Apr 182017
 

My decision to join the Anglican communion has been greeted with the usual intelligent comments from the ODM crowd… I didn’t know how subversive I really was.

Now, I’m not going to link to these comments/titles as they probably wouldn’t receive the gift of intelligent traffic well..but here are some highlights.

“Disgruntled former Calvary Chapel pastor Michael Newnham [aka the “Phoenix Preacher’] – Critic of Chuck Smith and advocate of Brian Brodersen – Comes out of the closet, declaring, “Why I AM (becoming) An Anglican” in a recent post.”

“he and alot of his friends are Catholic contemplative promoting, emergent & ecumenical.”

“Phoenix Preacher [interesting name] is basically entering the left/liberal wing of the Catholic church.”

“I’ve debated with Michael many times over the years. He was always a strong proponent of the “lordship salvation” false gospel that leads to hell, which also came primarily from catholicism through its daughters calvinism and arminianism (Michael was a calvinist). So I made a comment on his anglican post that he is just taking the natural next step from the “lordship salvation” heresy to Rome. He’s always been a fake, he was never a Bible believer. He was a “traditions of man” believer”

What would an ODM be without a conspiracy theory?

“Interesting that Newhan, being such a Fan of BB and his new direction for CC – that it’s the Anglican COE that BB is in bed with in his ‘Creation Fest’ UK… small world after all.”

“With Phoenix Preacher, I think Calvary Chapel serves as a “home to Rome” mechanism anyhow, maybe he’s still taking orders? “

Then there are the historians…

“Michael Newnham and me have debated quite a bit. He is an angry man that has a warped view of church history. He makes excuses for Rome and their idolatry because he knows that if he admits that the Church of Rome has been the Whore of Babylon since 196 AD, then that legitimatizes the Protestant daughters.”

About the only thing these folks got right was the name of the blog and my name…and they couldn’t always spell that correctly.

Now, I admit to being very amused by this stuff… because I can afford to be.

These wild hillbilly rants have no real effect on the rest of my life.

Others are not so fortunate…and that’s why we will continue to try to bring correction when we see other brethren attacked with lies and fantasies and without cause by the ODM’s and their ilk.

 

  171 Responses to “I Guess I Should Change My Bio…”

  1. You’ve heard of no-brainers?

    Take out the “er” — ODMs are no-brains.

    They do provide many of us with some good laughs, though. Looks like the extent of their knowledge of church history is Jack Chick.

    I think the site saying Michael’s coming out of the closet vis-a-vis becoming an Anglican is typical of ODMers — they can’t even get their metaphors right!

  2. Lots of outer stimuli for you. I’m not going to trash you, but I will shed some tears for you and Xenia since I have a heart for you both. I’ve said all I can say. ❤❤

  3. bob1,

    That was quite the metaphor… 🙂

  4. Bob1- good line about Chick. These ODMs are so full of spiritual pride and run everything thru the cookbook of their end times guesses as to almost be just silly. Sometime wonder if they are fake christians.

  5. Croc tears

  6. Ms ODM,

    Tears for what?

    Let’s look at the works of three Anglicans off the top of my head.
    I will be very brief due to carpal tunnel today…

    J.I. Packer quite literally wrote the book on inerrancy.(The Chicago Statement)
    John Stott wrote the book on the atonement. (The Cross of Christ)
    J.C. Ryle wrote the book on holiness.(Holiness)

    If I am part of the communion they shared, what’s the problem?

  7. Mrs. ODM, that was very kind and I have a heart for you as well. Let us pray for each other.

  8. Hang in there. When I left evangelicalism (was attending the Vineyard at the end of my sojourn) I heard a lot of the same stuff. What I learned was that compared to the Main Line protestant, the RCC, and the EO, all these Calvary Chapels, Vineyards, Church of God, etc are literally fly specks on the ass of the Church. They are small sects that have met with small to moderate success. Most devout Christians have never even heard of Calvary Chapel or the Vineyard. It was a shock because when you are in those groups they seem like the whole world knows them and they are really ‘what’s happening now’ as far as God’s activity on the earth. In reality they are self important tempests in a tea cup.

  9. Amazing! You’re a better man than I am>

  10. Xenia proves again that the Orthodox are nicer than new Anglicans… 🙂

    I actually call Ms. ODM a friend…she’s a very nice person who I disagree with… a lot.

  11. Patrick,

    Where I live they are the majority by exponential numbers.

    That’s ok…I never liked big churches… 🙂

  12. I do have a question for Ms ODM.
    You made a remark about the ‘founder’ of the Church of England, but for you, who is the founder of your church?
    *** no fair saying Jesus Christ – we all say that***

    But your church had to have a founder — who is it?

  13. Some of these folks like to make linkages and connections where none exist.

    Have you ever listened to a person who connected every event, no matter how trivial, to a greater conspiracy? I was listening to a person just recently who saw a sinister connection between the condition of the tomatoes at Trader Joe’s and the 2nd Coming of Christ. (The more I listened, the better it sounded!)

  14. Well, well, well… I do wonder if any of these folk have ever managed to read the people they so easily and quickly damn to the flames? The Apostolic Fathers? Tertullian? Athanasius? Chrysostom? Augustine? Basil? Jerome? Benedict? Aquinas? Bonaventure? Anselm?…
    Well, probably not. After all, they don’t need to because the ODM people are so much wiser, steeped in learning and have passed way beyond these poor benighted souls listed above. I guess we must wait in eager anticipation for them to produce their “On the Incarnation”, or their “Summa Theologia”…

    Really, it would be funny, if it were not so sad. Unfortunately this does speak to the state of the Church these days.

    But enough… Michael, know that you are in the heart and prayers of many here…

    Duane (Contemplative) Arnold

  15. “…when you are in those groups they seem like the whole world knows them and they are really ‘what’s happening now’ as far as God’s activity on the earth. In reality they are self important tempests in a tea cup.”

    Well said, #8, Patrick Kyle!

  16. Thank you, Duane!

  17. Just a quick question I’ve been meaning to ask since Michael’s post a few weeks ago about becoming Anglican – what is the difference (or definition?) between evangelicalism and orthodoxy? I don’t understand why there would be any criticism of being evangelical, in the sense that every Christian is supposed to represent the gospel to others.

  18. “My decision to join the Anglican communion …” i like that description much better than when one of us says, “i am a Presbyterian,” or a Baptist or a Roman Catholic etc. because i’d like to believe that all true Believers are followers of Christ – Christians – the common denominator within the fraction 🙂

    Michael’s observation at comment #6 should say it all … but it won’t … sigh

  19. Victor,

    Great question.

    Evangelicalism is generally “low church” and not connected to the older expressions of Christianity that existed before the Reformation.
    Defining it is like nailing Jello to the wall.
    Generally speaking, they are opposed to pre Reformation doctrinal formations,especially in regard to justification.
    They usually eschew church history and tradition in favor of a “Bible only” based faith.
    Orthodoxy is a two thousand year old expression of the Eastern development of the Christian faith.

    We all should be “evangelistic” even if we’re not “evangelical”.

  20. ” i like that description much better than when one of us says, “i am a Presbyterian,” or a Baptist or a Roman Catholic etc. because i’d like to believe that all true Believers are followers of Christ – Christians – the common denominator within the fraction”

    Amen and amen…

  21. Thanks for the clarification, Michael!

  22. “They usually eschew church history and tradition in favor of a “Bible only” based faith.”

