Jan 032017
 

Calvary vs. Calvary

I was there when Chuck Smith appointed the group of men now called CCA (Calvary Chapel Associates). I listened for a job description and/or passing of specific authority and none came. Some of the CCA members asked me what they should do. When I asked them what instructions Chuck gave, the reply was “none.” Then I said “Don’t do anything.”

Since the “Jesus Movement” revival that gave us Calvary Chapel (or maybe vice-versa) was so obviously a move of the Holy Spirit way beyond our best thinking, it would seem obvious that we should wait and pray to see what the Holy Spirit would do next and how we can cooperate.

If the news that came to me was accurate, the earliest “decisions” of CCA were to simply be there to build relationships so as to assist and counsel any pastors or other workers who chose to consult them. Further, they would not be a disciplinary group. If that was true, I thought it was brilliant. It gave me hope that we might truly be listening to God and taking our hands off the church.

One part of their decision fell apart when a major disciplinary action was taken against a person who, in his own way, was trying to take us “back” to historic (what a word to use for a 50-year-old movement!) positions and actions. He was ejected from this “non- organization, non-denomination”, because of his active desire to return to the past (as he defined it) and not because of personal misbehavior. So, part of the original design that CCA decided on fell by the wayside.

It is important to note that Calvary Chapel local churches are sovereign. They are not ruled from the outside. The minimum structure we had came from love and respect for Chuck Smith, not from organizational commands or directives. We were described, in print, by Chuck as “Co-operative Fellowships,” the same words, by the way, the Assemblies of God denomination used in their original formation in 1914 to avoid their deepest fear that they might become a denomination.

So, the earliest CCA decision, after losing the non-disciplinary stance, had one stance left, “Relationships!” I have long stated that the best thing going for Calvary Chapels was their regional pastor-worker gatherings that were wonderful for developing friendships and connections. Unnoticed by those who attempt to “organize” us is that not one of those regional gatherings was organized by Costa Mesa Calvary. They were founded out of the heart of those who desired fellowship and inspiration in their area. Not all have survived, but that is fodder for another conversation. From recent observed actions, it appears that attempts are being made by CCA to develop an authority structure and organize Calvarys beyond Costa Mesa rather than focus on relationships.

A personal observation: There is actually a group that is doing what CCA originally approached. This is an “unofficial” (How can there be anything official among sovereign churches?) group dedicated to genuine servanthood and care for what God has been doing. They call themselves “Poimen,” based on the Ephesian Epistle statement that we are God’s workmanship or Poime (Poimen means “pastor” in Latin). They have worked in the purest servant-hearted, others-centered way as they serve churches that are struggling for whatever reason and who need outside wisdom and action. They just simply serve and make no attempt to bring people under their authority. They are fruitful and have my admiration.

Now for the other side of the coin. Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa is the “mother church” around which we have gathered through the years. I don’t recall Chuck ever truly designating his “replacement.” That would be left to the “sovereign” church he founded. Chuck told me that he never wanted to build a monster facility that would, in his words, become a mausoleum as he felt Angelus Temple of his former denomination had become.

Chuck Smith was a true builder who went beyond the local church to build conference centers and camp facilities in the USA and in Europe and South America. He could do that because of people with willing hearts to work and serve in these facilities and the amazing flow of funds from appreciative people of means whose lives were, in some way, changed for the better in the Jesus Movement. Since the intensity of The Jesus Movement has waned, the upkeep of those facilities, all of them “world-class”, becomes a burden to be solved. The problem is that Calvary Costa Mesa owns all of those facilities as well as certain licensing rights. How will they support them? How will they share them? It remains to be seen. Now, Calvary Costa Mesa is simply another “SOVEREIGN” church led by a pastor they chose who has the right to lead them in any way he feels most desired and trained-for by the founder he replaced.

This is all-the-more-reason to simply step back, focus on Jesus and the Word, pray, serve and wait on The Holy Spirit. May we lay aside all attempts to develop our rank and gather authority and seek ways to serve each other.

As for me, I don’t think there is a “side” to be had in this most-unfortunate controversy. I still think we should cease and desist all struggles and wait on the Lord and pray for each other.

In a book I have read called THE JESUS STYLE, there is one small sub-chapter called “Prisoners of History.”
It is prophetic.

Gayle Erwin

  164 Responses to “Gayle Erwin On the CC Split”

  1. An interesting way to promote your book.

  2. May I ask where you got this?

  3. You can ask, but you’ll never get an answer.

  4. HA!

    (I was only asking because I couldn’t find it online to link it to some people I know. No worries…I wasn’t asking you to divulge sources. So sorry if it came across that way.)

  5. er, to send the link, I mean. 😉

  6. Are you going to tell Jeff Jones where you got it? 🙂 Sorry, couldn’t resist.



  7. Ah, an inside joke, I see…alas, the meaning is lost on me. 😉

  8. Stephen,

    On the previous thread, Jones was demanding to know where something came from.
    It didn’t go well for him…

  9. Welp, I guess I won’t be seeing Erwin at CC Philly any longer. He had been a frequent guest speaker either at regular services or conferences. Too bad, I usually liked his preaching.

  10. Oooohhhhh….I see now.

    (I loved the video, btw and we almost busted a guy trying to stifle our laughing because the kids are sleeping about 10 feet away from us)

  11. Kevin, that surprises me.
    He’s been on the poop list for years because he endorsed “The Shack”.

  12. A retired CC pastor from my area is part of the ministry Poimen that Gayle referenced.

    Seems like a good work. http://www.poimenministries.com

  13. On Erwin’s advise, CCA and the Brodersen groups should disband. The individual CCs are sovereign and if the Holy Spirit calls the group back together then this is fine. As long as they remain a formal entity, they are not “doing nothing” and waiting on the Holy Spirit.

  14. Michael,

    Yes, The Shack is also on the poop list at CC Philly. I guess it’s a matter of whether this is now strike two or three against Erwin. Or maybe it’ll count as two and three.

  15. The pastor of the CC I’ve attended for the last year and a half is now working with Poimen, after serving the church here for 23 years… He feels so strongly about that ministry and it excited for a new direction and use for his skills. Very loving man. His wife is so happy about it too.. both great people.

    Gayles ‘prophetic word’ in his book. So true…. prisoners of history. Lord help us.

    Our little church here is now part of Crossroads of Vancouver, Washington. Lots of changes. Big big changes. Good changes…. some of the folk who have been around a long time are prisoners of history, reluctant to change. I’m excited. One of the dangers of aging, is thinking that my way is THE way… and it’s just not. It’s hip to be square. 🙂

  16. endorsing a work of fiction will get one on a poop list in philly? Then that is a good list to be named on…

  17. Typical Erwin response. He slaps a few hands, and then tells everyone to put themselves on hold. In one respect I think he is not wanting to feel responsible for any decisions that pastors may eventually make. Eventually, decisions have to be made.

    I don’t think this is the time to hit the “pause” button, but a time to be decisive and take action. Brodersen obviously felt that way as well as CCA. Enough has been said to paint the picture of where both CGN (formerly CCGN) and CCA are at, and what their emphasis is going forward. As for me, while I don’t think he is perfect, the more I listen to Brodersen, the more I believe his is on the right course. I also think Brodersen has made it easy for CC pastors to remain in both organizations, although CCA has made it quite clear that their preference is affiliation in CCA only.

    I thought poimen was Greek (Strongs 4166). I do not share Erwin’s enthusiasm for this organization, to me, they resemble the denominational structure that he appears so adverse towards. Most of those guys are big Moses Model adherents.

    And….. the Jesus Movement was so much more than Calvary Chapel, at least it was when I was growing up in Southern California.

    As you like to say Gayle, “your turn.”

  18. You know it’s kind laughable. CC is an institution of unchecked dualities. For years CC eschewed higher education, with a large portion of pastors mocking formal theological training. And now they have a Bible College and CC University where you can go and be taught all things Calvary for a small fee and a bit of indentured servitude. There used to be guys that grabbed a guitar and led worship, making fun of those who went to college to get a degree in sacred music because they were cool and the college hacks weren’t. And now we have the School of Worship that graduates students who can’t read music, can’t play music, or can’t sing music but they get a certificate because their daddy is on the church board. And now in this missive there is a lot of talk by Gayle on the open and free relational structure of Calvary, when in fact it was always an autocratic paradigm. Chuck called the shots, kept the power and money within his wielding, showing favoritism to those who displayed loyalty and allowed them in the all male club. Women advanced by marrying pastors and attending pastors wives conferences.

    My point in this seemingly silly and fragmented paragraph above is that Gayle, God bless him, drank the kool-aid and benefitted from a close proximal relationship to Chuck. What I fail to see in his writing his an honest assessment of Chuck. The dualities of his statements reflect a history of unquestioned dualities within CC as a whole. Chuck may have been a builder, but he also is responsible for the very issues now that plaque CC and are tearing it apart. And this is a problem. Chuck has an almost Papal position in the rear view mirror and it’s troubling to see. Why is it a good that Chuck did nothing? Why did he not appoint a successor? Why is this laudable when the people in the pews are the ones who will ultimately pay the price for Chuck’s failure to accept his own mortality?

    I’m tired of seeing it. I weary of the revision of Chuck. None of this had to happen. It was his failure to lead that caused it. His “Jesus style” church structure was flawed, and his unwillingness to create a a system of checks and balances that he himself would abide by, and be transparent with, is one of the reasons this mess happened in the first place. I’m not just talking structurally here. I am also speaking of financially and morally as well. And these guys in CCA know it. So does Brian who dealt with it daily. But at least Brian spoke honestly in small measure about Chuck’s limitations.

