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
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.
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).