How Your Emerging Church Can Stay in Calvary Chapel, Inc

You LOVE being in the Calvary Chapel fellowship of churches but are scared that your emerging church style worship will get you kicked out. I feel your pain and understand the tension. CC a great fellowship with an incredible history. In fact, my wife grew up in SoCal and was a regular at the Costa Mesa events during her college years.

Roger Oakland recently gave a clear summary of Chuck Smith Snr’s stand on the emerging church and why “no Calvary Chapel pastor heading down the Emerging Church road movement would be permitted to use the name of Calvary Chapel. . . ”

“We have great problems with the use of icons to give them (Emerging Church) a sense of God or the presence of God. If they want to have a tie with the historicity of the church, why not go back to the church in Acts, which seems to devoid of incense, candles, robes etc., but was filled with the Spirit.” PDF, the skinny

But wait . . . before you blow out those candles and dismantle your alt. worship stations, there may be a workaround for multi-meida contemplative worship in the Calvary Chapel world.

– You could always appeal to the Second Council of Nicea 787 which names ‘the pictoral icons” as something good which the church has received. But they may not appreciate church history as much as you do.

– You could appeal to Jean Luc Marion’s treatise of icon vs. idol in his excellent book “The Crossing of the Visible” [clue: idols receive the ‘gaze’ but icons pass it on to the subject of worship] but they may not have read Marion.

– Or . . . and this might be the best idea .. . you could just set up your worship within the boundaries of acceptable Calvary Chapel practice. This sphere might actually be larger than you think and does, in fact, include space for iconic stations . . . but you have to use CC language to get away with it.

Here’s the deal. I am pretty sure that Calvary Chapel, Inc will allow you to set up a “display that represents a religious viewpoint”. I say this because Calvary Chapel insisted on using a multi-media station in a Christmas celebration consisting of a two-mile long Holiday Fantasy of Lights a few years ago. I was reading this on Christianity Today and since then have found the incident all over the internet.

– see Calvary Chapel Church, Inc. v. Broward County, 299 F. Supp. 2d 1295 (S.D. Fla. 2003) (holding that Broward County must include Calvary Chapel’s “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” display in its annual “Holiday Fantasy of Lights” event so long as the display identifies the Church as the speaker) [link]

What i am saying is that your multi-media worship display might be, as is was for a Calvary Chapel in Florida, a “constitutionally-protected private religious speech” (link)

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You could certainly get away with it at Christmas time. Other churches do. And many Christian families set up nativity scenes which is one of the more acceptable forms of iconic worship in USA . .. OK the CROSS is a more acceptable icon . .. fair enough. . .. and the American flag in churches (which causes my Brit friends to suspect syncretism in the American church) . . but lets NOT go there right now. Especially since Calvary Chapel is involved in a ministry called Project Prayer Flag and is probably quite protective of this particular icon.


image from Project Prayer Flag. “Project Prayer Flag is a grass roots military support project, which places American Flags, inspirational bookmarks and letters of support; into the hands of those who are serving in the military.” Link

Whats a nativity scene?

Well, its a Catholic innovation usually attributed to Francis of Assisi who set up a Christmas “altar” one year (1223?) to make a dramatic point, Quite a good idea, actually, and it caught on. Real animals are too smelly and too big for many churches and houses so setting up a small scene to contempla . . oops . . . i mean . . . PONDER in our hearts the significance of the birth of Jesus, is a more realistic option.

But you would not use the word ‘nativity’ or “creche” [and NEVER, EVER, EVER say “altar”] in the Calvary Chapel world, just as you would use “display” rather than “station”

and “meditate” rather than “contemplate”

. .. . but you know that already.

And also, if you want to take your worship further than displays and banners, you can find all kinds of interactive worship experiences in Calvary Chapel’s childrens cirriculum – like this one on The Wise Men (PDF). These highly participatory worship games, puzzles and artistic experiences would work really well.

So . . . enjoy your stay in the Calvary Chapel, even if you have to run Christmas services all year long.

What about a name for your emerging church service? How about . . . alt:erNativity?

