Calvary Chapel Bookstores - Beyond Accountability?
By Chris Lawson
Read entire Newsletter in PDF
See documentation articles and videos at bottom!
- “That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes; yea, and sell the refuse of the wheat [as if it were good grade]?" (Amos 8:6)
- “And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” (2 Peter 2:3)
- “Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.” (Jude 1:11)
- “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Luke 16:13)
- Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest [allow/tolerate] that woman Jezebel...". (Revelation 2:20a KJV)
Read personal introduction inside PDF
The following question is a very unpopular one, but it must be asked - publicly! Why? Because almost nothing is being done about the growing compromises in a number of Calvary Chapel walk-in and online church bookstores. Bad products are mixed with the good, in order to reap a profit. God's perspective on compromises like this are revealed to us in Scripture, but first, let us look at the issues.
Is anyone from the Calvary Chapel Association Leadership Council going to publicly denounce the Calvary Chapel bookstores that are making merchandise of God's people, through the provision and/or sale of materials containing aberrant and false doctrines?
This is a very serious question, is it not? Unless Christian leaders - in this case Calvary Chapel leaders - express biblical concerns and rebuke fellow leaders for allowing this to happen, things within Calvary Chapel will continue to proceed from bad to worse.
Tolerating evil for the sake of gain
Any pastor that allows heresy to be sold through their church bookstore is sure to incite the displeasure of our Lord Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, somewhere down the line it appears that some Calvary Chapel leaders have forgotten about Jesus Christ's hatred towards the open "toleration" of false doctrine and evil in the midst of His Church. Jesus rebuked the toleration of evil when it was seducing His Church:
Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest [allow/tolerate] that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. (Revelation 2:20, KJV)
Is tolerating heretical materials in a Christian church bookstore just as bad as tolerating a false prophetess? Indeed, it is! The doctrines of demons that false prophetesses and false prophets pen today and call "Christian" is still aberrant and heretical, even when it is touted as being "Christian." Do you want to see just what church leaders are leading their congregations into? All you have to do is take a thorough look at what is being sold through a church's own bookstore. Church bookstore inventory speaks volumes about what the church leaders allow to go over for grain in the famine.
No longer hidden in plain site
The Calvary Chapel bookstore compromise is no longer a little, hidden-under-the-carpet problem, as this article and forthcoming articles will show (See documentation and video links below). In fact, as the growing documentation shows, it just may well be a trend that will one day consume and destroy the Calvary Chapel movement. But all Calvary Chapel's are their own independent ministries aren't they? Yes, but what the most popular pastors allow or disallow is generally what sets the tone for the rest of the movement.
What you are about to read is just the tip of the iceberg as far as the bad fruit that has blossomed within the Calvary Chapel movement, since the Calvary Chapel Outreach Fellowships, Inc. 2006 Parson-to-Parson position paper was stripped from the Internet. This position paper, which stood against false doctrine and dangerous influences creeping into Calvary Chapel, can be read on the Spiritual Research Network website. It remains posted here because it has been removed from almost every single place it was formerly posted at.
Calvary Chapel Outreach Fellowships, Inc. (CCOF Ministry)
- Source: http://www.spiritual-research-network.com/calvary-chapel-parson-to-parson-position-paper.html
Major Calvary Chapel bookstore compromises are no longer hidden in plain site. It could have all been avoided had numerous well known pastors taken better heed to God's warnings found in Scripture, and had they listened to their own CCOF Ministry exhortation.
These are not anomalies; this is a growing trend!
Based on the much needed research and exposure of compromise that you are being informed of, you are about to see that this Calvary Chapel bookstore issue is no longer an anomaly in Calvary Chapel. A brand new beachhead of diabolical ingenuity has been implemented in various churches, and it appears that a new trend just may be underway. The groundwork has already been laid, and all one needs to do is get a website bookstore plug-in and turn a blind eye to the spiritually dangerous contents therein.
