Archive for the ‘Concerns for Calvary Chapel’ Category
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.
The following audio interview took place on June 15th, 2016 with Roger Oakland and a Calvary Chapel pastor. We believe this interview sets the record straight in a number of areas.
Within hours of this interview, Roger Oakland was rushed to the hospital for a high blood pressure scare. We are happy to report that he was able to go home a few hours later and is doing fine. Please pray for him as he continues in his ministry work.
By Roger Oakland
Understand the Times, International
There is an interesting legendary story from Greek mythology that describes a Trojan Horse. Simply defined, one dictionary states:
[H]uge hollow wooden horse constructed by the Greeks to gain entrance into Troy during the Trojan War. The horse was built by Epeius, a master carpenter and pugilist. . . . The term Trojan horse has come to refer to subversion introduced from the outside. 
Oxford Dictionary says:
A person or thing intended to undermine or secretly overthrow an enemy or opponent: the rebels may use this peace accord as a Trojan horse to try and take over.
I find this Trojan Horse syndrome fascinating in light of the infiltration into the church by heretical and New Age ideas. My experience has been in the Calvary Chapel movement where this is happening; but this is also occurring throughout the Christian church at large. Where there was once sound biblical Christianity, it has been replaced by the current ecumenical movement and the march toward a one-world religion in the name of Christ for the cause of peace. This peace plan is led by man but actually is the plan of Satan to set up his own kingdom on planet earth. According to the Bible, this plan will unfold, but the plan will end when God puts an end to the plan with a sudden destruction (1Thessalonians 5:3).
No doubt, those reading this and other recent commentaries we have sent out will be able to tell that they are very controversial and will be seen by some as divisive. While separating truth from error is a dividing process we undertake when we use the Bible, it does indeed cause division—but division cannot be avoided. Jesus said this would happen—especially in the last days before He returns to earth. If you have read the Bible, you will know there are many signs indicating Jesus’ return is near, isn’t it?
This topic is very deep and very complex. Some who are reading this commentary may think I do not understand what I am writing about. Some say that unity of all faiths is necessary to bring peace to the world. Some say the differences between the faiths do not matter as long as everyone loves everyone. And a growing number of people (including many in the church) are saying that those who are clinging stedfastly to the Bible calling it God’s inspired Word are standing in the way of this peace and love.
Some say Jesus said there is no greater thing than love, which is true (Mark 12:30-31), but he also said: Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division” (Luke 12:51). Jesus knew there is no genuine love in compromising the truth. In context, He was saying that true love is telling those who are deceived they are deceived (i.e., speaking the truth in love). Click here to continue reading.
LTRJ Note: Some who read this article and other similar articles by Roger Oakland and LT accuse us of “lumping” all Calvary Chapels together saying they are all bad. We find this line of reasoning troubling. Lighthouse Trails historically has challenged many denominations (and the leaders within those groups), Calvary Chapel being one of them. Because Calvary Chapel has claimed it is not a denomination, there has been this expected idea by some who contact us that they are so loosely connected to each other that one Calvary Chapel church should not in any way be implicated with other Calvary Chapel churches.But the fact is, if a church takes on a particular name for the benefit of being associated with that name or group, then it seems unfair to expect that no one associate them with that group. Does this mean that all Calvary Chapels are going astray because some are? Of course not. Just like not all Baptist or Nazarene churches are going astray because some are. Calvary Chapel, as a group or denomination, should not be singled out for undue criticism, but neither should it be excused from criticism. And if a church has the name and association of Calvary Chapel, then that church must bear some of the responsibility for the leaders of that group, just like any other denomination or ministry. While Lighthouse Trails does not say that a particular local church should break away from a denomination if some of the denomination is going astray (because that is a decision only that church can make), we do say that pastors and church members who see their group or denomination going astray should speak up, not be silent, and call out those who are leading their group toward apostasy. Roger Oakland and Chris Lawson, both long-time Calvary Chapel ministers/teachers, finally left the Calvary Chapel movement and speak about the problems within the movement in an effort to help Christians stay the course of truth. Lighthouse Trails supports their efforts.
By Roger Oakland
Understand the Times, International
This commentary will be short. It will also be clear and to the point. There are three things I am compelled to share.
First, I am often accused of being a Calvary Chapel basher. Not so. For those of you who have read my biography, Let There Be Light, you know I first began working with Calvary Chapel in 1989 at Chuck Smith’s personal invitation. Chuck had asked me to bring my teachings on evolutionary thinking and the New Age (and how both were affecting the world and the church) to Calvary Chapel pastors. Thus, I moved my family from our farm in Saskatchewan to Southern California.