    I am going to slightly disagree with our host. I agree that non-denominational evangelicals usually THINK they are adhering to some pure form of “Bible only” based faith. But, in reality they’re not. They tend to combine doctrines from different traditions into a synthetic doctrinal system.

  23. “Lordship Salvation” comes from the Catholic church, is it just me or is that a bit off?

  24. Michael we have your secret decoder ring ready.

  25. We love you too Ms. ODM.

    Wow, Michael, such a collection of brilliance. I can’t decide which one I like the best. I spoke with an Anglican priest who told me that the vast majority of their new priests are former evangelicals. I think there are a few reasons for that, but for me, the biggest reason is that evangelicalism, particularly in its non-denom stream, has found its full expression in modernism, and I have reservations as to whether that is a path that God has called His people to walk.

    Back to the Cappadocians…

    Peace

  26. Thank God we in this country are able to attend the church of our choice.

  27. I hadn’t realize you’d swum the river Tiber, I thought you’d only swum the Pond. And to boot, part of an evangelical strand within Anglicanism.

    These folks are not teachable. And if I wasn’t so nice I’d say they are imbeciles.

  28. And this idea that particular *strands* of Anglicanism are not *evangelical* (even in the cultural sense), and Calvinist is absurd as it gets.

  29. That’s unfortunate. Greg Laurie says it well, “In Essentials, Unity”

    Lordship Salvation seems to be a very non-RCC angle. John MacArthur is a Lordship Salvation guy. Many Evangelical Conservatives teach a Lordship Salvation message, essentially. Maybe that particular ODM has a different definition of that term than I’m familiar with.

    My understanding of Lordship Salvation from being a Master’s College alumni and begin a member of a Lordship Salvation-type church that is not Calvinist, is that Lordship Salvation means you have to walk the talk and it’s more of a Holiness Salvation emphasis, you gotta “Abide in the Vine” as Chuck Smith said or “Walk in the Spirit” or basically tow the line and submit to Jesus as Lord every day. If you wander away Johnny Mac would say you were never really truly saved to begin with and ECC would say you lost your salvation and need to get back in line.

  30. Ironically, the Latter Day Saints (LDS) and the 7th Day Adventists agree with the ODM that the Roman Catholic Church is the Great Whore of Babylon.

  31. The Preterist view is probably correct in my opinion. The Great Whore of Babylon was the Roman Empire, which fell.

    But, who knows. Guess we’ll find out someday for sure.

    The Global Economic System has essentially become today’s Roman Empire, as all Nations and peoples are subject to the Global Monetary System and agreements in order to live and trade and have societies that function and governments and economies etc.

    The Global Economic System will fail and crash and burn, so maybe that is the Great Whore of Babylon for our era.

  32. My contention with the RCC being the Great Whore of Babylon is that it just doesn’t have that much power or influence, it is relatively insignificant today.

    That and the Great Whore’s cup is filled with the blood of Christian martyrs and martyrs of Jesus…and until the Reformation all the martyrs of the Early Church up til protestantism were in the Roman Catholic Tent or E.O. Tent. So, that doesn’t square with the prophecy.

  33. And, come to think of it, who is killing all the Christians?

    It’s the Muslims.

    Where is Babylon in the bible? It’s Iraq/Middle East.

    Maybe the Great Whore of Babylon is Islam and the Islamic States. The “drunk with wine” is the world’s dependence on Mid-East Oil etc which protects the barbarians and gives them cover to kill Christians.

    Maybe the prophecy is the fall of the Middle East and Islam in a War.

    Jesus comes back with a sword on the White Horse to do battle.

  34. OPEC was founded in Baghdad, Iraq aka Babylon.

    Our Current System runs on Oil. Our Global Economy is literally pinned to the US “Petro” Dollar.

    Dunno, sounds a bit like the “Great Whore of Babylon” to me, and currently all the Christians being martyred are in OPEC countries and/or Islamic controlled countries including Iraq aka Babylon.

  35. This Lordship salvation discussion brings me back to the days of Campus Crusades Bill Bright’s 4 spiritual laws. I never fully embraced his theology which I think was Pentecostal. He had three different types of people represented in his illustration with 3 circles. One circle was a Christian who was Spirit filled and Jesus was Lord of their life. The second circle was non-Christian and they were lord of their own life and the third circle was a carnal Christian who was not spirit filled.

    I didn’t agree with this because there is no such thing as a Christian without the Holy Spirit and hence never understood the carnal Christian circle. On the other hand, the perfectly dimension-ed Spirit filled Christian didn’t make sense to me either since I have never met a perfect Christian and the ones that came across this way were filled with arrogance.

  36. It’s been a while since Alex filled up all the “Recent Comments” block on the left of the page. 🙂

    But I guess I have now broken the streak. 🙂

  37. Steve,

    I don’t believe Bill Bright’s theology was Pentecostal. I was taught how to use the Four Spiritual Laws during my time at Biola in a personal evangelism class. There were three separate circles each with a chair in the middle of the circle. That chair represented where Christ was in your life. A cross represented Christ. The first circle showed the cross outside the circle, which represented a life without Christ. The second circle showed the cross inside the circle, but not on the chair, which represented the person who had accepted Christ , but Christ was not on the chair, consequently Christ was not in control of your life(carnal). The third chair had the cross inside the circle and sitting on the chair, which represented the Spirit filled life.

    I used the Four Spiritual Laws for years, and found them to be an easy way to lead people to the Lord.

  38. I can’t speak of Bill Bright (because I don’t know his teaching), but Steve’s observation about a possible relationship of the doctrine itself to Pentecostal has some merit.

    There is a guy named Nicky Gumbel, of Alpha Course, who teaches that there are Christians without the baptism of the Holy Spirit (i.e., pilot light Christians) and Christians who have been baptized by the Holy Spirit, which is manifested most often in the gift of tongues.

    But, all of these attempts, whether what Steve illustrated, what Bob illustrated, or what Gumbel teaches, to create multiple tiers of Christians is completely false.

    There is only one tier of Christian. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

  39. MLD#12 -= “But your church had to have a founder — who is it?”

    The true ‘church’ consists of those called out ones – of which I am a part. No institution can lay claim to that — all congregations are mixed multitudes of saved and lost.

    I was raised Catholic — I am a first generation protestant. I came to Jesus under the conviction of the Holy Spirit while reading the Word of God. No man had a thing to do with that reality – when I literally became a new creature in Christ. Those who knew me before and after to a man will affirm the dramatic instantaneous change in me. I went from darkness to light overnight.

    Only after communing with God in His Word for quite a while did I venture out to find a place of fellowship with other saints. I landed in a place founded by Chuck Smith– just another gathering of the mixed multitude but with verse-by-verse teaching that lifted up my LORD Jesus.

    I follow the pillar of fire by night and the pillar of cloud by day — names of businesses matters not.

    “Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.’ Has Christ been divided? ” – 1 Cor 1:12-13a

  40. Ms. ODM,

    You never answered my questions…why would you object to me joining a communion that has produced some of the best Christian works ever written?

    Have you read the doctrinal statements of the ACNA?

    Have you ever read even one prayer of one day of the Daily Office?

  41. Thomas Cranmer vs. Chuck Smith… game,set, match…Anglicans.

  42. Hi Bob Sweat,

    The way it was explained to me is that in order to be a spirit filled Christian you need the second blessing, the baptism of the Holy Spirit which doesn’t necessarily happen concurrently with becoming a Christian. It was this theology I had an issue with which I believe Bill Bright believed. I put this kind of teaching in the Pentecostal category.

