Archive for the ‘Concerns for Calvary Chapel’ Category
From Understand the Times
According to the Catholic News Service in a August 17th article titled “Bishops designate Wisconsin site of Marian apparitions as national shrine,” U.S. Catholic bishops “formally designated the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion as a national shrine.” The article explains that “Bishop David L. Ricken of Green Bay announced its new status at a news conference prior to the annual Mass celebrated at the shrine for the feast day.”
The Catholic News Service article explains Bishop Ricken’s role in helping to establish this national shrine with Marian apparitions in Wisconsin:
On Dec. 8, 2010, Bishop Ricken formally approved the apparition of Our Lady of Good Help to Brise, making the Marian apparitions that occurred some 18 miles northeast of Green Bay the first in the United States to receive approval of a diocesan bishop. His decree came nearly two years after he opened a formal investigation into the apparitions.
For those reading this who have followed Understand the Times for any length of time, you know that Marian apparitions (supposed supernatural appearances of the Virgin Mary) are a sign of the end times great delusion. Our present concern, however, regarding this situation is that one of Calvary Chapel’s most popular and influential pastors implicated himself with Bishop Ricken in 2011 during the Lifest event in Wisconsin. As Lighthouse Trails reported, Calvary Chapel pastor Greg Laurie joined Bishop Ricken at Lifest that year. One news story reporting on the event stated:
[Bishop] Ricken led 9 a.m. Mass from the Thrivent Café Stage on the final day of the 13th annual Lifest celebration at Sunnyview Expo Center. Hundreds worshipped as intermittent showers trickled down on the large tent. . . .
Protestant devotions, a children’s service and the Catholic Mass each were held separately before joint worship at 11 a.m. on the grandstand featuring Lenz; Greg Laurie, senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., and head of the international Harvest Crusades.
To date, Laurie has never come forth with a statement acknowledging that such actions could confuse and mislead many Christians into thinking that biblical Christianity is not in conflict with Roman Catholicism and its view on Mary and Marian apparitions. In an article Understand The Times released in 2011, I explained:
It was the name Bishop Ricken that caught my attention when I read the article about the Roman Catholic churches plan to use appearances of “Mary” to enhance the New Evangelization plan. I had heard of Ricken before from other articles I had read. Bishop Ricken shared the platform with Greg Laurie in Wisconsin at a city wide Lifest evangelistic crusade in the spring of 2011 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. . . .
So what does this mean? Will people who attended the meeting in Wisconsin where Laurie and Ricken both spoke on the same platform be somewhat confused? What if there are those who attended the Lifest ecumenical meetings who are now convinced that Ricken’s program to promote Marian apparitions is a good thing with regard to the New Evangelization? Apparently, Ricken and his colleague from Europe plan to promote Marian apparitions as a means of pointing people to the Eucharistic Jesus. As the article states:
“Bishop Ricken has acted boldly in the United States, with his approval of an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In Europe, Cardinal Schonborn has acted fearlessly as well with his activities. Both men, charged with revitalizing the Catholic faith, have courageously taken action that acknowledges the supernatural presence of the Our Lady and importantly her motherly role in leading us to her son.”1
Since Greg Laurie shared the platform in Oskosh, Wisconsin at the Lifest Celebration with Bishop Ricken much more has happened. Ricken has now been promoted to be a key player in the pope’s New Evangelization program.
It is well known that Jesuits are behind the devotion to “Our Lady of Peace,” also called the “Queen of Heaven,” that leads to the promotion of the Eucharistic Jesus. This will be an important part of developing a One-World Religion for Peace that will usher in the Antichrist. Therefore, the questions that should be asked are these: Why would Greg Laurie endorse Roman Catholic Jesuit Bishop Ricken by sharing the platform with him at the Lifest gathering in Oshkosh? Is Laurie aware of the damage he has done by forming this association, or is this just part of a much larger game plan that has not yet been revealed?
Isn’t it time that Calvary Chapel pastors who understand the times and the great delusion coming upon the world speak up and call out those pastors and leaders who are leading the flock in a direction that is away from the Gospel and biblical truth? For those who think that there is nothing to be alarmed about, consider this news article that came out this week from Religion News Service. Click here to continue reading and for a related video clip.
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
I really appreciate all of you at LHTs. Thank you and God bless each one of you. I went through a very difficult period when attending Calvary Chapel __________. I was very uncomfortable with what they were permitting and promoting. I was very distressed. I had concerns about The Message bible, Billy Graham, Anne Graham Lotz’s Circle Prayer, Greg Laurie and a few other things. I was told to spit out the bones. I asked them to show me that approach in Scripture—they ignored me. I raised concerns again and was booted out harshly. It was mean. It hurt. LHT helped me to understand the concerns were reasonable. I am still sad for the way things ended—but God comforts me—I am okay. I think this is what happens sometimes, and what happened to me is mild in comparison to other situations.This has encouraged me to read and study God’s Word. I really appreciate all that you do- will keep you all in prayer.