Many today may scoff at such a statement, but just go take a look at what Steve Berger's Grace Chapel Leipers Fork bookstore is selling. (See front page of this May PDF newsletter). Grace Chapel Leipers Fork is a Calvary Chapel affiliate church. Anyone can take a look and use the search engine in the Grace Chapel online bookstore. Many damnable heresies can be dredged up instantly, as the church bookstore is a plug-in from Signature Websites-Innovative Inc. (Signature Marketing Network). Amazingly, the Signature Marketing Network boasts of carrying over 170,000 products. This fact alone should be a cause of alarm to any discerning pastor.
What's in the Grace Chapel Leipers Fork online bookstore? To begin with, Calvary Chapel affiliate senior pastor Steve Berger claims in his book Have Heart that he and his family are in communication(s) with their deceased son. Have Heart - bridging the gulf between heaven and earth (2010), is available through the church's bookstore and is advertised to no end through the church.
One can also find the following, and much more, in the Grace Chapel church website: Jesuit training materials, material that is pro-African divination; a training handbook on A Primer of Psychology According to A Course In Miracles; Sarah Young's Jesus Calling; hundreds of books rife with occult based prosperity gospel Word Faith teachings; an endless supply of Roman Catholic literature; books on contemplative mysticism, Christian Yoga, etc. This can all be found, and to a sickening and excessive degree (ad nauseum), within the Grace Chapel Leipers Fork church website. I warned the senior pastor about all of this and more, myself, on the telephone, over two full years ago. Amazingly, all the same products are still there today. What's even more disturbing is the fact that many more dangerous resources have been added to the online bookstore. Simply put, the pastors and church elders allow it. If they didn't, the aberrant and heretical materials would not be available through the church's website.
Are other Calvary Chapel fellowships doing this too?
One can also look at what the Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale (Florida) online bookstore is currently selling - at least 15 products, for and related to, Sarah Young's Christian/NewAge "My Presence" themed, Jesus Calling. Jesus Calling is truly a Christianized New Age book. (Fifteen Jesus Calling products isn't much though for this bookstore, not when considering the forty-four Jesus Calling products found in the Grace Chapel Leipers Fork online bookstore.) Bob Coy, who was the senior pastor at Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale, refused to clean up his act regarding the church's bookstore. God had given him warnings about this as well as his other compromises, yet he didn't want to listen. Instead, he stood on stage and openly made jokes (with the audience in tow laughing) about ministries that publicly express biblical concerns over the direction numerous Calvary Chapel's are heading.
Now that Bob Coy has resigned/been removed from leadership, a new lead pastor, Doug Sauder, has taken the lead. Will Doug Sauder make the needed effort to remove fifteen Jesus Calling products, and various other materials from the Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale bookstore?
Church leaders not concerned about Sarah Young's Jesus Calling book?
For church leaders and bookstore managers who wrongly downplay the Jesus Calling book issues, here are over forty resources from numerous ministries, exposing and refuting the problems and false teachings in Sarah Young's book.
Articles and links exposing the New Age "Jesus" and New Age teachings in Sarah Young's "Jesus Calling"
- Source: http://www.spiritual-research-network.com/jesus-calling-by-sarah-young.html
If the many biblical resources at this webpage cannot persuade Christian leaders and Calvary Chapel pastors to reject Jesus Calling as false doctrine, nothing will!
More examples of compromise in Calvary Chapel church bookstores
On a different note, Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa's Chapel Store was recently caught again selling seriously problematic material. In fact, this time, the books were kept in the back room, only to be sold when customers specifically asked for them (Jesus Calling). Why such secrecy? Because the books were too controversial. Documentation shows that The Chapel Store has been caught in the past selling other problematic materials too. A Google search on this issue is quite revealing! See also Warren B. Smith's excellent refutation of Jesus Calling, titled, "Another Jesus" Calling. Brian Broderson is the senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa.
A jaw-dropping look into what some other Calvary Chapel bookstore managers (and pastors) are allowing is quite memorable. For instance, the Calvary Chapel Melbourne (Melbourne, West Florida) bookstore currently sells the "My Presence" (New Age) themed, Jesus Calling, and also Mark Batterson's book, The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears. The Circle Maker prayer technique is virtually identical to Witchcraft. 'Casting a circle' is one of the primary ways that witches cast their spells, and Mark Batterson's book, which mimics such, is being sold through - yes - a Calvary Chapel bookstore. "According to Pastor Mark Batterson in his book, The Circle Maker, 'Drawing prayer circles around our dreams isn’t just a mechanism whereby we accomplish great things for God. It’s a mechanism whereby God accomplishes great things in us.'" Source: http://thecirclemaker.com/about ). Mark Balmer is the senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Melbourne.
