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Why I Left Calvary Chapel: a non-denominational denomination

by randy on April 10th, 2009

If there is anything that Calvary Chapel prides itself in it’s in the fact that it is non-denominational. An excerpt from a popular Calvary Chapel website states, “Calvary Chapel is a non-denominational church movement focused on the inerrancy of the Bible and the expository teaching from Genesis to Revelation.” From a statement of faith found on many of their sites, “nor are we opposed to denominations as such, only their over emphasis of the doctrinal differences that have led to the division of the Body of Christ.”

If there is a distinctive of modernism that is chief of all it is a disdain for truth and doctrine, if I were to put it bluntly I would call it liberalism. The idea that we can not know truth, that it is not important or that it divides rather than unites is paramount to modern evangelicalism. It is a running joke that some churches can get along with a statement of faith that fits on the back of a bulletin. While it’s nice to have a condensed version, it is never acceptable to stop at saying, “we believe in the trinity, the holy spirit, Jesus and spiritual worship…”. What does that mean?! I have found that this is not limited to the non-reformed. This lack of confession is also carried about by churches that boast of “reformation.”

In the book “Calvary Chapel Distinctives” Chuck Smith states, “You know the beautiful thing about being called Calvary Chapel? People don’t know where you really stand… And the whole field is ours… When you’re marketing something, you want the largest market appeal possible. So don’t chop up the market and say, ‘Well, we’re just going to fish in this little market here.’ Keep the market broad. (pg. 49, 50).” In a consumer driven world it is sad that churches expect and encourage men to make a choice for a church based on externals (music, pep, relevance, simplicity, comedy, lax dress-code, youth, etc…) rather than by what they believe the bible says. There is an acceptable degree of consumerism by which I must find a church in this fallen world and it is only in confessional churches where I have been handed material upon material to read concerning the one thing that counts… DOCTRINE.

Too many churches are aiming at doctrinal ambiguity and hoping to attract people by their atmosphere, cool worship, funny pastor, amneties, young crowd, etc…

I like the fact that reformed churches are confessional and historical, check out the OPC. If I want to know what they believe I can read the westminister confession. It is quite a work! In fact it is a direct product of the reformation and full of scripture for reference. They also have a manual on church discipline, a manual on the deaconate, eldership, etc… Nothing is a surprise. They have been standing on the shoulders of giants since the reformation and have 500 years of experience and mistakes to draw from.

As far as Calvary Chapel is concerned: It is hypocritical for a church that totes unity through anti-doctrinal means to have been formed by a man who found a subjective distaste for his original form of church (doctrine in the so-called ‘non-essentials’) and decided now, with his finite experience, that he will create his own sect that meets these new needs. It is this individualistic, non-submissive, consumer mentality that has permeated the “laymen” and it is precisely for the sake of unity that all men should abandon their modernistic churches and return to historic Christianity.

But the gospel is simple, right? Anyone can pastor a church…

If you have sat under Calvary Chapel teaching long enough you have heard the joke, “you don’t need to go to cemetery, I mean seminary, to become a Pastor.” Studious, intellectual study of the scriptures, theology or anything is not only frowned upon, it’s laughed at…

Donald Van Dyken in “Rediscovering Catechism” writes, ‘Perhaps we can understand how an anti-intellectual, anti doctrinal atmosphere has found acceptance. Christians have watched brilliant theologians mutilate, twist, and pervert the Word of God. Disgusted with these ways of turning the truth of God into a lie, some Christians have eschewed learning itself, whether past and present. “away with theology!” they cry. “Give me the simple gospel!” But is ignorance better than falsehood? Can the great God and Creator whose mighty acts and wondrous character confront us on every page of Scripture be reduced to a scant few beliefs? The simplicity of the gospel is precious, but its simplicity never robs it of its profundity. Place a rose in the hand of a child, and that child can see that it is a beautiful, fragrant flower, a gift of God. But place a rose in the hand of Luther Burbank, and without losing any of his simple, child-like wonder and appreciation for its beauty, he could devote a lifetime exploring its profound complexity… Some Christians harbor the notion that doctrine divides people. But true doctrine unites rather than divides. True doctrine teaches us about Christ, who is the Truth, the Word from above. When we teach and keep the truth about him, we are bound together in an eternal bond. The truth unites us to God and to each other.’

Quoted by Michael Horton, Hofstadter in “Anti-Intellectualism in American Life” says, ‘The Puritan ideal of the minister as an intellectual and educational leader was steadily weakened in the face of the evangelical ideal of the minister as a popular … exhorter. Theological education itself became more instrumental. Simple dogmatic formulations were considered sufficient. The churches withdrew from intellectual encounters with the secular world, gave up the idea that religion is a part of the whole life of intellectual experience, and often abandoned the field of rational studies on the assumption that they were the natural province of science alone. By 1853 an outstanding clergyman complained that there was “an impression, somewhat general, that an intellectual clergyman is deficient in piety, and that an eminently pious minister is deficient in intellect.”‘ Horton comments, “By the time of the Second Awakening (beginning in the last quarter of the eighteenth century through first quarter of the nineteenth), the existential act of faith replaced the objective content of faith in popular revivals. People wanted to decide for themselves which church came closest to their views. Sects proliferated. ‘The idea of a historical continuity in the life of the Church,’ says Hofstadter, ‘ carries no weight whatever for the sect consciousness.’ In fact, ‘since there need be only a shadow of confessional unity in the denominations, the rational discussion of theological issues- in the past a great source of intellectual discipline in the churches- came to be regarded as a distraction, as a divisive force.'”

I will always champion of unity. Paul commanded, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” While this has been taken by modernists to mean that doctrinal discussions or debates are dangerous- we should never give in to such liberal folly.  This is how, as I will write in the future, a church such as Calvary Chapel can pride itself in “teaching through the bible” yet miss the serious implications of the gospel (see: Priority of the Word).  This is why you find such inconsistency in a preachers understanding of the gospel from Calvary Chapel to Calvary Chapel.  Some teach a false man-centered gospel and others, closer to the truth, teach a /near/ accurate God-centered gospel (yes there are some faithful men in Calvary Chapel).

  1. Larry Young permalink

    I respectfully disagree with most of your commentary railing against Calvary Chapel. Having attended CC in Costa Mesa for over a year before moving to North Idaho seven years ago, I found consistency. During these years, I have attended Calvary Chapels in at least six other states and have seen nothing of which you speak in any of the church bodies or the pastoral leadership. Your last paragraph could not be further from the truth when you suggest how CC “miss the serious implications of the gospel.” Not only have we NOT found the inconsistency in a preachers understanding of the Gospel, we have not found any whatsoever that teach the “false man-centered gospel” that you allude to. You sir need to be more specific than the vast generalities that do anything but create the Christian unity that you so aptly quote as Paul’s key concern. Eiither confirm and validate or apologize for the harmful slander and dissension that you are generating.

    Larry Young
    Hope, Idaho

    • In response to Larry’s comment, I’ve attended CC in St. Louis
      a few times now and not only has there never been
      any mention of any of the gospel but I just went to Christmas Eve
      service where Dr. Suess was worked into the whole 12 minutes of actual “teachings” during service and I also learned during this “learning experience” that Joseph actually impregnated Mary. And the “non-Jesus bearing” cross was stage left while the rag-tag band took center stage. Cant wait to go back be taught by a guy that was “indoctrinated” by his people b/c he happens to read the bible more than they do. Can’t wait to learn more. I won’t even go into the last service I attended.

    • Maryjo permalink

      You are wrong…all the answers you will ever need are right there in scripture…Your self-righteous lack of submission to the fullness of the gospel truth is what hinders you…I would encourage you to begin with “The Plan of Salvation” in any Denomination or Non for that matter “Churches” as they all are puffing themselves up against the Word of God and many Christians much like yourself who are prideful and ignorant are falling for it. Most times, there is something “In It” these Impositus places we call Church for the Worshiping of God, we can’t or won’t let go of or sacrifice ie, The Laodicean Church. Brother, I say this in all meekness and love as truth seems to be much a hard pill for many to swallow.

    • DAMIEN permalink

      I would just like to say to the writer of this article God bless you, but you claim to stand for unity and write an article of division. From my personal experience Calvary is a wonderful ,Holy spirit filled, congregation. Pastor Chuck smith I believe does a great Job as Pastor. If we are true believers of Christ we should be edifying to one another not condemning. Every argument against Calvary that you have stated, I find completely contradicting to what is actually taught. If you disagree with a church and are a true follower of Christ, I think you should just pray for them rather than try and dismember there reputation. It says in the epistle of Peter, that those who teach the word of God will have a stricter judgment when there time comes. So if Calvary is doing wrong, it is Gods vengeance not yours. As for me I agree with the teachings at Calvary.
      Grace and peace to you.
      Damien Hutchinson

    • Scott Fahey permalink

      I also disagree. Do our Pastors sometimes say things that are not godly. Yes, once in a great while. They , like all of us are sinners and sometimes act in the flesh. Cast the first stone.But CC teaches the bible and God uses CC as a whole to teach Gods works. CC may not be for everyone as is any other church. Go to a church that builds up your faith. Read your bible from cover to cover over and over. Most importantly, get involved in your church and live a Godly life everyday. Be a disciple to all nations. God bless all who read this.

  2. Mike Petersen permalink

    I have to agree with Larry Young. My wife and I have been attending Calvary Chapel’s for 16 plus years now. Even 7 years under Pastor Chuck.

    It is obvious you dont agree with the entire Bible because that is what is taught. I am sorry for your hyper critical assessment of Calvary, but you are not going to find a more Christ centered, Spirit led church than that.

    Mike Petersen

  3. Mike… I don’t agree with the entire bible because what? Can you name some specific biblical doctrines I don’t believe? I have provided much evidence in my book review of Calvary Chapel Distinctives that Chuck Smith believes the bible contradicts and that he glosses over hard verses of scripture.

    I would have agreed with you concerning Calvary’s spirit led, Christ centricness two years ago… Until I found out that even though these teachers were so-called “teaching the full counsel of God” there were MANY MANY MANY things left out.

    My wife and I heard more taught in the visitors classes at our new church than we have in all our years sitting under Calvary pastors. The Calvary pastors who read the commentaries of the reformers, but deny the foundational doctrines and fail to recognizes why spurgeon, pink, macarthur, sproul was/are such a great expositors.

  4. mike permalink

    I think you need to be specific and state which Calvary Chapels you are referring to. It is not fair to lump them in one category. I would be wrong to make a negative comment about Southern Baptists churches as a whole based on a visit to a few (in which I have attended several). I have attended several CCs as well and have never experienced the things you mentioned. Just a few months ago, the sermon was about Jesus being our Savior AND our Lord. I have always heard the Gospel taught accurately and on the premise of the grace of God and not the works of man. Maybe the CC you went to was messed up, but each one is different. The main common factor is that they teach the Bible verse by verse. That is what separates them from other churches and why I go to a CC.

    Topical teaching will only train you up as the pastor sees fit. You are limited to the verses that pertain to the topic he wants to teach on. By teaching verse by verse you get all God’s Word and can’t skip over the hard parts.

    If you are so willing to criticize, then I implore you to be a man and name the Calvary Chapel(s) you are referring to.

    • Kelsi permalink

      I totally agree with your comment. Not all CCs are the same. I have attended two in Hawaii among many other Christian churches of different denominations and I really appreciate the sound doctrine that CC teaches. Like you have mentioned, they go verse by verse as NOT to skip the “hard” or more difficult verses to understand. To fully understand God’s word we must fully engage ourselves in the Bible, verse by verse. Each verse must be equally studied because each verse is important to our understanding of how we must live for the Lord. My experiences with CC have been nothing but blessings. I will attend until I meet the Lord.

      Blessings, Aloha!

  5. John permalink

    Hello Randy,

    The Orthodox Presbyterian Church is a really nice step in the right direction. Now take the leap across the Reformation divide and come home to the Catholic Church. If you truly want to be involved in the true fullness of faith you and your wife must divorce yourself from the 500 year imbedded prejudices and seriously investigate the Church Christ founded.

    All other factions and denominations broke off from the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. If you’re interested send me an email and I’ll recommend some great resources.


  6. John,

    I am assuming you are referring to the Roman Catholic church. My family is Roman Catholic and I really am sympathetic towards it. I long for the day the visible church would be Catholic in the true sense of the word. It is sad to see the divide we do, but I do not blame the reformers for it. It was necessary given the corruption and improper interpretation of the historic doctrines present in the Roman church during the days of the reformers and present.

    Even the “First Pope” was accountable to the council of Jerusalem when he was mistaken in his doctrine. Truly an example of Presbyterian church government!


    • robert chacon permalink

      Randy, the Reformers did not reform Christianity. They revolted. Yes, there was corruption in practice. However there was NOT corruption of doctrine. there is NOT a single doctrine that was no consistent with the early Church. All one has to do is read the Church Fathers to realize this. For example, your comment about the Peter being subject to the Council of Jerusalem would is completely consistent with Catholic teaching as read in the Church Fathers and taught to this day. Your mistake is your misunderstanding of current teaching on papal supremacy. The pope is most definitely required to follow Church councils and the bible even requires the pope AND believers to hold fast to the Traditions of the Church, both written and spoken. Your comment reveals that you think the pope is free to make doctrine according to his will. That is simply NOT true. He is bound to the Councils and Tradition just as you suggest he should be! This is just one example of how you and most non Catholics are not even aware of the what the Church actually teaches. Its one thing to object to something that is not true. But it is a great error to confuse lies from what the Church actually teaches. Before you criticize the “errors” of the Church, I pray that you as well as all others, will attempt to understand what the Church actually teaches first. Then your comments will have more validity.

      Yours in Christ!

  7. Mike,

    I am free to lump Calvary Chapel into that category as they all must adhere to the Calvary Chapel Distinctives which I have extensively reviewed on this blog.

    I agree, the best way to teach the bible is expositionally. Sadly Calvary thinks reading whole chapters at a time and then making funny jokes, and telling stories is expository teaching.

    • katychicago permalink

      How sad that your experience has been such; my own experience with CC is that we read the Bible a few verses or chapters at a time and I don’t ever recall any “funny jokes.” CC members that I have known have more of a grasp on the Bible than any other group of Christians I have ever encountered. I am always amazed at how much these people know about and live the Bible. Don’t assume all CCs are like the one you’ve described.

      One thing I have noticed, however, is that many of the folks who leave CC realize they can’t live up to the standard that Jesus calls us to be and so they find it easier to criticize CC than to take a look at themselves. Blessings to you, Kathy

      • Kel permalink

        Works based faith is taught along with justification by faith. Chucks likes if you abide in me i will abide in you. without looking at the word abide. God has a giant eraser and is writing your name in and out of the book of life.

      • Kelly permalink

        My husband and I have left a rather large and very popular CC due to doctrinal issues and having been called elsewhere by the Lord. We also know many people who have left and they are by far the more biblically studious and doctrinally sound people we know.

        The CC we attended was full of jokes and was also full of Bible teaching. It was also guilty of glossing over hard verses, especially 2 Thessalonians 2:3, which rather flies in the face of a pre-trib doctrine, one which CCs hold to dearly. Our pastor said of this passage that “people think it speaks against pre-trib rapture, but that is a mis-read”. That’s all he said about it. Never went into WHY he’s so sure it’s a mis-read or WHY he’s so sure it supports his pre-trib side.

        We are not anti-Calvary, but they, and by they I mean some of the big name pastors, are sliding away from solid Biblical teaching into heresies of a grand scale — including Chuck, who even said abortion was right for one woman in a radio call in show.

        Would we go back if the Lord called us there? Of course. MANY churches are falling away and many have some doctrinal issues. They’re all taught by men, so of course there will be errors in teaching. In fact, our CC pastor always told us to check out what he taught if we thought it was wrong. Doesn’t mean he’d recant if we showed it to him, however, for whatever that’s worth.

  8. Jason Stevens permalink

    Some of the pro-Calvary Chapel have asked you for specific Calvary Chapels that you have problems with in terms of their teaching.

    Still waiting as all you do is give us another spiritual nugget…

    You’ve thrown the gauntlet, but now you’re chicken to name names.

    Name specific Calvary Chapels that you have problems with, otherwise, you are a spiritual coward.

    • DAMIEN permalink

      I would like to also add. That for all Calvary members and non members that are still children of Christ, we are called to live by faith hope and love.
      The greatest of these is love. As for Randy do not argue with him but rather pray for him. And all others who claim to know Christ but do not abide in love. The second Greatest commandment is that we will love our neighbor as ourselves, so I pray for the body of Christ, and for Randy individually.
      God Bless
      Damien Hutchinson

  9. I seem to have struck a chord with the Calvary Chapel folks. If you are so confident that your church is scriptural than what are you doing here calling me names?

