Archive for the ‘Concerns for Calvary Chapel’ Category
By Roger Oakland
Understand the Times, International
There is an obvious pattern observed from a brief study of genealogies found in the Old Testament. When a father follows God and leads the people, overseeing in the right direction, there is absolutely no guarantee this virtue will carry over to the next generation. In other words, the saying “he is a chip off the old block” is not always the pattern we find when it comes to biblical history.
While there are many examples we could use to lay the foundation for this “father-son” relationship, I will quote God’s word regarding His promises that is found in 1 Kings chapter 9. We read:
And it came to pass, when Solomon had finished the building of the house of the LORD, and the king’s house, and all Solomon’s desire which he was pleased to do, that the LORD appeared to Solomon the second time, as he had appeared unto him at Gibeon. And the LORD said unto him, I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there forever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually. And if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep my statutes and my judgments: Then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel forever, as I promised to David thy father, saying, there shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel. But if ye shall at all turn from following me, ye or your children, and will not keep my commandments and my statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them: Then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them; and this house, which I have hallowed for my name, will I cast out of my sight; and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people. 
God’s warning to Solomon cannot be misunderstood. The Lord God made it clear in advance to Solomon what would happen if he strayed away from his father David’s legacy and worship the gods. While the Bible reveals that David had his own faults, he was “a man after God’s own heart” as the Bible describes. Unfortunately, Solomon, the son, while a wise man, disobeyed and rebelled.
There is another way of understanding this truth that is very simple. God stated that if a son follows his father, and the father follows God and His Word, then he will continue to be blessed. As the Scriptures clearly reveal, this was not what happened in Solomon’s life. He and the children of Israel suffered the consequences as they rebelled against God and ended up under judgment.
While this one example features the point I am trying to make in this commentary, a broader study of the Bible reveals the father-son rebellion pattern in repetitive detail. This happened over and over again, generation after generation. The lesson learned should be easily transferred to what often happens in the church today. Click here to continue reading and for footnotes.
Both Old Testament and New Testament writers warned ravenous wolves sneaking into flocks led by false shepherds and cleverly harming the unprotected sheep. This is a fact of life throughout history. Perhaps Jude, the half-brother of Jesus said it best:
For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. 
These “certain men” Jude was writing about were wolves who had an agenda to fleece and devour the flock. Obviously, this was happening in the church that had been planted shortly following the ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven. Very little time had passed before they had “crept in.”
But nothing is new under the sun. Paul predicted this would happen as stated in the book of Acts:
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. 
The apostasy in the book of Jude was certainly a fulfillment of Paul’s prediction. However, delving back into an earlier time, it is apparent that the forefathers of Paul and Jude were plagued by similar deceptive plans to dupe those who were called sheep. It would take pages and pages to exhaust the references found in the books of the major and minor prophets in the Bible with regard to those who were neglecting, abusing, and leading innocent sheep to the slaughter. As one example, we look to a plea of Jeremiah found in the 23rd chapter. He proclaimed:
Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.  To read this entire article and for endnotes, click here.
By Roger Oakland
Understand the Times
The commentary you are about to read has been written with much prayer and thought. I have not written it impulsively or with ill motive but rather believe God has compelled me to testify of things that have gone unspoken of and hidden in secret for too long. For the sake of the body of Christ and the furtherance of the Gospel, the secret things in darkness need to be exposed.
There are a number of low-profile Calvary Chapel pastors starting to ask questions. Chuck Smith, the founder of the movement, seemed to be biblically sound and determined to serve the Lord throughout his many years of ministry. Toward the end of his ministry, it appears there were strange bedfellows planted around him who in earlier years he would have avoided. So what happened? The purpose of this commentary will be to answer that question.
Chuck Smith attributed the growth and the strength of the Calvary Chapel movement to the Holy Spirit and not to man-designed gimmicks or human effort. He never wavered from that position until the day he died. He called Calvary Chapel “His Church.” While there were those who had some questions about strange things going on behind the scenes, the Calvary ship sailed pretty well most of the time.
Those who were situated near the epicenter of this multimillion-dollar big business definitely knew about some major problems that were quietly concealed. A number have pointed out that the Achilles Heel of the Calvary machine was Chuck Smith’s passion for the Moses Model. Ask anyone who ever bucked the system and dared challenge this style of leadership. The exit plan was the door, and they were given the left hand of fellowship without any alternative.
While the motto around Calvary made the claim that agape love was flowing over, many a disillusioned servant of God was buried in an unmarked grave throughout the network of Calvary Chapels. And what happened at Calvary Costa Mesa did not stay at Calvary Costa Mesa. An enormous machine of abuse was born, and many were maimed throughout the growing movement. Pastors cloned the model, and the spirit of heaviness was exported. Thousands were hurt and then shunned as happens in organizations that use cult-like control tactics.
I was introduced to Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel in June of 1981 when I was part of a seminar team brought to Costa Mesa from Saskatchewan, Canada. This was over one decade after Calvary Chapel was founded and years after the Jesus Movement spread around the world. While I was not familiar with the actual first generation pastors while the movement was launching, later in my life as the Lord opened doors, I came to know many of the players. I also became friends with several members in the Smith family (including Chuck’s brother, Paul, with whom I am still close friends).
In the spring of 1988, I was invited by Chuck Smith to move from Canada to California to join the staff of CCCM. At the time, as I still do, I felt this was the absolute will of God. My family moved from Canada to the USA leaving a small community of less than 1000 people and headed to southern California. We left family, friends, and farm behind and entered a world of mystery. After several months of boot camp, I felt I had missed the will of God. Like Jonah, I ran away back to Canada in the spring of 1989. Later I thought I heard the call of God and returned. Click here to continue reading.
There is talk about the great outpouring of unity and ecumenism that will be initiated by the present Pope. Will the hierarchical leaders of the Calvary Chapel movement stand up against this or not?—Roger Oakland
There is a lot of talk these days in Christian circles about the great outpouring of the “Holy Spirit” that is just around the corner. This “outpouring” will supposedly bring “another Jesus Movement”.  While this would be a wonderful thing if the “spirit” was the Holy Spirit, there is reason to believe we are living at a time when “another spirit”  may be the spirit that is in the forefront.
Not long ago, I came across a page on the Internet posting an interview done at the 2016 Calvary Chapel annual pastor’s conference held in Costa Mesa, California. The person doing the interview was Josh Turansky. The two being interviewed were Raul Ries of CC Diamond Bar and his son Ryan Ries of the Whoesoevers, a heavy rock band that promotes satanic symbolism as a means of attracting the youth to biblical Christianity. 
Ryan is apparently a convert out of drugs and a Satanic worship background and proclaims to be a fully devoted born-again Christian who loves Jesus as his Savior and Lord.  He is promoted by both Brian Brodersen and his dad Raul as an evangelist and has been given a platform at CCCM and Calvary Diamond Bar. He is endorsed by Brian and Raul as an evangelist who is called to reach this present generation with the gospel. Click here to continue.
By Roger Oakland
Understand the Times, International
I was reminded recently of a commentary I had written a number of years ago that reverberated around the world and throughout the Calvary Chapel movement. You can find it on our Understand The Times website. A discussion about that article was posted at a website frequented by many Calvary pastors called Phoenix Preacher. The purpose for posting this was to show that the credibility of my article was bogus as well as to pit Rick Warren’s apologetics bulldog . . . against Understand The Times and create a controversy. To read this entire commentary, click here.
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)