Archive for the ‘Concerns for Calvary Chapel’ Category
By Roger Oakland
Understand the Times, International
Recently, I was informed about a conference held this week in Budapest, Hungary where Willow Creek senior pastor Bill Hybels taught leaders. According to comments posted on Phil Metzger’s Facebook page, the event was held at Calvary Chapel Golgota Budapest where Metzger is pastor. He is also the director of Calvary Chapel Bible College Europe (also located in Hungary). On Metzger’s Facebook, Hybels was not only endorsed, he was praised. 
Perhaps most who read about this event will not be alarmed. But I was because I see the significance. I know that what Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel once stood for is not at all what Hybels stands for. Bill Hybels was mentored by Peter Drucker along with Rick Warren to “reshape” Christianity for the 21st century. Hybels, from the famous Willow Creek Church located in South Barrington, Illinois, fathered the “seeker-friendly” movement.
When Hybels and his cohorts discovered that the seeker-friendly model produced spiritually illiterate believers, they said they “repented”  from this model of church; but in actuality, they delved right into teachings associated with the emergent church and contemplative mysticism, seeing those as the next “great” step. Interestingly, on Metzger’s Facebook page, someone defending Metzger’s promotion of Hybels said that it was irrelevant to talk about the emerging church because it was no longer an issue. But nothing could be further from the truth. While often called other names now, such as progressive, the ideologies of the emerging church are very much at work today. Click here to read this entire article and for endnotes.
A Lighthouse Trails reader sent this photo (see below) to us today. It is a picture of Calvary Chapel pastor Greg Laurie, standing with Roma Downey and Mark Burnett and was posted on Greg Laurie’s Facebook page along with this caption by Downey:
So nice spending time with friends. Mark and I had a lovely lunch today with Greg and Cathe Laurie #harvestoc
Such a photo only heightens concerns as to the direction Greg Laurie (one of Calvary Chapel’s most popular pastors) is taking the church.
In 2012, Chris Lawson (a former Calvary Chapel pastor, now a Lighthouse Trails author) wrote a report about a book titled Have Heart (which is the story of pastor Steve Berger and communication with his deceased son). Even though the book encouraged necromancy, it was endorsed by Greg Laurie.
In author Greg Reid’s booklet, Confused by an Angel: The Dilemma of Roma Downey’s New Age Beliefs, he documents that Roma Downey is aligned with the New Age. That, though, has not deterred Christian leaders, such as David Jeremiah and now Greg Laurie, from showing comradeship with Downey and Burnett.
To understand a fuller scope of our concerns about Greg Laurie, refer to the articles from our archive below.
In case you still aren’t sure about William Paul Young and his book The Shack—in case you still have some doubts as to whether Young is really of a New Age/New Spirituality persuasion—in case after reading articles at Lighthouse Trails revealing Young’s anti-biblical views on atonement and the Cross—and in case after reading Warren B. Smith’s booklet The Shack and Its New Age Leaven that documents Young’s affinity with New Age thinking, then perhaps his recently posted “Twenty Books Everyone Should Read” list on Young’s blog will convince you that The Shack or any of Young’s writings should not be sitting on the shelves of Christian bookstores and North American pastors’ offices and should never have become a New York Times best-seller having found itself there through primarily Christian readers (not to mention the big plug it received from endorsements by Eugene Peterson [The Message] and Calvary Chapel speaker Gayle Erwin. You can see the entire list of Young’s recommended books by clicking here. Below we are giving you a partial list of the authors whom William P. Young recommends. After looking at this list, you decide for yourself.
1. Andrew Marin’s book Love is an Orientation (foreword by atonement denier Brian McLaren): A treatise on how to fully integrate the practicing homosexual “community” into the Christian church.
2. The Shack Revisited by C Baxter Kruger, a book advertising the “virtues” of The Shack with a Suggestions for Further Study at the back that is a who’s who of emerging authors.
3. Mystic Frederick Buechner’s book The Yellow Leaves
4. Brian D. McLaren’s, Why did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?: McLaren is one the foremost prolific leaders of the panentheistic, interspiritual emerging church, which is still very much active today, influencing vast numbers of young evangelicals.
5. Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church by emerging church hero N.T. Wright
6. Her Gates will Never be Shut: Hope, Hell, and the New Jerusalem by contemplative proponent Brad Jersak (author of Can You Hear Me?)
7. Jean Vanier’s book Drawn into the Mystery of Jesus through the Gospel of John: Roger Oakland wrote about Jean Vanier in his article “Rick Warren, Jean Vanier, And The New Evangelization.” Oakland’s article states:
Vanier is a contemplative mystic who promotes interspiritual and interfaith beliefs, calling the Hindu Mahatma Gandhi “one of the greatest prophets of our times” and “a man sent by God.” In the book Essential Writings, Vanier talks about “opening doors to other religions” and helping people develop their own faiths be it Hinduism, Christianity, or Islam. The book also describes how Vanier read Thomas Merton and practiced and was influenced by the spiritual exercises of the Jesuit founder and mystic St. Ignatius.
8. Henri Nouwen’s book The Wounded Healer: As we have documented for over 13 years, Henri Nouwen was a Catholic contemplative mystic and interspiritualist.
9. William P. Young recommends reading material by the following three Catholic mystics and panentheists: Thomas Merton, Brennan Manning, and Richard Rohr.
