Nov 132014
 
Jason Stellman and Christian Kingery...both ex Calvary Chapel Pastors...take some shots...literally and metaphorically...at Religion, Politics and Culture.

Jason Stellman and Christian Kingery…both ex Calvary Chapel Pastors…take some shots…literally and metaphorically…at Religion, Politics and Culture.

Former Calvary Chapel Pastors Jason Stellman and Christian Kingery launched a new podcast aptly titled “Drunk Ex Pastors.”

As the title suggests in a provocatively blunt manner…these guys take some shots and then discuss tame subjects like Religion, Politics, Culture…you know, non-controversial things like that.

While I am politically much more conservative than the pair…I do appreciate their willingness to explore the boundaries in what is a witty, often irreverent yet intelligent manner. I don’t always agree…rarely politically…though I often agree with regards to their more liberal approach to Theology/Religion…but I always laugh and they cause me to think through my particular positions.

The podcast is not for those who are easily offended or stumbled by non-political correctness, so be warned :-)

In the episode linked below, Drunk Ex Pastors discuss…among other things…Calvary Chapel.

 Posted by at 12:50 pm
Nov 112014
 
Volunteer leader at Calvary Chapel West Grove arrested for sexually abusing a teen girl...unlike past bad examples within Calvary Chapel...the senior pastor at this CC franchise reported immediately.

Volunteer leader at Calvary Chapel West Grove arrested for sexually abusing a teen girl…unlike past bad examples within Calvary Chapel…the senior pastor at this CC franchise reported immediately.

Vincent Daniel Lavello, a 50-year-old Calvary Chapel West Grove volunteer church leader, was arrested and charged with one felony count of unlawful sexual intercourse with a child at least 10 years younger than the defendant and six felony counts of lewd acts upon a child, according to Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

According to police reports, the victim is a 14-year-old girl.

OC Weekly broke the story here: http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/2014/11/vincent_daniel_lavello_calvary_chapel_child_sex.php

According to the OC Weekly report, it was Lavello’s wife who first became aware of the alleged sexual abuses and then she went to the Calvary Chapel West Grove pastor and reported her allegations, including “inappropriate text messages.”

The article states that the Calvary Chapel West Grove pastor immediately contacted the police.

CalvaryChapelAbuse.com contacted lead pastor Brad Young. He confirmed that he did report the matter to authorities right away and did not try to handle it in-house. When asked if his Calvary Chapel franchise had Child Protection Policies in place, his reply was “of course we do” but he was hesitant to discuss the matter further stating he wasn’t excited about another article coming out about this situation.

If you have any information about Vincent Lavello you are asked to contact Garden Grove Police Detective Dave Young at 714.741.5836 or Supervising District Attorney Investigator Kelly Core at 714.347.8794.

CalvaryChapelAbuse.com Commentary and Opinion:

Terrible tragedy, too common among church “leaders” and volunteers…we see this happen far too frequently in Calvary Chapel as well as other Church Organizations like the Roman Catholic Church and even institutions like Penn State University.

The message here is: It’s not a matter of “if” there are criminals and sexual abusers in our midst in the halls of church “leadership”…it is “when” will they offend…and is that church and the rest of the leadership there doing the best they can to protect kids from these predators.

In this case, from initial reports, it looks like Calvary Chapel West Grove and their pastor did what they should…they reported to the police right away. This is in stark contrast to the Elizabeth Ayub statutory rape by then Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa pastor John Flores….where leadership there, according to inside sources, first wanted to handle the crime in-house and send the teen girl to the Calvary Chapel castle in Austria and make things go away. This example of immediate reporting is also contrasted by reports from the victims’ family that Bob Grenier of Calvary Chapel Visalia was made aware that an employ of his was molesting his two step-daughters. According to the victims and family, Grenier told them not to go to police and attempted to handle the matter in-house…which is against the laws of mandatory reporting by clergy. Fortunately, the mother eventually reported to police, the step-father copped to the molestations and the family was able to make eventual amends. The family reports that Calvary Chapel Pastor Grenier essentially kicked them out of church for not submitting to his authority on the matter by going to police.

Good job Calvary Chapel West Grove for immediately reporting the sexual crime. Unfortunately, the mindset in many Calvary Chapels is still to handle things in-house and to not immediately report, which is now a crime due to Mandatory Reporting laws. It is my opinion that Pastors like Grenier and others tried to cover up the scandal because they believe it would affect the reputation of their church and attendance and giving if it was found out that such a crime occurred at the hands of one of their leaders, staff, volunteers or pastors. Could it also be that pastors who don’t report are themselves guilty of abuse? Either way, it is very wrong.

Again, I call on the Calvary Chapel Association, the Body that hands out the official “Affiliation” to Calvary Chapel Pastors to use the name and logo rights owned and controlled by Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and Chuck Smith’s Estate…to implement Mandatory Child Protection Policies as By-Laws in prospective Calvary Chapel franchises/affiliates. Why is this not required? Why does Calvary Chapel continue to leave it to the individual franchise holders to make up their own rules with regards to Child Protection Policies…yet requires the same franchisees to sign off on other rules regarding doctrinal agreement, agreement to follow the rules of the Calvary Chapel Distinctives, etc?

Good examples are out there. Calvary Chapel Boise, for instance, has solid Child Protection Policies in place and maintains and executes a policy of reporting alleged abuses immediately to the authorities. Calvary Chapel Boise also background checks all volunteers, employs, pastors, leaders etc. screening for child abuse, sexual abuse, felonies etc. I have had a lengthy discussion with Pastor Bob Caldwell about what he would do in the case of a report/allegation/accusation of Child Abuse at his Calvary Chapel franchise…he told me he would take the matter seriously and would report immediately to local authorities and not try to handle such a matter in-house…no matter who was accused.

Pastor Young did the right thing by immediately reporting. I understand his hesitance and not wanting to discuss the matter and draw more attention to a bad situation…however, the story needs to be told and lessons need to be learned. This stuff does happen and, unfortunately, other CC Pastors have a history of doing the wrong thing when it does happen. Pastors, like it or not, you are on the front lines of this stuff. Most folks will seek YOU out as their pastor first, instead of the authorities. It is your job to have a plan of how to deal with these matters and to deal with them lawfully and correctly.

May Calvary Chapel find Accountability Jesus in this important area, Organization wide.

Oct 182014
 
Mark Driscoll, embattled pastor/founder of Mars Hill church...recently resigned for being a jerk.

Mark Driscoll, embattled pastor/founder of Mars Hill church…recently resigned for being a jerk.

Mark Driscoll, the Mars Hill founder and charismatic alpha male mega-pastor, has resigned his position as lead pastor after a very public battle with former assistants, congregants, elders and large online community of critics.

Here is a link to Driscoll’s mea culpa and resignation letter that first appeared in Religion News Service: http://www.religionnews.com/2014/10/15/exclusive-mark-driscolls-resignation-letter-to-mars-hill-church/

A lot of critics have been really hard on Driscoll. Here is a key portion of Driscoll’s public response:

“I readily acknowledge I am an imperfect messenger of the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are many things I have confessed and repented of, privately and publicly, as you are well aware. Specifically, I have confessed to past pride, anger and a domineering spirit. As I shared with our church in August, “God has broken me many times in recent years by showing me where I have fallen short, and while my journey, at age 43, is far from over, I believe He has brought me a long way from some days I am not very proud of, and is making me more like Him every day.”

Prior to and during this process there have been no charges of criminal activity, immorality or heresy, any of which could clearly be grounds for disqualification from pastoral ministry.”–Mark Driscoll.

Driscoll and Mars Hill church had come under fire for reports by many former members, elders, employees who alleged he was basically an asshole and shouldn’t be a pastor. Initially Driscoll and Mars Hill took a stonewall approach and tried to deflect the criticism as largely “anonymous” online complainers who were bitter and disgruntled. That public response prompted a Group to name themselves and it seemed to throw gasoline on an already raging fire.

The Group “Dear Pastor Mark & Mars Hill: We Are Not Anonymous” exploded onto Facebook with over 1,200 members…many calling attention to specific allegations of general douchery by Driscoll.

The media has since well-covered the resignation…and many of the Groups that criticized Driscoll have pretty much panned his resignation as insincere and not good enough.

CalvaryChapelAbuse.com Commentary and Opinion:

Critics of Mark Driscoll…what is it exactly that you want from Driscoll and Mars Hill? You want Mars Hill to erect a pyre and burn Driscoll at the stake? You want his body drug through the streets of Seattle? What?

It’s hard to be intellectually honest sometimes because it is always guaranteed to piss someone off.

In this case, the majority of Driscoll’s critics have lost their rational minds.

The man acknowledged specific sins. He resigned. Mars Hill accepted his resignation. I am, frankly, quite shocked by the public apology and the public church discipline…and more shocked that Driscoll fell on his sword and didn’t drag the thing out any further…and over him being a dick no less, not even something as serious as Child Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Adultery, or Financial Misconduct (though we’ll discuss that one in a bit…something might be a bit off there).

Driscoll didn’t molest or beat any kids, he wasn’t boinking his secretary or make-up artist and while he was/is paid a reportedly big salary/compensation package…there are no allegations of financial malfeasance…except one specific concern we’ll discuss shortly.

If it turns out that Driscoll’s “sin” was him being an asshole…then he’s come clean and he’s resigned. Well done Mark Driscoll. If he stops being an asshole, then he should be allowed to pastor again if he wants to do so. Pretty simple. Good example by Mars Hill and Driscoll of actually dealing with sin in a Church Org…something Calvary Chapel doesn’t nearly do.

Here’s the one caveat to my opinion above: There is a question about money that was donated to a particular mission’s fund that allegedly ended up in the Mars Hill general fund for Driscoll to spend. If that is the case…then big trouble in little China…and all bets are off. If it turns out that money was collected under the guise of “this is for overseas missions!” and then it simply went to pay the bills of Driscoll and Mars Hill…well, then, this scandal takes on a whole new light…and Driscoll’s quick resignation may be a smokescreen to take the heat off of folks digging any further into that one.

After analyzing the macro-Mars Hill/Driscoll scandal…that’s the big red flag. If there is anything more serious than Driscoll simply being an asshole…then that’s the issue they (Mars Hill and Driscoll) are afraid of…because that is the issue that, if true, could be illegal and could have much greater implications than a resignation.

Time will tell…but again, if it proves out that Driscoll’s only sin was being a douche…then he’s come clean and he’s resigned…and if he demonstrates repentance by not being a jerk any longer…then he should be restored…in my opinion.

Calvary Chapel could learn a lesson from Mars Hill. CC has seen resignations…but usually at the point of a metaphorical smoking gun to the head of a Bob Coy or an arrest like Dino Cardelli, Chris Olague, Jimmy Kempner, etc. Guys like Bob Grenier of Calvary Chapel Visalia make Mark Driscoll look like a choir boy…yet Calvary Chapel stonewalls and even defends their embattled pastor and invites him to their annual official Pastors’ Conference.

Ironically, Grenier is accused of something similar to the allegations of Driscoll’s bait-and-switch. A separate Reaching Youth non-profit entity was set up by Grenier and Calvary Chapel.  A prominent area home builder, Andy Mangano, gave a large one million dollar donation to the separate charity…and got a headline in the Fresno Bee for it. According to former staff, board member and bookkeepers of Calvary Chapel…a huge portion of the Reaching Youth monies…estimated to be in the many hundreds of thousands of dollars…ended up in Bob Grenier’s general fund at Calvary Chapel Visalia…where he compensated his household to the tune of over $150,000 per year in salary/perks/benefits. Nice trick. An inside source also alleged that Matt Bixler’s law firm that handled the very precarious transaction was quite nervous about it…which in my opinion is very telling that it stinks to high heaven.

We’ll see what happens with the allegations about Driscoll’s money issue and I’ll change my opinion about his coming clean and resigning if it turns out it was just a strategy to deflect attention from a much more serious issue.

Note to Driscoll and Mars Hill…instead of doing what the bible tells you, maybe you should consider pulling a page from Calvary Chapel’s and Bob Grenier’s book and simply sue everyone in sight to try and shut them up. That seems to be a better worldly strategy to silence critics and protect an abusive pastor. Your bad. Maybe next time.

 Posted by at 12:56 pm
Oct 142014
 
bob coy tiger woods

Bob Coy pictured in a youtube video where he ironically addressed the Tiger Woods’ affair. Sources provide an update on the Coy situation to CCAbuse.

More news out about Bob Coy, the embattled long-time charismatic mega-church pastor of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale.

Coy was forced to resign his position as CCFTL lead pastor after multiple affairs came to light in a very public scandal that garnered international attention earlier this year (a story that first broke on this blog).

Sources confirm that CCFTL is still on the hook for Coy’s massive salary and compensation package that “exceeds” $500,000 per year in total compensation. We will feature a story about the salary/compensation issue soon.

Coy’s wife and daughter have moved to California and his son is away as a college freshman at Liberty University, according to sources. The family is not together, which indicates a separation between Bob and Diane.

According to sources, the Coy’s Florida home is empty and for sale.

Multiple sources inside and outside of Calvary Chapel confirm that Coy completed a rehab program to treat sexual addiction. CalvaryChapelAbuse.com was emailed by several people claiming they saw Bob Coy at a Coy family-owned beach condo as recent as several weeks after the scandal first broke.

Now that Coy has completed his rehab, he is reportedly “under the leadership” of another Calvary Chapel pastor.

“Bob has left for Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he will be living as a part of the Calvary Chapel community there under the leadership of Pastor Frank Ramseur,” said a CCFTL insider in an email to CalvaryChapelAbuse.com.

Back at CCFTL, change is coming slowly, but a change in mindset is underway. There appears to be two distinct Camps…an old guard of Coy loyalists that seem to be comfortable with the status quo of the Moses Model style of Calvary Chapel leadership…and those who have been fighting for more transparency, more accountability and a shared leadership construct that de-emphasizes a mega-church pastor-led dynamic.

“…there is continued concern raised by some about a cover-up, a lack of transparency on the Bob questions, and a lack of change in the Board or Senior Leadership,” said a source. “Steps toward greater integrity and a dismantling of the Moses Model are underway but real change is not strongly apparent.”

CalvaryChapelAbuse.com Commentary and Opinion:

Let’s hope that real changes are underway at CCFTL and let’s hope the Camp at CCFTL that is pushing for more transparency and more accountability wins out. The Bob Coy story can be redemptive if the church and leadership learn some lessons and example a public repentance in how they do things. We wish the best for Coy and his family…and for Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale. We’ve all sinned, some of us as bad or worse than Coy. The greater sin in this situation would be for the church to double-down on mistakes from the past and repeat them again in the future. The world is watching…and the goal for CCFTL leadership should be integrity and righteousness and setting a course that honors Jesus…not simply rebuilding a mega-church and trying to find a way to bring a popular pastor back to the pulpit.

Regarding the $500,000 compensation package…that is a very concerning issue…one we’ll explore in depth. The justification for such a large salary is due to the higher salaries and compensation of big-name pastor friends of Coy like Greg Laurie, James MacDonald, Mark Driscoll and others…also very concerning. Since when did the Gospel get so expensive? Since when did “Serving Jesus!” become a career and make people rich? Since when did Calvary Chapel and the evangelical church at large sell its soul to the devil of wealth and self-profit?

What are your thoughts on the Coy situation? We want to hear from you.

 Posted by at 5:13 pm
Sep 162014
 

Fellow Christian parents, do not use the Old Testament to justify abusing your children. We are NOT the Taliban or ISIS. Adrian Peterson’s recently exposed Child Abuse demonstrates a huge disconnect in the US and Christian Church at large. “Spare the rod, spoil the child” is not a license to injure and abuse your children. It is evil and wrong. Stop doing it.

Jesus does not want you to beat your kids in his name.

Jul 242014
 
ken and chuck

Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis (right) pictured with the late Chuck Smith.

OC Weekly reports that Atheist groups will converge today to protest Calvary Chapel’s Creation Conference at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa…which, ironically, is located in Santa Ana, not Costa Mesa.

“Orange County’s most famous atheist” Bruce Gleason, according to the report, will lead a group of like-minded pro-Science, anti-6-Day-Creation atheists who will be calling on the public and government to be leery of embracing Ken Ham’s Creationism ideology because they say, “The teachings of creationism harm the U.S. educational system by promoting and teaching anti-science and religious dogma. They consistently try to change laws which will allow them to teach anti-science creationism in public schools.”

The atheists claim that religious dogma and ideology can lead to the dumbing down of students in American schools and point to the United States’ continuing decline in test scores for math and science, compared to other nations.

Creationists say they have the right to religious freedom and free speech and call atheists “intolerant” of their religious views.

Link to OC Weekly article here: http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/2014/07/calvary_chapel_creation_conference_protest.php

Headlining the Calvary Chapel Creation Conference is 6 Day Creationist guru Ken Ham.

Ham has come under fire in the past for allegations that he was “unbiblical, unethical” and engaged in “unlawful behaviour” (spelling due to Australian dialect) according to a lawsuit brought against Ham in Australia in 2007. Included in the allegations were claims that Ham was “autocratic” and “authoritarian” in his management style…a charge very similar that has been leveled against many Calvary Chapel pastors and the Moses Model style of pastor-centric, lead pastor has all the power leadership.

Ham’s camp fired back against the plaintiffs, accusing them of “spiritual problems” and “immorality” according to reports by the National Center for Science Education.

The two parties duked it out in court for many years and finally settled their nasty divorce in 2009.

It may have taken God a mere six days to create the earth and the entire Universe….but apparently it took several years, many lawyers and many thousands of dollars of money donated “to Jesus!” to sort out all the money, copyrights, trademarks, assets etc. in the split.

Calvary Chapel Abuse Commentary and Opinion:

I am not a Young Earth Creationist (YEC). There is overwhelming tangible evidence to the contrary…and if “truth” is a Godly virtue…then we must deal with reality and attempt to be as intellectually honest as possible.

I am not an atheist. I have explored the atheist world and continue to read many atheists…but I find their conclusion of “no God” to be equally unconvincing.

The truth appears to be that we have very little understanding of how the Universe and Multi-verse works…and even less understanding of “how” it came to be. Creationists tend to overplay their certainty in their position and are forced into intellectual dishonesty to make the pieces of their Philosophical Puzzle and Conclusion fit together. Likewise, atheists have a tendency to do similar…connecting dots that do not necessarily lead to a certain conclusion of “no God” or “no Creator”.

With regards to the public protests and Creation Conferences and with respect to both Agendas: Both sides have the right to freedom of speech and the right to push their agendas…as long as it is peaceful. Atheists make a valid point, IMO, when they present mountains of evidence that dispute a literal six day creation narrative. Atheists also have the right and probably the responsibility to respond to their conscience and push for pro-Science and pro-Reason…as both of those ideologies tend to reduce archaic religious dogmatism that can lead to abuse, corruption, mistreatment of women, children, etc.  Christians continue to evolve (pardon the double entendre)…and the push-back and criticism from outside groups is healthy. Fellow Christians…we do NOT want to be Islam and the Taliban…and we are not.

Atheists are not the enemies of Jesus…they simply don’t know, don’t understand, don’t see the evidence that the Apostle Thomas was given. I don’t know why God doesn’t provide much tangible evidence today…like walking on water or turning water into wine or allowing Doubting Thomas to get the tangible physical evidence he required to believe…but to fabricate the evidence and engage in intellectual dishonesty only hurts the Christian cause…it doesn’t help.

If Calvary Chapel wants to be like the Calvary Chapel of old that reached out to the outsiders…they should scrap the dishonest 6 Day Creationist stuff and sit down with Atheists as well as dialoging with Christians like a professor Jeff Chalmers and many others who are scientists and Christians who embrace facts and data and truth…and drop the cartoon characters like Ken Ham who seem to make a career out of preying on gullible conservative literalists (theologically speaking).

Personally, I think public education is a government construct and as such, Separation of Church and State is necessary and important. If Islam took over, Christians would be the first in line to shout “Separation of Church and State! No Islam in our schools!” etc.

If you want to ignore mountains of evidence and continue to force yourself to believe a 6 Day Creation fairy-tale, no problem…just do it at church and at a church funded school. If you want to present a 6 Day Creation philosophy/religion/theology…do it in religion classes or philosophy classes…but don’t teach it as science.

I hope the atheists who protest today conduct themselves properly, while exercising their right to free speech….and I hope that our fellow Calvary Chapel Christians conduct themselves properly and I hope they will reconsider embracing and promoting and spending resources on a really bad caricature that gives Christianity a black eye and makes us look intellectually dishonest.

I report the Ken Ham controversy because it demonstrates he is human and not “specially anointed by God!” as some sort of infallible prophet or king or apostle or Jesus. Ham is a man. He’s capable of good and evil, capable of being wrong….like all of us. Don’t be blinded by unhealthy religious worship of men gurus. Examine the facts. Be like the Bereans in everything. View the facts and data we have and compare it to Ham’s version of “the truth!” I have. I changed my opinion about YEC many years ago.

Don’t fear the truth. Don’t fear facts and data contradicting a man-made imposition and interpretation onto ancient text that is very likely to be extremely metaphorical. None are truly bible literalists…or Christians in the U.S. would resemble the Taliban. Don’t fear progressive revelation, don’t fear the Enlightenment, don’t fear the limited facts we can affirm. God is not a book. God is not a verse in the bible. God is not a belief in 6 Day Creation.

Jul 242014
 
Calvary Chapel Flagler Beach assistant pastor, Wesley Alan Brown, was arrested recently for a "financial scheme" according to news reports.

Calvary Chapel Flagler Beach assistant pastor, Wesley Alan Brown, was arrested recently for a “financial scheme” according to news reports.

Another Calvary Chapel pastor made headlines today….for the wrong reasons.

According to news reports, authorities in Florida said Wesley Alan Brown, an assistant pastor at Calvary Chapel Flagler Beach, was arrested and charged with multiple counts including “seven counts of the sale of unregistered securities, five counts of securities fraud, four counts of grand theft and one count of the sale of securities by an unregistered dealer.”

The arrest details state that Brown solicited money from unsuspecting Calvary Chapel church non-member members and got them to invest in a scheme that took nearly $400,000 from six people.

[Update #1] Senior pastor Mark Convoy says Brown had no prior record and that the church board met immediately when they were made aware of the problem and they contacted the authorities right away and have fully cooperated with the investigation. Pastor Convoy added a good warning in the comments section for those who do wrong in the church, “Your sin will find you out.”

Full article here: http://www.news-journalonline.com/article/20140723/NEWS/140729760/1040?Title=Former-Flagler-Beach-pastor-charged-in-400-000-fraud-scheme&tc=ar

Calvary Chapel Abuse Commentary and Opinion:

Yet another example that dispels the myth that Calvary Chapel pastors are “specially anointed” and not capable of the worst evils you can imagine. CC pastors are capable of doing good…and evil, which is why the Calvary Chapel Association needs to vet their pastors more carefully, needs to mandate Child Protection Policies system-wide and needs to mandate Financial Transparency system-wide as well.

Many times Calvary Chapel pastors are ex-cons, ex-drug dealers, ex-felons, you name it. They’ll tell you their gory testimonies when they are trying to get you to join up…but what they often don’t tell you is that the Calvary Chapel Association and system lacks any checks and balances and accountability measures…and often times CC pastors do very bad things under the cover of “we’re specially anointed! Don’t question us! Don’t ask for accountability measures! Trust us!”

[Update #1]: I appreciate Mark Convoy, senior pastor of CC Flagler Beach, as well as board president Scott Adie coming on the blog and being transparent and addressing the situation. It is good to see and it is good to hear that CC Flagler Beach is an Elder-led church government construct with an active Board…and that the church reported the issue and cooperated with authorities…and that they are also helping the victims of this crime.

A bad situation indeed…and you can’t stop everything…all you can do is make accountability and transparency a priority, have a responsible church government structure in place…and then deal with bad issues in a responsible and right manner when they occur.

In this case, it sounds like CC Flagler Beach did all it could in dealing with a very bad set of circumstances. We wish them the best as they seek to recover from this.

Jul 212014
 
Bob Caldwell, senior Pastor of the Calvary Chapel Boise franchise, was one of the major voices giving input at this year's Calvary Chapel Senior Pastor's Conference.

Bob Caldwell, senior Pastor of the Calvary Chapel Boise franchise, was one of the major voices giving input at this year’s Calvary Chapel Senior Pastor’s Conference.

We hadn’t been to Calvary Chapel Boise in probably 7 or 8 years…except for a meeting I had with Bob Caldwell and a former CC Boise attendee who was compelled to picket the church for unresolved beefs.

I don’t know if it’s delusion…or “God”…but I feel compelled to re-attend and to try to make a difference from inside the Calvary Chapel walls…vs. lobbing blog grenades from the sidelines with regards to effecting change for System-wide Child Protection Policies and Financial Transparency…as well as a general attitude that promotes the Jesus Model instead of the Moses Model.

For a “mega-church”…CC Boise doesn’t really feel like it. It’s a nice facility, but certainly not overdone. The size of the church is about the size of Eagle Christian Church where my wife and I are formal members.

We were warmly greeted at least twice on our way into the main sanctuary after passing through a large open foyer…more an indoor casual dining/coffee shop area with simple modern tables and chairs, a big screen monitor to watch services and a coffee/espresso bar.

The main sanctuary is fairly typical of many CC’s I’ve been to. I think they get a special deal on the chairs and carpet or something…because they seemed identical to those at Calvary Chapel Visalia and some of the other CC’s I’ve been to. Again…nice, comfortable, clean…but subtle. Not nearly overdone or underdone, just comfy and pleasant and laid back…kind of like CC in general.

The crowd was typical of Calvary Chapel…mostly 20-somethings through middle aged with a sprinkling of older folks. The worship music was very contemporary Christian. The young woman leading the 2-person female-male duo reminded me of several Christian performing artists rolled into one. Not really stuff you could sing along to…more a really good performance….though there were a couple of sing-alongs mixed in.

You had the typical video montages and announcements…though Caldwell struggled through those (he pinned it on little sleep after a wedding he presided over in Sun Valley the prior evening…the same Sun Valley where the uber-Elites of the entire world meet up each year to move the financial-political chess pieces around the Global System board.

Caldwell is an interesting cat. His style is very very very casual…very low key. I’m not sure if that’s who he really is…but he was pretty laid back in my private meeting with him and the gentleman who was picketing him…so I am inclined to believe that’s the way he is.

The message was about love and breaking the cycle of bitterness, hurt, pain, being mistreated etc…what appears to be an emphasis and regular theme of Caldwell’s as I’ve heard similar messages from him before (and haven’t listened to a ton of his stuff, so it must be a regular theme).

He kept it simple…put the cookies on the low shelf. Love God, love your neighbor. We’ve all been hurt and wronged or not loved or whatever else…and bitterness is not the answer etc, you need to break the cycle and love folks who you can’t expect to give you anything back.

Another thing he repeated often (which is telling of emphasis) is that we (he included himself) are all “babies” in the context of being baby Christians and we need to grow up and not be victims etc.  The point he was making seemed to be that bitterness and judgment come from being self-centered…like a baby. He encouraged the audience to be others-centered and to get over stuff and move forward etc. Couldn’t help but thinking that some of that was directed at yours truly, but I won’t presume that…I think, ironically, the message is much more applicable to Calvary Chapel Leadership and CC pastors than it is to the “sheep”.

Think about it…all the problems reported on CC Abuse are generally with regards to Calvary Chapel Senior Pastors who don’t love and don’t extend grace and don’t forgive and don’t get over it and don’t move on and are bitter and judgmental toward a “sheep” who has a beef or a disagreement or some sort of dissenting factor that comes into conflict with the Moses Model pastor of that particular Calvary Chapel franchise. I’ve seen it over and over…and over….the opposite of “love” and the message Bob Caldwell was preaching.

Does the shoe fit? It certainly may in some instances, for all of us…and the shoe certainly fits CC and many of Caldwell’s “Affiliated/Associated” CC pastors. My problem with messages like this is that the finger is generally pointed in your direction…but not toward the Leaders of the Movement that this CC pastor promotes and supports and endorses…speaks at their Pastor’s Conferences etc.

Ya, don’t be bitter, don’t judge…just love. OK, show me how that’s done…in our (I’m a non-member member now) Calvary Chapel Leadership and construct. Show me, don’t tell me. Right now I’m being so “loved” at the other end of a lawsuit meant to silence me from telling the truth about abuse in our home growing up so others will take warning and so that child abuse will be addressed as a serious problem in the church. I felt really “loved” when Chuck Smith blasted me from the Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa pulpit publicly. He certainly didn’t take Bob Caldwell’s medicine.

But, hey, it was a good message and there was a lot of truth in it whether or not Calvary Chapel practices what it preaches and whether or not a Bob Caldwell points the finger inward at his own Leadership within his Movement. We should all be more loving and forgiving and give love to those who hurt us without expecting anything in return.

The service went a little long for our kids….we had them sit with us because we weren’t sure if CC Boise had good Child Protections in place…since it is not a requirement to be an official Calvary Chapel.

Things ended as casually as they began…and we were soon in the foyer/restaurant/open sitting area ordering a cappuccino and espresso. We stuck around for lunch, ordering some really authentic Mexican food outside…and a nice man made a custom fruit salad for my daughter…which she greatly enjoyed and appreciated. We re-entered the foyer and ate in the cool of the building. Pleasant vibe, several families still hanging out and eating and talking. A couple who are missionaries in Rome, Italy, talked with congregants at a table set up to promote their ministry. These folks had been brought up to the front after a video vignette prior to the sermon.

During the post-service calm, I approached Caldwell in the main sanctuary as he was talking to a big young man. It was great to see him so approachable…very un-mega-pastor-like. Good practice, IMO. I waited my turn and then when he finished with the young man, “Pastor Bob” turned to me and we talked.

I introduced myself with some specificity and reminded him of our previous meeting. He didn’t recognize me at first due to the beard…but he quickly caught on. I did most of the talking and nicely let him know I hoped he follows his message and hoped that what he said was real for him. I let him know we planned to attend and to get involved and that I was tired of hammering CC from the outside and wanted to work from inside to effect some positive changes….especially with regards to Child Protections and other issues I’m passionate about. I asked about Child Protections at CC Boise and Caldwell told me that protecting kids was a priority at his franchise and that they vet those who work with the kids including background checks…and that they screen parents as well as personnel…and he alluded to other things they do over-and-above background checks to help guarantee the kids are safe…info he said I could get from a gentleman at CC Boise who is charged with overseeing and implementing these policies. I thought that was great and I will follow up with that guy to get my head around the specifics of what they’re doing.

I told him I wasn’t there to tell him what to do…though, I guess, I kind of am in a sense…and that I knew it would take time and I’d have to earn trust etc to be able to effect some things. He seemed to have a “we’ll see” attitude, which is understandable. I told him I thought it was great that they have a food bank and a thrift store and mentioned that I own pawn shops…to which he engaged, “well you could teach us a few things” in the context of the thrift store. I hope to try and help with that, if needed.

The convo concluded a little abruptly as there were more folks waiting to talk to “Pastor Bob” and I understood…I don’t expect (nor do I want) to be treated any different than anyone else…and I think it’s good stewardship for Caldwell to engage as many folks as he can in the time he’s got post-service. I appreciated being able to have that sort of access…as I’m sure the others were.

My wife and kids didn’t really like it that much as they love Eagle Christian Church…but they didn’t hate it either. I think it’s just a function of comfort zone and familiarity than it was that CC Boise is a bad church. Personally, I found some similarities and some differences…most were neither good nor bad…just different approaches, different styles.

The differences that are important, IMO, are the ones you don’t tend to notice right away…like Open/Transparent Finances and how the leadership handles problems/conflict and whether or not those donating the Jesus Money have any real say in things. The CC Boise Child Protections are a real plus…we’ll see how the other issues are.

Another thing Caldwell stated from the pulpit was that (I’m paraphrasing and giving the gist) it’s all God’s stuff and all God’s money at CC Boise. OK, we’ll see. If that’s true, then there shouldn’t be a problem knowing how much God is paying the senior pastor and where the rest of the money goes.

Caldwell also downplayed his recent attendance at Calvary Chapel Senior Pastor’s Conference 2014 emphasizing his focus is on his church and community and that he really didn’t have a lot to do with what happens outside of his CC franchise…something I hear many CC pastors emphasize…but it’s not really true…it’s just part of the CC Culture that tries to walk the line of a quasi-denomination…denomination when it’s beneficial…”we’re all 100% independent” when it isn’t. Well, Caldwell is a Leader in the Movement/Denomination and is listed as such on the website…and he has a pretty prominent role at the most recent iteration of #CCSPC14…so I don’t buy that one. I let him know I hoped he would help get the CC Association to mandate Child Protection Policies in all by-laws to get a Dove and be an official CC.

I guess, as Caldwell said earlier in the discussion…”we’ll see”.

Jul 132014
 
Kay Smith and her late husband Chuck. A Smith family battle is waging behind the scenes for control of Calvary Chapel monies and properties.

Kay Smith and her late husband Chuck. A Smith family battle is waging behind the scenes for control of Calvary Chapel monies and properties.

Most in Calvary Chapel Land are unaware of the intense Smith family battle waging behind the scenes after Chuck Smith’s passing.

In a recent article about the Calvary Chapel Senior Pastor’s Conference 2014, I broached one aspect of the controversy.

Here’s the gist:

Not everyone was on board with Brian and Cheryl Brodersen taking over at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. Sources with direct knowledge of the situation state that there was an attempt by Paul Smith and that Camp to get the Brodersens to forgo the throne for $2 million (the initial report I had and that was reported elsewhere was $1 million). [The initial report stated that Jeff Smith was part of that effort, a source sympathetic to Camp Brodersen says Jeff was part of that effort, a source sympathetic to the Camp that opposes Brodersen denies that Jeff Smith had anything to do with that effort].