I had only been with Calvary Chapel less than a year when I began seeing serious problems within the movement. In my book, I described the situation:
From 1998 on, the battle I faced in southern California . . . only intensified . . . A number of things simply did not line up with my “farming” way of seeing things. Many times I was reminded of my dad’s famous statement: “The reason I am a farmer is that I would rather deal with nature than human nature.” This became etched in my mind over and over as I saw the signs of a Christian church being run more like a corporation than a New Testament church. . . . Since I had traveled throughout America and the world in Calvary Chapel circles since 1989, giving me opportunity to make observations, I didn’t have to be a forensic scientist to see when something was wrong. 
You can read more about my years at Calvary Chapel in Let There Be Light, but I bring this up because of being accused of only wanting to hurt Calvary Chapel. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve sometimes been asked, “Why did you stay so long at Calvary Chapel if problems began surfacing within the first year.” I explain this in my book:
Well, that’s simple—I truly was convinced God had brought me to Calvary Chapel to be a blessing, to teach those at Calvary Chapel about creation versus evolution and the ramifications of believing in evolution, and to help prepare and equip Calvary Chapel against spiritual deception and a great coming apostasy. With such conviction and my love for the Calvary Chapel pastors, I never felt the freedom to just walk away from the movement, at least not until I had done all I could possibly do. My farmer heritage gave me the tenacity to not give up, while the Lord in my life helped me to persevere. 
While I have been accused of being divisive and unloving, the fact is, to say nothing when people are in danger is the most unloving thing of all. Bottom line is, at Understand The Times, we have attempted to promote the truth, not just to Calvary Chapel but to the body of Christ at large. When light shines into the darkness, the darkness does not like the light. You will find this in the Bible where we read:
The light shall be dark in his tabernacle, and his candle shall be put out with him. (Job 18:6) Click here to continue reading and for endnotes.
Letter to the Editor: Trying to Warn Our Grown Children . . . And Letter to Our Pastor Goes Unanswered
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
We are very thankful for Lighthouse Trails Publishing and Research, and for all the dedicated watchmen who warn and educate the sheep. We pray for continued wisdom, provision, and protection for everyone who is engaged in presenting and defending the simple and powerful Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We are especially concerned because our talented, zealous adult children are, to some degree or another, caught up in following Bethel and Hillsong worship and practices. So far as I know, none are practicing ‘contemplative’ prayer, but other occult practices are subtly mixed in with their schools of worship and ‘supernatural’ ministries. We prepared a notebook for each of our children and their spouses where we downloaded and printed Warren Smith’s Reinventing Jesus Christ (now titled False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care?) back in late 2006 or early 2007 – probably just before we discovered Lighthouse Trails. I think they mostly stuck the notebooks under the bed or somewhere obscure.
Since that time, some of them have expressed disappointment in us for backing off of all things Vineyard, hyper-charismatic, and the whole signs & wonders and healing ministries movements. So, we have the privilege of standing in the gap and praying God will reveal the Truth to them and expose all the error they are so vulnerable to. My husband says we really can’t bring up these topics with them anymore, that we need to wait until they ask us what we think or believe because they already know. We find that we aren’t comfortable going to their churches anymore.
At one of their churches, one big event featured a couple from Bethel (Redding) leadership – and Heidi Baker – ‘ministering.’ We watched some of it online . . . very distressing.
We actually have left our own Calvary Chapel fellowship this past year. They’re still teaching the Word, chapter and verse, but are not willing to address apostasy issues. My husband wrote a letter to the pastor after Jesus Calling showed up in the bookstore – even some of the men in their Bible study were bringing it along and quoting it. No response, not even an acknowledgment of his letter was ever offered. The book disappeared from the bookstore, but they never addressed it from the podium, nor did they ever stock any books by discernment authors.
We have been blessed to be able to attend discernment conferences with Roger Oakland and Warren Smith speaking, as well as some local CC pastors who are good under-shepherds. We have gotten to meet and speak with them, as well as with Caryl Matriciana and Randolph and Johanna Michaelson. What is surprising to me is that these types of conferences don’t seem to attract the thousands of Bible believers I thought would be lined up to participate, up in arms about false teaching and wolves in sheep’s clothing as are we, like-minded.
May God give you good health and continue to provide for you and protect you as you continue to fight the good fight!
Yours warmly in Christ,