  43. The older the institution, the further away it drifts from its roots — adding to and taking away from the Word of God. We sheep need to be ready to move when our Commander gives the order.

    “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the SIMPLICITY that is in Christ.” -2 Cor 11:3

  44. Ms. ODM,

    You prove once again that you are clueless about that which you condemn.

    You know nothing about the ACNA.

    You’ve never read the doctrinal statements, know nothing of the history, no nothing of the “roots” of historic Anglicanism, yet you feel free to comment on the spiritual state of the group.

    Does not your conscience bother you?

    No one who believes in dispensational eschatology and has judged people on whether they hold to it or not should ever talk about “simplicity”…

  45. Michael – Those men did not make my list of favorite sound teachers — I’ve heard Stott was drifting towards universalism before his demise. As I said, the older the institution, the further from its roots. That is one thing I loved about Chuck Smith – he got it. He would not allow membership rolls. He knew the only roll that mattered was the Lamb’s Book of Life. These institutions demand allegiance to their denomination. They teach you to worship by rote, not in Spirit and in Truth. High church ceremonial ritualism is not for me. — That’s how I see it.

  46. Jean @ 38. You comments about tiers of Christians reminded me of how I’ve heard that expression in other contexts. First though, in this context, I absolutely believe that there are followers of Jesus who have different levels of experiences with Him, but that does not equate to levels of salvation. One is either saved, or not. But there are unquestionably Christians who experience more of God than others for whatever reason. Some people go years in a church that doesn’t teach about the power of the Holy Spirit in any form, who then attend a church that does teach that the Spirit is alive and active in the lives of His people, and they experience it for themselves (notice I’m not pointing to one “sign” as this experience, it could take many forms, some obvious some not). Before this they had one level of experience, after they had another, but still just as saved as anyone else.

    The context it reminded me of had to do with discipleship. I was researching a particular parachurch ministry that is very good at equipping in the discipleship department. I came across a number of blog posts and even Amazon reviews of the books that were saying things like churches that use this material are dividing the church into levels, tiers. More spiritual people vs less spiritual, when in fact it was about engaging with people who were willing to invest intentionally in their relationship with God vs those who were not.

    Some might claim that the 12 apostles were a different “tier” than the rest of those who were disciples of Jesus and they are right from a certain point of view, but not from a value or salvation perspective.

    Just thinking out loud.

  47. Michael – Just because the physical return of Jesus Christ to earth to set up His millennial rule didn’t make it onto all the Catholic offshoot creeds, does not mean it is not an essential doctrine. It is one of the most vital for those who “love His appearing.”

  48. “They teach you to worship by rote, not in Spirit and in Truth. High church ceremonial ritualism is not for me. — That’s how I see it.”

    You rail against that which you are clueless about.

    Every word of the liturgy,every “ritual” points to Christ and His work.

    I have no problem with such not being “for you”.

    I don’t like the CC “liturgy”.

    It’s not for me.

    We both found places to worship in spirit and truth but you would deny the presence of the Spirit in our church…simply because it’s not “for you”.

    That’s shameful.

  49. Ms ODM,
    Your answer was a non answer – obviously you sit in a church -who founded that church? Unless you are telling me either (1) you are still at CCCM (which I doubt) or that you go to one of his denominational churches.

    Second – you said ” I came to Jesus under the conviction of the Holy Spirit while reading the Word of God. No man had a thing to do with that reality…” it doesn’t work that way – God uses means to save people – look at Acts 8 where the Ethiopian was ‘just reading’ the Bible and God sent a pastor so that he could be saved.”

    What you don’t realize is that you, probably as a child received God’s grace through your RCC baptism and the years of Sunday School teaching along with catechism. O, you may not remember or relate the one to the other — but God did and later in your life when you were reading along, Jesus brought to your remembrance what he had already done for you as a child. Now, that is a testimony to God Almighty!!! 🙂

  50. “Michael – Just because the physical return of Jesus Christ to earth to set up His millennial rule didn’t make it onto all the Catholic offshoot creeds, does not mean it is not an essential doctrine.”

    It is a secondary doctrine and in your tribe it’s anything but simple.

  51. For those trying to size me up — sitting in judgment upon my faith — I’ve written to other scatttered sheep around the world in a series I wrote for the Rapture Ready Radio website. It’s called Enduring to the End – a 5-part series. If you want to spend a lot of time reading, feel free – here’s the to be moderated link-

    http://www.rapturereadyradio.com/blog

  52. It is NOT secondary — no way!!

  53. Last I heard Ms. ODM was unchurched because they are all apostate..I guess her and her “scattered sheep” are the remnant…

  54. IF you say so 😀

  55. “It is NOT secondary — no way!!”

    We believe in the Second Coming.
    That’s a primary doctrine.

    All the speculation around the event are secondary…maybe not even that…tertiary would be a better word…

  56. Ms ODM,

    Your version of pre-millennialism is just bizarre. But this should not be such a dogmatic doctrine.

    My church accepts amillennialism, post-millennialism, and historical pre- millennialism as acceptable views for the elders. I guess we are pretty ecumenical. I remember meeting your late husband in CC Philly and asked him about amillennialism in a group setting. Its sad but true, no one in the group had any clue what amillennialism even was.

  57. “For those trying to size me up — sitting in judgment upon my faith —’

    Isn’t that what you do to the rest of the universal church on a daily basis?

  58. Steve,
    For clarification, when you say that your church accepts “historical pre- millennialism” are you saying that they reject pre mil dispensationalism? (which I hope they do)

    Historic Pre mil is nothing like pre mil dispensationalism – no great tribulation – none of that Jewish / Israel stuff etc.

  59. Ms. ODM,

    This is the morning prayer that Anglicans all over the world prayed this morning.

    http://thetrinitymission.org/morningprayer/april-19th-2017/

    Could you be so kind as to show us where it is apostate?

  60. Steve,

    Every comment you make goes straight to moderation.

    Evidently, we’ve had an issue at some point.

    I’m going to try to fix it…there has been no issue of late.

  61. MLD,

    To be clear. This is a confession for elders and pastors not the members. I’m ok with that. They are covenantal rather than dispensational. With that said, they are glad to see development of progressive dispensationalism, bringing dispensationalism and covenant theology closer together. But I am not sure how far that will go. I’m not holding my breath.

  62. Steve,
    I was just clarifying your terminolgy.
    Can I ask what church body you are associated with? Is it EV Free?

  63. MLD,

    No. We are completely independent. I know that scares some folks and makes me uneasy at times to but I feel like I finally found my home. We probably have more bureaucracy than most churches but at least that makes me feel comfortable that there are lots of checks and balances.

  64. Hi Corby,

    I don’t know if we are generally in agreement with some nuance or whether there are substantive disagreements on any issues. So, let me respond to a couple things you wrote:

    “Some might claim that the 12 apostles were a different “tier” than the rest of those who were disciples of Jesus and they are right from a certain point of view, but not from a value or salvation perspective.” – I think the way the Bible would speak is in terms of callings, not from a salvation perspective, but from a vocational perspective. Christ called the apostles to a ministry and equipped them with the gifts necessary to carry it out. He equips us with the gifts and talents to carry out our vocations in life. Everything we receive is a gift from His hand and therefore we do not covet our brother’s gifts or vocation.

    To the Corinthian church, particularly in Chapter 4, Paul admonished them for being puffed up in favor of one against another. Paul says “not to go beyond what is written.” and “What do you have that you did not receive.” I think it is unhelpful for Christians to compare ourselves against each other in terms of spirituality.