The Brodersens didn’t take the deal.

An emergency CCCM board meeting was called by Brian Brodersen, according to multiple sources, literally the day after Chuck Smith passed. It was initially reported by Calvary Chapel that the decision to name Brodersen as Chuck Smith’s successor at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa was “unanimous” and the impression given was that things were much more kumbaya than they really were.

The truth, according to multiple sources, was that long-time CCCM board member Rob Yardley was not on board and neither was a big chunk of the Smith family including Paul Smith, Jeff Smith and Janette Smith-Manderson.

[Rob Yardley was the lone “nay” vote and resigned after the CCCM membership ratified Brodersen as the new Senior Pastor]. The Smith Camp in opposition to the “take-over” points out that many of the remaining board members had a vested interest in voting for the Brodersens and claim it really wasn’t a fair and transparent process.

Brian Brodersen has not returned past phone calls to get his side of the story…however, sources more sympathetic to Brodersen’s Camp have the same story regarding how the emergency board meeting went down…but claim that a majority at CCCM wanted the Brodersens for the right reasons.

Another big issue of conflict is over The Word For Today and Chuck Smith’s intellectual property (i.e. his teachings, sermons etc.)

A source with intimate knowledge of the inner-workings of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa says there are two The Word For Today corporate entities. One is controlled by Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, the other is controlled by a Board that has Jeff Smith and Janette Smith-Manderson as members.

A bit confusing, but here’s the nuance and what appears to be Chuck Smith’s doing (and rationale): Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa’s “The Word For Today” entity has the current contracts for distribution…while Jeff Smith and Janette Smith-Manderson’s “The Word For Today” has the rights to Chuck Smith’s intellectual property. Quite an interesting conundrum.

I’ve spoken with attorneys who are of the opinion that it would be very difficult for Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa to get the intellectual property rights away from Jeff and Janette’s TWFT…but that until the current distribution contract held by CCCM’s TWFT expires, the two Groups are kind of stuck in a relationship.

Sources in one Camp claim that CCCM is blocking payments to Kay Smith from some sort of “retirement annuity” with the claim that it’s really so the money won’t be used to fight legal battles to challenge CCCM and the Brodersens.

Also at issue is the claim that the CCCM board pressured Chuck Smith to make the church the beneficiary of a life insurance policy instead of Kay Smith and The Word For Today that the other Camp controls. Chuck Smith did not pay into social security and sources say that Kay Smith has very little income as a result.

Sources more sympathetic to Camp Brodersen with inside knowledge of CCCM inner-workings question the claim that Kay Smith has been blocked from receiving money from what they said was a “Rabbi trust” vs. a retirement annuity. “It would be impossible to do what they are claiming,” said the source.

The same source also stated that Chuck Smith had many assets privately and had been a good steward with his money and that the notion that Kay Smith was broke was “ridiculous.”

“They are spreading misinformation,” said the source, adding, “I don’t like them using Kay.”

Whatever the case, there is a Smith family battle waging behind the scenes…and the fireworks are just beginning.

[I received an update that Kay Smith was finally able to get a partial payment from the “annuity” which the source says has helped because attorney’s fees in administering the “Living Trust” have exceeded $50,000…probably due to the intellectual property issues. It is also reported that Kay Smith just recently received the proceeds of a church life insurance policy in the amount of $12,000. However, the source says that any rumor that Chuck Smith left a “fortune” behind is a myth…there is not a lot of money and lawyer fees and accountant fees are significant].

Jul 132014
 

 

Bob Coy is still in an extensive rehab program according to a Calvary Chapel source.

Bob Coy is still in an extensive rehab program according to a Calvary Chapel source.

According to a solid Calvary Chapel source, Bob Coy, former pastor of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, is still in an “extensive rehab program” and trying to deal with the underlying issues of sexual addiction and promiscuity etc.

The source went on to say that in their opinion, it appeared as if Coy was more concerned about “getting healthy” and then “working on his family” than he was about getting back in the pulpit…which, if true, is an encouraging sign.

“These things are usually not about sex or God. There are always deeper issues and hopefully he is making personal progress,” said the source.

Agreed. Sexual addiction is sin and is a symptom of an underlying problem of selfishness. It is a habit that develops, akin to becoming addicted to drugs (in my opinion) and the more you feed it, the worse it gets…you need more and more to get that intense high you enjoy.

“The pulpit is an easy, and dangerous place to conceal pathology. Being publicly shamed, like Bob has, will generally humble a guy sufficiently to get him to see himself more accurately. Bob isn’t like Bakker or Swaggart or Haggard. He is a genuinely humble guy, in my estimation, who was a victim of his own success, combined with a crap-load of unresolved personal issues,” said the source.

Let’s hope that Coy is truly owning his sin and bad choices and truly repents and truly seeks to make amends with his family. The pulpit is not the prize, salvaging his family and his personal integrity and health…is.

Bob Coy, if you read here, email me at agrenier7 at gmail dot com. I would like to talk to you about your situation. There is hope for you and your marriage, but you have to be real and you have to truly own it and not fake your way through. If you are truly ready to give that addiction up, I’d like to try and help you from a perspective that you may not hear from your pastor buddies. I think you’ll have more to offer as a truly repentant sinner than as a mega-church rock star.

Jul 132014
 
OK, in keeping with the comparison theme: Alistair Begg is the Paul McCartney of the #CCSPC14. On a serious note, he spoke the Truth and God moved.

OK, in keeping with the comparison theme: Alistair Begg is the Paul McCartney of the #CCSPC14. On a serious note, he spoke the Truth and God moved.

If you watch/listen to one Christian message this year…watch Alistair Begg’s address to #CCSPC14.

The Holy Spirit moved…and you wouldn’t know it because it lacked the drama, all the emotionalism and over-acting of typical Charismania. The message brought me to tears and reminded me that God is real despite my incredible cynicism and disgust of organized religion and pastors etc. As much as I try to challenge the bible and Christianity etc, there is an ember of faith and a yearning for holiness and real revival…in me and in Calvary Chapel. There is a deep and powerful compulsion and drive in me and I can’t deny it. I have many reasons not to believe, but I can’t help but believing and hoping in something real despite all the phonies and all the scoundrels and all the scandal and all the hypocrisy and all the difficult passages in the bible etc.

Begg’s message addressed the Bob Coy elephant in the room without directly naming him. He spoke about the David and Bathsheba story, the fact that great leaders of God are just as human and sinful as anyone and the need for accountability and Nathan’s…and self-reflection and honesty and true repentance. His words were sober, restrained, true…and powerful. He challenged the audience of pastors in a manner rarely seen in Calvary Chapel conferences.

Among some of the big mistakes of the macro-Calvary-Chapel-narrative and apologetic is the “Specially Anointed!™” canard along with “The Devil Took Him Out™” refrain.

CCSP’s, you are TALENTED and you have a COMPULSION to be a pastor and share the gospel. You are NOT “specially anointed.” Calvary Chapel has given a false impression to its “sheep” and its CCSP’s and Assistant Pastors that the CCSP is “specially anointed by God!” and somehow less capable of doing great evil, less capable of committing big sin and more spiritual than the lowliest person sitting in the pew. That is entirely false. The Calvary Chapel Pastor is just as sinful and capable of evil as you or me.

The devil didn’t make you do it (one of Begg’s themes), sin is “an inside job” (completely agree) and the devil doesn’t “take you out”…YOU choose to do what you want, when you want and you are responsible for your sin and the bad choices you make. Skip Heitzig’s b.s. is just that, and many CCSP’s buy into the “devil is attacking me!” garbage. The devil doesn’t need to attack most of you because you are doing just fine for the devil without him caring about you and making you a priority.

I’ve sinned big in my life and it was completely my fault. I made the choices I made because I wanted to for whatever selfish reasons I had, even though I knew it was wrong. Calvary Chapel Pastors and Leaders are no different and don’t believe their lies when they minimize their sinfulness and then lie about it and then go on offense and blame it all on the “devil!” and “attackers from the devil!” etc. That’s just a ploy to protect their lying and sinfulness and to keep up their phony appearances vs. actually practicing what they preach and sell…often for big money and fame.

Begg called out two huge issues that Calvary Chapel needs to continue to address, and needs to make a priority: He called attention to “financial misappropriation” and “moral” unfaithfulness (which can be child abuse, adultery, porn addiction, pill addiction, you name it).

The fact that Begg was given the platform to speak…and given the permission to speak that message to CCSP’s…is a very good sign on many levels.

1. It demonstrates that pastoral holiness and speaking the raw honest truth might be a priority of the new Regime in CC.

2. It demonstrates that George Bryson’s witch hunt is dead in today’s Calvary Chapel Association.

3. It gives hope that pastoral conduct might become a priority in Calvary Chapel…and bad pastoral conduct hurts and disillusions and causes serious doubts about faith and religion MUCH MORE than Calvary Chapel acknowledges or admits or understands.

Brodersen, Calvary Chapel Association, Alistair Begg…thank you for that message. If you want to see real Revival…do more of that. Be honest, be real, acknowledge sin in the pulpit first (most of the pew sitters know we’re dirty ugly sinners in need of Jesus, quit acting like you guys don’t and quit lying about your sin but rather be honest and then point to it as a mistake to avoid instead of always lying and then shooting the messengers).

The devil is NOT for Financial Transparency, Accountability and Child Protection Policies in the church, I guarantee you that. So, don’t blame criticism as “attacks from the devil!” That’s a lie. Practice what you preach and don’t be “blink, blink” phonies (thanks Pancho, love that example you gave from the very real folks in East L.A. who know b.s. when they see it).

To Brodersen’s credit, he called out the dangers of the Moses Model in his talk on the evening of Day 3. He seemed to reinforce what was a major theme of this year’s conference: Pastoral holiness and to practice what you preach.

There is a lot going on behind the scenes. I am not for or against Brian Brodersen. I am for the truth, for the church and pastors trying to do the right thing and I am against lying about scandals and sins and mistakes and against Financial Abuses, Child Abuses, etc in the church that is part of who I am whether Calvary Chapel likes it or not.

I understand that past mistakes have been made. I understand when there is true repentance and when amends are made and families move on and whatever happened is no longer an issue. I understand that some of the old situations were not nearly as bad as what happened in Bob Grenier’s home. I still don’t appreciate being made the bad guy when others broach those legitimate issues and then when I report on it, I’m somehow the bad guy. Talk to me, give me your side, but be honest and let’s discuss how it can be a good thing by showing that you made amends and truly repented and then warn the younger pastors to avoid some of the mistakes you made and give them good advice about how to parent and where the lines are.

What I will never be OK with is simply ignoring, denying, lying about it…and then attacking the messenger instead of attacking the sin that was committed.

Net-net, I think the #CCSPC14 was a transformative conference and pretty clear launching of a new direction “Forward” for the Calvary Chapel Association.

There were very clear messages presented…and those who were chosen to speak at the pulpit and on panels was a crystal clear message as well. With the exception of Skip Heitzig and Don Stewart, the speakers chosen have good reputations (or I would have heard about it by now, believe me, I get inundated with Calvary Chapel’s dirty laundry and skeletons). The topics discussed: Some were typical CC, many were different (in a good way)…especially Begg’s message and couple of others.

Calvary Chapel clearly wants to be an “Association” and form of Denomination…which is good. Having structure and organization can be very good. The lawyers will tell you by doing that you are taking on liability…yes, true…but don’t let that scare you like it did Chuck Smith. What you can do to protect yourself is IMPLEMENT CHILD PROTECTION POLICIES and show you actually care about protecting kids to the best of your ability…then if a lawsuit comes, you can demonstrate that the child was not hurt because you didn’t try your best. In sitting and dialoguing with leading child abuse attorney Kelly Clark (while he was alive)…one recurring theme was how juries dropped the hammer on religious organizations for being in such denial about the issue of Child Abuse and how they willingly and stubbornly refused to address the Problem in their ranks. Well, guess what…those juries hammered those organizations…and now those organizations have Policies. Do it willingly and not with a gun to your head. Listen. Don’t keep putting it off simply because I am pushing the issue…that’s your pride keeping you from doing the right thing.

Watching #CCSPC14 did something that actually surprised me. It rekindled a spark of faith in me and actually encouraged me in the work I’m doing on this blog. I don’t know if I’m “called” or if it’s God who motivates me…but maybe. I do know I’m compelled and have a deep burning passion for these things. I know I’m not “specially anointed”…but I know I’ve got talent and desire. “Don’t grow weary in doing [the work of the Lord]” (assuming it is such and assuming God is real). “Be yourself.” “Be real, don’t be a phony.” “Look inward and deal with sin.” “Take risks.” “Make choices not to sin.” etc.

I’m so fired up and inspired that I’ve made the choice/decision to start attending Calvary Chapel Boise and work from the inside. Bob Caldwell, I’m heading your way. You have a big CC, you are one of the new rising leaders in the CC Association and a potential change-agent…and I’m compelled and motivated to take a risk and work from the inside and out. Buckle up.

Jul 122014
 
Calvary Chapel Theology panel: Noticeably absent: George Bryson. Pictured from left to right: Don (Divorced for non-biblical reasons) Stewart, Brian Brodersen, Dave Rolph, Joe Focht and David Guzik.

Calvary Chapel Theology panel: Noticeably absent: George Bryson. Pictured from left to right: Don (Divorced for non-biblical reasons) Stewart, Brian Brodersen, Dave Rolph, Joe Focht and David Guzik.

What do you get when you cross Peter Pan, an aging hipster surfer and Chuck Smith? The Skipster of course!

Skip Heitzig kicked off #CCSPC14 Day 3 in usual Skipster fashion…retro converse shoes, blue jeans and his Skipster Wave™ hairdo. His presentation was typical Heitzig as well…a mix of very practical Mega-Church marketing and sales advice about incorporating young worship leaders to attract both young and 50-somethings, along with advice on how to ignore critics. Someone has a beef with how you cheated your former congregation and then screwed over the replacement CC ABQ pastor when the folks at Ocean Hills didn’t find you special? Hey, it’s the devil! According to the Skipster, the bigger you are the bigger enemies you’ll have and the more the devil will attack you…because the devil is all about financial accountability and you not screwing people over.

But, hey, the Skipster walked between the raindrops, beat back “the devil!” and regained his Mega-Church status post-scandal…and that’s all that matters young CCSP’s.

Articles about the Heitzig scandal here: http://www.abqjournal.com/news/metro/471623metro06-27-06.html

Here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/october/14.128.html?paging=off

And the “Tom Stipe Report” for CCOF (the accountability arm of Calvary Chapel that Chuck Smith denied existed in that capacity when he was being sued in Idaho and claimed Calvary Chapels were all “independent”…and Chuck Smith stated on air that he had “no responsibility” for other CC’s..even though he was listed as the CEO of CCOF IRS docs (linked on this blog…oops! Liar-liar pants on fire!): http://calvarychapel.pbworks.com/f/Tom%20Stipe%20CCOF%20Audit%20Report.pdf

So, basically, the Skipster is a “blink, blink” phony (thanks Pancho!) and should STFU and drop the act. He’s not much more than a rich man making well into the 6 figures off of selling Jesus through good marketing and klitchy sermons….and is not someone CCSP’s should emulate (and he’ll be featured in some upcoming articles on Calvary Chapel Pastor compensation).

But, hey, at least he didn’t hump his make-up artist (Bob Coy), beat his kids (too many CCSP’s to name) or molest little boys like some of his fellow CC Pastor Associates/Affiliates.

Next up youse guys was Calvary Chapel Soprano’s pastor Joe Focht! Foggettaboutit!

If you’ve never seen and heard Joe Focht speak, picture the love-child of Bill Maher and an aging Italian Mafioso…with a Chuck Smith Systematic Theology™ (that was for Dave Rolph).

I couldn’t decide if I wanted to order a Philly Cheese Steak or go do some devotionals.

Focht’s a decent guy from all accounts. Definitely old-school CC, definitely east-coast, definitely one of the Calvary Chapel Godfathers. If youse guys gonna move on any turf on the east coast, youse better get Focht’s blessing.

The message was pretty much a defense of old-school CC but not an offense. Focht was reasonable, likable, mature. He reinforced some of the main themes regarding old guys embracing tech through the young guys, being personally holy as a pastor…and, like Don McClure, he made reference to some pastor’s kids as “scoundrels”….a recurring knock against Janette Smith-Manderson and Jeff Smith, I’m sure (for those who miss the nuance and aren’t aware of the very ugly Smith Family battle brewing behind-the-scenes…a story we will cover soon on CC Abuse).

Focht also delivered one of the best lines of the conference: “We need to be careful sometimes, how we define success…we know from Laodicea…and the world we live…that you can build a Mega-Church…without the Holy Spirit.” Cough, cough…Bob Coy reference…cough, cough. Ouch.

Asking for revival, another familiar refrain of Calvary Chapel (remember Heitzig’s ‘Riptide!’ that turned out to be a ripple?) Focht implored God to move. CC guys, if you want true REVIVAL, it starts with being honest…and Calvary Chapel Pastors and Honesty are about as compatible as Bob Coy and Celibacy. Don McClure finally has a moment of candidness and honesty when he stated, “I would have gone to jail for what I did to my kids”…and quickly it’s walked back, threats are made and the messenger reporting on the issue is shot.

Mark my words Calvary Chapel: You will get nothing but fake little tiny man-made revivals until the Pastorate finds Jesus and gets honest and candid about their sin. Since that will never happen in my life-time, you will never have a real revival.

Next on the docket was, of all things, a Calvary Chapel “Theology!” panel discussion…and no George Bryson?!?!? But, I went to CalvaryChapelTheology.com and George Bryson says he’s got the correct Calvary Chapel Theology…I’m so confused.

Well, turns out that despite all his letters to CCSP’s, his website claiming to be the keeper of the CC Theology flame…Bryson wasn’t on the panel. The panel consisted of Brian Brodersen, Dave Rolph, Joe Focht and David Guzik and was moderated by the divorced pastor Don Stewart (for non-biblical reasons according to sources…doesn’t the bible “simply” say that Don’s living in adultery for that? Hmm, guess the bible isn’t to be read “simply” after all…I guess adultery as a pastoral disqualification isn’t part of Calvary Chapel’s Systematic Theology™).

Calvary Chapel put its best foot forward choosing this panel to represent the current Regime’s views: Dave Rolph, David Guzik, Joe Focht…good guys (by all reports) and with exception of Focht (not a knock on him, just is)…we heard from three of CC’s brightest minds…especially Rolph and Guzik (though Brodersen’s no dummy). Focht isn’t a dummy either, he’s just not known for his theological/philosophical chops and nothing he added on the panel made me think any differently…though he did add some value on occasions.

Some observations:

1. The Brodersen Regime is much more ecumenical…in a good way. The panel presented the balance well. Basically, on essentials…unity. On non-essentials…we’re not going to go to war with you. I think that’s a mature attitude and the Anti-Bryson. The panel did well in articulating that position.

2. “Calvary Chapel doesn’t have a Systematic Theology,” said Dave Rolph without being struck by lightening. It isn’t true, but it passes as a statement that satisfies CC’s weird need to be viewed as anti-intellectual…even though in the next breaths the panel presents the core of the Chuck Smith Calvary Chapel Theological System™ and then walks back their anti-intellectualism rhetoric in favor of encouraging pastors to have a theological system etc.

Dave, like the Theo-Logos discussion we had…you’re off on this one, but I won’t argue it with you…I’ve heard your angles before and am just shaking my head and smiling :-) News flash: Calvary Chapel has a Theological System by a different name…it’s called Chuck Tapes, Chuck Books, the Calvary Chapel Bible College, Veritas Seminary, the Distinctives and the #CCSPC14 Theology Panel, etc.

Calvary Chapel doesn’t have a Theological System just like Calvary Chapel is “not a denomination!” and just like all CC’s are “100% independent!”….saying it doesn’t make it so.

3. The current iteration of CC is a bit rebellious…and I like it. There seems to be some room to move about the cabin, the “fasten seatbelt” sign has been turned off now that Chuck’s in the ground. Good. That’s a healthier dynamic than monolithic Group Think and everyone posturing and walking on egg-shells around Chuck.

4. Brodersen is clearly the Leader of the new Coalition. He’s not Chuck Smith, not nearly…his style is different, he doesn’t command the level of fear and respect Chuck did…but clearly, Team Cheryl/Brian are in charge. We’ll see how it goes. There is an ugly Smith family battle going on and some very serious allegations coming down and supposedly a lawsuit. We’ll see if Brian survives it…but early indications are he’s the new Leader and has been successful in taking the Crown…though he is wearing it much more lightly than Chuck did….so far.

5. Hearing Dave Rolph and the panel claim they aren’t like other Christian Sects….that they just let the bible teach…is either extremely ignorant or intellectually dishonest. Rolph is too smart to believe that b.s. so he must be compromising his integrity to pitch the Company Line.

No one can “simply teach the bible simply” and no one can simply “let the bible teach”…or you’d just read straight from the bible…offering no interpretation, no context, no opinion, no doctrinal/theological position and explanation. You’d just read it out loud with no commentary.

The raw honest fact is that Calvary Chapel pastors have their own particular Sect’s take…and they present the bible in a very non-simple manner…they impose their interpretations onto the text based off of the opinions of Gurus and Theologians who they trust and agree with…they apply their reason and conscience to that particular angle and present the passage through those interpretive lenses as “Thus sayeth the Lord!”

A friend of mine, Alan Hawkins (a Charismatic pastor in Albuquerque), commented on another blog about a particular issue in the bible…and he articulates the dynamic that ALL do…none are exempt, even and especially Calvary Chapel (not the issue, the dynamic of interpreting the bible and telling others…”this is what it really says!”:

“Your views of women in pastoral ministry and baptism are plainly tribal.

My views are equally narrowed by my field of vision. I deny it NOT.

Our use of scripture is mutually instructive. What is derived from what is stated and what we derive by reason are revealed in how we use the texts. From baptism text you derive the liberty to submit to Luther’s biblical interpretation. I would go against it. But that is not scripture it is reason informing the text and making inferences that allow your position.

I admit that Paul was probably narrowly focused as to women in speaking ministry leadership but I deny that his parameters are definitive to limit what we can say now. I offer the matter of slave obedience as something we would agree falls short of the liberating power of the Gospel to eradicate slavery. I glean the right to think through the matter of women’s roles in the church and come to a conclusion that the Holy Spirit has anointed women to preach and teach and serve as ordained clergy.

We should likely just disagree and thank God that neither of us has the power of coercion.”–Pastor Alan Hawkins.

It is intellectually dishonest or ignorant for Calvary Chapel to claim they “just let the bible teach.” Not nearly…and amen to what Alan honestly and intelligently articulated about the dynamic of scripture interpretation (above).

Jul 092014
 
Pancho Juarez of Calvary Chapel Montebello addresses the crowd at CCSPC 14 at CC Costa Mesa.

Pancho Juarez of Calvary Chapel Montebello addresses the crowd at CCSPC 14 at CC Costa Mesa.

Chuck’s dead, Bob Coy is busted, Brian Brodersen’s in charge, Greg Laurie’s trying to keep the peace, Josh Turansky’s pulled back the curtain for all (well done), Levi Lusko’s trying to make a balding Calvary Chapel look relevant…and Pancho Juarez was comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable…and sweatin’ like a boyscout at a catholic priest convention.

Days 1 and 2 of the Calvary Chapel Senior Pastor’s Conference 2014 are in the books…err, in the online archives!

Thanks to unprecedented access via online streaming and social media, all of us can get a front row seat to this year’s CCSPC 14 like never before. This is healthy and is kind of a form of accountability. Glad to see the young techie guys making this transparency happen…glad the old guys are allowing it to happen.

You can view the #CCSPC14 live feed here (and archives are available if you can’t watch live or missed the first two days): http://calvarychapel.com/resources/article/view/senior-pastor-conference/

What’s New or Different this year? What’s big news?

Well, the CCSPC is usually held at the Calvary Chapel Conference Center in Murrieta, Commiefornia…and this year it’s at the Brodersen’s Costa Mesa franchise…probably blind luck that they dodged a hot-spot for the current border/immigration crisis. The reason for the move to the Brodersen’s turf? Brian and Cheryl are in charge now and there’s a big Smith family battle waging behind the scenes…as well as a couple of old-guard CC splinter groups that are persona non grata.

Nothing says “We’re in charge now”…like changing the venue for the first CCSPC post-Chuck and having it at your place.

One quick side-note: Multiple sources confirm (including Smith family) how the CC Costa Mesa non-unanimous decision to crown the Brodersen duo went down…while Chuck’s body was still warm. I’ll report those accounts later and leave others to decide if that’s just business or if things were a bit strong-armed. I can tell you this, it wasn’t all kumbaya and wasn’t nearly unanimous despite the PR veneer. There is also, reportedly, a lawsuit coming in Kay Smith’s name to try and sort things out with regards to a life insurance policy that originally named Kay Smith as beneficiary, but reportedly got changed to CCCM so Kay Smith “would not have a ‘war chest’ to hire lawyers to get The Word for Today.” Sources also report that Kay Smith has very little income as Chuck didn’t pay into Social Security as a pastor. 

I hear the words of the New Regime, I see the “Forward!” (ironically Obamaesque)…I don’t see how you treat Kay Smith this way regardless of the family feud.

Once again, if you want to know what’s really going on, read the blogs…and don’t buy into the “it’s gossip, it’s the devil!” canard…who would be for truth and transparency in all matters and who would be for covering stuff up, keeping it hush hush and secret and in the dark? Jesus or satan? I’m not “specially anointed!” like our CCSP friends…and even I can answer that one.

Other stuff that struck me as different included Pancho Juarez’s address to the overwhelmingly white CC pastorate. Everything up to that point was completely predictable…so predictable I could pre-write the sermons of each and every speaker to that point. Not Pancho, LOL.

It was an uncomfortable message…which is a good thing…it’s needed. Jesus comforted the afflicted and afflicted the comfortable. Pancho was uncomfortable…he was sweating so profusely he gave a new meaning to the slur “wet-back” (bada bing!)…that was a joke, let’s not get all PC (not “Pastor Chuck” for you CC guys, rather “Politically Correct”).

Hey, the fact is Pancho made some great points and challenged some Sacred Cows in the CC largely-white-yuppy Movement. Pancho called out “racism” and “bigotry” and challenged Calvary Chapel to reach out to the outsider, the untouchables, the homeboys etc…even seeming to include homosexuals in that list (while being careful to refer to the moral issue as sin). His message of “Love” was in stark contrast to some of his homies like Raul Ries and David Rosales…who he seemed to be speaking against when he challenged CC pastors to stop beating the sheep with law and religiousity (my words, the gist of his message) and to love folks. His other big theme was “transformation” and a pretty typical Transformation Gospel narrative…which I disagree with…all…whether Christian, Buddhist, Atheist or Pagan are capable of great good…and great evil (proven many times over and over…the Christian “anointed” are no different than the other Groups of fellow human sinners when push comes to shove). I thought it was refreshing that he gave a sort of altar call to the pastors there…challenged them to reflect on areas of sin they struggle with…and to ask God to take it from them. Well done. It was also great to hear him challenge his fellow CCSP’s that they didn’t have to travel the world to reach minorities and the poor etc, they could simply meet these fellow human beings with help and the message of Jesus in their own backyard. Well done.

The other messages the first two days were pretty run-of-the-mill and typical CC fare, nothing really noteworthy. Greg Laurie filled the role of Big Guru lending his name to the event and trying to broker some sort of peace in the transition post-Chuck. Bob Coy was noticeably absent…and noticeably an elephant in the room that was not addressed. The biggest national and international news story regarding Calvary Chapel since Chuck Smith’s death…and not a peep from Calvary Chapel. Typical. Well guys, we’ll stand in the gap and discuss the Coy situation in a very detailed upcoming series. Ignoring the truth won’t make it go away. There are a lot of valuable lessons to be learned from the Bob Coy rise and fall…and you won’t be teaching them…but hopefully some of the more independent minded non-CCool-aid drinkers will read and consider.

Damian Kyle looked ill, but played his role adequately. Basically, “pastors have your personal devotions…and don’t talk about each other…and Chuck Smith was awesome”…that’s his speech in a nutshell.

Landing the “CC is also young and relevant!” role was the funny-looking Levi Lusko. Envision a bow-legged Sid the Sloth with tattoos on his arms. Lusko did fine, he was actually less cheesy than I expected. Seems a sincere guy. I don’t remember much from is message other than he made it a big point to pay respect to the older generation before him who blazed the trails and paved the way for young CC guns like him. I thought it was a good thing to honor the old guard for the good they’ve done…unfortunately all you ever get from CC is one side of that story and no real honesty and transparency about all the mistakes to avoid. Again, you’ll have to read the blogs to find out the truth about those issues and you’ll have to be taught by someone other than CC about the pitfalls to avoid in ministry besides the white-washed version you get year-after-year….after year.

Don McClure got up there as the new Gate-Keeper of the “Calvary Chapel Association”…err, but Chuck Smith told me in the presence of Dave Rolph and his attorney Janet Carter that “all the Calvary Chapels are independent!” “We’re a denomination!” “We are not a denomination!” I guess it depends on whether you’re being sued or whether you’re building your Brand that you benefit from.

McClure’s message…yawn. His stuff about Facebook and Twitter was pretty funny, though. Leveraging social media and tech has been a big push at this year’s CCSPC…and McClure delivered some pretty solid humor…mocking both himself…and the tech-heads. “I’ve got 5,000 friends on facebook…and I know of about 10 of them…and five of them don’t even like me so I don’t know why they’re there”…hilarious stuff…and true, I’m one of the five, LOL. Don, I’m there to be a pain in your arse. Just kidding. I’m there to keep tabs on what’s happening and to encourage you and CC to do the right thing.

One disturbing, yet candid moment: McClure seemed to deviate from the crafted portion of his message when he made a comment about spiritual whaps (context being some sort of physical blow) and he quickly corrected himself…”I’m not advocating that” or some sort of retraction. He went on to discuss how you shouldn’t try to “fix” your kids in the flesh…and in a very candid moment said, “I would have gone to jail”…for stuff he did to his kids back in the day. Wow. Well, I’ve heard the reports from more than one source that Don abused his kids and that his son went on to abuse a spouse or significant other. Violence begets violence. The unfortunate part is that the CC pastor audience actually laughed pretty significantly at his “I would have gone to jail” comment. Not funny. Let me beat you for years and years and years…and then we’ll see if you find it funny. Good that he was honest and candid about abusing his kids, bad that it’s somehow funny. Good that he seems to get the message to a degree that you don’t advocating whapping or hitting or striking etc as a godly means of discipline. I’m not saying responsible state-defined corporal punishment is out of bounds (don’t leave marks, bruises, don’t draw blood etc.)…but from what I’ve been told, McClure was pretty rough with his kids…enough that, like he stated, he’d have gone to jail…and probably should have. Pastors, don’t hurt your kids in the name of Jesus. You aren’t required to “fix” them to your version of “good”…that’s God’s job. Love your kids, have responsible boundaries, but love your kids. Don’t hurt your kids.

Rob McCoy was brought to the front and prayed for. CC Abuse participants will remember that McCoy was featured on here as a CC pastor running for a Commiefornia State Assembly seat for the Republican Party. There were allegations made regarding some situations at McCoy’s CC franchise. We looked into the issues, there was some truth there and some things that in context were mistakes, but not actionable. Initially, McCoy and I went to the verbal phone equivalent of UFC ultimate fighter, but in the end I found McCoy to be transparent and a man who has learned from some past mistakes, made great strides in implementing very solid accountability measures at his Calvary Chapel franchise…and someone who can be a change-agent and good example in that area. Rob, keep doing the right thing and please encourage your fellow CC pastors to have the sorts of Child Protection Policies and Financial Transparency and shared-power accountability you have self-implemented at your CC over the years. None of us are perfect, we all have situations in the past we either learn from or repeat the same mistakes. Honesty and learning from those mistakes is all most of us are asking. McCoy is a good example of that, IMO.

Some Suggestions from outside the CC Bubble:

1. Why no Saeed Abedini? You have a 1500 plus “Affiliation” and Movement…and you can organize and rally around a pastors’ conference and livestream and move heaven and earth to make this sort of cohesive and coordinated event happen pretty much Movement-wide now…but you can’t come together in an organized and powerful way to speak loudly about Saeed Abedini, a fellow CC pastor unjustly in Iranian prison for helping orphans there? C’mon Calvary Chapel. So far, not even a mention to my knowledge.

2. Calvary Chapel Association, you still have Affiliation Agreements to be an official Calvary Chapel, you issue invites to “your” conference. I can’t just show up. I can’t just call myself Calvary Chapel (or can I?) Institute mandatory Child Protection Policies and Financial Transparency as requisite by-laws in the “individual” CC’s incorporation to get an official Dove. Do it. Is the devil for or against Child Protection Policies and being honest and transparent with how you all spend the Jesus Money? This is not an “attack from the devil!”…ya, the devil is all about honesty, transparency with the finances and trying to protect kids from abuse.

3. Financial Transparency is needed because I am inundated with more and more info about Bob Coy and others in Calvary Chapel and the large amounts of Jesus Money they take home and fund their lavish lifestyles with. Hey, if you’re going to take over $500,000 per year of the Jesus Money…then at least be honest about it and let your congregation know it so they can decide whether or not to give the next time you are begging for more Jesus Money from folks who are struggling to pay their bills every month.

That’s all I got for the first two days. OK, not all I got, but it’s already long. What say you?

Jul 022014
 

CCFTL logoMultiple sources confirm the identity of one of the women in the Bob Coy Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale scandal.

Reportedly, the woman was a make-up artist for Coy who helped with his “Active Word” ministry and may have been on staff as a paid employee of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale in that capacity.

We have the name, but have made the decision not to publish it.