    No man is perfect, we all speak out of both sides at times. But you can’t say Chuck didn’t want a “monster facility” when he collected assets all over the world. He liked a good deal, and he was savvy. So why did he not look into the future beyond his own life and use his wits and smarts to put in motion a solid plan for the benefit of the church he left behind, and for the family he left behind which now is at odds with one another? Or were the blessings he knew strictly for his own time to be shared with his cronies and family members and who cares about anyone else? These dualities that show us how imperfect even a good man can be. This split within CC was completely avoidable at one point in time. But Chuck’s wisdom was to refuse to see it coming or act accordingly to prevent it, instead playing everyone against the middle to the very end.

    Chuck was greatly used by God. No question about it. But like Samson he lost his hair a long time ago and now the roof is falling in on top of them all.

  19. The opinions of one glorified liar, or a group or groups of them, don’t carry much weight with the Holy, True, and Living God.

  20. @ JD
    Oh how I wish I could for one moment feel the truth of your words. I only feel terrible loss and disillusionment that I believed what they told me with their words only to realize the lies were actually found in their actions. Who is the Holy, True and Living God? I’m not sure at times I know anymore. To me He is far away, hidden behind the filthy tie-dyed curtains of the Jesus people church. I fear Him. And yet now I am no longer willing to be close to anyone who portends to have the keys to His kingdom. I am a damaged soul and will remain that way because of CC for the rest of my days. I accept this. And I live with an uneasy and heartbroken faith.

  21. Michael, Kevin’s post @9 shouldn’t surprise you about CC philly inviting Gayle. Basically, Gayle was on someone’s poop list for endorsing the “Shack” because it fictionalized the Trinity. I’m not sure that is a huge concern with CC philly.

    It is interesting that Gayle would mention the “Assembly of God churches” and the fear of becoming a denomination in 1914. This almost sounds like CC philly. I believe historically this was a concern of modalism and the doctrine of the “Oneness Pentecostalism” coming into the church which created a need to define their beliefs and create the AG denomination in the first place.

    This may seem odd, but where does CC philly really come down on their doctrine of the trinity? CC philly’s definition is not the same one on CCA’s website which is interesting and depending on your viewpoint a bit troubling. Because of this, I do not think CC philly has any interest in being the doctrinal police on the trinity.

    CC philly definition of the Trinity:

    We believe in one personal, transcendent, Triune God, the creator of all, who is eternal, and who manifests Himself in three separate persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

    CCA’s definition of the Trinity:

    We believe that there is one living and true GOD, eternally existing in three persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, equal in power and glory; that this triune God created all, upholds all, and governs all things.

  22. #18 The Least of These,

    I want to ramble on just a bit…

    Having spent years at CCCM I can confirm your words.

    My earliest memories of working to build the current facilities in 1972 or so, were of the discovery that certain families got preferential treatment from Chuck.

    There was the family that owned a moving company, and there were two brothers in particular that got inner circle privileges.

    And I observed Greg Laurie cozying up to the Children of the day music group, which got him a bit closer to the much coveted inner circle when no one knew his name yet.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love Greg and respect his persistence and perseverance in ministry.

    Greg got help that propelled him into ministry from the inner circle.

    Although I believe he would have gotten where he is on his own with the Holy Spirit.

    I knew him well when he was not known yet, and yes he was totally gifted as an evangelist way back then as an unknown.

    Some inner circle people got positions even though they were not even qualified for such.

    My point is that I realized that you were in or you were out, there were definite boundaries.

    I watched as pastors pole positioned for the warmth of the inner circle.

    I also watched as pastors made fun of Oden Fong for his Tuesday night fellowship at CCCM where Oden allowed the Holy Spirit some wiggle room to move as He (Holy Spirit) saw fit to do.

    They (other pastors) called Oden’s Bible study “The gong show” as a result, making fun of it behind the scenes.

    But Oden’s Bible study was much closer to what CCCM can be described as being like in it’s beginning days.

    Today Oden serves faithfully at Poeima Chapel and still has a heart to see God’s people moving in the gifts and anointing of the Holy Spirit.

    He very wisely did not become another Calvary Chapel.

    I have not spoken to him about this but I think he foresaw years ago what we see taking place at Calvary Chapel today.

    I myself never quite made it into that inner circle, although I guess I knew people who were because of my being at CCCM from day one practically.

    I knew Jeff Smith because of going to high school with him and playing racket ball at Orange Coast College with him.

    We go way back.

    That is about as close to the inner circle I have gotten I would imagine.

    Jeff and I still stay in touch through email and phone conversations.

    Jeff was not truly inner circle, even though he was the son of the main Moses Model leader, he never wanted to be in ministry, not after hearing the stories of behind the scenes stuff from his dad.

    The crazy people pulling guns on Chuck and having to consul mothers of sons who had just blown out their brains with a gun and having to help clean up the mess.

    Lonnie Frisbee loved Jeff and always told me, “I believe in him.”

    Chuck failed to look beyond assuring that there would be on going function of the machine he built with God’s help.

    Although he did when it came to his Bible teaching ministry.

    The Word for today audio ministry tapes play his teachings from when he was in his prime and had no senior moments.

    I think Chuck was at his best during the tent days, no pauses, no “ahhs” while trying to recover thoughts etc.

    Jeff played a big hand in the audio ministry I believe.

    Today Jeff is benched and is struggling with the CC split.

    But he has rediscovered divine appointments which are taking place almost daily in his life everywhere he finds himself.

    He seems on fire for the things of God every time we talk.

    Jeff is miffed admittedly over how things are turning out at CC, but I know he will come through it eventually.

    My personal belief is that the Calvary Chapel collective hive will now only be a shadow of it’s former glory.

    Becoming just another plain old dull denomination among many.

    You said:
    “Chuck was greatly used by God. No question about it. But like Samson he lost his hair a long time ago and now the roof is falling in on top of them all.”

    No disrespect of Chuck but apparently your words are true as we see the unraveling of the threads that make up the warn cozy blanket everyone kept warm under at one time.

    CC’s are swirling the drain as it were these days.

    Some will go down and others will survive because they got it right and serve the Lord, allowing the Holy Spirit to be at the helm, navigating them away from the pull of the swirl.

    Ya, Oden Fong was very wise to not go out and start another tentacle of CCCM.

    Poiema Chapel is small and irrelevant to the world, but it is a shining example of church done right.

    I foresee some CC’s taking on new directions on their own such as Oden has done.

    Leaning on the Holy Spirit for direction and strength to make it through this dark period.

    May hope and joy return to your soul my fellow Christian “The Least of These” as the great comforter and advocate with the Father visits you and pursues after you where ever you go with His relentless love for you.

    God has always desperately loved you and will never ever give up on you.

    He is nothing at all like your earthly biologically father, not to disparage your own father.

    God is closer to you then anyone of us could know right now.

    Give Him a chance to catch up to you…won’t you?

    Desiring the best for you and may you always have just enough to sustain you through the valley you find yourself in these days.

    I know how hard the demon winds can blow.

  23. MLD,

    You mentioned you helped with the 2016 Lutheran Rose Parade float.

    I videoed it briefly as it passed me that year.

    Here it is:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDTaitLLjaA

    Monday I saw that float again, It was well received by the crowds around me.

    Unfortunately my video card got filled up and i couldn’t video it.

  24. @surfer51
    Thank you. And you can disparage my earthly father, he was a jackass. In fact, I did not score in the parenting department on either side. I believe in part that is why I looked for a substitution and I was prime pickings for being taken advantage of by people in positions of authority. CC had more than enough guys willing to step up to misuse that need in me and discard me when they were done. Nevertheless, you are kind. I look forward to the day I may actually know that love of which you speak in full. I just can’t ever see it happening in church though, and I stopped looking for it. It is sad and the legacy of CC in my life. Your words are appreciated…

  25. Steve,

    @21, The Shack is a big concern at CC Philly. The book has been frequently bashed from the pulpit. So the fact that Erwin endorsed it would seem to be troubling for CC Philly. Now that I think of it, I don’t think Erwin has been at CC Philly for quite a while. He used to be more of a regular guest speaker. But it might be a few years now since he has been here. Maybe the Shack endorsement has something to do with that.

    As for the fear of becoming a denomination, that is very much a fear for CC Philly. Denomination is a bad word at CC Philly. The ironic thing is that Joe is one of the main ones pushing for more denominational-like control of the CCA over Calvary Chapels.

    As to your Trinity points, I’m not sure where you’re going there. I don’t see a qualitative difference in the definitions given by CC Philly and the CCA. The Trinity has never been an issue which CC Philly has made a big deal of in relation to differences with other churches of Christian groups. So, yes, I agree that CC Philly is not interested in being the doctrinal police on this issue. But I don’t see how that relates to much of any manner of the current issues within the CCA and Calvary Chapel.

  26. Surfer51, I have been Oden’s church….I loved it….love that he lets the Spirit move as He will. I love Oden and his lovely family!

  27. Just for a clarification on my last post, CC Philly usually doesn’t make a big deal of differences on teachings of the Trinity with other Christians. The Shack is an exception to this norm. But I think the Shack is disliked by CC Philly for more reasons than just the doctrine of the Trinity.

