The following letter was sent worldwide today, Nov. 28, to all 1,600 Calvary Chapel Pastors by the Calvary Chapel Association.
November 28, 2016
Calvary Chapel Pastors,
Pastor Chuck Smith chose a group of men to lead the Calvary Chapel movement after his passing. The Calvary Chapel Association Council was a plan he reiterated on numerous occasions. A Council provides checks and balances, and a collective wisdom to help steer us in the right direction.
The CCA Council consists of men from across the country who are committed to the core values that have made us Calvary Chapel. Like many of you, we have given our lives to build Calvary Chapel churches. What makes the 1700 churches “Calvary Chapel” are the values Pastor Chuck instilled in us – our doctrine and philosophy of ministry. The principles we were taught and the transformative power of God’s Spirit have proven to be more than sufficient. The CCA Council’s primary goal is to maintain what has been our Calvary Chapel identity for fifty years, while seeking the Holy Spirit for fresh power and wisdom to advance God’s Kingdom.
We believe Calvary Chapel has a unique and important role in the Body of Christ. Pastor Chuck left us a glorious legacy. Yet the new Calvary Chapel Global Network, established by Brian Brodersen, now threatens that legacy. This network goes by the name “Calvary Chapel,” but has no framework for affiliation or required commitment to the Calvary Chapel core values. Such a network will ultimately de-emphasize our Calvary Chapel distinctives. The CCGN establishes a different version of Calvary Chapel, and will cause confusion. Brian claims the authority to represent, and even more critically, to define, what Calvary Chapel is and is not. In a recent letter to the movement, Brian quoted Amos 3:3, “Can two walk together unless they are agreed?” Brian’s resignation from the Council, acknowledges he disagrees with the way the CCA Council would lead and define Calvary Chapel. This has created a crossroads that none of us on the Council wanted.
The division that has occurred in Calvary Chapel is not a minor issue. It is more than “good men separating.” Sadly, Brian is insisting on being the primary and authoritative voice of the movement without being accountable to the men Pastor Chuck chose to lead. The CCA Council cannot endorse this Global Network. Brian continues to present his version as the Calvary Chapel vision for the future. Brian has sole editorial control of calvarychapel.com. His webpage “Our Vision & Mission” describes the site as “the one-stop online-hub for all things Calvary Chapel” – and part of its purpose is to “explain the official theological positions broadly held by the Calvary Chapel Movement.” In the CCGN, one man is tasked in determining what is normative for all Calvary Chapels. None of the CCA Council members would take that kind of authority into our own hands. We recognize that no one man has the calling from God, or the stature in the movement to define “official theological positions” for all the churches. Our founder and pastor entrusted those decisions to a group of men, not one man.
CCA is built on the foundations given to us by Pastor Chuck.
CCGN is creating a new blueprint devised by Brian.
CCA is being led collectively by a group of men.
CCGN will be directed by one man.
CCA is a fellowship of pastors with an agreed upon philosophy of ministry.
CCGN is a community with no formal affiliation.
CCA will continue to have a regional emphasis.
CCGN will be centralized in Costa Mesa.
CCA has always afforded great freedom, but with a degree of accountability.
CCGN is about freedom, without accountability.
To avoid confusion moving forward, we think it is best to separate the CCA from the CCGN, now. Calvary Chapel is not just one church in Costa Mesa, it is 1700 churches that are affiliated through the Calvary Chapel Association. In spite of this, Brian has taken it on himself to “grandfather” the entire Calvary Chapel database into a network where he alone is the authority. Rather than granting us the freedom to join, Brian has forced us to choose to opt out.
As Council members we will not be part of Brian’s network, and we encourage other pastors who are affiliated with CCA to do the same. Rather than start a new group, Brian is building a group within an existing association. We believe this is divisive and will only bring further confusion. Yet each CCA pastor is entitled to make his own decision. For many pastors these issues are new and need to be given thorough consideration.
This splintering of our movement has been painful in many ways, but the CCA Council is relieved that we can now walk in unity and work to strengthen the foundations that have made Calvary Chapel a mighty move of God. Despite our best efforts, for the last three years, storm clouds have been gathering that were obvious to many people. It has caused our Calvary family confusion and grief. But the storm is now passing. New beginnings are ahead. Our vision is clearer and the future is brighter. Once again, let’s depend on the Holy Spirit’s empowering, abide in God’s Word, and trust Him in new ways. As our Pastor taught us, life is full of ventures of faith. This is one more.
The Calvary Chapel Association Council
Sandy Adams, Malcolm Wild, Joe Focht, Don McClure, Lloyd Pulley, Bill Stonebreaker, Damian Kyle, Jack Hibbs, David Rosales, Mike MacIntosh, Raul Ries, Jeff Johnson, David Guzik
Hat Tip: Roger Oakland and Understand The Times