    I am in an intensive study currently in the 10th Chapter of John. In that Chapter Jesus says: “I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father”. That is an extraordinary statement about the intimacy that a Christian has with Jesus. This intimacy is made possible, in part, by the Christian listening to His voice and conversely fleeing from the voice of strangers. This in my opinion is huge in the context of deepening a Christian’s relationship with Christ. What voices are we listening to?

    But, we may differ on the doctrine of conversion and perseverance.

    In my tradition, a person is converted by the Holy Spirit, working through the proclamation of the Gospel, who (1) convicts and condemns the person as a sinner, and (2) engenders faith in that person that his sins are forgiven by God for the sake of Christ’s death on the cross for his sins. A sinner is not converted by his prayer of repentance, an altar call, or anything he does (I’m not saying you think this).

    A Christian perseveres as a Christian by continuing to believe in that same Gospel (both (1) and (2) above). We do not look inward for our righteousness. Paul: “In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.” Paul and we can have a clear conscience by confessing our sins and trusting in Christ who sanctifies us.

    This whole Lordship salvation debate, in my opinion, is the result of trying to square the doctrines of (1) my fee will to “accept” (or choose your verb) Christ and (2) OSAS. They are both IMO unbiblical, but they put their adherents in a pickle. In order to deal with the person who has fallen away, one must either question the validity of the “free choice”, or create different tiers of Christians, including, unfortunately a tier which basically says that the person who has fallen away is going to heaven even though they have no faith.

    If a person lives in manifest sin, and is not convicted by his sin, he may be a person who does not have the Holy Spirit. That ought to be taken as a grave concern.

  65. Just read the rest of this thread. Well, that was a few minutes that I can’t get back. everyone talking through their backside…. wonderful

  66. Michael, I am still not sure why you even acknowledge the comments by ODM’s. By doing so, you give credence to their “ministries”. In the grand scope of Christianity, they are utterly irrelevant. Today’s thread only serves to legitimize their thoughts and opinions. There are much larger issues to discuss than the silly, simplistic comments of self-appointed “Bereans”. What you are doing is laudable, they are laughable.

  67. Hi, David…that’s a fair question.

    I was pretty much done with the bunch of them,hoping that ignoring them would assign them to the obscurity that they so richly deserve.

    However, I saw how much damage they really can do as I’ve covered the Calvary Chapel split.

    There are many, many people who buy the lies they tell about people they disagree with…people who God is using in ways that go beyond what most of us can accomplish.

    Thus, I get torn between ignoring them and standing against them…and sometimes I have to stand and try to show the inanity of their views.

    It’s a tough call…

  68. These people are mentally ill. They test my sense of empathy.

  69. Regarding criticism of “Lordship Salvation”, I could use some clarification on it’s meaning just like I did with “Evangelicism”. Romans 10:9 says that “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved”. So I don’t understand, on the surface, how anyone can argue that Jesus must be declared as one’s Lord in order to be saved. It starts with a confession and leads to a lifestyle, with a whole lot of mess on our part thrown in, but I don’t understand how it’s dismissed. For my own conversion, I’d prayed the Sinners Prayer countless times without any change until the Holy Spirit crushed me one late night in Mexico when I read Luke 6:46 – “[Jesus speaking] Why do you cal me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I say?.” After wrestling with Him and that verse for awhile, I gave in and surrendered to Jesus as Lord and not just Savior. And my life truly turned on a dime after that, 30 years ago. I’ve gone back on that surrender countless times over the years with my behavior, but that’s where my life in Christ truly started. I was a new creation after that. But again, I’m probably reading “Lordship Salvation” wrong in this thread, so need some clarification.

  70. Well, it is a tough call. They can do damage to some CC folk, but only to the extent that those people choose to let someone else do their thinking for them. I’ve learned through experience that it is nearly impossible to engage in meaningful dialogue with such people.

    By the way, Ms. ODM’s comment ” I’ve heard Stott was drifting towards universalism before his demise” says more about her than it does him. But that is the way of ODM’s, to disparage someone by innuendo divorced from any personal research, just basing it on hearsay.

  71. “That is one thing I loved about Chuck Smith – he got it. He would not allow membership rolls. He knew the only roll that mattered was the Lamb’s Book of Life. These institutions demand allegiance to their denomination.”

    ____________________________________________________________________

    Ms ODM @45, membership rolls are not a bad thing. Chuck Smith had his own tightly controlled membership role in his affiliation process. Today that role consists of two different databases with one controlled by CCCM and the other controlled by CCA. Its a complete farce to say that the reason he didn’t have a membership role was because he was only concerned about the “lambs book of life”. I agree this was the reason he used to justify not including congregants in his church membership but I suspect the real reason he didn’t have membership was to be more efficient in allowing him to run the church the way he wanted it to be run without any kind of interference with the run of the mill sheep. Regarding demanding allegiance to the institution was simply replaced with a demand for allegiance to a man.

  72. Victor,

    You actually understand it pretty well.

    The “no Lordship/free grace” position states that all that is “required” for salvation is intellectual assent to Jesus as Savior.

  73. Victor,

    You wrote: “So I don’t understand, on the surface, how anyone can argue that Jesus must be declared as one’s Lord in order to be saved.”

    Here is a larger portion of that section from Romans 10:

    “But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” ”

    The question is whether faith (and justification) precede the confession, or whether the confession in some many causes justification or otherwise initiates one into the New Covenant. It appears from verse 8 that first the word is in your mouth and in your heart. It appears that the confession is a natural response to faith (see verse 10). I don’t think Paul has created an initiation ritual here. And I would be cautious about creating a doctrine of salvation based on one verse.

  74. “I’ve heard Stott was drifting towards universalism before his demise”

    Unless you show proof, this is slandering a brother in Christ. I know people who know him and I can assure you this isn’t true.

    Shameful.

  75. In my #73, in the first sentence of the last paragraph, the word “many” should be “way”.

    I also agree with Michael that faith is not intellectual assent. Without a long definition, one could say that faith is “trust in the person and promises of Christ.”

  76. Victor – the best I remember the Lordship debate was not whether or not Jesus was Lord.
    The fight was over whether Jesus could be your savior and then later become your Lord.
    So, Jesus becomes your savior and then you make him Lord.

    This is nonsense – Jesus is Lord. Do we actually believe that there are people walking aroud with Jesus as their savior and Jesus has not as part of that salvation made HIMSELF their Lord?

  77. bob1, Maybe Ms. ODM was referring to annihilation-ism rather than universal-ism. It believe Stott did espouse annihilation-ism at one point but not sure how much or little he believed it.

  78. Stott adopted annihilationism and Packer refuted him.

    The debate was priceless and thought provoking.

    They continued to speak very highly of each other.

    That kind of theological work and thought is allowed in some places…

  79. “This is nonsense – Jesus is Lord. Do we actually believe that there are people walking aroud with Jesus as their savior and Jesus has not as part of that salvation made HIMSELF their Lord?’

    Amen and amen again.

  80. The quotes you cited hit all the right notes for their faithful readers, but their lack of/or disdain for proper writing and proofreading should give pause to anyone who might want to consider or probe their logic. To think well is to write well.

    butwhatdoiknowfil

  81. #77 Steve – You’re right – I got him mixed up with someone else since so many once sound theologians are going off course. Thanks for setting me straight on that – although whatever those guys argue over me makes no difference to me.

  82. Just for the record, annihalionalism was also held by several church fathers and C.S. Lewis.
    Stott was far from the first.