The Calvary Chapel Oceanside (California) bookstore, like Grace Chapel Leipers Fork, uses the Signature Websites plug-in. They too offer forty-four Jesus Calling and Jesus Calling related products. They also offer at least twenty God Calling resources. God Calling is an extremely well known spiritistically "channeled" book. They also carry books by Carl Jung (psychologist, occultist), pro-African divination material, Christian Yoga, Yoga, The Jesuits, 347 items having to do with Roman Catholic pope(s), thirty-five items by Gloria Copeland (wife of Word Faith teacher/false prophet Kenneth Copeland), and much, much more. Mike Reed is the senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Oceanside.
Up until very recently, the Calvary Community Church (Phoenix, AZ) online bookstore was a virtual treasure trove of heretical material mixed in with the good. Now, after a faithful Christian has exposed the folly and compromise, there is no longer an active online bookstore resource, at least not right now, the online store has been suspended.
The Calvary Community Church bookstore was carrying materials by Richard Foster, Brennan Manning, Beth Moore, Rick Joyner, Henri Nouwen, and many more. Masses of material that are aberrant and heretical in nature were until very recently available through the church's online store. One wonders what the shelves are loaded with in their walk-in bookstore.
Mark Martin is the senior pastor of Calvary Community Church. Mark Martin came out of Seventh-day Adventism. He wrote about it and he also began a ministry denouncing the false teachings of Adventism and Ellen G. White (See, http://www.exadventist.com ). The church fellowship he has pastored for years is a Calvary Chapel affiliate church. Numerous books by false prophetess and founder of Adventism Ellen G. White were being sold in his own church's online bookstore, yet his own book denouncing Ellen G. White's false teachings was nowhere to be found.
Calvary Chapel Albuquerque was also recently discovered using the eChristianStore.com plug-in. Here is a sample listing of just some of the authors that were offered, until more faithful servants of Jesus Christ blew the whistle on the sinking ship: Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, Dallas Willard, Dan Kimball, Thomas Keating, Erwin McManus, Tony Jones, Tony Campolo, John Ortberg, Bill Hybels, Francis Chan, Rick Warren, Thomas Merton, Andy Stanley, Joel Osteen, Max Lucado, Leonard Sweet, and the list goes on.
Books/authors that are currently offered are Jesus Calling by Sarah Young (19 items), Sarah Young (25 items), Have Heart by Steve Berger, Akiane: Her Life, Her Art, Her Poetry, Brother Lawrence, Timothy Keller, Francis Chan, Beth Moore, J.I. Packer, Chuck Colson, The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn, etc. Perhaps Skip Heitzig, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel of Albuquerque.
A passing mention should also be made about Jeff Johnson's, Calvary Chapel Downey online bookstore. A short online video was posted earlier this year by an online ministry (EmergentWatch.com), showing many problematic and/or false teachers whose resources were available through the Calvary Chapel Downey online bookstore. The church's Signature Websites plug-in bookstore was eventually removed, but only after the Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa's Chapel Store, Inc. contacted the watchman who made the little video. Trace elements of the plug-in bookstore still remain on the Calvary Chapel Downey Chapel Store webpage, proving it is the exact same plug-in that Steve Berger's church uses, from Signature Websites.
You ask, "Really?" Yes, really! Chapel Store, Inc. was concerned about the little Calvary Chapel dove logo being in the video that exposed many problematic materials in the Calvary Chapel Downey online bookstore. "Copyright infringement" was the hue and cry and EmergentWatch.com was basically pressured to remove their online video.
Sadly, no Internet apology for offering heresy to customers was ever issued on the Calvary Chapel Downey church website. What was posted instead? Just a little tiny "sorry" note that made an apology for their bookstore no longer being open online.
