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

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

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

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

OC Weekly broke the story here:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is a link to Driscoll’s mea culpa and resignation letter that first appeared in Religion News Service:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Posted by at 5:13 pm
Jul 242014
ken and chuck

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

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

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

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

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

Link to OC Weekly article here:

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

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

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

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

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

Calvary Chapel Abuse Commentary and Opinion:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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