Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Leaving Calvary Chapel and the Moses Model

Verses to remember reading this one..

Mar 10:42 But Jesus called them [to him], and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. Mar 10:43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: Mar 10:44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.

"Leaving Calvary Chapel"

"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 Chapels follow the "Moses-Aaron" leadership style however according to the book "Calvary Distinctives" (chapter two) - 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 those years as a Calvary Pastor/missionary."

I think the Moses model in different forms has taken over the churches in general, all we have to do is look at the celebrity shows and the control many are taking, some have some "deacons" but in churches I have visited the pastor basically runs their show. I believe Jesus's church was not supposed to be run with one guy in charge up in a pulpit, with the rest of the church as an "audience", that definitely was a skewing of the original plan.

Role of the Pastor
This form of local church government of Calvary Chapel is based on an authoritarian model called the Moses Principle. In a way this is ironic considering the formation of Calvary Chapel during the countercultural revolution in America of the 1960s and 1970s. This is a top-down model of church government similar to an episcopacy. This system results in unaccountability to the congregation.

Funny how this was supposed to be the "countercultural" church, where freedom would supposedly reign, think about how laid back the hippies were, but they go with a model for church leadership that has no difference from the liturgical churches.

The Moses Principle is based on OT leadership at the time of Moses not on what Jesus Christ taught, the link above goes more into it.

Mat 23:1 ¶ Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,

Mat 23:2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:

Mat 23:3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, [that] observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

Mat 23:4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay [them] on men's shoulders; but they [themselves] will not move them with one of their fingers.

Mat 23:5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,

Mat 23:6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,

Mat 23:7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.

Mat 23:8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, [even] Christ; and all ye are brethren.

and Galatians 4 [the verse this blog is named after]:

1Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; 2But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. 3Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: 4But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.


Anonymous said...

Amen, BB! The Moses model comes from the time Jethro his father-in-law suggested it to him after seeing how the people waited upon Moses to judge according to the Word. There are a few things about this:

1. People at that time did not have Scripture at their fingertips. This is the reason this was implemented. As Moses had the Laws written, the people had to go to him to find out the will of the I AM--as it is written.

2. When Moses took Jethro's suggestion, the other men appointed would have been versed in the law to some degree of experience. Those more knowledgeable of the Laws were given the position over many, those less knowledgeable over fewer.

3. That model is indeed the "tutors and governors" version, which was good for that time. However, as John put it, those who have the "unction"--the Holy Ghost--need not that any man should teach them. In other words, they are held responsible for seeking in the Word the will of the I AM. Certainly in the earliest time of the Congregation founded by the Apostles, people did not have Bibles the way we today do. What they did have was their pastors (what Scripture calls "bishops") who had the Scriptures left them by the Apostles who founded their congregations. The Scriptures were open to all in the congregation equally to view so that even then, they could see for themselves what was the Word and what wasn't. Since then, there are Bibles available to all, and we need not that "any many should teach us". We are each responsible for knowing the Word. We have no one to blame but ourselves. We can't blame the pastor. We can't blame our parents. We can't blame anyone. It's time to grow up.

That old model is a recipe for disaster now that old things have passed away, now that we have Bibles, now that the Holy Ghost is made the Teacher.

And speaking of this, BB, I believe you know who I am. Go to my board to the private forum. I have posted some new quotes that will truly turn your stomach. They reveal the real person behind the mask. Anon. #1

Bible Believer said...

Anon #1, I went to your board, and didn't see any new quotes, unless I am guessing the wrong board altogether. I do have an email connected to this blog, you can email me at, just click on my profile and it is there.

Yes the time of Moses was the time of tutor and governors and that alone shows they are a false church wanting to keep their people under the "Moses model", of course I think that is the majority today. Yes in the early Christian church, they examined scripture to test their teachers and the true teachers supported this such as the Bereans doing their examination. Now these false churches teach blind obedience and seek to usurp the position as the Holy Spirit as the teacher in the Christians life. The Holy Spirit told me to get out of Calvary Chapel and they were a false connected harlot church even if they made appearances of exposing deception such as the Emergent movement in their Bible conferences. Yes we all have Bible at our fingertips and information beyond belief, so yes we are responsible for knowing God's Word and praying to know the truth. I do not understand or relate to those who depend so heavily on false teachers, even those shown the truth about Rome, but then suddenly go back to the same behavior, putting man first. The old model has brought disaster. More and mroe the evangelical church seems to be a parade of blind obedience. They desire for as many people as possible to follow these blind preachers into the ditch.

Moses Model said...

I chose my pseudonym to satire the Moses Model a bit, though I haven't been able to yet. Most people do not realize two major things about Moses. 1) His model was a form of government and had legal penalties to enforce the edicts. One of the reasons that Moses was somewhat successful, was that he was able to execute people. 2) The Israelite population decreased under Moses.

Bible Believer said...

Well as you can see it is keeping people under the OT model instead of being under grace definitely making it false.

Welcome to the blog.

Provender said...