For one to think that these compromises are mere anomalies is to stick one's head in the sand. As previously stated - these are not anomalies; this is a growing problem! Dangerous literature is being sold in a growing number of Calvary Chapel bookstores until God's faithful publicly rebuke it! Unfortunately, it appears that it is only when the "pastors reputation" is on the line that in-house damage control speedily takes over. What else could be the reason for such swift retaliation and the behind-the-scenes stonewalling against Christians from various ministries who expose these and similar issues.
A little leaven leavens the whole lump
Paul the Apostle reminded his readers about the danger of false doctrine. Paul said, "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump" (Galatians 5:9). Why does it take discernment ministries blowing the whistle publicly on the Internet to get numerous Calvary Chapel pastors and leaders to deal with their own in-house compromises? Isn't this what the Calvary Chapel Association "Leadership Council" is supposed to do, hold each other accountable? If they can't effectively deal with these problems, can't the church elders in all of these aforementioned ministries hold senior pastors and church bookstore managers accountable, before it is published on the Internet? With what has transpired so far, it would be interesting to find out how many more Calvary Chapel fellowships have already implemented plug-in bookstore compromises, or are gearing up to do so.
Whether popular and unpopular Calvary Chapel personalities realize it or not, adding the leaven of false doctrine into church bookstore settings will eventually take firm root. Like a constricting vine that parasitically wraps around larger foliage, false doctrine undermines, constricts, cripples, and destroys churches. Undiscerning church leadership is to blame for this. Once the material is allowed into varying aspects of a Christian fellowship - and remains unchecked - its only a matter of time before the once biblical fellowship is cauterized against the truth, and destroyed. Just give it a few years and its damage will be on display for all the world and the church to see.
The Calvary Chapel church elders and pastors who allow their church bookstores to sell aberrant and false teaching materials are a great danger to the body of Christ. This statement cannot be emphasized too much. Paul the Apostle warned, "A little leaven leaventh the whole lump." (Galatians 5:9)
In light of the growing and spiritually dangerous compromises that these churches have provided (before they got caught), or continue to provide for trusting Christians, it seems more than timely for more people to publicly sound the alarm about the Calvary Chapel bookstore compromises. This is merchandising the flock of God for the sake of financial gain! What else are we to call it, if it is not this exact thing!
Concerned believers in Jesus Christ, who are serving both inside and outside of the Calvary Chapel movement, may find much more information on the Internet, about this exponentiating lapse of Calvary Chapel accountability. Google searches for "Calvary Chapel compromise," "Calvary Chapel ecumenism," "Calvary Chapel bookstore compromises," and "Calvary Chapel abuse" reveal much more than one will want to see and read. The reader should also be aware that this is a much, much bigger problem all across the Christian bookstore industry.
When one takes a sincere and objective look at the mounting evidence of Calvary Chapel compromises, one will quickly realize that the "bad apples" within the Calvary Chapel movement are spoiling the names of many others who are far more committed to obedience to the Word of God and biblical separation. Biblical separation from what? Biblical separation from aberrant and false teachers and false doctrine.
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. (Romans 16:17-19)
It appears that the majority of Calvary Chapel leaders are unaware about what is really transpiring with these issues. If they were aware, would they not collectively rise up and publicly denounce such things - by name? One would think so, however, the silence is deafening!
A growing dilemma appears to be that: (1) leaders are afraid to speak out about compromises for fear of ostracism, (2) leaders are too busy with their own individual ministry to do anything about the issues, or (3) leaders could care less about what transpires. Any of these excuses fall far short of what pastors should do. If they all serve under the banner of Calvary Chapel, they should stand true to Scripture and deal with sin in the camp, and not let their/our brethren sell heresy! Selling heresy is perpetuating the devil's work, which Jesus came to destroy (1 John 3:8).
Truly Scripture speaks to the issue at hand. How do I know? I know because before I left the movement I observed the growing fear-of-man trend within the Calvary Chapel movement, for almost a quarter of a century. It is part of a nonverbal Achilles Heal, and it is built right into the fabric of the "Pastor led Moses-style of Leadership," which characterizes the entire movement.
The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe. Many seek the ruler's favour; but every man's judgment cometh from the Lord. An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked. (Proverbs 29:25-27)
What does God's Word say?