  28. I find myself surprised at my reactions to the CCCM/CCA split. As I’ve said on this site before, I’ve not been involved for decades, apart from contact with a few long time friends. Maybe it’s because I’m no longer a teenage runaway on a beach in southern California. Still, I look at those days and what happened with a certain longing… or maybe it’s just nostalgia. Yet, like all of us, I am in some sense the accumulation of my own experiences – good and bad. Maybe I’m just longing for a simpler time. I know that if I wanted to create a church environment for myself today, it would probably have to be built around a Anglican style Holy Eucharist on Sundays with an academically sound sermon, a CC style Bible study on Wednesdays, a killer concert on Saturday nights, and a fellowship of humorous, good hearted, loving people surrounding me. Unfortunately, that’s probably not going to happen. I’m not sure that God “customizes” the Church to suit each individual. Church is messy because it is filled with loads of flawed people… like me.

    I’m not sure “what Chuck would do” in the present circumstance, nor I’m I certain that the question is relevant. I think there is a good chance that God, through the Holy Spirit, will bring about something new. I don’t know what exactly it will be, but I’m pretty certain that it will challenge many of our presuppositions and prejudices.

  29. The Least of These, I’m with you. who to trust? burned by church….I have not been to church in a very long time….can’t remember when the last time I picked up my Bible…I know shock-I do the prayer thread!!!! .it was used as a weapon against me for so long….but God….God is there cry out to HIM . He will hear you. He will comfort you. I has been a long road for me but I am beginning to see His light shining on me….finally. I never stopped loving God just thought He stopped loving me. I was afraid of Him now after what happened. Did not want to get hurt any more. But it was not God who hurt me it was people. sinful wicked misguided people. sorrry crying now….He will never leave you nor forsake you. I know it feels like it in the valley but keep climbing to the mountain top, you will find that place where only the two of you know and HE will meet you there….

  30. Kevin,

    I don’t question CC philly’s doctrine on the Trinity anymore because I have never gotten a truthful answer. All I know is that I have witnessed “Jesus only” baptisms at a CC church in the area with full approval from Joe. That is a bit troubling to me but you can make your own opinion.

    Anyway, the two definitions of the Trinity I have posted are quite qualitatively different from my perspective. CCA’s definition is clear that they believe in One God in Three persons. At least on their website. CC philly’s definition on the surface appears to be “modalistic” in One personal God in Three separate manifestations. Again it goes back to my point about 1914 with the Assembly of God church that was predominately Pentecostal and embraced Oneness doctrine and feared denominational control. If Joe is pushing for the denominational control of the CCA over Calvary Chapels, than it sure is ironic.

  31. @Dusty
    I am very sorry for your experiences that have led to such pain. For the record, because I do not believe in the Jesus that CC sells anymore does not mean I do not love and believe in Jesus. I just am not sure what He looks like anymore but I believe it’s found somewhere between Dallas Willard, CS Lewis, John Piper, and Timothy Keller. Who knows if God will meet here. He didn’t for Mother Theresa. She died with longing and doubt. I may too.

  32. Surfer – thanks for the video. I spent New Years at my place in Arizona where I have no TV.

    Actually it was around 2011 / 2012 that I worked on floats

  33. Seems to me that Brian Broderson has settled this matter from his side and has moved on.

    Appears that there isn’t nearly the angst in his mind as is being expressed out here in the blogsphere among people who aren’t even associated with Calvary Chapel anymore.

    People can express their views however they want. Just seems to me he has moved on and isn’t looking back.

  34. When Gayle Irwin says people should put the brakes on, put the brakes on what? Brian Broderson made his decision, published it in different formats and moved on.

  35. Steve,

    The CC Philly definition of the Trinity could certainly be fuller in order to ascertain understanding. In all my years of attending, the Trinity is usually not a big teaching point, but I have never heard any teaching that hints at modalism or oneness. What teaching I can recall, it would all seem to be orthodox.

    As for the “Jesus only” baptisms you observed at another area CC, I can’t speak to that beyond what you share here.

  36. The Least of These,
    “For the record, because I do not believe in the Jesus that CC sells anymore does not mean I do not love and believe in Jesus.”

    Well you have caught my attention with this one. I for one find the doctrine / theology of CC to be woefully lacking and just hanging by their fingertips to still be Christian. However, I have not really had an issue with their stand on the Trinity or Jesus.

    Tell me more.

  37. The Least of These I was trying to comfort you and you turn around to comfort me. lol thank you

  38. Kevin,

    Perhaps you remember the Elephant room when T.D. Jakes was invited to come and the big controversy over him being a modalist and then all of a sudden saying he believed in the Trinity. This was the same time I witnessed the “Jesus” only baptisms. Coincident?, maybe? I brought both of this to their attention but it seemed they very annoyed I would question anything. Bottom line, why don’t they clean up their definition of the trinity on their website and have it at least match what’s on CCA’s if its not a big teaching point. You definitely will get enough pre-trip rapture theology on a consistent basis but trinity teaching is confusing and lacking at best.

  39. “We believe in one personal, transcendent, Triune God, the creator of all, who is eternal, and who manifests Himself in three separate persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

    Yes that at least gives some room to be interpreted as modalism. However, what I have found helpful in getting a better historical perspective is a book that Duane Arnold recommended to me “From Nicaean to Chalcedon” by Frances M. Young. It is apparent that the divide between Orthodoxy, Arianism, and other Theistic perspectives were not as clean as many history books want to lead us to believe.

    I spent a great deal of time reading this book over the past few days, and also read the Cappadocians (Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory of Nazianzus) and Athanasius last night. The Trinitarian formula is rather complex, difficult to articulate. That being the case ( I can’t believe I’m typing this) I would extend some grace toward CC Philly in this regard. I wonder if they have anyone on staff there that even has some academic credentials to help them engage with this?

    It is one thing to preach sermons, quite another to write creeds, which in my opinion is what a statement of faith is.

  40. The Trinitarian formula is hard to get “just right.” The Oneness of God cannot contradict the distinction of the Persons. You think you’ve got the Oneness of God down right and you realize you’ve blurred the distinction between the Three Persons and wind up with an Allah-like god. You emphasize the distinction between the Persons and you wind up with three gods and are now a tritheist. We should all be grateful to the Fathers of the Church who, with the help of the Holy Spirit, were able to sort things out. We all owe them a debt of gratitude. I am sure of one thing: none of us, if marooned on the proverbial desert island with just our Bibles, would ever have come up with the correct trinitarian formula all on our own. I think most of us would arrive at some form of Arianism, if left to our own understanding.

    All to say, if you are trying to avoid traditional formulations (Nicene Creed, for example) and want to write your own definition of the Trinity because you want to avoid “vain traditions of men” you will probably end up with a deficient definition such as the one above with its “manifestations.” Calvary Chapel is in line with the western* definition of the Holy Trinity so I think CC Philadelphia probably has the correct view, even thought the one they posted needs some work.

  41. *”Western” definition of the Trinity, which would include the Filioque, which is not part of the Eastern definition of the Trinity.

  42. Thanks pstmike!

    “…Academinc credentials to help engage with this?…” Good luck with that. They would have to stop treating seminarys like cemeteries.

    There used to be a long time (20 years or so) qualified guy on staff that used to teach in a local seminary. Not sure why he left but I don’t think he left on great terms from what I gather.

  43. pstrmike,

    I do think CC Philly’s Trinity definition is lacking and does leave things open to interpretation as you suggest. At the very least, as I previously stated, whatever teaching I can recall at CC Philly on the Trinity (it’s not really a point of regular emphasis, so there’s not a lot of teaching on it), it has been orthodox and doesn’t hint at modalism or oneness.

    I don’t think there are many on staff at CC Philly with much academic credentials. There was one assistant pastor who was a PhD (in psychology and/or counseling), but he has since moved on. I’m not aware of anybody else on staff who has significant academic credentials. (Maybe there are some, but I’m not aware of it.)

  44. “Calvary Chapel is in line with the western* definition of the Holy Trinity so I think CC Philadelphia probably has the correct view, even thought the one they posted needs some work”.
    _________________________________________________________________

    Which Calvary Chapel? The CCGN, the CCA or the CC philly or the thousand other possible permutations? With their apparent emphasis on the autonomy of the local church, I’m not sure what to believe any more regarding each unique CC.

  45. I’m now a good distance away from my CC days. It was a tough transition. What follows merely reflect what happened to me and my family at our town’s CC.

    Nearing the end of our tenure at this CC, I was leading a home fellowship, and was among the inner circle. I was in bad place at work, and things started to go south. When I tried to talk to my erstwhile friends, I was merely told things like “read the Bible more,” “Pray more,” etc.

    I was told, by one of the pastors, “you need to stick to reading the Bible, those history and theology books will lead you astray.” Well being rather obstinate, I read even more.

    One of the hardest things was being “shunned” by people who I had believed were my friends. Even after four years there are those who turn, and walk away when I say hi to them. Even my son’s friend, essentially, turned on him. Imagine a high school kid being told he was “backslidden” by kids he’d been with since he was a toddler.

    Well, to make a long story short. My faith in God remained intact, but my trust in people was beat to hell.

    We are now a year and half at a different church, and thriving. Gone is the fear of legalism, and alive is the love of Jesus.

    Dusty, and The Least of These, I’ve been where you’ve been.

  46. #39

    Pstrmike

    The statement, if taken on its own, is certainly modalism. The key word here is “manifests”.

    I would suggest this is the reason for using the creeds, especially the Nicene Creed. The language of the creed allows for both definition and mystery.

    It is similar to Augustine who used “God is love” as being Trinitarian – God the Father as the lover, God the Son as the beloved and the Holy Spirit as the bond of love. Distinct, but in an undivided relationship…

    Glad you found the book of use!

