Chip Rohlke says:
April 19, 2012 at 7:30 am
Calvary Chapel Melbourne issue of financial disclosure:
I thought I’d attach a letter I sent Pastor Mark Balmer about my situation with the church here in Melbourne (I’ve been attending for 12 years). I’m very disturbed about the lack of financial disclosure and the way the church reacted to my questioning it. I wrote Chuck Smith who I met on a trip to Israel with him in ’93 but got no response. I’d like to let all those who attend [Calvary Chapel Melbourne] know what’s going on but haven’t figured out a way to do it. After that I’m leaving it in God’s hands and feel it’s all I can do to change things.
President, Christ is Creator Ministries
Dear Pastor Mark:
I’ve been involved in Christian Ministry for 28 years and only once was I called before the elders of a church for discipline. The sad thing is that it wasn’t for a moral failure like fornication, or stealing, or lying, or being abusive. It was for asking a simple question within a church body- “Are the churches finances open to examination”. Now that’s an amazing thing…for nowhere in scripture did I see church authority to impose intimidation and coercion in an area of non-Biblical areas of procedure and preference like financial transparency. Funny how pagan companies and government are required to be totally transparent but the church of Christ isn’t?
I’ve struggled with writing you about this for many months for when your elders called me to meet with them I was subjected to something that I can only describe as a form of spiritual abuse. Never in my life have I been so humiliated, character and motives questioned, intimidated and coerced into accepting what is generally described by numerous pastors I’ve met with as ‘a very bad policy and borderline abusive reaction’. I talked this over with the Pastor of the 1st Baptist Eau Gallie, Larry Booth (Our Father’s House), Jack Taylor, Dr. Francis Schaeffers staff at L’Abri, and Billy Graham’s ministry.
All without exception were not surprised by what happened to me but sad that any church would behave in such an unbiblical and un-Christlike manner-not to mention they all thought financial disclosure was essential to a healthy church. Reminds me of Martin Luther at Wurm where the church wanted to kill the messenger rather than hear the message.
Personally I was offended when the elders at this meeting impuned my character and also rejected the idea that I could be speaking for God. What arrogance! When I wanted to meet with you to discuss this you told me in the commons, “I’m not interested”. In my 15 years with Peter Lord’s church he would have never said such a rude thing to any of his flock…no matter how he felt about them. But I guess you’re not Peter.
I hope you take this in the right light. Whether you change your policy or not is between you, the church and God. In any case I certainly think a public apology is warranted. Otherwise I’m planning on going public with this experience that the body might be aware that the church is entering an area of control that I have only experienced in religious cults.