Just The Facts: The Split in Calvary Chapel

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These are the facts that have been made public about the split in the Calvary Chapel movement.

7.19.2013 : Letter from Pastor Chuck Smith

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10.31.2016 : Letter to the Movement from the Calvary Chapel Association

Dear Calvary Chapel Pastors,

Recently, a group of the Calvary Chapel Association Council members gathered together in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania for a few days to seek the Lord, worship, and ask Him for direction as to the Calvary Family. Our time was truly blessed with a great unity, a rich sense of the Lord’s presence, a fresh sense of direction, and a peace together like we have not experienced in years. There were a number of issues that we discussed that we want to pass on to the movement.
1. Though it has only been three years since the Lord took Pastor Chuck home, we realized how grateful we are for the foundation of Calvary Chapel that Chuck laid for us.  As we discussed these things we all realized how deeply we are committed to out core values and thankful for Chuck and the way the Lord led us through him.

2. As we discussed our foundation and core values as a family of churches we realized that along the way, through the years, there have been those that have decided that their values were different, and they have gone on with another group such as the Pentecostals, or Acts 29, or Gospel Coalition, or Vineyard, or Hillsong, and that is truly fine. All these ministry families have their core values just as we do, and Pastor Chuck often simply looked at these situations as an opportunity for churches to find their most comfortable environment.

3. Since Chuck’s passing there may be pastors who have thought about some of our values, such as expository teaching, and no longer hold to the Calvary Chapel approach. There may be pastors who no longer embrace our leadership style, or our view of the Lord’s soon appearing and our emphasis on preaching about the rapture of the church, or our view of male leadership and the New Testament’s prohibition of women teaching men, or the errors associated with prosperity theology, or our need for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and the gifts being for today, or any other core values that we have held. 1 Corinthians 1:10 reads, “See that you all speak the same thing.” One of the great blessings of our family has always been a like mindedness toward our distinctives. When someone goes to a Calvary Chapel affiliate church there are things they go looking for. Just as when someone goes to a Pentecostal church, or a Hillsong church, or an Acts 29 church, or a Lutheran church. We completely respect their family’s philosophy of ministry, and we also love ours.

4. For the past three years, the Council has taken the time to seek the Lord together and try to move forward in unity. As individual pastors we have spoken in support of our core values, but we now feel the need for the Council members to speak with one voice. As our signatures to this letter attest, we are steadfastly committed to our roots, and want to clear up any confusion caused by those who have questioned the Calvary Chapel doctrine and philosophy of ministry statements.

5. To further speak to these issues we have scheduled an International Senior Pastors and Wives Conference, November 6-8, 2017 at Calvary Chapel St. Petersburg, Florida. The conference speakers will be the members of the Council and we want to reaffirm our core values, seek the Lord for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon us, and look forward to His coming. As the ministry of Calvary Chapel has grown to over 1600 affiliate churches around the world, we realize that there are many second, third, and fourth generation ministries that have joined our family, and we need to clarify what makes us Calvary Chapel. Above all, we are seeking the Lord to give us what we so deeply need and desire, a fresh filling of His Spirit.

Our Conference will focus on:
– Our Sure Foundation (Remembering our DNA)
– Our Fresh Expectancy (Desiring His Outpouring)
– Our Glorious Hope (Looking For Him)

So, please hold the November dates and we will be getting back to you with all the information regarding the conference.

6. We also need to clear up any confusion regarding calvarychapelassociation.com and calvarychapel.com. These are completely different websites and are on different servers. Any matters that relate to Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa should be referred to calvarychapel.com.  Any matters having to do with the movement as a whole, or church information changes and affiliation matters need to contact The Calvary Chapel Association at admin@calvarychapelassociation.com

We have been overhauling the CCA website and will be adding a library of information, monthly messages from the council members, adding a Calvary Chapel Pastor’s Wives page,adding messages from Pastors Conferences, as well as expanding the existing pages.

Please be in genuine prayer for us. We have a treasured heritage, a sure foundation, a solid family, and so much more.