And if things get really tense for you, and CC bans all iconic forms from your worship – then . . hey . . . who needs them anyway? They dont really usher in the presence of God – despite what the CC report says about emerging church beliefs – and Chuck Smith Snr is correct when he says that the early church did not use these icons.

Although I would fight for the Lord’s Supper and for baptism [which the early church DID employ]. And I would probably present, as my Baptist ancestors did, a strongly Biblical case for both, but everything else can be taken away and you can still get by. And if iconic cleansing is going to start in CC churches, then . . . and this is just a suggestion . . . maybe that FLAG should be taken out before the Cross.

Marine 1

[In moments like these . . . ]
image from Project Prayer Flag

Related: The Chuck Smiths on Emerging Church


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • Hello andrew!
    This is an unrelated post, but I’ve just emailed you about people to hang out with and /or go to music festivals with this weekend in Prague. Just in case it gets lost in the spam filters…

  • Malcolm says:

    Great post Andrew – it’s a rare gift that you have being able to turn frustration (taking it that statements from CC like the ones you’ve linked to make you as frustrated and angry as they do me) into humour! Thanks for helping me defuse!!

  • Makeesha says:

    *chuckle* very well said you clever guy…and good points all around

  • JMW says:

    Funny, in a sad way. Thanks for the humour in very disappointing situation. Your comments about the treatment of the flag in American churches are great (even though you’re “not going there”) bringing a voice to my one of my frustrations. I will never forget my first Independence day Sunday worship (and every other slightly patriotic holiday after) at a new church early in my ministry when a huge flag was raised covering the cross and beautiful stained glass windows in the front of the church so the congregation stood facing a gigantic flag for worship. It gave me chills, but not in the good way.

  • Truth Seeker says:

    Good Morning,
    For once I actually agree with you on something here. I do find it troubling that American churches do have flags in their worship center. My chuch recently had a huge (~100’x50′) flag on July 4th celebration with flags all around the place. I felt very uneasy about it and I told my wife that it had a resonating feeling to the Nazi regime before the outbreak of the war.
    Although I dont agree with icons and using them (still a form of idolatry) I do see where the flag has become a form of idolatry. Its sad that we cant keep our worship areas pure from nationalistic ideology. Just like the church in Tampa Florida who recently let a Strip Club King speak in the pulpit, mixing politics and religion in this day and age is dangerous ground.

  • thanks TS
    and i dont intend this post to be a criticism of CC or any church that raises a flag.
    thats for someone else

  • Bill says:

    Great post, Andrew. I like the way you’ve approached this subject.

  • Calvary Chapel on the Emerging Church

    Calvary Chapel was founded by Chuck Smith, Sr. in Costa Mesa, CA. During the late 1960s Smith expanded his ministry to the hippies at the beaches surrounding Costa Mesa. These hippies were some of the early converts of the Jesus Movement …

  • Jason_73 says:

    Hear hear! I have no association with the CC other than some friends, but this example can definitely be used for the broader church that quickly condemns icons without realizing their own sacred helps in worship. It comes down to being able to talk about things with out the broad sweeping accusations and a bit of common respect for others..

  • Oli Douglas-Pennant says:

    A nice little critique/rant Andrew it says a lot about the ease with which the church can decide IT has got the whole worshipping Jesus thing sorted out

  • Eric says:

    Maybe all of the Emerging Calvary Chapels should be called Vineyard? 🙂
    Just Kidding!

