LTRJ Note: We are posting this letter to the editor, not as a criticism of all Calvary Chapel churches, but to express our deep concern that an increasing number of Calvary Chapels are turning to Calvinism, something their founder would be totally opposed to.
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
I am currently visiting a Calvary Chapel church. I was alarmed on one of my visits to see on their information table a book called The New City Catechism: 52 Questions and Answers for Our Hearts and Minds. I am under the impression that this is sourced to Calvinist theology [LTRP note: This is true.]
When I visited the church again today, I looked for the book, The New City Catechism, but it wasn’t on the table this time. So I inquired, and they offered me one at no charge; no charge for anyone. They commented what a great book it was for new believers and as for a devotional. I kept my thoughts to myself and thanked them.
So I came home and read it—with dismay. I did not realize that Tim Keller along with The Gospel Coalition were the publishers. Both big red flags. So I pulled from my shelves the many books I have, from you, and others, to refresh me. So disturbing.
Then I read through the book; it is a quick read.
Some questions were glaring, if you are looking for it.
QUESTION 48: WHAT IS THE CHURCH?
Answer: “God chooses and preserves for Himself a community elected for eternal life.” (bold mine)
QUESTION 27: ARE ALL PEOPLE, JUST AS THEY WERE LOST THROUGH ADAM, SAVED THROUGH CHRIST?
Answer: “No, only those who are elected by God and united to Christ by faith. Nevertheless God in his mercy demonstrates common grace even to those who are not elect, by restraining the effects of sin and enabling works of culture for human well-being.”
Now what in the world does that mean???
QUESTION 44: What is baptism:
Answer: “Baptism is the washing with water in the name of the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit; it signifies and seals our adoption into Christ, our cleansing from sin, and our commitment to belong to the Lord and to his church”
NOTHING about mode of baptism or being born again, etc. As you know, most Calvinists believe in infant baptism.
The introduction states the catechism is based on The Westminster Catechism (i.e., Calvinism). I also found the instructions very disturbing; they want you to memorize every question and memorize every answer. But they mention nothing about memorizing the Word of God itself!
This particular Calvary Chapel is a fairly new church plant. And it was mentioned yesterday that the pastor is the second pastor – and sent from the main church. I have lots of problems with the main church but was hoping for better things. I think I might be hoping in vain. But I really like the people, and they do seem so sincere for the Lord. But you can also be sincerely deceived.
There is almost no choice: stay home or go where there is false teaching. And speak up? Until they don’t want you around anymore? Or maybe they will hear the concerns?