It should be noted here that the purpose of this article is not to nit-pick at fellow pastors and well-meaning church leaders. It is simply to make the point that severe compromise is growing, that leaders could stem the obvious plague that has arisen, and that there are people who are allowing it to go on. Bookstore managers, pastors, and church elders, it is time to take heed! Selling blatant heresy to the flock of God, or even providing a platform to do so through walk-in and online Christian bookstores, is a great evil.
These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. (1 John 2:26)
For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. (Mark 13:22)
Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. (Revelation 2:20)
Interested Calvary Chapel leaders and Calvary Chapel Association Leadership Council pastors should take note of the following material. The extensive documentation from various sources (provided at bottom) about this issue proves the point beyond any shadow of a doubt - not all Calvary Chapel bookstores are spiritually safe places to be.
What is the current and growing issue at hand?
What is the current and growing issue at hand? You have just read it - numerous Calvary Chapel churches and leaders and bookstore managers have been providing a platform for churchgoers and Internet travelers to purchase theologically aberrant and/or heretical material from their Calvary Chapel church fellowship walk-in and/or online Christian bookstores. How utterly damning this is, raw heresy being offered to the flock of God under the banner of the Calvary Chapel dove logo, and/or through Calvary Chapel affiliate churches? Pure evil has arisen to a whole new level within Calvary Chapel, has it not?
Throughout this article the word "compromise" is being used in a theological context, whereby Calvary Chapel pastors, church elders, and church fellowship bookstore managers are "compromising" scriptural commands and obedience to the Word of God.
Compromising Scripture in order to make a few extra bucks for the ministry is an extremely poor excuse and does not stand before the counsel of God. Perhaps the following basic definition will help refresh Calvary Chapel pastors, elders and bookstore managers (and everyone else reading this) on what the word compromise really means. It is the compromising pastors that are destroying the name of Calvary Chapel, and this is just one of numerous issues that could be addressed here.
Making merchandise of the body of Christ
First, here is a concise definition of the word compromise:
- Compromise: 1. a. To expose or make liable to danger, suspicion, or disrepute: a secret mission that was compromised and had to be abandoned; compromise one's standing in the community. b. To reduce in quality, value, or degree; weaken or lower. 2. To impair by disease or injury: an immune system that was compromised by a virus. 3. To settle by mutual concessions: a dispute that was compromised. (The Free Dictionary)
Second, here are four scriptures that warn about those that would, in their greed, compromise the Word of God, ruin the testimony of God, and defile the flock of God.
In Amos 8:6 God addresses the sin of mixing chaff into the wheat, in order to cheat the buyer. In Jude 1:11 God the Holy Spirit led Jude to remind readers about evil men in days of old, who displayed greed to no end and were judge by God for it. In 2 Peter 2:3 the Apostle Peter, by God's direction, addressed the exploitation of people by deceivers who provided lies, instead of the truth. In Luke 16:13 Jesus Christ our Lord states very clearly that man cannot serve both God and mammon (money).
The underlying motivation addressed in all four of these Scriptures is that of greed - an intense and selfish desire for more.
Selling an admixture of evil with the good, for profit:
- That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes; yea, and sell the refuse of the wheat? (Amos 8:6)
Greedy for profit:
- Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. (Jude 1:11)
Make merchandise of people (i.e., to buy, sell, or trade):
- And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. (2 Peter 2:3)
Ye cannot serve God and mammon:
- No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him. And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. (Luke 16:13-15)
Third, here is a basic definition of the word observation. This is included here because more and more Calvary Chapel churchgoers (and apparently non-Christians too) are finding material in some Calvary Chapel bookstores that is anything but Christian. They observe what is going and are disgusted by it.
- Observation: a statement about something you have noticed: a comment or remark; the act of careful watching and listening: the activity of paying close attention to someone or something in order to get information; something you notice by watching and listening. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
As a pastor/missionary and researcher/writer (formerly serving in Calvary Chapel for almost 25 years) I have received much correspondence from people who are utterly tired of observing compromises like this.