  • Jody says:

    CC is more of a denomination than they’ll admit. I am partial to CC because one of them was my first church, but I was a youth leader for a while until I made the mistake of telling the leadership that I do not agree with a pre-trib rapture. They told me I could never teach the girls the Bible ever again, and I had to eventually leave because my duties were limited, plus the pastor was badmouthing my husband and some other people I know from the pulpit. I couldn’t take it anymore so I left.
    I still want to find a church that holds to many of CC’s interpretation of the scriptures but I don’t want to go to a church that bows before icons, prays to Mary or the “Saints” or pulls in the Roman Catholicism I’ve tried so hard to rid myself of. The emerging church seems like it would suit me, but the ones in my area practice prayer labyrinths and iconic prayer, etc, which frankly I find spooky. But I won’t stand in the way of anyone else do it! Part of me wishes I never spoke up about my post-trib view, part of me wishes I never got involved with the CC i went to, and still part of me wishes I wasn’t so creeped out by prayer labyrinths and stuff. I guess I’ll just ‘settle’ for the purpose-driven modeled church I’m attending now…
    I sure wish I could agree with the emergent church here in town, though. My husband would probably lock me up if I told him so…
    What’s a post-trib, scripturally conservative girl to do?

  • Scared and Anxious Over the Emerging Church

    For me, and I’m sure for others, one of the most frustrating things to come out of the Emerging Church is the criticism. Before I go any further, I have my own criticisms from being involved and studying the emerging church which I feel is constructive…

  • Makeesha says:

    Eric – ROFLOL that was very funny.

  • Makeesha says:

    forgot to mention…I was talking about this with my husband this morning and he mentioned how CC used to be what “emerging though” is today. The rebels become the establishment and the cycle continues. Tedious.

  • Amen Andrew

    Andrew Jones comments on the asinine condemnation of ‘icons’ in the Calvary Chapel movement. They have some good warnings, but their proclamtion on emerging churches is so uninformed. Andrews best comment ended the post:And if iconic cleansing is going to

  • brenda says:

    Oh, this was just too funny. I used to listen to a Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa preacher on the radio every week that I learned a lot from.
    Just read this again and I’m still laughing.


    Greg, I have to agree with your take on Chuck Smiths view of church history. The more I read and study those who went before us in the faith (great cloud of witnesses, anyone?), the more I appreciate the concept of the Church as one Holy, Cathol…

  • db smith says:

    I currently attend a CC and fortunately we don’t have an american flag up front (in my experience I’ve only seen that in baptist churches that I can recall). I also happily haven’t heard any anti-EC rhetoric, but I fear that may just be a matter of time…
    I think this whole thing is really ironic since CC was the “emerging” “hippy” church 30 years ago. Now it’s the establishment. Kinda sad.

  • Chris(tine) says:

    This whole post reminded me of how 25 years ago, CC was vehemently opposed to Vineyard. CCers regularly and passionately told us (who were attending a vineyard) that we were in a dangerous cult.
    Not sure I got the connotations of the previous comment about just calling emerging CC’s a vinyard, sorry if I’m just repeating that observation…

  • Alan Cross says:

    If you want icons, you should become a Southern Baptist! We love them. We just dedicated one to Billy Graham at the last convention in Greensboro, NC in June. The president of the SBC, Dr. Bobby Welch, upon the dedication of the statue said, ““When you see it there in Nashville in the months ahead, you will be overwhelmingly stunned by the presence of the Lord, and the power of what this all stands for.” ‘Nuff said! We’ll be starting our dialogue with the Greek Orthodox Church soon, I’m sure!
    Check out this link if you want to see a picture of what I’m talking about: . Talk about give you chills!
    In reality, it is hilarious how we criticize others but have our own massive blind spots. Great post, Andrew. Almost as funny as The Princess Bride post.

  • Makeesha says:

    on the flag: I don’t necessarily have a problem with that, lots of church have American flags in their church along with (usually), the flags of the countries where they have missionaries or flags of the countries where their members are from…or whatever.
    I can understand the syncretism comment but I think it might be a bit of a stretch to make that accusation for most American churches that have the Am. flag.
    I have to LOL at the SBC/Billy Graham “icon” post.

  • That picture with the flag in the stadium, and the helicopters above looks like some kind of patriotic nativity scene.