    Read my Calvary Chapel Distinctive posts and refute what I have said.

    I said it more than once. It is Calvary Chapel as a system and their core fundamental beliefs that are lacking. There have also been specific ones I have been to that don’t get the gospel and that is a symptom of the larger picture.

  10. Excellent post. Its clear from the beginning Calvary was a marketing strategy towards the hippies who refused to go to be accountable to the scripture. Anytime you trade truth and doctrine for a “middle ground” that won’t offend anyone your going against scripture.

    Don’t get me wrong, they do teach many books verse by verse carefully avoiding chapters in Luke, John, Romans and Ephesians, basically anything that takes away from the harvest crusade mentality. Thats what builds Calvary’s, not repentance and belief, but walking forward and saying a special prayer without knowing what your getting into. Sadly many will only know John 3:16 in the wrong context and will never know the deeper and true love of John 3:8

    God does use them, in SPITE of the glaring doctrinal issues. Just because I didn’t spin out and die doesn’t mean it was a good thing that my tire had a nail in it.

    This is why 90% of Americans say they are christian, but don’t believe in 90% of the bible. Salvation is of the Lord, AMEN

  11. James lynn permalink

    In a way all of the people who disagreed with the author of this article have actually proved him correct thus far. None of you have bothered to use a valid biblical reference concerning church doctrine or challenge the authors anti-dispensationalist view. All you can do is say that you disagree, but it seems that you are basing this on nothing more then hearsay, then get farther of track by ask for specific cc locations (which is beside the point anyways) and call names. Not one of you have yet to present a halfway decent counter argument. If this debate was to ever turn into a court room trial, i think the author should print out the comments that you all have left and title it “exhibit A.”

    • liz permalink

      i agree! it’s important to be quick to listen but slow to speak and also to not love ‘arguing for the sake of arguing’ but one should engage others respectfully and in a way as seeks to know rather than argue and to clarify rather than rant on and on. God calls us to study his Word so that we will know how to rightly divide it–so yes those for or against should do so referring to either specific examples or related bible/ scriptural verses. I have often moved from one ‘church’ to another and the reason was that it was Jesus I was looking for but couldn’t find him in the ‘churches’ I went to coz they compromised God’s Word, they taught a different gospel/ doctrine/ Christ/ God…since childhood I was not going to give in to the views of a person or religious leader—all I wanted to know was Christ and his Truth and if I felt or noticed that people/ churches/ religious leaders were saying things that I couldn’t find in my Bible then I would leave, pray on it and seek a ‘church’ that taught the truth of God…many times my search was not so hopeful so I settled for ‘Calvary Chapel’ not knowing its beliefs but knowing that it seemed to be the only church close to what I believed and I needed a place to fellowship and hear the Word of God preached….but am a curious person so I set out to know what CC’s fundamental beliefs were and when I did I found that something didn’t feel right.I remember they claimed they believed in a middle ground between traditionalism and radicalism–this didn’t match scripture. They gave me a book of Distinctives that confused me and had me wondering if the Bible and Jesus weren’t enough or clear enough that men claiming to be ‘believers’ would prefer to add pages of their own thoughts, perceptions and understanding of God–I felt that this was similar to what the pagan traditions of the Catholic church say when they claim to believe in God’s Word and yet they try to change it/ eliminate one of the ten commandments/ and add creeds & catechisms as if the Scripture were insufficient. I really don’t care what a particular ‘church’ does–all I care about is what ‘does it believe and teach about God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, Bible, Salvation, Sin, Repentance’ this is very important and the measure of truth and authority I trust is the Word of God alone. I have been to CC in Uganda and what I see happen is no surprise because the basis on which it has been founded is wrong (a man, the beliefs of this man, the lacking so-called Distinctives)… for example: they display and sell books among other items in church on Sunday; they don’t scrutinize the spiritual-state of people before accepting them into ministry (choir, hospitality,..) ; it doesn’t seem clear how the books preached are chosen and also they trust to follow this practice rigidly without considering the Spirit of God to lead; they have recently dishonored ‘offertory’ on Band nights in the church and turned it into ‘fundraising’ and something farmiliar/ less significant; they have allowed so-called gospel artists and band players to come and hold ‘concert-like’ activities in the church–tell people its free but that they should come with ‘a healthy offertory to the Lord'; the authority of doctrine and its application in the life of a believer are not emphasized; it seems like anyone can just come in be they believer or unbeliever and end up in active ministry without the care to know who the person really is or if they are truly saved etc; it’s a pleasant and comfortable place but one that seems way far and way different from what the Bible teaches..the ‘church’ as is portrayed in the Bible; they talk of movie nights in the church; come for guitar lessons; they don’t seem to like rebuking carnality among members; fun fares; while the ‘discipling’ is ignored; during evangelism a person is told to repeat the prayer of the evangelist and then they are told ‘you are saved'; I love my friends in C.C but I will not be a follower of men (Chuck Smith and others) and neither will I be a partaker in the deeds of unrighteousness nor in the compromise of God’s Truth; I have shared these concerns with biblical evidence to some of the members even the pastor but the common response I have got were ‘defence-mode’ or someone will agree they know what is happening but prefer to keep silent about it… so of late I decided to leave and trust God to lead me to a church or bring me together with ‘true believers’ I can fellowship with… almost all the other ‘churches’ left around are either cults or filled with false preachers and false doctrines. However, I keep praying for C.C that God will be pleased to open their eyes and draw them to his Truth in Christ by the power of his Holy Spirit. Amen

  12. Scott F. permalink

    Couple ‘o things:

    First, all you CC’ers, just chilax. Randy aint’ sayin’ you ain’t Christian. And you shouldn’t be hatin’ on other churches either. OPC, CC, ABC (whatever your church tag) doesn’t have it all locked up for The Kingdom. I’m not OPC or CC but I know & love a bunch of brothers & sisters under each umbrella. As long as we all rely on Christ alone and his redemptive work on our behalf, we can all be friends.

    Second, for those of you (Larry & Mike) lookin’ for some specific examples, I’ll give you 3:

    1. Since Mike mentioned the verse-by-verse teaching of CC’s (he’s lumping, so I guess I can too), anyone ever heard a CC pastor or any of the KWVE affiliate stations mention their “line upon line” teaching of the bible? Anyone ever bother to look up that idea in that same bible? (Hint: Is. 28:10, 13). Now that you have (hopefully), anyone care to explain what that passage means? (hint: it ain’t necessarily a good thing). This *is* the sort of thing Randy is getting at. This is one of the shortcomings of the CC approach to bible study/teaching/preaching in the CC churches that I am aware of (and I listen to CC radio just about every day, so I’ve got a pretty good sampling); most of the time it lacks context. This is why contextual exegetical expository preaching is so important.

    2. Just this month on the radio I heard Pastor Chuck, while reading some OT scripture, just completely ignore a list of names and follow it up with something like “…and a whole bunch of names we don’t need to bother with…” Are you kidding me?! *Any* pastor who says something that flip about the Word of God ought to be embarrassed. (see 2 Tim. 3:16)

    3. I also heard Pastor Chuck live on “Pastor’s Perspective” this month refer to someone winning at gambling as “pure luck.” His words. Which verse did he get that from? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

    Now, all you CC’ers, go ahead and turn on your flame throwers. I’m ready…I’m wearing my asbestos undies.

    • liz permalink

      reminds me of sometime when I had just started fellowshipping at C.C in Kampala–there was Pastor Brian Kelly who did something similar when he got to the ‘names’…either these details will be ignored, laughed at, or if read then attempt will be made to rush through them as if saying ‘can’t wait to get done with this’ or ‘why did God have to bother us with these time-waster details’….and the problem is that when we see the leaders in the church do such things then usually the congregation will assume that it is ‘okay’ to do the same ‘coz pastor does it too’. I am a believer in Christ and born again although I have chosen not to identify with the world’s religions/ denominations/ movements/ cults but rather I take Jesus Christ pretty seriously and desire to seek his will and pursue his righteousness daily by the power of his Holy Spirit–I rely on God’s Spirit to guide my ‘fellowship with him and with fellow believers’, to guide my bible study and understanding of Scripture, to guide me in discipling and in full obedience of God’s Word and will daily. I have quickly googled up the verse you mentioned ‘Isaiah 28:10-13′ and am very glad I read it as well as its meaning. Thanks. May God bless ya.

  13. Jeremiah Nelson permalink

    I have to agree with the author of this article. Having grown up in Calvary Chapel (literally from the womb) and attending for over 30 years (not just Church, but CCBC) I have seen the Biblical inaccuracy and sloppiness he speaks of. I have not only seen it from the pulpit, but from Calvary Chapel’s Bible College. The unfortunate thing is, not only is the teaching a non-exegetical picking of verses out of context, but anyone who disagrees is shunned and made to look like an apostate. I know people this has happened to. I will not list their names, as they have been humiliated enough. I have to add that I was not only an avid attender of church and bible studies, but worked at Calvary Christian Camp, where pastors from around the globe would come and teach. Not only that, but I served in youth ministry and taught Calvary doctrine. One guy advocated going to your pastor and asking for a history of dispensationalism. DON’T. You might find yourself on their bad list, or be made to look like a fool for questioning the teaching. guys like David Hocking, Steve Mays, Jack Hibbs, Raul Ries, Mike MacIntosh, and Chuck himself pay a lot of lip service to the Word, but do it a great disservice in how it is taught, denying church history, being completely apposed to any outside opinions, and packaging it as superior to “other churches”. I am grateful for the foundation in the Word I was given by Calvary Chapel, so forgive me for being so negative to this point. Unfortunately I am no longer willing to take what is told from the pulpit at face value. Not in regard to essentials of faith, but Calvary’s interpretation.
    By the way, if one is so inclined to really get back to the Apostolic Faith, go pass the Reformation, wave to the Roman Catholics and say hello to Eastern Orthdox. THIS is the original tradition begun by the Apostles. No disrespect to Roman Catholic, but they broke away from the east. I say than tongue-in-cheek, of course.

  14. Debbie permalink

    I agree with you. Everybody who is disagreeing is not paying attention to what he said. There is a tremendouse variance between one to another. The one I attended here in Washington state was focused on the Holy Spirit and “sin light.” When I asked about doctrine, I was told that it was man-made and therefore, not necessary. I didn’t say dogma, mind you. The great doctrines of salvation were never discussed. Half the church believed one could lose their salvation, the other half not. (Not very promotive of unity) So many churches fail to teach even basic theology. When I asked the pastor if we might have a NT Greek class, his reply, “we don’t even know if the NT was written in Greek.” That was the final straw for me. Calvary Chapel allows any Tom, Dick or Harry to call himself a pastor-teacher and use their name. It is a cult. No Calvary pastor may publish without Chuck Smith’s approval, the pope of Costa Mesa. It was a horrible experience for me, people being excommunicated, gossip, etc. and I almost turned my back on Christianity once again after a 20 year hiatus. Thank God He has planted me in a home church where doctrine is discussed, debated and shared; where Greek and Hebrew are learned and prayer and care for the group is foremost.

    • Cindy permalink

      Very true Debbie. Having also attended a CC in WA state there is a lot of control mechanisms in place. It was hard to partake in discussions or bible studies often because of the controlling leaders. None of the staff to my knowledge has had seminary training and when you bring up a great bible study you did which you learned a lot from you are silenced or made to feel stupid or such if it isn’t one on “their list.” In fact, many of the studies are written right there in-house by the same person for year after year. Not that that in and of itself is necessarily wrong, but it is easy to slant the mind-set if only one person’s teaching is what is taught every year.

      People seem to be expendable there. The concept of all of us being set up as members together as Christ brings the body together is not taken too seriously there. The true value of each of us in Christ is not understood there. If you aren’t the puppet they want, it is easier to make you unwelcome with a certain coolness that is unmistakable. Bring up the teachings of many men who were so humble before God and truly teached repentance, not merely confession and the teachers found the resources boring or such. Like the works of Tozer, Moody, Ravenhill, and A.B. Simpson for example.

      Doctrine is important and the gospel is one of repentance, not of mere confession…of a changed life and view point, not merely a head knowledge.

  15. Chris permalink

    Taught a return to Rome. Puritans were not Reformers like Calvin and Luther! Puritan teaching was renounced by Walter Marshall(Reformer) as heretical and called the New Divinity. Why? Because New Divinity, Lordship Salvation, and Federal Vision taught you must work to be saved. True Reformers taught salvation through Faith by Grace in our Lord and Saviour Jesus. Faith moves to repentance and surrender not before conversion. Even a born again beliver must rely upon the power of the Holy Ghost to live a Godly life or failure will ensew. Puritans and modern Lordship is Catholic and will have you always doubting the finished work of Christ because it is man centered, inward, and fleshly. Never relying on Christ!

  16. Chris.. You are a little confused about who or what the Puritans are or said. Walter Marshall was a Presbyterian Puritan. Additionally the Puritans held firmly that a Christian must rely upon the power of the Holy Ghost to live a Godly life.

    Lordship salvation doesn’t put works at the root of salvation, it puts it as the fruit. If you are saved, it will be worked out in your life through sanctification. Salvation is not merely a post-mortem fire insurance. The gospel reconciles us to God that we might turn from our rebellious way and have fellowship with Him, glorifying Him and living for Him. It makes the same assertions 1 John does concerning the man who claims to know Christ but lives in consistent unrepentant sin.

    The opposite, which is Calvary Chapel’s stance, is that Jesus can be ones savior and not be his Lord. The scriptural command to all men was to repent and believe the gospel. It wasn’t, “you need fire insurance, repeat this prayer and continue as you were.”

    Your comment is so chock full of errors, false presuppositions, and lies that I remember being told growing up in Calvary Chapel that I don’t know where to begin except to perhaps recommend doing some research and reading your bible :)

    I am constantly amazed at how quick people are to throw around terms like “lordship salvation”, “puritan”, “reformer” and not know what any of them are.

  17. andrew permalink

    greetings Christians, this is an interesting discussion i find Romans 16:17 fitting for this blog and if you put it in context with the chapter it fits even better so forgive me for not including the whole chapter. the point is unity and love which i will expand on later.

    “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.”

    i find it interesting that you talk about calvarys lack of doctrine, just to get you perspective what do you concider doctrine? doctrine is simply teaching in the original greek so calvary does teach you may not agree with their beliefs but they do teach specific “doctrines”. i would like you to expand on your idea of the doctrine of grace please. i don’t understand how calvarys views are wrong biblically. i wouldn’t want to missinterpret what you where trying to say. but please expand so i may have an opportunity to understand your side. listen Christians i spoke of love earlier this is a doctrine we hold dear at least at my calvary chapel i don’t like to see Christians argue over differances in our understanding of what someone else believes about God and how they chose to worship. you say we have no docrine other say you are blinded by the world and we go back and forth throwing mud, who gets the glory Christians?? is it God or satan?? we are instructed to loving correct see 1 Cr 4:21

    “What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and [in] the spirit of meekness?”

    i don’t here alot of loving corrections sadly. coming from both sides there is alot of negitivity twards eachother, this greaves me friends because while we are agruing over our doctrine there are still many out there who have never heard the Gospel there are many who will never hear this good news or will hear it but it will be drown out by the arguments within the body of Christ and they will turn away. sadly this is everyones fault we all do it, because we all are guilty of thinking that we as finite creations can explain our infinite Creator. i think we would all agree that God is far beyond our comprehention and his Holy Word with the guidance of the Holy Spirit is his way of educating us about Himself so the responibility is not with our church leaders as it was with the old covenant but it is with us. Jesus died so we can have unlimited acess to God so seek him Christians and know that the beauty of God is that he is perfect so we don’t have to be. we all fall short my friends. i will leave you with 2 Cr 11:3

    “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

    God bless all of you weather you think i’m a heritic or a brother we are the body of Christ we all represent our Lord to the world. God could of chose the angels to do his work on earth but insted he chose us….what a blessing.. chose how you use it wisly firends.

  18. Joshua permalink

    I attend CC and have for 8 yrs now. I have to say I agree with Randy. I cannot comprehend how not only CC pastors but many Pastors today quote the likes of Spurgeon but totally disagree with 90% of this beliefs. Calvary does go verse by verse but just like this past Sunday we did more talking about politics and today than elaborate on the Scriptures context. For a few years now I a have been studying the Doctrines of Grace and was able to overcome my CC views that had me rejecting these wonderful Doctrines that cement ones faith and leave a person falling into the hands of the Holy, merciful God!