  47. David H, so glad you found your peace!!!

  48. here’s some food for thinking on… although i affirm it, i do not think that God requires an affirmation in order to be redeemed – as it states at the start… dunno, tho, do i? 🙂
    The Athanasian Creed
    Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith. Which faith except every one do keep
    whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.
    And the catholic faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is all one: the glory equal, the majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Ghost uncreated. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet they are not three Eternals, but one Eternal. As there are not three Uncreated nor three Incomprehensibles, but one Uncreated and one Incomprehensible. So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Ghost almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties, but one Almighty. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods, but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not three Lords, but one Lord. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by Himself to be God and Lord, So are we forbidden by the catholic religion to say, There be three Gods, or three Lords.
    The Father is made of none: neither created nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son: neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is before or after other; none is greater or less than another; But the whole three Persons are coeternal together, and coequal: so that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to
    be worshiped. He, therefore, that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity.
    Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe faithfully the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right faith is, that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man; God of the Substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man of the substance of His mother, born in the world; Perfect God and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood; Who, although He be God and Man, yet He is not two, but one Christ: One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking the manhood into God; One altogether; not by confusion of Substance, but by unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and Man is one Christ; Who suffered for our salvation; descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead; He ascended into heaven; He sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty; from whence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give an account of their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire.
    This is the catholic faith; which except a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved.

  49. #48 As I said, I think the Nicene Creed a better option! By the way, The Athanasian Creed was not written by Athanasius. It is, however, included in the BCP and liturgically allowed to be said… I believe especially on Trinity Sunday.

  50. Em, I do think you need to affirm it to be saved – it says so at the beginning and the end. Now, it is not the Creed that you are affirming – but what the creed is discussing.

    I don’t know how anyone can deny what is being discussed and still want to call themselves a Christian. The big part of affirmation is really the flip side – not to deny it.

    Even in Xenia’s case, I don’t think that the EO really denies the filioque as much as they disagree with how it was added (by Roman fiat and not by ecumenical council).

    The sad part is that hardly any churches include the ecumenical creeds in their statements of faith (formal or informal) and I would guess that in many church bodies 90% of the people are unaware of what they are. The Book of Concord (the Lutheran Confessions & Creeds) places them as the very first topic.

    In the day of computers, you would think churches would at least link to the creeds within their online statement of faith.

  51. The funny part about the Council of Nicaea (there were a couple – Arius was a prominent speaker and Athanasius had trouble getting his footing in the councils was expelled something like 5 times from the councils and
    Alexandria where he was the bishop. The guy had moxie.

  52. Lutheran churches say the Apostles Creed at baptismal and non communion services. The Nicene Creed is for Communion services and the Athanasian creed on Trinity Sunday.

  53. #51 Not expelled from the Councils (he was a deacon to Alexander of Alexandria at the Nicene Council), but exiled five times as Archbishop of Alexandria…

    On the filioque, there are a number of EO theologians who object, not only on the manner of it’s inclusion, but with regard to it negating the single nature of God the Father as the “font” of the actions of the Trinity –

  54. Duane – yes there are many who do object on those grounds – but many who do not. It is a split decision.
    Today, if you read much on the negotiations going on to bring the EO and RCC back into some sort of communion, most EO people involved have no problem with this issue.

  55. #54 MLD – Without doubt and there are a number of “twists and turns” that can be made, for and against, theologically.
    The greater issue may be pastoral. Among some EO theologians the idea of a “single font” is also a matter of Eucharistic importance, for some see the priest standing in the place of the Father offering the Son to the people through the power of the Holy Spirit. (A bit different from the Western approach.) On the most practical level, the gender of the priest suddenly takes on a different degree of importance.
    Not agreeing or disagreeing, but it is interesting both theologically and pastorally.

  56. Dusty,

    So, it seems we’ve walked down the same road.

    It was a long hard road.

    I beat myself up for a long time for not seeing what was happening.

    Those CC folks I knew still treat me like a pariah. I see a few at the gym. It’s an, “oh, hi,” and look away from me, and my son. It might not help that wear heavy metal band shirts to the gym.

  57. David H, yep seems so. I’m sorry for your pain and that of your son’s.

    “. It might not help that wear heavy metal band shirts to the gym” That is funny!!

    keep up the good fight my friend. 🙂

  58. Dusty, Least of These, David H,
    Each one of you wrote something that I could have:

    School of Worship-trained ‘worship leader,’ check. Related to one of the pastors.
    Being shunned by people who we thought were our “friends,” check.
    Children being hurt, check. (The worst.)
    A unrelenting mistrust of “pastors,” check. I’ll never call another man by that title.
    A sick queasy, PTSD – like reaction to church in general, check.
    An aversion even to the Bible because of how it was twisted, check.

    I love Jesus. It’s those who spiritually abuse innocents in His name that I can’t stand.

    CC, you have left so many shattered, cynical, and broken-hearted in your wake….not to mention Disillusioned

  59. Disillusioned

    “Being shunned by people who we thought were our “friends,” check.
    Children being hurt, check. (The worst.)
    A unrelenting mistrust of “pastors,” check. I’ll never call another man by that title.
    A sick queasy, PTSD – like reaction to church in general, check.
    An aversion even to the Bible because of how it was twisted, check.

    yep…..been over 10 years for me…..and I still have nightmares for real nightmares…..

  60. That is why I come here…

    it is a safe place and Michael is a truly honest and humble pastor and friend.

    I have healed a lot here, have a way to go. lol

  61. It may truly be PTSD….I have it…

  62. @MLD
    Sorry it took a bit to get back to you…
    The Jesus I was taught at CC died on a cross for our sins and we must make a confession of Him to be saved. I get all that and I agree with it.

    What I reject is Jesus as my buddy, my best friend, my pal for life. I reject the skateboarding, surfing, version of the too-cool-for-school- Jesus who makes it all better if you walk down to the front at a Harvest Crusade to read the track they give you and repeat the prayer. That Jesus that wants to make sure you attend a Virtue study, or hit up the Friday women’s study at CCCM to seal the deal where you can learn to talk like, dress like, be like them so that if you work enough at CC piety then one day you too may lead a group and fill in the blanks. And I utterly reject the unspoken notion that is common in CC’s that they somehow have the corner on the Jesus market because a tidal wave of glory descended upon a church in Santa Ana 40 years ago. I reject that somehow they are more special, more deserving, more blessed than the rest of the stale churches of our world because they were anointed with a special dispensation directly from Jesus. They are now the real Jesus people, and to be saved under their banner means Jesus loves you a little bit more than those who are in churches across America who fail to see the light as CC’s do. This arbitrary Jesus who is okay if a leader speaks one thing but lives another- that idea of Him is the one I reject. Look no further than the recently fallen Bob Caldwell…

    Now you want to show me a Jesus that cries with the hurting, feeds the hungry, listens to the downcast heart, gives without thought for self gain, who carries in His breast a thirst for real justice in a fallen world, that’s the one I seek. They get all pissy with me if I say this to their face. I am cast aside as bitter and angry. Maybe I am. But maybe I’m just done with crap. Where is the reverence? Where is the understanding that should you stumble a little one a stone should be hung around your neck and you cast into the sea? They sell a Jesus that looks like one thing from the pulpit, but behind the Orange Curtain He is quite another. He is judgmental and angry, a God who does not want to hear your cry but Who requires you suppress it. I got so tired of people assuming that when my child was in the hospital that somehow I had earned this trial. If only I had the holiness they had then perhaps I wouldn’t suffer so much. There must be a secret sin God is trying to extinguish in me… Confess it!!! Swallow your pill whole!!! That Jesus who lacks compassion and understanding is the one I reject as refracted through their own behavior towards me.

    I no longer seek that Jesus. It almost killed me trying. I still believe in God. I love the idea of a kind Jesus who sees my pain and gets it. A Jesus who knew my darkness more than I did when I was nearly raped, when I was beaten, when I was hungry, and I had no shoes or undergarments to wear and humiliation washed over me. I want to know that Jesus who loves me for my fight to survive, not criticize me for swinging at the monsters with all my might.

    I look forward to meeting Him one day.

    I hope that answered your question. I am not a theologian. I may have given you a very lame answer, but at least it’s an honest one.

  63. @Disillusioned
    I’ll bet I know you.
    If I were in the same room with you I’d walk right over and give you a hug. I’d buy you coffee and let you spill out your words.
    And we would remember the days gone by together and you would not feel so alone…

    @ Dusty
    I get you.

  64. “What I reject is Jesus as my buddy, my best friend, my pal for life. I reject the skateboarding, surfing, version of the too-cool-for-school- Jesus who makes it all better if you walk down to the front at a Harvest Crusade to read the track they give you and repeat the prayer.”

    I had a friend that identified the same critique with Calvary Chapel, and that was back in the mid to late seventies. But most of us didn’t care, Calvary was the coolest church in OC. I’ve encountered those type of worshipers routinely, but the farther away I got from Orange County, the less I encountered them ( most were Southern Cal transplants). Perhaps its a regional phenomena, that you outgrow with age.

    Duane,
    Re: Philly statement on the Trinity; agreed. I doubt they are modalistic, but they could use help in the theological engagement.

  65. The CC I attended fully believed that tripe from Larry Taylor about never disagreeing with pastor. I was given that book when I led the home study it was at that point that I knew my days there were numbered.

    I watched as this pastor sent people to plant a church all the way across the country. Several families, and his appointed stooge packed up and left. Well, the appointed stooge heard “the word of the Lord,” and abandoned those families on the other side of the country.