What is more important is the transition CCFTL is going through post-Coy. The celebrity-driven mega-church model is being questioned…and rightly so. Things are in transition. While Coy’s recent departure has been seen by some as a negative blow to the church, we see it as an opportunity for a lot of good to come from it…and fortunately, so do leaders at CCFTL who seem to be on a good path toward more accountability, less celebrity-driven mega-church focus and on to the real work of true ministry.

If there is any truth to the bible and to the Gospel and to God and Jesus…then a celebrity pastor making over $500,000 per year “serving Jesus!”…and a church that is built on his personality and his charisma…and a Board and elders that enable and promote this dynamic…only affirms a skeptical and jaded view of the church and opens the door to distrust in the macro-Christian narrative. The other thing it leads to is power-driven egomaniacs who start thinking they are “specially anointed by God!” and soon believe their own hype and forget they are no different than the rest of us dirty lowly non-anointed “sheep”.

CCFTL, if you really believe what you are selling…then be more like the example of Jesus in the bible you say is to be our personal By-Laws and our personal Corporate Charter. The Jesus narrative of the Gospels and his example is very simple. Jesus’s example stands in contrast to the doctrinal/philosophical nuances of the Pauline Epistles…his example is far afield of the doctrinal/theological tall weeds. The Jesus Model of doing church and being a servant-leader and actually helping folks in a real and tangible way…is very very simple…and extremely easy to observe from the text and the human-personality-deity you claim is “the truth!” and the backbone of your entire reason for being a church and pastors and Christians.

In a coming series of articles we will be documenting some of the financial specifics of Coy’s salary and benefits, how the celebrity-driven dynamic emerged at CCFTL, the power struggle between Coy and others who pushed back and we’ll report the current direction of CCFTL as they transition.

Bob Coy’s rise and fall is an important story. Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, at its core, is not Bob Coy. The situation at CCFTL is a microcosm of today’s evangelical church…and can be a lesson for all of us.

Jun 242014
 

Every Group…whether it’s a denomination, a non-denomination, a local church or a blog…requires rules. This has been hard for me to accept as a Libertarian and non-conformist leaning person. The pragmatist in me realizes, however, that I must deal with things as they are…not as they should be.

I’ve learned a ton at the popular PhoenixPreacher.com blog. One of the biggest lessons that has been cemented regarding “things as they are”…is that the leader and Core Group there are really no different than the leaders and churches and denominations etc. that they rail against and critique ad nauseam. I guess, to a degree, I am not much different either.

We all have our biases, our Sacred Cows, our “orthodox opinions”…and we all have our villains and our doctrinal/philosophical peccadilloes and our hierarchy of sins and our hierarchy of virtues…we all play favorites and we all have gurus and personalities we hold in high regard while vilifying others.

Conduct is important…when you have an opposing and dissenting opinion. Conduct is less important when it is an opinion expressed that you agree with. This is demonstrated in spades at PhxP. “Proper conduct!” is used as a cudgel to force conformity…yet the same standard of conduct is not required of those with an opinion that aligns with the Group and the leader…much like we see in Calvary Chapels and other churches the Phoenix Preacher criticizes and calls to task.

In my experience there, the Group Dynamic is very visible…very much quantifiable…the hierarchy of personalities is easy to define. Spend as little as a few weeks there and it will become apparent to anyone who has even a basic understanding of Group Dynamics and control techniques etc.

I accepted the fact that “rules” of conduct are necessary and important as defined by a particular Group’s consensus. It’s simply how we create order and make sense of the world as humans. It isn’t “wrong” for a Group…whether it be Calvary Chapel or the PhxP to have rules…even if a dissenter disagrees with those rules. The Group has the right to its rules…and the leader or pastor is responsible to the Group in a symbiotic relationship…despite the “leave the 99 to save the one” etc.

The problem is when those rules are not applied equally to all within that Group…and it takes on an especially negative spiritual implication when an “outsider” or what the bible calls a “foreigner” or “alien” is actually targeted and treated with more scrutiny and less grace than someone who is in the fold as part of the Group. It is even more sinister and wrong when leaders of the Group are treated with kit gloves and the rules are not applied to them…we’ve seen this double-standard in Calvary Chapel…and I’m sad to report I have experienced it at the PhoenixPreacher.com blog led by Michael Newnham.

One major bible narrative is how you treat the outsider, the foreigner etc…and the Pharisees were often chastised by Jesus for not applying their heavy burdens and laws and rules to themselves.

The issue goes further off the rails when the rules of conduct are followed…and then “opinions” become “offense” and actionable for punishment. This is ironically what the church fears with regards to its opinions that are contrary to the consensus of the United States culture with regards to homosexuality etc.

Often in “church” and certainly within the PhoenixPreacher.com blog…contrary opinions become an actionable “offense” akin to inappropriate or offensive conduct. This is what happened to me. I tested the boundaries of “proper conduct” and came in line and in agreement. The goal posts moved and the issue became my “opinions” as offense…even expressed in a civil and polite manner without hyperbole and without insult etc. This is the nature of all the things the PhoenixPreacher.com Group has railed against with regards to other churches and leaders (with regards to what they call “spiritual abuse”…I am not considering clear cut sexual or physical abuse or financial corruption as such…those issues are more cut and dry).

Once a difference of opinion, expressed responsibly and diplomatically, becomes an “offense” that is actionable…you are now off the rails and no different than any of the churches and leaders you have built a career and reputation critiquing.

That is the PhoenixPreacher.com and I can no longer endorse it or condone it or be a part of it. There is a bad dynamic there and the Group and leadership is blind to it…similar to the Groups and leaders I’ve watched them call out for years.

Doctrines, philosophical opinions, theology…it’s all extremely subjective…and to mark a particular person’s opinion as “not Christian” or worshipping a “false god” or calling them an “idol worshipper” etc. is as much spiritual abuse as any spiritual abuse that Group has judged in other churches….or as much acting like an “ODM” as they call it as any ODM they’ve called to task. Yet, that behavior is the same behavior of the blog there.

I have liberal theological opinions and most of the arguments I dissect that appeal to “the bible” have major consistency problems. I don’t believe this invalidates the bible as containing truth and I don’t believe it invalidates “God” or Jesus…but it certainly invalidates a particular man’s interpretation as absolute and concrete and “thus sayeth the Lord!” and chiseled in stone. If it was so absolute and non-subjective, you would not have 9,000 to 30,000 different denominations and main lines and all the many differences of opinion under the umbrellas of Christianity*…you’d have one church, one doctrine, one theology. It isn’t math, it isn’t physics. It’s all very subjective.

As such, I am going to lay down some rules at this blog to avoid the mistakes I see at blogs like the PhoenixPreacher: 

1. We will tolerate differences of opinion expressed responsibly.

2. We will apply the rules of moderation and banning equally to all.

3. We will refrain from name-calling, even Calvary Chapel…I will have to change in this regard.

4. Conduct is important, I concede that point…but difference of opinion expressed responsibly and how those individuals are dealt with is something that both the church and the PhoenixPreacher blog needs to change. We will do our best to not repeat those mistakes and poor treatment.

5. I will moderate comments that I view as stirring up conflict within the Group, unless it is merely a difference of opinion expressed responsibly.

6. The focus of this blog is on Church Abuse and Church Corruption…but we will discuss other philosophical opinions as they are often closely related to church issues. Be kind, be tolerant, don’t be the thing you say you hate.

I am committed to being better than how I was raised in Calvary Chapel…and I’m committed to being better than the five or so years I wasted on the PhoenixPreacher blog. That starts today.

UPDATE: Michael emailed me and did bring up a pertinent fact that was not included until now, I did post a lot of comments which was one source of irritation to his Group and I agree the volume was excessive sometimes…however, many times it was simply due to the fact I was often ganged up on and was responding to many personalities there and their many challenges to my opinions…and then would often get accused of dodging their questions or challenges if I didn’t respond…then when I responded thoroughly I would often be accused of “dominating” the thread…so, often times I was damned if I did, damned if I didn’t. Oh well, I am now a “blessed subtraction” as they often criticize guys like Mark Driscoll of promoting.

Jun 082014
 
Group dynamics, in all groups, require conformity most of all.

Group dynamics, in all groups, require conformity most of all.

Spiritual abuse or proper church discipline? Obedience and submission or rebellious spirit and trouble-making?

One thing many have in common on church abuse blogs is that most have been at odds with a particular church group and church leader/pastor…and were summarily shown the door, shunned, banned, moderated from participating with the church they once called home. This can be devastating for most. You lose friendships, family relationships, you’re called names like “troublemaker” and “instrument of the devil” and “not submissive” and “rebellious” etc. It hurts.

Pastors/leaders often feel justified in the particular banning as a proper form of church discipline….they are just “protecting the rest of the flock” as they say. Behind the scenes, often, it is the majority rules of that particular flock that is pressuring the particular pastor/leadership to deal with the dissenter or “troublemaker” and to deal with this individual or family once and for all.

From the perspective of the person being dealt with in such a manner…they feel they have done nothing wrong. They are simply trying to hold the particular pastor and/or leadership and/or church accountable for some perceived (real or imagined) wrong or injustice or inconsistency with a bible doctrine that needs to be remedied. The person takes their beef up the chain of command and when the pastor and/or leadership disagree…some sort of final judgment is finally made…often resulting in the particular person either “submitting” to the rules of the particular church group or facing expulsion.

“Spiritual abuse!”….or “church discipline for the good of the rest of the flock!”…depends (in general) on which side of that particular line you’re on.

Of course, there are many examples of clear wrongdoing by pastors and church leadership and there are clear cut structural wrongs within many church organizations. Let me be very clear that I am not questioning the reality and truth of “spiritual abuse” nor am I questioning the reality and truth of legitimate church abuses that need to be confronted and reformed. There are many many legit examples that are not mere “differences of opinion”….many of the stories and personalities who comment on this blog have very serious examples where churches and pastors crossed major lines. I’m referring to issues that are lower down the ladder….issues that also become “spiritual abuse” but from the other perspective are viewed as “protecting the rest of the flock” from a “troublemaker”. The line can sometimes be a fine line…sometimes it’s clear cut.

This issue is one that has peaked my curiosity for some time. I’ve observed the Group Dynamics of blog communities very much resembles that of a local church group.

Anytime a group of humans forms….there is a general dynamic that always occurs…this “Group Dynamic” is the sociological science that observes how those dynamics occur and how they generally play out in a group setting. It’s a fascinating area of study…one of my areas of interest since I was introduced to that science as part of my collegiate studies.

Blogs, like churches, take on a hierarchy over time. You have a central leader….the blog host…who becomes akin to the pastor. You have a “core group” of blog voices that participate regularly and contribute to the overall success of the blog as measured in comments and even sometimes in donating money or support…akin to regular church members who give regularly, volunteer to serve and serve as deacons or elders. The regulars in both groups support the pastor or blog host. They protect the pastor or blog host when outsiders come into the group and start “trouble”. The “good” church members and good core bloggers are generally very agreeable to the pastor’s rules and the blog host’s rules and they assume their particular roles within the group in protecting the group and the group leader…the group leader then protects the core group. It’s a very symbiotic and mutually beneficial relationship.

Then comes the outsider…the “troublemaker”…who doesn’t conform to the group’s written and unwritten rules. The person may have a particular beef with the pastor, a beef with how the church or blog does things, a beef with a key member of the core group, a beef with a particular doctrinal or philosophical position….and then there’s conflict and trouble.

The core group generally rallies around the particular irritant like white blood cells around an invading virus. Conflict ensues. The rules are asserted and then broken again…and the core group appeals to the pastor or blog host to deal with the “troublemaker” once and for all….usually after some sort of disciplinary efforts of confrontation, moderation, sanctions etc. When all else fails, the core group calls for the “troublemaker’s” head in the equivalent of the group dynamic’s death penalty: Banishment from the group!

The leader exacts the penalty. The “troublemaker” is eliminated. All is well again within the group.

I’ve been the “troublemaker”, I’ve been a member of the core group, I’ve been the leader. I’ve experienced legitimate church abuse, seen the real thing many times. I’ve been the legitimate target of group discipline when I didn’t follow the rules.  I’ve seen real “spiritual abuse” and fake. The distinctions can become blurred. Where is the line?

In the battles with Calvary Chapel, there are some clear-cut examples and many that may just be typical group dynamics in play where a person just doesn’t conform to the group consensus and bucks the norms there.

In blogging in many online communities…Christian, Atheist, Political, Economic, etc…I’ve noticed clear group dynamics in play…very consistent patterns, rules, core groups, leaders…and every group responds to “troublemakers” in a similar way. Is the “troublemaker” always the victim of “abuse” when they are shunned and banned even though they think they were right to buck the norm of a particular group and challenge its rules, its sacred cows and its leaders etc? Probably not.

Sometimes conformity is a requirement to be part of a group. Those who are non-conformists often have a difficult time remaining part of a group…whether it is a church, a blog, a club…whether it be Christian, Atheist, Liberal, Conservative, Libertarian, you name it. My observations from testing a broad range of groups is that they all tick the same, essentially. Conformity is the primary aspect of being a good and healthy group member.

My practical advice if you want to remain part of any group is this: Learn what the written and unwritten rules are. Learn who the core group members are and don’t challenge their authority within the group. Know the leader’s sacred cows and pet peeves and steer clear of pushing those buttons. Conform quickly and demonstrate submission to the core group members and leader….and slowly build trust with them. Over time, if you play by their rules…and if you pay your dues…you can become part of the core group…and then you can incrementally challenge some things in very small steps and progressions…and affect some small changes over time without arousing suspicion and getting kicked out.

Personally, I am largely a non-conformist and I have a rebellious streak…more due to my abusive high-control upbringing, out of principle and due to my ability to see beyond the surface that blinds most folks with regards to systems of Control. Most have no clue as to the dynamics in play and are rather confused when they find themselves at odds with another professing group of Christians (or insert your particular group here). Much of the time it is not anything spiritual at all….it is simply group dynamics. The folks violated the dynamic and most don’t even know what happened until they’re kicked out. The easiest explanation, often, is “abuse!”…when in fact, it’s simple non-conformity and part of what you’ll face in any group if you don’t notice the rules and don’t get in line.

I know when I’m bucking the group and when I’m going along. I’m rarely surprised. You have to make the personal choice: Do you want to fit in and be a part of this group?

Some don’t want to fit into a group…there are legitimate troublemakers…the internet era has identified them as “trolls”….these are serial non-conformists who like conflict and controversy and exhibit the “dark tetrad” from a psychological perspective…they are akin to sadists who enjoy hurting people through their words. You see these sorts of folks in online forums as well as in physical church groups. There are also folks who like to test their disagreement within a group they disagree with…you see this with atheists participating in Christian forums…and Christians participating in atheist forums….liberals and conservatives in political forums, etc. Sometimes there are folks who are just socially unaware and can’t gauge the dynamics and step in it seemingly every time they try to become part of a group. I once thought there was some sort of “right” and righteous Christian ideal in play…an ideal that trumped the humanness….an ideal that grace was to be given to the worst of the offenders.

There is no pure ideal in play. There is no truly free grace, not within any group. Conformity is the price one must pay.

I’ve conducted some social experiments to see if there was some sort of truly free grace ideal that truly existed…if there truly was some sort of spiritual ideal that trumped human group dynamics. I can confidently report to you: No, there is no spiritual ideal that trumps human group dynamics. There is no Christian “grace” for troublemakers who don’t go with the flow. I even tried to hold a principled line on this blog…wow, I was proven wrong in spades. Matthew Perri shows up and disrupts the group here…everyone reacts adversely to Matthew’s behavior and calls for his moderation or banning….that this isn’t a safe place, I’m not doing my job as a leader to protect the fold, I’m not being just, etc.

Groups like their status quo, they like their rules, they like conformity. Groups want a King to enforce it. There is no spiritual ideal that turns the other cheek and administers blind grace even to the most irritating non-conformist. There are rules. There is a hierarchy. There are sacred cows. There is a symbiotic relationship between the core group and the leader. There is a control structure that expects conformity. Get on board, or get out.

The consensus Christian gospel message is the same: Conform…or go to hell. Grace is earned through conformity. Conformity is required to be in the group.

That’s the truth as I currently know it with regards to this issue after much testing and hashing out.

 Posted by at 2:14 pm
May 282014
 

A recent lawsuit alleging churches, including Calvary Chapel Central Oahu in Hawaii, bilked the State out of rent for use of public facilities is moving forward through the courts despite an attempt by church lawyers to get the suit dismissed.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs are hailing the recent decision by First Circuit Judge Virginia Crandall as a victory and promise to start issuing subpoenas to interview people for the case next week, according to an article in the Hawaii Star-Advertiser yesterday.

“Most of the claims survives,” plaintiff’s attorney James Bickerton said in the article.

Bickerton said the two churches cost public schools about $1 million in unpaid rent, according to the same report.

Read the full article here: http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/breaking/20140527_Lawsuit_over_church_use_of_public_schools_continues.html

 Posted by at 10:04 pm
May 072014
 

Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale has a new senior pastor, according to Local News 10 of Miami, Florida.

doug sauder

Doug Sauder takes over as senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale replacing founder Bob Coy.

Doug Sauder is tabbed to replace long-time CCFTL founder and pastor Bob Coy who was forced to resign over a pornography and adultery scandal that rocked the Calvary Chapel world recently.

According to the CCFTL website, Sauder is a home-grown guy and has been on staff as an assistant pastor since 2004.

Full news story here:

http://www.local10.com/news/new-lead-pastor-named-at-calvary-chapel-fort-lauderdale/25865668

Sauder’s Bio here:

http://www.calvaryftl.org/pastors-bio/pastor-doug-sauder/#

CalvaryChapelAbuse.com Commentary and Opinion:

We’re glad to see that CCFTL finally came clean with the details of the Bob Coy forced resignation…transparency is the right way to handle matters. Coy was a highly public figure and the consequences of the sin must be highly public as well…or the story won’t go away.

We wish Doug Sauder and CCFTL the best. This is an opportunity for CCFTL to learn from past mistakes and forge a new future based on transparency, financial accountability, shared-power, pastoral moral accountability, openness and honesty.

I hope we don’t see Sauder grace these pages for something bad…may the next time we see CCFTL on CalvaryChapelAbuse.com may it be us reporting that they’re changing their ways and not falling too in love with a senior pastor who has too much control and too easily manipulates his Board.

 Posted by at 8:35 pm
Apr 232014
 
Chuck Smith Sr. has been made aware of much abuse and corruption by Pastor Bob Grenier of Calvary Chapel Visalia...yet has ignored requests for help and to use his leadership to confront the abuse and corruption.

Chuck Smith’s greatest legacy: He was a good dad and grandpa who never hurt his kids.

I had a very long conversation yesterday with a person who intimately knew Chuck Smith. It was as close as I’ve been able to get to having a final talk with Chuck regarding our personal spat over the Bob Grenier situation and my blasting Chuck and Chuck’s return fire from the Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa pulpit (as well as our internet radio spar).

There are many who viewed Chuck through very rose-colored glasses…and there are some, like me, who had a more jaded and negative view of the man. The truth tends to lie in the middle with regards to most people…and this conversation only affirmed that conclusion.

While the good is well-documented and well-publicized and well-touted by the 1500 plus affiliate Calvary Chapel Church System…the bad is documented on places like this blog. In the background are human beings with feelings. This was a rare occasion when two of those human beings…from the two different Camps…had a heart-to-heart discussion…and it was very helpful, at least for me.

My suspicions were proven likely correct…Chuck didn’t step in and do something directly with the Bob Grenier and Calvary Chapel Visalia situation…not because he didn’t believe us…he actually told my brother Geoff directly in the meeting at the Logos Building that he did…it was because Chuck was being sued in Idaho for the Iglesias molestations that happened through meeting kids at other Calvary Chapels…and the lawyers told Chuck to shut up and not take responsibility for any other Calvary Chapel situation and told him not to get directly involved in the Bob Grenier situation…even though he had done so in the past.

I was also reminded of what I’ve heard in the past many times from people very close to Chuck…he was a great dad and grandpa and he was loving, kind, gracious and never hurt his kids. Some have actually been critical of him for being too soft on Jeff, which ironically, I think was a strength of Chuck’s, not a weakness (while still recognizing that can present some problems in adult church/business situations).

Like all of us, Chuck Smith was a mix of good and bad…something I’ve stated before. However, I now see more of the good…because I got a glimpse at the good in someone he loved…someone who is a living example of the good in Chuck.

The person knows who they are. You are a good person. I’ve heard it from several others who know you…and I’ve now experienced it first hand. I blasted someone you cared about deeply and you showed me kindness and mercy and compassion…yet you were also honest with me. I forgive Chuck and I am sorry I hurt you in the process of dealing with my anger and frustration over those issues with Calvary Chapel. I can’t tell Chuck to his face, but I can tell you…I’m sorry. I could have been much more gracious. Thank you for doing what you did. It helped me and gives me some hope.

 Posted by at 7:37 am
Apr 202014
 
Brian Brodersen's daughter denies abuse allegations and says her dad is a gracious and loving guy.

Brian Brodersen’s daughter denies abuse allegations and says her dad is a gracious and loving guy.

CalvaryChapelAbuse.com published a story recently about allegations by multiple Smith family members (first posted publicly by Michael A. Smith on facebook) and a long-time friend of the Brodersen kids, that Brian Brodersen had hit his daughter in the head and made her ear bleed while the Brodersen’s lived in England.

Kristyn Brodersen states the story is false and she and her brother maintain a good relationship with their parents to this day. She says her dad is a very gracious and loving guy.

CalvaryChapelAbuse.com Commentary and Opinion:

I think the testimony of the kids trumps other testimony and decided to withdraw the original story. The fact the kids have a good relationship with their parents today and that the daughter nicely, but flatly, denies any abuse…trumps the allegations made by others in my opinion.

 Posted by at 1:23 am
Apr 182014
 

Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale finally comes clean with regard to Bob Coy’s “moral failure”.

bob coy tiger woods

Bob Coy pictured discussing the Tiger Woods affairs on youtube. Calvary Chapel finally came clean about Coy’s “moral failure” in a recent service.

In Wednesday night services, “pastor Chet” confirms what we reported over a week ago…Bob Coy was involved in multiple affairs with women and has an addiction to pornography.

The story first broke on this blog as a blog comment left by an anonymous poster claiming to have been a Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale employee who had knowledge of the affairs and the coming resignation.

The comment started CalvaryChapelAbuse.com asking questions…and the story was confirmed and then went viral being picked up by other blogs and then national media.

Here is a link to CCFTL’s Wednesday night service that finally comes clean with the whole truth: http://media.calvaryftl.org/player/?fn=D3102

CalvaryChapelAbuse.com Commentary and Opinion:

This is great opportunity for Calvary Chapel to come clean on many other issues of “moral failure”. I have a long list of other Calvary Chapel senior pastors and radio personalities who are guilty of “moral failure”, child abuse, corruption, lying, etc. that are similar and sometimes worse than Bob Coy’s known sins.

Calvary Chapel Association needs to recognize that their senior pastors are men, sinners…capable of doing wrong, capable of doing bad things at any time. Being “specially anointed” is a myth when it comes to men not being sinful men.

I call on the Calvary Chapel Association, once again, to implement System-wide reforms to the Calvary Chapel Affiliation Agreements to mandate Child Protections and Open/Transparent Finances to all Calvary Chapel franchises AND to have them include a “moral failure” by-law that gives the power to the CC Board and Elders to remove a pastor caught in major sin.

Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale is currently finding Accountability Jesus. I have reports from many CCFTL’ers who say the Board was essentially a puppet-board who were too cozy with Bob Coy. People who pushed back got fired. The sexual sins were known for two years or more according to multiple sources.

CCFTL is reportedly going through some big changes to address these big gaps in their Accountability plan. That is a very good thing and I commend them for learning from past mistakes.

May all of Calvary Chapel find Accountability Jesus. Your “specially anointed” pastor is no different than Bob Coy, or any of us for that matter.

 Posted by at 10:47 am
Apr 162014
 
Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale owes Bank of America $35 million.

Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale owes Bank of America $35 million.

The Bob Coy scandal for “moral failure”, which is Calvary Chapel speak for he got caught with a porn addiction and humping women who aren’t his wife according to sources inside and outside of CC, illustrates a major problem with the Pastor-centered mega-church model.

What happens when the rock star guru cult-of-personality demonstrates their non-transformation into Jesus and falls on their face?

I’ll tell you what happens…a lot of people stop attending the show and stop giving their money…and the church is forced to sell off a bunch of their assets to pay back the bank.

Skip the Hagee “Blood Moon!” nonsense, I’ve got a prophetic word….Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale best start hanging the “for sale” signs on big chunks of their Disneyland because Bank of America will get their $35 million back one way or another….and now that Smiling Bob is off the stage, it’s gonna be a lot harder to rake in all that Jesus money. Chet’s a good looking likable wholesome guy, but c’mon…he ain’t Smiling Bob. Smiling Bob had that naughty but nice quality about him, that Vegas allure, that “I’m a Vegas bad boy acting like a good boy telling jokes and quoting bible verses wink wink” thing going on. The women loved him (some a little too much, know what I’m sayin’), the men wanted to be him. There’s only one Smiling Bob at CCFTL and that dude is evangelical damaged goods (but at least it was other women and not dudes or he’d be toasty toast, no chance at a comeback).

Big shows require big overhead and bigger rock stars to keep them going.

It would not surprise me to see a Skip Heitzig try to toss his hat in the ring to try and step in and be Coy II. Skip’s got a history of jumping ship from Calvary Chapel Albuquerque and he was recently caught with Paul Smith trying to buy off the Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa stage for a million bucks. What is it with Heitzig? He’s a rock star in Albuquerque but seems to hate the place and is always looking to upgrade. Wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Heitzig make a play for CCFTL and CCFTL’s board will feel the heat of lower attendance and lower giving…so you never know…we could see the Skipster surf on over to that bigger stage.

One thing’s for sure, CCFTL is in big trouble. They can prattle on about how it’s “all about Jesus!” and how they tell everyone to look to Jesus as they continue to deny they are a Pastor-centered mega-church with an over-emphasis on a cult-of-personality like Bob Coy…but time will show that despite their denials…they are what they are…and they will be a fraction of the mega-church they are now in the coming months and years, unless they somehow resurrect Coy from the “moral failure” ash heap and put him back in the saddle.

 Posted by at 10:38 am
Apr 072014
 

Smiling Bob.

Comments are back on now that things have calmed down and traffic is more manageable….here is a link to the blog comment left on CalvaryChapelAbuse.com that started the firestorm: http://calvarychapelabuse.com/wordpress/pastor-bob-coy-of-calvary-chapel-fort-lauderdale-what-has-your-experience-been-with-this-servant-of-god/#comment-160563

If you have information concerning Bob Coy and Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale or another Calvary Chapel franchise and pastor: agrenier7 at gmail dot com.

 Posted by at 9:31 pm
Apr 052014
 
Bob Coy, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, is to resign for a "moral" issue according to sources.

Bob Coy, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, is to resign for a “moral” issue according to sources.

A commenter posted Friday, April 4 on Calvary Chapel Abuse blog that Bob Coy, long time senior pastor of the mega church Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, had resigned…and that an announcement to the congregation will be made in a closed meeting after services this Sunday.

Sources inside and outside of Calvary Chapel have confirmed that Coy is resigning and the reason for his resignation is “moral” failure.

One source used the word “devastated” to describe the mood of those at CCFL who are dealing with this news.

UPDATE: Sunday, April 6, 6:30PM MST:

Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale has issued a Press Release and confirmed Bob Coy’s “resignation”. An employee meeting was held at approximately 3:00PM EST today followed at 4:30PM EST by a general closed meeting for those considering CCFL their church home.

Sources tell me Coy was not present at the meeting and that an assistant pastor read a letter prepared by Coy.

The full press release is here:

Statement Regarding Bob Coy

Posted on Sun, Apr 6, 2014

Media Statement – April 6, 2014

On April 3, 2014, Bob Coy resigned as Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, effective immediately, after confessing to a moral failing in his life which disqualifies him from continuing his leadership role at the church he has led since its founding in 1985. The media ministry of the Active Word that distributes his Bible teachings through radio, television, and digital media has also been suspended.

Pastor Bob will be focusing his full attention on his personal relationship with God and with his family. The governing board of the church is providing counselors and ministers who will help guide him through the process of full repentance, cleansing and restoration.

Trusting in God’s providence, protection, provision and direction, the staff of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale will continue our mission to “make disciples,” through regular services at all campuses and through a myriad of other ministries the church has established over the years. A team of assistant pastors already on staff will maintain their usual rotating schedule as teaching pastors for all services.

 ________________

Calvary Chapel Abuse Commentary and Opinion:

This is a teaching moment for Calvary Chapel and could be a watershed moment for the Movement/Association.

I have long stated that Calvary Chapel senior pastors are not “specially anointed” as Chuck Smith had claimed as part of his CC apologetic. I know these guys, I grew up the son of a Calvary Chapel pastor, I’ve seen behind the curtain. These guys are men. They are sinners and just as much or more a sinner than you or me. They aren’t special, they aren’t anointed. Don’t build them up as something they aren’t. Many of these guys are not qualified per the standards set out in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1…and I’m beginning to think none of us men are able to meet that standard.

Let’s be frank, Coy was a rock star of a mega church…worshipped by many. He came from a Las Vegas background that fed his appetite for the carnal things. He got “saved” and sought a leadership position and was a very talented guy who rose through the ranks quickly. He was very comfortable in the spotlight and extremely charismatic…and he actually seemed like a nice guy on the surface (though some have reported he can be a jerk…but so can we all at times…I can be one of the biggest).

I get it. I know what it’s like. I’m no better than Bob Coy. You are no better than Bob Coy. We are all inflicted with the same human condition.

But, big sins can have consequences…and when you put yourself out there as “special” and “anointed” and sit atop that pedestal…it can be a long way down to hit the floor.

Coy will suffer loss for his sin. He was a big boy and took risks and made the choices he made and now it’s time to pay the piper. Many don’t get caught in Calvary Chapel and they get away with their sin for many years. My step-dad is one such example. I have more sympathy for a “moral” issue like Coy’s appears to be than I do for someone who hurts kids…but regardless, we’re all sinners and we all need Jesus. None of us get “transformed” and none of us can meet the standard…even after we’re supposedly saved. That is the great myth of Calvary Chapel’s brand of Christianity*…there is no such thing as the “transformation” gospel. We’re all still sinners after we’re saved and we’re all just as capable of sinning as we were before we were saved…which is why we NEED ACCOUNTABILITY measures in place to protect kids and to have open finances to keep things on the up-and-up with the Jesus money.

The details of Coy’s resignation will come out. A lot of people who put him on a pedestal will be disillusioned, some sad, some angry. I know. It was very sobering to find out that my “pastor” and even Chuck Smith himself were just as much NOT anointed as I am, when push came to shove.

While Coy is no better than any of us and no more “special” or no more “anointed” than anyone…he is also a human being who has sinned and if he has truly confessed and repented then his life isn’t over and hopefully he wants to make amends with his family and hopefully God will help them to forgive and reconcile.

This is not a happy day and not an “I told you so!”…it is simply something I always expect to happen and I know many more stories of abuse and moral failure will come from Calvary Chapel…because I know the truth about mankind and religion.

Calvary Chapel pastors currently hiding your sins…come clean, do the right thing. If you really “trust the Lord”…then quit dodging the consequences and man-up and take your medicine. I did it at one time in my life. It was terrifying, but actually trusted the Lord and did the right thing not knowing how things would go from there. Quit playing Business with your church, quit playing Celebrity and Guru and quit hiding behind the veneer that you are something you are not. If Calvary Chapel ever wants to see a true “move of the Spirit”…it will start with Leadership coming forward and being honest about who they are, what they’ve done and then exampling true Christianity for the world to see. True Christianity is about humility…the humility that knows you are as much a sinner as the homosexual or the drug addict or the person who makes you uncomfortable because their sin is different from your sin.

I hope Coy is truly repentant and does whatever he can to be honorable and honest and face the consequences of his actions. I hope his family can overcome this. I hope those who esteemed him will look to Jesus and within and realize we are all in the same boat and all of our hope should be that God is truly “love” and is truly merciful…even to his “enemies”…as we are all God’s enemies at times…as well as his kids.

 Posted by at 12:22 pm
Apr 042014
 

A person claiming to have been employed at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale made a public blog comment concerning Bob Coy.

The blog comment stated that Bob Coy had resigned and that the resignation will be announced after this Sunday’s services in a closed meeting for CCFL attendees.

Can anyone in Fort Lauderdale or from Calvary Chapel with knowledge of Bob Coy’s situation and CCFL please confirm or deny whether Coy has resigned?

Email me at agrenier7 at gmail dot com. If you are more comfortable speaking on the phone, email me your number and I will contact you by phone.

 Posted by at 9:57 pm
Apr 042014
 

It should be hard for you to watch this video…if it isn’t you need help. Child abuse in the church is more common than most realize…it is still a serious problem. Child abuse survivors are more attuned to this issue as we’ve lived it, been hurt by it, seen its effects on siblings etc. The church needs to change its mindset, its teachings and its policies regarding this issue. Jesus loves the little children…he does not want you to hurt them and use his name to justify it.

 Posted by at 1:56 pm
Apr 032014
 
Jesus loves kids. Jesus does not want you to hurt them in his name. Church, Calvary Chapel, everyone: Stop child abuse.

Jesus loves kids. Jesus does not want you to hurt them in his name. Church, Calvary Chapel, everyone: Stop child abuse.

I love my kids. I love them completely, unconditionally. There is no other love to compare it to in this present existence.

Romantic love, brotherly love…no comparison.

If God truly exists in some sort of paternal relationship with mankind that is beyond a human anthropomorphic rhetorical device, then I imagine my love for my kids…and their love for me…is about as close to an earthly glimpse of the Divine as we’ll get.