    What I am reading here is what I have battling for several years not and am finally at the point of seeking a new fellowship. Not because I believe CC to be non believers just not biblically sound and not the safest place to be spiritually. I believe God is using these churches to bring people to Him but do believe that as Christians mature in there faith and pursuit of Truth they will come to the same conclusion I have. This article may seem an attack on CC but rather it is a call for TRUTH. The devotion i read from Spurgeon the other day deals with all this banter :) quite nicely.

    2 John 2
    For the truths sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.
    Once let the truth of God obtain an entrance into the human heart and subdue the whole man unto itself, no power human or infernal can dislodge it. We entertain it not as a guest but as the master of the house-this is a Christian necessity, he is no Christian who doth not thus believe. Those who feel the vital power of the gospel, and know the might of the Holy Ghost as He opens, applies, and seals the Lord’s Word, would sooner be torn to pieces than be rent away from the gospel of their salvation. What a thousand mercies are wrapt up in the assurance that the truth will be with us for ever; will be our living support, our dying comfort, our rising song, our eternal glory; this is Christian privilege, without it our faith were little worth. Some truths we outgrow and leave behind, for they are but rudiments and lessons for beginners, but we cannot thus deal with Divine truth, for though it is sweet food for babes, it is in the highest sense strong meat for men. The truth that we are sinners is painfully with us to humble and make us watchful; the more blessed truth that whosoever believeth on the Lord Jesus shall be saved, abides with us as our hope and joy. Experience, so far from loosening our hold of the doctrines of grace, has knit us to them more and more firmly; our grounds and motives for believing are now more strong, more numerous than ever, and we have reason to expect that it will be so till in death we clasp the Saviour in our arms. Wherever this abiding love of truth can be discovered, we are bound to exercise our love. No narrow circle can contain our gracious sympathies, wide as the election of grace must be our communion of heart. Much of error may be mingled with truth received, let us war with the error but still love the brother for the measure of truth which we see in Him; above all let us love and spread the truth ourselves.

  19. Tommy permalink

    I lefy a calvary, after 12 years, and the reason I left was because of the liberal attitudes of the leaders and the head pastor. The church was allowing worldly pratices into to church, and also allowing a minister to practice in a profession that the Bible clearly forbids, I know not all CC are like this, and it was hard for me to leave.
    I feel they are lukewarm, and serving a designer Jesus, and not the jesus of the Bible.

  20. Quentin permalink

    I can mention at least one Calvary Chapel that has a profound problem. Calvary Chapel Silver City NM.
    Besides the usual problem with todays protestant churches as being simply a modification of the Roman system with their elite “pastor” read priest, or as I refer to them as protestantized catholicism, this particular “church” has a single pastor, his wife as the school director, his father-in-law holding the purse strings, his daughter-in-law as a teacher…and all on the “church” payroll. Avoid any appearance of evil? Or does nepotism override scripture? This is one of the classic problems with the one man pastorship. Will they change? No! They will continue to reinterpret scripture to stay in their comfort zone.
    Besides who is Chuck Smith to start a new denomination? What is wrong with the scriptural pattern for church leadership? Simple! There is no place for ego and profit in it. And these men love to be “known”.

  21. Marie permalink

    Leaving Calvary Chapel:

    After attending a liberal United Methodist Church for many years, I happened onto the bible teaching of several CC pastors on a CSN radio station broadcasting out of Indiana in SW Michigan. It was wonderfully refreshing! My quest for a local home bible study ended up at my own home, where a CC pastor from another area drove weekly to lead a group that several months later, grew into a church plant and became an official Calvary Chapel. He moved to our town to pastor it.

    Saying all that to say this, I was in it from the ground up. My husband helped organize the church from the legalities of establishing a non-profit to handling the acquisition of the real estate for the church’s location. We met and had contact with many CC pastors from other areas. He attended leadership meetings and church administration seminars. He and I attended many conferences a year (pastor’s conferences, prophecy conferences, men’s retreats and women’s retreats). I was prompted by the pastor to check out establishing a church bookstore (Calvary Chapel had their own distribution warehouse in California). I flew from Michigan to California and attended the beginning years of the bookstore conferences at Calvary Bible College in Murietta (at my own expense). I did establish the local bookstore and managed it for about 4 years. It grew and expanded and was for me, a good experience in personal growth, understanding what was available in commentaries, bible translations, etc.

    I now have many areas of disagreement with Calvary Chapel doctrinally and organizationally. Many of the things stated in other’s comments are true in my experience as well, the worldliness in church leadership, the bias against education, several members of the pastor’s family being on the payroll with the pastor’s wife keeping the books, a pastor who demanded submission to himself from the congregation, the directed shunning of those who decided to leave our Calvary, and very shallow teaching of the Word. Anyone who dared challenge the pastor wasn’t there long. We were strongly encouraged to quit taking prescribed medications and our faith was called into question if we disagreed. Even after a young woman in our congregation attempted suicide twice and was nearly successful, the pastor still would not reconsider his anti-medication stance. While I was struggling over that issue of a church dictating medication, I saw a CC conference (out of CA) on the internet and a CC pastor from Maine was teaching. I heard the same anti-medication message to thousands who were listening, sanctioned by the top CC leadership. At that point, I was preparing to leave.

    My pastor, from the pulpit, declared that he was in control of the church and if his board disagreed with him, he could fire them and get a new board. So, I ask, in that sort of system, where is the pastor’s accountability? There were also questionable financial practices, enough so, that many of the established leadership quietly departed because the pastor refused to be held accountable. Now, almost 10 years later, I believe that all but one of the original bible study group have moved on to successfully serve in other churches.

    Giving God the glory, my bottom line is that God can work through a pagan king to accomplish His will. I had many family members saved there, in spite of that pastor or church system, and I am thankful for that.

    I believe CC’s inconsistencies, the ease with which unqualified men can become pastors, the prideful attitude that CC is the best, shallow teaching and lack of structure and doctrine allowed many other errors to creep in, which then set the stage for some real messes in our CC.
    I’m relieved to be out and finally in a solid, doctrinally sound
    bible church.

    I agree with the way Tommy said it….. CC, serving a designer Jesus and Quentin’s comment that these men love to be “known”. Very true in my experience.

  22. Anonymous G.E permalink

    These are some of my thoughts on Calvary Chapel.

    I attended a Calvary Chapel in Calgary AB for approximately five years. I’ve also spent extended time in Calvary’s in Australia and New Zealand. Initially, I loved my time at Calvary. I was a re-commiting Christian and the Bible centered culture of CC was very important for my walk with God. It was only after I started to grow and expand my learning about different systems of theology and church history that my beliefs began to clash head-on with the Calvary “distinctives”, as outlined by Chuck Smith. It reached a point where my wife and I could no longer envision a future of service within the Calvary movement so we prayerfully decided to leave…….quietly.

    These were our main concerns that were observed in every Calvary we attended:

    1. We felt that the senior Pastors and his main associate had too much power. Pastoral bullying, as I would call it, was common place and I could cite several examples.

    2. Picking dates for Christs return. Every CC I attended the pastor vocalized when they thought Christs return would be. This ranged from statements like “really, really, really soon” to “fifty years”. Even though the Bible says that no one knows when Christs return will be, Calvary pastors seem to think that they do. Not surprizing since Chuck Smith made a habit of doing so as well.

    3. Over-emphasizing end times theology and the role of Isreal. It is my belief that end-times theology makes for great debate but is an absolutely secondary issue in the church. Any end-times belief that is contrary to Calvary’s dispensationalism is frowned upon. They will tolerate you as long as you keep your ideas to yourself. Otherwise you will be asked to leave the church.

    4. The “mosaic principle”. Chuck Smith parlayed this supposed Old Testament governance model into the New Testament. The problems with this are too numerous to cite here.

    5. Anti intellectualism and anti seminary. “All you need to do is read your Bible” mentality.

    6. Anti-Calvinist. Again, keep your ideas to yourself or leave.

    7. Limited Bible knowledge. Despite Calvary’s assertion that they teach the whole counsel of God, they often come off as educationally unqualified to do so. I sat through many sermons where the Pastor simply did not get it right.

    8. The Calvary way is the only way. I found this mindset at every CC.

    If I had to use one word to characterize the Calvary Chapel movement it would be this: Naive

    Just some thoughts

  23. Mike permalink

    Dear reader’s of this blog, in reference to the many railings and accusations of the calvary chapel doctrine or lack of I would like to respectfully offer some thoughts. First off I would like everyone to know that I am ordained as a Pastor in the Calvary Chapel Church movement, I say this not out of any kind of pride or ambition but as an accountable leader of the church before god. I would tell the readers to accuse any members of the body of christ without going to them first and following the procedure as the Lord Jesus instructed in matthew ch 18 v 15-19 is simply unbiblical or did we decide to throw that part out of the bible.
    Second I would like to defend the “doctrine of Calvary” as some have called it. Now it would seem that there are many gripes and complaints about the leadership and the lack of seminary training and qualified men. Remember Acts 4:13 “”Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized they had been with Jesus.” Now where does the bible ever say that they needed religious training? Nowhere. I do admit a certain humbleness is needed to be under authority to men whom God has selected that one might feel superior to intellectually, and spiritually, but we do have to remember the words Paul spoke to the Corinthians in his first epistle to them because of the same problem. 1 cor 1 v26-29 “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty ;and the base things of the world, and the things which are despised God has chosen and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,that NO FLESH SHOULD GLORY IN HIS PRESENCE.

    What does the bible teach about Gossip?

    Grace= The free and unmerited favor of God.
    Ephesians 2v8 For by grace you have been saved and that not of yourselves;it is the GIFT of god,not of works lest anyone should boast.

    I do have to mention also that Jesus Christ is not glorified if even mentioned in any of the comments which leads me to ask whether or not we are talking of the teachings of Jesus Christ or the Teachings of the “Men” of the church. There is not enough time to refute and examine the many claims of the commentators, and to show that not ever has the church been perfect. We are being prepared as the Bride, to be married the Groomsman this is what the bible teaches. We will one day be glorified as heirs of /with Jesus Christ in Heaven. But for now we are still having to live this imperfect life while attempting to do our best as we depend on the Holy Spirit as his seal of promise to bring us to perfection. Check out the Blue Letter Bible
    and you will find a more complete section of the teachers of Calvary Chapel and You will also find there is no charge and Jesus gets the Glory. Thanks I am sorry I could not appease the readers on all arguments if even any but I am sure that if they are walking with Christ no one could take them from his Grip. John 10v28-19

    • Cindy permalink

      Sadly, many go to the source-the pastor- but it was a closed door with no opening of any kind to talk at all. No humility or accountability was there. Just defensiveness and sweeping your concern under the carpet and making life unpleasant for you there until you finally just give up and leave. This is a common occurrence in the CC I attended in WA state. When you ask a question about why the behavior toward you is so un-Christlike or why there is this treatment instead of sticking to the character of Christ you are just met with the accusation that you are not submissive. It seemed to be OK with them to not take into consideration the character of Christ in their treatment towards those who annoyed them without even biblical reasoning, just a immature tantrum about who are you to question them. Very sad indeed.

    • Rick Gross permalink

      Mike, I’ve been attending CC for 10 years. Several weeks ago, I provided to my pastor and the board- John Pillivant at CC-Bartlett, TN – with documentation about CC-Bartlett’s support for unscriptural divorce in the and “respecter of persons” bias. I provided court testimony attesting to said conduct and scriptural justification for my concerns to back up the legal documents. Within 24 hours, I was kicked out of the church via a phone call from one of the pastor’s board members. The following Sunday, people tell me that I was publicly accused of many sins including rebellion (Titus 3:10) and my excommunication was announced from the pulpit by Pastor John.

      I’ve been a Christian for 37 years and have walked consistently with Christ since conversion – and I know my Bible. Calvary Chapel is NOT a cult – but it is cult-like in leadership and practice. And you can blame it all on Calvary Chapel Distinctives and the Moses Model which fosters a belief that church leaders are above “ordinary Christians” and do no sin like the rest of us.

    • Laura Margaret permalink

      Excuse me, this is a free nation that by the 1st Amendment, you have a right to state your beliefs. You don’t have the right to impose your will to stop others from exercising their right. These rights come from God…You cannot kill the mind. You are a nut.

  24. Mike,

    The problem isn’t that Calvary Chapel pastors do not have degrees. A degree is nothing. The problem is that they are ignorant of the scriptures and it shows in their teaching and abuse of them.

    It is not gossip to point out false teaching. It was done plenty of times in scripture themselves.

    What did Eph 2:8 have to do with your comment? Were you hoping to quote random verses to support your claims?

    Grace is never an excuse for bad teaching. You are demonstrating Calvary Chapel’s twisted view of it (see: and making an excuse for sin.

    Neither is Grace an excuse for Pastors to commit adultery and continue in the service of pastoring. It’s not an excuse to live contrary to the word of God.

  25. Anonymous G.E permalink

    Dear Mike,
    Stating observational fact about the Calvary Movement is not gossip. Personally, I am stating my experience with calvary both to call out the problems with the movement in order that it would bring change within the movement, to inform the unsuspecting, and to empathize with the many thousands of sincere christians who have been unfairly hurt by this movement. As a pastor, you would do well to contemplate very seriously the admonitions found on this blog since they are endemic among calvary churches.

    Further, your point that since Peter and John were uneducated men, therefore so can Calvary Pastors be, is short-sighted. Far better than a seminary education, these men were instructed by the king of instructors, the Lord of the seminaries, the God of the universe. Sure, these men weren’t educated by the societal institutions, but we certainly should know better that they could hardly be considered as uneducated after their time spent with Christ.

  26. What initially attracted me to Calvary Chapel was the “non-denominational label and the teaching through the Bible verse by verse,” however I very quickly saw that it was a denomination, they just didn’t admit it. The verse by verse teaching was clouded by twisting of Scripture to fit dogma. Despite seeing a need for topical teaching at various times, the chapter by chapter teaching was adheared to as this was the way it was done. Despite teaching through the Bible three times we were still being spoon fed, surely a pastor is to lead sheep to pasture, so they can feed themselves not to be fed grass blade by blade for fifteen years?
    I found the pastor desired to be in total control, only relinquishing control to family members because “you can ask more of family than from believers.” If a member of the body desired to serve in “visible” capacity then they had to serve a menial apprenticeship of the pastors duration before it was God’s time to use them. This effectively stifled the body.
    I know this is only my experience but in talking to other pastors of Calvary Chapels I found the same rigid control. I found that if a person hadn’t been through the Calvary Chapel’s teaching courses then their Scriptural knowledge was dismissed. I speak as someone who has been through four and a half years of teaching / training /daily evaluation to be a missionary in a primitive environment (tribal church planting). The man given qualifications I attained were duly despatched to the trash – The discipleship I received as the Lord dealt with me was more important than a bit of paper, sadly at Calvary Chapel I found thr opposite to be true.