  83. Ms ODM
    “although whatever those guys argue over me makes no difference to me.”

    But at the same time you argue with Jesus who said clearly “this IS my body … this IS my blood..” – so if you don’t listen to what Jesus teaches I don’t know why we would expect you to listen to anyone else’s teachings. 😉

  84. Michael

    To somewhat echo David M., but from a different perspective, could you please explain:
    1. As Ms. ODM says “whatever those guys argue over me makes no difference to me” – then why are ODM folk even interested in what’s being said, written, etc.
    2. An old question, but relevant, “By whose authority…” – They know little of Scripture, apart from proof texting (usually out of context) and nothing of history…
    3. While one may see the National Enquirer headlines in the check-out line, does anyone really believe them and, if they do, they are a joke…
    4. Finally, it is apparent that they refuse to even approach honest debate, learning, etc.Is there value in engagement…

    You know these folk better than I do…

  85. Who founded your Church? <<<<

    Everyone here will say that the founder of their church is Christ.

    A better question to ask is who is the founder of your tradition?

  86. #82 Bob1

    Yes… Especially those of the Alexandrine school…

    BTW I think that Lewis moved towards universalism towards the end.

  87. They do know the Scriptures. Evangelicals know more obscure OT stories and prophecies than any one. They have their own erroneous method of interpretation which I find bizarre, but an ODM or ordinary Evangelical could beat all of us at a game of Bible trivia.

    They get an F on church history.

  88. Hey folks!! World War III is on the horizon and we’re arguing over what institution is superior. Get to cover!!

  89. Thanks for the clarifying comments and I apologize for needing more 🙂

    Michael, you said “The “no Lordship/free grace” position states that all that is “required” for salvation is intellectual assent to Jesus as Savior.” So what does the “Lordship Salvation” position state? I understand that trying to separate Jesus from being both Savior and Lord seems like nonsense. He is Lord of all. None of this #notmyLord nonsense 🙂 But in reality, many professing Christians live just like that.

  90. Ms. ODM @81,

    You are welcome. One thing about sound theologians that I am learning is that they are flawed like the rest of us. Its the same in church. Every pastor is flawed as well and for this reason its dangerous to put pastors on pedestals. Some of the more fundamental pastors out there seem to be much more concerned about the anti-Christ, Israel or the rapture than they are about the Person of Christ, the doctrine of God or the trinity. How do you explain this phenomenon?

  91. #87 Xenia

    Yes, they know Scripture, but they know little of Scripture… canon, languages, literary types being used, etc. I should have been more explicit…

  92. Hi PP friends, hope you are all having a happy day!

  93. Xenia,
    “A better question to ask is who is the founder of your tradition?”

    Actually, since I know she is “independent” by nature – I wanted to know who founded her local congregation. Was he worthy or a skunk.

    The guy who led what became the LCMS over to America, Martin Stephan, turned out to be a skunk – but that is no way reflected on the church body. (this began with her challenge that the CoE was somehow illegitimate because of Henry VIII)

  94. Most Groups have a liberal end of the Tent and a conservative end of the Tent.

    Anglicanism has J.I. Packer who I think very few in evangelicalism would argue is apostate or not a Christian.

    Of course, Anglicanism also has Spong in it (well Episcopalian but same flavor, just American) as well as Rowan Williams and some other pretty liberal dudes, theologically who some could claim are off the Reservation.

    CC has quite a mix, the early days had the Katherine Kuhlman’s and Lonnie Frisbee’s….very liberal theologically as opposed to Chuck Smith’s conservatism.

    Ms. ODM, do you consider a Katherine Kuhlman and Lonnie Frisbee to have been truly saved?

  95. Ms ODM,
    “Hey folks!! World War III is on the horizon and we’re arguing over what institution is superior. Get to cover!!”

    More Bible prophecy because Bill O’Reilly got fired?

  96. Duane,

    As you’ve heard me say ,we write for the lurkers.
    We have about 40 people who comment regularly while a couple thousand more are reading.

    That group includes a lot of people who are part of groups who are directly affected by the conflicts that ODM’s create.

    If I can get one to question the nonsense, one to pick up a church history book, one to desire to hear other perspectives…then I’ve done my job and fulfilled my calling here.

    Those “ones” usually become Lutherans for some reason… 🙂

  97. #97 Michael

    Good reasoning… many thanks!

  98. For the record – I love history — one guy I learn a lot from is from Gordon Conwell – he has a great youtube library

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrI5U0R293u9uveijefKyAA/featured

  99. Alex – I am no fan of those two attention getting dead people — but their eternal destiny is something only God knows. Their legacies sure gave Christianity a bad name. — And that’s not an opening for another drag out fight. People on the PP love to draw the sword.

  100. #100 Ms. ODM

    You might like to read a standard text used in most evangelical seminaries – ‘The History of Christian Thought’ by Justo Gonzalez

    It will be even better than the videos…

  101. Ms. ODM, thanks for the response. I agree, only God knows who is saved and who isn’t besides the obvious folks who openly reject Christ and profess a hatred for Jesus and the essentials of Christianity.

    I assume you would count J.I. Packer as likely saved and right on the essentials. Michael seems to be that Anglican and I’m sure disagrees strongly with the liberals in that Tent.

  102. Gordon-Conwell appears to be conservative-evangelical Billy Graham Baptist, squarely in the conservative end of the Christian Tent and orthodox.

  103. I’m not at all interested in the labels.

    The particular group that I’m joining with is a “conservative” Anglican group that was part of the split with Canterbury a few years ago.

    I can recite from Packer in my sleep and he was a gift to me.

    However…I’m now reading works from other Anglicans that Dr.Packer had disagreement with…and I’m learning things that I didn’t learn from him.

    There is massive breadth in this tradition from people like Packer to Rowan Williams and others.

    I can learn from them all and if they can recite the creed in truth, they are family.

  104. Thanks Duane – I have my own library in my house with lots of tomes on Church history. One of my favorite is The Pilgrim Church by Broadbent.

  105. Dunno, been on all sides of it and nearly agnostic at one point.

    My caution is that Liberalism and deconstruction leads to pretty much believing in nothing and no place to anchor to, no tether, no place to hang your hat other than logic/reason and empiricism, which has its nuance and then that ironically leads you back to the big questions of the Universe and existence….which leads you back to an intelligent and reasonable God.

    Hyper-conservatism has its pitfalls when it becomes unloving and too rigid and doesn’t allow for some mystery and unknown.

  106. Ironically, Ms. ODM and Michael are pretty much both in the conservative/traditionalist or fundamentalist end of the Christian Tent at least with regards to the basics of Christian doctrine. I think they are much more aligned than a G-man or a Rowan Williams or from evangelicalism a Rob Bell or similar.

  107. Watching Ms. ODM and Michael go at it is a bit like watching Marco Rubio battling Donald Trump LOL. Both still Republican 😉

  108. “One of my favorite is The Pilgrim Church by Broadbent.”

    That explains a lot…I don’t enjoy fiction.

  109. #108 Alex

    Rowan was an examiner on my PhD viva and we have been colleagues over the course of three decades. He is typical of an older style of Anglo-Catholic – liberal on social issues, conservative on most theological issues…

  110. Duane,
    Wasn’t Rowan the Druid? Didn’t he do some ecumenical thing and joined (I don’t know if you join) – but didn’t he become a Druid?

  111. Ha… That is a good one. Maybe it was part of the ceremony when he became head of his old college! Honestly, I don’t think so…

  112. #112 MLD

    BTW, his book on Arius is worth reading…solid.