I appeal to your Conscience as a Christian parent…especially if you’ve been taught by a conservative fundamentalist evangelical church that beating your kids with rods “for Jesus!” and breaking their “spirit” is right and righteous. Let me be extremely clear: It is evil and you are wrong. You have bought into a lie.

Don’t hurt your kids. Don’t teach it, don’t rationalize it, don’t justify it. If you are hurting your kids now, stop. If you are a pastor who is teaching child discipline and you appeal to the Old Testament and verses that tell you to beat your kids with rods and leave stripes and scours (bruises and wounds)…and you teach that a parent must beat the “rebellious spirit” or “will” out of your children…you are teaching evil and you are sinning. Jesus does not want you to beat your kids into submission and Jesus does not force people into submission. You imposing your power physically and mentally and spiritually over your children to “break” them so they conform to whatever whim you have in your home is being a bully and is being an abuser and is an incredibly destructive misuse of the power and responsibility God has given you, toward the children he has also given you.

God does not want you to beat your children to “break” their will. That is what enemy military and the mafia does to extract information or to force compliance with a particular agenda…or to just be plain evil bastards who like to hurt and scare people.

Corporal Punishment Parent: “But, it is abuse to let my kids run wild without discipline! God says I’m to keep them in full submission! I would be a bad ungodly parent if I don’t ‘spank’ my children and make them conform!”

First, let’s define “spanking” and legal discipline…then let’s discuss the goal of discipline and the responsibility in discipline…and the child’s psyche and what science and statistics show are the results of corporal punishment that often opens the door from mere legal “spanking” to much more violent abuse.

All States (and Romans 13:1 applies here, read it) have Child Abuse laws on the books that define what is and isn’t “abuse”.

In the vast majority of States, the legal definition of abuse is hitting a child with an object or your hand and leaving bruises or marks or some sort of physical marker that the child was struck hard enough to leave a mark. Abuse also includes threatening a child (psychological and mental abuse) and scaring a child to death, as well as neglect (not providing basic necessities). Other “abuse” is defined as imprisonment, like locking a child in a small coat closet (my brother Geoff was imprisoned by my step-dad in a small coat closet as a form of discipline). Hitting and striking your child in the face or head with your hands is abuse. Punching or kicking your child is abuse. Grabbing your child violently and throwing them against a wall is abuse.

“Spanking” is not abuse when it leaves no mark, is done to a degree and in a manner that does not psychologically or physically harm the child. This is usually defined as using your hand on a clothed rear-end and not in an inordinate amount of blows and not a blow that would harm the child physically.

Do not “spank” your kids with belts, paddles, rods etc. Do not “spank” your kids while they are naked, that is a form of sexual abuse, you are forcing them to be naked in front of you in a very humiliating and vulnerable and dominated position. That is wrong.

All of the things I’ve described above have happened to me and my brothers (and more). I lived it. I witnessed it first hand. I will never be able to escape the memories of the abuse and while the physical scars have long healed, the spiritual and emotional and psychological scars are a part of who I am in both good and bad ways.

Parents, if you really truly “love” your children and want what’s best for them…do not hurt them. Do not have as your goal to “break their will” and to force conformity to your particular whim or agenda or view of a particular situation. You do not want God forcing you into compliance. You would press charges against me if I walked into your home, grabbed you by the collar and beat you into submission if I wanted you to stop doing something.

Your children are sentient human beings. I am a sentient human being. My brothers are sentient human beings. Your children have the same rights you do, they are just as important to God as you are.

There is nothing more dehumanizing than crushing the spirit of another human being using fear, force, violence and humiliation.

Let me repeat that and let it sink in: There is nothing more dehumanizing than crushing the spirit of another human being using fear, force, violence and humiliation.

Grown soldiers face years of issues after being tortured in prison camps, dominated, humiliated, hurt physically in an effort to “break” them. Men who go to prison and are beaten violently or dominated by other inmates face similar humiliation and have psychological and emotional scars that haunt them for life. How much more a child. How much more a child at the hands of the very people that are supposed to love them and protect them. How much more your pastor who represents “God” and “Jesus” to you and your family.

Child abuse is a prevalent problem despite public efforts of victims and advocates to raise awareness.

According to Child Help USA that tracks national child abuse statistics and advocates on the behalf of  the abused, children are suffering from a hidden epidemic of child abuse and neglect. Every year more than 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States involving more than 6 million children (a report can include multiple children). The United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations – losing on average between four and seven children every day to child abuse and neglect.

  • A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds
  • More than four children die every day as a result of child abuse.
  • It is estimated that between 50-60% of child fatalities due to maltreatment are not recorded as such on death certificates.
  • Approximately 70% of children that die from abuse are under the age of 4.
  • More than 90% of juvenile sexual abuse victims know their perpetrator in some way.
  • Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education.
  • About 30% of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children, continuing the horrible cycle of abuse.
  • In at least one study, about 80% of 21 year olds that were abused as children met criteria for at least one psychological disorder.
  • The estimated annual cost of child abuse and neglect in the United States for 2008 is $124 billion.
  • 14% of all men in prison and 36% of women in prison in the USA were abused as children, about twice the frequency seen in the general population.
  • Children who experience child abuse & neglect are about 9 times more likely to become involved in criminal activity.
  • Abused children are 25% more likely to experience teen pregnancy.
  • Abused teens are more likely to engage in sexual risk taking, putting them at greater risk for STDs.
  • One-third to two-thirds of child maltreatment cases involve substance use to some degree.
  • In one study, children whose parents abuse alcohol and other drugs were three times more likely to be abused and more than four times more likely to be neglected than children from non-abusing families.
  • As many as two-thirds of the people in treatment for drug abuse reported being abused or neglected as children.
  • More than a third of adolescents with a report of abuse or neglect will have a substance use disorder before their 18th birthday, three times as likely as those without a report of abuse or neglect. –Statistics courtesy of Child Help USA, 2014 based on government data.

Fundamentalist conservative evangelical parent (and others)…if your true goal is to “help” your kids by providing loving boundaries so they have a chance at turning out to be good productive citizens as adults…the statistics overwhelmingly demonstrate that crossing lines into abuse is doing more to hurt your kids and more to ruin your kids than some nebulous “devil” and “enemy” you appeal to that is supposedly after their souls.

Parents, many of you are that “devil” that is ruining your kids. Many of you are the very evil you say you are against and guarding your kids from. If you want to screw your kids up big time, just do what my step-dad has done…hurt your kids, dominate them, force them into conformity, strip away their humanity and use fear and guilt and shame and beat any good they have right out of them. You cannot beat Jesus into your kids…but you sure as hell can beat Jesus out of them.

Personally, I refuse to spank my kids, even within the guidelines of legal spanking. I find it doesn’t work very well if the goal of discipline is to be rehabilitative and corrective rather than punitive and hurtful and retributive. I found most of the time the “spankings” we got growing up were more for my step-dad to release his rage and vent (akin to kicking the family dog) vs. the goal of loving corrective and a teaching moment. Even done responsibly, it just isn’t your best option and teaches your children that violence is a proper means of getting another human being to conform to your will. I don’t like that. You shouldn’t either. Violence should only be used in self-defense or the defense of others…never to force conformity onto another outside of a War context or a police action etc.

We employ a parenting philosophy we call Grace-based Parenting…and I lead that effort in our home. My wife came from a very healthy and loving Christian home that disciplined responsibly so she is not nearly as sensitive to the issue as I am…but she has seen the results of what happened to me and my brothers over the years and understands the dynamic and the cause-effect correlations that come with abuse.

My daughter is very obedient. Some kids are just born with a nature of compromise and wanting to get along. It is very easy to provide boundaries for her and we rarely have to discipline her…and when we do, it is after the rules were clear and there were chances to moderate the behavior (by verbal warning) before an actual punishment.

My son is not very obedient…he takes after his mother :-) (don’t tell her I said that LOL, actually she recognizes it and it has caused her to thank her mother for being so patient with her growing up).

I love my son so much (as well as my daughter) and I knew early on that my role as his father would be very important in his development as I knew we were going to have a challenge in the home in incorporating his will and spirit into the family unit. I know full well the wrong way to handle him…which I count as one of the few good things, but a very important thing, to have come out of my abusive upbringing.

There is rarely a day that goes by without some sort of conflict in the home, in varying degrees, related to something my son has done or said or not done (or all three).

The first rule of Grace-based Parenting: Make up your mind early on and know that your goal is NOT to force absolute conformity and to have realistic goals and know and accept that your spirited child is…not might…but IS going to give you trouble. Don’t be shocked when he or she does. Know that the issue will be a recurring issue…just as there are things about you (parent) that you struggle with, sins that you struggle with all the time that you repeat and don’t conform to God all the way in some areas. Good parenting is a process…it’s not an event. You are not going to win every battle. Let me repeat that: YOU ARE NOT GOING TO WIN EVERY BATTLE. If you can accept that, if you are realistic about that, you will be doing yourself and your kids a great service. Strict 100% compliance on every issue is not the goal…no more so than you would respond to another adult in a more powerful position than you. Imagine if your boss at work treated you like you treat your kids…or if your spouse did (which happens often) or the cops did, or your pastor did or your doctor did etc.

The second rule of Grace-based Parenting: Don’t die on every hill. Pick your battles. Don’t make every last issue full-on nuclear war. Kids are human beings and they are full of energy, full of mischievousness and sometimes full of naughtiness. Remember, they take after you. Show some grace over petty issues. Give them the power to speak for themselves and the power to push back and explain themselves. Don’t silence your kids. Don’t take away their voice…that is very destructive. Have good boundaries…have rules…but not petty stupid stuff. We were often smacked in the head or face while our hands were forced to be kept at our side whenever our step-dad perceived a “bad attitude”. Don’t worry about a facial expression that expresses disappointment or discomfort or non-agreement. Your kids are human beings! Those are biological and physiological functions. They are not robots and they are not animals and they are not prisoner’s of war for God’s sake. We have Boundaries in our home and we do discipline. We choose to die on the big hills: Don’t hit your sister. Don’t hit your mom. Do your school work and chores. Make sure we know where you are. When big lines are crossed, we warn. After the warning, we enact a previously defined punishment (that is non-violent). This punishment usually results in the loss of a prized privilege (think video game use or playing or having to do additional chores). Lines are crossed often. Punishments are enacted, with and without an attitude. I don’t like being punished when I do something wrong…and I don’t expect another adult to force me to be happy about it for my “own good”. Let your kids be the human beings God created, don’t stifle all their emotions and personality and natural responses.

The third rule of Grace-based Parenting: Give your kids the power over their punishments. My son crosses the line…often. He does the crime…and he serves the time. But, he also has the keys to let himself out of punishment (metaphorically speaking, we DO NOT lock up our kids…I saw it happen to my brother growing up…he was forced to stay in a small coat closet in the dark and it was terrifying and evil, like solitary confinement in prison only done to a child). The punishment begins and we simply tell our kids…if you want to end your punishment then correct your behavior. When they correct that particular issue, then so ends the punishment (unless it’s hitting the other sibling, then the punishment stays in tact for its duration). Often times these punishments are over as soon as our kids finish their chores or complete their homework or correct whatever other behavior or task it is that mom requires. Our kids respond very well to this. It gives them some hope and tends to be much more corrective than punitive and retributive.

The fourth rule of Grace-based Parenting: Tell your kids how much you love them…often. Back it up with actions of love. Tell them you WILL NEVER hurt them in any way on purpose and that your goal for disciplining them is to correct a particular behavior or action…not because you are mad at them or because you say they are evil or bad or rebellious or whatever other verbal hurts abusive parents think of. Don’t tell your kids “God wants me to do this to you!” If you want to really screw up your kids…just tell them God told them to abuse you. We tell our kids that God does not want us to hurt them and that hurting them is wrong. When my son acts out toward me and screams at me…I ask him to stop and remind him that I don’t treat him that way and that I love him and respect him and I ask him why he thinks it’s OK for him to treat me in that manner. He usually responds very reasonably on these rare occasions and then I hug him and tell him I want to help him and ask him why he’s so upset. This empowers him. It makes him feel like he is truly loved and a human being, not an object, not a dog and not a prisoner in his own home. When you tell your kids you “love” them…and then you hurt them and yell at them all the time and crush their spirit and scare them and threaten them etc, they are not stupid. They know that you don’t love them…it’s just a word you use. Kids are very perceptive and they learn to not trust you very quickly when you cross lines and are abusive and mean towards them. When you lose your kids’ trust, you have failed miserably as a parent.

The fifth rule of Grace-based Parenting: Mom, dad….parents…I want to let you in on a little secret…you are a sinner, too…and you are wrong more often than you realize. Be honest with your kids, don’t have double standards and don’t be afraid to say, “I was wrong, please forgive me”. If your kids aren’t supposed to hit others and yell at others…how can you be a trusted and honest broker if you treat them much differently? If you lose your cool, repent quickly and let your children know you are sorry for your actions and that yelling was wrong…just as when they yell it is wrong. If you find yourself consistently losing your cool, you have a problem and you need to get help. It is not normal, both moms and dads, for you to fly off the handle all the time and to scream and yell and “lose your temper”. My step-dad was famous for his self-described “temper problem” which he used instead of his “child abuse problem”. If you cannot control yourself, if you cannot deal with another little human being not being perfect and not complying perfectly to your will and you freak out over this (my step-dad would blame his abusiveness on being “provoked” often by my brother Geoff…which is wrong, Bob is responsible for his own abusive behavior) then you have a major problem and you need professional help. Get it under control or you may end up in jail, you may end up on a blog someday and you will end up with grown kids who are damaged and who will never forget how you hurt them.

The “fruit” of Grace-based Parenting? My kids aren’t sinless perfect angels…they are good kids in general and both are very smart and very confident and very secure. Most importantly, they KNOW and believe they are loved…and they trust me and my wife. They believe me when I tell them, “I love you…I will always love you…and I will never hurt you”. The “fruit” of Old Testament Law-based parenting? Read the statistics…and read this blog and many others who have been abused.

I don’t know if my kids will or will not turn out well. That is ultimately between them and God and I cannot control that outcome. What I can control is how I treat them as their father.

April is Child Abuse Awareness Month…Church, Christians, Calvary Chapel and others…don’t hurt your kids…be a Grace-based Parent as Jesus wants you to be…and spread the word.

 Posted by at 1:08 pm
Apr 012014
 

This is particularly amusing to me because I grew up in Calvary Chapel, am a product of Calvary Chapel…and went to Johnny Mac’s The Master’s College and attended MacArthur’s church over the course of a couple of years.

I don’t really agree with either side doctrinally/theologically…though MacArthur is right about Cessation…CC has no miracles, no real sign gifts, etc…all the stuff I witnessed was pure emotionalism and all fake…but I think this is quite an interesting dust up.

Grabbing my popcorn to watch this one. Doctrine Wars!!!! LOL.

 Posted by at 4:12 pm
Mar 302014
 
Jesse Sawyer arrested for sexually abusing three young girls and taking "selfies" with them...was in Calvary Chapel St. Petersburg's ministerial training program and living on the church property.

Jesse Sawyer arrested for sexually abusing three young girls and taking “selfies” with them…was in Calvary Chapel St. Petersburg’s ministerial training program and living on the church property.

Article from WTSP Channel 10 News

By Tammie Fields, WTSP

Pinellas Park, FL — The manhunt for a man accused of taking pictures of himself sexually abusing several young children is over.

Jesse Sawyer, Jr., 25, is wanted out of Troy, New York where officers there say the sex crimes happened. They got a tip that Sawyer was living on church property at the Calvary Chapel St. Petersburg off U.S. 19.

Pinellas Park police said New York police informed them on Thursday night around 11 that a FBI warrant had been issued for Sawyer for production of child porn.

Sgt Adam Geissenberger from the Pinellas Park Police Department said their officers tracked Sawyer down at the residential facility where he was living in about 10 minutes and they detained him.

“He told us he had no idea what we were talking about. He was very laissez-faire. ‘You know what do you guys want? What can I do for you? Here’s my name. Here’s who I am.’ He made no statements about anything to do with New York,” Sgt. Geissenberger said.

Geissenberger said they detained him for an hour and 42 minutes.

“We didn’t cuff him – he wasn’t seated in the car – [we were having] open dialogue.”

During that time, he said they were trying to confirm the warrant, which is something that’s done electronically. He said they made the request through a computer database asking that someone from the FBI office out of Albany, New York confirm the warrant. He also said they picked up the phone to get help too.

“We made telephone communication. We could not get an actual confirmation on a warrant,” he explained.

Geissenberger said after a reasonable amount of time they had to let him go because they had nothing to charge him with. Then about five minutes later, the confirmation they’d been waiting for came through, but by then Sawyer was long gone and Geissenberger said that’s when police in New York started filling in the gaps about the graphic and disturbing nature of the crimes Sawyer is accused of.

“We received no other information from New York eluding to him being dangerous or the underlying offenses which are now being reported.”

Troy’s Police Department sent out a release that said in part:

“The warrant was faxed to Pinellas Park within an extremely reasonable period of time. It does appear, however, that their decision to release the defendant was premature. “We would hope that Pinellas Park will dedicate their energy to apprehension rather than explanation.”

Late Friday afternoon, Geissenberger said they received information from someone at Calvary Chapel church that Sawyer wanted to turn himself in. Pinellas Park police spotted Sawyer at the Saigon Plaza, a small strip mall, about a mile away from the church where they arrested him.

Still, there are a lot of questions over how Sawyer was able to be so close to children at a church preschool. The church released the following statement to 10 News:

“Earlier this year, Jesse Paul Sawyer began attending Calvary Chapel Saint Petersburg and participating in our residential discipleship ministry. We welcomed Jesse with unconditional love. Because he was participating in our residential program, we checked to determine whether he had a criminal record in Pinellas and surrounding counties, and national sex offender databases. He did not. We were unaware that Jesse was wanted in New York. Had he disclosed that, we would have notified local law enforcement. We want what is best for Jesse. The best right now would involve him turning himself in to law enforcement, so that these pending matters may be addressed.”

On Friday evening, Sawyer was being booked into the Pinellas County jail. He is facing federal charges. Pinellas Park Police say they made contact with Sawyer back in January when they found him sleeping at a vacant building near the church. They say he lied repeatedly about his name. The warrant for his arrest was issued on March 18 of this year.

Link to article and news video here:

http://www.wtsp.com/story/news/local/2014/03/28/pinellas-park-jesse-sawyer/6999673/

Calvary Chapel Abuse Commentary and Opinion:

This should serve as yet another wake-up call to the Calvary Chapel Association.

This f-stick d-bag Sawyer left New York (and I’m going to guess he has some ties to a Calvary Chapel up there, we’ll do some digging) for St. Petersburg and Pinellas Park, Florida after he was being sought for sexually abusing three young girls and taking “selfies” with them.

Sawyer leaves New York in January of this year and ends up in the Calvary Chapel St. Petersburg’s ministerial training program, presumably so he can work with kids.

Calvary Chapel says they did some sort of check on this guy. Their statement says they checked the local arrest records and national sex registry. NOT GOOD ENOUGH!

The Calvary Chapel Association continues to not take child abuse seriously. There needs to be a system-wide emphasis on preventing child abuse both physical and sexual and there needs to be a mandatory set of Child Protection policies in place as part of the Calvary Chapel affiliation/association agreement in the by-laws of each Franchise.

Calvary Chapel makes all sorts of efforts to fight the Culture Wars publicly and all sorts of emphasis on End Times and other sectarian doctrinal issues…but still doesn’t make protecting children…both in teaching and system-wide policy…a priority.

I hope Sawyer didn’t hurt any more kids while he was hiding out at Calvary Chapel St. Petersburg. I hope Calvary Chapel St. Petersburg learns a lesson and vets their ministerial trainees more thoroughly in the future.

 Posted by at 11:41 pm
Mar 282014
 
Calvary Chapel pastor Dave Watson feels the responsibility to lobby against Gay marriage and to pressure an outside organization...yet Calvary Chapel doesn't deal with an accusation one of its Association Calvary Chapel pastors molested his own son.

Calvary Chapel pastor Dave Watson feels the responsibility to lobby against Gay marriage and to pressure an outside organization…yet Calvary Chapel doesn’t deal with an accusation one of its Association Calvary Chapel pastors molested his own son.

Article from Staten Island Advance

By Maura Grunlund/Staten Island Advance 

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. —  A major Christian humanitarian relief organization has reversed its support of gay marriage that initially sent shock waves through the evangelical community on Staten Island and throughout the United States.

Pastor Dave Watson of Calvary Chapel in Mariners Harbor and Pastor Tim McIntyre of Oasis Christian Center in Midland Beach were among the many evangelicals who were dismayed when Director Richard Stearns and World Vision announced on Monday that it would employ Christians who are in same-sex marriages. Both pastors were relieved when World Vision saw gay marriage in a different light on Wednesday.

“This reversal is incredibly positive and speaks volumes to the Christian community at large about our values,” Pastor Watson said. “These values are grounded in all of the teaching of Christ, not just ones that are presently in vogue.”

World Vision, its board and Stearns “have genuinely sought forgiveness from the evangelical community for a mistake they made,” Pastor Watson said. He regards the pro-gay statement as a “lapse of judgment” and the reversal as sincere — rather than, as some critics contend, a reaction to a potential loss of donations from disgruntled evangelicals.

“Going forward, we should look for the fruits of change at World Vision,” Pastor Watson said. “In light of this admission and reversal, there should be an on-going transparency in decision making and consultation with its local church partners.”

“I am thankful that the World Vision board decided to reverse its decision and reaffirm their commitment to biblical principles and the belief that marriage is an institution created by God, between a man and a woman,” Pastor McIntyre said.

“In supporting any Christian organization, I believe it is imperative they make it a priority to proclaim the Christian gospel. World Vision’s earlier decision would have compromised and complicated their ability to do so.”

Stearns told Christianity Today on Wednesday that his organization had reversed its decision because of the backlash from evangelical leaders.

Link to full article here:

http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2014/03/gay_marriage_nod_by_evangelica.html

CalvaryChapelAbuse.com Commentary and Opinion:

Calvary Chapel pastors tell you, “We teach the bible simply! The bible is the absolute truth! The bible is God’s word!”

1 Corinthians 5:12 It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning.

I’ve been told by many Calvary Chapel pastors…including my friend Steve Wright of Calvary Chapel Lake Elsinore…that “it’s not my responsibility” to deal with the sins of other fellow Calvary Chapel pastor Franchise Associates accused by their sons of child abuse and in Paul Grenier’s case an accusation of molestation.

…yet it seems to be the “responsibility” of Calvary Chapel and Calvary Chapel pastors to speak out loudly against Transgender and Gay Marriage…which aren’t hurting anyone inside Calvary Chapel…and are issues largely outside of Calvary Chapel.

Calvary Chapel exerts a lot of time, energy, money, resources and pressure to right their perceived wrongs in our Culture…yet they spend about two seconds telling you why nothing is their responsibility inside their own Church Association and it’s none of their business.

That’s quite an interesting interpretation of what Paul the Apostle states in the bible…so-much-so it begs the question as to whether these CC guys really do believe the bible…because their actions and examples tell a story of a much different belief…the bible is not to be taken seriously as they consistently model. Calvary Chapel picks and chooses its Fundamentalism and Literalism. It’s a very dishonest approach. I’d rather they were honest and just say the bible really doesn’t matter…do whatever you want. Instead they do the worst thing possible…they tell you that you have to live a certain way according to the bible….and then they ignore the parts they don’t like and don’t live by. Very wrong. Embrace the whole thing…or don’t embrace it at all.

True belief is measured in what pastors and Church Organizations/Associations do…not what they say. As such, Calvary Chapel shows us that they are dishonest and that the bible is not to be taken as absolute…you can do whatever you want…despite what it says in some or all areas….just as they practice.

 Posted by at 10:24 am
Mar 272014
 
Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills is fighting the Transgender laws in California.

Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills is fighting the Transgender laws in California.

Article from Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

By Beau Yarbrough,

A group seeking to overturn California’s law allowing transgender students access to programs and facilities based on the gender they identify as, rather than the sex they were born into, is continuing the fight by serving Secretary of State Debra Bowen and other officials, the group announced Tuesday.

“We have served the Secretary of State with another legal action asking her to qualify the referendum and we have served county officials across the state with a demand for the documents to prove the abuse of discretion in rejecting more than 131,000 signatures,” Gina Gleason, director of faith and public policy at Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, wrote in a press release issued Tuesday morning.

Gleason is one of the proponents listed on a proposed referendum that would repeal Assembly Bill 1266, which was signed into law last September by Gov. Jerry Brown, and took effect on Jan. 1.

Opponents say the law will allow curious teens to ogle members of the opposite sex while at their most vulnerable, and for male students to game the system by dominating female sports teams. But officials in school districts where such policies have already been in effect — including Los Angeles and San Francisco unified school districts — have said those issues haven’t emerged in practice.

Chino-based group Privacy For All Students, with Gleason and Calvary Chapel Pastor Jack Hibbs as its most proponent spokespersons, collected signatures during the fall to put the matter before voters as a referendum on the 2014 ballot. An initial random sampling of the signatures showed PFAS came up 22,178 signatures short of the 504,760 signatures required to qualify for the ballot. They did get close enough to force a mandatory manual recount of every signature collected. (The previous sampling effort just looks at 500 signatures or 3 percent of the signatures submitted in each county, whichever was greater.)

But the manual recount also came up short, with officials saying on Feb. 24 that PFAS came 17,276 shy of the mark.

Read the full article here:

http://www.dailynews.com/general-news/20140325/california-transgender-law-opponents-file-suit-against-secretary-of-state

CalvaryChapelAbuse.com Commentary and Opinion:

This article and issue peaks my interest on many levels. I’ll preface my comments by recognizing and affirming that our Current System requires that the populace and the particular Groups who hold competing moral opinions engage in a battle to carve out both “law” and morality. That’s how it works. As such, the Evangelical Christian* has as much right to influence and push for the definition of laws and the definition of morality as any other competing philosophical Group who disagrees.

While “Transgender” proponents take a “civil rights” posture…from a critical thinking perspective it doesn’t appear to be the case. Removing your male anatomy and fashioning the female organ in its place or feeling you are a boy trapped in a girl’s body no more makes you biologically male or female than sharpening your teeth to a point, dying your hair black and wearing a cape makes you a vampire. Except in the case of the hermaphrodite, Science appears to demonstrate either male or female biology, despite the psychological disposition of the particular individual.

Conversely, Transgender should not be a taboo or some sort of lightening rod or target for abuse and bullying by those who disagree morally. While I am highly critical of Evangelicals with regards to other issues, I do not see the Evangelical as wanting to target and bully Transgenders…as is the propaganda coming out of uber-liberal voices like Rachel Maddow and MSDNC.

Both Groups have their right to a moral opinion. The “civil rights” of the Transgender should be protected just like the civil rights of anyone else…with regards to the Bill of Rights. If a Transgender person is threatened with physical violence, they should use their right to pack a gun and protect themselves. If the Transgender person wants to speak out and present their moral opinion…they should have the right to do so.

The reality is that the “law” will be dictated by which Group in the Moral Debate will be able to apply more pressure and influence to write the law. Right now in California, the Pro-Transgender Group is winning that battle. It is not wrong for a church and church leader with a contrary moral opinion to fight against the current law. That’s how the Current System works.

While I disagree with Evangelicals on many issues…and there are many criticisms of the Group that are valid…Evangelicals have the right and responsibility to vote their Conscience and they have only themselves to blame when the issues of Morality and Law are dictated for them by other Groups in their Municipality, State or Nation.

Another issue that piques my interest with this one: Pastors are public figures and Pastors do interject themselves into public moral debate all the time. In the current lawsuit I am in with Bob Grenier of Calvary Chapel Visalia…he is arguing he is not a public figure…and that he has not interjected himself into the public debate about morality and moral issues regarding child abuse or about financial corruption or other similar moral issues. Nothing could be further from the truth (and God hates “liars” and “liars” go to hell according to Bob’s bible).

Grenier fought against Gay Marriage publicly (quoted in the newspaper as well) and he also publicly railroaded Phil Aguilar of Set Free Ministries in a very aggressive campaign alleging child abuse, corruption etc. and was eventually successful in getting Aguilar booted from Visalia. Those are glaring examples of a Pastor interjecting himself into the public discussion of morality. Pastors do it all the time. When they take a stand publicly against a moral and legal issue like Transgender or Gay Marriage or any other similar issue…they are interjecting themselves into the public discussion about morality and holding themselves up as a public figure in that debate. Hibbs demonstrates this dynamic for us with the Transgender fight. I’m not saying it is right or wrong…I am saying it is the action of a Public Figure and not a private person. Regardless, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that private persons have to prove “actual malice” even if they aren’t considered public figures…if the matters under discussion are “in the public interest”…so I guess it’s a pretty moot point after that ruling. Pastors are clearly public figures in most cases…but if the issue is “in the public interest” then they must prove “actual malice” regardless.

A last comment about this one…a guy like Jack Hibbs will get up in arms about Transgender stuff in his State…something that is “outside the church”…yet not a peep from Hibbs about getting his Calvary Chapel Association to require mandatory Child Protection Policies and Financial Transparency in the by-laws of prospective Calvary Chapel affiliate/franchises to become an official Calvary Chapel.

Seems Paul the Apostle and the bible…which Hibbs and other Calvary Chapel guys say we are to interpret “simply”….says this:

1 Corinthians 5:12 It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning.

Just goes to show…there’s nothing “simple” about bible interpretation…always an asterisk and fine-print for why Calvary Chapel pastors have no responsibility and no duty to “judge” their own Church Organization/Association.

 Posted by at 12:00 pm
Mar 272014
 
Former Calvary Chapel youth pastor, Nicholas Henshaw, commits suicide after arrest for child molestation.

Former Calvary Chapel youth pastor, Nicholas Henshaw, commits suicide after arrest for child molestation.

Article appears in Dana Pointe Times

By Andrea Papagianis

A former Dana Point youth minister who was arrested in Colorado last month and charged with the sexual assault of a child committed suicide Monday, according to authorities.

Nicholas Henshaw, 35, of Fort Collins, Colo. was found dead in a Loveland, Colo. hotel Monday morning, confirmed Stephen Hanks, a deputy coroner investigator with the Larimer County coroner’s office, who worked the case. His death has been ruled a suicide.

Henshaw’s body was discovered in a Holiday Inn Express south of Fort Collins. Authorities have determined the cause of death was suffocation by way of asphyxiation with helium, Hanks said.

In February, the former youth minister at Capo Beach Calvary Church, now Capo Beach Church, was charged with one count of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust, Larimer County court records show. Henshaw was accused of molesting an 8-year-old neighbor. The state of Colorado classifies the crime as a felony.

The accused was out of jail on bail. His next court appearance was set for April 4.

Over the last 18 months, Henshaw was the subject of multiple investigations in Larimer County, said criminal investigator Don Vagge with the Fort Collins Police Department. The most recent led to Henshaw’s arrest.

Henshaw was also the subject of an Orange County Sheriff’s Department investigation in the early 2000s.

Officials looked into suspicions that Henshaw committed lewd and lascivious acts with a child, according to OCSD spokesman Lt. Jeff Hallock. The case was presented to the District Attorney’s Office but no charges were filed due to a lack of evidence, Hallock said. No further details were provided.

Link to full news article here:

http://www.danapointtimes.com/former-dana-point-youth-pastor-accused-on-molestation-commits-suicide/

…and here:

http://www.coloradoan.com/article/20140325/NEWS01/303250017

CalvaryChapelAbuse.com Commentary and Opinion:

Sad story. So many kids’ lives affected. I’m torn about the suicide. Part of me is glad Henshaw is dead and will no longer be able to hurt kids…and part of me wishes he’d have gone to prison and got some Prison Justice before he died.

What this story should illustrate is that pedophiles and child molesters seek out positions that put them with kids. Not all youth leaders and youth pastors and youth volunteers and youth helpers are molesters…but all molesters tend to seek out positions as youth workers.

It looks like Henshaw was a Youth Pastor at Calvary Chapel Capo Beach for a couple of years around 2000-2002. I am told by a friend familiar with that church and that situation that once that Calvary Chapel learned that he presented a danger to kids, they canned him….good for them.

Unfortunately, the guy simply moves to another area and molests more kids. There has to be a better way to mark these predators and give the communities they prey on a heads up in the Church System.

At minimum, Churches need to do a better job background checking their youth workers and leaders and not just checking their criminal records…sometimes these guys dodge the law for a long time…but actually calling their previous churches or organizations and asking if there have been any allegations or any investigations regarding child abuse…even if there has yet to be an arrest.

 

 Posted by at 10:15 am
Mar 182014
 
Smith family members are making serious allegations against Brian Brodersen, new top dog at the Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa franchise.

Smith family members are making serious allegations against Brian Brodersen.

UPDATE 4/20/14: Brian Brodersen, who recently took the helm of the very powerful Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa franchise, is having serious allegations leveled against him by other Chuck Smith family members.

Kristyn Brodersen denies the allegations pertaining to Broderen’s alleged conduct toward her and says she and her brother have a good relationship with their parents.

The situation is complicated as motives for the release of the allegations are being questioned by some CC insiders as there is a very nasty family feud boiling just behind the scenes of Brodersen’s Big Happy Calvary Chapel Family PR puff-piece recently in Christianity Today:

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2014/february-web-only/change-calvary-chapel-chuck-smith.html

Sources tell me that Brodersen and the Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa board are threatening a lawsuit against Jeff Smith and The Word For Today franchise. It is reported that Brodersen and CCCM want ownership of the rights to control and use Chuck Smith’s huge library of sermons and teachings and the TWTF radio franchise.