  27. andrew permalink

    i’ve been following this blog for some months now and it does peak my interest, i currently attend a CC and i can’t say the one i attend fits into the description of any of your claims, that being said i’m sure you’re claims are valid for some. my problem is i would refrain from labeling all CC’s as bad and false teachers you havn’t been to them all and that is a very bold claim, like i said in a prior post you are lacking the love in which biblical correction takes place read ephesians 4:14-16, we are the body of Christ and insted of edifying we’re cutting eachother down, pointing out faults with out leading to correction. your attack on mike is shocking coming from a pastor, and I know there many times when Jesus boldly confronted the pharisses and other religous leaders BUT you’re not Jesus you don’t know mikes heart and his thaughts you didn’t give him a chance to explain why he put that verse you felt was out of place, you just attacked and called him a false teacher. there is a time for confrontation in boldness but what is going on here is not biblical correction. this is a good blog i enjoy reading it but you’re missing the potential this has to bring glory to God. a blog like this could be much more effective in doctrine correction if everyone would set aside thier egos and pre conceptions of eachother and allow for propper discussion of the Word and what the Lord has for us. Philemon 1:8-9 Therefore, though I might be very bold in Christ to command you what is fitting, [yet] for love’s sake I rather appeal [to you] being such a one as Paul, the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.
    i would like a place that we could discuss our differant stances in a way that will be edifying and glorifying to God, i am a young believer and every where i look everyone has differant docternal stances and they all think they are correct. now brother randy you are very educated and i know that personally i could probably learn from you but i also know that you are not the only one who has Gods Word figured out the right way, (and i pray that you would not make such bold a claim, for the holy spirit guides us but our flesh corrupts the knowledge). randy you are a very strong and passionate believer i know that, and you do have a burden (as i do) to get God word right but as Jesus says in Matthew 7:3-5 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
    we all mess up and no grace doesn’t give us that right to mess up Gods word those who are called to teach are called to teach it right James 3:1 My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment
    it’s a big responsibilty and that is why we need eachother to edify and build up. the church is so divided we can’t even fellowship without cutting eachother down, how about we try to unify, you want to get through to the evangelical right (a referance to the stance not a claim we are correct) then approch with love and seek fellowship stop trying to out wit and dismantle arguments with uncaring and harsh words there are many who have probably left this discussion with a bad and wrong impression of you, if you truly have a burden then it must sadden you that your attitude has hindered your ability to reach anyone who holds a differant point of view. Now Randy to bring this to close i’m sorry i went so long, my challenge to you would be take a look at your heart and pray about what this blog means to you if it is to reach those you believe are following a false teaching then you need to change your approach but if it is simply to win arguements then i am sorry for wasting your time and i will find another blog to read. and my challenge is the same for everyone who reads this blog we as beleives have done more damage to furthering the Word and work of Jesus Christ than any atheist ever could. God bless

    • Jeannette lyon permalink

      could not have said it better! God bless you brother, for the love, grace and mercy you carry in your heart!
      Sometimes I think about Judgment day, when we will all be kneeling in front of our wonderful Lord….. and then we will realise the futility of division between churches and denominations. Jesus will not say ” ok, Jeannette, which church did you belong to? what were your doctrinal views? etc..” I would rather believe He will say ” Jeannette, you fed the hungry, you clothed the poor, you showed grace and mercy towards men, you forgave, you loved others with the love I gave you, and you used that love to cover a multitude of have sinned many times, and fell short of My glory many times, but You are My child and I bled on the cross for you…come in faithful servant”.. well, this is what it’s all about… loving Him first, and loving others… seeing others with His eyes. Calvary Chapel is just that…another Church among many…. but in it, I have brothers and sisters in the Lord, oh and I have some more, in Pentecostal Churches, Presbys, Baptists etc… Gee, there will be a sea of multitudes, won’t there? and we’ll be all one beside the others… it is the climax, the completeness of the Bride of Christ. Amen?

      • Jeannette lyon permalink

        Goes without saying that those gathered together, kneeling before our awesome Lord, will be those that believe in their hearts that Jesus is the Way, the Life and the Truth, that He is the Only Way, that He is our all in all, that only through Him can we find salvation, that He is our Lord and the only One, unfortunately for those who do not hold these view, I do not believe they will be gathered together within the Bride of Christ. it’s their choice as to what they hold true in their hearts. And the heart of each one is what Jesus will be looking at.

      • Jeannette lyon permalink

        didn’t mean for the “Y” in the “you” in my first post to be a capital Y. lol, didn’t proof read, oops, :-)

  28. Andrew,

    All Calvary Chapels do hold to this doctrine. Do you realize I have spent an entire year reviewing “Calvary Chapel Distinctives” on this blog. All Calvary Chapels must hold to this book or otherwise leave Calvary Chapel.

    I do not claim to know it all. That is why I am against individualistic Christianity that rejects several centuries of biblical scholarship, debate and study. You have to realize that Calvary Chapel does hold to a set of doctrine that was and has been condemned as heresy over the last several centuries. It is not a matter of my opinion vs. someone else’s. It is a matter of historic Christianity vs. Chuck Smith. It’s humanistic theology vs. God’s sovereignty. Calvary Chapel rejects and mutilates clear biblical texts. Five years ago I would of been saying the same things as you. I fully understand and I have compassion for you. My directness isn’t aimed towards the believer but the system that loads believers with false presuppositions and ideas about God and his word.

    • Jon permalink

      Its interesting you mention “Historic Christianity”, because I think it is important to look at what Christians have actually believed.

      This is one reason I reject the idea of dispensationalism…

      but when did your previous “doctrines of grace” begin? 1500 years after Christ??

      What did the church fathers say?

      “We maintain that each man acts rightly or sins by his free choice….Since God in the beginning made the race of angels and men with free will, they will justly suffer in eternal fire the punishment of whatever sins they have committed.”
      (Justin Martyr, 160 AD, 1.190)

      “But man, being endowed with reason, and in this similar respect similar to God, having been made free in his will, and with power over himself, is himself his own cause that sometimes becomes wheat, and sometimes chaff.”
      (Irenaeus, 180 AD, 1.466)

      “For God made man free from the beginning, possessing his own power, even as he does his own soul, to obey the commandments of God voluntarily, and not by compulsion of God. For there is no coercion with God.”
      (Irenaeus, 180 AD, 1.518)

      “We…have believed and are saved by voluntary choice.”
      (Clement of Alexandria, 195 AD, 2.217)

      Just to name a few…

      • randy permalink

        Jon- your misunderstanding of the doctrines of grace lead you to believe they are in opposition to free-will. Calvinists don’t deny that we do what we want, based on our own free will. They also believe that we voluntarily choose Christ, it is not by coercion. You don’t seem to understand the stance.

  29. Kyle permalink

    I just want to thank you for this informative post, for your site, and for your labor of love in the Lord. I know it is hard for many CC people to break free from the stronghold that the cult-like movement has on them, but I trust that God will reveal the truth to His own, in time, and that His people will come out from it.

    I attended a Calvary high school and subsequently attended chapels and even the main service. Most of what I remember included nepotism, unaccountable leadership, and arrogant hypocrisy. While I didn’t know much about doctrine back then, I always felt as if something was wrong. The continual “walking the aisle” to the “altar” for “altar calls”, and weekly “rededication” for those who had sinned a lot during the past week did not make any sense to me. Yet we were always told that Calvary taught “verse-by-verse” and I remember feeling like there was no other sound church in the world except for Calvary. I grew weary of all the nonsense and turned towards rebellion from what I thought was Christianity for a year or so until the Lord drew me back into truths that I had never been taught at Calvary. Learning about true repentance, conversion, actually being born again, the Lordship of Christ, the sufficiency of grace, the new life in Christ, the body of Christ, how the church is supposed to function, etc. – these were all foreign concepts to me before.

    I am still learning and am hoping to find a good, solid church, but I feel for those in my family, friends, and others who are still caught in the CC trap. I know some of the CCs, particularly those farther from the mother ship, may have pastors who are learned in scripture and teach things like the doctrines of grace (to some degree), but these are few and far between and, if caught, would probably lose their Calvary status. Calvary operates dictatorially, the “Moses model” which is wholly unscriptural for a New Testament church. The authoritarian dictates and idolizing of “Pastor Chuck” all reek of Roman Catholicism. The entire system seems like Roman Catholicism-lite to me…

    Anyway, just wanted to share some thoughts.

  30. Linda permalink

    Touch not my annointed!

    Now I ask if the “Lords annointed” would be found adding the name of Elijah to the book of Revelation in support of their pretrib rupture doctine?

    Calvary Chapel claims to be a movement of the Holy Spirit, but you need to ask yourself if it is really of the Spirit that they (Chuck Smith, really) add to the book of Revelation. Jesus gives His last command in Rev 22:18-19 — ever considered this angle?

    What does Jesus warn of in Matthew 7:15? “Watch out for false prophets.”

    “by their fruit you will recognize them” Matt 7:20. Violating Jesus’ commands in Rev 22:18-19 is certainly a “fruit” of Calvary Chapel pretrib rupture teachings!

    And what does Jesus eventually tell them that do not do the will of the Father, in Matt 7:23? “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”

    How is their disposition in Matthew 7 any different than the disposition of them that add or subtract from Revelation?

    18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book.
    19 And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. Revelation 22

  31. Chris permalink

    Unfortunately, you seem to have a misunderstanding of what exactly Calvary Chapel is intended to be. This may have been do to the local Calvary’s lack of steadfastness to the Word.

    This is sad, but is found in every different denomination and even found in different churches throughout the bible. If you look at Paul’s prison epistles, Paul writes to each one correcting them in their own unique needs for improvement.

    Calvary Chapel is a place of theology, but we don’t try to speak where the bible is silent because some theology really is man’s poor attempt to falsely describe God how they picture Him to be. We do believe in the doctrines of salvation, imputation, and the trinity. But what we don’t do is we don’t replace the Word of God with man’s doctrine. It is actually possible to replace the truth of God’s Word with the false doctrine of man twisting scripture to fit his own needs which would make it a cult (which i find ironic because that is what you are accusing CC to be).

    We also hold truth in the highest, unchanging, regard.

    Anyway, I thought this was a very poor and vague attempt to slander another part of the body of Christ. As a part of the body of Christ, which I’m sure you are, I would have expected a little more maturity and less maliciousness towards your brothers in Christ. You may have disagreements, and that is fine, but what you are falsely accusing here is wrong.

    Remember that we should not be trying to tear down what God is trying to build up.

    • randy permalink


      My recommendation to you is to take a look at my posts regarding Chuck Smith’s book, “Calvary Chapel Distinctives.” You tell me if that is what you mean by replacing the word of God with the traditions of men. You point out the fact that Paul even criticized churches and people in scripture for their false doctrine. Often he had very strong words for them, even desiring some to be cut off. Why then do you find fault when I clearly demonstrate Calvary Chapel’s false doctrine and stances?

      It’s not a matter of slandering a part of the body of Christ. In one sense you admit it’s ok, “the bible does it.” In another you claim it is slander. Was Paul slandering? Or was Paul warning the body of false teachers and doctrine? Calvary Chapel distorts the gospel and Christian’s would do well to avoid it. They do not teach the bible, they read it and then talk about unrelated stories and ideas under a pretense of teaching the bible. This was not a local Calvary Chapel, it is Smith himself. Listening again to Smith I am amazed at how much I thought he was a great bible teacher.

      Calvary Chapel IS a place of theology, but false theology if that. You said, “we don’t try to speak where the bible is silent.” Yet Calvary Chapel distinctives is an attempt to draw false distinctives in areas where the bible is plain and clear. He is constantly saying in his distinctives that the bible is not clear, and how much liberty we have to then come up with our own ideas. Who is Calvary Chapel to decide all of a sudden that what the bible says is not clear? You are absolutely right though, there are MANY things in scripture that is impossible to understand under a 19th century dispensational framework. Scripture would make a lot more sense if Calvary Chapel adopted the Covenantal hermeneutic presented in scripture. Until then, they will continue to cross out portions of the bible and note them as mysterious portions Christian’s should not bother with.

  32. Reina permalink

    I think if we just take our eyes off man (the church) and keep focus on the Lord that is what is important. My sister and brother in law are putting churches around them down always and it’s exhausting when you hear them do that. We are to be doers in Christ, that is what I try to do.
    I pray that we will all see that including myself cause I see it happen to me too.
    I thank the Lord for allowing me to see these posts cause I know that I sometimes see this local church “Preaching and no teaching” and that is not really nice of me. its their walk, the Lord did not send me to correct them or fix them that is His job and He has to remind me ALWAYS! God Bless you brothers and sisters

    • randy permalink

      Reina, I am not criticizing Calvary Chapel because I don’t like their music, their style of preaching or some other surface level critique. I am criticizing Calvary Chapel because they distort the gospel, teach false doctrine and pretend (as you are doing) that instead of focusing on doctrine we should focus on Christ. The bible commands us to focus on doctrine, our understanding of doctrine is one and the same with our understanding and focus on Christ. Jesus is not here to give us bubble gum goose bumps and we are not commanded to pretend nothing else exists but the mere existence of the words of his name.

      I have spent quite a bit of time examining the doctrine put forth in Chuck Smith’s book Calvary Chapel distinctives. Calvary Chapel is just as dangerous in some ways as Joel Osteen, TD Jakes and other modern evangelicals and it should be pointed out. If you have biblical warrant otherwise, please present it.

      Do not pretend the issue is a matter of taking our eyes off Jesus however. Modern evangelicals love that fallacy.

  33. Chris permalink


    You haven’t backed up any of your statements. That is the difference between you and Paul the apostle. You are on what seems to me (and maybe i’m wrong but this is my impression of what you’re saying) a lashing out of bitterness because you had a bad experience at a Calvary Chapel.

    I’ve had a bad experience at one too, but i don’t label them all because of one bad experience. That would be wrong. But that is a side story for another time.

    When Paul would write letters of correction (not with any other intent other than correction), he would call out exactly what the problem was so that way it could be fixed… not just complain about stuff that he saw of heard of and never saying exactly what the problem was.

    You say that Calvary Chapel “distorts the gospel” and “They do not teach the bible, they read it and then talk about unrelated stories and ideas under a pretense of teaching the bible”, yet you have failed to provide proof or exact times when you witnessed this.

    And again, perhaps i am way off, but the tone of your article seems very angry. And your response to my last post gives me the feeling that you don’t see any of the Calvary Chapels as actual members of the church body? If i am wrong on these, please feel free to correct me because i don’t want to have the wrong impression.

    So my basic point is, in the context of this article (sorry i haven’t read the others yet) you have not established fact in the wild claims that you have made which is one thing that troubles me a lot. With a subject of the magnitude, you should have this article stand alone filled with fact so that there will be no misunderstandings or strictly opinions being stated because on ones distaste for a particular group.

    • randy permalink


      I have spent the last two months or so reviewing Chuck Smith’s book, “Calvary Chapel Distinctives” on this blog. In it I cite page numbers and quote him. I also spend time showing how the scripture he quotes is taken out of context and how he continually contradicts himself. You can see for yourself the blatant twisting of the Word, scripture taken out of context, and modern evangelical influence. Aside from that, Calvary Chapel IS dispensational, a doctrinal framework for interpreting scripture invented in the 19th century. I have posted text from Chuck Smith’s 1978 book where he predicts the year the rapture will take place and have scanned it in on the blog ( I have also documented Chuck Smith stating that God will return to taking pleasure in animal sacrifices from Christian’s during the millennial reign ( What more do you want from me? Until you get out of your modernistic presupposition you’ll never be able to see how off kilter Calvary Chapel really is.

      In this post I highlighted the fact that Calvary Chapel boasts of doctrinal ambiguity to attract people. Here are some snippets from his book:
      “You know the beautiful thing about being called Calvary Chapel? People don’t know where you really stand… Calvary Chapel has a sort of mystique about it. “What do these people believe?” “I don’t know, but let’s go find out.” And the whole field is ours. You want to fish in as big a pond as you can find. When you’re marketing something, you want the largest market appeal possible. So don’t chop up the market and say, “Well, we’re just going to fish in this little market here.” Keep the market broad. (pg. 49, 50)”

      You wouldn’t have a problem with my writing if I was criticizing Benny Hinn unless you were a follower of Benny Hinn. Do you not realize you are taking offense to my criticizing Chuck Smith because you are his follower?

      More Smith, “Some people object because they feel that I gloss over certain passages of Scripture, and they’re correct. But glossing over controversial issues is often deliberate because there are usually two sides. And I have found that it’s important not to be divisive and not to allow people to become polarized on issues, because the moment they are polarized, there’s division. (Pg. 48)”

      Do you think it is right that Chuck Smith gets to decide what is clear and what isn’t clear in scripture? Isn’t that what all cults do? “ohh, I don’t think church government is clear in scripture… therefore… I run the show.” (Pg. 17-26) ( In it find links to Christianity Today articles documenting the gross immorality in Calvary Chapel as a result of this terrible theology.

      Here is Chuck Smith bashing education. In fact he takes a scriptural concept out of context. The concept of having begun in the spirit and now being perfected in the flesh is reference to salvation by works. On Page 96 of Calvary Chapel Distinctives Chuck Smith asserts that going to school is being perfected in the flesh! “It’s interesting that having begun in the Spirit, so often, we then seek to be perfected in the flesh. Some of the Calvary Chapel pastors have gone back to school.”

      Wake Up! Open your eyes and read a bit about the denomination you are in and its context in the history of the entirety of the church.

      I believe Calvary Chapel is as much a part of the body of Christ as Christian’s are in Rick Warren’s church. Lots of error, lots of things missing… The majority of judgment will be on the teachers, but the congregation has itching ears too.

  34. Jeff M permalink

    Hey Brothers and Sisters- First off I believe that everyone even those who attend the same church have different understandings of scripture- It can be termed “the truth as God has revealed to me”.

    I believe that a Christian, after the “moment of being saved” must continue in faith and trust on God for everything. (health, healing, finances etc.). But I can tell you that CC pastors in Philadelphia do not believe that.

    When I was younger, I attended “college nights” (i think they were called) and the pastor teaching those nights kept hitting on a subj. about being saved no matter what. It kept peaking my interest so I emailed him and he asked me to stay afterward the next week and I did.

