Please accept my sincere apologies for the delay in my correspondence.
A number of things have transpired since I last wrote, many good things of course, and some very difficult things too. The difficult things have very much slowed me down personally, as they have affected my wife and I deeply on an emotional level.
The following may shock some of you, but as I write, my purpose is to be as clear and transparent as possible, and to speak out about the truth of some matters that I can no longer simply put aside for the sake of "keeping the peace." Too many people are being hurt, and I must speak out on the following and give some pointed details.
For the time being, my family and I will be staying in Central, California, and continuing on with our SRN ministry.
I am currently on the road this week and I will not be responding to emails after August 10th.
We did finally make the decision to move back to Scotland in February, yet immediately after this we ended up leaving our would-be sending church. The reason? The Calvary Chapel we were attending has unfortunately thoroughly implemented the unbiblical Moses/Aaron style of leadership. Meaning = Calvary Chapel's one-pastor-above-the-rest version. This is not just a plague in Calvary Chapel churches, but in countless thousands of churches that neglect and or reject the biblical model of a plurality of godly elders or "overseers" who can lead God's people. That is what God put in Scripture - a balanced leadership for New Testament churches. However, many men are trying to circumvent what God has already established as the standard, and the practical results are utterly grievous!
Unfortunately, my wife and I have been under the impression for the last three years that our church had biblical elders. However, the church has no elders. When we met with the so-called leaders, it became very clear to us that we cannot be sent into the mission field by a church that is clearly building a very imbalanced leadership structure. We understand now why this Calvary Chapel has not utilized our SRN ministry - SRN exposes unbalanced and abusive leadership styles, along with cults, spiritual deception, ecumenism, etc.
The SRN board helped me in making this very difficult decision for my family and the reputation of SRN. We had no other choice than to leave Calvary Chapel.
I experience no joy in belaboring my point here. I feel it is important for you to know that the last time my family and I went into the mission field, being sent out by a church with an imbalanced leadership, we personally paid dearly for it in every way - ultimately having to return to the USA.
I do not want to travel this road again, personally or as a missionary. It has already taken us over four years to get back on our feet financially as a family. The last thing we need, at this point, is to have another church turn on us at the whim of one man's decision (like the first time around), because we are exposing lies and deception in the Body of Christ.
Very sadly, my wife and children and I have had to face yet another major heartache and disadvantage in the progress of our desire to get back to Scotland and continue on with our missions activity there - all because of two Calvary Chapel pastors who won't implement New Testament leadership and keep the balance.
As missionaries, we'd rather be supported by a plurality of godly elders/church leaders who are building a balanced sending church, rather than a church with a pyramid-structure leadership whereby one man makes most of the decisions. If God wants us back in Scotland He will lead us back in His way and in His time.
As a result of us leaving our home church here, we have completely left the Calvary Chapel movement altogether. Unless things change in Calvary Chapel's imbalanced leadership structures and their current growing trend of becoming neo-evangelical, many more people will leave Calvary's in the present and future. To sit idly by and not warn of these dangers is sinful and wicked. It must be stated that not all Calvary Chapel's follow the [Calvary Chapel version of the] "Moses-Aaron" leadership style however according to the book Calvary Chapel Distinctives (Chapter 2) - it is the Calvary Chapel model for leadership.
It has been very difficult to leave behind nearly 25 years of affiliation with Calvary Chapel. Fourteen of these years as a Calvary Pastor/missionary.
Due to the growing enormity of leadership struggles and leadership meltdowns within many Calvary Chapel's I will be addressing numerous issues in the coming weeks. I will do this from a biblical perspective, and from a pastoral, researcher/writer's perspective regarding the dangers of spiritual abuse, cultic-systems, abusive leadership styles, etc. Why would I do this? To help those who are also suffering from this authoritative and unbiblical model of church leadership, which does not glorify the Lord.
It is our prayer and ultimate motive to bring glory to the Lord with our lives and to shine for Him. We do not desire to bring division in the body of Christ. We write these things, praying for change in these pastor's hearts and methods all for the glory of the LORD! Also, for the equipping of His sheep in these last days. We have not experienced these things in vain for we know that God works all things together for good!
On a different note, at present:
We have started a local Bible study on Wednesday evenings and we meet periodically on Sunday mornings ministering to those who are not in "church" fellowship.
We are beginning a Bible study in a nearby town on Wednesday mornings, beginning on Wednesday August 10.
We are seeking to purchase a CD/DVD duplicator in order to mail out our audio messages.
Please note again that I am currently on the road this week and I will be responding to emails after August 10th.
Please do pray for my family and I and the board of SRN as we continue to seek the Lord's will for the ministry of SRN.
In the tenderness of our gracious Lord and Savior Christ,
Chris Lawson, Director
Spiritual Research Network