    Then with the appointment to the lead of home “fellowships” of a fellow who was not qualified, I tendered my resignation. The pastor called me and told me I was possessed with the “demon of disobedience.” He wanted to come see me to “anoint me with oil, and pray for me.” (along with “some men of the church”) A kind of bush league exorcism, I guess. I was done. We walked, devastated, and calloused.

    We didn’t regularly attend a church for almost six years. That humble little CC has messed up a lot of folks along the way.

    We are finally at a safe place, yet I still have that holdover feeling that I have to watch my back.

  66. David H, I’m so sorry that happened to you.

  67. #62
    “Now you want to show me a Jesus that cries with the hurting, feeds the hungry, listens to the downcast heart, gives without thought for self gain, who carries in His breast a thirst for real justice in a fallen world, that’s the one I seek.”

    I may make some claim to be a theologian, at least in my education, but you have described the Jesus that I try to follow much more eloquently than most I have ever heard…

  68. #64

    Pstrmike – I agree…

  69. Re: Philly statement on the Trinity; agreed. I doubt they are modalistic, but they could use help in the theological engagement.
    __________________________________________________________________

    Please help them then! What you need to understand about Philadelphia in general is that it is heavily Roman Catholic. Most of the pastors come from a Catholic background or grew up Catholic and just have an adverse reaction to anything that resembles Catholicism. They just can’t stand the formality of doctrine that they grew up with and won’t have anything to do with it since they found the true light in CC. Unfortunately, it seems like the doctrine of the Trinity falls into this category and has almost fallen by the way side completely. Could it be that CC philly purposely is ambiguous about the doctrine of the Trinity because they don’t want to be associated in their minds with that evil Roman Catholic church?

  70. dusty,

    My family and I are in a rally good church now. A pastor who had an authentic Ph.D who has a deep understanding of the community is amazing.

    Personally, I’m in a good place now. I have a teaching position at a continuation high school that I love. I’m more physically fit than I’ve been in decades.

    This little corner of the Internet is where I found out I wasn’t alone.

  71. I’m a former Gospel for Asia staff member, one of the “old timers” who walked away in 2015. (I’m not quite ready to use my actual name yet; I’m sorry if that offends anyone. I still have friends on the inside, annnnnd I’m still working through my people-pleasing tendencies too …) I’ve been reading with amazement, both on this comment thread and on the thread that follows the Bob Caldwell post, at how similar my experiences are to others’ here who are post-Calvary Chapel in some form or another. The vastness of abuse in the Church blows my mind and makes me so sad. But at the same time I am encouraged to know I’m not alone.

    I remember (back in in the olden days) when our little group of staff members got so excited that Calvary Chapels started taking notice of GFA and adding GFA to their mission budgets. We often invited CC pastors to go to the mission field or to speak to the home office staff. One of our biggest prayer requests was for KP to be able to speak at CC Costa Mesa — he spoke regularly at CC Albuquerque — we looked to CCs in general as a major source of field income. GFA leaders often would get invited to attend senior pastors’ conferences — a big deal, we were told. We were special, apparently.

    We were very much part of this same culture, that’s for sure.

    But we bought in to it all. We drank the koolaid. We shunned when we were told to shun – it was for the sake of staying focused on our “calling” (a trigger word for me now). We rejected outside viewpoints and counsel. We stuffed any red flags that would pop up in our own minds. And then God woke us up and made a way for us to leave.

    Today I have a hard time with any references to radical discipleship, with stances that are black and white, with trusting nearly any form of organized Christianity. I question so much, not quite to the core of my faith, but nearly so. I still want to follow Jesus, but not in the same way. I want it to be fresh, to be real, to be true. Looking for a church after we left was a nightmare, but God led us to one that is full of grace and truth. I’m still very hesitant, but I’m learning — from scratch — what it means to walk in fellowship with my family in Christ.

    We grieve the loss of many friendships, people who have simply become silent and no longer respond when we reach out. Some friendships have been restored as we’ve reached out and asked forgiveness for the hurt we caused them — that’s been a joy and a comfort.

    I totally get the PTSD, the triggers, the panic attacks. I still have bad dreams, and the thought of ever talking to KP again is terrifying. Maybe this will all change in time. Some of the comments here give me hope that this is possible.

    So, all these scattered thoughts to say, to those who further down the road and are calling back with shouts of hope — thank you so much. And to those who are weighed down with shock and grief and trauma, I’m right there with you.

  72. David H,
    I too was given the Larry Taylor book, along with many lovely little booklets on how to be more submissive to leadership.
    I also was told that the “devil had gotten in there” because I questioned the pastor to his face of the wisdom of appointing someone to leadership who, according to a statement the pastor’s wife made to me, “might not even be saved!!”
    It was crazy.

  73. Least of These,
    Wow. I’d be very surprised if we knew one another. One thing about these stories is that they all sound so familiar, we think it MUST be my CC.

    But I am open to having coffee with any of my brothers or sisters. 🙂 Many innocent people have been hurt in our particular travesty caused by lying and deceit, and I only hold those doing the lying and slandering responsible.

  74. Oh, and of COURSE I have a copy of Jesus Style. Duh.

  75. David, glad you are in a good place, and that you found this place

  76. Luisa, I will keep you in prayer

  77. Dusty,
    I’m with you on the church and even Bible thing. “Backslidden.” they would say.

    I’d say the heart of love and concern you display to all and the empathy which so easily flows from you is God-borne, the Holy Spirit in action. Looks like His word is living in you…

    You warm my heart and help to melt walls of ice.

  78. Disillusioned, think we all have that book. lol we had a stack of them we had to read to be in any leadership roll….we ended up throwing ours away, not donating…trash!

  79. Luisa,
    Our family was a big GFA supporter and sponsor. I have very good friends who were also on staff there. I think i pretty much know all of the stories of the Diaspora. And i grieve with you.

    It comes back to me again and again that we have trusted in man instead of God.

    But I know He’s already forgiven us.

  80. Luisa, thanks for taking the time to share your story.

  81. Disillusioned, ((((hugs)))) thank you. praying with and for you.

  82. My library is chock full of CC books, and MacArthur books. When I relocate my books back into our apartment those are staying in the garage. I wouldn’t even foist those books on my worst enemy.

  83. Right on as far as giving away any of these books. But they are recyclable. 😉

  84. if you read much on the negotiations going on to bring the EO and RCC back into some sort of communion, most EO people involved have no problem with this issue.<<<

    Well, not really. Not "most." The ones you are reading are Greek ecumenists who want nothing more than to reunite w/ the RC and are willing to toss aside many important Orthodox "distiinctives" (shudder) to make it happen. This involves the Patriarch of Constantinople and his group. They are the ones visiting and kissing the Pope; they are the ones writing the articles you have probably read.

    The Slavic churches, on the other hand, Greek Old Calendarists and all Greek monastics
    are not interested in reunion w/ the RC until and unless the RC repents of her innovations, the filioque being at the top of the list.

    The contention about the filioque is based on theology. If you have the Spirit proceeding from both the Father and the Son the Spirit has His origin in the other two members of the Trinity. It makes Him "less." The Spirit proceeds from the Father but is sent by the Son. Both the Son and the Spirit have their origin in the Father. So it's much more than being ticked off with the Pope for changing the Creed by fiat.

    So I think you have been reading articles by Greek ecumenists who will down-play the filioque (and other important issues) so they can reunite w/ the Catholics. A little back story on the current Ecumenical Patriarchy will explain why but I won't bore you all with this long and miserable saga.

  85. @Disillusioned
    It’s quite possible depending on the year you attended and the SOW campus you were at… no kidding… I was very visible so to speak for quite some time

    @David H
    Your pray-the-demons-out-of-you story made me ill to read. I am glad to hear that in spite of the shadows of yesterday you are whole and have a found a place to be. I think I have found a place as well, but as I mentioned in another thread weeks ago… I very much doubt I will ever do more than circle as a satellite in the orbit of their earth. I can’t do it anymore. At least not now…

    @ Luisa
    Your story made me sad to read. Thank you for sharing. It only again points to how destructive sin is in any ministry. I still see a therapist from time to time over my own PTSD- which is real and difficult to manage at times. But no one at any CC ever gave that any credence… I was only chastised for allowing the “enemy” to play with my mind. Sigh… I am glad you found a church and I hope you thrive in it… you deserve that chance…

    @Duane
    Thank you for the kind words… 😉

  86. Xenia, you obviously know a lot more than me so can you explain, “it makes Him less” in your statement above about the Holy Spirit. If Jesus proceeds from the Father wouldn’t that make Him “less” than the Father by this same logic?

  87. Steve, I just got home and read Xenia’s comment and that was the question that came to me.

  88. Steve,
    @69
    They don’t want my help and they probably don’t think they need any. I don’t have a voice in CCA, not to mention whether most of the council even has ears to hear.

    I’m not sure about your Roman Catholic comment, they actually have a rather robust systematic theology. It is their exegesis on certain important doctrines that I contend with. I believe that Focht was once a part of Gospel Outreach under the Apostle Jim Durkin. Here is a less than flattering article about Gospel Outreach’s involvement in Guatemala.

    http://www.democraticunderground.com/1014428551

  89. The Holy Spirit is described as the Spirit of the Father and in other places as the Spirit of Christ.
    Rom 8:9 = “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.”

    Gal 4:5 = “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

    Phil 1:19 = ” for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance”

    1 Peter 1:11 = “inquiring what person or time[a] the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.”

  90. Hi Steve,

    The three Persons of the Trinity are of one essence yet they are distinct Persons. One God, three Persons. (I know you know this, I just need to make a start here.)