  • wes says:

    Andrew, I was founded in Calvary Chapel for the first eight years of my walk. I attended Calvary Chapel Bible College and I became an assistant pastor and worship leader for a few years during my experience there.
    I have approached the “emerging church” with a conservative view, along with the majority of others I partake with. Thus, we have gone down the stream of “emerging” while keeping our evangelical roots, if that makes sense.
    What I see happening with Calvary Chapel in the future is this. The Calvary’s of the past are getting old and staying primarily fundamental in their approach to culture and because of that we have seen a decline in the smaller, older Calvary Chapel’s that don’t make the headlines. The young guys that are coming out of those Calvary’s are fresh and willing to experiment with church structure. They aren’t necessarily condoning the ‘Emergent Church” entirely but they are influence by the conversation. We have churches like “Reality” with Britt Merrick, “Worship Generation” with Joey Buran, and even a recent find, Bob Franquiz of “Calvary Fellowship” in Miami. Also Jon Courson, a long time Calvary favorite is currently experimenting with the current model of church at Applegate Christian Fellowship in Oregon. Even I personally, as devoted as I was to the “Calvary Chapel Denomination” have gone my own way. Even with an attachment that I will always have with Calvary I see a need to become missional in today’s culture, just as Calvary did in the 70’s.
    One more note. I believe when Chuck Sr. is no longer with us 50% of modern day Calvary’s will disband. The majority love Chuck but they can’t stand what “Calvary Chapel” has become. And who’s going to take over? No one can fill Smith Sr. shoes; no one can even come close.

  • Susan says:

    As a Lutheran-gone-Vineyard-gone-Calvary-gone-Vineyard-gone-Covenant I can say that CC’s definitely score high marks toward propagating the iconophobia that has plagued certain streams of Christian thought since the Reformation. But as Wes has pointed out, there’s a way to jump ship without going off the deep end.

  • David says:

    This will explain a lot, except to the critics:

  • david – i read that but am not sure what it explains. Driscoll might respect CC, as i do, but i am sure he is not going to get rid of his 30 pound candles just to keep another fellowship happy.
    We can be united but we dont all have to be exactly the same.

  • Servy says:

    Or how about this (if you are a calvary chapelite who sees eye to eye with the “Emerging Church”)…Since Calvary Chapel has formally separated itself from the “Emerging Church” and icons, don’t go to one (Calvary Chapel).
    Why would you try and call yourself a Calvary Chapel person, if in actuality you differ from CC values and beliefs. Apples are not oranges, oranges are not apples. CC churches are not “emerging”, emerging churches are not CC.
    It wouldn’t be respectful or honest to a CC church (or yourself) to attempt to bring differing beliefs/philosophies in through the “back door”. If you have an issue, take it in formally the right way. If you don’t want to…find another church.

  • Patrick Steele says:

    Don’t get distracted by the “stuff”. Keep the Jesus central. Keep the teaching of His Word central. Follow in the pattern of the original Church. Call it whatever you want. Worship Christ in every aspect of your lives. Who cares if you disagree on format, style or taste, if you do the essentials. Keep the main thing the main thing. Stop the childish “tounge in cheek” comments about who disagrees with you. Just be obediant to the Lord, He will tell you what He wants you to do.

  • Cory says:

    I’m a Calvary guy, and by no suprise to you guys, I completely agree with Andrew on this, also with servy. I want to add, however, that, when Calvary Chapel has separated itself from the Emergent Movement, and for good reason, trying to twist your emergent “comtemplative” practices into the Calvary mindset, or using calvary words to describe it is only disquising it, and the practice itself is still against Calvary Chapel values and doctrine, and also, as it is of my conviction, Contemplative Spirituality is against the Word of God, since it is in reality a form of New Age spirituality taken from Old-Age Hinduism. These contemplative practices stem from the Desert Fathers of the 3rd or 4th centuries, and history tells us that the Desert Fathers came about creating ways of spiritual growth by taking them from other faiths (syncretism), notably from Hindu monks. However Calvary Chapel by nature is about teaching the whole counsel of God’s word,chapter by chapter, verse by verse. and abiding by it, and GETTING to, not Having to, obey that Word. So, in conclusion, even attempting to add “contemplative” spirituality when you are currently in a Calvary Chapel fellowship contradicts the very mindset of Calvary Chapel towards staying faithful to the word of God, and in essence, the fellowship, if it welcomes it, ceases from trully being a CC Church.
    Now, I’m not trying to be hateful in saying this, just trying to speak the truth IN LOVE. Also, what I said only explains one branch of contemplative spirituality, the labyrinth and breath prayer/mantras, and Christian Yoga. The other branch has to do with the iconic worship thats being adapted from Traditional liturgical churches into an evangelical church setting. Thanks for considering what I’m saying. In Christ.