Yours in Christ,

The CCA Council

11.1.2016 : Letter to the Movement from Brian Brodersen

The prophet Amos asked the question: “Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?” The implied answer is, no, they can’t.

For the past three years and more, a group of men known to you as the CCA Council have sought to lead Calvary Chapel into the future. For some in the group, there has always been the question of whether this was even possible. All of us grew up and learned much of what we know about ministry under the leadership of Pastor Chuck Smith. We were all pastors of our own churches and leaders over our own ministries, and all of us were, and still are, fiercely independent.

Our common bond, apart from our relationship with Jesus, was Pastor Chuck. When the Lord took him home, we all agreed that we would try to work together and collectively lead the ministry of Calvary Chapel. After three years of attempting to do that, we find ourselves, at least from my point of view, at an impasse. We are not agreed on the direction that the ministry is to go. Some want to, in my opinion, dwell in the past. Some want to move ahead into the future, being thankful for our past but not bound to it or feeling a need to continually revisit it.

Doctrinally we are all in agreement with a few minor differences on a few secondary issues. No one has, in any way, deviated from historic biblical doctrine, or from what might be called Calvary’s core values or from what we know as the Calvary Distinctives. Our areas of disagreement are NOT theological or doctrinal; they are more methodological and practical, yet they are real disagreements. These disagreements have not only hindered us from moving forward in the work of the kingdom of Christ, they have created confusion, contention, and some division within the body of Christ.

It is for these reasons that I have decided to resign my position as a member of the CCA Council. I do believe that this is the best way forward for us all. I maintain a love and close friendship with many of the CCA Council members and trust that we will continue, in many ways, to co-labor together for the kingdom. To some degree, this comes down to a difference of vision. The goal is the same—the glory of Christ and the furtherance of His kingdom on earth. But we differ on how we accomplish that goal.

So although I have resigned from CCA, I will continue to lead, as I believe the Lord has called me to do. I will continue to pastor Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, and will also put on our annual Pastors and Leaders Conference, as well as other conferences both at home and abroad throughout the year. We will also continue to provide content and ministry resources through CalvaryChapel.com, as well as keeping our church locator database up for those who share our vision and want to be connected with what the Lord has done and continues to do through CCCM.

Finally, in the days ahead, because we feel a strong call to continue church planting and helping both existing ministries and those that will come along in the future, we will be establishing the Calvary Chapel Global Network, which will be a place for like-minded pastors to enjoy fellowship and be a part of something greater than our own local congregations.

Having said all that, let me make this perfectly clear: this is NOT a call to “choose sides”. There are no sides. I fully expect that there will be freedom to connect with CCCM, Calvary Chapel Global Network, and at the same time, be a part of CCA. For my part, I look forward to both the freedom that this decision brings as well as the ongoing fellowship and ministry partnership with many of the CCA Council members and many of the churches that are part of the Calvary Chapel Association.

I do believe that our best days are ahead of us, and I pray God will grant us mercy and pour His Spirit upon us as we labor for Him, awaiting that blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Let me close with these words from Pastor Chuck:

“Calvary Chapel started as a movement that was truly a fresh work, outside the scope of most other churches that were around at the time. God wanted to do a fresh work, so He created a new skin to pour His Spirit into, and we got to see His blessings. But if the Lord tarries, and He takes me home before the rapture, I hope no one tries to institutionalize what God has done at Calvary Chapel. I don’t want anyone going around saying, ‘When Chuck was here,’ and ‘This is the way Chuck did it.’ May God help us not to get rigid. I want to stay flexible and open. I want to see a continual movement of the Spirit of God; so I need to stay supple, flexible, and pliable. If we create a religious system, with rigid controls and traditions, then God will have to once again go outside of us in order to do a new work of His Spirit.”
Sincerely,

Brian Brodersen

11.10.2016 : Letter to the Movement from the Calvary Chapel Association

Calvary Chapel Pastors,

Before he went to be with Jesus, Pastor Chuck made it clear he wanted the Calvary Chapel Movement to be led by a collaboration of men working together.  The CCA Council was formed by our pastors to carry out that vision.  Last week Brian Brodersen resigned from the Council.  We are grieved by his decision and its ramifications for our movement.