    The distinctions are these:

    The Father is unbegotten. It is the Father’s distinction to be “unbegotten.”
    The Son is begotten of the Father. It is the Son’s distinction to be “begotten.”
    The Spirit proceeds from the Father. It is the Spirit’s distinction to “proceed.”

    These relationships are eternal in nature, that is, there was not a point in time when one of the Persons did not exist. This eternal relationship is how God has chosen to reveal Himself to mankind.

    So the Son and the Spirit have their origin in the Father, even though all three are co-eternal and all three are equally divine.

    If you have the Spirit “proceeding from the Son” then His origin is found in someone besides the Father.

    The Orthodox are carefull to avoid the tendency towards the heresy of subordinationism, which says the Son and the Spirit are subordinate to the Father. We believe all three are equal in deity and glory but the Son and the Spirit have their ground of origin in the Father.

    The Western Church also believes the Son has His origin in the Father, so that nothing shocking. They believe that the Spirit has His origin in the Father “and the Son.” We don’t believe this; we believe the Son is begotten of the Father* and the Spirit proceeds from the Father. So, it’s symmetrical, if you made a chart out of it.

    The Spirit is sent by the Son, but this is not the same as proceeding from the Son.

    *What does “begotten” mean. That’s the harder question. I think all we can say is that it denotes the Father/ Son relationship, which is how God reveals Himself to us.

  91. “And in the Trinity none is before or after another; none is greater or less than another, but all three Persons are co-eternal together and co-equal.”

    Begotten cannot in any sense mean less or came after or anything that would indicate that the Son is not almighty God himself.

  92. Right. Begotten cannot mean that.

    It’s a reference to an eternal relationship between the Father and the Son, not the “birth” of a lesser god at some point in the remote past.

  93. MLD, I think the Scriptures you gave explain why it took the Church Father a few centuries to develop a doctrine of the Holy Spirit. There are plenty of early writings about the Son and the Father but the Spirit is sometimes nebulous. The first Nicene Creed barely mentioned the Spirit…. I think it originally said something like “And we believe in the Holy Spirit.” At a later Council (Constantinople) they included the section about the Holy Spirit.

  94. Xenia – I know it is a tough topic. Can you imagine ripping the church in two over a doctrine that is somewhat in dispute? This is why I say the split was not over the filioque itself but over authority – “can Rome do this on their own?”

  95. and I realize there were other issues and this was pretty much the last straw.

  96. Yep, it was the last straw.

    St. Mark of Ephesus is the hero of those who resist re-joining w/ the Catholics under less than honorable terms.

  97. Reading these comments has brought me to tears. I attended Calvary Chapels for over 30 years. I too, can relate to the pain being expressed by so many of these broken souls. The Least of These, I too have been unable to attend another church after Calvary Chapel was finished with me. I do believe in God and I love Jesus, but I have a l fear of organized religion that overpowers my love of God now. I have a strong distrust of all male leadership , and especially of pastor now.. I imagine going to church, and I see myself as trusting and vulnerable again, and I start to feel an unexplainable anxiety. Calvary Chapel actually was able to replace all of my instincts for self-preservation with a blind obedience , telling me all along that it was evidence of the Holy Spirit in my life. They took all of my personal power and used it to their own advantage, and they also took so much from us monetarily each week. Even after all of that, I somehow always felt that I wasn’t good enough and that it was never enough How is that possible? It was like a treadmill that went nowhere, and the demands were never ending. When I started attending Calvary Chapel ‘Women’s Ministry’ meant ministering to the needs of women. When I left the womens’ group had been kicked out of the church and had to meet in private homes, and the churches school used the sanctuary that we had paid for. A work weekend was scheduled on Mother’s Day weekend and all of the women were pressured to volunteer, and made to feel guilty if they didn’t. Women were told not to seek outside marriage counseling in even the most abusive of marriages and that any woman who was depressed was “in sin” and going on antidepressants was even more sinful. Never mind that Christian women experience post-partum depression just as often as any other women, and that Calvary women are probably even more depressed than secular women due to their diminished status in Calvary Chapels and in their rigid role expectations of women in marriage. The marriage counseling I was forced to submit to was damaging to my marriage and to my mental health, and yet I was told not to seek outside counseling. My marriage and my life did not improve until I left Calvary Chapel. I’m not sure if I am more afraid organized patriarchy and abuse in the church, or more afraid of my apparent inability to protect myself from it. I don’t know that I have forgiven myself yet for being so vulnerable and foolish..

  98. Bride of Christ,

    What a heart wrenching story.

    Be well, David

  99. Found this old Chuck Smith CCCM PDF in my archives:

    http://www.understandthetimes.org/parsontoparson.pdf

  100. @Bride
    Thank you for telling your truth. I believe you. Don’t kick yourself too hard. I am an educated person with a MA and I fell for it. I believed they cared and I thought my loyalty to them was equal in return. I was very wrong. I often tell others it’s hard to understand how someone as strong as myself could allow a church to misuse my gifts and talents. Later I would discover this comes about when you have a great need and in my case this deep need meant I abdicated my intellect on the altar of affection. I needed love because my own life had so little. I thought so little of myself that it led me to allow direct and intentional manipulation by others, accompanied by the misuse of positional power by people who I perceived as having authority. CC’s inherent structure being pyramidal and patriarchal is the perfect petri dish for people with my issues to be misused. It attracts us because on the surface it offered all we were looking for… a family to love us. But the love wasn’t real and it didn’t last. Calvary wasn’t always a cesspool but it was often a clique. It became that way over time… slowly… the waters rising to boil and you and I were the frog’s who got burned. It wasn’t always bad… there were good people with good intentions. What happened was the leadership had core problems with integrity, and eventually a little leaven leavened the whole thing. For example, when you preach against stealing but you make sure the family members get the first dibs on donated property is that not a problem? Or say you discuss David’s adultery and God’s judgement and yet there is a honey problem on the side is that not a form of leaven? Calvary, with all it’s good intentions in allowing the original hippies to express a youth culture through music and a new kind of liturgy eventually became an old, uninspired, weekly going through the motions because after 40 years of sweeping the problems under the rug… well, the house began to crumble. You were never the problem. None of us are perfect. You are just a sojourner like all of us. Human, flawed, and redeemed. I understand your feelings. I get where you are at. I’m not sure it will ever be ok with me… I mourn deeply the loss of community I thought I had. But it was not real. The only real relationships were the ones who had the balls to call me once I left… but they were few and far between. I am ok with that. I’d rather have one that’s real than to be back in the pot, with the water boiling around me. I am glad you found a place… take your time… and try to enjoy the new things God brings your way…

  101. Bride of Christ,

    The anxiety you felt just going to church must have been unbearable.

    Sheep are truly helpless and do need nurturing protection.

    Unfortunately church is often the place they get beat up.

    Some sheep better off staying away from church.

    A toxic environment destroys and does not build up and is not edifying.

    Always remember Jesus loves you unconditionally!

    He paid for everything required for you to “enjoy” your relationship with God.

    You are who you are because He made you so He could love you.

    Rest in His love and be healed by doing nothing but knowing how much He loves you, his daughter.

  102. @the least of these,

    Your words ring so true.

    Every thing you have shared is the experience so many others have had.

    I am amazed at your handle on being not venomously bitter.

    Somehow you escaped the matrix and can tell about it as a reality you experienced with out being destructive to others.

    I admire you.

    It took me years to escape bitterness after the abuse.

    I was toxic.

  103. Perhaps this is a common feature and result of churches that divide people into different groups. What is the purpose of a “women’s ministry.” Are women expected to have a different church experience?

    Our church does not have men’s or women’s ministry. Most in the church are even against a standalone youth ministry – so we dumped it in a ‘family ministry’ in an effort to make the whole family involved in their youth.

    My wife’s only experience with a formal women’s ministry was at our last evangelical stop at OH. She lasted about 3 visits and came away saying – “these ladies are nuts.” Lenya Heitzig was the head and Mrs. MLD said that half the women spent the whole time trying to suck up to Lenya or her lieutenants to be close and the other half who apparently were close spent their time trying to push the first group back down the ladder to protect their own prized position.

    I was a leader in the men’s group. It wasn’t the same – my biggest issue was to keep the guys from farting while I taught.

  104. MLD, I agree with you that too many churches slice and dice and divide up their sheep into nice categorical demographic sub groups. I think they do this to give the illusion that they are catering to all the different needs in the church but in reality not sure who is being served. I can see a need for a mom’s group where moms and their young infants could have fellowship while husbands are at work, etc.. but than again why don’t they call this a parents group instead because in today’s world oftentimes the mother is a work and the father is a stay at home dad.

  105. Bride of Christ,
    My heart breaks for you. One of the reasons I come here is that there is no one who understands the depth of the spiritual abuse except those who’ve lived through it. I too experience the self-loathing of feeling so stupid for believing the things I was told.
    It comes over years of being conditioned to see the pastor as, well, the very mouth of God.
    I’m 4 years out and still can’t go to another church (I tried, many times). Another shining legacy of CC.

  106. “Lenya Heitzig was the head and Mrs. MLD said that half the women spent the whole time trying to suck up to Lenya or her lieutenants to be close and the other half who apparently were close spent their time trying to push the first group back down the ladder to protect their own prized position.”

    MLD, I witnessed that same thing at a CC. The pastor’s wife entered with her entourage. All she lacked was secret service agents with their sunglasses and earphones.

