LTRP Note: Since the passing of Calvary Chapel founder Chuck Smith last fall, Lighthouse Trails has received calls from a number of people who have expressed concern over the direction that Calvary Chapel has gone. To understand more about the commentary below by Roger Oakland, you can read a full account in Roger’s book, Let There Be Light (a biography). You may also wish to read the following articles by Roger Oakland: “The Facts Behind My Departure from Calvary Chapel” – by Roger Oakland -Part One, “The Facts Behind My Departure from Calvary Chapel” – by Roger Oakland – Part Two, (also see more related material below).
Several years ago, I wrote a commentary titled “Ichabod.” As someone familiar with the workings of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa for over twenty years, it became apparent to me that drastic measures were needed in order to correct the direction that the mother ship of the Calvary Chapel movement was headed. While many were upset with me at the time, suggesting that I was firing a missile over the bow of the ship, time has shown that the warning God placed upon my heart at that time was accurate and was for a reason.
While management has changed at CC Costa Mesa since that commentary was written, daily reports from the many now jumping off the ship verify the once mighty Titanic may be in trouble. Many of the older and mature members who were pillars in the old Calvary Chapel regime have already left. They have found a new church home with a pastor who was fired by the new leadership at Costa Mesa who has planted his own church not far away. A drive by the Calvary Costa Mesa parking lot at service time is also very enlightening. No longer is the parking lot overflowing with cars. Where have the people gone, and what is the reason? The answer – a number of churches in the area report their congregations are growing as former Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa church attendees are being added to their pews.
The message found in the “Ichabod” commentary written to warn Calvary Chapel several years ago remains the same, only it is more relevant today than it was when the commentary was written. Not a day goes by when I am not confronted or approached by someone or some group with eyes now opened to see what I saw in the past. While the “New Calvary Chapel leaders,” as they call themselves, boast that their transition to power has been a total success and that great and wonderful things lie ahead, there are many voices from former staff and church members who have either been fired, insulted, or left on their own who would strongly disagree.
Apparently, those who have taken over the leadership of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa believe that Costa Mesa will remain the mother of all churches in the future as it was in the past. While the Calvary Chapel Movement remained intact while Chuck Smith was alive, now that he has passed on there are rumblings that a major change is underway. Based on conversations I have had with many Calvary pastors whom I have known for years spread throughout the United States, the consensus is that the movement is fragmenting and the chance of this happening is very slim. Of course, there are Calvary pastors who also see (just as God showed me) what lies ahead, and they are preparing for the future. Rather than following some man (or woman), they tell me they will follow Jesus and His Word instead. Click here to continue reading.