An unScriptural view and practice of Loyalty is at the heart of Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel's Problem.
Dave Rolph made a statement on PhoenixPreacher the other day that validated my assumptions about something I’ve noticed not only in myself and others, but largely within the Calvary Chapel and Chuck Smith Ethos.
Here is Rolph’s statement: “Much of these differences between the two men are generational. Chuck comes from a generation where soldiers have each others’ backs, no matter what. Loyalty is a fundamental and non-negotiable matter of character. Driscoll, on the other hand, comes from a generation of wikileaks, Abu Graib etc. where betrayal is a matter of practicality and political expediency. Collateral damage is assumed. So you sell people out “for the good of the organization” which really means “for the good of the leader.” There are certainly times when an old school leader acts with disloyalty, and a new school leader acts selflessly, but in general the approaches remain consistent. So older people can’t understand how Driscoll could sell out people who are loyal to him, while younger people are mystified as to why Chuck has the back of someone who is killing him. Anytime you think someone is acting crazy it is almost always because you don’t understand their culture.”
See that? Dave Rolph has struck the HEART of the Core Problem at Calvary Chapel. “Loyalty”…and often Blind Loyalty and Unjust Scales and the opposite of 1 Timothy 5:19 Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. 20 But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning. 21 I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.
I took my beef to the Top and I learned that it was not about Justice, the Truth, and a Righteous Judgment. Chuck Smith made it very clear that it was about kissing the ring, submission to his Program and Loyalty. When I didn’t play ball, I was marked a “Yappy Dog” and “Loose Cannon” and lied about from the Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa Pulpit…by a man who professes to be “Anointed” and some sort of Spiritual Leader and Prophet who believes he had the Authority from God to spawn an entire Movement.
In private discussions with Michael Newnham of PhoenixPreacher, I had accurately diagnosed this human Problem and Dynamic…and I’ve realized that we all pretty much operate under the same or similar dynamic. I had forwarded a beef someone else had with one of Michael’s CC Pastor Buddies. I observed that our own behavior (mine included, see below) is heavily affected by these relationships and whether one is an Ally or Enemy. Loyalty plays a HUGE part in how we mete out Grace and Justice. It just is.
Following is a chain of communication with Michael (my comments only with name redacted to protect Michael’s CC Pastor friend):
Michael had questioned me about the source of the information. Here’s my response and my observations on “Loyalty: Allies and Enemies Dynamic”:
“The person is a woman. She is XXXXXXXXXXXXX (didn’t give him the name, but described her). I understand your loyalty to XXXX and I imagine it’s much the same dynamic in play with BG, Chuck and others etc. It really does come down to Allies and Enemies and Relationships. We are gracious to those we count as friends who have gone to bat for us and we are much less gracious to those who we don’t know, don’t like or have harmed us. That’s just human nature and the way things are.
I’m not knocking you for it. It’s human nature. It’s just how we are. It’s normal and not necessarily bad or evil, it just is. I know you would blow him up if he hurt kids.I am guilty of the same humanness BTW.There is a CC pastor and his son who I should blow up, but I’m having a hard time doing so. The son molested another boy years ago during their CC Affiliation process. The Pastor’s son was 3 years older and much bigger than the other boy. CCCM was made aware of it (CCOF as well) and they Affiliated anyway. The family got shunned, smeared, booted etc. However, the molesting CC Pastor’s son is now an adult and a Marine who just came back from Afghanistan and the CC Pastor is a Marine as well. I can’t blow them up, even though if I was to be consistent, I should.
And, I won’t blow up XXXX b/c you’re my friend and b/c you vouch for him, even though, to be consistent, I should.Politics, Business, the Church, etc is very very similar. I am learning the same lessons in Local Politics and Business…and as I continue to study History, this is endemic to Mankind. It’s our Nature.It is how guys like BG and SH survive massive scandal and how CS gets away with much of what he does. All part of the dynamic.