At the moment a board headed by Chuck Smith’s son, Jeff Smith, owns and controls those sermons and teachings and radio properties and a family source close to the situation says that the goal of the current TWTF board is to make Chuck Smith’s audio-radio-teaching library available to the public free of charge online.

Calvary Chapel Abuse Commentary and Opinion:

The allegations against Brodersen by other (multiple) Smith family members are very serious. While motives are being questioned, my personal concern is for the truth regardless of motives. Just because someone doesn’t like someone else or doesn’t agree with someone else does not mean you dismiss the allegations as false. If you applied such a principle then you couldn’t believe any allegations made by most anyone in politics, religion, business etc. The issue is: Are the allegations true or not? In this case, there are two sets of allegations, one is personal to Brodersen’s conduct as the perpetrator, in the other set of allegations it is with regards to Brodersen’s protecting someone he allegedly knew had committed a crime.

What is concerning to me is that I have reached out to Brodersen multiple times now for his side of the story with no response. I publicly ask Brian Brodersen to come forward and give an answer to the allegations before I publish a more detailed and specific article about these issues.

The recent puff-piece in Christianity Today is insulting and an example of the lying that Calvary Chapel leadership engages in on a regular basis. The truth about things and what is really going on behind the scenes is the last thing you’ll ever hear candidly from Calvary Chapel leadership, even though the “bible” seems explicit about God “hating” liars.

To be frank, the Christianity Today interview is about like watching an infomercial or reading a press release from the communist Chinese “official news agency.” The real story going on is intentionally hidden from the money-giving public being solicited for money in the name of Jesus.

A personal note: It is becoming much clearer to me why Chuck Smith didn’t want to touch my personal Calvary Chapel child abuse story with the length of Moses’s staff.

Brodersen and CCCM may decide to sue…that seems to be part of the Calvary Chapel Ethos and DNA and history…but that will not deter me from trying to uncover the truth of these matters and to report on matters of serious public interest.

 Posted by at 10:55 am
Feb 252014
 
Lawsuit in Hawaii seeks to hold Calvary Chapel accountable for what it alleges is defrauding the state out of money for use of state facilities.

Lawsuit in Hawaii seeks to hold Calvary Chapel accountable for what it alleges is defrauding the state out of money for use of state facilities.

The Beat, Hawaii

An amended lawsuit was filed yesterday against two of the Hawaii churches accused of underpaying the state in their use of school facilities.

Local activists Mitch Kahle and Holly Huber, who are realtors suing on behalf of the state, contend that One Love Ministries and Calvary Chapel Central Oahu intentionally deprived public schools of about $1 million in underpaid rental payments and other charges.

Full article here:  http://hawaii.news.blogs.civilbeat.com/post/77439414078/amended-lawsuit-churches-shortchanged-hawaii-schools

According to the article, the plaintiffs are seeking triple damages on behalf of the State of Hawaii, or $3.6 million. The lawsuit alleges that Calvary Chapel used state facilities for much longer than the paid-for periods of time agreed to in contracts.

The original lawsuit was sent back by a judge who requested more detailed information and proof of claims. The now 60-page lawsuit provides a much more detailed account of the allegations with supporting data.

View the amended complaint here: http://www.slideshare.net/civilbeat/2014-0220-filed-1st-amd-complaint-wo-exh

The suit alleges “fraudulent material omissions” and “falsifying records” to defraud the Department of Education out of monies collected for rent and utilities etc.

Another church that was attached to the first version of the lawsuit has settled out of court for $775,000.

CalvaryChapelAbuse.com Commentary:

I’ve reviewed the lawsuit, it is very detailed and gives specifics of dates, times, events and alleges the facilities were in use by Calvary Chapel…but the Plaintiffs could find no record of payment for use during those many specific time periods. 

To cut to the chase, I think Calvary Chapel screwed the pooch on this one and they’re in some big trouble. Read the lawsuit and tell us what you think.

 Posted by at 11:24 am
Feb 132014
 
george bryson

George Bryson is getting kicked out of Calvary Chapel and a church split is imminent according to a CC watchdog. Bryson is pictured during his debate with James White that gained popularity amongst the Reformed Camp for demonstrating the lack of intellectualism in the Calvary Chapel non-denomination.

Michael Newnham, citing an email he says he possesses signed by “Don McClure, Skip Heitzig, Damian Kyle, Brian Brodersen, Wayne Taylor, Ricky Ryan, Raul Ries, Joe Focht, Bob Coy, Bob Caldwell, Jack Hibbs, David Rosales, Malcolm Wild, Jeff Johnson, Bill Stonebraker, Tom Stipe, David Guzik, Ray Bentley, Lloyd Pulley, Sandy Adams and Mike MacIntosh” reports a “split” of Calvary Chapel on his popular Phoenix Preacher blog today.

From the article:

“The Calvary Chapel Association announced this afternoon in an email to their pastors that George Bryson would be starting his own movement and those pastors who decide to join with him will have to change the names of their churches.”

According to Newnham, the email lays out a request for George Bryson of Calvary Chapel Church Planting Mission and rabid anti-Calvinist fame, to get out of the Calvary Chapel Association and to change his name from the officially owned licensing of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa regarding the Calvary Chapel Dove logo and the name “Calvary Chapel.”

While there is no official “split” yet, the email seems to suggest one is imminent to some degree.

In a blog comment connected to the article titled, “Calvary Chapel Splits”….Newnham offers the following he quotes from the email:

“2. The name “Calvary Chapel” is a copyrighted name and is only used by permission. Therefore if a pastor, church or ministry decides to change their affiliation away from the Calvary Chapel Association they must also agree to rename themselves. This is needed in order to prevent possible confusion.
3. Thus, we request that any of the churches that choose to identify with George’s group let us know that you are changing your name and affiliation. And to all of you, we truly pray that the Lord continues to guide and bless you.
For those of you who have been a part of Calvary Chapel for many years, you are aware that we have had some of the churches leave and affiliate with other groups (such as the Vineyard). And through the years many have maintained their affiliation with those groups, but some have asked to return and we have welcomed them back. So if any of you choose to go with George, in love let’s pray God’s best for one another. And if any change their mind later, the door will remain open to renewed association.”

Steve Wright, Calvary Chapel Pastor of CCLE or Calvary Chapel Lake Elsinore, weighs in with this commentary:

“I am curious how many pastors are going with George, if any.

Churches have left CC before, including one of our good friends here at PhxP. But it does not warrant such a letter.

I received all of George’s emails in past months, but have not heard from him or anyone else asking me to join some new movement. Nor have I heard any discussion at any of the local pastor meetings I have recently attended. Sort of hard to really call it a split until multiple churches actually…split.

Frankly, the new CCA has had zero influence on our CC, or the CCs in the area. Not sure who (or why) anyone would want to leave just because of its existence.”

“Mark”, a self-professed long-time Calvary Chapelite in some sort of past Calvary Chapel leadership position (corroborated by Newnham as such) offers this input verbatim, spelling errors and bad grammar and bad punctuation included:

“Anne are your currently attending a Calvary chapel ? If not I’d hesitate to speculate on what Bryson or the few that follow him will b reaching. Despite the description this is not a church split. This is one old timer with little relevance in the current CC taking his ball and going home. Few will follow because by doing so they lose the dove and all the name recognition and attractiveness that brings. ( pause here for vitriolic reaction from RiBo”

We’ll keep you posted as more info comes to light. This is certainly newsworthy and interesting.

Split? No split? Repudiation of George Bryson?

Time will tell.

 Posted by at 12:35 pm
Jan 182014
 
Don't SLAPP. It costs you a lot of Jesus-money.

Don’t SLAPP. It costs you a lot of Jesus-money.

A huge victory for bloggers was handed down on Friday by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Court ruled that “matters of public interest” rise to the same level as public figure status in defamation lawsuits, even if the individual subject is not a public figure.

This ruling makes the threshold for defamation suits involving private individuals the same threshold as public figure status if the matters are “in the public interest” according to the ruling.

In the Calvary Chapel Pastor Bob Grenier lawsuit, this has major implications as the lower court judge already ruled that the matters of child abuse and church abuse, etc. constitute “matters of public interest.”

This is important because the lower court judge appeared to allow a defamation suit by Calvary Chapel Pastor Bob Grenier’s wife to move forward since the judge deemed her a private individual and accepted her claims prima facia.

Now that the Court has ruled that matters “in the public interest” are on par with “public figure” threshold in defamation suits, it is “not likely” that Grenier’s wife would prevail, according to sources, which means the Anti-SLAPP law should apply.

It is the opinion of Calvary Chapel Abuse that the case currently in Appeals was strong without yesterday’s ruling, and now we believe the odds are extremely unlikely that Calvary Chapel Grenier will prevail.

Link to AP article here: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_BLOGGER_DEFAMATION?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2014-01-17-17-59-06

Link to the Court’s opinion here: http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2014/01/17/12-35238.pdf

The burden of proof is on the plaintiffs to prove “actual malice” and “negligence” which according to legal sources:

“In a legal sense, “actual malice” has nothing to do with ill will or disliking someone and wishing him harm. Rather, courts have defined “actual malice” in the defamation context as publishing a statement while either

    • knowing that it is false; or
  • acting with reckless disregard for the statement’s truth or falsity.

It should be noted that the actual malice standard focuses on the defendant’s actual state of mind at the time of publication. Unlike the negligence standard discussed later in this section, the actual malice standard is not measured by what a reasonable person would have published or investigated prior to publication. Instead, the plaintiff must produce clear and convincing evidence that the defendant actually knew the information was false or entertained serious doubts as to the truth of his publication. In making this determination, a court will look for evidence of the defendant’s state of mind at the time of publication and will likely examine the steps he took in researching, editing, and fact checking his work. It is generally not sufficient, however, for a plaintiff to merely show that the defendant didn’t like her, failed to contact her for comment, knew she had denied the information, relied on a single biased source, or failed to correct the statement after publication.

Not surprisingly, this is a very difficult standard for a plaintiff to establish. Indeed, in only a handful of cases over the last decades have plaintiffs been successful in establishing the requisite actual malice to prove defamation.”–Digital Media Law Project.

 Posted by at 11:43 am
Jan 162014
 
  • Do you feel as if you’re unraveling? The good news is God hasn’t abandoned you, he knows (via crucifixion) what it’s like to be undone/torn and is eager to mend/repair.
    Like ·  · Share · Unfollow Post
    • John Luoma Thanks for this today
      10 hours ago · Like · 1
    • Sue Roberts Needed this- thank you
      8 hours ago · Like · 1
    • Sonia Werk Bryan THAT was a much needed word! really blessed by the ministry of calvarySLO!
      5 hours ago · Like · 1
    • Pat Eroh My husband and I met today for lunch – a first in a long time.  It was nice but he said that he felt like he was drifting away from the Lord. I told him that I felt the same way. He said good, that means we can move back to God together. This “unraveling” describes it exactly. I take it that it is more than just me that God was speaking to today, but what is really cool is that it is ME too  Thank you Brian. I’m all of the way over here in Pennsylvania and you let God speak to us through you.
      4 hours ago · Like · 1
    • Alex Joye Grenier Not really, not in my experience, not in your Tribe, my former Tribe. Stuff happens. Sometimes it works out sometimes it doesn’t. It’s random. If you expect much from the “church” and leaders in terms of justice or help etc, good luck LOL. When push comes to shove, it’s pretty arbitrary. The post is typical Christianeze, but it doesn’t really mean anything, not in real life. Love your kids, provide as best you can for your family and then roll with the punches. That’s all you can do. You may get through life w/o much hardship, but most will face injustice, illness, health issues, loss of loved ones, personal tragedy, financial hardships, etc. It’s just life. “God” in whatever form does not really do anything based off of your actions or prayers etc. There is zero correlation. It rains on everyone. If something goes better, it wasn’t b/c you did something or didn’t do something (unless it’s reaping and sowing principle…like you lost 50lbs. and exercised and your health improved). If something doesn’t work out, it’s not b/c you didn’t have enough faith or didn’t pray hard enough etc, sometimes it’s just your turn in life.
    • Alex Joye Grenier …and if you find yourself unraveling, go get some help from someone besides a “pastor” or church. There are trained medical professionals, psychologists, etc, who can provide you with real help.
    • Stephen Lane Proverbs 23… I have been saved
    • Craig Johnson Alex, sorry man. Hope that the Lord heals whatever hurt you experienced using men or method.
    • Alex Joye Grenier Thanks Craig, but I’ve actually gotten a lot of help outside the “church” and see things much more clearly now. Letting go of the cult-like mentality has been very healing.
    • Alex Joye Grenier Honesty and especially intellectual honesty has been very beneficial.
    • Craig Johnson Ok. but remember men are men and God is God. The men part is where the church blows it sometimes. Just dont give up on HIM.
    • Craig Johnson Many people admire Christ but not the christians so much. We need to do better. On behalf of whoever blew it, I’m sorry.
    • Alex Joye Grenier It’s a little of that, but more that Christianity* is really man’s skin put onto “god” in whatever form and is probably not nearly an accurate and certainly not an intellectually honest approach. We simply don’t know and can’t know for sure, yet man has created religion and church and “thus sayeth the Lord!” and it’s really become more of something to defend and apologize for than something that is “good”
    • Alex Joye Grenier ..it’s also become quite a career and quite a business.
    • Alex Joye Grenier Every Group has the leaders who let you down and every Group has injustice be it Christian* or Humanist or Buddhist or whatever. Man is pretty darn consistent and similarly good and bad no matter the philosophical Belief System.
    • Craig Johnson i went back to the word recently when I sorta felt that way. In the gospels I encountered afresh the person of Jesus. It cleared it up for me…
    • Craig Johnson Highly recommend it.
    • Alex Joye Grenier I like the Jesus of most of the Gospel accounts. The “Law of Love” seems to be “good”. The Jesus of the Old Testament, not so much. The Jesus of Revelation, not so much either.
    • Craig Johnson Stay in the gospels. Let him wrap his love around you then go to the rest. Otherwise, fear abounds.
    • Alex Joye Grenier The problem with appealing to the biblical “Jesus” is that you can’t really separate the Jesus who told the Isrealites to kill all the women, children, infants and animals of the Amalekites in the OT, from the “law of love” Jesus in the NT and then the Jesus who comes back on a white horse in Revelation and slaughters his enemies with a sword and then casts them into eternal torture forever.
    • Craig Johnson Get the love first and then you’ll understand the justice. Otherwise its mean and arbitrary.
    • Alex Joye Grenier Please explain. I have received no consistent and good explanation, I’ve even asked Stupar and he didn’t answer, he referred me to books and authors I’ve already read.
    • Alex Joye Grenier How is “love” expressed in torturing your enemies forever with no end? Especially in light of the statement in the Gospels to “love your enemies…as your father in heaven is perfect” by Jesus?
    • Alex Joye Grenier Why is it commanded of us humans to “love your enemies” and if we tortured our enemies it would be considered “not love”….yet God who we are told to emulate tortures his enemies in hell forever?
    • Alex Joye Grenier Justice doesn’t seem to be “love” in that context, especially due to the fact that most of humanity never heard the Gospel message…yet it is presumed they are tortured forever anyway by Christianity*, correct?
    • Craig Johnson Separation from God is not His choice its ours.
    • Alex Joye Grenier Craig, most of humanity never had a real choice, they never heard the Gospel. The Mayans, Indians, Incans, you name it, never heard. Did they have a choice?
    • Alex Joye Grenier How can you be saved if you never heard the Gospel? Are you saying folks can be saved w/o the Gospel?
    • Craig Johnson Thats why Jesus went below to preach the message before ascending. Men are judged on the light received. That is why the end is not yet.
    • Alex Joye Grenier Is it “just” and “love” to torture a human being forever in hell…and he didn’t hear the Gospel and therfore had no choice?
    • Alex Joye Grenier You’re saying Jesus went to hades? Jesus preached the Gospel in hades? People had a second chance after they died?
    • Craig Johnson Thats why it goes to the end of the earth so ALL can choose.
    • Alex Joye Grenier So if you die and never heard the Gospel, you get to hear the Gospel after you’re dead and then make a choice?
    • Craig Johnson Prior to his ascension thats what I’ve been taught.
    • Alex Joye Grenier What about after? Many die today and never heard the Gospel.
    • Craig Johnson Gods perfect justice should reveal that
    • Alex Joye Grenier Closed societies like North Korea don’t hear the Gospel.
    • Alex Joye Grenier There are still tribes in the Amazon that we haven’t discovered, etc.
    • Alex Joye Grenier There are many strict muslim nations where the Gospel is prohibited and many in those nations don’t ever hear the Christian* Gospel and they die with no “choice”
    • Craig Johnson Only God knows the measure of revelation to a given person.
    • Alex Joye Grenier So you are saying it’s possible to be saved without the Gospel?
    • Craig Johnson Dont know. Only say its definite to be saved with it.
    • Alex Joye Grenier Which version? Calvary Chapels? Mormon? Catholic?
    • Alex Joye Grenier Why can I be sure I’m saved by the CC version of the Gospel but not the Mormon version?
    • Craig Johnson Were you LDS?
    • Alex Joye Grenier Nope. But I study their theology as well as many others. I grew up in Calvary Chapel. My step dad is a CC pastor.
    • Alex Joye Grenier I live in Idaho so I have many Mormon friends.
    • Craig Johnson Salvation is a free gift. Works doesnt change that.
    • Alex Joye Grenier I was taught growing up that Mormons were a “cult” but I find Calvary Chapel to be more of a cult if Mormon’s are a cult according to CC.
    • Craig Johnson Evangelical versus I can do enough to be good enough…
    • Alex Joye Grenier So there’s nothing I have to do to be saved? Don’t I have to hear and respond to the Gospel affirmatively? Isn’t that a work?
    • Craig Johnson Mormons, JW and SOME Catholics think that its merit based
    • Alex Joye Grenier If I live my life and demonstrate no good works, am I saved? Sounds like antinomianism.
    • Alex Joye Grenier Mormons dont’ really believe that, not when you examine it closer. Mormons are actually a lot like Calvary Chapel.
    • Craig Johnson If I bring you a piece of pizza and you say thanks is that work? Dude stop. Go get things worked out with your Dad.
    • Alex Joye Grenier Mormons believe it is faith and grace that saves you, and that good works validate that saving faith.
    • Alex Joye Grenier Things are worked out with my Dad.
    • Craig Johnson Ok. Whats Joe got to add to the book?
    • Alex Joye Grenier My Dad is not a CC pastor, my step dad is.
    • Alex Joye Grenier I don’t understand your last question
    • Craig Johnson The book of Mormon. What are the rest of us missing?
    • Craig Johnson Revelation finished the show
    • Alex Joye Grenier The book of mormon is no more or less provable or disprovable than the bible.
    • Alex Joye Grenier “Revelation finished the show” how do you know?
    • Alex Joye Grenier Because a Council convened by Roman Emperor Constantine, the founder of the Roman Catholic Church, told you so?
    • Craig Johnson After revelation what was there to add? And why?
    • Alex Joye Grenier Well, as a CC you are probably Dispensationalist. You are also probably in agreement with Progressive Revelation (w/o knowing it).
    • Craig Johnson Im actually part of a differnt cult haha.
    • Alex Joye Grenier When preachers get a “word from God!” they are essentially saying “God told me this!” and they are interpreting the bible and then telling you what it really says. That is as much a book of mormon as anything.
    • Craig Johnson A word has to line up with scripture or forget it
    • Craig Johnson Canonized scripture reigns
    • Alex Joye Grenier That’s about as subjective as it comes. There are 9,000 to 30,000 different Christian* denominations and they all have vastly different takes on much of the scripture and “what it says!”
    • Alex Joye Grenier “Canonized” scripture. RCC Canon? EO Canon? Ethiopian Canon?
    • Alex Joye Grenier Which translation? There’s a ton of them and there are real differences in meaning on many verses depending on which one you choose…
    • Craig Johnson Seems like you are either are arguing for the sake of it or looking for an excuse for rebellion. I’d say both. Do you believe in the Spirit of God. Ask Him for truth. If you dont, you have no guide…
    • Craig Johnson Seems like your head is full. Congratulations. Now go down 12 inches and see what that says. Fill it up. Semantics wont matter so much…God Bless buddy!
    • Alex Joye Grenier There are just some real issues with your evangelical belief system and instead of being intellectually honest, as I stated above, it becomes about defending and apologizing.
    • Craig Johnson God is questioned in the head but found in the heart. Open your heart to Him and challenge Him to reveal truth.
    • Alex Joye Grenier I have and do and I think I have a lot more truth today than before.
    • Craig Johnson He will. he loves you. Good night.
    • Alex Joye Grenier He has and if he or it exists he loves you too and probably everyone else and he or it probably won’t torture anyone forever with no end.
        • Mike Richard Edwards Alex I was a Mormon for 10 years from age 14 through 24. I was married in the Los Angeles temple, did my genealogy, paid my tithing, attended a gazillion meetings, stored food, kept my yard clean and a myriad other practices designed to either perfect…See More
        • Alex Joye Grenier Mike, same dynamic in CC. Your position before “god” is determined by whether or not you are “abiding” as Chuck Smith called it and “under the spout” and “walking in the Spirit” etc. Different buzz words, same dynamic.
        • Alex Joye Grenier “Religious systems are only as good as their reflection of God’s word. mormons and other isms, not content with the words of the Bible, as spoken, just change or add to the content when it disagrees with their preconceived notions.” Chuck Smith taught a doctrine of the resurrection that contradicts the historically orthodox Christian* teaching on the subject.
        • Alex Joye Grenier The fact is that “interpretation” and “this is what the bible really says!” is as much the book of mormon as anything. Chuck had some pretty unorthodox and even some heretical doctrines and teachings and certainly some heterodox teachings compared to the historical faith.
        • Craig Johnson Mike that was awesome. Wrap that up in a nice bow!
        • Alex Joye Grenier As I stated, Chuck made up stuff that he says he heard from ‘god’ etc. Similar to Joseph.
        • Mike Richard Edwards Not familiar with Chuck Smith’s teaching on the resurrection, nor do I subscribe to every Calvary Chapel tennant. Although it has been a few years since we attended a Calvary Chapel, one thing that keeps Calvary chapel out of the cult realm in my mind…See More
        • Alex Joye Grenier Chuck Smith taught that we get spirit-bodies which is different than the literal resurrection of the flesh that is considered orthodox Christian* belief.
        • Mike Richard Edwards As far as the security of the believer goes, that has been a topic debated among Christians for 2000 years–cults do not allow such debate
        • Alex Joye Grenier The End Time emphasis and “rapture” is also heterodox and was the prime teaching of CC.
        • Craig Johnson So Alex let’s get down to what do you actually believe?
        • Alex Joye Grenier Mormons then are not a cult and I was taught they were growing up in CC. I have many discussions both online and in person with Mormons and they are very pleasant to talk to about a range of issues.
        • Alex Joye Grenier I believe that Absolute/Objective vs. Relative/Subjective Truth and Authority drives people’s Philosophical Belief Systems, a.k.a. Religion.
        • Mike Richard Edwards Mike Richard Edwards I have heard Chuck Smith and Don Stewart speculate on things like the resurrection, but I have never heard them put their opinions as carrying the weight of scripture. The reality is that we do not really know what happens after we die–spirit body? Soul sleep? Don’t know
        • Alex Joye Grenier I believe in filtering everything through Conscience and Reason to determine what is true.
        • Craig Johnson Again Alex that’s intellectual mumbo jumbo what do you think is the truth?
        • Alex Joye Grenier I believe that it is more probable that God “is” than God is not.
        • Alex Joye Grenier I’m getting there Craig, I’m starting from the beginning
        • Craig Johnson That’s a great start my friend
        • Craig Johnson Erase the rest then embrace the best
        • Alex Joye Grenier I believe that the bible contains many truths but is not infallible and inerrant and perfect. I do not believe the bible is God. I believe the bible is “inspired” but it has verifiable mistakes and contradictions etc that are easily self-evident.
        • Alex Joye Grenier I believe that the Ideal of most of the Gospel accounts of Jesus is “good” and I believe that if Jesus did in fact walk the earth and did in fact resurrect etc then he is the messiah, though I cannot prove it empirically.
        • Craig Johnson I wasn’t there either but my spirit tells me it’s fact
        • Alex Joye Grenier I believe that “love your neighbor” is “good” and I believe that “kill the Amalekite women, children and infants” is “evil”
        • Alex Joye Grenier I believe that commanding a people through law to execute their rebellious children with stones is “evil” and that feeding the hungry, helping the orphan and widow is “good”
        • Mike Richard Edwards “Mormons then are not a cult and I was taught they were growing up in CC. I have many discussions both online and in person with Mormons and they are very pleasant to talk to about a range of issues.” Being pleasant is a good thing, but does not move …See More
        • Alex Joye Grenier Mike, my point about that is that you stated that CC isn’t a cult b/c you could discuss things and disagree etc. Same as my experience with Mormons.
        • Mike Richard Edwards You can disagree with them because you are a possible convert. Once you have been in the church the requirements get steeper and steeper. I’m not making this up–I lived it.
        • Alex Joye Grenier I know all about the “odd” stuff Mike. I’ve had as frank of discussions as you can imagine…and Mormons are not monolithic, many believe some of the stuff and not some of the stuff.
        • Mike Richard Edwards Alex, most Mormons do not comprehend their own religion. what odd stuff do you know about?
        • Alex Joye Grenier Ya, I’m sure there is some truth to that, just as there are similar things in Calvary Chapel that I experienced. I was told my Lutheran best friend wasn’t saved and went to a dead church and that he wasn’t saved etc.
        • Mike Richard Edwards Did you know about the temple rites? where they are taught hand signals to get into heaven and promise to have their throat slit and to be disemboweled if they divulge any temple secrets. It just goes on and on
        • Alex Joye Grenier Celestial, Telestial, Terrestial and outer darkness.
        • Alex Joye Grenier Planet Kolob though that is a fringe issue now.
        • Alex Joye Grenier That we are eternal spirits and that this existence here on earth is like a test for us, etc.
        • Mike Richard Edwards Alex I appreciate your honesty, but if you are going to be a good skeptic you shouldn’t push a point that has little backing.
        • Alex Joye Grenier They have a more literal view of the Godhead. They actually take it literally that Jesus is God’s only begotten son etc. and they use the word Godhead instead othe extra-bibical man-made word “trinity”
        • Alex Joye Grenier Mike, I didn’t say I believed it, I was articulating some of the stuff I’ve learned from their Belief System that I found odd compared to CC.
        • Mike Richard Edwards Now the problems with the Bible like the destruction of the Amalekites–to me that is a vaid question
        • Craig Johnson What if the Amalekites had revelation about the God of Israel and chose to reject him and fight him and hated his people. What they deserve lollipops?
        • Alex Joye Grenier Genocide is considered universally “evil” and there is a real moral/ethical dilemma presented if you assert that “god” commanded the israelites to kill all the women, children, infants and animals. That would be considered “evil” and wrong in any context if you or I gave that order.
        • Craig Johnson As the people moved across the land they were known to fight by attacking the elderly the feeble and the children. Again lollipops?
        • Alex Joye Grenier Doesn’t matter. From a moral/ethical standpoint you are forced to call it “good” since God gave the order and it isn’t “good” by an universally acceptable definition of the term “good”
        • Alex Joye Grenier My guess is “god” didn’t tell the israelites to kill all the women, children and infants, even though the bible says so.
        • Craig Johnson Sounds like you think you have the definition of good clearly defined no offense intended but who are you to say what’s good?
        • Craig Johnson Where did your road map come from philosopher’s?
        • Mike Richard Edwards Let’s talk about the Amorites. they too were given a death sentence. They were given 400 years to repent of their practices of child sacrifice and before having them wiped out God said of them, “the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” Is it possible that the sins of a society can become so systemic that nothing short of complete destruction can rid the world of their influence?
        • Mike Richard Edwards America is exporting abortion and pornography. What will come of us when our iniquity is complete?
        • Craig Johnson Where did your concept of Good and Evil come from a supreme God what or the primordial ooze?
        • Alex Joye Grenier Levitical law, supposedly commanded by God to Moses to tell the Israelites: “As for your male and female slaves whom you may have: you may buy male and female slaves from among the nations that are around you. You may also buy from among the strangers …See More
        • Mike Richard Edwards Only God has the right over life or death. Only God has the right to kill or make alive. None of us will live forever and not one of us has the capacity to sovereignly see the end from the beginning
        • Alex Joye Grenier Craig, my Reason and Conscience tell me stuff is “good” and “evil”…just like you stated above you said to “ask him for truth”…well that’s what my Conscience tells me.
        • Alex Joye Grenier So, you are asserting that God can be evil but we can’t. God can do whatever he wants and it’s “good” no matter what, but if we emulate God, as we are told to do, and commit Genocide, then we are evil?
        • Alex Joye Grenier If God commanded Genocide and it’s “good” how come Hitler was “evil”?
        • Alex Joye Grenier One standard for God, another for Hitler?
        • Alex Joye Grenier The evangelical and “literal interpretation” and “bible is inerrant and infallible!” position makes God out to be evil which is self-evident if you read the whole bible and not just the 25% that most evangelical churches teach out of.
        • Alex Joye Grenier “God” if he or it is truly “good” and truly “love” cannot have commanded Genocide and things like executing unruly children with stones and telling you you could own slaves as personal property and that you could beat them as long as you didn’t kill them etc.
        • Alex Joye Grenier Those are some of the inconvenient truths about the CC and evangelical soup. It is what it is. It has caused me to be much more liberal theologically, much more.
 Posted by at 11:16 pm
Jan 082014
 
Social Media Campaign to address Calvary Chapel Church abuses.

Social Media Campaign to address Calvary Chapel Church abuses.

Thank you to all of you who have shown/given support to our efforts to bring reforms to the Calvary Chapel System of Churches and/or to warn the public about the often-untold other side of the Calvary Chapel Story.

In that ongoing effort, here is a particular tactic we can do together:

Calvary Chapels are located in cities all over the United States. Each city has a set of online social media feedback/review outlets like Topix, Google reviews, Yelp, and even facebook pages about the local area.

We’re going to leverage those to get the word out. Here’s how:

1. Create a Topix post and write a brief paragraph about Calvary Chapel abuses in general, warning the public that there have been well-documented problems/abuses/corruption in the Calvary Chapel System and to make sure to do your research before committing and trusting a particular Calvary Chapel franchise. Not all Calvary Chapels are the same, despite the claims they make of “Affiliation” and “Association”. Then simply copy and paste a link to the CalvaryChapelAbuse.com website. Use the link to the main page, as individual page links are too long and don’t work on Topix. Copy and paste this into your post:

http://www.calvarychapelabuse.com

2. Write Google reviews for the particular Calvary Chapel franchises, but simply discuss what your experience has been in the Calvary Chapel System and what your concerns are with Calvary Chapel as a whole and point them to articles on this site or to the main page and ask them to do their research and due diligence before committing to a Calvary Chapel franchise, because not all Calvary Chapels are safe places and the dangers in Calvary Chapel that are well-documented in the public record are often hidden from Calvary Chapel non-member members and prospective non-members.

3. Write Yelp reviews similar to the Google reviews and point folks to the Calvary Chapel Abuse website for more information and warn them that not all Calvary Chapels are the same and there have been many issues of abuse and corruption in the Calvary Chapel System and that there are not mandatory protections in place in the Affiliation/Association Agreements that each CC Franchisee has with Calvary Chapel. Ask them to do their due diligence and know the whole Calvary Chapel story, not just the CC Sales Pitch.

4. Link Calvary Chapel Abuse articles on your facebook page and share the articles with friends. Link CC Abuse articles on other facebook pages you “like” and get the word out in your area or anywhere you can.

All of this does important things: It creates broader awareness to the problems in Calvary Chapel and warns people (which arms them with both sides of the CC Story, not just the PR sales pitch), it raises awareness and puts pressure on the Calvary Chapel System to clean up its act and is in itself a form of much needed accountability, and it drives traffic to this website/blog and moves up the ranks in the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and causes us to climb the list of “Most popular blogs” by the analytics used to rank blogs. Currently, CC Abuse is now ranked in the Top 100 most popular Christian blogs in the US by the site metrics used to rank such (using Alexa rankings). We are rapidly climbing. We have over 6 MILLION hits in over 3 years and the traffic is picking up.

Let’s keep making noise. Let’s keep pushing. It’s how things get done in our current System. We have power. Let’s use it.

Here’s an example of a Topix discussion thread with link to the Calvary Chapel Abuse website:

http://www.topix.com/forum/san-diego/TCQN5SBP6MIDVU6B8

 Posted by at 10:26 am
Jan 032014
 
Calvary Chapel Pastor Rob McCoy of Thousand Oaks California is set to run for a State Assembly seat as a Republican.

Calvary Chapel Pastor Rob McCoy of Thousand Oaks California is set to run for a State Assembly seat as a Republican.

Reprinted in part from The Acorn

By Kyle Jorrey
tonewstip@theacorn.com

A Thousand Oaks pastor with close ties to the Republican Party says he plans to file the paperwork necessary to seek office in California’s 44th Assembly District.

Rob McCoy, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Thousand Oaks, told The Acorn that he will run as a Republican for the seat currently held by Jeff Gorell. Gorell is stepping down to run for U.S. Congress against U.S. Rep. Julia Brownley.

The 44th District includes most of Ventura County and Westlake Village in L.A. County.

A virtual unknown to many voters, McCoy leads a congregation of approximately 700, more than seven times the size of the parish he came to in 2001. But he’s a political neophyte.

“I want to prove to Sacramento and to the rest of the state that you can have a regular citizen go and operate the government the way it was intended to be, by the citizenry and not by professional politicians,” McCoy said.

“I want to change the paradigm and the dynamic of the California Assembly, and I’m going to do it one person at a time.”

