So I ran into a faithful brother today at the Kapolei DMV and we had a good long chat. We were two of the last of the remaining original CC Nuuanu members still going to CC Komo Mai. Since I have left, he is one of the last of the original guys still going. One of things we got into were “things Calvary Chapel Pastors always say” and I thought it was worth to share with my readers. I’ve also left a few easter eggs up on this post, hidden in plain sight. See how many you can find!
We love the CC Pastors and all the current and former members and we don’t want to be guilty of gossip or backbiting so I won’t share the greater discussion we had.
1). First thing these pastors always say. “Be a Berean”, (Acts 17:11 the Bereans “were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so”). and “If you ever have a problem with anything I say, come to me”.
What the pastor really means is, “I only want you to think that I am correctable and teachable”.
2). This statement is often followed by “At Calvary Chapel we don’t have a membership, you are free to come and free to leave”. Everyone who has ever been to any CC has heard their pastor say this. They all parrot it and it must be a memorization requirement before they get the dove. It’s typically said in a sermon to compare how much better CC’s are to all the other churches that actually have memberships.
DO NOT CLICK ME
This at first glance sounds so free and liberating but what the pastor is really saying is “yes you are free to stay but once you begin to have a problem with my response (more likely my lack of response if you ever actually dare question anything I say), the whole “your free to leave” part suddenly takes on a whole new meaning and pretty much invalidates #1 above, and is a strong indicator you are under an authoritarian ruler.
3). If you ever truly need to confess something to a Calvary Chapel pastor, they often stop you dead in the middle of your confession. “hey man, that is between you and the Lord”.
What they are really saying is, “I am probably struggling with the same thing you are and I won’t have an answer for you”.
This kind of over spiritualization is rampant in CC but I’ll caveat this post by saying not all CC pastors are like this, however…
The big celebrity pastors all are, and so are the ones who follow after and want to be like them.
4). “You’ll never find a perfect church” is yet another one of those things Calvary Chapel pastors always love to say. It may be true on the surface, but unfortunately, again, for the CC pastor, it also has a darker undertone to it. What the average CC pastor is REALLY saying is he is uncorrectable and unteachable. (He really doesn’t want you to be a Berean as described in #1) This is a subtle brainwashing of you the member, since there are no perfect churches, why bother offering any criticism of your pastor at all. And if you must question or disagree with your pastor, please refer to the “free to leave” portion of saying #2 above.
5). Any mention of “the Laodicean church” of Revelation Chapter 3 in a CC sermon will almost always be used in context of the Mormons or Jehovah Witnesses down the street. Because of this, CC pastor’s end up giving their congregations a false sense of security, very much like any other large religion and the denominations. Calvary Chapel’s never ever look inwardly at their own leaders, or traditions, teachings or congregations, which is the intent of the author of Revelation.
I’ll update this post as I remember the other things “CC pastors say” but for now please browse these links. There is a reason Calvary Chapel is now included on many Cult awareness websites.
If you have any more “things Calvary Chapel Pastors always say” please leave a comment below. And click subscribe above to be notified when I update this blog.
I just finished reading the new book “Broken Trust, a practical guide to identify and recover from toxic faith, toxic church, and spiritual abuse”.
I met the author Remy Diederich recently on the “Spiritual abuse in YWAM” group on Facebook. That is a very active group with hundreds of members and daily updates. Although I was never in YWAM, at one time I wanted to be, I just never had the money to join their expensive and fraudulent DTS (THANK GOD) but they are very closely related to and recruit heavily among Hawaii”s Calvary Chapels.
I have spoken now with the author of this book, Remy Diederich a few times via chat and email. I am amazed at the wisdom he has regarding toxic and abusive churches but also realize this kind of knowledge comes at a great price.
I am about to read the book a second time and go a little slower this time. It is the best explanation I have found on how people in churches cloak abuse under the guise of spirituality.
I wish I had a copy of this 25 years ago, but its a new release, and people are just now beginning to understand what makes abusers tick.
To be fair, some people don’t know they are being abusive, they might still be able to change. Others are very good at it and don’t know any other way. Both need to be confronted.
Now finally, with Gods wisdom and many answered prayers, a few new and now very close friends, and finally Remy’s book, I know clearly now I am not the only one who has learned to identify these manipulators in church leadership.
Identifying their Scent
The abusers power lies entirely in their ability to isolate and diminish the abused persons concerns and filling their minds with doubt, condemnation, shame and guilt.
Most people never identify that they have been or are being taken advantage of by their trusted clergy. Others start to get a pretty good idea. Often times two people, sometimes very close to each other will witness the same behavior or abuse. Only one sees it for what it is, the other doesn’t. This could cause broken friendships, even divorces.