  107. Potatoehead,
    I’m still bitter and toxic. God is working, but my heart and soul hang in shreds still…

  108. Least of These,
    To clarify, I did not attend SOW. Our CC put a SOW grad in charge of worship.
    Maybe you’d know that person.
    Interestingly, that person told me that leadership at the SOW wanted them to stay out of ministry because of personal issues – but did that matter to our CC? Heck no! Not when you’re related to an assistant pastor!

  109. Ugh, this brings back the memories. I remember attending women’s retreats where the “famous” wife of some “big guy” senior pastor would enter the room with her entourage, give a talk, and then exit the room to be sequestered for a private lunch with the other “big guys'” wives so they didn’t have to come into contact with the rabble. I put “famous” in quotes because now looking back on it (and having had my horizons broadened in the meantime) it all seems pretty hilarious.

    Hilarious, except people get hurt. I think the most toxic segment of CC is its women’s ministry.

  110. @MLD
    What you wife experienced is what CC is… I have said it many times… proximal relationships to power is the gas that Chuck ran his industry on. The leadership is set up so that the top of the pyramid makes the calls, the board a mere reflection of the pastors desires. The Pastors wives have their power from their husbands, no qualifications needed beyond their MRS. degree. Lenya runs her ship just like every other CC I’ve ever seen. I could speak volumes on this, and I did but I erased it. I think Mr.s MLD is a very wise woman…

    I will add that as far as church experience, women benefit from close relationships to other women. Just think of “quiltings” years ago. They were a form of communal support for the daily lives women led which included raising children and the demands of the home. I believe women’s studies tried to meet this need in some way. I also think in the Millennial times we live now churches are moving away from this is search of something else to meet the needs of parishioners…

  111. Xenia just nailed it! These people should tear Philippians 2 out of their Bibles!

  112. Reading the comments of those who have been hurt by churches is difficult for me. I have said this many times here, but I have never experienced these types of behaviors in any other denomination in my 55 years of church attending experience. That would include 6 different denominations. Maybe I have been protected.

    I have experienced so much excuse making as well! I still struggle with bitterness, and I know that the only one it effects is me, accept for those who have to listen to me vent. My wife encourages me to stop talking to, and reading the testimonies of those who have been burned by pastors, because it stirs my emotions. For 22 of those 55 years listed above I was a pastor. I was not perfect, and I know that I hurt people during those years, but never did I ever place myself in a position of lordship over my congregation. I was once told by a pastor that “Ministry is not taught, but caught”. Well, some of these guys have “caught” something that is toxic!

  113. “Ministry is not taught, but caught”. Well, some of these guys have “caught” something that is toxic!”

    Yep.

  114. Orthodox churches have sisterhoods. These are the women who oversee potlucks, feast days, church cleaning, hospitality, flowers, etc. We enjoy each others company as we do our work. All are invited to join us. A few men join in, too. Currently, we have no leader. No fake piety, no long-winded prayers, no foolish talk about “servant-hood” or “our hearts being knitted together in love.” Just “Hey Svetalana! Do you remember what we served the Bishop the last time he was here?” This lack of pseudo-piety is so clean and honest.

  115. Has anyone heard from Michael? Last we heard, he had developed pneumonia. I am worried.

  116. Dusty, Scooter, Disillusioned, Least – thank you. Grateful to share the journey with you.

    A thought re: the “women’s ministry” at GFA … KP proclaimed multiple times that if a family/couple left the organization, it was more than likely the wife’s fault, that she probably dragged her husband down and negatively influenced him. Women were viewed with suspicion and sometimes overt hostility. They were spiritually and emotionally degraded. Thus the monthly required women’s meetings. (There were zero required men’s meetings.)

  117. A couple of women who attend the church I pastor, wanted to attend a ladies Bible Study led by a CC pastor’s wife. They were asked to sign a 6 month commitment with the group acknowledging that they would not miss any studies. How many moms and wives can make that kind of commitment, and why? It’s not like a course that is accredited. It has always bothered me for some reason that it is understood within CC, that the pastor’s wife is a leader and a teacher of God’s word just because she is married to the pastor.

  118. Xenia,

    Thank you for asking…I’m on the other side of it…recovering. 🙂

  119. Michael, good!

  120. I know at some women’s retreats the “famous pastor’s wife” taught pure heresy. I reported this back to my CC pastor and he was remarkably unconcerned w/ the typical “chew on the meat and spit out the bones” response.

  121. #117 #116 #109

    Have I missed something here (or entered into an alternative universe) – “6 month commitment”, “monthly required women’s meetings”?!? Really?

    The worse decisions my wife and I faced were about making sure we didn’t show favoritism when we invited people for cocktail parties at the rectory. In 35 years of marriage, my wife has NEVER led a church group. She occasionally would serve on the altar guild or be on a schedule to do the coffee hour along with whoever else might have signed up. What you describe is a very strange world indeed…

  122. We haf started attending a local non-denominational church several years ago.

    One Sunday we weren’t in attendance for some reason. That afternoon my wife answered the phone. It was a woman from the church wanting to know why weren’t in attendance and started demanding to speak with me. Only to be rebuffed by my wife as I was sleeping. Needless to say, that was the end of our involvement there.

    I’m sure the woman meant well, she was obviously given the “follow-up on church delinquents” ministry title. But sheesh, really?

  123. What a Friend we have in Jesus. Even though we have no other friends, He has not left us as orphans, but we are inhabited by the Holy Spirit. This is all that keeps me going. I’ve been through the ringer too. It does help to know one is not alone here. 😉

  124. Duane, “cocktail parties at the rectory”. Dang Duane, I bet you had a full house! That’s awesome 🙂

  125. everything i read here of weird church people mirrors the community from which the congregation has been formed… and is the result of humanity’s foibles – it usually happens when the celebrity is anyone in the building other than the Triune God… comments here have done a pretty good job – IMO – of focusing on what God is up against 🙂

    it is below zero cold up here in the mountains and early last evening there was a sliver of a moon and a huge star in a still blank sky… that star glimmered and was so intense – as i watched it, trying to figure out if it was one or more than one, it began to look like a winged angel… it wasn’t 🙂 but i like to think it was a picture of what is waiting out there… like the song says, “it will be worth it all when we see Jesus”

    so glad to hear Michael’s recovering… thank You, Lord

  126. Scooter

    Sounds like that church is like public schools. If the student is absent, no ADA! You”re right, she is the minister of truancy. 🙂

  127. Duane…you have no idea of the depth of the depravity of these CC Stepford wives!! They DO believe they have special powers and anointing and authority over all the women. That ended for me when I was told I was banned from a women’s bible study I hosted for about 7 years because I had “questioned the integrity” of the pastor’s wife!
    (It was a legitimate question, and she WAS actually lying her face off.)
    As far as GFA, poor Luisa. My friend who was on staff there has told me all about the shaming of women, and so many other bizarre expectations…like being discouraged from attending a local church, for example.
    By the way, Gayle Erwin, this legacy belongs to you, too, as you enabled this organization to continue for years without bringing attention to serious issues that you knew were hurting the sheep. Own it.

  128. At one point my wife was pretty far into the “inner circle” of the “women’s ministry, which was essentially a sub culture cult led by the pastor’s wife and another woman. I look back ad realize that my wife merely seemed to be in the “inner circle,” as long as she was useful. Her organizational skills made her useful. As soon as another “organizated” woman came along who kissed up more, my wife was shunted to the side. The pastor’s wife had a million excuses. My wife was devasted.

  129. CC church women are weird. They so much seek the inner circle and busyness that comes with it – but I remember when my wife would try to get volunteer help for PTA or Scouts, these same folks were just too busy doing Jesus work — with no concept that PTA and Scouts are the actual Jesus work.

  130. OK… I may be strange here, but, How are women being treated in these churches? I include pastor’s wives in that question.
    My wife did two years of theology at a Bible college before I met her. She audited NT Greek when I took it out of her own interest. Apart from that, she has had her own career, she has her own mind and, out of respect for her, I would never dragoon her into some “leadership” situation in the church simply because I was pastor. We’re in the 21st century. In a church today we have everything from professional women, to stay at home moms, to retirees and everything in between. It seems to me that the “exaltation” of the pastor’s wife in these churches is not only disrespectful to her, but to all of the other women who are in the church.
    Sorry, if this sounds like a rant, but really…

  131. David,
    Like your wife, I too was in the “inner circle” only until my usefulness came to an end. I never asked or wanted to be, it just happened. As a result, I got an eyeful of the hypocrisy and double standards. They all acted like we were best friends, and they – the ‘top two’ pastors’ wives – were the smarmy-est of all. They continually showered me wth gifts and cards that told me what a special friend I was, what a treasure, so anointed, etc ad nauseum.
    It was a real shock to me to discover it had all been an act.

    Duane,
    The teaching to women is that women are there to help the husband and raise children. That we aren’t supposed to be leaders (but then they made me the worship leader, confusing!!) or have their voice heard from the pulpit. Men are a “covering ” for us women, they say. When there is a disagreement, the wife is supposed to go along with her husband.
    Many men in that body had an inflated sense of their authority over women.
    But when the time came to speak truth, these “godly” “men” were nowhere to be found.

  132. Does anyone know who is in that unofficial “Poimen” group that Gayle Erwin admired? It sounds like a super secret group of CC pastors that have some sort of special anointing to serve.

  133. not much to tell, however,

    http://www.poimenministries.com/

  134. Poimen Ministries was begun by my former CC pastor, a man I admire very much.

    I have been (and will continue to be) very critical of Calvary Chapel, its theology and its practices but I have nothing negative to say about my old pastor.