Managerial folly a growing trend
One will also note that there is a popular trend amongst a vast number of Christian bookstores outside of the Calvary Chapel movement, to sell aberrant and heretical material also - for monetary gain. As thoroughly noted above, the worldly Christian bookstore trend is bleeding over into Calvary Chapel. This is a total compromise of biblical conviction and it is an open betrayal of sincere Christians, by church leaders and bookstore managers who allow such folly.
Selling literature produced by aberrant and false teachers, "for profit," in order to "make merchandise of" the body of Christ, is evil. Aren't Bible teaching churches are supposed to provide sound doctrine for trusting Christians. Of course they are, and there are plenty of Bible verses to back this up.
Amazingly, excuses are being given by bookstore managers who seek to sidestep the issue. "Oh, the computer orders it automatically," and "We provide a service to the body of Christ," and "This is what the people want," are just a few of the utterly ludicrous responses this author has heard when confronting bookstore owners, managers and even pastors. These excuses fall far short of the biblical standard of providing sound doctrine to Christians, and of course, to enquiring non-Christians who need to be saved from satanic deception, the power of sin, God's judgment that is to come upon Antichrist and all who receive "the mark of the beast," and eternal damnation in the lake of fire.
Chew the meat and spit out the bones?
Sadly, many well-meaning people these days are looking to pastors, church leaders, and church bookstores for spiritually beneficial material, yet in countless cases church-wide they are getting an admixture of products that are spiritually poisonous. God hates the admixture! Grain and wheat mixed with chaff, peanut butter blocks laced with rat poison, oatmeal mixed with systemic weed poison? Would anyone in their right mind feed these to their children? No, and neither would biblical pastors.
In a far more dangerous way, some Calvary Chapel leaders (and many leaders from other churches) are displaying that they have no issue with mixing the good with the bad - sound doctrine with aberrant doctrines and rife heresy - in their bookstores. This is the "chew the meat and spit out the bones" mentality all over again, which I heard for years in Calvary Chapel. I understand what church leaders mean when they make this statement from the pulpit, regarding reading material and buying books that are less than scriptural. But why even ever recommend literature from the puplit - or sell it - if it contains aberrant and false doctrine?
Where in all of Holy Scripture are the leaders of God's set-apart-people ever instructed to lead and feed His flock by providing them with meat (The Word) that has bones (false doctrine) in it? Scripture speaks of God's provision of milk for babes in Christ, and strong meat for the mature, but never meat with bones in it!
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5:12-14)
Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. (1 Peter 2:1-3)
Playing the profit game just like the world
Based on the facts, one could simply say that some Calvary Chapel's have and still are playing the profit game, just like the world and just like Signature Websites, Parable.Com, Christianbook.Com, and thousands of other totally compromised "Christian" resource providers.
Some of these churches have already been publicly exposed by faithful Christians who care more about upholding the glory and integrity of our Lord Jesus Christ, than their own reputation and personal income. We must remember that just because there is Scripture in a book, it does not mean that that book is sound in the faith. Satan uses and twists Scripture all the time for his own ends, even foisting it upon undiscerning Christians.
Certainly with all of the money that is flowing through these large churches - and the false doctrine selling bookstores - one would think that Calvary Chapel fellowships could provide compensation to at least one or two individuals who could sift through the purchasing and ordering lists for their bookstores. Apparently that would defeat the purpose of selling the aberrant and heretical material, which is of course, is to bring in more - money.
How many more Calvary Chapel bookstores have moved beyond accountability?
As time goes on, more and more people within Calvary Chapel will begin to see these compromises for what they are. Faithful believers will be repulsed by it, will challenge it, and will often be stonewalled for coming against it. Leaders that reject God's faithful messengers will then proceed to defile the body of Christ by the further indulgence in, and sale of, false doctrine; albeit, all under the guise of "sound doctrine" in the church bookstore.
The reader should take careful note here that often times the final outcome of churchgoers addressing bookstore compromises is that those who boldly confront the issues end up leaving their church altogether, never to return! Why do they never return? Because they confront leaders who are doing what they shouldn't be doing, and the leaders end up refusing to listen to those who sound the alarm about the sale and promotion of bad materials (and authors). It is also clear that some of them refuse to repent when they are privately contacted and even publicly denounced. Many people have had to endure the shoot-the-messenger scenario within Calvary Chapel, all for simply standing for sound doctrine in the church, and against agents of compromise that are polluting God's people.