June (not real name)
LTRJ Note: “Co-incidentally,” Lighthouse Trails had just posted an announcement about the Great Lakes Prophecy Conference this fall, when 30 minutes later we received this news brief reporting that Calvary Chapel Appleton is withdrawing from the Calvary Chapel Association. Lighthouse Trails was expecting this to happen in the near future based on information we had been sent.
Given the sad present state of the Calvary Chapel movement, we commend Pastor Douville for this action.
“Fed Up With False Teaching: Calvary Chapel Church Says “So Long” to the CC Association”
By Amy Spreeman
Fed up with false teaching: Calvary Chapel church says “So Long” to the CC Association – Berean Research
By Roger Oakland
Understand the Times, International
Note: Because of current events happening within the church, UTT is posting this excerpt from Roger Oakland’s book Let There Be Light.
Before dealing with the subject matter of this commentary, I need to make a disclaimer. While I am sometimes accused of being a “Catholic-basher,” this is not my desire, nor my intention. I have a number of Roman Catholic acquaintances, and I care for them very much. I also have a number of evangelical and Protestant acquaintances, and I care about them equally as well. However, in both cases, if a true understanding of the Gospel according to the Scriptures is not present in their lives, then their views will not be biblical—it won’t matter what they call themselves. For the record, my desire is to follow Jesus Christ and His Word and no man, no matter who he is. Likewise, I desire my acquaintances to do the same. It is love, not hate, that motivates me to share the Gospel with them, for there is only one Gospel that truly saves.
Here is the view I promote. Saving faith hinges entirely on a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, not on an affiliation with a church body. To be born again is to die to the old life of living for self and sin and to be reborn of the Spirit of God when one acknowledges his inability to save himself but rather trusts in Christ alone and His death on the Cross to purchase our salvation.
Many Catholics do not realize that official Catholic teaching does not recognize the biblical Gospel of salvation by grace alone but adds to it the appendage of our merit and participation in the sacraments. By the same token, many Protestants do not realize the biblical faith that martyrs (the disciples, the reformers, etc.) lived and died for. Our hope of an eternal home in Heaven rests in Christ and Christ alone and is offered to all, who in child-like faith, receive Him.
I am not certain when I first realized that the Roman Catholic Church, particularly the Jesuits, were the root force behind the coming one-world religion. If I were pressed to come up with an original time, it would be difficult. Coming to this realization was more of a process for me. The Bible foretells the coming of the Harlot. Through writing New Wine and the Babylonian Vine, I could see that the final one-world religion will be a mix of all religions for the cause of peace. This will include a revival of ancient Babylonianism that will be rooted in the worship of creation, based on Darwinian evolution that is rooted in Hinduism and Buddhism.
It was about 2000, the year before my son Bryce died, that I came across Pope John Paul’s agenda to promote the “New Evangelization.” This is an organized agenda to point the “faithful” and the “separated brethren” to realize that Jesus Christ is truly present in the Eucharist (i.e., the Catholic Mass). This program, coupled with so-called apparitions from a woman claiming to be “Mary” the mother of Jesus, seems to be the impetus behind the coming one-world religion for peace that would be headquartered in Rome. Click here to continue reading.
As we observe evangelical Christianity being drawn toward “the Mother Church” of Roman Catholicism, it is amazing to see how very few Christian leaders speak up about this. On the contrary, one after the next, Christian leaders are succumbing to this ecumenical, interfaith last-days apostasy of merging evangelicalism into the Catholic fold. Lighthouse Trails has reported on numerous examples of highly influential evangelical leaders heading in this direction: Rick Warren, Beth Moore, James Robison, and Ken Copeland to name a few.
Today, we received two different e-mails that provided information to show the continuance of this evangelical move toward Rome. In the first e-mail sent by Roger Oakland of Understand the Times, Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa senior pastor Brian Brodersen was brought to our attention. Brodersen is beginning an online YouTube series called Things That Matter. In his introductory segment, he explains that this new show is going to help believers see “the bigger picture of Christianity.” He says that too often Christians focus on issues that are not important. As we listened to his words, we couldn’t help but be reminded of the words of emerging church pioneer, Leonard Sweet, when he said:
“Christ is in the Church in the same way as the sun is before our eyes. We see the same sun as our fathers saw, and yet we understand it in a much more magnificent way.” (Aqua Church, p.39, emphasis added)
Sweet was actually quoting Pierre Teilhard de Chardin when he said this as Warren B. Smith points out in his book, A “Wonderful” Deception. What is this “more magnificent way” to which Sweet refers? We know what Chardin means by this, and based on our research on Leonard Sweet and the emerging church, Sweet concurs with Chardin. The “more magnificent way” of seeing things is the paradigm shift that brings all religions together as one, removing all “barriers,” and ultimately leading man to believe he is Divine.