In Brian’s letter to you he explained that some of us want to “dwell in the past,” be “bound to it,” and “to continually revisit it.” Brian also quoted Pastor Chuck’s warning about creating “a religious system, with rigid controls and traditions,” as if that was the intention of those of us on the CCA Council. We are deeply saddened by Brian’s mischaracterization of our vision for CCA and the Calvary Chapel movement.

The men on the CCA Council have long loved Calvary Chapel and the move of God’s Spirit that graced us. Rather than “bind us,” our core values have defined us and steadied us for 50 years, and have kept our Spirit-led movement moving forward in a God-glorifying direction. We believe they should be revisited often, for they have helped us build healthy churches equipped to reach each generation for Jesus. And contrary to “dwelling in the past,” our values keep us looking for Jesus, praying for a fresh empowering of His Spirit, and grounded in the Word of God that speaks to all ages. Pastor Chuck was our teacher, and we will always owe him a debt of gratitude, but our spiritual DNA comes from the New Testament and is timeless in its application.

We certainly take heed to all Pastor Chuck’s warnings, but it has never been the desire of the Council to create a “religious system, with rigid controls and traditions.” The Calvary Chapel movement is unique in the freedom it affords its pastors, while offering fellowship with like-minded brothers.

Certainly, some of our Calvary Chapel core values are not considered essentials to the Christian faith, but they are essential to who we are as Calvary Chapel. And one of the reasons our fellowship is so meaningful is because of these shared values. Rather than weigh us down, our core values make us who we are. The CCA Council has a limited mission. Our role is simply to affiliate churches, provide guidance and encouragement, and offer opportunities for fellowship. (We are disappointed anyone would see those tasks as rigid or controlling.) But our mission is important. If our identity and values get watered down or altered, not only will pastors get sidetracked, but we will lose the distinctiveness of our calling in the Body of Christ.

It was never our desire to see two camps under the Calvary Chapel banner. We have worked hard to avoid this development. In the future this will create challenges that we will have to resolve. As Brian put it in his letter, he has chosen to no longer walk with us, yet we still consider him a brother, and pray for God’s will to be done in his life.

We will continue to lead as Pastor Chuck requested, and we desire to walk with men who agree with our core values. We are excited about the International Pastors Conference next November in St. Petersburg, Florida, and hope to see you there. Also calvarychapelassociation.com <http://calvarychapelassociation.com/>  is being expanded to not only feature our CCA church locator, but to include helpful articles and content. Our CCA affiliation process remains the same, and for most of the regions it stays in the hands of the same men. The CCA Council will keep you all abreast of changes moving forward.

Finally, as we all deal with these issues, be reminded of the good work Jesus is doing in and through the Calvary Chapels. Ours is still a robust work of God’s Spirit that is going on in places all around the world. May we all be faithful where the Lord has placed us.

Yours in Christ,

The CCA Council

 

Friday, November 11, 2016: Link to blog from John Randall “Clarity for the Calvary Chapel Congregations ” link

11.28.2016 : Letter to the Movement

Calvary Chapel Pastors,

Pastor Chuck Smith chose a group of men to lead the Calvary Chapel movement after his passing. The Calvary Chapel Association Council was a plan he reiterated on numerous occasions. A Council provides checks and balances, and a collective wisdom to help steer us in the right direction

The CCA Council consists of men from across the country who are committed to the core values that have made us Calvary Chapel. Like many of you, we have given our lives to build Calvary Chapel churches. What makes the 1700 churches “Calvary Chapel” are the values Pastor Chuck instilled in us – our doctrine and philosophy of ministry. The principles we were taught and the transformative power of God’s Spirit have proven to be more than sufficient. The CCA Council’s primary goal is to maintain what has been our Calvary Chapel identity for fifty years, while seeking the Holy Spirit for fresh power and wisdom to advance God’s Kingdom.