    After we talked for a half hour i was still confused about his belief, so I put it just like this.

    “So you are saying that in your opinion, a person at age 18 could confess his sins and accept Jesus as his Savior, and you would say he is saved. (we agreed to that point) And then in later years, he could fall away from faith in God, he could denounce God, curse God, murder, rape, and become a drunkard and in that current state with no desire to repent of any of those, he dies. Where would his soul spend eternity?”

    This pastor’s answer was “Without a doubt, Heaven”. And he said it was because he has that moment of repentance and accepted Jesus as his Savior. I was blown away!

    My follow up question was “So what about all those verses that say “if you deny me to men, I will deny you to my Heavenly Father”

    or the one about all drunkards and liars will spend eternity in hell.

    I names many and his response was “Those are for the unsaved to get them to repent”.

    So I gathered from his responses that you can have a moment of saving faith, say you give your life to the Lord and then go on living in sin and debauchery, you can do what you please, including the things Hitler did, or Ted Bundy, and still receive eternal life in Heaven.

    I was blown away at this teacher’s response I stood up and said “We would agree to disagree” and walked out of that God lacking building

    • randy permalink


      This is commonly called the no-lordship stance. Some Calvary Chapel’s hold to it. They believe that Christ can be your savior, but that Lordship is entirely optional. Their view of salvation is purely post-mortem fire insurance. They fail to recognize that salvation reconciles us to God.

      As God’s people we are saved from our sinful state that we might live for Christ, enjoying Him and worshiping Him now and for all eternity. This is why scripture commands all men to repent and put their faith in Christ.

  35. I had a girlfriend very dear to me who is still currently attending Calvary Chapel in Chino, California. With her, I attended a couple of bible studies in the Psalms and have listened numerous times to both Chuck Smith’s question answer time (forgot the name of the show) as well as other radio shows put on by C.C.. I have been a student of the bible for many years, listened to many teachers, and like the Bereans noted in Acts 17:11 ” They examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” To make it simple, although they supposedly use expository method of teaching, they continually run off to the end times, connections with Israel past and present, and periodically give instruction counsel not grounded in “The Whole counsel of God”. My girlfriend was bothered by a statement made regarding marriages and age difference with no scriptural standings.

  36. James permalink

    I attended CC (Maranatha Chapel in San Diego,CA) for several years. It was there where I raised my hand, said the little childlike prayer, make the altar call, and was baptised at the beach. Out of all those actions, only the baptism had a Biblical Basis…something I found after the fact. I will say that I do thank MC for hosting Answers In Genesis, which jump-charged my faith. Our pastor supposedly had an entire collection of Spurgeon’s sermons, but never cited anything Spurgeon said.

    I began to have a distaste for MC after I happened to come across sermons by Paul Washer (e.g. Examine Yourselves) on youtube. Through him, I learned of AW Tozer, Spurgeon, Ravenhill. What a vast difference in preaching! This was convicting preaching…the kind that sinners need! I also learned what was wrong with today’s modernized Gospel.

    I could no longer stomach MC because of the sinner’s prayer, worldly clothing (people wore Chargers jerseys to church), and one of the final straws was that all my daughter could remember from Sunday school was something about a woodpecker. At MC, I felt like I was getting the milk, but not the meat. It was all about God’s love…never his other attributes, which are just as important.

    I searched for a new church. We eventually came to a Reformed Baptist church. Through Paul Washer (and, of course, The Bible) I learned that I needed to train my wife and children in the Lord. Now, I have a deep hunger for the Lord. I listen to a variety of preaching and read numerous books by James MacDonald, RC Sproul, Ravenhill, Wilkerson, John MacArthur, etc. I thank God for opening my eyes to the truth.

    San Diego, CA

    • FrankH permalink

      You might be equally disappointed in any teacher. James MacDonald for once is not who he used to be or seems to be. See for sad facts about his departure from sound leadership and teaching.

  37. Rob permalink

    we are living in the last days… discipleship as per Luke 14:25-33, holiness, obedience to the Word, sound doctrine, uncompromised truth, etc., is rare these days. Remember the words of Paul in 1Cor 1 how we never should exalt men and their wisdom. 2Timothy 4:3-4 says the time will come — and has come — when people will not put up with sound doctrine but will go where their itching ears will be soothed. The Lord was right when He said many are called but few are chosen, and, as Matthew 7:21 says, merely calling Him ‘Lord’ doesn’t cut it, but doing the will of the Father. Where is the humble, loving, faithful Gaiuses today?

  38. BonelessChuck permalink

    Calvary Chapel is cultish, if you leave one you will be cut off from former “brothers and sisters” in the Lord who claimed to have loved you so long ,so much–so much so that you never hear from them again. Because they are warned that if you left you must be divisive and disagree with the Pastor-which is a spiritual crime. And the verse ” those that went out from us, were not of us”..
    They are like clones-they all expound on the pleasures of In n Out Burger (its soooo Calvary), surfing, Harley riding, all the same worship music singers , saying “dude”, everything that comes up is met with” I’ll pray about it” , “Where God guides, He provides” (but don’t ask to look at the finacial books of the church), ” Pastor Chuck says…”, and what is with all CCer’s sending their kids to CC Bible college ?

  39. Nate permalink

    Randy –

    Just a thought. If you spent as much time sharing the Lord with those who are perishing, as opposed to spending so much time blogging about Calvary Chapels and your issues with them, then I wonder what would happen? It seems like your passion for the Lord could be better served by fulfilling the great commission, rather than focusing so much on other churches and picking them apart. I’m sure that EVERY church on the face of the earth has issues. They are bound to have issues because of the involvement of man. Instead of being nothing but a fault-finder, why not do something good? Just seems like there are other issues that are so much more important – like our friends and neighbors that are on the footstep of hell. I’d rather go after that person who is perishing than spend all of my time criticizing a Pastor and church movement.

    I love that you have a passion for the Lord – just seems like you could be using your passions to pull people from the clutches of hell, rather than debate with people who are walking beside you on the road to heaven.

    • randy permalink


      I would never say to you, “Do you think that instead of criticizing people on their blogs you could be out feeding the poor, evangelizing, praying or doing something spiritual?” because I recognize that it’s a shortsighted understanding of the Christian life, is a somewhat gnostic approach to life, and a bit hypocritical. I also recognize that criticizing me here on my blog doesn’t necessitate that you are neglecting those other things scripture calls us to do.

      Is this the same advice you would have given to Paul when he named false teachers? How about the reformers who died refuting Romanism and your own denomination who support many apologetic “ministries” and refute other Christian denominations they believe to be in error?

      It seems somewhat convenient for those who are left without an answer to these accusations to say, “maybe you should be more spiritual?” rather than requiring yourself to have an answer for what you believe.

      Additionally- the Gospel is not a means to get people to post-mortem bliss as you seem to imply. What binds Christian’s together is not that they are on the same road to “heaven.” This is my problem with the modern gospel, it’s not the gospel- it reduces Christ to fire insurance.

  40. Nate permalink

    I’m not trying to say that you should be more spiritual – I clearly stated that I love that you have a passion for the Lord. It just seems like you have a vendetta against Calvary Chapels – pointing out what you think is wrong with them. I was just wondering what it would look like if those passions were used to expand the Kingdom. Its easy to get fixated on things like this.

    The bottom line is that if you are looking at MAN, then you will always be dissappointed. Whether it be Calvary Chapel, AG, COG, or any denomination – if you look at man you will be dissapointed. We are all sinners that are saved by grace.

    I can look at my own church and find faults, just as I’m sure that you can look at your own church and find faults. All of the faults that we would find would be with the way that we, as men, handle things. There is no fault in God – so that is who we should keep our eyes on!

  41. randy permalink

    You are trying to say there are more spiritual things someone could be doing than pointing out error and you are elevating and emphasizing just one aspect of the Christian life (evangelism). You do know we are also called to pray, fellowship, eat, drink, go to church, talk about doctrine, identify false teachers, even work, have children, be fathers, mothers, grandparents, have professions, etc… etc… All of those things have their place in time. Your emphasis has no scriptural basis, it’s a cop out for having an unscriptural theology and would be no different than me saying something like, “I love your passion for raising children. I wonder what that would look like if instead you focused on evangelism?”

    In fact, if modern evangelicals focused more on doctrine, their gospel would actually be accurate and their evangelism would actually be EVANGELISM!

    It’s not so much about Calvary Chapel as much as it’s about what modern evangelicalism tells the world Christianity and the gospel is. It’s not the gospel and it’s not Christianity. Calvary Chapel is a small part of the larger picture of modern evangelicalism.

    Your accusation that I am focusing on man doesn’t really make sense. I am not disappointed in God because of man. I am pointing out BAD doctrine. Was Christ erroneously focusing on man when he criticized the pharisees? I am going to assume that you are just parroting what someone else said out of context.

  42. Heather permalink

    I stumbled across this blog by accident on Google. Randy, you are definitely entitled to write whatever you want here, after all this is your blog. However, the problem I see here is that if I were not a believer, my reading this blog would put a bitter taste in my mouth regarding Christ and his followers. I’m making the assumption that everyone here believes in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. What about the people who didn’t respond to this blog who have never put their faith in Him and maybe never will? The truth is, God is using Calvary Chapels for His glory. People are putting their faith in Jesus Christ and serving Him as their Lord and Savior inside Calvary Chapels. Isn’t this what life is about? We were created to serve our Creator now and throughout eternity. God does not care about the title or denomination of your church. He looks at YOU, not the church you choose to associate yourself with, or the label you give yourself (Baptist, Methodist, “Christian…”) Calvary Chapel hardly qualifies for being a “false teacher.” Being accountable to Christ, I feel completely comfortable recommending the Calvary Chapels in my area to anyone searching for a church. I am also comfortable recommending other churches where I know Jesus is center. I will not recommend them to true false teachers such as you’ll find within the Kingdom Hall or Church of Latter Day Saints, among many, many others. I agree that we must point out false teachers, but maybe we should be pointing out false teachers who deny Jesus Christ. False teachers who glorify Satan. Calvary Chapels have their short-comings I’m sure, as does every church on the planet, but they’ve done more to further the work of Jesus than hinder it. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for this blog.

    • Kelsi permalink

      I agree with you Heather. I was sent this blog by a non believer and she is blown away by the way that “Christians” communicate with one another. I am actually a little embrassed that it really does have a hostile, worldly Facebook status feel. Let’s pray that the words being used will not be used against us. One day we will be accounted for how we used them.

  43. Brandon Turner permalink

    Hey, I thought I would jump in here as well if you all are up for some more discussion.

    Call me lazy, but since this blog is getting rather lengthy, would you, Randy, or someone else sum up a few bullet points of what, scripturaly, you have a problem with in the Calvary Chapel or the modern evangelical movement as a whole. For example, somewhere above you wrote “The Bible Commands us to focus on doctrine” with no Biblical reference. I’m not doubting its there, but I don’t know where or the context behind it. If you could give me a few verses that the Calvary Chapel, in your opinion, distorts we could move forward with some productive discussion. I currently attend a Calvary Chapel and would love to know if there are ways Biblically we can better worship and serve God.

    God Bless!

  44. Lynnette Green permalink

    This has been interesting. Nate what denomination are you? What about you Randy?

  45. Lynnette Green permalink

    Please exscuse denomination I’d rather ask…fellowship

  46. I attended CC for 10 yrs and gradutated from their Bible College so I can speak on their behalf with accuracy. You will get many different feels from the many different CC’s so it is impossible to catagorize them all together. They do all agree on what the call Calvary Distinctives and in order to become a CC pastor you must abide in these essential teachings. From my personal experience I have never experienced any unjustice or example of abuse etc…but I do see they are very clickish. Of course I have experienced the same click type stuff at many other non-CC’s as well so I think it is quite normal and sadly quite human. To break the click up take a step of faith and enter those clicks breaking down their doors! CC may not observe Reformers teachings in their sermons, but they certainly do speak of Gods elect, but they also teach that man has his own ability to make a decision for or not to receive Christ as Savior. This is the ulimate argument separating election/free will…Does man truly have a choice to choose life without being elected or does he have no choice but to choose death unless being elected to do so?
    I recommend anyone who feels they can determine what each church falters in that they take it upon themself to step up and start a new fellowship. Preach on the streets, have home fellowships and teach the word accurately and faithfully. There are many false teachers, bad teachers, unfaithful teachers and lazy teachers out there so expect those consequences to be in the form of the reasoning most of this thread is discussing. Be like Paul when he said he imitates Christ, and to live is Christ. Make that the mission!

    • randy permalink


      No. Random people shouldn’t just go start a church. That is precisely the problem with CC. You are embracing the same modern evangelical presuppositions as CC. Read some of my critiques of CC Distinctives. The church government specifically. All Calvary Chapel embrace the same presuppositions and are all bad. You’ve demonstrated my point perfectly.

  47. Leo permalink

    I attend Calvary Chapel, and I love the place.

    Every time I go there, I can feel the great presence of the Holy Spirit, it is wonderful, they are dedicated to preaching the truth of the Bible in my opinion. I am at an online learning Institute called the Koinonia Institute, I am taking courses there, my pastor introduced me to it. I don’t hold it against them for calling themselves non-denominational, I say let’s just not put a stumbling block in each others path, and try and come to an understanding of what the word of God says.

    Let’s not force one another to come up the front and fall down on the floor shaking, and at the same time, let’s not try and deny the gifts of Holy Spirit are in operation, because to me that is not Biblical. Instead, the church should aim to provide a place whereby anyone who wants to hear God’s word can hear it, at Calvary Chapel, the music is not too over the top and the service is conducted in a very orderly conservative fashion which I think is great.


  48. Joe permalink

    One of the main reasons I am weary of “Doctrine” is that the doctrine any other MAN has established is flawed, as no man has the wisdom to fully understand God’s intent. Beware any man who claims to know it all. I do feel it is my duty to study the bible with significant vigor, but I have accepted that our ways (MAN) are not his ways and pray that the Lord guide me in all things, including MY OWN interpretation of the bible.

  49. Joe permalink

    I should also note that I have chosen to seek the Lord with a childlike faith.

  50. Joe permalink

    Randy, with respect to “starting a church”, Do you not believe that the body of christ (believers) is the church? I have not really started a new one, but I have definitley made a small contribution, as I am leading my family (including three wonderful children) in their persuit of Christ. in that sense, am I not a sheppard?

  51. Tom permalink

    Dear Randy,

    I have read near 90% of all the replies on this post and I understand your point. I also understand what you mean when you tell the CC’ers that you would have answered the same thing as they did five years ago. I too was misunderstanding this issue before. To be honest with you, I am only beginning to comprehend it.

    I think people need to realize that not only the gate is narrow but the path is narrow. Jesus is the Truth, the Way and the Life and nobody gets to the Father but through Him (John 14.6). Jesus is also the narrow Gate, the narrow Path and the Good Shepherd who can lead us on that narrow Way and Jesus is the Light who enlightens the world.

    With that said, we should all consider what Jesus taught in Matthew chapter 7. We will recognize the false prophets by their fruits, we should all examine ourselves by the light of Scripture to see if we bear the good fruits or not and that whomever hear those sayings of Jesus and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand. Bad trees who wear bad fruit will be cut down and cast into fire.

    Mat 7:22-23: « Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. »

    So, it is essential to consider all those teachings of Jesus and realize that our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked. We must repent of our sins and turn to Jesus and receive God’s grace through faith alone. If your church does not teach biblical repentance, it only teaches an incomplete gospel and therefore there is no gospel at all. (I am adressing all the readers here) A dead faith cannot save you. James clarifies that point in chapter 2 of his book. Go read it.

    I am not familiar with Calvary Chapel doctrines or non-doctrines if you prefer (as a matter of fact I didn’t know about Calvary Chapels until a few weeks ago) but I heard that they taught Christ could be your Saviour but that Lordship is only optional and that their view of salvation is purely post-mortem fire insurance. If that is true, I would recommend all CC’ers to find another church that teaches the Word of God in all its power, glory and truthfulness. You cannot appreciate Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice if you don’t understand the true nature of men before their regeneration and what it means to follow Jesus as our Lord.

    I would recommend the readers to take a look at Paul Washer’s sermons. I encourage everyone to watch his ” Regeneration vs The Idolatry of Decisionalism” video or his ” The Shocking Youth Message” video all available on this website:

    There is also “Ten Indictments {A Historical 21st Century Message}” by Paul Washer that everyone should see. Go watch them all, they are worth it!