  113. https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2002/aug/06/religion.world

    Evidently, Williams participated in a Welsh cultural ceremony that is done for those whom the Welsh want to give recognition to.

    it wasn’t a change of religion…

  114. I have The Pilgrim Church, too.

    My dear, if this is your idea of a good history book, you are flat out wrong.

  115. Duane,
    I had to look it up
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/2172918.stm

    Perhaps he was becoming all things to all people 😉

  116. “Evidently, Williams participated in a Welsh cultural ceremony that is done for those whom the Welsh want to give recognition to.”

    Perhaps I am more discriminating on who I will join for personal honor — but thats just me 😉

  117. I get that…however, I spend time with Native Americans and would participate in their ceremonies if asked…

  118. Oh, that one with the bards! I’ve been to one… very harmless! Then again, Rowan’s eyebrows give one pause…

  119. Duane, that is awesome.

    Rowan Williams is one of the brightest minds of our time, IMO.

    His debates with Richard Dawkins at Oxford with the Philosophy Chair moderating the discussion are among the best I’ve ever heard when addressing “God” and spirituality with a super-talented heavyweight Atheist.

    Williams was remarkable. His insight helped me tremendously when I’ve wrestled with Atheism/Agnosticism.

  120. Duane, I was also impacted by how humble Williams was/is. He has a lot of self-control (a fruit of the Spirit) and was very loving and courteous in his discussion with Dawkins. His “How to Win Friends and Influence People” approach (my metaphor/analogy for his style) seems very effective if the goal is discussion and relationship and influencing vs. winning an argument and war/battle and Saul Alinsky approach/methodology.

  121. Mrs ODM said :
    “That is one thing I loved about Chuck Smith – he got it. He would not allow membership rolls. He knew the only roll that mattered was the Lamb’s Book of Life. ”
    **********
    lol. I suspect his no membership rolls had more to do with him not wanting to be answerable to a membered church. This expressed in that classic CC rant that ” the pastor is not a hireling to the sheep! ”
    The CC empire was built on Chuck Smiths pride and wanting total control its why he left Four Square. It should be no wonder one of CC’s biggest problems is the lack of accountibility of its pastors.

  122. The acronyms used by regulars here regularly mystify me. What is an ODM?

  123. Online Discernment Ministry

  124. #33 … interesting… i heard a former Muslim (educated type), now a Christian make quite a case for the last days anti-Christ making his move thru the Muslims… was driving with the radio on and i have no idea what station or who the person was… not saying i’m buying it, but it made all the sense in the world… dunno

  125. #35-FWIW… Bill Bright was not Pentecostal, but he did have some ties to Hollywood Presbyterian which had an (unexpected) outbreak of the tongues movement in the 1950s…

  126. Michael,
    “I get that…however, I spend time with Native Americans and would participate in their ceremonies if asked…”

    I get that … Lutherans however reject both Unionism and Syncretism – so we are forbidden by confession participating in their ceremonies … even if it only gives the appearance of compromising the gospel. And it is difficult to go to such events and withhold an amen to their prayers.

  127. Fortunately, I’m not a Lutheran… 🙂

  128. Actually, Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa does have “Membership” in their by-laws and did from day one.

  129. “The CC empire was built on Chuck Smiths pride and wanting total control its why he left Four Square. It should be no wonder one of CC’s biggest problems is the lack of accountibility of its pastors.”

    I used to believe and perpetuate that meme, but I have learned that’s not really true.

    Chuck was very loose, very loose. He didn’t want control and pretty much let everyone do what they wanted to do and figured that God would sort out the mess. He had a very non-authoritarian approach and got in trouble, often, because people like me demanded he step in and exercise authority. The times he did over the years was at the behest of others who lobbied him to step in. Each time he did, he’d take arrows for stepping in.

    It’s like herding cats. Michael has experienced this. You end up getting arrows from both sides. Dave Rolph has experienced this as well. You try to help people, then those people end up shooting at you b/c they don’t think you’re doing enough to advance their cause or take their side etc. It’s human and a mess, often.

  130. Depends on how you define membership.

    The congregants have no say in the church governance,nor are they given any information on budgets or issues.

  131. True, in essence, but not in by-law. I don’t think “members” really knew they had power or wanted any power. The CC folks just don’t care about that stuff. They like the church polity the way it is and don’t want to get that involved in the inner-workings or biz side of things.

    The CCCM board did have real power and still does. But, everyone really believed in Chuck and often deferred to him, but then he’d often throw it back i their lap, often. Dunno, from guys like Dorman and others it sounded very much different than that other person commented earlier. But, sometimes Chuck did lay down the law. Very rarely, but sometimes he did and he was the guy, mostly b/c the other pastors and followers wanted him to be the guy.

  132. Dunno, I guess it depends on whose perspective you listen to. I’m sure it’s a mixed bag as with most things. I’ll leave it there.

  133. “The times he did over the years was at the behest of others who lobbied him to step in.”

    Not always.

    The man covered up more sin ( including his own) than anyone knows about.

  134. Ya, not untrue. But, I see his motivation for that differently now. I think it was out of love and wanting to do no harm to other family members, other people like wives, kids etc connected to his spiritual sons’ misdeeds at times. Not so much “cover up” as being discreet for the sake of wives, ex-wives, kids, others connected to those situations who want the stuff to remain private.

  135. Alex,

    Check your browser…you’re on the Phoenix Preacher, not calvarychapelassociation.com…that stuff ain’t going to fly here.

    It was cover up after cover up both moral and financial.

  136. I’ve learned that a lot goes on in church…and the churches and pastors “cover up” and keep quiet about a lot of moral scandal…even moral scandals of those who end up attacking them online. Chuck and other CC pastors and CC’s have kept a lot of disgruntled former attendees’ secrets secret out of respect for their families. I only know b/c of the lawsuit process and depositions and evidence etc or I wouldn’t know. It’s messy. Not as cut and dry as I once thought.

  137. No argument there, not claiming there has never been legit scandal in CC, there certainly has, just commenting on the motive for covering things. It is assumed it’s always sinister, when it could be out of discretion and not to embarrass families involved in the situations. There are women and kids connected to every scandal whether its a CC pastor or a former CC attendee. The courts consider both “private” not public figures.

  138. “Chuck was very loose, very loose. He didn’t want control and pretty much let everyone do what they wanted to do and figured that God would sort out the mess.”
    ____________________________________________________________________

    Alex, if there is even a grain of truth to what you just wrote, what business did Chuck have at all in inserting himself in setting up an affiliation organization for all the franchises and trademarking the Calvary Chapel name and dove logo?

    Chuck Smith may not have wanted to be in control of all the CCs but something tells me no one forced his hand in creating the CCOF or the affiliation agreement and process for the some 1000+ affiliated churches. Whether anyone acknowledges this or not, he created a pseudo denominational franchise where he was the top dog. Wasn’t he listed as president of the CCOF? So if he had no desire for power or control, why would someone do this? No, this didn’t happen by accident. He put himself right smack in the middle of all this. Maybe he regretted what he did, but that is a different issue altogether.

  139. Steve, because people want a King. The Hebrews exampled this well in the Old Testament, “Give us a King like the other nations!”

    The CC people, especially the first generation who were saved through Chuck’s ministry, really love him and view him as a father-figure, they are sincere in that.

    Michael has cultivated real relationships with many of his followers on here (I am one). I love the guy, I can’t help that, he was there for me when I went through the most difficult period in my life to date and he helped me. It is natural that I will always have an affinity for him and want to defend him now.