Remy makes a couple of good analogies in Chapter 27 on page 102-103. Survivors can eventually “smell” abusers a mile away, even when others can’t. We see the subtle tones and gestures in their behaviors and we start to catch what’s being said and what’s being left out of their sermons or conversations. People who have survived abusive relationships become super sensitive to abuse.
When questioned, the abusers will quickly accuse their examiner of being a “gossiper”, “over reacting” or “hyper sensitive”, a “sin sniffer” or a “pharisee” or even “slanderous”.
Confront or Leave
In an earlier chapter Remy describes how often times the abused is in a “no win” or a “double bind” situation. The best thing for most people to do is just leave, quickly. On page 45 of the book Remy uses the analogy of a burning house. Do we criticize the person who fled the burning house for using the wrong exit or not exiting quickly enough or for trying to put the fire out first? The answer is No. As long as they safely get out.
For most people the correct answer is just to leave. For a few stronger minded and stronger stomached individuals, confronting the leadership of your church may be the way to go but this often ends up back in a double bind, or as they say, spitting in the wind.
Anyway, go out, get Remy’s book. I wish I had something like it 25 years ago but God has been gracious to me. I have not left the faith,. I consider myself a stronger Christian now more than ever before. The last pastor who wrote me a nasty email accused me of many things but it was too late for him. I see through them now. They have no power over me anymore. Calvary Chapels may not technically be a “cult” but I have experienced much cult like and abusive behaviors among the top leaders of Calvary Chapels in Hawaii. YWAMs and Calvary Chapels both are showing up more and more on Cult awareness websites.
I won’t throw the baby out with the bath water and say they are “all” reprobate but I suspect at least a few are. I don’t know much about the other churches in Hawaii but was with a friend last night who has suffered obvious abuse from another large charismatic church in Hawaii. Guys please, if you see smoke, there is probably a fire. Just leave.
If any of you need help, Email me or leave a comment here, i will respond; or just get Remy’s book. Don’t let these people lay their trips on you. God is all you need. Anything else is legalism. leave these people to themselves. Get alone with God. He will show you everything you need. Remy does a fantastic job of laying this all out on pages 60-61.
The first thing to do is leave. Remove yourself from the abusive situation. #2 protect yourself if being physically or (if I may add) legally threatened.
#3 Take a break
This is important enough Ill bold it. When you leave an abusive relationship, resist the temptation to return. Well meaning believers will tell you “YOU MUST go to church” but they are wrong. This is like telling someone who just got out of an abusive marriage “THEY MUST get married again right away”. Think about how ridiculous that sounds! Take a break! God alone is all you need!
What else to do
Get perspective, this can be accomplished through a variety of means. For me it was new friends. Remy recommends journaling, prayer or even professional counseling. Next find a new community or like minded believers. Develop a new devotional life free of legalism and pharisee-ism. Finally establish new boundaries.
I didn’t do every thing in the precise order of Remy’s book and there are certain things i’ll never do. (I don’t really Journal except for this blog, and I don’t go to counseling except for the occasional trusted close friend) but pretty much got everything else done. There are one or two loose ends I need to tie up before I can truly move on with my life. I probably have a few more days of spit on my face, some spit still my own (from the wind) and others from getting yelled at at point blank range by the last and final abuser I have yet to break free from.
Pastor JD has changed his tune on this teaching. On today’s YouTube update Pastor JD will just explain. I’m very impressed with his action. It is tragically THE FIRST TIME I have seen such humility in a Calvary Chapel pastor. Good Job JD. The rest of them should swallow their pride and follow your example. Aloha JD if you sneaking peeks on my blog.
The following is my original post from 4/21/2017
James Jacob Prasch questions JD Farag the pastor of Calvary Chapel Kaneohe over his non-traditional pre-trib views, specifically JD’s interpretation of 2 Thessalonians 2:3, JD’s mis-interpretation of the word “apostasia” (Strong’s 646), the rapture of the church, and the current global apostasy. Jacob Prasch is calling for a symposium or a discussion on this topic, not division.
Watch the Video
Jacob Prasch praises JD and the CCA (Calvary Chapel Association) for taking “something of a stand” against Brian Broderson departure and I agree. (that is, they didn’t really take a hard enough stand). Emergent doctrines and practices plague all the larger Calvary Chapels I have been to and I have yet to hear any Calvary Chapel Pastor voice a strong stand against the apostasy/departure that is flooding the charismatic churches today.