    These teachings helped me understand the huge difference between decisionnism and regeneration. Now I can fully assure you that I know that salvation has nothing to do with our decision of being saved but everything with God’s own miraculous work of regenerating a man out of a corrupt mass. However, I am not in agreement with Calvinists on some issues and I think their TULIP does not portray God in all His attributes, in all His glory. Because we need to consider all the Scriptures and not put over-emphasis on some verses and misinterpret others. Again, I must repeat myself, I am only beginning to comprehend the Word of God and I know that I have an imperfect understanding of Scriptures but I am seeking the Truth by the grace of the Holy Ghost, through prayer, through the other members of the body of Christ, through church history and the reading of the Holy Bible itself. But on the regeneration issue, therefore I stand firm. Some people could say that I contradict myself saying that it’s not our decision to be saved and yet not fully agree with Calvinists. Let me explain. I believe you must not put your faith in you own decision or in your own sincerity and declare yourself to be saved based on that decision you took or that prayer you made (because efficient prayer is conditional but that would take me another entire post to explain it biblically). Therefore, I believe this is God’s decision to save you according to His predetermined plan and write our names in His Holy Book of Life before the beginning of the world according to his foreknowledge. I believe that God decided to save those who believe and was able to write their names in His Holy Book of Life before we existed because of his foreknowledge; God knew who would believe and humble themselves. The major difference is that Calvinists usually regard faith as a work and in that circumstance have all the rights to scream that God is stripped of His glory because we are not saved by works but by faith alone. But, in my humble comprehension of Scriptures (but often miscomprehension too), faith is NOT a work. Paul couldn’t say it more clearly:

    Romans 4.4-5 : « Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. »

    It is written : to him that WORKETH NOT, BUT BELIEVETH on him that justifies the ungodly, HIS FAITH is counted for righteousness. Paul also gives multiple examples of people being imputed righteousness without works but is still speaking about believing demonstrating it is not a work. A child might believe his dad is the strongest. Is it a work? No! it just is.

    Note the order of events described by Paul in Ephesians.

    Eph 1:13 : « In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,»

    First, you hear the Word of Truth, secondly you believed the gospel (or the Word of Truth) and then you are sealed with the Holy Spirit. You hear the Word, after that you believe the Word and after that you believed you are sealed. There is no work of men in that sequence but two actions are indeed required : hearing the Word and believing the Word. These are not the kind of works Paul is talking about in Ephesians 2.9. The actions of hearing and believing do not attribute any kind of merit to men. All the glory still goes to God.

    Now my question for you Randy : Do you think I am an heretic because I don’t agree with the whole doctrine of Calvinism? Were John and Charles Wesley heretics? There’s my fear: Are we elevating the doctrines of men to be equal with the Word of God? Or would you consider Calvinism as the Word of God? If the answer is yes, would it be ok for a Calvinist to declare that all those who reject Calvinism are actually rejecting Jesus who is in fact the Word of God? If so, by rejecting Jesus non-Calvinists can’t be saved.

    Jonh 12:48 : « He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. »

    Is falling into the wrong doctrine that dangerous? I wonder what your opinion on this issue is. May the Lord guide you and bless Randy and thank you for all your posts. Answer me if you have some time.

    2 Peter 3.18 : « But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. »

  52. John permalink

    I gave my life to Jesus through Calvary Chapel and have had my life blessed because of my walk with God and their teaching of the scriptures.

  53. ex CC Dockland, UK permalink

    Wow! From the posts I’ve seen, all I can say is thank God I wasn’t going insane like I was being made to believe, for daring to point out unrepentance and trying to apply Matt18 Church discipline procedures in a CC Church. I was basically spewed out and not contacted by one single person after following the pastor’s instruction for members not to respond to my allegations of sin against an unrepentant member.

    Before this incident happened, had been feeling extremely uncomfortable and stunted in the Church, I knew they taught from the Bible but couldn’t place a finger on why I felt like that. Years later, having research more on CC doctrine or more accurately its lack of it, I suddenly spotted what the problem was -they were big on READING through scripture but weren’t actually giving a ‘deep/sound’ exposition of it. Questions contradiction CC beliefs were frowned upon and questioners branded unloving and divisive.

    There also abides in CC and die hard CCers, a biblically unsound/incorrect application of the ‘love’ scriptures. In CC the ‘love’ scriptures overrides the righteous judgement/accountability/church disciplne’ scriptures instead of live side by side with it as it RIGHTLY should.

    Like a few who comment, years ago, I too would’ve been on the defensive against any ‘negativity’ about CC until quite unfortunately, I experienced fitst hand the errornous CC doctrines/traditions, was hurt in the process and coldly spewed out.

    This church-cult are quick to quote the love scriptures, but do not have the slightest clue about what that means.

    Day by day, I find more and more evidence that points to the fact that I was in a Cult or Cultlike organisation that called itself Church. It is scary and has been REEEALLLLLLLLLLLLLLYYYYY HURTFUL! The above is exactly the same same experience with a Calvary Chapel in London UK. Calvary Chapel and accountability for sinnning, plus Matt 18 just DO NOT MIX. That part of scripture is completely deleted from the CC Bibles.

    Two years on and still cannot get my head round the fact that I was in a Calvary Chapel cult that just refuses to accept and deal with unrepentance in its Churches.

    Two years on, was falsely accused of slander by the Pastor for employing Matt 18 against a deliberately sinning and unrepentant ‘respected inner circle’ sinning member, with ABSOLUTELY NO ATTEMPT at a Church hearing to establish Biblical truths and factual evidence surrounding the matter, not to talk of a resolution.

    Not a single word from any of the elders/members -who were told not to respond to me, two years on lots of ‘simple’ Bible reading but no exergisis/exposition, not at all, Biblical ‘deepness’ is completely off bounds to CC for fear God might require it to do something that goes against CC tradition.

    It’s quite like the Bible is ‘read’ but NEVER actually practiced -more like when sin is made public, it’s more important to the Pastors to protect the ‘infallible’ Calvary Chapel name than it is to protect Christ’s name and judge righteously. God alone knows the number of people CC has hurt with this unbiblical unaccountability culture. CC really needs to repent of its EVIL or close shop and quit calling itself Church because it’s EVIL sinful secrets are being exposed by many.

    Don’t blame the members much -knowing passages of scripture isn’t quite the same as having the ability to apply or appropriate it -never known a Church produce such high levels of pastor-dependent, stunted-spiritual-growth, immature, spiritual babies for years on end. And it completely figures -teach people ‘pastor’s opinion’ on how to think, act and speak instead of sound biblical truth, and they end up spiritual clones, completely unable to rightly divide the word of truth by themselves and can only live and behave by ‘whatever CC pastor says’.


  54. Santiago permalink

    Randy, keep up the good work with shedding light on things that many would like to keep in the dark. You’re a little snarky sometimes but your words and your work represented here have served an important role at this delicate time in my life. Thank you.
    I see that you catch a lot of flack from people that are enjoying their CC experience. For many years I was one of them and I’m glad God can use an imperfect vessel (where would we all be if not for that?) But I assure you all, as one who has worked for years in CC churches and related ministries, that the doctrinal errors exposed here by Randy are real.

    I have worked closely enough with many CC pastors to know there is a strong vein of them that really believe they are Moses, the only anointed one in their church who hears from God, deeply suspicious of those who come alongside to help them, spurning all attempts to bring accountability and transparency to their ministries. These men not only thoroughly abuse the sheep (particularly those that serve in the church) with their capricious “leadership” but also hurt themselves, starving themselves of the friendships they need so badly because they cannot humble themselves to enter into an honest relationship with a mere mortal. Dear readers, please pray for these pastors – that they would be freed from this prison of isolation and that they would find more fulfillment in teaching people the transforming grace of God than in conforming people to their own image! I believe the true scandal in CC is what being a typical CC pastor does to that man’s personal walk with the Lord.

    But I would challenge one of your assumptions, Randy. Not all Calvary pastors believe in the Distinctives. Many of us find it embarrassing. I have had many frank conversations with other pastors and leaders that give me hope of a broad upwelling of a ‘new school’ of Calvary pastors that embrace the clear teachings of the NT on church govt, sanctification by grace, and a preference for scriptural revelation over the Col 3:15 bosom-burning. I obviously can’t reveal names, but many of these guys feel locked into the Calvary name for one reason or another. They keep their doubts below the radar and, as other critics of CC have mentioned, it’s not like CCOF is really efficient at disciplining Calvary affiliates. I suspect that soon after the inevitable “personnel changes” in Costa Mesa the movement will fracture.

    This won’t solve much, though, because I certainly see your point that in this “new evangelicalism” there’s little value gained by transitioning from a local church run by Moses and based on Moses’ personal doctrine to a local church run by a group of elders and based on a group of elders’ doctrine. But that’s a bigger fish to fry. In any case, my days in CC are numbered.

    I have enjoyed reading this conversation (insofar as it reflects loving respect, careful thought, and zealous commitment to grace and truth). Thanks to all.

  55. randy permalink


    It’s encouraging to find out that someone on the Internet has actually understood what I wrote. I was connected closely to several Calvary Chapels. There was one set of leadership where the pastor and board members recognized the embarrassing nature of the distinctives. Today, years later, the senior pastor, after having planted another CC, has left the movement entirely and is attending seminary.

  56. Tom permalink

    Dear Randy,

    Since the day I wrote my message on your website, I have been visiting this blog almost each day to see if you had answered me.

    I hope you read my post; it’s a long post near the end (Tom). I asked you a question and still hope to get an answer. I do greatly value your comments and am curious to know what you think about what I wrote here. I’ll certainly take your answer into consideration if it’s biblicaly sound.

    I pray the Lord that we will help you respond to everyone with love, respect, wisdom, patience, temperance and loving kindness.

    Psalms 119:29: « Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously. »

    My internet connection will be over in six days (saturday July 2nd) and I hope you’ll write something before I lose internet access. I’ll come back everyday to check it out.

    God bless.


  57. Paul permalink

    It is always difficult to receive criticism, especially concerning ourselves or something/someone held dear to us. We often can be blind to any errors, much like a mother with her child, refusing to believe her child would EVER do such a thing. The same holds true to the church we attend.

    I came back to the Lord back in 1995 and starting attending Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa…yep, the “Mother Church” with Chuck Smith. I also was going to Saddleback Church (CC’s kissing cousin) on Saturday evenings. The Saddlbeback deal was pretty obvious from the get go, it seemed like Christianity lite, get a little church in to your life and everything will be alright. Unknown to me at the time, he was teaching the series that became the ever popular book, the Purpose-Driven Life.

    My purpose became to stop attending Saddleback due to any strong conviction from the whole Word of God in his teachings. I am not making any judgement on his (Rev Rick’s) character but, the service was about entertainment rather than edification.

    I do not know if it is intentional or subtle but, you can sense a mild cult-like following in the Calvary Chapel’s. I really caught it when I ran into a pastor several times at a Christian bookstore I worked at. He was a real godly guy. My CC friends and I ran into him at a frozen yogurt place in California. My CC friends kept bragging on this CC pastor or that one, you know, all the ones you would hear on KWVE. The pastor said yeah, they are good but, the important thing is that they are teaching the Word of God. I realized at that moment that we were focusing on the men. I believe this is common with all pastors, especially ones that have radio ministries. It just seemed more emphatic here, you could not criticize these guys.

    It was most realized with the awe and frequent mention of Chuck…not Norris, although I hold him in high esteem. Everything was Chuck this, Chuck that, Chuck says, Chuck did, etc. I was afraid certain people would not wipe if they did not think Chuck did. It was important to remember the Bereans, to hold all teaching accountable to the whole of Scripture, not Chuck.

    Another issue was the constant focus on the rapture. I am not going to get eschatological on you all but, I think the dispensational teaching on the rapture is the “get out of suffering for the Lord free” card, mixed in with a little spiritual mysticism. It was very prominent and given great importance with every single CC pastor I heard personally, that is not a blanket statement.

    The final issue is that the CC lifestyle promoted a loose living style of Christianity. I emphasize the lifestyle, not the teachings, per se. I know that “grace” is big within the CC movement, as it should be. One just needs to be sure that it is not like some believe, I am saved, I can do whatever I want.

    The most critical thing I have against the CC movement is their philosophy on how pastors are chosen and raised. This has been already mentioned frequently so, I will not go into detail. The cemetery joke can be substantiated, as I heard it frequently when referring to seminary. I also think there is good reasons to be cautious when going to seminary, knowing the prevalent liberalism in some.

    I noticed the whole anti-intellectualism/education spirit that seems generally the feeling of evangelicals these days. That is how we have lost our effectiveness in some fields, we have allowed the world to grow in knowledge while we remain pygmies in intellectual stature. Yes, the beauty of the gospel is that a child can understand it but, none of us were meant to remain children. Paul states how he once thought as a child, past. Peter said to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Back to my point, I knew one young man who was being trained to be a pastor and I have a good friend who went to start a church as a pastor. Paul warned of making novices to be pastors in Timothy, for good reason. Both were without a clue when it came to pastoring God’s people. The first man was actually rather arrogant, relishing the supposed power that is mistakenly associated with being a pastor. He had no accountability and was truly being set up for failure. I do not know what happened to him.

    As for my friend, well, he came back after just a few years of pastoring in a small rural town. He is now very cynical with many things Christian and stopped going to church althogethr. He was basically allowed to fly when he had just barely been hatched from the egg, he hit the ground and has never fully recovered.

    As for myself, I actually left because I believed the Lord had opened doors to go with a friend who was associated with the Baptist denomination. I did not have a bad experience, was not alienated or shunned. I just left.

    In retrospect, I can see that CC does not promote a fully armed Christian. There is the we-are-better-than-them mentality concerning denominations or their teachings. Their doctrine does need examining in light of Scripture and teaching throughout Church History, as do all teachings.

    All this being said, I believe there are true believers in leadership and outside of leadership. There are people seeking God sincerely and wish to grow. I value the time that I went there. I think that you can be very limited to how you will grow in knowledge and as a Christian if you stay.

    Case in point, I picked up a Greg Laurie book (his newest at the time) just a couple of years ago. I had not read any of his books in at least 10 years. As I was reading, he was using the same exact stories I heard him teach or write about before, in the mid-90’s. Of course, people will say that truth never changes. True! But, quit repackaging the same sermonettes over and over, try preaching in different areas of the Bible, at least you will avoid looking like you are just trying to make a quick buck. (Sidenote: it was on a bargain table at Walmart, for less than 4 bucks…you can’t even fool the Walmart crowd.)

    I believe that CC’s time has past, that unless something is done in many areas, it will die out with Chuck Smith, leaving a legacy of having been instrumental in the changed lives of hippies and giving Southern California a new bumper sticker to display every summer for Harvest Crusade.

  58. I too have personally experienced the exact same things with CC and after 6 or 7 years have left the cc church that I was attending. As I started to grow in the word I saw the contrast of what cc taught and what the Bible taught. Time and space will not allow me to write a small book of my personel experience which have already been addressed and repeated here. I will mention a few basic unbiblical items that the cc is absolutely unmoveable on their stance.
    1. They teach a cheap grace; Without biblical repentence Lk. 13:3,5. Just say a sinners prayer and your saved.
    2. They don’t preach the Law of God (10 Commandments) for true conviction leading to one being saved. Ps. 19:7, Gal. 3:24.
    3. Chuck Smith it their pope; What he says goes, or any pastor won’t be a cc pastor for long.
    4. Greg Laurie doesn’t even preach Biblical Evangelism at his harvest cruesades; His preaching is filled with human psychology, manipulation, and worldly tactics to draw the person to say a man centered prayer.
    I promised I wouldn’t go long so that’s just a snipit of what I have experienced with what is wrong with cc teaching. In essence the last couple of years that I was attending cc I was leaving every service more grieved than blessed because of the error in the teaching and the use of erroronous Bible translations and the horrible man centered salvation envatation: Go’s something like this….Okay everybody close their eyes because we don’t want to embarrass anybody (you mean the sinner that’s making the most important desiscion of thier life), christians you say the prayer too, and no one looking around, and then it was the most man centered manipulated prayer given time and time again. There was no one broken over their sin, eveyone just filed out after the service was over, like no big deal. I asked the pastor of that cc if I could envite a friend who is now big in the christian world on how to biblically use the law in evangelism ( His initals ar RC) you can probably figure it out. Anyway I was looked at by this pastor like…If looks could kill, then he turned away from me at that moment and starting talking to someone else like we didn’t even have a conversation at that very moment. That was the last time I attended. Where I live there arn’t hardly any churchs that are biblically sound, very sad…so My church is every monday night at a in house bible study where we dig deep into the word line upon line with comentary’s and dictionarys etc. etc.
    That is my unforniate experience with CC’s

  59. Cathryn permalink

    I have to agree and disagree with some of the things said here.

