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.