  • Mark says:

    First of all, there is no contradiction in setting up a nativity scene while, at the same time, opposing the use of icons. Nativity scenes, for most people, are mere Christmas decorations and are not tools to aid in worship. Secondly, the sad thing about the Emerging Church is its need to go beyond the Word of God to find ways to worship and connect with God. The Bible comes from God. The use of icons as an aid in worship is clearly unbiblical. Contemplative prayer is also unbiblical, as it is nothing more than Transcendental Meditation with Christian words and phrases used as “mantras.” When the disciples said to Jesus, “Teach us to pray,” He didn’t instruct them to repeat words and phrases until they had cleared their minds. Neither did He teach them to walk a labyrinth. He taught them to pray very verbally and personally to their Father in heaven. Paul told Timothy to “Preach the Word… for the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” It would appear that we are in the days of which Paul spoke and that the Emerging Church is in the forefront.

  • thanks mark. appreciate the comment.
    i have some problems with your argument, however.
    for the record, mantras, TM and vain repition of prayers were not mentioned and are not recommended here. I certainly dont practise them. Why bring them up? Jesus told us to pray in a manner not like the pagans or the pharisees.
    And for some people, nativity scenes ARE a tool to aid in worship, a physical reminder of the story of Christ – not just decoration.
    as for the other things,
    Wasnt it God who asked Abraham to walk through the path through the doves to ratify the first covenant?
    Wasnt it God who told Ezekiel to use hair, dung and other media for his installation?
    Didn’t Jesus give us the wine and break and the rite of baptism as tools of remembrance and religious rites?
    hey – what you think of Paul’s hankerchiefs that were brought to sick people for healing
    (Acts 19:11-12)? Do you think the Apostle Paul was sinning by going beyond the Word of God?
    just thinking out loud – come back at me if i am mistaken here . ..



  • Paul in Canada says:

    What we lack in the western Evangelical Christian world is a solid protocol for wrapping up organizations and movements when they’ve served their purpose and run their course.
    The main issue with C.C. is authoritarianism. Chuck’s entitled to his opinions on things and I might even agree with his decision to toss Focus on The Family off his KWVE FM station (see above paragraph), but eventually it comes down to the fact that his opinions become LAW at C.C.
    BTW, from a Canadian perspective, I agree with your Brit friend that the presence of the U.S. flag in a worship service is somewhat distracting and disturbing. I always thought you had a federal law requiring flags wherever there is a public gathering.

  • charlie says:

    I agree opinions become law at CC. I am not an emerger but the Word teaches that Jesus is a God of mercy,mercy that men cannot even grasp. He also knows the heart and He is able to sort of out what is worship that is truly directed to Him by a worshipper, while men play games and nit pick each other to death.Pride rises up doesn’t it, my way is better then yours, I’m more spiritual then you ad nauseum. I believe many of us will be surprized in the end when we realize so much banter has been for naught. David declared he would rather fall into the Hands of God who is merciful rather then into the hands of men who are not. May I say ditto David.