Some may say this is a stretch to suggest that Brian Brodersen is thinking this way just because he says “the bigger picture of Christianity.” But is it really a stretch? As we reported earlier this year, Brodersen recently came out publicly promoting the Alpha Course leader, Nicky Gumbel, who is practically in the arms of the papacy and will take millions of Alpha Course participants with him. It was no small thing that a leading Calvary Chapel pastor endorsed Gumbel and the Alpha Course (if you aren’t sure what to think about the Alpha Course, read our recent article by Mary Danielsen and Chris Lawson). While Brodersen is not proclaiming that man is Divine, whether he realizes it or not, he is helping to remove the barriers between evangelical Christianity and Roman Catholicism.
What is this “bigger picture of Christianity” that Brodersen is talking about? Is he just talking about the Christianity that is beyond the Calvary Chapel borders? Of course not; that would be nothing new as many Calvary Chapel pastors, including CC’s founder Chuck Smith have acknowledged that the body of Christ includes believers outside of Calvary Chapel. Calvary Chapel has never claimed that the body of Christ was solely within their own walls. Time will tell what exactly Brodersen means by this “bigger picture of Christianity.” However, from our perspective, it stands to reason that Brodersen’s remarks would resonate with Rick Warren’s when Warren has stated on numerous occasions that Christianity does include the Catholic Church and that we should focus more on what we have in common than in what we don’t. In other words, the bigger picture of Christianity. That is what Warren means. In Brodersen’s Things That Matter segment, he expressed his concern that some in the body of Christ are focusing too much on “non-essential” issues. We are curious as to what those “non-essential” issues are, and we suspect one of those will be criticizing the Catholic Church.
The second e-mail we received today was regarding Calvary Chapel’s leading pastor Greg Laurie. The e-mail stated: “As a former attendee at Harvest Christian Fellowship [Laurie’s church], it saddens me that Pastor Greg gives validity to Mel Gibson. This post was on Pastor Greg’s Instagram.” The Instagram our reader was referring to shows a photo of Greg Laurie, his wife, and Hollywood actor Mel Gibson.
While this may seem to be of no significance at first glance, the message that Laurie included in his Instagram also stated: ” I have good news; this dynamic duo [Gibson and Randall Wallace] is working together on a follow-up of the epic film on the crucifixion of Jesus, The Passion. . . . I am really looking forward to a long-overdue movie about this topic from the man who created a whole new template for telling a biblical story on film, Mel Gibson.”
As veteran author and teacher Roger Oakland has documented in his book, Another Jesus, The Passion film was an attempt by Mel Gibson to “evangelize” evangelicals and drawn them “back to the Mother Church.” As Oakland pointed out, Gibson said:
The goal of the movie [The Passion] is to shake modern audiences by brashly juxtaposing the “sacrifice of the cross with the sacrifice of the altar–which is the same thing.”1
When Gibson says “the sacrifice of the altar,” he is talking about the Catholic Mass, which re-crucifies Christ repeatedly.
Oakland also wrote “The Passion of the Christ Motives Revealed” that brings out more evidence from Gibson himself that The Passion was intended to draw non-Catholics to the Catholic Church. Oakland stated:
The newly released “Definitive Edition” of Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” confirms the film was produced with the specific purpose to promote a Roman Catholic agenda that would introduce viewers to the Roman Catholic “Mary” and the Roman Catholic “Jesus.”
One of the statements Mel Gibson made (brought out in Oakland’s article) regarding this Definitive Edition of The Passion was about Mary. Gibson stated: “[S]he was cooperating with this, salvific work. I tried to make that obvious.” You can read several other statements by Gibson with regard to his motive in doing The Passion in the article above.
Read this extract from Another Jesus titled “What Lies Behind Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ,” and you will see that The Passion was an effort to bring “modern audiences” into the Catholic fold. There’s little doubt that Greg Laurie knows of this information from Roger Oakland. Roger was virtually the only Calvary Chapel figure (when he was part of Calvary Chapel) opposing the raving support the evangelical church was giving The Passion when it came out, and he was severely criticized for his opposition; and at the 2005 Calvary Chapel senior pastor’s conference in Murrieta, California, with Chuck Smith’s permission, a copy of Another Jesus was given out to each pastor in attendance.