Best wishes for your new life out of Calvary Chapel. Twenty-five years is a long time! We were married in a Calvary Chapel more than thirty years ago, and taught Sunday school there. Many years later, remembering good times in those early days of our faith, we helped a non-denominational church become a CC, and lived to regret it. The Moses model hierarchy of CCs facilitates all the tendencies of spiritual abuse: authoritarianism, manipulation, the characterizing of opposition as persecution, paranoia among leadership, black and white thinking, elitism. We were kicked out of our CC when we confronted the pastor. He and his bouncers were blocking a public sidewalk to prevent a meeting to explain why his wife had instructed the bouncers to escort a grandmother from the church. (He literally ran from the elders rather than deal with criticism.) He disbanded the board, wrote up his own statement of faith and started excommunicating humble, passionate believers. After three years of his reign, just about every regularly-attending family there when he arrived was gone. He preached against critics, instituted loyalty tests and was simply spiritual poison. The regional CC leaders did not wish to help. They circle the wagons and protect their Moseses. I've had to repent of a lot since leaving this toxic group. I was a defender of our abusive pastor as long as I could defend him. I had to apologize to the Christians who left before us, since I defended the pastor by trashing them (in my mind) and their motives. God forgive me! Congratulations on getting out.

Bible Believer said...

Hi Provender, welcome to the blog.

I am fortunate my time in Calvary Chapel was very short, having moved from the fundie baptist church and trying to find something else suitable in an area very low on fundamentalist churches. [I visited the one where I had to walk out where the false pastor screamed at his congregation for "disobeying him' that Wed night, and where he taught that criticism of ANY sitting president was a sin] I know others have spent much longer in Calvary Chapel, well I had the years and years in other false churches [Catholic and UU] as I share on my testimony here. That had to be especially difficult to see the damage done with the church being brought into the CC. Well, the Moses Model is basically what the Catholic church follows if you think about it, that clergy member runs the show, and no one can question their decisions. There is no voting like what occured at my old fundie church during business meetings. So you are right it opens the door to spiritual abuse massively because they are in charge and let people know it. I am sorry you were treated so horribly, and kicked out for disagreeing with the pastor. When they start tossing grandmothers out of the church then they are on a tyrannical tear. That is horrible how he tossed everyone out and expected loyalty tests. I have to admit, trying to visit churches in my local area, I have been horrified at the claim for power by many of these pastors [like the one church I even attempted to visit for Bible studies] but realized they were so far gone, and the pastor requiring Rick Warren covenants to be signed where you had to sign away any rights to dissent or disagree or a 'vow' not to gossip:

I got out of there....

They know the tricks in using loyalty tests and turning believers against one another and demands for loyalty. It is very sad. I am glad God woke you up to what was going on, and was able to repent and get out of there.

I still remember the conversation with my last CC pastor {I was only in a matter of months, realizing the truth about the CC} where he told me "discernment" ministries were bad and I was supposed to not go to them, and they were only trouble makers after I showed him the picture of Rick Warren, Chuck Smith and Greg Laurie together [done privately] and said this is unacceptable. He told me at that time, while he disagreed with some of Rick Warren's focuses, that Rick Warren was a Christian too. At that time, I knew the man had no discernment, and knew I would have to leave. God was showing me other things about Calvary Chapel at the time as well.

Praise the Lord you were able to get out of there. I am glad you apologized to those other Christians.

The hirelings ARE scattering the sheep. I have not been in a church for a long time, and for many of us, missing fellowship is painful, but better that then following a false pastor or church.

Anonymous said...

My family and I were involved in CC's for 20 years. There were many mass exodus' but we didn't have first hand info about the issues. As long as we were just looking at teaching and worship, we were fine, but the more we got involved in ministry, the more the problems with the Moses Model leadership style became apparent.

The closer to the inner circle we became, due to the ministries we were involved in, the more clear it became that the pastor did not have any accountability. He claimed he did. But in the end, his "accountability" was with someone outside of the church and it was based on his volunteering himself to be held accountable. That's not real accountability.

We did have elders, but they had no power and could be removed if they disagreed with the pastor, or even asked questions; the same was true with the financial board, as well.

No one ever saw the books and were encouraged to leave the fellowship if they asked to see the books. Other "tests of loyalty" were used to weed out people who did not operate with blind loyalty.

My guess is that the unbiblical Moses Model leadership style either attracts narcissists and/or it takes good men and corrupts them through the total lack of accountability.

Bible Believer said...

I am glad you found the truth too anon, I would think yes families that are not as involved and showing up for the preaching and worship, it would be definitely different then those who get close to the inner circle.

I wonder how some of these men are chosen to be frank, in Calvary Chapel and even other denominations, probably ones who are more independent thinkers or considered "too bible believing" would be drummed out of seminary.