Standing up for truth - unpopular but necessary
Standing up for God's truth by standing against bookstore compromises is not popular, but it is necessary! The growing folly being displayed amongst more and more Calvary Chapel churches and bookstores will most certainly become a cemented trend in the coming days, unless the Calvary Chapel Association Leadership Council puts a quick end to it. Personally, I and many others are not holding our breath on this one. I have done far to much research and seen far to much compromise in this movement, both publicly and behind the scenes, to fall under the spell of wishful thinking that somehow Calvary Chapel will change it ways. Nothing less than a massive full-scale, biblically sound, frontal assault against false doctrine and false teachers in the church - and neoEvangelical compromise - will do.
If Chuck Smith's personal main inner-circle of Calvary Chapel leaders is going to stand and embrace Rick Warren, and place him in the center of the photo shoot on stage at Chuck Smith's memorial tribute service, then you can be sure that what is coming in the future for Calvary Chapel is worse than one can ever imagine. I wish it weren't so, but the facts stand on their own. If they are going to allow this and many other compromises to persist, than I seriously doubt they are going to crack down on Calvary Chapel pastors that are selling heresy under the banner of Calvary Chapel church bookstores.
The thorough documentation below reveals just how far some Calvary Chapel leaders are willing to go to make an extra buck "for Jesus." Why some Calvary Chapel leaders allow such spoiling influences to take place speaks volumes. If they say, "It's all about Jesus!" while they refuse to listen to the watchmen sounding the alarm, one can be pretty sure that they will also betray the flock of God to save their own skin, when the real heat of violent persecution comes. If they can't listen to God's watchmen and protect the flock of God today, with simple bookstore issues, what in the world will they do when the forces of hell in the minds of sinful men are unleashed against the church in the future?
Judas sold out to the devil by betraying our Lord for 30 pieces of silver (Matthew 26:14-16). Jesus warned, "Remember Lot's wife" (Luke 17:32). Luke warned about Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11). Demas forsook Paul, "having loved this present world" (2 Timothy 4:10). Should we not take heed all the more in our own day, now that we are beginning to see a number of Calvary Chapel pastors selling out to the Christian bookstore industry - and that for a few extra bucks?
Great confusion and divergent positions
In light of the irrefutable evidence exposing Calvary Chapel bookstore compromises, one has to simply ask, "Are Calvary Chapel bookstores beyond accountability?"
The following statement was written by Calvary Chapel's own leaders in the end of Calvary Chapel's own 2006 'Parson-to-Parson' position paper. It speak volumes to the issue at hand, but is anyone listening?
The great confusion that exists in the divergent positions of the Emergent Church results from their challenging the final authority of the Scriptures. When you no longer have a final authority, then everyone's ideas become as valid as the next person's, and it cannot help but end in total confusion and contradictions.
There are those who say that [the] Emergent movement has some good points, but so does a porcupine. You are better off if you don't get too close!
So, let us not turn to our own understanding, but rather return to our own first love; and teach that the Bible is indeed the true word of God; and teach it in its entirety; nothing less and nothing more.
With glowing statements like this, is it not a great travesty, that Christian men, instead of staying away from "total confusion and contradictions" and vicious theological "porcupines," have rather sought fit to line their Christian church bookstores with them? If more Christian leaders simply obeyed what Scripture commands, we would have fewer compromisers in the pulpit and safer Christian bookstores - in Calvary Chapel, and beyond.
According to the Word of God, declaring the whole counsel of God entails preaching and teaching the truth, and also warning of error, rejecting false doctrine, separating from false teachers, and doing everything in our strength and might to protect the flock of God, which Jesus purchased with His own blood:
“Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” (Acts 20:26-31)
May God's Word always and forever have the final say on all subjects:
"Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality. Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure." (1 Timothy 5:19-22)
"Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person." (1 Corinthians 5:6-13)
Compiled by Chris Lawson
(Updated May 2014)
Oct 18, 2013 (AUDIO by Chris Lawson & Ray Yungen)