    Same dynamic in play in Calvary Chapel, especially with the First Gen guys. They love Chuck, but not in an idolatrous way, more like First Gen PP’ers love Michael.

  140. A similar dynamic in a negative direction happens when there is loss of relationship. When I lost relationship with my Grenier family, I was deeply hurt and then I viewed everything negatively from there, ascribed negative motives to everything.

    When I lost relationship with Calvary Chapel, same thing, I was hurt and viewed CC negatively as well, they could do no right.

    People who have gotten kicked off this blog and lost relationship here, then generally turn on Michael and this blog and then this blog can do no right.

    It is human nature on display.

    When you are in relationship, you are more gracious, assume the best (or assume better) and are much more forgiving of sins. When you are at odds and there is painful separation and there are hurt feelings, then things generally get nasty and ugly and there is no more grace (on all sides).

  141. Divorce is another example/metaphor for the dynamic.

    At one time two human beings love each other, get married, have kids etc. It’s all good. They defend each other even in their imperfections.

    Then a Divorce happens, and oftentimes they hate each other and things get really nasty. What changed? What changed is that separation caused deep hurt to someone’s feelings and they got angry and in their hurt things got ugly and then the hurts compound on both sides and then the other party is “evil” and can do no right and everything is colored by that negative view.

  142. Alex,
    I can honestly tell you are well on your way to healing. Everything you just said is right on. Being in relationship does change our perspective a lot and that we are in 100% agreement.

    Unfortunately, this probably isn’t going to happen in my situation or many other people’s situation. For instance, with my ex-CC pastor there is no relationship to restore to him. The pastor was very distant and always was to me as well as others. What many folks need to cope with is not in loss of relationship with pastor but loss in relationship to a body of believers they once called home. Since the pastor is the face for a typical CC congregation, this makes restoration unattainable until pastor is held accountable. BTW, this is probably the same dynamic in other large mega churches.

    For me, I found a new home now and not looking back but I will speak out when it’s appropriate to the dangers of the CC kind of ecclesiology and give hope to the hurting that feel abused. My advice is that there are much better churches than CC to go to. I don’t know much about the Anglicans but what I am reading here, they sound decent. The Lutherans sound decent. The EO sounds decent. The Baptists sound decent. The Presbyterians sound decent. I know I will get stoned for this but even sometimes the RCC sounds decent. But for some large CCs, for whatever reason, the leaders just don’t have a clue how much damage they have done to the body of Christ. What they seem to be able to do is point to their growing numbers and claim success. To me that’s shameful.

  143. Steve, I hear all of that and no disagreement there. Sometimes the damage is done and God doesn’t change hearts and there is no reconciliation in the human to human and church to human relationship and it is very painful, a very real pain and deep hurt.

    I’m sorry you have experienced that. I also think you have handled it well by finding another church body to replace that lost relationship and you seem very mature about how you are handling your hurt and pain, something I did not model for many years.

  144. In and out today, but will try to check back later.

    #123,TheGhostofBelleStarr – AMEN!

    Steve –
    #140 – Excellent points!
    #144 – The description you give of your CC situation is shared by so very many. Thank you for saying it well.

    #136, Alex – “Ya, not untrue. But, I see his motivation for that differently now. I think it was out of love and wanting to do no harm to other family members, other people like wives, kids etc connected to his spiritual sons’ misdeeds at times. Not so much “cover up” as being discreet for the sake of wives, ex-wives, kids, others connected to those situations who want the stuff to remain private.”

    “Misdeeds”…um…let’s talk. The Bible calls having intercourse with someone who is not your spouse SIN! — even if it was Chuck Smith. You had better review the wisdom of euphemizing what God calls sin. Chuck was playing God. By covering up sin, whether his own or others in, especially leadership, he actually placed himself above Scripture and its mandates about such things and passed that leaven along to other leaders in the “Association”. We are dealing with that disgusting leaven to this day. Additionally, bypassing Scripture like Chuck did, and covering up sin “for the sake of others?”, he took on another godlike quality. He chose who would suffer from dealing openly with the sins of the people to whom you have referred and who would not. The pain is always over sooner when the right thing is done in the first place. It’s possible that, as more of the sin inside of the CC camp is revealed these people may suffer again and that would be sad because it never had to happen that way. That’s on Chuck and any of pastors/leaders who were weak and foolish enough to go along with covering up their sin. Whatever Chuck’s “good” points were, and I don’t doubt there were some, they will now be overshadowed by the record of his lack of coming to terms with his own long term disobedience. The very foundation of his “enterprise” is slowly crumbling under the weight of the truths that are coming out. Chronic Unrepentance will determine CC’s fate–or has already. Saul lost big time over usurping God’s instructions and doing things his own way. Someone should have learned from that.

    Also, I might restate something I pointed out in another thread regarding David Hocking. I do not and never have seen him as a particularly bad man. However, somehow, someway, when Hocking fell into immorality, Chuck induced him to bypass the restoration program of his own church (a program partly designed by Hocking) and come teach at CC. There were many objections to this course of action, but, because it was Chuck, it was allowed to stand. It is my understanding that the greatest concern of those close to Chuck at the time was that Chuck’s own sin of immorality would be exposed. Because of the way Hocking’s sin was handled, it gave a witness to, not only the CC leaders and the church at large–but also to the World that a pastor was above the rest of God’s church in scrutiny and his transgressions were different. (Completely opposite of what the Bible says.) Chuck institutionalized the policy that pastors could step over Scriptural mandates and not suffer consequences. To anyone who was paying attention–the Hocking incident also effectively exposed that Chuck’s Moses Model was allowing sexual sin to proliferate in the camp. This was, indeed, a public and graphic example of what was going on behind the scenes. Unfortunately, as history shows us–Chuck did not repent of any of it–he entrenched. You have to ask yourself if Hocking’s life would have been better without Chuck’s self-righteous interference. If the right thing would have been done, we would not still be talking about it and there would be no shadow over Hocking to this day. Very sad. The same could be said for the other sins that remain covered up and uncared for. It would have been better to deal with them openly in the first place.

    Never rename what God calls sin and never let anyone talk you into disobedience–no matter who they are.

  145. JM, the same sins are among those online criticizing Chuck Smith and other CC pastors. Adulteries, embezzlement, illegal drug use, spousal abuse, drunkenness, etc etc etc. Grace and discretion for one and not the other? Many of these pastors have privately repented and faced the music privately with their families etc. If we applied the same medicine to the pew sitters of public humiliation and every last detail, I guarantee you many would change their tune once they got a taste of their own medicine. Churches are messy b/c humans are messy, members/laypeople and pastors alike. Critics and pastors alike.

  146. JM,
    I assume what you are saying about Chuck Smith and Hocking is true. I haven’t heard anyone refute these facts. It was before my time, so I cannot validate them but it does put things in a much more somber light if true. My CC experience came from across the country in the Philadelphia region.

    I know that pastor Joe Focht of cc philly and the up and coming leader of the new CCA has let go at least 2 of his associate pastors over the years for infidelities. He has also been a huge Chuck Smith fan. If he knew about Chuck’s own affair that would really put a dark cloud over his entire ministry from my standpoint. I hope he can come clean and let us know what he knew and when. Or completely refute what you are saying if its not true.

  147. Pastors are held to different biblical standards than the congregation.

    There are qualifications and disqualifications.

    One hopes that scandal never goes online and that such is never necessary.

    Unfortunately, some folks makes it necessary…

  148. If we applied the same medicine to the pew sitters of public humiliation and every last detail, I guarantee you many would change their tune once they got a taste of their own medicine. <<<

    Probably the best thing you have ever written, Alex.