We believe Calvary Chapel has a unique and important role in the Body of Christ. Pastor Chuck left us a glorious legacy. Yet the new Calvary Chapel Global Network, established by Brian Brodersen, now threatens that legacy. This network goes by the name “Calvary Chapel,” but has no framework for affiliation or required commitment to the Calvary Chapel core values. Such a network will ultimately de-emphasize our Calvary Chapel distinctives. The CCGN establishes a different version of Calvary Chapel, and will cause confusion. Brian claims the authority to represent, and even more critically, to define, what Calvary Chapel is and is not. In a recent letter to the movement, Brian quoted Amos 3:3, “Can two walk together unless they are agreed?” Brian’s resignation from the Council, acknowledges he disagrees with the way the CCA Council would lead and define Calvary Chapel. This has created a crossroads that none of us on the Council wanted.

The division that has occurred in Calvary Chapel is not a minor issue. It is more than “good men separating.” Sadly, Brian is insisting on being the primary and authoritative voice of the movement without being accountable to the men Pastor Chuck chose to lead. The CCA Council cannot endorse this Global Network. Brian continues to present his version as the Calvary Chapel vision for the future. Brian has sole editorial control of calvarychapel.com. His webpage “Our Vision & Mission” describes the site as “the one-stop online-hub for all things Calvary Chapel” – and part of its purpose is to “explain the official theological positions broadly held by the Calvary Chapel Movement.” In the CCGN, one man is tasked in determining what is normative for all Calvary Chapels. None of the CCA Council members would take that kind of authority into our own hands. We recognize that no one man has the calling from God, or the stature in the movement to define “official theological positions” for all the churches. Our founder and pastor entrusted those decisions to a group of men, not one man.

  • CCA is built on the foundations given to us by Pastor Chuck.
  • CCGN is creating a new blueprint devised by Brian.
  • CCA is being led collectively by a group of men.
  • CCGN will be directed by one man.
  • CCA is a fellowship of pastors with an agreed upon philosophy of ministry.
  • CCGN is a community with no formal affiliation.
  • CCA will continue to have a regional emphasis.
  • CCGN will be centralized in Costa Mesa.
  • CCA has always afforded great freedom, but with a degree of accountability.
  • CCGN is about freedom, without accountability.

To avoid confusion moving forward, we think it is best to separate the CCA from the CCGN, now. Calvary Chapel is not just one church in Costa Mesa, it is 1700 churches that are affiliated through the Calvary Chapel Association. In spite of this, Brian has taken it on himself to “grandfather” the entire Calvary Chapel database into a network where he alone is the authority. Rather than granting us the freedom to join, Brian has forced us to choose to opt out.

As Council members we will not be part of Brian’s network, and we encourage other pastors who are affiliated with CCA to do the same. Rather than start a new group, Brian is building a group within an existing association. We believe this is divisive and will only bring further confusion. Yet each CCA pastor is entitled to make his own decision. For many pastors these issues are new and need to be given thorough consideration.

This splintering of our movement has been painful in many ways, but the CCA Council is relieved that we can now walk in unity and work to strengthen the foundations that have made Calvary Chapel a mighty move of God. Despite our best efforts, for the last three years, storm clouds have been gathering that were obvious to many people. It has caused our Calvary family confusion and grief. But the storm is now passing. New beginnings are ahead. Our vision is clearer and the future is brighter. Once again, let’s depend on the Holy Spirit’s empowering, abide in God’s Word, and trust Him in new ways. As our Pastor taught us, life is full of ventures of faith. This is one more.

The Calvary Chapel Association Council

Sandy Adams, Malcolm Wild, Joe Focht, Don McClure, Lloyd Pulley, Bill Stonebreaker, Damian Kyle, Jack Hibbs, David Rosales, Mike MacIntosh, Raul Ries, Jeff Johnson, David Guzik

 

Link to Article “Calvary Chapel’s Brian Brodersen instructs pastors to “Tone it down” for youth” link

Link to blog by Carl Westerlund “Calvary Chapel Rumor Control” link

Link to blog by Brian Brodersen “When Good Men Seperate” link

Link to blog by John Randall “Calvary Chapel Churches Moving Forward” link

Article/Interview about the Calvary Chapel Global Network by Brian Brodersen link

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