  • Ed Enochs says:

    Clarification on the Christianity Today Article on Calvary Chapel Movement
    “Test all things, hold fast to the truth.”
    1 Thess. 5:21
    Recently, I have received e-mails pro and con about the Christianity Today article focusing on the Calvary Chapel Movement. In order to be clear about where I stand personally on the Calvary Chapel Movement, I want to state for the record that as a person who has attended various Calvary Chapel’s for twenty years, I have an enormous amount of personal respect for the the ministry overall, but do see some glaring problems transpiring throughout the movement as a whole.
    At various times and seasons throughout the annals of American history, God has, in His inscrutable sovereignty and providential benevolence, periodically raised up pioneering Christian leaders and fresh movements of His Spirit to revive His Church and lead multitudes of lost individuals to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. When the definitive historical narrative of American Evangelicalism in the Twentieth Century is finally written, its chroniclers would be exceedingly amiss not to mention the monumental impact and contributions of Pastor Chuck Smith and the Calvary Chapel affiliation of churches, the quintessential leaders of the massive North American Evangelical awakening known as the Jesus Movement that impacted millions of young people for Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God during the final quarter of the last century.
    At the forefront of what many ecclesiastical scholars have called the greatest Evangelical revival in American History since the Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield led Great Awakening roared through the Colonial landscape during the 1740’s, was Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa who exploded upon the national scene in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, leading multitudes of “Hippies” and scores of other disinfected and disfranchised youths to faith in Jesus Christ and adherence to an essentially conservative, yet, decidedly innovative, brand of American Evangelicalism.
    Prior to the phenomenal growth and success of the affiliation of churches that now make up what many call the Calvary Chapel Movement, Chuck Smith, now 79, graduated from the L.I.F.E. Bible College in Los Angles and in turn, became an itinerant pastor in the Pentecostal Four Square denomination, serving in that capacity for nearly two decades. Smith, however, became exceedingly dissatisfied with his denominational hierarchy and by the mid 1960’s at the apex of the American Cultural Revolution, severed ministerial ties with his former ecclesiastical bureaucracy and subsequently became the pastor of a small non-denominational church named Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, located in Orange County California. What would transpire next is nothing short of amazing, as Chuck Smith’s ministry and church became the center of a cataclysmic spiritual revival called the Jesus Movement, which saw thousands of counter cultural young people soundly converted to Jesus Christ and whose ministry style would revolutionize and irrevocably change the way Americans would do church forever.
    Pastor Chuck Smith and the Calvary Chapel movement has done much to reach the lost for Jesus Christ and revitalize aspects of American Evangelicalism and I pray that Calvary Chapel will rectify the problems that threaten to destroy it as a viable witness of Evangelical Christianity in America and around the globe. It is my prayer that the Calvary Chapel movement will be more tolerant towards Calvinism and clean up the issues that have caused so many Evangelicals to be concerned about its future, issues that this Christianity Today article has brought light and problems that Calvary Chapel must finally address.
    Sincerely in Christ,
    Ed Enochs

  • Renzo says:

    that Mark guy up there is my home boy…I like what he said…
    “the sad thing about the Emerging Church is its need to go beyond the Word of God to find ways to worship and connect with God…”
    The truth is that so many christians today need something more than FAITH in the Gods word concerning the blood of Jesus over our sins. We all just want something tangible, something we can feel, and get our hands on, something that will tweak our emotions and make us feel like “God is definently present.”..but faith is not a Sense, nor is it an emotion. If art and the likes is how you worship God, then thats fine..but it shouldnt be the way you Experience God. The arguments against Calvarys statement that THE CHURCH IN ACTS (notice he said IN ACTS..not THE EARLY CHURCH, they are going back to the bible here)didnt use icons, i think are irrelevant…They used a biblical example, but the contrasting arguments against theres were examples of church councils that met almost 8 hundred years after the New Testemant was finalized, and men who have written books afterwards…The bible should be what we go back to…not “church fathers” as much as I admire and thank The Lord for many.
    Lets just worship God in Spirt and in Truth…not in The Flesh and in feelings

  • pattivt says:

    I never thot about it until now, but I’m realizing much of what I’m reading and hearing these days is actually the old wine skin “whining”. I grew up spiritually at Calvary and love the folks there today as much as ever (and definitely miss those who have gone on ahead!), but get really sad when I watch the service on the internet (don’t live close any longer). The teaching is always good, but when the camera pans the chapel all I see are sedate gray-headed folks sitting quietly in the audience while a few folks are busy “worshipping” on stage. Since when is worship a “presentation” rather than a group activity? I’m not against “old folks” by any means (I am one) but also can’t help but ask “where’s the life?” Where’s the enthusiasm and joy? I don’t feel these things any less than I did years ago, but I have had to come to realize (with some sadness) I just don’t fit in the current “model” of church at Calvary. For all I can see it’s become just like the structured church I left in the 60’s for the freedom to be who I was with others like me at Calvary. This isn’t a criticism so much as an observation. Others have said it far more clearly than I, but fact is Calvary has “become the parent it sought to avoid”. Just like those of us who determined to “NOT” be like a parent who hurt us and years later woke up to realize we had become just like that parent, it seems to me Calvary has gone through the same developmental stage and has become what it tried to avoid with all the resulting division (See “What we believe” on the back of every Calvary bulletin). I know there is a sense of loss when I see attempts to “rebirth” the past in various events (bringing old music groups together, etc.), but I’m not sure anybody seems to understand what happened or why. It’s a developmental thing. The only way you can NOT be like the parent that hurt you is to embrace and accept them for who they are and grow beyond and I’m not sure Calvary can do that with it’s current structure and “internal rules”. I’d probably be accused of being too “psychological”, but that doesn’t change the reality of what’s true and the only way to change is to “grow past” being stuck and sadly, in it’s current form, the Calvary organization is stuck. The preached Word is always alive for sure, but seeems to me the wine is way too contained in those tight skins and it’s time for change! I really don’t care to get involved in the emergent church controversy, but I do care about how much hurt and confusion this has brought to the sheep. It’s not that I don’t see the need to maintain solid doctrine, but it seems to me the focus needs to be upon the joy of FELLOWSHIP with Jesus and his family and reaching out those who don’t know Him!! Jesus told us to leave the tares to grow, unless we damage the good wheat by trying to pull them out and I honestly think that applies with the “emerging church” stuff. I said this to a friend of 30+ yrs when he was “preaching” to me about the dangers of false doctrine and was nearly disfellowshipped! Good thing I knew his anger came out of his need to stay safe and secure so I gave him lots of space to be wrong (we’re fine now, but I won’t talk “emergent church” with him until we can have a rational discussion). Call me simple, but at 58 yrs old, more than ever I believe in the “Give me Jesus and let’s get on with it approach”! I can’t help it… I don’t know how many years I have left on this earth and I want them to count for the Kingdom.

  • Teresa says:

    REad a free on line book by Warren Smith called

  • bill says:

    The Emergents & Pastor Chuck both have it wrong imho. How is turning the clock back 1,000 years in any way “modern” and/or authentic? And does Chuck really understand what early church worship was like? The first churches were essentially Messianic congregations (see Acts and the church in Jerusalem) and at first they couldn’t even figure out what to do with Gentile believers. And most Jewish believers in those churches were still considered a part of Judaism… and Biblical Judaism, boys and girls, does have candles, and incense, icons, and “rituals”. So if you really want to be authentic drop the Middle Age nonsense tossed with some Eastern Mysticism for a modern flair, and get some real Biblical rituals. What I don’t understand is why Pastor Chuck took aim at a moving target like “icons” when there are plenty of other Emergent sitting ducks to shoot.

  • Diane says:

    Having grown up Catholic and gone thru subsequent horrendous spiritual warfare and bondage after getting deeply rooted into Eastern mystecism and doctrines of demons, I for one abhor the Emergent church movement…and I mean abhor with a pure hatred of all that it represents. It is the emerging end times apostasy that Jesus warned us about. I dont want icons, I had statues of Mary. And I don’t want unbiblical Eastern forms of meditation, I had some of the worst demons imaginable enter me through my imbibing of unscriptural “contemplation” If true biblical meditation caught on it would bring the greatest revival ever seen. But I am afraid true biblical meditation is very little spoken about. We don’t need Icons to set our minds on things above. I applaud Pastor Smith for forbidding Emergent church stuff. May he continue being a watchman. Our new wineskins need to be gotten from biblical inspiration not from people touting Catholic mystics like Richard Foster and the likes. Why do we want to fall into the clutches of doctrines and practices that lead us back to Our Mother the Church? After visiting about 50 churches in my area a couple years back looking for one that teaches the Word I ended up at a couple of Calvary’s. I thank God for them. They are sleepy but the potential for true spiritual revival I believe is much greater there. At least they are grounded solidly on the Word and not trying to “work it up” by some unholy practices. May the true Holy Spirit grant us a true move of the Spirit not some sly Satanic counterfeit that may be brought in by Emergent Church slop and our minds be kept “as pure virgins” and not be taken captive as the serpent beguiled Eve!