Laurie’s recent praise on Instagram of Mel Gibson and The Passion isn’t the first time Laurie has shown that he sees “the bigger picture of Christianity.” In 2015, he publicly promoted New Age Catholic Roma Downey.2 And in 2011, there was the LifeFest event where he had no problem sharing a platform with a Catholic priest as you can read in our article “Green Bay Catholic Priest David Ricken leads Mass at Lifefest Before Joint Worship with Greg Laurie” and Roger Oakland’s article “The Pope’s New Evangelization Program: Bishop Ricken, Greg Laurie and Calvary Chapel. ” And, of course, most recently, we reported on The Gathering 2016 taking place this fall where Laurie and other evangelical leaders are coming together in an ecumenical event that has at least one pro-Catholic speaker.
There are too many instances to ignore anymore where Christian leaders are saying OK to joining up with the Roman Catholic Church. And sadly, there is too much silence and apathy from the ranks of the evangelical/Protestant camp. Few voices are speaking up, and when those voices are silenced, all that will be left will be the bigger picture of a false Christianity.
On June 27, 2016, the Court of Appeal of the State of California (4th Appellate District Division 3) ruled against Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa (CCCM), Brian Brodersen, Roger Wing, Phil Twente, John Jackson, and other CCCM board members in favor of Word for Today and Janette Manderson (Chuck Smith’s daughter) regarding a counter-suit that CCCM had filed against Word for Today.
According to one court document, Word for Today has been involved in a lawsuit against CCCM since 2014 in an effort to reclaim access to Chuck Smith’s “recorded sermons, writings, and other religious materials” that allegedly have been in CCCM’s possession since Chuck Smith’s death in 2013. The June 27th ruling rejected CCCM’s counter-suit which had called Word for Today’s suit a frivolous lawsuit (under the anti-SLAPP statute). The court document states that Word for Today seeks “an injunction enjoining Calvary Chapel from engaging in the unfair and fraudulent business practices.”
In providing an historical background, the court document states that Calvary Chapel hired Chuck Smith as its senior pastor in 1965, upon which he served for 48 years until his death. In approximately 1978, Chuck Smith and his brother, Paul Smith, founded Word for Today, which allowed for the dissemination of Chuck Smith’s sermons, broadcasts, and materials. The June 27th California court document also states:
As part of this cooperative working relationship, Pastor Chuck and Word for Today agreed to allow Calvary Chapel to have access to and use his religious materials during his lifetime. In exchange, Calvary Chapel agreed that Word for Today beneficially owned all rights and interests in Pastor Chuck’s religious materials, Word for Today would have the exclusive right to control and disseminate the materials upon Pastor Chuck’s death, and Calvary Chapel would pay Word for Today for using Pastor Chuck’s religious materials. Calvary Chapel, Word for Today, and Pastor Chuck confirmed his agreement in a signed resolution Calvary Chapel’s board of directors passed and ratified in 1998.
However, according to this same document, CCCM allegedly refused Word for today access to Pastor Smith’s materials immediately following Chuck Smith’s death. For endnotes and to read this entire press release, click here.
A Commentary by Two Norwegian Brothers
Understand the Times, International
We were musing in a conversation the other day about some of the issues associated with the difficulties of doctrinal divergence. Our discussion focused on a certain fellowship of churches. Like countless others, we were greatly disturbed by the seemingly steady shift to the slippery slope of doctrinal relativism that seems to be plaguing many within this movement at the moment.
Although we completely believe God is in control and will ultimately perform His will in and through the lives of people within His Church, we also see a call to the leadership of any movement in order to do so. A lack of action in the midst of opportunity, for the sake of “letting God handle it,” is nothing short of Christian fatalism.
We believe 2 Timothy 4:2 makes it clear that we are to “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” These are not passive but an active response to the need for direction and correction with the church. As we well know, Paul says in 1 Timothy 5:20:
Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.
We were both part of a fellowship for many years. One of the main themes was the “perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry.” We were inspired by our leader to be reproducers of all we were taught by word and works.
We have both felt an “uneasiness” with this subtle shift of emphasis of ministry and saw a “new breed” of pastors being raised up. Many of them seemed to have a strangely different ethos for ministry than what we both had witnessed during our years of association with this fellowship. Some leaders often proudly announced, “We don’t need to follow in the footsteps of our leaders.” They did not seem to understand that in taking the name of the mother church, they were to adhere to some basic essential doctrines for the sake of unity in order to avoid confusion.
As we struggled to understand this new paradigm, we decided to do a simple comparative analysis of great church movements of the past and see if there were any similarities with their rise and ruin that we were witnessing within the broader landscape of this worldwide fellowship.
We hereby offer an abbreviated overview of our findings for the consideration of the leaders of this fellowship of churches before it is too late. Click here to continue reading.