    Yes, pastors are held to a higher standard.

    No, we don't need to know every salacious detail and while there are NT rules as to what they should be permitted to do in the future, I don't see the need to rub their noses in their sin for years and years.

  149. Michael, agreed. And, pretty much every pastor that has fallen has been public news and very embarrassing for their wives and kids who suffer along with them.

  150. Then perhaps they should keep their pants on and their hands to themselves…

  151. Thanks X, I’ve learned some hard lessons and now that I have a relationship again with CC and some pastors, I see the other side of these issues. These pastors don’t condone the sins of their brethren and they deal with those guys privately, they just don’t see the need to rub their noses in it for years and they feel if they have repented privately, they can be restored. Some disagree.

  152. Alex @ 147,

    Pastors and elders need to be held accountable like all of us. But no one has any business being in the pulpit if they are disqualified. If they want to keep their adulteries private then they should immediately step down from the pulpit and think long and hard before they ever return. Repenting privately is great and I don’t want to expose anyone’s sin that is not in the public but if you are going to be a prominent public pastor and you want to sin grossly, you have absolutely no business being a pastor at all. Period. Forgiveness and grace. Yes. Preaching, pastoring, elder. NO.

  153. Steve, and that is a legit disagreement in my opinion. Some feel you are eternally disqualified if you commit some sort of sin in the pulpit, others think that if you repent and make amends with your family, you can still preach, some think that if you end up divorced that as long as you’ve repented you can get back in ministry.

    My take now, we’re all disqualified from being pastors b/c we’re all sinners and not one of us follows that list correctly all the time.

  154. But to be clear, the fundamentalist CCA is more in your Camp in terms of pastors being held accountable for adulteries, they aren’t racing to get either of the Bob C’s back in the pulpit. What sin is the unpardonable sin in the pulpit? Dunno. It’s certainly a mixed bag in many Groups. CCA guys have held guys accountable many times, just not permanent disfellowship with some who have sinned but they have stopped fellowship with others, similar to the other branch of CC and similar to other church orgs and groups.

  155. At the end of the day, as Michael has said many many times, God seems to take care of these sorts of issues through the local church at the local level. Some survive their scandals, some don’t. At the end of the day the board, elders and church-goers at the particular church have the final say in whether they support the particular pastor or not. Some are much more informed than you’d think, they choose to extend grace and mercy to their imperfect pastors and to love and restore them, knowing they are flawed men.

  156. Alex, I’m not of the opinion that any one is eternally disqualified. I am also not of the the opinion that those divorced because of their own sin can not remarry or enter ministry. I believe all these sins are forgivable and anyone can be restored to ministry.

    My beef is with Joe Focht now who has let two of his associate pastors go in the past because of immorality over the years and probably exposed their sin to the congregation along the way yet he hasn’t said a peep about his mentor Chuck Smith who I am being told had his own affair. This is complete hypocrisy if he knew about this and its true. This isn’t the adultery that’s the biggest scandal here. Its the preferential treatment of the “too big to fail” celebrity that may be the real scandal.

  157. Steve – It appears that both deliberate denial and deliberate ignorance is a problem among many CC pastors. I was in Orange County and rather nearby when the Hocking debacle took place. It cost us a ministry opportunity. Our pastor was confronted for his opinion and he would not take a stand in the face of such bald face agreement with sin. And so it goes to this day. Is it any wonder, when that weak pastor scenario is repeated time and again to those of us who attended more than one CC that there remains virtually no respect for them? I wouldn’t hold my breath about getting any blood (info?) out of that turnip (Focht).

    Alex, I would agree with anyone that rightly puts the blame for how we got into this mess we call “church” on not just ungodly leaders, but also on passive or even sinfully complicit pew warmers. There is a humble, Biblical prescription for dealing with all of it. It is not this writer’s fault if some pastors and lay leaders are too lazy or too encumbered by their own sin to care for it. Many times these uncared for situations are why people leave a church. If you are saying something should be done, we would agree. However, that is deflecting from what is the real issue. The Bible makes it clear that the degree of responsibility is different for a leader and they do not have the luxury of a cover up due to the moral requirements of Scripture. You agreed with this at one time because I saw it on your blog.

  158. Alex, “These pastors don’t condone the sins of their brethren and they deal with those guys privately, they just don’t see the need to rub their noses in it for years and they feel if they have repented privately, they can be restored.”

    CC policies (privacy to the Moses pastor) enabled the Coy and Caldwell situations. Because of these CC policies, it took people on the outside to expose these perverts. There are clues there. I think now is a really good time for these “private” guys to decry the policies that enabled these atrocities. It’s not about them. It was always about the sheep. The sheep have been poorly served in those cases and I have never heard one of these “private” pastors publicly say , “Gee. That must have really hurt a lot of people. That was wrong.” So simple, but so impossible apparently.

    An additional issue is how unloving and how demeaning it would be to a congregation to not give full disclosure. Right there you are being disrespectful and dumbing them down. That is a sign of an unhealthy power differential between a pastor and the congregation.

  159. Michael,

    #149 …. Yes.

    #152 …. Well Stated. 🙂

  160. Steve, I spent some time with Joe, he’s a good dude. I’m sure he has his reasons, first and foremost out of respect for Chuck’s wife who is still alive and their kids. If Chuck had been on Joe’s staff at that CC, then I would agree with you. Joe dealt with a matter at his CC. Joe is not in any authority over Chuck or Chuck’s family or CCCM. That’s my take fwiw.

  161. JM,

    If that’s a valid email address I’ll send you the first chapter of my book…I suspect you will like it…

  162. JM, I agree that the Moses Model has its flaws and the two Bob C. situations are tragic. I knew one of the Bob C’s a little and he’s a good guy who sinned and hurt his family. I’m sure he cares much more about the hurt he caused his family and church family than what you or I think or blogs think of him.

    I think Tucker is doing the best he can to manage that situation balancing Bob C’s family and their wishes for privacy and discretion, the other party’s family and their privacy concerns etc. Tough situation. If Tucker did what some want and gave details he’d get blasted by someone somewhere for violating the multiple families’ privacy concerns.

  163. Michael said, “Then perhaps they should keep their pants on and their hands to themselves…”

    Hahahaha, true and for all of us, sin is pleasurable for a season, but always bites you in the arse in the end.

    The fundamentalist CCA guys agree with you on that issue in terms of it being a serious thing to never do and to repent of if you do it.

  164. Alex,

    Perhaps we need to have a private conversation about some of those fundamentalist CC guys…because if they’ve repented,it was surely privately.

    The Caldwell mess is one where I will agree with you some.
    He has stepped down (15 years late) and exposing all the details of all concerned is not necessary in my opinion.

  165. #163, Michael, YES! You have made my day! No…you have made my year! THANK YOU!

  166. JM…it’ll be on it’s way shortly.

  167. Alex @162,

    How is it that you got a meeting with Joe Foch and you never ever attended his church and you don’t even live in the area and yet you made a glowing opinion of him? Yet I live in the area and have tried unsuccessfully to meet Joe for years after attending his church for years, Joe doesn’t even know what I look like. It this what a pastor is supposed to do? Stonewall the sheep until they die or they take you to court? Joe just sends his surrogates out to do his dirty work for him. This is wrong Alex and you should see it for what it is.

  168. Alex, my heart is thrilled for you and your family. Truly, I rejoice. Thanks for sharing your joy with the rest of us.

  169. It is so refreshing to read Alex’s posts these days.

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