneva and rubbed elbows with the Reformed glitterati, there were some bad ones there as well.

    Being a religious asshat has no denominational boundaries…

  113. Thank you Michael for your input and allowing me to vent!

  114. c.o.,

    Thanks for reading and adding to the discussion.
    Sometimes venting is therepeutic…

  115. “Being a religious asshat has no denominational boundaries…” the sooner the Church at large grows up and learns how to work around and independent of these “hats” the better IMHO

  116. Michael,

    Thanks for replying. I said “it seems” because that is the appearance…at least to me. I recognize that I do not have the inside information and that is why I ask here…..and why I chose some of those names in particular. Do you know what specifically they take issue with? And/or why do they present such a collegial spirit when they are together if such us not the case? What is at stake for say Joe to not show up to the SPC? Thanks in advance.

  117. damon,

    Frankly, this is one of the most irritating and dishonest things about CC culture.

    Issues can’t be dealt with openly and honestly because of some whacked need to present a unified front to the rank and file.
    I do know inside information and I can tell you that (even if they deny it) a lot of these guys simply despise each other.

    The issue here is around what constitutes being “Calvary Chapel”.
    The old guard wants to make much of secondary issues as defined by the”Distinctives”…such as eschatology, Calvinism, and drinking.
    Believe it or not, alcohol consumption is a major issue with this group.
    They want 100 proof Chuck Smith and loathe any variation from it.

    Brodersen holds to most of those distinctive himself, but he doesn’t believe that secondary issues should define the movement and gives a lot of leeway in doctrine and practice.

    The old guard doesn’t just want acceptance of the “Distinctives”, they want enforced fidelity to them.

    That simply won’t fly anymore…so a real split is inevitable.

  118. You might not get rich as a CC pastor but you might. Its the potential that is the drive. Its like being a real estate sales person. Most live in the poverty range but the income potential is limitless once you get good. This is why many do it. They also get the independence, tax exemption and freedom. I know a guy that does both. He is a real estate guy when being a pastor doesn’t pay and a pastor when the real estate market goes bust. Hey, he’s doing what he has to do to survive.

  119. Michael,

    What about the Pentecostal distinctive within CC? I didn’t realize any Baptists had a Pentecostal theology like CC does but I’m not in the know. If CC is afraid of being just like another Baptist church than there must be many Pentecostal Baptist churches out there. I kind of thought most Baptist churches were cessastionalist when it came to tongues, etc.. but I could be completely wrong.

  120. Jeff:

    I’m sorry about all your pain and do pray for full recovery. I also understand the power of a good story and the “there I was” ones are the best.

    I am a former skier (skied on and off for almost 40 years, started at about 10 years old) and would love to hear about what led to your injury. Eventually my skiing interest waned and the cost increased, so my skis are just dust collectors now.

    Back to the theme of the thread;

    People are writing about “distinctions” of CC and such, but what I have noticed is over my church service life time almost all have become the same.

    Even many of the “old school” denominations and the local churches have become just another religious experience. No matter where I go today there are the guitars, some form of silly songs with almost no doctrinal value, a short talk, maybe drink a cup and chew on a wafer(which is hardly a meal) and off one goes for the week.

    What happened to the community, the help, and a love for God? Maybe I’m just living in a dream world of what could be and really never was.

    Oh well it’s a beautiful first day of the week and I know God brings peace in the chaos of life.

    Get well Jeff! Blessings and peace in Him!

  121. Bob – what you call “and off one goes for the week. ” I call the christian life.
    When I leave my church driveway and go ‘off for the week’ – I am in my mission field

    I guess some can place value in huddling around the church.

  122. Michael,

    Thanks for answering directly. It does seem unfortunate that people with differences of opinion can’t speak openly and honestly. I wonder what causes the need to show absolute solidarity across all fronts…. Oh well thanks again, damon

  123. “I guess some can place value in huddling around the church.”

    MLD

    Do you always not get it?

    BTW I’m glad you see life as the mission field. That’s a good thing, thanks.

  124. Not sure why you would say “Smith spoke of no plan for how to govern the movement after his death” when in his *letter dated 7/19/13 he said CCA was “not a group of men self-appointed…these are men I love and trust and prayerfully asked them to provide the leadership and influence I believe God has called them to.” In this letter he also mentions CCA would lead by “maintain(Ing) the Calvary Chapel Distinctives” and “oversee(Ing) the affiliation process.” Seems like a plan to me.

    You obviously have the right to your opinion but keeping facts straight is important to avoid misleading us readers.

    *https://americanchristian.me/tag/calvary-chapel/

  125. Jon,

    As I have stated repeatedly there are huge questions about who wrote that letter and what Smith’s true intent was.
    This is important information to consider as we try to “keep the facts straight”…

  126. Hi Jon,

    I have asked the Council, for the record, why men that Chuck picked have resigned from the Council since this dust up occurred, why at least one man not picked by Chuck was added to the Council’s letters and why a few men on the Council chose not to sign the letters.

    So far…my questions, which I think are legit given what you and others have written, have been met with silence.

    I think if the Council in effect says, “Hey, we are the Council Chuck personally chose so listen to us” then those questions should be answered, and one would think, quite easily…

  127. Steve #127

    I agree. The CCA (Calvary Chapel Association) council needs to get someone on the computer and start answering some of these questions. We, as faithful members of Calvary Chapel, have legitimate questions and concerns.

    I, for one, would like to know how a member of the council is chosen.

    May our good Lord inspire these godly brothers to start answering our questions.

    God’s peace, love, and guidance always.

    Pastor Robert Trohon
    La Via-The Way (Calvary Chapel)
    Managua, Nicaragua

  128. Robert Trohon,

    They choose each other.
    That’s an easy one…

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