Full article from The Acorn here: http://www.theacorn.com/news/2014-01-02/Community/Pastor_turns_political_in_44th_District.html

COMMENTARY FROM CALVARYCHAPELABUSE.COM: Calvary Chapel Abuse would like to know where Calvary Chapel Pastor Rob McCoy, soon to be California State Assembly Republican Candidate McCoy stands on the issues of Child Protection Policies, Child Abuse, Financial Transparency and how to deal with accused Child Molesters in his Calvary Chapel Association?

Currently Calvary Chapel Association does not require Child Protection Policies, many Calvary Chapels teach what the State of California legally defines as Child Abuse (see Calvary Chapel Jonesboro’s teachings here):

http://www.calvarychapeljonesboro.org/3/category/corporal%20punishment/1.html

Calvary Chapel does not require Open Finances. Calvary Chapel pastors often collect hundreds of thousands of dollars and sometimes millions of dollars “in the name of Jesus” and most of the money is spent on Pastor’s salaries, perks, benefits, buildings, travel, staff, overhead etc. with very little to zero of the monies going to actually help local folks in a charitable way. Closed finances and financial opacity are the norm in the Calvary Chapel Association.

The CalvaryChapelAssociation.com website documents the facts about “Affiliation/Association” and the agreement/contract required to be an official Calvary Chapel franchise. It also articulates an overall Leadership Council as well as Regional Leadership/Oversight teams.

Link here: http://calvarychapelassociation.com/national-international-regional-leadership/

Currently, Calvary Chapel Pastor and Candidate Rob McCoy has a fellow official “Calvary Chapel Affiliate/Associate” in California, in the form of Bob Grenier of Calvary Chapel Visalia, who is currently accused of not only physical Child Abuse but also Sexual Abuse by his blood son, Paul Grenier, also of California. See Paul Grenier’s graphic testimony in court documents here:

http://thewartburgwatch.com/tww2/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/P.-Grenier-Declaration-iso-SMTS-text.pdf

We think Candidate Rob McCoy needs to weigh in on these issues. Can he be trusted to be a State Government official? What are his stances on Child Abuse in the Church? What are his stances on Financial Accountability?

 Posted by at 11:23 am
Jan 012014
 
The New Year brings an opportunity for the Calvary Chapel Association to make some much needed changes.

The New Year brings an opportunity for the Calvary Chapel Association to make some much needed changes.

Another year, another opportunity for the Calvary Chapel Association / non-denomination denomination to implement some much needed things as part of its Affiliation/Association Agreement to become an “official” Calvary Chapel.

Here’s what we propose: Implement the following things into the Calvary Chapel Affiliation/Association Agreement as mandatory By-Laws and we’ll close down this blog.

1. Require mandatory Child Protections and Policy similar to Calvary Chapel Lebanon Oregon’s here: http://lebanoncalvarychapel.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Lebanon-Calvary-Chapel-Child-Proctection-Policy.pdf

2. Open finances. Require at least an annual report available to church-goers and potential church-goers that shows how much money the particular CC franchise collects in Jesus-money and where the money goes. Pretty simple. “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to hide” according to a CC pastor who spoke at last year’s CC Senior Pastor’s Conference. Make it priority, not just not being a Calvinist.

3. Grievance policy. Require a By-Law that articulates a Grievance policy for church-goers who find themselves having a beef with the Calvary Chapel Senior Pastor. If the person can’t get some satisfaction, there needs to be some other person or entity they can appeal to. These people are human beings and often have given a lot of their time and money and invested in relationships at the particular Calvary Chapel franchise. It’s wrong that their only recourse when they find themselves on the wrong side of a very human very fallible CC Pastor is “there’s the door!” Some sort of Christian* Mediation provision would be a suggestion: http://www.peacemaker.net/site/c.aqKFLTOBIpH/b.958123/k.CB70/Home.htm

Pretty simple stuff that should have been done long ago. There is an Affiliation/Association Agreement to become an “official” Calvary Chapel that gets to use the licensed name and dove logo and claim Affiliation. There is a Calvary Chapel Association website that defines who these “official” Calvary Chapels are…and it will even help you locate them. There is a Standard to be a legit CC…but the current Standard does not include the very important items listed above.

Our goal is to create a Page on the blog for every single Calvary Chapel Associate on the Calvary Chapel Association website. The Page will include a warning about the other side of the Calvary Chapel story and explain the current non-accountability in the System as there are no mandated checks-and-balances in the CC Affiliation/Association Agreement. This means one Calvary Chapel franchise can be a relatively safe church with good by-laws and good child protections, open finances etc….while another Calvary Chapel has no protections in place and can actually teach its congregation to abuse their children citing Taliban-like Old Testament passages that tell you to beat your kids into heaven.

CalvaryChapelAbuse.com is currently ranked using Alexa.com metrics as what would be the #132 most popular Christian* blog in the nation (and rapidly climbing the more active we are). We have over 6 million hits, according to the internal analytics traffic tracker, in three years. Our ranking will climb tremendously this year with a renewed effort.

I personally plan on hammering away on Calvary Chapel until the day I croak, unless or until some real changes are made or the whole thing disbands into a million pieces and is truly “100% independent” instead of the lie that was propagated by Chuck Smith and is still being propagated now thanks to fear of loss of money to lawyers and lawsuits due to denominational accountability. This denomination when it suits you and not a denomination when it comes to accountability in your System of Churches is total bullshit and you CC guys know it.

Fix it to some degree. It won’t solve the world’s problems, but it will be a hell of a lot better than what you’ve got now and will do something to address the problems and abuses in Calvary Chapel.

There’s no good reason not to do it, other than pride and something to hide.

 Posted by at 10:15 pm
Jan 012014
 
Robert Furrow, senior pastor of the Calvary Chapel Tucson franchise. Calvary Chapel Tucson just purchased an FM radio station for $75,000.

Robert Furrow, senior pastor of the Calvary Chapel Tucson franchise. Calvary Chapel Tucson just purchased an FM radio station for $75,000.

Calvary Chapel Tucson, Inc. just bought an Air1 FM radio station from Educational Media Foundation (EMF) for $75,000 according to a report out by AllAccess.com.

Robert Furrow is the senior pastor of the Calvary Chapel Tucson franchise.

The call letters are KAIC in Tucson, Arizona.

Buying up radio stations seems to be a common practice and part of the Calvary Chapel blueprint. Chuck Smith (now deceased) and Jeff Smith amassed a multi-million dollar radio empire along with Mike Kestler previously of Calvary Chapel Twin Falls…before they had a fallout and engaged in some bitter lawsuits that ended up splitting the estimated $250 million dollar empire with Kestler agreeing to give up his Calvary Chapel Affiliation/Association as part of the settlement.

“Chuck Smith alleges, among other things, that Kestler misappropriated millions of dollars in listener contributions and engaged in sexual misconduct with numerous women. Kestler has filed suits of his own that contend that Jeff Smith took donations intended for Calvary Satellite Network.”–Free Republic.

Link to Los Angeles Times article about the Chuck Smith, Jeff Smith and Mike Kestler Calvary Chapel lawsuits here: http://articles.latimes.com/2007/feb/28/local/me-calvary28

Link to news brief here that documents Calvary Chapel Tucson radio station purchase: http://www.allaccess.com/net-news/archive/story/125461/emf-sells-tucson-fm

 Posted by at 3:12 am
Dec 272013
 
Those damn Voices are at it again! "God spoke to me!" says a Pastor...err, but I thought if you really do hear voices it's called Schizophrenia? Not in Christian-land, LOL.

Those damn Voices are at it again! “God spoke to me!” says a Pastor…err, but I thought if you really do hear voices it’s called Schizophrenia? Not in Christian-land, LOL.

Here’s what the Voices are saying. I will warn you, they are heavily influenced by over-eating and way too much sugar from the Christmas carnage!

1. Nothing like watching the History Channel to remind you of how contrived our current American “Christmas” is, LOL. It’s a Tradition built upon the imagination of poets, songwriters, artists and advertising agencies pulling from Dutch and Catholic and pagan lore…thrown in a rhetorical blender…and out comes the American Christmas Santa soup! Mmmm, delicious!

Christians* will tout “the real meaning of the Season!” while participating with the unwashed heathen headlong in a consumeristic orgy of our own imagination.

Well, it’s fun. I love it. What a great holiday. Even the “War on Christmas” is part of its charm.

What a great example of the Yin and Yang of human existence. Greed, consumerism, philosophical disagreement, lies, mythology, sales hype, manufactured insecurity to sell more crap from China and make Wall Street richer, a time for family to disown each other or irritate the heck out of each other…and a time for family and friends to gather, show their love and appreciation for one another, a time of charity, a time to watch children in their innocence with such anticipation and glee, a time for many of faith to gather and celebrate their belief in the day’s religious significance. Truly the two sides of our human existence expressed in one gloriously pulp-human endeavor we collectively call “Christmas.”

Merry Christmas*! Let’s do it again next year!!!

2. Christmas*, ironically, is a big part of our current Economic System…in fact, it affects the whole World. The United States is the leading World Economy (for now, until China passes us in the next decade or two)…and a whopping 70% of the growth of the U.S. Economy is based on American Consumerism. That’s right, 70% of the growth of the U.S. Economy is dependent on Consumer Spending.

What may surprise you is that despite what the bible may say about Greed etc, Consumer Spending is the reason the U.S. is the number one economy in the World and the reason we have avoided another Great Depression (to date). According to Robert Shiller, nobel prize economist, in a New York Times article discussing how the U.S. and World will dodge another major financial crisis, Shiller offers this insight:

“For now, we must pin our hopes for a robust recovery on the willingness of millions of consumers to spend substantially more.”–Robert Shiller, Nobel Prize winning Economist.

That’s right! Spend more money you don’t have on stuff you don’t need and the Economy will be fine! Welcome to ‘Merica and our Current Economic System. Praise Jesus, get out of my way, I’m goin’ to Wal-Mart!

Our Federal Reserve and Government (both Bush and Obama) are fully on board and driving this dynamic. Debt/Creditism is the “cure” for whatever ills our Economy has. Prop up Wall Street, the Housing Market and Auto Market through unprecedented QE (Quantitative Easing) at the rate of $75 Billion a month, keep interest rates artificially low at Zero Percent (ZIRP) and perpetually increase the U.S. Debt Ceiling…basically just get a credit increase on the credit card each month rather than paying the bill (borrow the money you need to make the monthly payment to others, definition of a Ponzi Scheme…”illegal” for you and me, but not our collective Government System).

Give ‘Mericans more easy money to spend. Hey, it works*. Give a ‘Merican a dollar (and some credit) and he’ll spend three. Debt doesn’t matter…until it does.

The U.S. Economy (and defacto the World Economy) is built on piles and piles and piles of mind-numbing Debt and Credit. Currently, the United States is over $17 TRILLION in Debt and counting. We must raise the Debt Ceiling again this February to avoid yet another Default and Government shutdown. All the propaganda about “we’re decreasing the Deficit!” is a lie. Merely slowing the rate of increase is not a decrease, unless you’re a low information voter and idiot. We’ll never actually decrease the Deficit again. We can’t. We’ll keep taking on more and more Debt and Deficit to continue to drive this fake-economy built on Consumerism and Debtism/Creditism…until the next major crisis…until we blow up the Current System.

The U.S. Debt Clock is quite an amazing tool to see the insanity in action: http://www.usdebtclock.org/

What’s of particular interest to me that many will miss: The Shadow Banking System has now amassed a fuk-ishima amount of Currency/Credit Derivatives of over $713 TRILLION. You can’t even fathom how much that number is. It’s telling of how fake our Current System is…it’s all built on everyone looking the other way and playing along. When someone blinks, it’s Game Over.

But, hey, party on! It’s not a Problem if we all just keep spending! I’m doing my part, are you?

Eat, drink and be merry…for tomorrow we die.

3. Don’t put men on pedestals. Chris Peterson, recent Boise State Football Coach, went to the Washington Huskies for more money and a better chance to win a National Title. Peterson’s a great character guy…but he’s not the messiah some in Boise made him out to be. When push comes to shove, humans will do what’s best for them. Coach Pete is a Rock Star and Boise couldn’t deliver the Big Stage.

4. Christians* are an interesting subsection of Society. The Duck Dynasty Phil Robertson controversy illustrates the Power this Group has…when they decide to fully exercise it. Our Society and Culture and Government Construct is largely powered by Special Interest and the ability for a particular Group to fund, organize, make noise, disrupt, apply pressure and influence Business, which in turn influences Government. Smaller more vocal more focused and motivated Groups like the Gay Rights Movement demonstrate how to make the System work for you. Christians*, all their warts aside, have a huge amount of untapped Power…but fortunately for the smaller more motivated more politically savvy Groups who oppose them…Christians* is stupid and unmotivated…unless you f**k with the Duck, LOL.

Christians*…if you want to move the pieces around the board in our System in a more effective manner, you need to become more Pragmatic and you need to study up. Instead of wasting your time reading Ken Ham’s pseudo-science and listening to endless Prophecy Wonks get it wrong on who the next Anti-Christ is…may I suggest you read up on Social Movement Theory, the science of Social Movements, Political Theory and learn from those who have been successful in disrupting the status quo and effecting major shifts in our Socio-Political Landscape: Saul Alinsky, the Civil Rights Movement, Gay Rights Movement, etc.

You have the Power to define Morality and Consensus (to a large degree)…that’s how it works in our System. You are to blame for the ills you perceive in American Society with regards to Socio-Political issues. There is no reason, with the vast numbers and resource you possess, that you shouldn’t be able to shape America the way you want it, like the other much smaller Groups have.

Personally, I appreciate our Constitution and the Bill of Rights…and I exercise those rights and use them to help influence the Public Discussion on a range of issues that are important to me. Hey, just keep “leaving it to the Lord!”…the rest of us appreciate it, we’ll make the stuff happen while you complain about how your particular views and opinions continue to erode.

5. “We teach the whole counsel of God!” has got to be one of the biggest lies and pieces of propaganda perpetuated by Christian* Selective Fundamentalism. I was a part of Calvary Chapel for many years, as well as several other Evangelical churches. They teach out of about 25% of the bible, if that, and they trot out the same carefully controlled pick-and-choose narratives over and over and over. Repetition is a key part of indoctrination.

My eyes were quite opened when, years ago, I actually read the whole bible over and over myself. You’d be surprised what’s in there. The stuff doesn’t fit in a tidy little Box constructed by one of the 9,000 to 30,000 Christian* denominations. Sunday School would be a far different experience if the Christians* were more honest about the “whole counsel” of God as presented by the bible itself.

I missed this particular passage in Sunday School…and in the big services, I wonder why?

Judges 19

English Standard Version (ESV)

A Levite and His Concubine

19 In those days, when there was no king in Israel, a certain Levite was sojourning in the remote parts of the hill country of Ephraim, who took to himself a concubine from Bethlehem in Judah. 2 And his concubine was unfaithful to[a] him, and she went away from him to her father’s house at Bethlehem in Judah, and was there some four months. 3 Then her husband arose and went after her, to speak kindly to her and bring her back. He had with him his servant and a couple of donkeys. And she brought him into her father’s house. And when the girl’s father saw him, he came with joy to meet him. 4 And his father-in-law, the girl’s father, made him stay, and he remained with him three days. So they ate and drank and spent the night there.5 And on the fourth day they arose early in the morning, and he prepared to go, but the girl’s father said to his son-in-law,“Strengthen your heart with a morsel of bread, and after that you may go.” 6 So the two of them sat and ate and drank together. And the girl’s father said to the man, “Be pleased to spend the night, and let your heart be merry.” 7 And when the man rose up to go, his father-in-law pressed him, till he spent the night there again. 8 And on the fifth day he arose early in the morning to depart. And the girl’s father said, “Strengthen your heart and wait until the day declines.” So they ate, both of them. 9 And when the man and his concubine and his servant rose up to depart, his father-in-law, the girl’s father, said to him, “Behold, now the day has waned toward evening. Please, spend the night. Behold, the day draws to its close. Lodge here and let your heart be merry, and tomorrow you shall arise early in the morning for your journey, and go home.”

10 But the man would not spend the night. He rose up and departed and arrived opposite Jebus (that is, Jerusalem). He had with him a couple of saddled donkeys, and his concubine was with him. 11 When they were near Jebus, the day was nearly over, and the servant said to his master, “Come now, let us turn aside to this city of the Jebusites and spend the night in it.”12 And his master said to him, “We will not turn aside into the city of foreigners, who do not belong to the people of Israel, but we will pass on to Gibeah.” 13 And he said to his young man, “Come and let us draw near to one of these places and spend the night at Gibeah or at Ramah.” 14 So they passed on and went their way. And the sun went down on them near Gibeah, which belongs to Benjamin, 15 and they turned aside there, to go in and spend the night at Gibeah. And he went in and sat down in the open square of the city, for no one took them into his house to spend the night.

16 And behold, an old man was coming from his work in the field at evening. The man was from the hill country of Ephraim, and he was sojourning in Gibeah. The men of the place were Benjaminites. 17 And he lifted up his eyes and saw the traveler in the open square of the city. And the old man said, “Where are you going? And where do you come from?” 18 And he said to him, “We are passing from Bethlehem in Judah to the remote parts of the hill country of Ephraim, from which I come. I went to Bethlehem in Judah, and I am going to the house of the Lord,[b] but no one has taken me into his house. 19 We have straw and feed for our donkeys, with bread and wine for me and your female servant and the young man with your servants. There is no lack of anything.” 20 And the old man said, “Peace be to you; I will care for all your wants. Only, do not spend the night in the square.” 21 So he brought him into his house and gave the donkeys feed. And they washed their feet, and ate and drank.

Gibeah’s Crime

22 As they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, worthless fellows, surrounded the house, beating on the door. And they said to the old man, the master of the house, “Bring out the man who came into your house, that we may know him.” 23 And the man, the master of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my brothers, do not act so wickedly; since this man has come into my house, do not do this vile thing. 24 Behold, here are my virgin daughter and his concubine. Let me bring them out now. Violate them and do with them what seems good to you, but against this man do not do this outrageous thing.” 25 But the men would not listen to him. So the man seized his concubine and made her go out to them. And they knew her and abused her all night until the morning. And as the dawn began to break, they let her go.26 And as morning appeared, the woman came and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her master was, until it was light.

27 And her master rose up in the morning, and when he opened the doors of the house and went out to go on his way, behold, there was his concubine lying at the door of the house, with her hands on the threshold. 28 He said to her, “Get up, let us be going.” But there was no answer. Then he put her on the donkey, and the man rose up and went away to his home.29 And when he entered his house, he took a knife, and taking hold of his concubine he divided her, limb by limb, into twelve pieces, and sent her throughout all the territory of Israel. 30 And all who saw it said, “Such a thing has never happened or been seen from the day that the people of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt until this day; consider it, take counsel, and speak.”

 Posted by at 11:17 am
Dec 262013
 
Chuck Smith and Joseph Smith, two men who claimed to be "specially anointed by God" and started their own Christian Denominations.

Chuck Smith and Joseph Smith, two men who claimed to be “specially anointed by God” and started their own Christian Denominations. Chuck Smith, in a Pastor’s Perspective radio show, said it is possible many Mormons are born again Christians.

[Article originally appeared on the Christian Post and is authored by Alex Joye Grenier. It was one of the most-read and most-liked blog articles for that time period and was linked on the front page for a period of time.]

Are Mormons Christians, in the context of being “saved” as defined by the Evangelical Church? You know, “real” Christians…like “born again” Christians, “saved” from the eternal weenie roast in the bowels of hell?

Chuck Smith, founder of Calvary Chapel, says some Mormons are Christians on his radio program, “Pastor’s Perspective” (see link and transcript below).

Full disclosure: I live in Idaho, I’m surrounded by Mormons. I have many Mormon friends and have had lengthy discussions with several about their Belief System, Theology, Doctrine etc. I am all Mormoned up on not only the basics, but also much of the nuance of Mormonism. Ironically, much of their Eschatology sounds a lot like many of my Pre-Trib Rapture Dispie friends…but I digress.

For the first time in U.S. history, we have a bonified Mormon with a very legitimate shot at being the President of the United States. We have an Evangelical Community that is quickly embracing Mormons as much closer to the Tent of Evangelicalism than ever before in our history. We have Glenn Beck, a Mormon, super popular among a large swath of Fundamentalist Bible Thumpers.

The Strict Sola Scriptura “you are saved by your correct doctrine” Fundie in me cringes…yet the more open-minded liberal “spiritual” side of me is open to the possiblity that many Mormons are in fact just as “saved” as any Evangelical and that there is common ground in the person and Messiah who is Jesus Christ.

Where is the line? Evangelicalism has 30,000+ denominations with all sorts of nuance and differences. Many pew-sitters have very little clue about the Apostle’s Creeds or what is considered a “correct” orthodox Christian theology or set of doctrinal positions. Heck, what does “correct” even mean? Ask a Lutheran, a Calvary Chapel guy, a Weslyan Methodist, a Fundie Southern Baptist, a Johnny Mac Reformed Dispie, a hard-core 50 point Calvinist, a rolling in the aisles Charismatic and an incense burning contemplative Chuck Smith Jr. / Len Sweet-ite what “correct” is…and you’ll get a PILE of different answers. Are we “saved” by “correct” doctrine? Or are we “saved” by Faith in Jesus Christ? Tricky answer…and many would argue that to have the “correct” Jesus, one must have “correct” doctrine. A rather impossible task, as much of “correctness” is not a disagreement with Scripture, but a disagreement in a Group of man’s specific interpretation of Scripture (which isn’t necessarily Scripture, it’s an interpretation).

The question has grown larger in recent months and as I survey the Evangelical Landscape, I see that my favorite Evangelical Guru has weighed in on this question…are Mormons “real” Christians?

While I am often critical of Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel for ignoring abuses and tolerating corruption in their non-denomination denomination, as a Calvary Chapel PK (pastor’s kid) and one who has spent more time in a CC than any other denom in my life on this physical rock, I am still very interested to see where he and Calvary Chapel weigh in.

I have argued in the past that I have Mormon friends who I believe are Christian. This shocks some of my Evangelical friends…and many in Calvary Chapel.

So what does Papa Chuck say about the issue?

K-WAVE Pastor’s Perspective Radio Program Transcript – November 9, 2011:

http://www.kwve.com/podcasts/Pastor’s Perspective 11_09_11.m4a

Recorded live at Calvary Chapel Pacific Coast

Begin at minute 36:07

Don Stewart: Alright this is gonna be a fun one here, to Cheyenne Wyoming, we have Alexa on the line. Hi Alexa welcome to the program. Hello there, ya there with us Alexa?

Alexa: Yeh!

Don Stewart: Hi you’re on the air, go ahead sweetie.

Alexa: My aunt Valerie doesn’t really know the book of Mormon, so will she still go to hell?

Don Stewart: Ok good question. Ok, Alexa’s got an aunt, Chuck, who is a Mormon and wants to know if uh the Mormon will go to heaven.

Chuck Smith: It all depends on their relationship with Jesus Christ, and there are a lot of good Mormons who do believe in Jesus and I believe they’ll be in heaven, uh but uh you know we can’t do it on our own righteousness or our own works, we have to depend on Jesus for our entrance into heaven.”

What say you? Are Mormon churches full of “real” Christians? Is it possible that many are Evangelical “saved”? Is Chuck Smith smoking crack?

Personally, I hope Chuck is right…and I think he is.

 Posted by at 1:50 pm
Dec 242013
 
galaxy m64

Black Eye Galaxy M64. There are Absolute Truths in our Universe, the trick is that most of human truth, in practical terms, is Relative (especially Morals/Ethics), because we simply lack the ability to observe and to correctly understand the complex Universe around us.

My Literalist, Biblical Inerrantist, “Bible is God, every jot and tittle” Christian* Fundamentalist friends have the Truth!

My New Atheist, Strict Empirical Science and Reason, “Richard Dawkins is God” friends have the Truth!

The bible proves it cannot be a Moral/Ethical or reasonable Absolute…and even Richard Dawkins (see his debate with Rowan Williams) has to assent to the fact that he cannot, necessarily, disprove the existence of a “God” (in whatever form).

Who’s right? The Truth probably lies somewhere between the Extremes.

A core of my personal Belief System based off of Conscience and Reason applied to the very limited information we have available about our existence, our Universe and spirituality or metaphysics is this: Everything, every “Truth” we each believe boils down to this dynamic:

Absolute/Objective vs. Relative/Subjective Truth and Authority.

Truth, in human terms, is based off of our perception…our experience…our ability to correctly understand. Truth, in Absolute terms, is waiting to be observed, and once observed, waiting to be correctly understood as what it really truly is in its entirety.

The Earth was flat, until we experienced and correctly understood that it wasn’t. Hearing voices was demon possession, until we experienced and correctly understood it was chemical imbalances in the brain (Schizophrenia). Owning slaves was not immoral and a commonly accepted cultural norm throughout many human societies in history (including the bible), until our collective Conscience evolved and we correctly understood it as immoral.

Despite our many advances, our vision is still blurry and many would disagree with the previous statements as fact (though there is probably Universal Consensus that the Earth is in fact round…but there might be a few Christian* friends who still disagree :-) ). This illustrates the reality that nearly all of our truth is individual in nature and more our perception of what we believe is true, without our ability to correctly understand the limited information we have available to us.

Christians* will claim Absolute Truth via the bible, but then disprove their claim by Relativizing large portions of it. New Atheists aren’t as rigid, but do similar when they cross over from Scientific Observation into Philosophical Conclusion.

Tell me what you believe is Authoritative (to you) in measuring what is true and what is not, and I can predict what you believe (what your Philosophical Belief System includes).

If you believe the bible is the source for all truth and that the bible is an Absolute Authority, if you believe a particular Guru or Sect of Christianity* is Authoritative in their particular interpretation of what the bible says to be true and if you believe observations made by Science and Reason are suspect and tools of the devil to trick humans, then I can predict what you believe, nearly to a “t”.

Conversely, if you believe the bible is a collection of myths written by an ancient and barbaric people and was not inspired by some unseen Force in any manner, if you believe that Science and Reason are the sole Authority for what is true and real in our Universe, and if you believe that only that which you can see, taste, touch, test with your senses, verify and repeat (i.e. Empiricism) is true and real, and that anything that is not detectible within those Authorities is invalid…and if you follow a particular set of Philosophical Gurus and/or Scientists (think a Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Stephen Hawking, etc.) then I can predict what you believe, nearly to a “t” as well.

Of course there are some variables and some nuance and humans tend to hold inconsistent beliefs despite their professed following of a particular set of Authorities (that “they” deem as Authoritative). We see this in spades among Selective Fundamentalist Christians* who pick and choose which bible verses to be militant and rigid about and which ones to discard as “well that’s not for today” or “that’s not what it really means”, etc.

In the Science/Reason Only Camp, we see similar inconsistencies in professed belief systems as many quickly venture outside of the stern rigors of Science headlong into the wide open spaces of Philosophy…but still maintain (intellectually dishonestly) that they are still within the realm of some sort of certainty Philosophically.

In essence, then, while I can predict your beliefs based on what you view as Authoritative, I can also observe many inconsistencies in your professed Belief System because most, in the extremes, have swallowed whole some very contradictory Presuppositions.

The Christian* Fundamentalist: The bible is unchanging and Absolute. The New Atheist: There is, necessarily, no “God” because I can’t see him/her/it.

Let’s define some terms:

Absolute/Objective Truth: Something that is true and valid for all peoples, in all times, in all cultures…it is a Universal truth. It is a permanent fact no matter who experiences it. Gravity is an example of an Absolute/Objective truth that all human beings know and understand as true in their existence and reality.

Relative/Subjective Truth: Something that is true depending on cultural context, biological makeup, a particular period in history. It is not a permanent or Universal truth as it may be perceived by one human being in one cultural or period differently than another. It is a truth that might be experienced differently by one biological makeup differently than another in their existence and reality. Slavery is wrong is an example of a Relative/Subjective Truth. In our culture today, Slavery is immoral and wrong (and illegal). In Roman times, Slavery was legal and a common practice and even the bible tacitly endorsed it in the New Testament. In the Old Testament the bible permitted Slavery by Levitical Law here:

Leviticus 25:44-46 As for your male and female slaves whom you may have: you may buy male and female slaves from among the nations that are around you. You may also buy from among the strangers who sojourn with you and their clans that are with you, who have been born in your land, and they may be your property. You may bequeath them to your sons after you to inherit as a possession forever. You may make slaves of them, but over your brothers the people of Israel you shall not rule, one over another ruthlessly.

New Atheists accept Truth as largely Relative as Science is continuing to discover our Universe through constantly improving lenses that change what we believe to be true today vs. what we believed to be true yesterday. We can see atoms today, yesterday we couldn’t. Our truth changed…but in the Relative sense only. Atoms are an Absolute Truth, we just now have the ability to see them and perceive them differently and more correctly than before.

Morals/Ethics for all Groups swim in the ocean of Relative Truth, while there are Realities in our Universe, Multi-verse, Existence…that are Absolute Truth…we just cannot perceive them and understand them correctly at this point in linear time.

Theoretical Physicists are prophesying the world of the unseen. Quantum Physicists have observed some limited Absolute Truth that is amazing. An electron can be in two places at the same time. There are likely other dimensions all around us, a potential Absolute Truth…that we can prove mathematically, that we can faintly observe…but we can yet perceive fully and understand correctly.

Bible Literalists’ claim of bible Absolutism in all areas is false because of the fact that much of the Moral/Ethical codes that were true as prescribed by the same bible for one set of human beings (the Hebrews/Israelites) in the Old Testament is no longer true for the rest of humanity (according to the same bible) today. The Moral/Ethical permission to own slaves, sex slaves, have multiple wives, execute unruly children with stones, execute women with stones, sell your daughter into slavery, etc. in the Old Testament…and even some of the commands in the New Testament (women cover your heads, women don’t speak in church, etc.)…have changed for today, argued by the same Bible Literalists who practice a belief much differently than that prescribed by the Old Testament and even much of the New Testament. Their truth changed (and continues to change, depending on the next book or sermon by a particular Guru whose views and interpretations often change and evolve over the course of their lives).

The bible may be Absolute in the sense it asserts a Deity or God or Force…that we have simply yet to observe/discover with our physical senses and correctly understand…but the bible proves itself Relative in most other areas that it asserts. This is the reason there are 9,000 to 30,000 different Christian* denominations and Main Line Sects. If the bible were truly 100% Absolute Truth…there would be one correct interpretation, like Mathematics. The bible may be Universally true in some areas regarding Morals/Ethics (despite the many other Relative Truths that have changed). “Love Your Neighbor” and “Law of Love” seem to be truths that the collective Conscience of many of today’s Peoples agree…but in 1,000 years, the Zeitgeist of that particular future day could revert back to a more barbaric Moral/Ethical Consensus, or we could progress to a more Hippie/Gahndi Jesus Consensus. Man’s history seems to suggest we’ll be perceived as barbaric today by mankind a thousand years from now and they will have found new ways to rationalize their own barbarism (i.e. our Current Culture’s widespread Abortion).

Science will continue to discover the complexity and wonder of the reality of our Universe and Multi-verse. Our vision will continue to improve slightly…to the point that our New Atheist friends may become less certain in their “No God, No Way!” thesis. Our Fundamentalist Christian* friends may come to understand that the Earth isn’t flat.

The Truth is we don’t know much, neither Group…and the more we discover, the more both Groups seem to be partially right and partially wrong.

The Truth probably lies somewhere in between the Extremes.

 Posted by at 5:53 am
Dec 232013
 
Calvary Chapel Abuse explores two examples in Calvary Chapel Land as it results to Child Abuse and Kids: One very bad example and one very good example.

Calvary Chapel Abuse explores two examples in Calvary Chapel Land as it relates to Child Abuse and Kids: One very bad example and one very good example.

Calvary Chapel can be the Wild West with little to no accountability from the Parent Calvary Chapel Association…and there is very little standardization with regards to best-practices protecting children along with proper teachings on legal non-abusive discipline.

The Calvary Chapel Association (formerly CCOF) does not mandate a set of standards in the official Calvary Chapel Affiliation Agreement…the agreement is required to be an “official” Calvary Chapel and be a part of the Calvary Chapel system of churches.

Nothing illustrates the divergence and inconsistency (and danger) more than the tale of these two Calvary Chapels: Calvary Chapel Jonesboro, Arkansas and Calvary Chapel Lebanon, Oregon.

Let’s first examine how bad the teaching and rhetoric in Calvary Chapel can be since there is zero standard outside of a pledge of loyalty to Chuck Smith’s brand and general views on End Times and biblical inerrancy.

In doing some research on both the good and the bad in Calvary Chapel regarding Child Protections, Child Abuse, etc…I came across one egregious example of dangerous teaching that clearly stood out above the rest…though this was essentially what was taught and believed and practiced by my step-dad Calvary Chapel Pastor and I am personally aware that this view is held by many a Calvary Chapel.

Pastor John Lawrence’s Calvary Chapel Jonesboro, Arkansas franchise teaches this on his website and his Calvary Chapel:

“The Biblical Case for Physical and Corporal Punishment – Proverbs 20:30
07/06/2012

Stripes that wound scour away evil, And strokes reach the innermost parts. Proverbs 20:30

Physical punishment . . . here is a topic that brings out the most strident opposition in a lot of people. When it refers to children some call it child abuse – and when it comes to the punishment of those who break the law the phrase “cruel and unusual punishment” is used. So what exactly is God’s take on the idea of corporal punishment and some kind of physical response to disobedience and criminal activity?

There are two levels to understand this Proverb – that of the physical and the responsibility of parents and the state – and a purely spiritual level and how it relates to our growth in a relationship with the Lord. I’ll begin with what is being addressed most clearly here – which is the response of parents and governing officials to disobedience and crime.

