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