Jacob Prasch starts out very graciously in regards to JD’s teachings. By 28:00 minutes Jacob Prasch cites Dr Arnold Fruchtenbaum and Dr Mark Hitchcock as those who are upholding traditional and scholarly pre-trib vs the less educated less exegetically skilled and less knowledgeable and who are deviating from it. (that would seem to be JD Farag of Calvary Chapel Kaneohe)
Jacob Prasch then says, “Without intending to offend anyone”, (pretty sure they ARE going to be offended) Jacob Prasch makes the case that this is clearly the teaching of the rank and file Calvary Chapel’s and most other Charismatic churches today and it is just the tip of the iceberg in my opinion, of the many problems facing Calvary Chapels and all of Christendom today. Jacob Prasch then describes how the 2nd generation of Calvary Chapel leaders are not as learned as Pastor Chuck or Paul Smith. Jacob also says it’s always milk teaching at Calvary Chapels nowadays and there are not many pastors at Calvary Chapels anymore who value actual academic bible study. Jacob Prasch goes so far as to describe JD as basically “untaught” as compared to more formally qualified scholars such as Arnold Fruchtenbaum or John Walvoord or Mark Hitchcock.
What Arnold Fruchtenbaum Actually Teaches
I love intelligent debates and would eagerly welcome a reply from Pastor JD. As for myself, I have a copy of Fruchtenbaums “Footsteps of the Messiah, the Sequence of Pre-tribulational Events” in my library. I decided to take a look and see if Dr. Fruchtenbaum indeed taught pre trib like JD Farag of Calvary Chapel Kaneohe or more like Jacob Prasch was asserting.
On pages 85-86 Dr Arnold Fruchtenbaum clearly teaches the rapture of the church does NOT begin the tribulation. Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum teaches it will be the confirming of the 7 year covenant that begins the tribulation, NOT THE RAPTURE. This is traditional “pre-trib” vs the “imminence” doctrine popularized by Tim Lahaye, Thomas Ice, JD Farag and pretty much the rest of the Charismatic movement.
Accusations of False teachers
The problem that Jacob Prasch and others like myself have with JD Farag of Calvary Chapel Kaneohe are this. JD Farag of Calvary Chapel Kaneohe makes accusations that “whoever doesn’t teach a imminent rapture pre trib view is a false teacher” and the word “apostasy” in 2 Thessalonians actually means “rapture”.
Jacob Prasch from Moriel Ministries has released an update on the continuing and escalating problems of the Calvary Chapel fragmentation now well underway.
Jacob brings us up to date on what many Calvary Chapel pastors are still denying is even happening, or they are denying the severity of it. If your particular Calvary Chapel pastor will even acknowledge these events at all, he may reference it as something like “growing pains” or a “minor church split”, but the truth is a much darker and much more problematic. For starters, Chuck Smith’s old church, CC Costa Mesa has been hijacked by Brian Broderson and is no longer even considered a Calvary Chapel. So the Calvary Chapel movement is now, as Jacob Prasch says in his video, “a fleet without a flagship”.
The Two Ton Elephant in the Room
At around 27 minutes into his above video, Jacob begins to reference Greg Laurie as being “the two ton elephant in the room”. I thought for sure Jacob was going to mention the recent appearance of Greg Laurie at the interfaith prayer breakfast the day of the Trump inauguration. This was the day when Greg Laurie joined together with Jewish, Sikh, Mormon, Buddhist, Roman Catholic, Baha’i, Episcopal, Hindu and Native American leaders to pray for Donald Trump. Jacob seemed to have missed this one, and he just talks about other problems with Greg Laurie such as Greg’s aligning with Rick Warren’s purpose driven church, and Greg’s defending of Hillsong’s despicable Carl Lentz and the scandals surrounding Bob Coy etc and how all of this could have been and should have been avoided.
Greg Laurie just Prayed alongside Bahai’s, Muslims and Hindus
If you click and watch this video above, last week in Washington DC, Greg Laurie participated in an interfaith prayer service for Donald Trump. The service included shamans and witch doctors. Greg speaks from 41:19 to 43:02 which is barely 2 minutes, including pauses.
Stop reading here for a couple minutes and watch the above video for at least the portion from 41:19 to 43:02, so the rest of my article makes more sense.
I shared this video with some close friends last week and one of them emailed the Greg Laurie Harvest ministries (not a bad idea) to which they replied…
Harvest Ministries are either incredibly misinformed about their pastor or they are blatantly lying and the video above proves it
Greg Laurie ABSOLUTELY knew he was sharing the stage with Catholics, Mormons, Prosperity word faith preachers, Bahai’s, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and Shamans and others!
Greg takes the stage of the interfaith service at about 40:50 in the above video. Greg is the 13th minister to take the stage, he follows a Navajo shaman, two Talmudic Jews, a Hindu, the Mormon, and two Muslims. One of the muslims actually sings from the Koran, no way you could have “accidentally” missed that one GREG!