One of the things that most of these authors have in common is their contemplative and interspiritual propensities. Given the fact that William P. Young, in the past, denied the substitutionary atonement, we can see why he is drawn to these authors. But what we can’t understand is how so many professing Christians are drawn to him and The Shack and it’s New Age spirituality.
Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa Pastor, Brian Brodersen, Says Sometimes It’s OK to Attend a Homosexual Wedding
On Friday, a long-time Lighthouse Trails reader contacted our office regarding the following situation. The person who called had attended Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa for several years but has not been attending for some time.
According to an article titled “Can I Attend My LGBT Friend’s Wedding?” written by Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa’s senior pastor Brian Brodersen, it is sometimes OK to attend a LTGB (Lesbian, Transgender, Gay, Bisexual) wedding. He says it’s not OK to attend the wedding if the two people getting “married” proclaim to be believers in Christ, but if they don’t claim to be believers then it may be OK. He says he bases his conclusions on 1 Corinthians 5:9-13, stating:
[If] the person is a rank-and-file unbeliever, perhaps a relative, an old friend, a work colleague, or whatever the case might be, and they invite you, this is where I would say pray about it and be open to the Lord having you there as part of the “bigger picture” work that He’s doing in the lives of those who presently are lost but could one day be found.
Brodersen believes that to truly show the love of Christ to a homosexual, it may be necessary to attend a same-sex wedding. However, one commenter on the blog where the article was posted disputed this view stating:
A number of years ago, a Lighthouse Trails editor was talking on the phone to an Oregon Calvary Chapel pastor, attempting to warn the pastor about the contemplative prayer movement. Lighthouse Trails had learned that the church’s web bookstore was filled with all kinds of contemplative and emerging books. The pastor chuckled and said, “Oh, I don’t know about all those things. I am living in a bubble.” The implication was that he was so isolated from things that would cause spiritual deception that he didn’t need to learn about them.
Our editor replied to the pastor, “Pastor, you may be living in a bubble, but your congregation is not. They are going into Christian bookstores, listening to Christian radio, watching Christian television, and their children are going to Christian schools. They are going to run into contemplative spirituality sooner or later (out of respect, our editor didn’t take the opportunity to remind him about his own church bookstore).
The conversation ended rather quickly after that, and needless to say, Lighthouse Trails editors weren’t surprised a few months down the road to see a comment made by that same pastor on a once-popular anti-Lighthouse Trails blog. He said, “Lighthouse Trails is nothing more than a flea on the back of a dog.”
It wasn’t that the comment didn’t hurt, but what really hurt is to have witnessed the indifference and later malice regarding the message of warning that Lighthouse Trails has attempted to give to the church for the past thirteen years, a message we believe is legitimate and biblical.
The reason we are writing this today is this: If you have a pastor who is not warning his congregation about specific spiritual deception, you might ask him why he doesn’t. And if says that he is living in a bubble, gently tell him that this is no reason to keep from warning and teaching his flock.
LTRP Note: This short piece is not meant to be an indictment on all Calvary Chapel churches. We know there are some Calvary Chapel pastors who are warning their flocks of spiritual deception, and we are grateful for those pastors.If you are attending a Calvary Chapel church, we hope your pastor falls in that category.
By Roger Oakland
Understand the Times, International
Taking a stand from a biblical perspective with regard to purpose-driven-emerging Christianity is not very popular these days. Those working towards establishing the kingdom and “getting closer to Jesus” through contemplative practices rooted in eastern mysticism are very outspoken. If you are not in favor of what they are promoting, you are labeled a hater and against everything.
One pastor wrote me a letter and asked the following question: “Before you went public with your book Faith Undone did you contact everyone you wrote about in the book personally and discuss the issues? If not, shame on you and don’t write me back.”
Of course, I was shamed into writing him back. I recognize that I should always be open for correction. But “shame” is a pretty harsh term coming from one of the “brethren.” Incidentally, this man was insinuating that I was violating Matthew 18 by writing about public figures in my book. But Matthew 18 is not about challenging leaders who are deceiving millions of people.
One pastor I tried to contact sent his bulldog after me who attacked me personally with slander. He didn’t even address the facts. Should I be ashamed of myself for quoting someone who said what he said in a public forum? Does this really make me a “counter-cult-kook” as he said? Click here to continue reading.
Will Rick Warren Play a Role In Persuading Some Calvary Chapel Pastors To Follow His Lead Toward Ecumenical Evangelicalism?
By Roger Oakland
Understand the Times, International
On November 17-19, 2014, an interreligious conference was hosted at the Vatican to discuss the sanctity of marriage under the definition that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman. Beside numerous representatives of the Roman Catholic Church, the conference was attended and addressed by members of the Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, and Mormon faiths. Also, well-known Christian evangelical leaders from the United States—Pastor Rick Warren and Russel Moore—played a major role and were in attendance.
Warren’s comments documented by the proceeding video clip are clear and require no explanation.
The purpose of posting Rick Warren’s video statement is to appeal to Calvary Chapel pastors who have been persuaded by the new leadership at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa that Warren’s ecumenical direction is the “new” and enlightened pathway that Calvary Chapels of the future must choose in order to become relevant for the postmodern era that has reformed sound biblical teaching over the past decade. This is also an appeal to all evangelical pastors who have brought the Purpose Driven movement into their churches.
Further, this proclamation by Rick Warren is very similar to some of the ideas being presented by the “New Calvary Movement” promoted by Brian Brodersen and his cohorts. (Listen to a portion of Brodersen’s September 7, 2014 message titled “Unity in the Spirit”).
Click here to continue reading.