Our justice system has turned away from the biblical view of crime and punishment. We try to rehabilitate criminals without thought that they need to acknowledge that they’ve stepped over a very serious line in their behavior. The results are not encouraging at all. We have overcrowded jails and prisons where repeat offenders abound. We’ve gotten to the point where we have more people interested in the rights of the criminals than in the rights of those they infringed upon with their godless behavior. Our prisons therefore have revolving doors on them – and with the present focus, there are few who are rehabilitated while incarcerated. Put our current record next to one of a modern state that practices physical punishment for a crime.

Several years ago a young American citizen was arrested from a crime in one of these states. He was convicted and sentenced to a caning. People in the United States, especially among liberals, went ballistic. Yet the facts should be viewed without all the hysteria. Their crime rates are much lower than ours. What they see currently and have seen in the past is that truly stripes and strokes do scour away evil in the heart. They do reach the innermost parts of a person. They are a very powerful deterrent to crime and disobedience.

The spiritual level is little different. God disciplines those He loves and, according to Hebrews 12, He scourges every son He accepts. How does God deal with His own children? He disciplines them with scourgings – stripes and strokes that scour away the evil of our hearts and make us think twice about being disobedient again. We are fallen beings and have a sad tendency to ignore God and His commandments and turn instead to what our flesh cries out for constantly. The way God deals with this is to bring us into discipline. Anyone who has ever experienced this discipline knows that it is stern but loving. There is no doubt that God loves us when He disciplines us – but He is dead serious about it too. He knows what is at stake – and is wanting to deter us from walking in rebellion and sin. These things will hurt us – and in some cases even destroy us – therefore He takes it very seriously a trip to the proverbial spiritual woodshed. But do not ever be mistaken . . . God does these things because He loves us. The same should be said for parents and for a society that crafts effective physical punsihments for those who break the law.

Physical punishment and corporal punishment may be unpopular with the liberal elements of our society – but in all honesty, they are wrong. Yes there need to be limits put in place – there needs to be a humane way to practice the death penalty – and there should be wisdom in a parents administration of discipline. Yet there also should be a full acknowledgement that the sinful nature of man will not respond to a call to reform alone. It is in the best interests of a family – and indeed a society to practice physical and corporal punishment. How do we know? The Word of God informs us.”–Calvary Chapel Jonesboro, Arkansas

In another article, this Calvary Chapel defines what the “Rod” to beat your child with may look like, according to the Old Testament:

“What is the “Rod” and Why Should We Use it? – Proverbs 29:15
11/21/2012

The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother. Proverbs 29:15

I find it an interesting thing to listen to the “child-rearing” experts argue in our day. I include in this those who speak for and against the idea of spanking or corporal punishment for a child. This proverb answers both groups with wisdom. Let me address both groups with what is taught in this passage.

First, let me address those who say that any kind of spanking is wrong. Some even assert that this is child abuse. This runs up against the Scriptures which here teach us that we are to use the rod and reproof with a child to train them up in the way that they should go. Note it says the rod and reproof. The reason I draw your attention to this is because is lists both. There are some who assert that the “rod” is meant to be the rod of one’s mouth – or – their words. That doesn’t work for two reasons. First of all the rod of our mouth is as least a stretch for how the Scriptures address this instrument that is used for the purpose of punishment and instruction.

This rod was usually either a stalk of bamboo that was cut into a two to three foot long rod. There were also small limbs of trees (usually of a flexible type) that were stripped of all other branches and used for the purpose of administering discipline. The other problem is that there are other passages in Proverbs that speak of striking the child with the rod. It is foreign to the Scriptures to have a child-rearing discipline that is without the use of corporal punishment.

It was used to administer a controlled amount of pain to be associated with disobedience to deter a child from continuing in a type of behavior. It was not ever meant to be abusive or excessive – it was meant to be instrtuctive. This is where many who “spank” need to be addressed by this passage as well.

Unfortunately there are some who represent “spanking’ as the administering of rod – and that alone. I’ve heard some adults say things like this, “My parents beat me – and that was good enough for me.” This gives the impression that all that is done is spanking. That is foreign to the Bible too. Note that the passage says the rod and reproof are used. This means that not only is corporal punishment used – but instruction as well. The child is taught that certain behaviors are not appropriate. They are wrong – and as such are foolish. If we spank “only” and do not take the time to instruct our children – they will grow up wanting to avoid “bad behavior” because of an aversion to the pain it may cause – but they do not understand anything except to avoid the pain. There is a higher purpose behind good parenting under God.

The important thing to note here is that the rod and reproof give wisdom. The purpose here is for a child to learn to be wise. Too often any form of parental discipline is done because children are annoying and interrupting a parent. That is NOT good child-rearing! We want to teach our children to be wise as they learn to view all things from God’s perspective (the basic definition of wisdom). They are “spanked’ to help turn them from foolish, sinful, wicked behavior. But as they are disciplined – they are pointed to God’s way, which is infinitely superior. And even as discipline is applied they need to be taught the gospel. Oh that we would not miss this vital thing in discipling our chidlren.

All things point to the gospel of Jesus Christ. As we rear them to be good kids – we must not see this as the end because we can NEVER make them good enough to stand before God. That is why as we are instructing them to obey our commandments, we must teach them that God’s commandments and Law are infinitely higher and MUST be obeyed. We must instruct them that their disobedience to us is proof that they are sinful and fallen. This helps them to see that their sinfulness is ultimately against God, Whom they have chosen to disobey. Disobedience to us must be punished, but there is a much higher punishment for disobedience to God’s Law. Even in discipline we show them mercy, love, and grace – so that they can see that even greater is God’s mercy, love and grace shown in the gospel. Then let them know the most important truth. Tell them that there is One Who came to pay the ultimate price of their disobedience before God. That One is Jesus Christ Who died on the cross to pay the price of their rebellion and make them right with God. Oh, dear parents – even in discipline we need to point to the gospel!

Tomorrow, I’ll finish commenting on this particular proverb. The reason for this is that I do not want to casually glance over the shot fired across the bow of motherhood here. God is not beating up on mothers with what He says. Much to the contrary – He is speaking of their importance. More on that tomorrow. It is my hope that what today’s proverb has taught you is the importance of fighting the right battle when it comes to corporal punishment of children. Some want to make it all about spanking or not spanking. God does not place the importance of what He is saying here about such things. He is seeking to have godly parents focus on teaching and training their children to be wise. He wants the foolishness of a fallen child to be countered – first by the discipline of parents – and then ultimately by the gospel.”

These teachings encourage folks in this Calvary Chapel to violate State and Federal Laws. “Caning” is not to be admired and is an extremely violent act on adults…imagine it being done to children…yet this Calvary Chapel pastor admires it and promotes it as something to be emulated.

This is not to be admired, especially in the context of teaching your Calvary Chapel congregation how to discipline their children. Invoking and admiring the “caning” that other barbaric Islamic fundamentalist cultures do is irresponsible and dangerous when you are addressing the issue of proper and Jesus-like child discipline.

Link to more teachings from Calvary Chapel Jonesboro on how to beat your kids that they say the bible teaches you to do from the Old Testament: http://www.calvarychapeljonesboro.org/3/category/corporal%20punishment/1.html

Clergy are mandatory reporters, so are those who work with children in a Sunday School environment. If you see this teaching lead to child abuse, you are required to report it to authorities in Arkansas immediately. We will be informing Arkansas officials of this particular Calvary Chapel’s teachings as well as the Calvary Chapel Association, Brian Brodersen of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and the “Deep South Oversight Team” Leader, Pastor Sandy Adams (according to the CalvaryChapelAssociation.com website here: http://calvarychapelassociation.com/regions-original/ccadeepsouthregion/

This teaching leads to child abuse and gives child abusers scriptural support to abuse their children…in the name of Jesus of course.

This Old Testament mindset is dangerous. The Taliban and Islamic Fundamentalists of today very much model a similar attitude to both women and children. There’s another part of the bible…and it’s just to the right of the Old Testament teachings that tell you to execute women and children with stones and to beat your children with rods and leave stripes and scours…it’s called the New Testament. I suggest you live in that side of the bible, as you should end up in jail if you act out this bad pastor’s teaching on child discipline.

To Calvary Chapel Jonesboro’s assertion that “caning” and physical violence toward children will somehow cure the ills of American society and reduce America’s prison population: The data and statistics and evidence proves that violence breeds more violence. Beating your kids into submission can damage them psychologically as well.

Here are the facts according to government data, including the U.S. Department of Justice statistics:

About 30% of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children, continuing the horrible cycle of abuse.

In at least one study, about 80% of 21 year olds that were abused as children met criteria for at least one psychological disorder.

14% of all men in prison and 36% of women in prison in the USA were abused as children, about twice the frequency seen in the general population. 

Children who experience child abuse & neglect are about 9 times more likely to become involved in criminal activity.

Beating your children with rods is barbaric and teaches violence. It does not do what Calvary Chapel Jonesboro promises to do and it is no more “Godly” than stoning your unruly children to death as prescribed by the Old Testament here:

Deuteronomy 21:18 If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and, though they discipline him, will not listen to them, 19 then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, 20 and they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ 21 Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. So you shall purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

Parents, don’t beat your kids with rods leaving stripes and scours (wounds) which are against the law and often don’t foster a spirit of love and grace that the Jesus of the New Testament taught us: “I give you a new law…love your enemies…as your father in heaven is perfect”–Jesus Christ.

The days of the Old Testament Law and barbarism are not for today. You don’t keep the Torah. You don’t have multiple wives, concubines and slaves. Beating your kids with rods is not “good” and it’s not going to force them to be a good Christian*. What it will do is hurt them, sometimes irreparably…physically, emotionally and spiritually…and it might land you in jail (and should if you get caught or someone around you has the guts to report you).

I am a living example of the scars of child abuse. So are my brothers. I raise my kids through Grace-based parenting…much like I imagine the good Jesus of the Gospels deals with you and me. “Forgive 70 times 7″…”Love your Neighbor”…”Servant of All”…”Do not provoke your children to wrath”…Jesus models the loving father and Paul the Apostle forbids provoking your children. From personal experience, discipling your children without violence bears much better fruit…it builds trust and builds relationship without beating down the precious will of the child and confusing them at a vulnerable and formative stage in their life.

There is no magic parenting pill that guarantees your kids will turn out perfect. Kids are human beings with individual wills and souls and it is not our job to play God with them and force them into our particular “perfect” behavior or attitude or belief etc. As a parent our jobs are to provide for our kids, to protect our kids and to love our kids. Discipline is necessary for the good of the child, but violence is not the answer.

You can’t beat Jesus into your kids…but you can sure beat Jesus out of them.

Kids out there, if you happen to read this and you’re being abuse…I will help you. You aren’t alone. It may seem hopeless to you. You may feel confused because you think that the beatings you receive are your fault and that God is telling your parents to hurt you for Jesus. It’s not true. What your parents are doing isn’t right. Your parents are wrong. If they are telling you that if you tell someone you’ll be taken away and put in foster homes etc, there is some truth to that, but many times there are other family members or other better non-violent Christian* families who will step in and help. In fact, another adult confronting your parents may stop the abuse without you having to leave your family unit once your parents are properly dealt with and monitored and learn to parent differently.

If you need help, email me at agrenier7 at gmail dot com. I know what it’s like, I’m here to help you.

On the other end of the spectrum, Calvary Chapel Lebanon, Oregon gives us a great example of solid Child Protection Policies that promote a responsible and safe child ministry environment. These are some of the best “best practices” and official policy that we’ve seen in the Calvary Chapel system of churches.

Not only is the Policy thorough and responsible, it is also available publicly on their website which is a great deterrent for child predators and child abusers who are seeking a church community to exploit.

It’s like a big warning sign that reads, “Child Abuse is not tolerated here and Child Abusers may be forgiven of their sins by Jesus, but they aren’t allowed to work with our kids.”

Calvary Chapel Lebanon’s policy is very thorough. It screens all those who will work with kids at their Calvary Chapel in any capacity and screenings are for both paid staff and volunteers.

Background checks are done on all workers and if a worker doesn’t submit to the process, they are disqualified from working with kids.

From the Child Protection Policy:

What constitutes a disqualifying offense that will keep an individual from working with children will be determined by Lebanon Calvary Chapel on a case-by-case basis in light of all the surrounding circumstances. Generally, convictions for an offense involving children and/or for offenses involving violence, dishonesty, illegal substances, indecency and any conduct contrary to our mission will preclude someone from being permitted to work with children. Failure to disclose a criminal conviction on the application form will also be a disqualifying event. The background check authorization form and results will be maintained in confidence on file at the Lebanon Calvary Chapel Office.

In addition to these responsible measures is a “Two Adult” rule that provides for more accountability so one adult doesn’t have access to kids alone.

The policy also defines Child Abuse properly and requires Mandatory Reporting of the following:

For purposes of this policy, “child abuse” is any action (or lack of action) which endangers or harms a child’s physical, psychological or emotional health and development. Child abuse occurs in different ways and includes the following:  

Physical abuse – any physical injury to a child which is not accidental, such as beating, shaking, burns, and biting. 

Emotional abuse – emotional injury when the child is not nurtured or provided with love and security, such as an environment of constant criticism, belittling and persistent teasing. 

Sexual abuse – any sexual activity between a child and an adult or between a child and another child at least four years older than the victim, including activities such as fondling, exhibitionism, intercourse, incest, and pornography. 

Neglect – depriving a child of their essential needs, such as adequate food, water, shelter, and medical care.

Having been abused as a child, I am aware of the harmful effects that things like physical injury from beatings, emotional abuse and exhibitionism can cause. Calvary Chapel Lebanon does a great job defining what is “abuse” and articulating that it will be looked for and dealt with properly at their Calvary Chapel. This is the way Child Abuse should be defined in the Calvary Chapel system of churches and this Child Protection Policy should be the Norm and not the Exception.

Pastor Tom Sanderbrink, well done sir. Calvary Chapel Lebanon family, well done.

Link to the Calvary Chapel Lebanon, Oregon Child Protection Policy here: http://lebanoncalvarychapel.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Lebanon-Calvary-Chapel-Child-Proctection-Policy.pdf

Calvary Chapel Association, you have a Problem. You need to deal with the Calvary Chapels like Jonesboro, Arkansas and you need to require Child Protection Policies similar to that of Calvary Chapel Lebanon, Oregon as a condition in the Affiliation Agreement to become an “official” Calvary Chapel.

Sandy Adam, “Oversight Leader” of the Deep South for Calvary Chapel, you have some work to do with regards to Jonesboro. We’ll be monitoring your progress closely and we expect to see some changes soon.

 Posted by at 5:55 am
Dec 202013
 
Judge rules temporary dismissal in Calvary Chapel fraud lawsuit, plaintiff's attorney says they will refile.

Judge rules temporary dismissal in Calvary Chapel fraud lawsuit, plaintiff’s attorney says they will refile.

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – One Love Ministries and the Calvary Chapel Central Oahu are two of the five churches accused of shorting schools more than $5.6 million in rent and fees. Today those two churches asked for the case to be dismissed. The judge agreed but gave plaintiffs 45 days rewrite their complaint and add more specifics proving fraud.

“We’re happy that the court did dismiss the complaint. If the plaintiffs do come back again and re-file we’ll ask for it to be dismissed again,” said Erik Stanley, Alliance Defending Freedom Attorney, representing the two churches.

“If you think about it, what has been the result here? We are just going to put more detail into the public record. How that advances the churches cause I’m not sure,” said Jim Bickerton, Attorney for Plaintiff’s Mitch Kahle and Holly Huber.

The crux of the case comes down to “use.” The accusation is churches will hold their Sunday service but they’ll set up and take down for hours before and after and not pay for that time even though no one else can use the facilities. The court wants more detail proving those claims.

“One of the problems is that we alleged that the churches as a group were all doing this which they are but we didn’t specify which church was doing what. We listed all the things they were doing, we listed all the churches that were doing it, and the judge wants us to connect that so each church is connected to a particular activity and to a particular false statement so it’s very clear who is on first and who’s on second,” said Bickerton. “The focus of our case is you put down two hours but you were there for five or seven hours. That’s the guts of the case.”

Full article here: http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/24267875/lawsuit-accusing-churches-of-fraud-temporarily-dismissed?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

 Posted by at 6:46 pm
Dec 202013
 
Scott (Douglas Scott Ruvolo), a recent track coach at Calvary Chapel High School, arrested recently for videotaping women undressing. District Attorney asks the public for more information.

Scott (Douglas Scott Ruvolo), a recent track coach at Calvary Chapel High School, arrested recently for videotaping women undressing. District Attorney asks the public for more information.

Orange County District Attorney Press Release

For Immediate Release, Case # 13WM09562: October 25, 2013

LAW ENFORCEMENT SEEKS PUBLIC’S HELP IDENTIFIYING POTENTIAL ADDITIONAL VICTIMS OF FORMER COACH CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTING TO RECORD VIDEO OF WOMAN CHANGING CLOTHES INSIDE DRESSING ROOM

WESTMINSTER – Law enforcement is seeking the public’s help identifying potential additional victims of a former assistant track coach charged with attempting to record video of a woman changing clothes inside a dressing room. Scott Douglas Ruvolo, 56, Victorville, is charged with one misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct of attempting to secretly film another. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of three months in jail. He is scheduled to be arraigned Monday, Oct. 28, 2013, at 8:30 a.m. in Department W-3, West Justice Center, Westminster.

At approximately 7:20 p.m. on July 11, 2013, Ruvolo is accused of entering the Salvation Army Family Store in Fountain Valley, going inside a dressing room stall, and preparing his cell phone to record video. Ruvolo is accused of placing the cell phone inside his shoe and sliding it under a dressing room stall next to him, which was occupied by 24-year-old Jane Doe. The defendant is accused of grabbing the shoe containing the cell phone and walking out of the store after Jane Doe had seen it while she was undressing.

A Fountain Valley Police Department (FVPD) officer arrived at the scene and arrested the defendant in a nearby residential neighborhood.

Ruvolo is accused of being in possession of videos depicting other potential female victims undressing, who are as of yet unidentified. He is also accused of possessing other videos, including young teenage and adult females in department stores, restaurants, and parks.

Ruvolo previously worked as an assistant track coach at Calvary Chapel High School in Santa Ana.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with additional information or who believes they have been a victim is encouraged to contact FVPD Detective Jesse Hughes at (714) 593-4480 or Supervising District Attorney Investigator Lee Smith at (714) 834-7538.

Deputy District Attorney Elisa Kim is prosecuting this case.

###

Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney 401 Civic Center Drive West Santa Ana, CA 92701

Contacts:

Susan Kang Schroeder Chief of Staff Office: 714-347-8408 Cell: 714-292-2718 Farrah Emami Spokesperson Office: 714-347-8405 Cell: 714-323-4486

 Posted by at 11:52 am
Dec 202013
 
Brian Brodersen takes over the helm at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa for his deceased father-in-law Chuck Smith. Photo by Joshturansky.com.

Brian Brodersen takes over the helm at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa for his deceased father-in-law Chuck Smith. Photo by Joshturansky.com.

SANTA ANA, Calif. – Brian Brodersen, who served as a senior pastor within Calvary Chapel’s fellowship of churches in Vista, Calif., and in Westminster, London, England, was officially appointed as the successor to Pastor Chuck Smith at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, by an affirming vote from the congregation on Wednesday.

Brodersen replaces Smith, who was a major influence in both the Jesus movement of the late ’60s and early ’70s and the exponential growth nationally and internationally of Calvary Chapel’s network of churches, and who died after a battle with lung cancer on Oct. 3 at the age of 86.

After the vote that affirms the church Boards’ decision, and after giving the CCCM’s midweek Bible study, Brodersen told the congregation that not only did he say “yes” when asked to be the pastor of the church by its Board, but also said he believes God has called him to be the church’s pastor.

“Cheryl (Brodersen’s wife) and I are committed to you, love you, pray for you, faithfully teach you the Word, and do all we can to minister to you and cultivate an atmosphere of Godliness, and grace and love here,” he said. “We’re committed to being here, I told the guys we are committed to being here the rest of our lives as long as the Lord has us here.”

Full article here: http://www.christianpost.com/news/brian-brodersen-officially-takes-senior-pastor-role-at-calvary-chapel-costa-mesa-position-held-by-chuck-smith-108819/

 Posted by at 11:33 am
Dec 192013
 
Holding and expressing Moral Opinions is a Free Speech issue. But, that sword cuts both ways.

Holding and expressing Moral Opinions is a Free Speech issue. But, that sword cuts both ways.

A&E finds itself in a Free Speech firestorm over its recent capitulation to the Gay Agenda regarding blunt comments by Duck Dynasty mega-star patriarch Phil Robertson.

Phil Robertson’s comments regarding his Moral Opinion of homosexuality appear here: http://www.gq.com/entertainment/television/201401/duck-dynasty-phil-robertson?currentPage=2

Here’s the dealio:

Moral Opinion should be protected Free Speech under the First Amendment and Bill of Rights, as long as it doesn’t incite violence and as long as the employer isn’t engaging in workplace harassment or discrimination. Having and expressing a Moral Opinion should and must be protected if we are going to remain a somewhat free society.

However, the sword cuts both ways. If churches want the right to fire someone for expressing a Moral Opinion, then other businesses have that same right. If you don’t want people being fired or punished in the workplace for expressing a Moral Opinion then you have to abide by that standard equally.

Personally, as a Libertarian, I could care less if you hump a man or a sheep (assuming the man or sheep is of age and consenting) and if you express that you think it’s morally right or morally wrong, it shouldn’t affect your employment and you shouldn’t suffer job recrimination for your moral opinions in either direction.

Christians* are outraged over this issue, as the Gay Agenda was outraged by Phil Robertson’s comments.

Both Groups need to decide on what the Standard is going to be. If A&E can fire or censure or punish a Phil Robertson for holding and expressing his Moral Opinion, then Churches and Christian* owned businesses can do the same.

If holding and expressing a contrary-to-ownership Moral Opinion is deemed protected from workplace recrimination, then that protection must be for all Moral Opinions, not just a particular Agenda’s Sacred Cow or Cows.

If A&E can fire or punish a Phil Robertson for expressing his Moral Opinion, then Churches and Christian-owned businesses can fire or punish employees who express Moral Opinions that assert homosexuality is not sin.

Christians* and Gay Agenda, pick one.

 Posted by at 11:40 am
Dec 182013
 
Social Media Campaign to address Calvary Chapel Church abuses.

Social Media Campaign to address Calvary Chapel Church abuses.

#FreeSaeed and #SaveSaeed has been extremely successful and very encouraging. The World has heard us, our Government has heard us. Social Activism and Social Media Campaigns work.

We here at Calvary Chapel Abuse have been tackling the Ideas and Institutions in the Church, specifically the Calvary Chapel System of Churches, with regards to addressing core Problems of bad doctrine, bad best-practices, bad by-laws, bad leadership models, bad cult-like indoctrination that the Calvary Chapel Senior Pastor is “specially anointed by God!” as well as financial opacity, zero or lax systemic accountability, no mandatory child protections in place to be an “official” Calvary Chapel Associate/Affiliate/Franchisee….all of which are the Disease that leads to the many Symptoms we see in the news regarding abusive CC pastors, CC financial scandals, CC overlooking child abuse, pedophiles and felons working at the churches with kids, large-scale spiritual abuses and many cult-like practices.

In working our way through the Calvary Chapel System to address the issues of abuse and corruption and spiritual abuse etc, we have encountered many obstacles and many naysayers along the way. Michael Newnham over at PhoenixPreacher.com has come to the conclusion that to make any real change, the responsibility is on the “sheep” to quit supporting this particular Church System with their money and time and attendance when changes aren’t made. No butts in seats, according to Newnham, no particular Calvary Chapel with bad practices and abusive dynamic.

These “sheep” who are recruited by Calvary Chapel through their advertising, rhetoric, websites, crusades, radio programs, conferences, books, videos and person-to-person proselytizing need to be reached with the other side of the Calvary Chapel story, the side of the story that CC Franchisees and the CC System of Churches doesn’t disclose. We need to warn the “sheep” and the general public who is considering trusting a Calvary Chapel for spiritual guidance and giving them their time, money and often their submission and belief etc.

One area of disagreement between me and Michael is the role the individual Calvary Chapel Franchisee plays in the Problem. CC Franchisees enjoy being a Denomination and Association when it suits their particular interests, but when it comes to church discipline, church accountability, making reforms in Calvary Chapel…with one voice, the individual CC Franchisees cry, “We have NO responsibility for our System of Churches! We are all 100% independent!” This simply isn’t true and it’s wrong.

If the Calvary Chapel Franchisees won’t take responsibility for their Church System and won’t provide the whole Calvary Chapel Story to their communities and their “sheep” and won’t bring needed Reforms to their System of Churches, then we will do our best to stand in the gap.

Welcome to Project Accountability.

The new year provides us with new goals…we can make 2014 a productive year in taking the Cause to the hyper-local level.

Here’s the rough outline of the Campaign and we’re open to your input:

1. Create an online article/profile for every single Calvary Chapel Affiliate/Associate church and community. This will identify who the local CC Franchisee is and document their connection/association/affiliation to Calvary Chapel and then document the massive amount of info available that presents the other side of the Calvary Chapel Story. There will be links to the articles in the news about Calvary Chapel abuses, corruption, molestation, etc as well as to this site and others. Each individual CC Franchise will have the opportunity to present how they are different than the norm when it comes to open vs. closed finances, child protections in place, by-laws that are transparent and good, Matthew 18 resolution processes, who owns/controls all the church stuff, etc etc.

We will have the article/profile open for comments so folks can share of their experiences at each CC. The particular CC is welcome to present their story and answer any questions or concerns.

We will have a rating system: Jesus’s and Moses’s. 5 Jesus’s and 0 Moses’s is Best, 0 Jesus’s and 5 Moses’s is Worst.

2. We will focus on a group of CC Franchisees at a time. We will blitz Google Reviews, Yelp, Topix, etc. with the Project Accountability Campaign and drive people to the particular CC Franchisee’s page on here. We will review Calvary Chapel in general and our general experiences and ask if that particular CC Franchise has addressed the issues in its by-laws and practices that we have all experienced negatively.

We will do blitz searches for each group of CC Franchisees we focus on, searching key words over and over. This drives our page up the Search Engine list and puts us in a top position so our information will be accessible for review when someone is looking into attending a particular Calvary Chapel Franchise in their local area.

3. We will send out press releases to local media in the particular CC Franchise area articulating our Campaign, why we are doing it, what we are calling for and requesting that the particular CC Franchise responds with transparency and information about how they address the issues that are important to all of us.

We’re open to ideas. We’ll flesh this out more in the coming couple of weeks. We’ll pick the first round of CC Franchisees, articulate an outline of To Do’s and then we’ll hammer away for a specified period of time on each group.

We’re running a test case-study to the right in the Pages Section regarding our PhxP friend Jeff Jones’s CC Franchise of Calvary Chapel Foresthill. Jeff has been emailed and asked to provide his information so we can include it on the page and give him our Rating.

Some are already crying, “Guilt by ASSOCIATION!”….well, last I checked, the Calvary Chapel Association says it’s an Association: http://calvarychapelassociation.com/

 Posted by at 1:23 pm
Dec 042013
 

freeSaeed_vectortextThe blitz begins!

Today you will be heard… we will be heard… as we speak with one voice for Saeed Abedini.

Step One: Email your leaders!

1.Please email each of your state’s two US Senators. Contact info can be found here:http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

2.Please look up and then email your Representative in the House. http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

3.Please email the White House http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments

We suggest your emails be BRIEF, RESPECTFUL, and SPECIFIC.

The following is a suggested format for those looking for assistance in drafting their emails. You can send the same email to all 4 individuals, just addressing each one separately as needed.

1st paragraph) Identify yourself as their constituent, but also as one of (however many we have by then) thousands of like minded men and women across the country that are concerned over the injustice of Saeed Abedini’s continued imprisonment in Iran. A link to the facebook page could be included here as proof of our numbers.

2nd paragraph) Thank them for their previous support in calling on Iran to release Saeed. Then express your disappointment that a nuclear agreement with Iran was recently made that did not include Saeed’s release.

3rd paragraph) Express that religious freedom and the return of an American citizen to his family is a bipartisan issue that all Americans of whatever political party should support. Ask them to use all of their influence to help bring Saeed home.

Close with a thank you.

It is very important to make this effort. You could also fax the same letter to their office, post on their facebook, and of course personally telephone their office and talk to a staff person. However, please at minimum send these four emails.

Step 2: Facebook!

Change your profile pic (if you haven’t already) to one of Pastor Saeed and post a link to this page and encourage others to do what you are doing!

Step 3: Twitter!

If there is a link under a name you can simply click to send the tweet.

Tweet President Obama

@BarackObama

We respectfully request that you use the full powers of your office to liberate Pastor Saeed Abedini! #freesaeed #savesaeed http://clicktotweet.com/iBeI7

@MichelleObama

@VP

@WhiteHouse

Tweet The President of Iran

@HassanRouhani We respectfully request you release Saeed Abedini as an act of mercy and friendship! #freesaeed #savesaeed  http://clicktotweet.com/Bj65t

Tweet a link to this page and encourage others to do what you are doing!

Retweet others as they join with us!

Step 4: Use your other social media

If you use Pinterest, Tumblr, Linkedin, etc…post a link to this page and encourage them to join us!

Click this link to auto post to Pinterest:

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/44684221276278759/

Step 5: Pray!

Pray that God amplifies our voices and that they carry with them the power of the Holy Spirit.

The last step…persevere in all the above!

 Posted by at 9:45 am
Nov 302013
 
Paul Crouch, founder of Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), dead at 79.

Paul Crouch, founder of Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), dead at 79.

Paul Crouch, Televangelist and founder of Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), is dead at age 79.

According to PaulCrouch.com: “Dr. Paul F. Crouch passed into the presence of the Lord on November 30, 2013. We are grateful for the life of this amazing servant of God. Please pray for the Crouch family during this time.”

The scam-evangelist leaves a multi-million dollar empire consisting largely of his Trinity Broadcasting Network satellite television empire. Crouch was often criticized for his over-the-top fundraising efforts and was plagued my many scandals over the years, including a recent lawsuit by his granddaughter Brittany Koper. In the lawsuit, Koper alleges abuse of funds by using money given for charitable purposes being used instead to live a life of excess by Paul and Jan Crouch, Koper’s grandparents.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2119493/Private-jets-13-mansions-100-000-mobile-home-just-dogs-Televangelists-defrauded-tens-million-dollars-Christian-network.html

According to online sources, “Crouch was born in St. Joseph, Missouri, the son of Assemblies of God missionaries. Crouch, whose father died when he was seven years old, was mainly raised by his mother with the help of his grandparents. He soon became interested in amateur radio and announced he would use such technology to send the Gospel around the world.

Crouch…in 1973…with his wife, Jan, founded the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). In 1974, TBN purchased its first TV station, KLXA-TV (now KTBN-TV). Since then, TBN has grown to become the United States’ largest Christian television network, and the third largest group owner of broadcast TV stations in the U.S., with CBS, FOX, and NBC holding fourth, fifth and sixth place, according to TV News Check’s annual listing of the Top 30 Station Groups. Forbes.com indicated that Paul F. Crouch had compensation of $402,244 in the Fiscal Year ending on 12/31/08.

TBN is viewed globally on 70 satellites and over 18,000 TV and Cable affiliates. TBN is also seen on the internet globally. TBN is carried on over 287 television stations in the U.S. and on thousands of other cable television and satellite systems around the world in over 75 countries, where their programming is translated into over eleven languages.

In the US, TBN’s coverage grew through agreements with national cable operators. TBN is viewed on US satellite and cable subs, and affiliated with major cable and satellite companies such as Comcast, Cox, Time Warner, Verizon FIOS, DirecTV, AT&T, Dish Network and Charter.

In addition to TBN, Crouch and his wife developed and oversee operations for TBN’s affiliated television networks: Smile of a Child – children’s channel, JCTV – youth network, The Church Channel, TBN Enlace USA – Spanish language network, TBNE-Italian, The Healing Channel – Arabic language network, TBN-Russia, TBN Nejat TV – Persian-language channel, and TBN-HD, TBN’s new high definition network.

Crouch and the former Janice Bethany (Crouch) met in 1957 and married in Missouri. They have two sons, Paul Crouch Jr. and Matthew Crouch.”

 Posted by at 10:50 am
Nov 272013
 
American pastor Saeed Abedini pictured with his family. Abedini was held in an Iranian prison for the crime of being a Christian missionary.

American pastor Saeed Abedini pictured with his family. Abedini was held in an Iranian prison for the crime of being a Christian missionary.

Liberals and Conservatives alike are hailing the news out of Washington D.C. today that President Obama has secured the release of American Christian pastor Saeed Abedini from Iranian prison as a huge human rights victory and big step toward healing strained relations between Iran and the U.S.

According to OPI News Service, the deal was part of the ongoing Iran nuclear negotiations which seek to bring a peaceful resolution to current tensions in the Middle East over Iran’s development of nuclear capability.

According to news sources, “In July 2012, Abedini made his ninth trip to Iran since 2009 to visit his family and continue his work to build an orphanage in the city of Rasht. While in the country, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps confiscated his passports and placed him under house arrest. He was later transferred to Evin Prison, where he has been incarcerated since late September.”

Many efforts have been underway to call attention to the American captive’s plight including efforts by the ACLJ’s “Save Saeed” campaign and the recent efforts of Groups like “Free Saeed” as well as many others, including Abedini’s home church system, Calvary Chapel.

An unnamed source from the Obama administration who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of ongoing negotiations is quoted as saying, “Saeed Abedini was brought to our attention because of grassroots efforts to secure his release. The public outcry has been overwhelming. We received thousands of emails, phone calls, letters and the social media blitzes have been extremely effective. The Obama administration is committed to human rights and we are committed to the plight of a fellow American being held in a foreign prison for nothing more than being a Christian. We rolled up our sleeves and we got a deal done. This is a victory for the American people and for human rights.”