Mariann Edgar Budde, Bishop of Washington – Episcopal Church
James B. Magness, Bishop Suffragan for Federal Ministries – Episcopal Church
Randall Marshall Hollerith, Dean, Washington National Cathedral – Episcopal Church
Cantor Mikhail Manevich – Washington Hebrew Congregation
Rabbi Fred Raskind – Temple Bet Yam, St. Augustine Florida
Alveda King – Pastoral associate, Priests for Life, Atlanta, Georgia
Harry Jackson – Hope Christian Church, Beltsville, Maryland
Narayanachar L. Dialakote – Sri Siva Vishnu Temple, Lanham, Maryland
D. Todd Christofferson, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Imam Mohamed Magid – All Dulles Area Muslim Society Center, Sterling, Virginia
Sajid Tarar – Baltimore, Maryland
Greg Laurie – Harvest Christian Fellowship, Riverside, California
For Harvest ministries to pretend Greg “didn’t know it was an interfaith service” is a LIE! Sorry to be so blunt but these people are just beginning to be just a little too brainwashed for me.
Another thing, Greg doesn’t preach against or to any of the other religious leaders there.
Greg instead prays for the military and our diplomatic core, our governors and mayors mostly and that all these people would be most importantly, “devoted to our nation”? That’s a wonderfully patriotic concept but where exactly is that in the bible Greg? The email above from Harvest ministries says Greg “declared the truth” but when you listen to his words, that’s not what happened. Greg was only coddling and buddying up with these other religious leaders, certainly not evangelizing or declaring anything except his own popularity.
What Greg Laurie really said at the National Prayer Service
Greg begins his prayer by addressing “Our Father in Heaven and God of compassion”.
Now I have never heard Greg pray that way before. (Only my oldest friends know I used to work at two different Calvary Chapel owned radio stations in the 1990′s so I am very familiar with Greg Laurie). I had to google that name, “god of compassion” and I was not surprised to see what came up on the images tab of that search.
The top results of the search term “God of compassion” turns up multiple hits to the Hindu demigod Sadaksari-Lokesvara or the Hindu god of compassion. Pretty sure Greg would know that and while it could be argued “that’s not what Greg meant”, but see the odd thing is this. Greg never prays this way. He is definitely going out of his way to come across as ecumenical here this time. I’m sure he wants to be invited back again. Oy veys mere!
All and Whatever
Greg’s prayer goes on to generically reference “whatever” once and “all who would call upon your name” and “all that they do” and goes on to pray for “all people” six or seven times total and used the name of Jesus only once at the end. According to the moderator of emails at the Harvest website, praying for “all and whatever” is “declaring the truth” and using Jesus’ name that one time at the end makes it so.
What Greg Does NOT say
A few sample of words Greg Laurie never uses even once during the ecumenical event he attended (accidentally according to Harvest) which might have been more appropriate are as follows. If Greg Laurie was really “declaring the truth”, Greg might have used words like sin, forgiveness, repentance, evangelism, study, bible, apostasy, death or hell.
No, America’s #1 Stadium filling evangelist didn’t sound anything like the Greg Laurie I knew from before. No, he sounds more like his buddy Rick Warren who prayed in the name of “Isa” back in 2009 at the inauguration of Barack Obama.
Isa is the false Jesus from the Quran who teaches people to follow Muhammed and surrender to allah! Arab Christians know this and will explain that Isa is NOT the same Jesus from the Injeel الإنجيل or as we say in English, the New Testament.
Greg Laurie’s reference to the Hindu “god of compassion” sounds a lot like Rick Warren’s reference to the false Jesus “Isa” back in 2009.
I have simply had enough. My friends who are Calvary Chapel pastors and members need to disassociate with that denomination. There are only a few Calvary Chapel Pastors speaking up. As best as I can tell, none of the Hawaii pastors are awake yet even though they all have the same information as the rest of us. At least one is outright hostile to me. It’s time to find another place to fellowship if that’s the way its going to be.
Just about every Calvary Chapel pastor in Hawaii
For any Christians reading this wondering what they should do, my only recommendation is this. READ YOUR BIBLES yourselves so you know the genuine article well.
Calvary Chapel Pastors like Greg Laurie and Bob Coy love to confidently hang their hat on having the correct doctrine but obviously, there is a much deeper problem here than just having the correct doctrine.
Last thing if your pastor doesn’t want to talk about these things or worse yet he can only be seen on a big screen TV on Sundays or is otherwise too popular for your questions then the decision is easy… Leave that church next Sunday and just GO SOMEWHERE ELSE. These issues need to be discussed openly. Pastors need to be repenting just as much as any other group. If they would self govern, guys like me, Jacob Prasch, Roger Oakland and others wouldn’t have to speak up.