  135. Does anyone know if this is a successful ministry? Anyone besides Gayle.

  136. Sounds like an “official” ministry which I thought Gayle said this wasn’t. Anyhow sounds like a b2b and not a b2c group. What CCA really needs are pastors to serve the sheep because that’s what pastors do and where the biggest need is.

  137. I believe it is successful. I am not in the loop anymore, but from what I see on Facebook it seems to be filling a need in the Calvary Chapel world.

  138. So, an addendum about being shunned by former friends from CC. My son, and I were at the gym last night, and I notice a couple who we knew from CC. I said, hi. The wife barely acknowledged our presence, and her husband would not even look me in the eye. As we were leaving I said goodbye to them. This time husband looked at me and shook his head.

    Maybe it was the “Mastodon” (metal band) tee shirt I was wearing?

    Hey, oh well, life is good.

  139. Gonna 2nd Xenia’s vote of confidence in Poimen as as a ministry and in the moral and relational integrity of it’s founder. He was my pastor and my boss / mentor for several strategic years in both of our lives.

    Poimen brings out the best in his gifting and passions and is an expression of what he has always done and desired throughout his ministry.

    Yes , because it operates almost exclusively within the Calvary domain it targets the pastor, the body second.

    But healthy and maturing pastors will function and relate much better as shepherds.

  140. Outside of his reference to Poimen, Gayle’s article sucked . Too bad the Jesus Style was not able to overcome the Moses Model cap on developing the character and capabilities of the servant leader/ under shepherd.

  141. Poimen sent a pastor to a church where I was served. I met with him and answered questions. I understand the report was given to the senior pastor; however I nor any other staff member ever were ever given a copy of his final report.

    I have met Bill Holdridge. My wife and I spent the night at his home a few years ago. I appreciated the time we spent together.

  142. I was so impressed with the Ministry of Poimen that I wrote Bill two years ago and ask if I could be part of the ministry. He wrote me back that I wasn’t qualified because they only take senior pastors. I guess my 22 previous years of experience didn’t count. Or, maybe they only took Calvary Chapel see the pastors.

  143. Remove “see” that’s what happens when you try speaking rather than writing on an iPhone.

  144. I’ve known one of the retired pastors who serves on the board of Poimen Ministries. He and his wife are a blessing.

    I sat under his ministry for about three years. I don’t have a negative thing to say about the man. Didn’t agree with his eschatology, however, he is an upstanding gentleman from all of my interaction with him.

    He oversaw a dispute between myself and someone else in the church regarding a real estate deal.

    He was very thorough in his fact finding and analysis of the situation, listening to both parties and taking his time before making a judgment. Ultimately finding that the other person had no just cause.

    However, the individual refused to accept his counsel and pursued the matter in legal arbitration outside of the church. The arbiter ruled in my favor as well and the matter was settled.

    The party got nothing out of the deal and we never saw them again.

  145. #121 Duane, it is truly incredible just how many “Directors of Women’s Ministry” share the same surname as the pastor. It is as if they suddenly become equipped to teach, to lead. In the 30 years I served as pastor in CC, my wife NEVER was the director of women, nor did she want to be. She was thoroughly comfortable in her own skin, with no need to lead, be put on a pedestal, content to be my wife and serve where she felt compelled to serve. No expectations.

  146. Xenia @109…boy, do I concur. MLD’s wife had it nailed, too.

    I have never returned to a women’s ministry after my experiences at CCABQ as a teacher. Apparently, I was one of those the inner circle felt need to push down.

    In fact, I’ve had a hard time committing to a church since then because of those experiences and the knowledge I had of the inner workings. All of which are so contrary to what I believe is God’s intent for the body of Christ.

    Do I still study? Yes. Do I still pray? Yes. Do I have a relationship with the Lord and his people? Yes.

  147. Bob Sweat, you would be a great addition to a ministry like Poimen. However, I suspect you’re correct in your assumption that they require former CC pastors since that is the target group.

  148. Xenia,
    Why did your old pastor leave that church?

  149. Linnea, #146 same here…I was invited to go to the sewing group at the little library in our little town we now live in…I went a few times and the women were are very warm and inviting but I kept waiting for the shoe to drop. for the explosion. and would leave every evening a rattled mess. I stopped going just because my nerves could not take the ‘what if they are the same as CC’ any more.

  150. One other I wanted to add about this retired pastor from CC I spoke, when he came into the ministry he was already a little older and more seasoned.

    He had a business acumen and had worked with a large company in accounting for many years before going into fulltime ministry. I never felt from him a superior or condescending attitude. Of course he was a dyed in the wool calvary chapel guy, but he was also very involved with other churches outside of the cc circle in various community outreaches.

  151. Scooter Jones glad you had a good guy for a pastor.

  152. Michael , glad to hear you are getting better. still praying

  153. Ixtlan, I don’t know.

    That’s the long and short of it. I was already gone when he left. I have heard several versions of the story, none of them worth repeating.

    He is an honorable man and as far as I know, he never did anything to disqualify himself from the ministry.

  154. Hey Scooter, do I know you?

  155. Bob Sweat, I don’t think so. Just here on this blog.

    Dusty, thanks. Truth is most guys who serve in ministry as pastors are good guys. It is a very thankless and difficult job for the most part.

    I frankly don’t how a lot of them do it. Yes, there’s always a few bad apples in the bunch, but most of them who serve the Lord and His Church as overseers are faithful men trying to do their best.

  156. So, I know I’ve missed a lot in all the comments, although I’ve read them all. I simply don’t have time to keep on posting actively these days.

    Some thoughts:

    1) Am I the only one who wonders why this “letter” from Gayle is kept all “secret-like?” I’m not pushing for sources or anything…but I can’t find an article online for it to link to others. It’s not a public statement by Gayle.

    Now, this tells me that this “article” was posted for certain people who “need to know” but not the average person/congregant/leader/layleader/etc.

    It just means, at least to me, that the secrets just continue to flow behind the scenes even though the issue is in the public.

    But perhaps that’s the way it should be?

    2) This article by Gayle is pretty lame, IMHO. Battle lines have already been drawn and decisions have been made already. Brian B. is out of CCA and moving on with his calling. CCA has called for separation. Yet, Erwin is calling people to “wait?”

    Hoping for reconciliation, perhaps?

    3) This letter seems so passive…like trying too much to be on both sides of the issue. Plugging Poimen, perhaps, in a passive/hinting bid to try to get Poimen involved to settle the dispute, for example.

    3) The plug for the book at the end is just totally…gross and uncalled for.

    4) “Waiting” is like trying to do first aid (as in, some gauze and tape) on a severed limb…without drastic and decided action, the wound will become fatal.

    I suspect my thoughts are a bit random and perhaps confusing. I’d be glad to explain further…they are, afterall, merely my own observations.

  157. Get the CC PTSD.. I left a CC after having attended there about 16year,shortly after it was planted. Served the children’s ministry, went on missions trips and someone actually called me a “pillar of the church” when she was wondering why I would leave. I was told by the Pastor on numerous occasions “we love you”… LOL. When I left I was so darn loved I never heard a word from any of them. The pastor was the epitome of the CC by the book, Moses Model guy… Never liked to be questioned about anything, prideful and quick to anger. He is now a regional leader, just their kinda guy. Even after all these tears (I left in 2000) I still occasionally have dreams about that pastor. That church was my first real church experience (other then being in Catholic Church when I was a kid) and it has made me so cynical towards”church”. He used to say he did not like pastors, well he made me and many others not like pastors. I miss being part of a fellowship but I am so leery if getting back in that kind of situation.

  158. Tombstone,

    I am still leery. Now my radar is always on.

    We went to a SBC church for a couple of months, and then bailed. One of the members thought it was a good idea to tell me I had to be a Republican to be a Christian. See ya!

    I still struggle with the political bent of most Church folks.

    I’m a political independent.

    Pretty much a free range Christian now, as well.

  159. David H @158, I hope you find a genuine Christian community to connect with, whether it is a formal “church” or not. I believe you stated that you teach at a continuation school in a rather tough city. How many times have your students said something lousy and you haven’t bailed on them? I’m so glad you haven’t. Please don’t bail out on the body of Christ because of the hurts some have inflected. Protect yourself, but don’t give up on the church. The rest of us still need you.

  160. Tombstone,
    We were similarly so darn loved. The silence has been deafening.
    We too were called by some “pillars of the church.” Someone even said, “to us, your family IS Calvary Chapel.”

    EricL – Unless you have lived through the shunning et al, you’re not going to be able to understand. Telling people to “not give up” on church isn’t really helpful. I know we didn’t “give up” but were rather railroaded out the door. After something like that happens…. well, the recovery is long and painful. You need to understand that trust in any authority has been shattered.
    I’ve found more true fellowship, prayer, love, etc. outside the church door than inside.

  161. Disillusioned,
    I’m sorry.
    Eric

  162. EricL,
    No need to be sorry. Just trying to help with understanding.
    Actually, I’m so glad you can’t relate. I wouldn’t wish this struggle on my worst enemy.

  163. EricL,

    I’m actually quite involved at our new church.

    I’m just careful. And, this time I’m not going to lose myself.

  164. I know gayle personally !! (many years ago).
    I was invloved in youth ministry and things went very well at that time for the children.
    so 2 thumbs up !!!!
    I lost my faith, talked bad on gayle and he still took me out for dinner on his dime !!!
    so if you want to talk bad on gayle you might get a free meal, thanks kirk.

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