    I was with Calvary Chapels on and off (mostly on) for almost 30 years and finally gave up on them recently.

    Someone here was saying the CCs never teach the Ten Commandments. My husband was teaching a CC Cub Scout troop a Bible study and the boys were mandated to memorize the Ten Commandments by our pastor of CC.

    My first and former pastor was a dispensationalist and graduated from Bible College and Seminary, but I see people here saying pastors with CC are not properly trained and are not dispensationalists. I think it varies from congregation to congregation and pastor to pastor.

    I agree that some CC pastors, including one I hear on the radio all the time, teach a mistaken version of the ability to lose ones salvation from the book of Hebrews when the Bible clearly teaches otherwise if one looks at the historical context of why the book of Hebrews was written. I find it very concerning. And when one reads into John’s epistles the concept that one who sins is apparently suddenly not saved. This kind of overlooks the original language of the text wherein it is clearly meant that we cannot lose our salvation because we are viewed in Christ especially in light of Romans wherein Paul clearly admitted he did things he ought not do. But once again, not all CC pastors are making these doctrinal mistakes though some were and are in CC and in other churches. And truthfully I would not have realized the mistakes if I had not gone to a conservative Bible College myself(not a CC Bible College) and studied the word more thoroughly on my own.

    It has been implied CC never welcome Calvinists. CCs do welcome Calvinists until they start talking about Calvinism. The minute that happens they are rebuked and made unwelcome. I saw it firsthand and was very saddened because whether we agree on these issues or not I don’t think our salvation is based on anything or anyone but Jesus Christ. Yes the subject is crucial to proper doctrine and many would change fellowships over such a doctrinal difference. But I don’t think one could lose ones salvation over a difference in this point of doctrine. But that is my opinion and I am not a pastor.

    I suggest if someone wants to fellowship with CC they ought to read Chuck Smith’s book on the CC distinctives so they can better decide whether that is what they want to believe and be taught through the lense of.

    Just remember when you do that Chuck Smith counseled a woman to have an abortion on his radio program and has never repented and I have not seen anything about him being rebuked by leadership. That was one of the reasons our family finally gave up on CCs forever.

  60. Cathryn permalink

    Also there are people saying some ought to return to the Roman Catholic church to get back to the real deal. That might have worked for me if it had not been for the fact I studied church history and then found out that the Holy Roman Empire changed the Bishop leadership of the Orthodox church to a Papal leadership that never existed in order to give the Holy Roman Empire complete control over all the Bishops in the other districts. Calvinism or not, I could not hang with that. And all that fuedalism without education leading to Biblical illiteracy to gain political control. It was time for a reformation. But when I saw people bowing down to a statue of Mary at my sister in law’s wedding, I knew I could never be Catholic.

  61. Cathryn permalink

    One commentor was saying that CC teach Jesus as Savior but not as Lord and Savior.

    I disagree that doctrinally that is what is taught after all my years with CCs. I was always taught by CC pastors that Lordship is just as much required as Jesus being Savior.

    However I have seen in more recent years an entertainment driven church bent on materialism and luxury worship and lacking in personal ministry to the poor, the hungry, and evangelism. I am not saying that is what is taught or that the churches don’t minister in such ways as a body. But I see, where once a CC would have folks going out to the streets now many are giving money to the local mission instead. So the money is given and used but the people are not actually persuing doing these things because instead they’re going bowling, to the movies, and on vacation, oh and to Israel, while the rest of the world is going down to the pit.

    I know, maybe I sound like a pharisee or legalistic but I see a marked change in the church of today compared to 20, 30 years ago. I don’t know that the problem is the leadership or CC distinctives. I think people just think Christ is their warm fuzzy psycholigist that gives them anti depressants rather than being Lord.

    But I try to avoid the subject around other believers lest I be stoned.

  62. Calvary permalink

    “Sadly Calvary thinks reading whole chapters at a time and then making funny jokes, and telling stories is expository teaching.”

    As someone who was in a leadership position at a very large Calvary Chapel for years, I must say I agree with this statement. This is what you get when you make electricians and plumbers pastors. They have not attended seminary, and in most cases have not even earned an undergraduate degree. Not surprisingly, there is a serious lack in the abilities of the pastors to think critically and present the gospel in an organized manner. Attendees are left with personal stories and useful anecdotes from relatively-charismatic-yet-alarmingly-simpleminded guys.

  63. Matt permalink

    Love expository preaching when it is doctrinally correct, but CCs focus on it exclusively is flawed. None of the preaching recorded in the Bible by any of the prophets or the Lord himself was done in the manner CC does it, it was mainly topical. The reason is simple. preaching by itself is never meant to be merely educational, it is meant to illuminate doctrine and bring the hearer to a decision point to follow right doctrine.

  64. cynthia curran permalink

    Actually, the orthodox church spilt in the age of Justinian. The monophysites or now the oriential well there way. Jacob Braedius with the help of empress Theodora started churches without the approval of the emperor Justinian. The writings of Serveus of Antioch were ban by Justinian and he was exile. The oriential Church still doesn’t accept Chalecdon while the eastern do. And Justinian after alienated some of the western Church by imprisoning Victor Tunna who didn’t accept his view on the three chapters.

  65. Pastor Dr. C.N. Turrell permalink

    I can personally say Praise His Name that I have never been a part of Calvary Chapel. But I have had friends that have been.
    They kind of remind me of the the Seventh Day Adventist in this way. Pastor Smith this and Pastor Smith this, or Mrs. White, This and Mrs. White this.
    When we put a person before the Father in Heaven, then we do have troubles.
    One of my friends in CC disagreed with something the Pastor in their local Eugene OR CC was teaching. He tried to explain it, and was told he was wrong. Before the next SS class he was asked not to come to the Assembly again as he was disfellowshipped and told he was preaching false doctrine.
    If you disagree with the leadership you are in danger of getting tossed out.
    In any Assembly there are going to be people whom disagree with things you preach or teach. I have people that do with me. But I have never removed someone from the Assembly or told them to leave.
    I was asked by another friend to come as a Pastor guest to a board meeting. The Pastor said this “What I say goes here, because I am the one in charge.”
    Really,is he over the Almighty Father?
    In reality, they are more Charismatic then Pentecostal. And in some of the CC’s they have doctrine that is different from some of the others.
    I have listened to the CC Network a few times, and I have heard some very strange doctrine.
    I think like the Scripture says ‘Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”
    Are we free when one White Washes the Gospel and waters it down to lukewarmness?
    Not at all.
    When people make Chuck Smith to be the final say so, and he is made out to be like the Pope we have serious problems.
    What we need to do is pray for the people that are in the CC’s and they they will come to learn the truth and open their eyes and come out of the false assembly.

  66. antonio permalink

    I simply ask for prayer. I’ve read this whole blog and I’m sad and thankful from the things written here. I ask for prayer for my family and myself. My family because they are “stuck” in the CC LIES. They also have a sister church with many affiliate churches that call thmselves… (so and so Fellowship- mother church is named Applegate Christian Fellowship) Pastor John Courson. I’ve very little to say about these organizations, but I am extremely worried about the Christians who attend. I’ve spent 13 years in their cult like gatherings. I do have to say. The Lord Jesus did use this church to introduce Himself to me.
    I’ve been a close personal friend of these leaders.
    I’ve been a bible teacher on and off the radio for them
    I’ve been a missionary for them
    I’ve been to their bible collages
    I’ve helped start churches with them foreign and local
    I’ve even done worship ministry with them… my point is… I’m very familiar with the way these churches work. I will continue to pray for them. But I will no longer attend. My family is still in attendance there after the Lord blessed my family with salvation through hearing the word of God. I’m worried they have fallen for their continued false. Even the serpent in the garden told half the truth to Eve. CCs and CFs can even do that. I’m sorry if I sound hurt… I just want my family truly saved. I left with no problems by the way… so no I’m not damaged by the movement. I was baptized by one of their pastors. I just think of Jesus who said” forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.
    Man… I fell like this was very raw and emotional. I’m sorry if it doesn’t flow or make much sense. After reading this post I just am like I said… sad and thankful. To all you CC&CF followers… Jesus is anywhere 2 or three are gathered in His name. Just because they teach chapter by chapter doesn’t mean they are expounding on the whole word of God… since I left them it was really hard to trust another church leadership. Please pray.

  67. Mary Whosoever permalink

    I think it’s just shameful the way you talk about godly pastors here. I know my pastor, Ross Reinman at Calvary Chapel the Rock in Santa Rosa, has never done the kind of things you’re talking about here. You talk like pastors are some kind of cult leaders or something. It’s sad.

  68. I was attending a Calvary Chapel here in a small town. Would only go once in awhile for fellowship reasons as I do not agree with the doctrine but it is the least denominational church in my area.

    I have been raising questions about my understanding of the bible that go against the Calvary way. I have been regularly attending a bible study (outside of church but with Calvary members) and have been asked to either not share my differences or ask questions that may challenge the Calvary way. Otherwise, please do not attend.

    Talk about religion! I wish we had Mormons, JW’s, Catholics, etc come to a bible study. For one, we should learn more about these religions to broaden our understandings. But more importantly, perhaps these others may actually gleen some truth from the teaching of the gospel of grace. I am confident in my faith and go not feel threatened by “outsiders” but however this particular Calvary is.

  69. Jon permalink

    I attended a Calvary Chapel for a short time and noticed a few things. The pastor was not the nicest guy. He was simple-minded and arrogant and lacked theological training. He was also short on social skills. The people who attended this location were pretty basic follow-the-leader types, prone neither to independent nor critical thought. No, they were not your brightest! The place had a ‘fundamentalist’ feel absent the Sunday clothing usually associated with that movemnent. Ideologically, everyone was ultra-conservative — very clonish, in other words. And it’s cult-like style would appeal to people with problems looking for easy answers and wonderning whether they could drown out their personality in the group. This location would be the perfect place to do it.

  70. Jon permalink

    Calvary Chapel is certainly a cult in the behavioral sense. It is not theologically a cult, though. The problem besetting the organization is its style of leadership. The New Testament provides us with an example we might call presbyterian polity. This involves a plurality of elders and congregational participation, as we see delineated through the book of Acts and the Epistles. When CC began, it borrowed an example from the Old Testamen, where Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt and through the desert toward the promised land. This scenario is not to be confused with the New Testament church. The church does not operate on one-person rule, or at least it should not. Problems result when it does, which is apparent from the wide number of allegations and constanct complaints throughout the years. It is in the nature of CC’s distorted form of leadership that these problems will persist and remain un dealt with. The only way to reform the movement is to overhaul its power-structure. But that means the people in charge would have to yield their power, and this is obviously not likely. The way to solve this problem, then, is to educate people about the leadership issue and to steer them away from the organization. Churches everywhere abound and one’s choices are never limited. Christians benefit when they worship and serve in an environment that encourages them and utilizes their gifts. Churches that operate well and foster Christian maturity generally possess scripturally-informed leadership who know not to follow the wrong example. They practice humility and are mutually accountable, and these congregations serve one another and those beyond its walls.

  71. Aren permalink

    It’s amazing how religions confuse people, when christianity is so simple as each truth.

    Hear The Gospel 1Cor. 15:1-4 + believe it with whole your heart and mind Eph. 2: 8-10 +++nothing else.

  72. Kong permalink

    People are getting smarter, eyes are wide open and our knowledge is being replace. History channel makes a huge impact to the viewer about bible were alien history, most of my co-workers are turning away from the bible it self.

  73. Thom Barnes permalink

    Gentlemen. We are the body of Christ. After readiing these posts I can’t help but think that the enemy is laughing at all this in-fighting. You’re wrong, i’m right. Blah blah blah… Fact: Jesus dies and rose again and is alive today. Fact: the bible clearly says anyone who believes in Jesus will be saved. I think Jesus might have said something about that. Fact: evidence of a spirit filled spirit lead anything is found in Galations where the fruits of the….. Anyone???? Spirit!!! No fruit, no Spirit. Plain and simple. So to read all of these posts we can come to one conclusion. We arre all wrong in some way shape or form. The Word says that Love does not envy and is not jealous and does not keep records of wrong. To those that have left a particular CC for things that are contrary to the Word of God then Amen. Are all CC alike. NOPE! It’s the same if you go to. Southern baptist, AG, or whatever.. If the pastor is not living according to the Word of God and is injecting himself then ask yourself if that is where God would have you. Look to the Word yourself. Pastors are sinners saved by Grace just like us!

  74. Jjoeygirl permalink

    Well I too left Calvary and it is heartbreaking to again here people defend Calvary like it is a god. This is why I left. At one time I did kind of believe Calvary CHapel is the way, thruth, and life. I also bought into the vast books available from pastors. No longer do I look to a church but I look to GOD.

  75. Patrick permalink

    It warms my heart to read so many impassioned coments. I have attended a variety of believing bodies of Christ and a few better know cults. I have clung to CC of Chino Hills for the last decade. I am my family have suffered the same sort of bad behavior as have others from other believers. This is trivial compared to why I stay. The teaching I have received over the years has only ever brought me back to the Cross. This has only been true in my life when sound doctrine is feed into my stubborn ears. I have visited a few CC were this was not true and it saddened me but I didn’t have to stay and so I just left. I didn’t picket the church or talk bad about them or post my disdain for their wrongness. I accepted that I was not so great as to think my opinion would help them. I just left. There are millions of believers world wide with most of them suffering real persecution for their Lord. This Should be what moves us to action. If you know your brother is in need and you do not help him you are worse than an unbeliever. Thank you to whomever reads my post and I hope the love of Christ moves you to greater love always.

    • John F. permalink

      I’ve been a cc’er for many years and have experienced both good and bad from various socal churches. The reason why I left was due to the reformed theology I was exposed to through the local cc school in LA mirada ca. It blew my mind to find out that the reference material was reformed and some teachers there were closet reformed believers.

      Why you ask for my reply?

      CC does not have a doctrinal basis for its existence. You may respond with, “what about the Jesus movement?”

      If you recall chuck smith’s account of his early ministry had led to the beginning of the cc movement. Even the name was used from thence forth after he’d moved to Costa mesa, was a response to the practices and teachings of the four-square church he’d attended. To me he had authority issues, like all of us. Even to the extent, grandualizing his calling before he was born. And so on and so forth. It’s quite an ego booster of course.

      The issue you brought up here is an attempt to deny what people have said about cc. Randy, like myself now, are merely pointing out the doctrinal beliefs and practices that fly against the truth with cc.

      The truth about cc is obvious, no one in their right mind is playing devil’s advocate at this blog. Just look at the truth, believe in the truth, and your heart and mind will be set free.

      As soon as I came clean with being a reformist I was immediately shunned by my cc friends, which is fine by the way. And since have not regretted it.

  76. Andrew permalink

    Show me where in scripture the church is divided into sects. Churches claim to be non-denominational. Many are simply one congregation denominations.

    I used to belong to a church that believed they were the only true church until I saw the error of that belief. The belief that one group is the only church is more biblical than your thousands of denominations.

    I am so sick of Christianity. I want to find Jesus but it is very hard to hear Him in all your lies.

  77. Greg P permalink

    I started attending a Calvary Church 18 months ago. The pastor is true man of God. He takes in the homeless, he ministers to prostitutes and in the prison. The doctrine is Christ focused and Bible based and is sound. He is lives what the bible teaches, he inspires those in the church to get deeper with Jesus. He confronts sin but does it in a way that shows love.

    There are lots of teachers with head knowledge, It is great when you can find a pastor what has a heart to match.

    I am not sure why you would post such an article or how that helps build the body of Christ but it is clear that your views about Calvary are not universally accepted or shared by the majority. Perhaps this is your experience but to apply it to a group of churches of which I am sure you have only attended a small % is wrong.

    I have read some of your other articles and agree with you on a number of issues but not this one.

  78. Rene Gray permalink

    I read this article (and remarks) with interest. About a year ago I left Unity Church and started attending Calvary Chapel (Phoenix). What I was looking for was the word of God, something I realized I wouldn’t find in Unity. Unity is a nice place, upbeat and somewhat friendly (very “cliquey” though), but I found most of the sermons revolved around self-help / improving your outlook / etc. A friend calls it music and a show. I knew I was missing something BIG :-) They don’t believe the Bible is the word of God, so obviously they don’t study the books of the Bible (except in a “metaphysical” way).