They have built a massive Wall of Friends, Allies, Alliances, etc and receive maximum Grace when they need it and the benefit of the doubt when they need it. Those loyal to them don’t question their motives and rarely their actions and when they do find something they don’t like, they extend maximum Grace and protect them and defend them. I would do the same for you and some others.
3 year age difference between the boys. 14 and 11. My bad. The Mother is considering a lawsuit, though, so that might take care of it. I am pointing her to Kelly Clark and Tim Kosnoff. More fun for CCCM.
“It’s not nature…it’s grace”: Sometimes. And, sometimes it’s an excuse to not do the right thing, which can be the hard thing.Hey, there are many times I wonder if I should have taken on Bob G and CC, etc. I probably could’ve leveraged that whole situation and played it much differently and benefited my family in a variety of ways. I would have been much more popular and opened many more doors having found a way to over-look that stuff and cozied up to the CC Establishment.
I hear you and again, none of this is directed at you…I am just expressing my inner thoughts to a trusted friend. Have a good day, Michael. I am feeling much less obligated to take on CC, but to focus on building my business and benefiting the family I have left. Politics is a weird animal. It’s much uglier than I imagined at the local level. There are “sides” even at the local level…and it is nearly impossible to be independent and “issue by issue” vs. Pick a Side. You are left alone and not trusted if you don’t stake a firm claim to a Team…and it’s very difficult to coalesce support and a Consensus when you are solo and both Camps don’t feel you are part of them.
I think U2 put it best: “You’re dangerous…b/c you’re honest…you’re dangerous, you don’t know what you want”. Maybe God’s done using me for that or maybe it was all just my flesh, dunno.”
I agree with Dave Rolph’s assessment of Chuck Smith and the Calvary Chapel Dynamic. Personal Loyalty often trumps truth, righteousness, equal scales and blind justice in the Calvary Chapel System.
I disagree with Dave Rolph about Mark Driscoll to a degree. I think Driscoll has issues, no doubt, however, Mars Hill sure did seem to give a Mea Culpa and fired or demoted some people who did the wrong thing…unlike their Market-Share Jesus, Inc. competitors and rivals, Calvary Chapel.
I also think that Dave Rolph’s articulation of Loyalty is sinful due to his reference to Wikileaks as being a bad thing. It is this mindset that is telling of the unScriptural view of Loyalty (a World’s definition and not God’s) that is the Core of the Calvary Chapel Problem.
It is good to hear a Big Name in Calvary Chapel be so candid and honest. I hope that sort of transparency continues. It is only when the Problem is accurately understood…that it can ever be truly repented of.
Bob Grenier’s view of Loyalty (and Raul Ries for that matter) is the same as Chuck’s. It is this twisted belief that leads to covering over sin, corruption and abuse and justifying the protection of it and the facilitation and enabling of it behind Loyalty…as if that type of Loyalty is a Christian Virtue.
Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel’s version of Loyalty leads to Senior Pastors and Allies of Chuck Smith, Raul Ries and other Big Guys in the CC System getting away with child abuse, molestation, corruption, spiritual abuse and so much other bad stuff.
It is a denial of Scripture that speaks to Justice, Just Scales and Church Discipline that doesn’t show “partiality” or “favoritism” and the direct Command of Paul the Apostle here with such strong language it leaves no wiggle room even for the smoothest of CC spinmeisters and Scripture deniers:
1 Timothy 5:19-22
Again, I can’t hold that Standard and shouldn’t be a Pastor and Spiritual Leader. It’s hard to put Loyalty aside and do the right thing when it comes to an Ally. Much easier to blast away at an Enemy or someone you don’t know. I get Chuck Smith, Bob Grenier and Calvary Chapel’s “Loyalty” Construct when it comes to Business, Politics, heck even the Mafia. I don’t get it when it comes to Spiritual Matters and the Office of Pastor/Elder as it is in direct opposition to Scripture…and I would assume that a Brand that professes to “teach the bible simply!”…that they view the Scripture as Authoritative. I could be wrong.
My Conclusion is that Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel are little different than what I see in Business and Politics…a.k.a. the World.