  • andrew says:

    Diane, thanks for your comment
    I would be interested to hear you mention the Bible passages that have inspired your wineskin
    and your thoughts on the Calvary Chapel’s part in the charasmatic movement that created such an ecumenical linking with the Roman Catholic Church – somethingt he Emerging Church has not done.

  • ShortStockyKiwi says:

    Hi Andrew,
    Are you suggesting that Calvary Chapel promoted or tried to create an ecumenical link with the Catholic church?
    And if they didn’t promte any such thing, but only tried to remain true to the Word of God with their beliefs and practices, why do you put the two together as if there is a link?
    Just wondering. Thanks.

  • andrew says:

    good question. i dont think it was intentional, but moves of God have a habit of leaving their boundaries and flowing in unexpected directions.

  • ShortStockyKiwi says:

    Hi, thanks for the reply.
    Ok, so Calvary Chapel didn’t actively promote or create ties with the Catholic Church… So what is it that you’re saying they have meant to have done, that even “the emerging Church hasn’t done”?

  • andrew says:

    they helped nurture the jesus movement and what came out of it – which was a fantastic and bold move and they should be commended for it. many of us have ties to that movement and my own spiritual journey finds it s roots in it.

  • billy says:

    The Calvary Movement was never of the same nature as the emerging church movement.It has not evolved into the “establishment”. Chuck raised up guys nobody else would have even wanted in their churches, and he helped them become leaders without the trappings of denominational demands such as seminary. What we find today among so many of the so called spritual movements is a disdain for the idea of living holy or obedient lives. If people want something other than what Calvary is and has traditionally been from its inception why not just teach the Bible in the manner they have enjoyed through Calvary Chapel, and join something that is more to their liking in these areas that stand in contrast to to the Calvary Chapel Affiliation.

  • Elishiva says:

    calvary chapel wont allow this b/c they believe in the Bible. So if it isnt a Biblical practice then it isnt Calvary. whats the point of setting up idols. Jesus said come as you are, He is the ONLY way, He’s the mediator. not set up your icons. As long as you worship in spirit and in truth, you worship Him. It’s extra, vein efforts to set up altars and icons.

  • In these discussions about Calvary Chapels and the Emerging Church and Contemplative Spirituality, there’s practically no discussion of, “What does the New Testament say?”. The simplicity of following our Lord Jesus and being the assembly of Jesus Christ together, according to the New Testament would quickly make most of this discussion irrelevant.

  • linda says:

    typically, in calvary chapels it is taught that if a spiritual practice doesn’t occur in the bible then it isn’t okay to practice. the problem with this teaching is that nowhere does scripture teach this. this is an assumption that has been imposed on scripture. rather, what scripture does teach is that the way to test things spiritually is to see whether jesus is being exalted as savior and Lord who came in the flesh, whether or not the practice results in the fruit of repentance, and if the fruit of the Spirit (love) is a result.

  • Linda, you make a valid point. There is great freedom in our life with Jesus Christ and our life together as the assembly of Christ. I recommend that we should make our priority doing what the New Testament says explicitly before we pursue extra-biblical approaches. And we should recognize that we are not living out the Manifold Wisdom of God in a vacuum. We are in the midst of a counterfeit spirituality since the lie of the Serpent, through the Tower of Babel, through the antichrists that John said went out from us, and including the fact that that serpent Satan deceives the whole world. In reverence, we ought not want to offer to our Lord, strange fire.

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