    Anyway, I have been going to Calvary for almost a year now and have found God. My pastor is a blessing and I have learned so much about the word of God and the world pre and post Jesus. He teaches the Bible, and he explains (with visuals) what he is talking about. God led me to this Church and I thank Him for doing that. I have never felt closer to God. I guess all CCs are not the same, but I found a good one!

  79. Heather permalink

    I read your entire essay and still don’t understand what doctrine Calvary churches preach that is bad/wrong or not scripturally-based. Denominations are expressly forbidden in the bible, so I agree with Calvary on that aspect. Many theologians go to seminary and believe that the gifts of the holy spirit ceded once the bible was compiled-false gospel (i.e. from the devil), so I do not take someone’s formal bible studies as proof that they understand the word of God or are walking with the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, as an academic, I would rather listen to a pastor who has received formal instruction on the bible, but if he preaches from a pro-big government, anti Holy Spirit platform, his degree is worth nothing. I think I will check out the Calvary church down the road.

  80. Not sure what CC you are talking about but we go vs by vs through the bible nothing is left out and at times it may take a whole teaching just to cover two vs. of what we are being taught. My Pastor is very knowledgable of the bible and theology. He gives references of wher he gets his information and all teachings are recorded and put on our website for all to hear, including those who do not attend our church, so that if you have any guestions as to the facts or truth in the word you can ask the Pastor. Our church is a very loving and open church. We do not hide our past lives from each other or to anyone and our Pastor is one of the most open to all who will listen. We are taught not to tear each other or other churches down but to stay focused on God and the love of Jesus and the building up of the saints through Gods word and to come along side of our brothers and sister not to judge but to point out there sin, when it is necessary and only after examining our own sin first.

  81. Hennie permalink

    I just discovered this blog and I find it to be very informative — especially the statements regarding Orthodoxy.

    I attended Calvary Chapel(s) — because I attended several over a span of two decades — and finally left because of all the reasons listed here. I have many stories of my own — too many to go into here.

    I’ll just sum up my conclusions about Calvary Chapel by saying this: Calvary Chapel provided me with some good basic Biblical concepts and helped me to feel comfortable and familiar with reading the Bible. It introduced me to the very basics of Christianity. But because the leadership is not mature — they cannot nurture any maturity in the congregation.

    I left Calvary Chapel nine years ago and have no regrets. I will never go back. That is a chapter in my life that is closed and shut. Recently, I have discovered a Greek Orthodox church in my city and I must tell you that I think I have discovered my calling, although I still have a lot to learn about Orthodoxy. An interesting note: I stayed away from churches such as this for a long time because the CC teachings cautioned against it and I used to think that Calvary Chapel was the only true and “right” church. But I was very, very wrong.

  82. Laura Margaret permalink

    I have left Calvary Chapel because I did not see enough people that had Faith with outward works, such as preparing young people for solving real problems in the world by studying long-term inside and outside Universities, church, etc. When there is no confession to a brother of wrongdoings and consistent complete understanding of the entirety of the Scripture of forgiveness and forgetting, there is no completeness in Doctrinal understanding of the Word. I did not see that taught or practiced at Calvary Chapel. The result is people are sad.
    The Unity you are seeking comes from peace, faith with works.. You see it in other churches, such as the Catholic church. Confession is an important first step. Some believe you do not need to go through a priest but in scripture, Paul taught us that we need to be accountable to each other. Again, this is not readily taught at Calvary Chapel.
    Much of the time, proper understanding of Doctrinal truth from many resources unites people with peace. I havent seen that at Calvary Chapel. Freedom is synonymous to the challenges of clearly getting a better understanding of Scripture and Doctrine. I believe this is the peaceful goal from the Biblical prophets & The True Prince of Peace, Christ Jesus.

  83. John F. permalink

    Hi Randy,
    Been going over your blog and the comments that followed/follow. I’ve an attendee/active member of calvary chapel on/off since I was 18. About a year later I was recommended by a small bible group I regularly attended to try a calvary chapel for the abundance of similar-aged Christians there. Which I did. For awhile I enjoyed the atmosphere and the style of worship and bible studies. I attended mostly socal cc churches: downey, Chino hills, la mirada, Costa mesa, Murrieta, up until I briefly attended a seminar-like school (@low-cost). There I came to know the doctrine of grace, the letter to the Romans. It was life-changing! Since then I couldn’t relate any longer with cc style of teaching. The teacher at the time was a calvary chapel assistant pastor, who I felt was more credible with doctrine than the rest of cc head pastors elsewhere. But my point is, the cc distinctives didn’t make sense anymore. I started to look into reformed theology. I became more open to calvinism as opposed to arminianism and cc distinctives. The teacher that I learned from was clearly a calvinist in a ‘middle of the roader’ cc indoctrinated believer, Because much of the reference materials were by John MacArthur. Many people of the cc movement don’t understand what they believe in is very spoon fed Christianity. Every church I attended had people who lacked biblical training, even after being pointed out they revert to ‘where’s the love’ ‘you’re being divisive’, etc, like here on this blog. I can tell you so many stories.
    Anyway, I’m just dropping a note, keep it up. And one day these cc’ers will wake up.
    Sorry cc’ers I’m not hating, just saying I’ve been where you’re at and it’s not a good place. And yes I love you guys (cc’ers), just not your doctrines (cc distinctives).

    2 Peter 318
    New International Version
    But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

  84. Nikki permalink

    I grew up in the Evangelical Church and after some drama within the congregation, the church split and I left that church at the age of 17 and started attending a Calvary Chapel in thethe next town over. I loved it! It was the first time the bible became real to me and for the way that church brought God’s word to life for me I will always love them. I ended up moving and attended another nondenominational church (not calvary) but it was a mega church and I felt lost in the crowd. I found a Calvary Chapel church plant and began attending there for the last few months before I got married and moved again. My husband was in the process of becoming a Pastor in the Nazarene church but due to some extra hoops he had to jump though because of someone else’s mistakes we decided that maybe God was leading us to go the Calvary Chapel route. We moved back to the area with the church plant and for a while all was well. My husband had gotten plugged in helping with sound and I was running the children’s department (but don’t you dare call me the children’s pastor—because women are NEVER called to be Pastors ***sarcasm***). My husband volunteered at the church but had a full time job outside of the church. We had just given birth to my daughter and the pastor started telling my husband that he needed to quit his job and volunteer full time at the church and to “count the cost” of being in ministry. Things started going downhill when my husband refused to quit a steady job for a no income one. The pastor started flexing his power…. Plans would get changed last minute ie: I was in charge of the children’s department but on Easter after I had forked over nearly $100 of my own money for craft supplies and goodie bags for the kids who would be coming to church for the first time, I was called by another woman in the church telling me that the pastor had told her that she would be teaching the kids that Sunday (this happened on Saturday) after I had already told him my plan. Then the next day there was a little girl who was sitting quietly with her dad in the sanctuary but the pastor told me to get her back into the children’s department because children were “too young” to be in the service. After a lot of prayer, my husband and I both felt like God was telling us it was time for us to leave and go back to the nazarene church. When we told the pastor, he acted like a child. My husband had started a youth group at that church and had a youth event after church the Sunday following us telling the pastor that we were being led else where and in front of a group of teens he said “be praying we find a FAITHFUL youth pastor!” and from the pulpit he even accused my husband of not believing in the Holy spirit because my husband didn’t agree with their definition of speaking in tongues…. We ended up leaving for my husband to take a job at a Nazarene church and we haven’t regretted our decision in the slightest. the thing is, as a regular attendee, I didn’t see what went on behind the scenes but after seeing what goes on behind the church office doors, I saw a lot of negativity. When my husband started the youth group there were some troubled kids who started coming but the pastor didn’t want them at the church because they were “a lost cause*…. there were people wanting to help in the church but we’re shut down because the weren’t committed enough (even though they were there every time the doors were open) but the ones who were always late somehow ended up in leadership… those in ministry were pushed to a breaking point— my daughter was 9 months old before I was able to get a single Sunday out of the children’s department to sit in the service…. but one thing that really bothered me was the lack of respect for women. On stage the worship leader would complain about his wife and you could tell it hurt her but the pastor would just laugh. I didn’t feel like he treated his wife with respect either and he would always give me a dirty look whenever I had the audacity to voice my opinion with my husband— and yet when my husband told him we were leaving to go to the nazarene church, he tried to utilize my pull with my husband to get us to stay, but what he didn’t count on was that it was a mutual decision

  85. Rayla permalink

    One more comment about Orthodoxy. Most Protestants, especially of the evangelical type, do not know the difference between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism. When the great split occurred in 1054 because the Roman patriarch wanted to be the head guy, the rest of the patriarchs said no and they split (that and the fililoque clause caused it.) Anyway, the Eastern church just kept going and didn’t change. The Roman branch with it’s pope became the Roman Catholic Church with all it’s additions and changes. Then it split further in 1513 with Martin Luther and now we have all these denominations and their countless divisions, and strange doctrines.
    But Orthodoxy has never seen a split and has not changed in any significant way since the very beginning. It is Orthodox, but not Jewish. It is Catholic, but not Roman. It is evangelical, but not Protestant. It is not denominational, but pre-denominational.

  86. snooop1e permalink

    You are actually very ignorant of the “Orthodox” churches. They are totally divided and ironically very similar to CC’s in that they share certain “distinctives” while remainingl independent/autonomous. So when you say “Orthodox” it’s like saying Calvary Chapel, as Chuck Smith said, nobody has any idea what you believe/dont believe. The day is coming when Constantinople and Rome will be reunited, one, holy, catholic and apostolic church.

  87. robert chacon permalink

    This is not quite accurate. I imagine you are aware there are reasonable arguments on both sides of the 1054 schism as to who was to blame. It is not as simple as saying the pope wanted to be the “main guy”. The fact is that because the Roman Empire has split in two regions – Western and Eastern – the Emperor in the East began exerting influence on the Byzantine Church. Since the pope was in Rome the Western Emperor could not as easily influence the Western Church (since the popes would resist any attempt to control the Church) , and as the Western Empire began to fall to the barbarians, there was virtually no Western Emperor or secular ruler to interfere with the Church. While in the East the Byzantine Emperor, the heir of the Roman Emperor’s title, it can be argued, attempted to have influence on the Church for political means and thus influenced the Eastern bishops to seek greater power. No Catholic denies that secular rulers of the Medieval period did not attempt to influence the papacy for political reasons. Its dishonest for Orthodox to deny that the Byzantine Emperors did not attempt to control the Orthodox Church. The only difference is that in the West, after the fall of Rome secular power was at first dying , then dead, then diffused and there was a greater consensus about the authority of the pope . In the East , Church authority was diffused and secular power was concentrated in the Byzantine Emperor. So, for most of the first 1000 years of Christianity there was little debate about the primacy of Peter , the bishop of Rome. The Church Fathers were clear about the importance of the leadership of Rome. Granted, it is a reasonable argument that the Church Fathers, and Tradition, wrote about collegial relationship. Nevertheless, it is clear throughout history that the primacy of Peter and thus the papacy was a constant. The extant of that definition , however, could have been considered more flexible. But to say the schism was due to solely to a novel concept of the primacy of the seat of St. Peter , that the pope claimed to be the “main guy” as you claim, is simply not entirely accurate and not as simple as you state it. There are also reasonable arguments that the influence of the Byzantine Emperor was pressuring the eastern bishops to have authority to alter doctrine and practices that were not consistent with Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. Yes, the issue of the fililoque and the date of Easter were also reasons often cited as the cause of the schism. Well, the date of Easter is hardly a meaningful issue. And , today the issue of the fililoque is virtually a non issue as dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox churches have concluded. So the issue today is really about the tension between the leadership of the heir of St Peter and the collegiality of the episcopate. But its hardly as simple and one sided as you proclaim.

    Furthermore, its rather disingenuous to argue that the Catholic Church has made “additions” to Church teaching compared to Orthodoxy when in reality, virtually all the teachings are the same. It is true that Catholicism has provided greater revelation to the truths of ancient Church , before there was any schism, but the basic beliefs are the same. For example, teachings on Mary in the Catholic Church only define Traditions of the earliest Church teachings. These Traditions are found in Orthodoxy, they simply are not defined, or proscribed. Orthodoxy didnt reject the Immaculate Conception (the teaching that Mary was conceived without sin) they simply never addressed the issue definitely and virtually all the Easter Fathers conceded to this Tradition. Declarations of doctrine are not defined unless there is a challenge to the Tradition. In the East there was not a serious direct rejection of this Tradition. However in the West, Protestantism did challenge it. So , the Catholic Church carefully defined the Tradition as a doctrine. It is only more recently with the influence of Protestantism in the Western world that the Western Orthodox believers even question the Tradition of the Immaculate Conception.

    One more point about the claim that the Catholicism has made “additions” to Faith. What you claim are additions are simply clarifications and revelations of ancient Christian truth. While Orthodoxy has been wise to limit its teaching authority to the ancient teachings from the time of the schism, to be conservative in remaining the same for 1000 years, it is in fact a result of separating itself from the teaching of authority of papacy and the magesterium (the overall teaching authority of the Church) of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church , guided by the revelation from the Holy Spirit, helps reveal the truth of Christ to help guide us in dealing with the modern lives of every era. The Orthodox Church , for better or worse, has remained nearly silenced throughout history on many great issues of the day, such as slavery, relationship of the state to the people , rights of workers and the relationship of labor to property owners, to abortion and birth control, let alone all the issues resolved in the Ecumenical Councils after 1054. Its not that Orthodoxy does not attempt to address these issues, but due its fractured nature, Orthodoxy simply cannot speak with the voice of the papacy. This evolving revelation of Faith since the the Schism has both benefits and drawbacks one could argue. But to simply say that Pope has allowed the Church to actually change doctrine since 1054 is simply not completely accurate. Orthodoxy believes that the Councils prior to 1054 evolved truth and revelation. Catholics would claim Councils after 1054 continue to do so . But to argue the Church Councils changed doctrine after 1054 but not before 1054 makes no sense. Furthermore, the papacy has only defined two doctrines under the theology of papal infallibility. While, the papacy has made numerous teachings through encyclicals and other means, I would argue they are NOT inconsistent with the Gospels or Tradition. For example Pope Pauls Encyclical on family life, Humana Vitae, which definitely stated the sin of using artificial contraception, merely defined what Christianity, and Judaism before it , had taught for over 2000 years. All Churches , including Orthodoxy, had taught that the use of artificial contraception was sinful until the Anglican Church in 1930s at the Lambeth Conference allowed a small exception to that teaching. So if the Orthodox church has not changed teaching since the Schism , why is she not clear on the topic now? The fact is there is no definitive teaching by Orthodoxy on the topic. Some local bishops have said one thing while others have said another, while the entirety of Orthodoxy now has now definitive position. Prior to the Schism , Christianity was clear on the issue. Why has Orthodoxy changed its teaching now?? In other words, one can make the claim here and in other cases that it is fact Orthodoxy that has changed Church teaching.

    Lastly regarding the fact that there is no consensus on the birth control issue in Orthodoxy, it points out the error of the statement that Orthodoxy has not splintered or devolved into denominations. The fact is that there are dozens of national orthodox churches. Granted they are generally united in doctrine by a leadership of Patriarchs, they are nevertheless contentious over authority of doctrine and generally cannot speak with one voice, which is why they are generally silent on contentious issues, which in effect creates a type of denominationalism.

    The primacy of the seat of Peter both protects doctrine and makes it meaningful to the modern man as he deals with new ideas and technology. Yes, there are tensions created by this. But to claim that the Church as a static entity, providing no significant revelation of truth to the modern man since 1054 is necessarily a virtue is a statement fraught with its own tensions and problems.

    As a Catholic, I admire Orthodoxy in many ways. The liturgy is heavenly for example. Nevertheless, I remain a devout Catholic because I obviously see the arguments for the truth of Catholicism as outweighing those of Orthodoxy. However, an attempt to make claims against Catholicism seem as simple as you have is simply either ignorance of reality or disingenuous. Perhaps you just wanted to make a quick point. Thats fine. But even quick point needs to be presented fairly and accurately.

    Yours in Christ!

  88. Ron Morales permalink

    You hit the nail on the head in regards to their views on decisional regeneration. It is truly unfortunate, but I am thankful the Lord pulled my wife and I out of CC Chino Hills, but we are troubled by some friends who do not see the problems within the church. We pray for them.

    Anyone ever seen the video of a young pastor chuck sitting on a stage with others listening to someone speak? That person speaking was the late Katheryn kuhlman-she was called “my biggest influence” by Benny Hinm

    God bless you All with discernment

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