Saeed Abedini is being flown out of Iran in route to Washington D.C. where he will be evaluated and treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center before flying home to Boise, Idaho to be reunited with his friends and family.

The above is a dream. It’s a fictional account of what can happen…if we all pull together and make it happen. Many efforts are underway and many voices have cried out to help bring justice and freedom for one of our fellow Americans whose only crime is being a Christian missionary in a foreign land. The Obama Administration and our Government and the Iranian Government have the power to make this dream come true. You and I have the power to make this dream a reality. Let’s bring Saeed Abedini home to his wife and children and friends. Let’s not leave one of our fellow Americans behind and alone.

Join us at #FreeSaeed on December 4th. Blog, facebook, tweet, email, write letters, call your congress people, call the White House, send letters to the editor of your local newspaper. Injustice thrives where apathy persists. Make some noise. Make a difference. Call on Iran and the Obama administration to Free Saeed.

https://www.facebook.com/events/451324411638963/

http://michaelnewnham.com/?p=14609

 Posted by at 1:09 pm
Nov 252013
 
Calvary Chapel Boise pastor Bob Caldwell and many other Calvary Chapel pastors speak out  against the "torture" of adult Saeed Abedini, a fellow Calvary Chapel-ite. Yet, Calvary Chapel continues to endorse and condone Child Torture by one of their own CC Pastors in good standing.

Calvary Chapel Boise pastor Bob Caldwell and many other Calvary Chapel pastors speak out against the “torture” of adult Saeed Abedini, a fellow Calvary Chapel-ite. Yet, Calvary Chapel continues to endorse and condone Child Torture by one of their own CC Pastors in good standing.

By now, I’m sure many of you have heard of Saeed Abedini, the Boise, Idaho based Calvary Chapel missionary/pastor who is currently in an Iranian prison for really nothing more than being a Christian. It’s a terrible tragedy, if I was God for a day, one of the first things I’d do is karma the Iranian religious and political leaders into toilet paper so humanity could wipe their ass with them.

Saeed’s family lives in my area, his home church is Calvary Chapel Boise, we have mutual friends. I’ve been told Saeed is a great guy. I feel terrible for him, his wife, his family, his friends. No one should be imprisoned simply for their religious beliefs (unless those beliefs lead to breaking the law). But, there’s the rub…in Iran, the law there gives the Iranians the legal right to punish Saeed. I don’t agree with it and I think it’s a raw deal, but the guy is an adult and he knew the risks of going there. Even so, I say “Save Saeed!” Bring him home. Any pressure we can apply through letters, social media etc. should be done.

I am a bit pissed off about this “Save Saeed!” stuff from Calvary Chapel and here’s why:

Calvary Chapel continues to affiliate and endorse a Calvary Chapel Pastor, Bob Grenier of CC Visalia, who did a lot of the same stuff that Camp Saeed is alleging has happened to him in Iranian prison. “Torture” they call it. Saeed has supposedly been “beaten” with objects, struck in the face and body repeatedly, grabbed, kicked, punched, roughed up, etc. If that’s “torture”…then while Calvary Chapel screams foul over Saeed’s “torture” in Iranian prison…they continue to protect one of their officially affiliated pastors who beat children with custom made thick wooden paddles leaving bruises on the lower backs, backs of legs and buttocks…even breaking the skin from time to time. Pastor Bob also struck us in the face and body, grabbed us violently, pushed us, kicked us and even imprisoned my brother Geoff in a small coat closet….”torture”? In Bob Grenier’s case, that has been framed as “corporal punishment”…so maybe Iran isn’t really “torturing” Saeed…maybe they’re just employing a little good old fashioned “corporal punishment” Calvary Chapel Bob Grenier style.

Calvary Chapel should deal with Child Torture in their own House before they cry foul over one of their adults being tortured in a foreign land. When Chuck Smith and the now Calvary Chapel Association have been lobbied, called, sent letters etc. over Child Torture…their response has been: “Leave it to the Lord!” “Forgive!” “It’s in the past!” “Get a life!” “Not our problem!” or just plain ignoring the situation and Stonewalling…much like Iran.

If Jesus is in fact real…it seems he would be more pissed off about a powerful Church ignoring Child Torture in its ranks and finding any excuse to wash their hands of it, Pontius Pilate style…while in the next breath using their political muscle to save one of their own pastors.

A big social media effort is currently being organized to “Save Saeed”…many Calvary Chapels are getting involved. We’ll support the effort here at CC Abuse…but we’ll also call on Calvary Chapel to deal with Child Torture in their pastoral ranks as well.

Mark your calendar and get involved:

Pastor Saeed Abedini, an American citizen, has been imprisoned in Iran for over a year for the crime of being a Christian.

” On Wednesday December 4, every Christian with a platform, great or small, will feature Saeed on it and demand that our government secure his release. “

http://michaelnewnham.com/?p=14609

 Posted by at 7:42 pm
Nov 242013
 
Jesse Stovall, member of "founding family" of Calvary Chapel Visalia, lends his support for embattled pastor Bob Grenier.

Jesse Stovall, member of “founding family” of Calvary Chapel Visalia, lends his support for embattled pastor Bob Grenier.

A long-time Calvary Chapel Visalia “founding family” member sent public comments to CC Abuse recently that seek to defend the embattled Calvary Chapel Visalia pastor Bob Grenier who is accused of physical and/or sexual abuse by three of his male children (now adults).

Following are the unedited comments from Jesse Stovall:

“Alex, you seem to say that the cancer that Chuck Smith had is deserved in some way and that reconciliation with you was something he should have sought. Hmm, this from the guy that used to beat the crap out of his brothers when his parents were out of town…oh wait, is that too personal?”

“In as much as it concerns CC Visalia, I can say with 100% surety, I have never seen any of the so-called abuse. I have been in the home of Bob Grenier. I know Geoff and Alex. They can deny it but I know both of them. I know Alex’s wife. I grew up with them all. My family is one of the founding families of CC Visalia. I understand that many people have been hurt by Calvary Chapel. I had my own problems with a CC but not CC Visalia. I know Bob and Gayle and they are some of my favorite people ever.”

Following are my responses: I don’t run from questions or criticism and Camp Bob Grenier of Calvary Chapel do have many supporters who see Bob as a victim and not a perpetrator.

Jesse, regarding the “Chuck Smith Dead at 86″ article you reference in your comment, my point was to document the irony that Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel have historically taught and practiced what’s called a “Doctrine of Divine Retribution” where Chuck warned and sincerely believed that God would punish his enemies who came against him and his “ministry” etc. This is well-documented and very apparent in the Christianity Today article that investigated issues about Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel and the many scandals, abuses and lawsuits etc. and published a scathing 7 page news story on the issues. In the article, the CT Reporter is warned by Chuck Smith, “Touch not God’s anointed, do my prophet no harm…I believe you are trying to harm a work of the Lord, I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes.” This example is one of many throughout the years…and Smith and many in CC believe that God has brought death, sickness and other trouble to their perceived enemies and critics. Chuck Smith pulled the “Touch not God’s anointed” stuff with me from the CC Costa Mesa pulpit…saying “that what I (Chuck) could do wouldn’t hurt him much…but what the Lord will do…well, I’m glad I have the Lord on my side.”

Basically, good old Papa Chuck called down the “Touch not God’s anointed” CC curse on me. I commented on the blog shortly after that I felt (and I did, I had a strange feeling) that Chuck had called down the curse on himself and Camp BG. A month later, Chuck was diagnosed with Stage 3 lung cancer…and year later…to nearly the hour…Chuck croaked. Sharon Ries, Raul Riese’s wife has been diagnosed with Stage 4 liver cancer after Bob Grenier filed his lawsuit…and Raul Ries was on Bob’s Board and ignored the requests for dealing with the abuse situation…and sources tell me that Raul has been instrumental in giving Bob Grenier support and advice with regards to suing etc. It is also reported and alleged that Bob’s right-hand-man, Mike Buford, was diagnosed with a severe form of potentially life-threatening hypertension after the lawsuit.

Coincidence? Probably. I’m more of a skeptic and very much not a Christian* Fundamentalist. I don’t see any evidence today of the “supernatural”…but, yikes! Lots of sickness and death all the sudden in Camp Bob Grenier…and the point I am making is that if I and others in my Camp had some sort of bad luck…Chuck (well, not Chuck now…he’s dead) and Bob and Raul and the others would point to any sort of tragedy as “God moving!” and “God ZAPPED our enemies!” and they’d see God in all of that…and they’d give thanks to God for nuking their enemies and critics. That’s how they roll.

When tragedy befalls them on the heels of their bad actions…it’s not “God” and punishment to correct them…it’s “random chance”…they become as skeptical as any atheist. Very convenient Belief System they have. If I believed their nonsense and bullshit, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near Bob’s circle…their version of God seems to be quite angry with him.

Regarding this comment you made, “Hmm, this from the guy that used to beat the crap out of his brothers when his parents were out of town…oh wait, is that too personal?” 

Well, not much is “too personal” after going public with the abuse in our home growing up. I’m happy to address this. I never “beat up” Paul or Robert. They are ten and eleven years my younger and I didn’t beat up small children when I was a teenager. That’s silly. Now, me and Geoff…different story. Geoff was a year younger, as you know, and a tough kid (much because of the violent physical abuse by “pastor” Bob in our home…it made us tough). Geoff and I got in a lot of fights. It’s how we learned conflict resolution in the home…something I shared with the Visalia Police Detectives when they asked about that issue when I interviewed with them about the child abuse three or four years ago at the Visalia Police station. Geoff was my equal and then got much bigger and stronger than me…and yes, we had some epic fights as male siblings from abusive homes often do. Violence breeds violence.

Regarding your comment here: “In as much as it concerns CC Visalia, I can say with 100% surety, I have never seen any of the so-called abuse.”

Child abusers, as a general rule, don’t invite other children or teens into the room (Jesse is a year or two younger than me) when they abuse their own children. It’s very uncommon that abusers (physical and/or sexual) allow witnesses to be present that are outside of the family unit that they tightly control. The fact you never witnessed any abuse in our home is about like the vast majority of teachers and coaches at Penn State saying they never saw Sandusky butt-f’ing one of his young victims.

There are witnesses to abuse in both cases. I’m a witness, Geoff is a witness, Paul is a witness, my aunt is a witness and there are neighbors who have come forward who saw and heard things that they now believe were signs of abuse and there are coaches from Geoff’s high school days who saw bruises on him in the shower according to Geoff’s testimony on the police report. Statute of limitations was the reason given by the Tulare County Prosecutor for not pursuing child abuse charges at that time.

I personally didn’t see Paul sexually abused, but I believe his testimony of abuse on this blog for many reasons.

Regarding your comment here:  “I have been in the home of Bob Grenier. I know Geoff and Alex. They can deny it but I know both of them. I know Alex’s wife. I grew up with them all. “

Yes, agreed. Why would I deny that? That’s a strange comment. Yes, you were in the home on very very rare occasions, you didn’t live there and don’t even think you ever spent the night (but I could be wrong about that one). You did come over with your family on occasion. I remember spending a little more time with you in late high school and early college around the time I met my wife. We had a mutual buddy, Tim Holzem, great guy. I lived with the Holzem’s for a period of time as it was always dicey at home and I was still hiding the abuse to keep up appearances for church etc. I remember you very well. You are the adopted son of Chuck and Lanelle Stovall. Chuck was the principal at Woodlake High School and then later worked for Valley Financial as a stock broker/securities broker. I gave him some of my business. Your adopted family sister is Sara and your adopted family brother was Sam who was an awesome swimmer, but his life was tragically cut short when he hit a moose with his car or something when he was working in Alaska (if memory serves). My wife went to his funeral at Calvary Chapel Visalia with our newborn son who my mom refused to meet. She tried to introduce my son to his grandma at the church before or after Sam’s memorial service, but she said Sue Dowds and some other CC women shuffled my mom off to the back of the church to avoid having to see her and my son. Very crazy and cult-like. Your mom and dad should be ashamed to be a part of that sort of nonsense, but they seem to support it, as do you. Shame on you and them.

Regarding your comment here: My family is one of the founding families of CC Visalia. I understand that many people have been hurt by Calvary Chapel. I had my own problems with a CC but not CC Visalia. I know Bob and Gayle and they are some of my favorite people ever.”

Yes, agreed. Your folks were OG CCV. They were there from early on. You had a good experience at CCV, good for you. I didn’t, neither did many others. Regarding my folks, if they are some of your favorite people then you should want what’s best for them and that’s to tell the truth and repent and seek to reconcile and make amends for any wrongdoing rather than to re-abuse the victims.

Jesse, frankly, I am disappointed that you would speak publicly to these issues without doing any real homework and without speaking to me or my wife or her family etc or any of the many people you know from CCV who have come forward. But, that’s ‘Merica, you have the right to your take, just as we do. I guess I just expect a little more out of a someone who is in “intelligence” and does analysis etc.

According to Jesse’s Linked-In profile:

Jesse Stovall at Sotera Defense Solutions, Washington D.C. Metro Area | Defense & Space

Current: Intelligence Analyst at Sotera Defense Solutions, Inc. Past: Technical Advisor at Lockheed Martin, Signals Intelligence Analyst at United States Army

Education: Community College of Aurora, Woodlake Union High School

Jesse Stovall’s comments were posted publicly by him on this blog. The comments were stuck in the spam filter and didn’t post publicly at first. They are from an email address bearing his name and an IP address that matches his location. They have been posted publicly as the subject of this article and he is free to respond and I’ll seek to liberate any further comments that get stuck (if I’m able to find them, we get lots of spam and the filter is a little over-active sometimes). I have no problem with Camp Bob’s defenders addressing the situation publicly. In fact, I welcome it. Let’s hash it all out again.

 Posted by at 12:46 am
Oct 032013
 
Chuck Smith, co-founder of the Calvary Chapel non-denomination, has died as a result of complications from a battle with lung cancer. He was 86-years-old.

Chuck Smith, co-founder of the Calvary Chapel non-denomination, has died as a result of complications from a battle with lung cancer. He was 86-years-old.

Pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel fame has died in the early morning of October 3, 2013 according to daughter Janette Smith Manderson. Chuck Smith has been battling lung cancer since he was diagnosed with it in late 2011.

My feelings are mixed.

Some of the last words I heard from Chuck Smith were his calling down God’s judgment on me from the Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa pulpit in classic “Touch not God’s anointed!” form.

Full audio of the public rebuke and warning here:

 

From Chuck Smith’s public rebuke of me from the Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa pulpit:

“There is a young fellow…who has created a website…a blog…in which he has been attacking me and Calvary Chapel viciously because his step-father was abusive to him as he was growing up…and he is wanting to bring his step-father down. And…so because I won’t take action against his step-father…because I, really…every Calvary Chapel is independent…I’m not in control of them…nor do I want control of them…I have a hard enough time just being in control of my own ministry. And, I just don’t want to have the responsibility of having to try and control the over 1,500 Calvary Chapels we have in the United States….so he is attacking me also on the blog and saying that I’m covering up all kinds of horrible things and making a lot of accusations and all…”

“…and I called him up and invited him down [this is factually incorrect, I first called Chuck Smith at his office and then reached him live at his home]…to try and sort of make peace if possible.”

“So, I promised him I would look into the situation…and I did…and then I wrote to him a response…and I sent it to his email address…but somehow it didn’t go through. And, it was endeavor on my part for reconciliation…but the email didn’t go through…I don’t know why…and I gave it a couple shots…and it didn’t go through….so I just sort of let it go…so he became really upset that I didn’t respond to his charges and so-forth against me…”

“So I was thinking…what can I do…and how can I defend myself…against all of these charges which are false and lies…and things that he is putting out on his blogsite. As we were finishing here tonight…as I was in my final prayer…the Lord just of spoke to me and said ‘look you’re praying that you’ll learn to turn things over to the Lord…let me fight your battles…and here you’re considering how you can deal with it…just leave it with me. I thought oh yes…and so….[pause, clapping]….I’m thankful for the help of the Lord”

“…and you know, I feel sorry for the guy. BECAUSE, WHAT I COULD DO WOULDN’T HURT MUCH…BUT I TELL YOU..WHAT THE LORD WILL DO…I CAN REALLY…UM…YOU KNOW…WELL…I’M GLAD I HAVE THE LORD ON MY SIDE.

I publicly stated on this blog after hearing that very sobering and hurtful “Touch not God’s anointed” chilling warning from the very powerful and influential Chuck Smith…something that would have rocked most people hearing that chilling warning that “God is on my side and he’ll zap  you!”…I had a feeling Chuck had called down a curse on himself, if God was in fact real, as I knew I was right in these matters.

Chuck Smith was diagnosed with Lung Cancer about a month or so after this public rebuke of me from the Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa pulpit.

I then commented publicly that I had a feeling the cancer would kill him, despite the happy and optimistic updates from his daughter and all the prayers for his healing etc…unless Chuck repented of his lying and his wrong handling of this situation and his wrong public rebuke and warning to me…when he and BG were in the wrong.

Well, the cancer has killed him and Chuck Smith died without repenting of this situation and without coming clean and without seeking reconciliation with me…other than some email that’s lost in cyberspace (according to him).

Calvary Chapel Pastors: Let this be a lesson to you. If you truly believe the “Touch not God’s anointed” garbage…if you truly believe God is “on your side” and you truly believe that critics and those who call you to accountability and responsibility are “of the devil” and that God will zap them for you….then what do you make of this situation? Coincidence? Random chance? Or did God do this as a public statement of who was right and who was wrong?

As a skeptic, I think it’s random chance and just a huge, though very very big, coincidence. I don’t think Chuck Smith or you as a Calvary Chapel pastor are “specially anointed” nor do I think that God will zap your enemies for you, etc. But, what if that dynamic is real? What if God is real and God does step in and zap folks sometimes, like Ananias and Saphira? If it’s true, then what are the odds this is coincidence? Again, I think it’s random chance, I don’t think God is active in this manner…BUT YOU AND YOUR DEAR LEADER DO and have expressed this dynamic and used this “Touch not God’s anointed” warning many times…believing that God does intervene sometimes and does punish folks sometimes in these sorts of matters.

So, what do you believe now? I’m sure the Chuck Smith “faithful” will be as skeptical as Richard Dawkins and any atheist and mark this one down as “random chance” and “coincidence” and “no connection whatsoever”…because the victim, this time, was their guy, their Dear Leader…and no way their Dear Leader could be wrong or could be lying or in sin etc. No way, not a chance.

If you embrace “Touch not God’s anointed!” as Chuck Smith both practiced and professed (see the Christianity Today article where he gives a chilling warning to the reporter and even quotes the verse about ‘touch not God’s anointed, do my prophet no harm’)….then circumstances around Chuck’s handling of the BG situation and Chuck’s subsequent cancer and death should chill you to your core.

My guess is you Calvary Chapel guys are full of s**t and you only profess a belief in spiritual things when it supports your narrative and your leaders and your business….God does all sorts of stuff in circumstances when it fits your agenda..otherwise everything is just random coincidence.

To the family of Chuck Smith, especially Chuck Smith Jr. (who is a great guy)…I’m sorry for your loss. Chuck had many good qualities. He was a mix of good and bad like we all are. He did a lot of good while he was on this planet…and unfortunately, he was also human like the rest of us and did some bad stuff as well. Net-net, I think Chuck as a man was a decent guy, not perfect, but decent. I think the position, the power, the Chuck-worship was a lot of temptation for him and I think that sort of power corrupted him over time, but he wasn’t near as bad as many others who have reached similar success. I think Chuck helped a lot of folks and I think, from what I’ve gathered, he treated you kids well and was a good husband. My beef with your Pops was the Machine he created and his propagation of particular mythology like the “Touch not God’s anointed” crap…and the Moses Model dynamic in the form of the CC pastors are “special” and privileged and God is “on their side” and will zap their enemies. That is dangerous stuff…and it’s the reason I drive this particular point home so strongly. Chuck was not “specially anointed”…he was talented. God was not on Chuck’s side, nor was he against Chuck.

Let my example dispel the myth of “Touch not God’s anointed” and Moses Model CC pastors are “special” and God is on their side. God will not zap you for questioning them and challenging them and calling their b.s. If you don’t believe that, Calvary Chapel-ites, then I must be “specially anointed” as God zapped Chuck and not me (if your theory is true). I am not specially anointed, therefore Chuck’s and Calvary Chapel’s thing is a myth. Run from it. Don’t repeat it. Let all that garbage and nonsense die with Chuck.

Wishing the family peace in their time of grief, wishing the Calvary Chapel pastor progeny of Chuck Smith repentance of their error and a new course for the future.

UPDATE: OK, I will say this…Chuck Smith Sr. seemed to be a great dad, which to me, will be the best part of his Legacy. He had some difficult kids…one is just plain difficult (yet Chuck always maintained a relationship with him and gave him lots of grace)…another kid had major philosophical differences that brought down a lot of heat on the Old Man and his church (even to this day). Chuck Sr. protected and maintained a good relationship with that son as well. This, to me, is Chuck Smith at his best and it is one of the very positive things I will remember about him.

 Posted by at 6:40 am
Sep 292013
 

I often peruse my Facebook wall for anything interesting…and many times my curiosity is piqued by a particular theological or philosophical statement. My early Sunday morning ventures dissected paths with this recent FB Reformed Presbyterian Fundamentalist friend, Nick Batzig.

Say hi to Nick: “Hi Nick!” Pleasant looking lad. Very smart. Very Reformed.

Nicholas Batzig

Rev. Nicholas T. Batzig is minister of New Covenant Presbyterian Church (a church plant of the PCA) in Richmond Hill, Ga. He is a contributor to Feeding on Christ and Christ the Center, a weekly Reformed podcast.

So, I come across this post of Nick’s and it captures my interest and sparks a discussion of sorts. It’s typical of how these sorts of discussions usually go when you apply Critical Thinking to dogmatic Sacred Cows. I find this convo noteworthy enough to post for your reading pleasure and consideration. Here it is, unedited and in its entirety:

Nick Batzig:

37 minutes ago near Richmond Hill, GA

“It is only because the author assumes his readers have assimilated the gist of this teaching that he expects

his appeal to come with convincing force to them. They would understand that Jesus Christ must indeed be the same yesterday and today and forever because they remembered who Jesus Christ was and in what terms he had been described to them in almost every sentence of the epistle.” – Geerhadus Vos on Hebrews 13:8

 Alex Joye Grenier:

Hmmm, I’ve always had a tough time with the presupposition that “Jesus is the same, yesterday. today and forever” as if Jesus never changed in any way or never changed his mind or approached major issues differently etc. We have what we assume is “Jesus” as OT Theophany appearing in the Garden to Adam and Eve, appearing to Moses, appearing to Jacob “face to face” etc to avoid a contradiction in the NT that states “no one has seen God at any time” (ergo OT “God” and “Lord” is Jesus and not God the Father or there is a biblical contradiction). So, Jesus then gave Moses the Levitical Law (and even if one doesn’t accept the Jesus Theophany position, Trinitarians must accept that Jesus is also God and equally responsible for giving the Levitical Law to Moses) and the Levitical Law commands to kill rebellious children with stones, permits slavery, permits concubines (sex slaves) and commands the execution of women with stones for adultery, permits selling your daughter into slavery etc. Then in the NT, Jesus states, “I give you a new law, love your enemies…be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect” which implies God now loves his enemies. So, it appears that Jesus and God or Jesus-God has ‘changed’…from OT “smite thine enemy!” to “love your enemy!” but Revelation then changes back to Jesus on the White Horse smiting his enemies with a sword “until the blood is bridle high”…so Jesus seems to change quite a bit…

23 minutes ago · Edited · Like

 Nick Batzig:

Here is the rest of what Vos says in that paragraph: “They would understand that Jesus Christ must indeed be the same yesterday and today and forever because they remembered who Jesus Christ was and in what terms he had been described to them in almost every sentence of the epistle. He was the Son of God, the effulgence of the Father’s glory, the very image of his substance. To him the author had applied the words of the 102nd Psalm: “Thou Lord in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of thy hands: they shall perish; but thou remainest. And they all shall wax old as cloth a garment, and as a mantle shalt thou roll them up. But thou art the same and thy years shall not fail” (vv. 26,27). To him therefore belongs the attribute of unchangeableness that is inherent in the conception of divinity itself. Indeed the very form of the words–the same, yesterday and today and forever–reminds us most vividly of the New Testament Apocalypse gives of God himself as the one that is and that was and that is to come who fills with his being all the possible categories of time because he is eternal; and also it reminds us of that other no less sublime description which we find in the same book of both God and Christ himself as the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Christ belongs throughout the epistle to the heavenly world in which everything bears the character of the unchangeable, the abiding. In this respect, the teaching of the epistle stands nearest to our Lord’s own teaching concerning himself in the fourth gospel where also the emphasis is continually thrown on this–that Jesus is from above and not from beneath and that consequently he is free from all the relativities and imperfections and vicissitudes that necessarily belong to everything earthly. Christ is the truth, the reality of God incarnate, and therefore we can sustain to him the same religious relationship, address to him the same religious trust that we sustain and address to God.”

23 minutes ago · Like

Nick Batzig:

I would recommend the whole sermon as it is one of the finest on this passage I’ve read http://t.co/yPIE10hLvM

23 minutes ago · Like

Tom Martin:

If Jesus is not the same, then He may change. I don’t want Him to change. I can’t risk that His love for me might change.

22 minutes ago · Like · 1

Nick Batzig:

Additionally, here is something I wrote years ago to help explain the relationship between the ceremonial laws of the Old Covenant and the fulfillment they find in Christ in the New http://feedingonchrist.com/…/

21 minutes ago · Like

 Nick Batzig:

Alex, Jonathan Edwards’ sermon on Heb. 13:8 is extremely helpful on this too http://www.biblebb.com/files/edwards/thesame.htm

20 minutes ago · Like

Alex Joye Grenier:

Well, God ‘repented’ (changed his mind) according to the bible. There appears to be many contradictions and paradoxes. I actually hope God/Jesus is truly “love” and truly “good” and truly a God of forgiveness and truly loves his enemies as we are commanded to do in the NT. I don’t understand why an all powerful almighty God would be bound by some weird Eternal Contract that forces him to torment most of humanity in hell forever with no end…even though most of humanity has never been presented with a “correct” Christian gospel message.

19 minutes ago · Like

Alex Joye Grenier:

Nick, yes I used to be Reformed and I’ve read much from Edwards, I just now disagree with his positions.

18 minutes ago · Like

Nick Batzig:

That’s a semi-pelagian understanding of that passage. God uses anthropomorphic language to prove the point of His displeasure with our rebellion. “I the LORD do not change” (Mal. 3:6).

18 minutes ago · Like

Tom Martin:

God’s repentance means He turned around in the direction He was going. That does not mean He changed His mind, merely that His actions appear at odds with what He was doing previously. He is not a mummy.

18 minutes ago · Like

Alex Joye Grenier:

No, it’s more of a Universal Reconciliation position.

17 minutes ago · Like

Alex Joye Grenier:

“He turned around in the direction He was going. That does not mean He changed His mind” I guess, if you redefine the term, but then you neuter the meaning of the word for the rest of its use throughout the bible.

16 minutes ago · Like

Tom Martin:

Words are defined by their context

16 minutes ago · Like

 Alex Joye Grenier:

Context is defined by the individual.

16 minutes ago · Like

Tom Martin:

Respectfully, no. Context is self defining

15 minutes ago · Like

Alex Joye Grenier:

How so?

15 minutes ago · Like

Tom Martin:

If communication has any meaning, then it means what the communicator intends. We might misunderstand, or the communicator might mistakenly communicate, but the intent is what the words mean.

15 minutes ago · Like

Alex Joye Grenier:

So, who was the original communicator in the Hebrews passage?

14 minutes ago · Like

Tom Martin:

Those who hear must seek to ascertain what was intended

14 minutes ago · Like

Nick Batzig:

I would only answer your statement about not understanding why an all powerful God would send people to hell forever by telling you what Anselm told his disciple, “You have not yet adequately come to understand what your sin deserves.” One sin against …See More

13 minutes ago · Like · 1

Tom Martin:

Well, Hebrews is anonymous. I think it was the apostle Paul.

13 minutes ago · Like

 Alex Joye Grenier:

OK, then how can you ask Paul or Anonymous what they intended by every word and nuance?

13 minutes ago · Like

Nick Batzig:

Alex, maybe the God you have formed in your own mind will change from his universal salvation and consume you in His wrath. What makes you think he won’t?

12 minutes ago · Like

Tom Martin:

We can’t ask them. We must exercise our talents to decipher the meaning of the context. This is possible, by the grace of God.

12 minutes ago · Like

Alex Joye Grenier:

…you must rely on a particular Group’s Hermeneutic and you must rely on the consensus opinion of a particular set of gurus of a particular sect or denomination.

12 minutes ago · Like

Tom Martin:

that’s a cop out

11 minutes ago · Like

 Nick Batzig:

True. The question is, do I have the right heremenuetic

11 minutes ago · Like

Alex Joye Grenier:

“We can’t ask them. We must exercise our talents to decipher the meaning of the context. This is possible, by the grace of God.” Yes, that’s very subjective and very individual in nature.

11 minutes ago · Like

Alex Joye Grenier:

Hermeneutic is very subjective.

11 minutes ago · Like

Nick Batzig:

We believe that the Reformed have the right hermeneutic.

11 minutes ago · Like

Tom Martin:

I don’t want to read a passage objectively; I want to know what it means.

11 minutes ago · Like

Tom Martin:

Words have meaning

10 minutes ago · Like

 Alex Joye Grenier:

Yes, I know you do. And, the other 9,000 (James White’s number) to 30,000 Christian* denominations who differ on all sorts of “this is what the bible says!” apply different hermeneutics and even applying what some would call a Reformed Hermeneutic many arrive at different opinions of “this is what the text means!”

10 minutes ago · Like

Nick Batzig:

Sure. You could say, “That’s just your interpretation;” to which I would say, “It is. Is it the right one.” You’re doing precisely the same thing. Subjective interpretations do not change the fact that there is an objective meaning in the Scriptures.

10 minutes ago · Like

 Tom Martin:

Whether or not I believe Hebrews, we know what its author meant and I believe it

9 minutes ago · Like

Alex Joye Grenier:

No, we don’t really know for sure.

9 minutes ago · Like

 Nick Batzig:

Gents. I have a sermon to preach about the unchangeable Lord Jesus Christ for the building up of believers. I have to bail on this discussion.

9 minutes ago · Like

Alex Joye Grenier:

We can make some assumptions, draw some conclusions, but to be intellectually honest, we really haven’t much of a clue.

9 minutes ago · Like

Tom Martin:

With due humility, I know (at least partly) what it means. It means that the God-man Jesus is unchangeable.

8 minutes ago · Like · 1

 Alex Joye Grenier:

The text seems to contradict your position of “unchangeable”. God seems to have Free Will and the ability to change his mind if he wants to.

8 minutes ago · Like

 Tom Martin:

God is not capricious

7 minutes ago · Like

 Tom Martin:

He is infinitely wise and patient in His judgments

7 minutes ago · Like

 Nick Batzig:

It also means that His once-for-all sacrifice for our sin continues to be acceptable to God for us and that His intercession on the throne of God never ceases for those for whom He died.

7 minutes ago · Like

 Alex Joye Grenier:

OK, so Jesus paid the penalty for sin, so it’s all good.

6 minutes ago · Like

 Alex Joye Grenier:

Yes, Limited Atonement, Jesus only died for the Elect.

6 minutes ago · Like

 Alex Joye Grenier:

…I don’t agree with that position any longer.

6 minutes ago · Like

 Nick Batzig:

Alex, have you read the Vos sermon I posted or any of the lengthier comments I have made, or do you just like to see your own comments being posted on my FB wall?

5 minutes ago · Like

 Alex Joye Grenier:

Yes and no.

5 minutes ago · Like

 Nick Batzig:

Proverbs 18:2

5 minutes ago · Like

 Alex Joye Grenier:

It caught my attention and sparked some comments from me which led to a discussion.

4 minutes ago · Like

 Nick Batzig:

I answered your initial comment with several resources that suitably answer it and your ignored them and proceeded to argue. This is not a discussion.

3 minutes ago · Like

 Alex Joye Grenier:

No, the appeal to the fool passages is usually a form of ad hominem and not very constructive. The bible also states you have to become a fool to be wise so there is another example of competing narrative.

3 minutes ago · Like

 Nick Batzig:

Jesus calls people fools in the Bible, but I guess you think he changed.

3 minutes ago · Like

 Alex Joye Grenier:

Nick, you assume I am not familiar with what you appealed to and I am. I used to be reformed and have already read the stuff, it doesn’t suitably answer my questions IMO or I wouldn’t be continuing the discussion.

2 minutes ago · Like

 Alex Joye Grenier:

Yes, Jesus called the Pharisees “you fools!” and Jesus also said that you would be in danger of the fire of hell if you called your brother “you fool!”

about a minute ago · Like

 Alex Joye Grenier:

…another competing narrative.

about a minute ago · Like

 Nick Batzig:

Alex, please stop writing on my FB wall.

about a minute ago · Like

 Alex Joye Grenier:

Okey doke. Have a good day.

a few seconds ago · Like

…and then the thread was removed, but to his credit, Nick did not zap me from being a facebook friend. Thanks to Nick and to Tom for the discussion. I think it highlights and illustrates some major blind spots in conservative Fundamentalism…this guru from the Reformed wing of that Tent.

What say you? Does God have free will (God being Jesus and God the Father, remember Trinitarians, you assert they are the same essence, different persons). Did Jesus “change” from the Old Testament to New Testament and then back again in Revelation? What does it mean to “love your enemies”?