I tend to believe that churches where the focus is on one guy, and he runs the whole show, are false to start with. That is not how the church was meant to operate. The churches that vote and have elders definitely are not so much of a one-man show. When elders can be removed simply for disagreeing with a pastor or all the property and finances is under his control, that is a problem. When they hide the books that is a bad scene too. Yes the tests of loyalty are horrid. They do those not only to those who get more involved into the inner circles but I saw it being done, even to congregations told never to speak "negatively" about any pastors. When I saw this in a church bulletin, I knew I couldn't even be there for any Bible study:

"2. Do not speak against or listen to gossip or slander about your pastor. If you hear negative comments, respond with a positive one. If misinformation is being spread, correct it with the accurate information."

One would suppose that "accurate info' means positive only.

I would think this type of system while able to corrupt some good men, it definitely would serve as an attraction to the would be narcissists who even desire that much power over others.

I get the feeling too that humble and good men and those who stick to God's Word and the truth definitely are being drummed out of the church system with only a few managing to hang in there.

Anonymous said...

I can validate everything you wrote, Bible Believer.

I watched a CC pastor look straight past several men who had a consistent life, fruit of the Spirit evident, fit the qualifications for an elder, were proven over time and testing, and Bible college backgrounds ... able to teach. The pastor looked past these men and picked a man who was only 2 years off drugs, only one year of hearing the Bible, and his family hadn't even fully healed from his years of serious drug benders. This is who was picked to be the youth leader/pastor.

The guys testimony is great! But the Bible says we are not to put a novice into a leadership position. He doesn't qualify to be an elder or a deacon, yet.

Others were marked, as in negatively, by the pastor if they had any Bible college training, as if it was spiritually unhealthy to have Bible training.

Bible Believer said...

I don't doubt they did that, they can have more "influence" over a newbie Christian, who is a babe rather then seasoned and knowledgeable Christians. I am sure his testimony was great but he definitely was not prepared enough to lead youth.

Anonymous said...

A clean addict is still an addict. These guys trade in drugs for religion. Am I rejoicing over his salvation, you betcha! But the CC pastors take advantage of the addiction tendency and put the guy to work at the church 6+ days per week, without a concern for the family life. Make him a youth pastor, it doesn't matter he has no clue what's in the Bible. Give him some grunt work to do, add in some small group situation he has to run, make him learn all the CC ways in an intense learning environment, one on one several days per week, etc... It's intense. It's not balanced. It's unfair to the families.

God says not to lay hands on anyone suddenly. They become puffed up and the pride goes before the fall. Often they are great for awhile, but success goes to their head and then they employ the controlling ways of CC because they don't have a way to get away from it all and think more objectively.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your post

As a former "member" of a calvary chapel church i can attest to the complete truthfullness of this post

As a Calvary Chapel Sunday school teacher for 6 years and sitting on the leadership council for the children's ministry, it was REQUIRED that I read "calvary distinctives" and "obey" it almost as as an extra biblical authority

No one DOES ANYTHING in that church without pastoral approval, which of course i now disaggree with anyone having that type of power based on the words spoken by Jesus and quoted in the post

It indeed was a heart wrenching day when I had no choice but to leave my "church family"

Now what I am about to tell you is true and at the same time utterly disgusting

I left the "church" because a member of the congregation had sexually molested his 2 year old daughter.

He is NOW serving 11-13 years in Florida State Prison System

Guess who's side the church was on and more specifically the pastor?

They defended the sexual molester and alienated the mother and the family from the church


Because to do otherwise would offend the molester's brother in whose home the church began many years ago and would cause a church split with most of the congregation following after the molester's brother

No thought was given to doing the "right" thing.

The pastor even counseled the mother to accept the sexual molester back into the home!

He is unrepentent to this day...both the sexual molester and the pastor

They were also found guilty in a civil suit for their actions in this matter and the church had to set up a trust for the molested girl.

Jesus has taught me much since then about the issue of pastoral authoority

now this scripture comes to mind from the gospel that john wrote in the 2nd chapter

23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did . 24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, 25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.

Our Lord and King Jesus was "careful who he committed himself to" and if we be conformed to His Image we should be of the same mind as well.

Be careful my brothers and sisters....not everything is as it seems outwardly

I have nothing to hide so i sign my name in caps


Bible Believer said...

Thank you for sharing your experience
I have read before that all pastors and leaders in the CC must be PRE-trib or they are asked to leave, while I believe there are people who believe that way, and are saved, [took me time to have the Holy Spirit, even teach me about that one] to demand those distinctives show they are putting their authority above Gods. Of course even within the Calvary Chapel distinctives, is that odd teaching about not adhering to strong doctrine, which I know is contradicatory to their other demands. In other words it influences them NOT to contend for the truth while the other demands can be made.

I disagree with pastoral power in general. I have come to the conclusions that the churches with one guy in charge and at the front is based on the lies of the Nicholatians, and not what Jesus Christ intended at all, though there were allowances for elders, teachers, etc.

Sadly most churches out there are based on the one guy in charge model. Some are better and allow congregational voting, like my good fundie baptist church but I have discovered those type of churches have been rarer.

I understand what you mean by it being heart wrenching to leave a "church family", even leaving churches here, or knowing I cannot be part of them due to false preaching, it's hard because of the human beings involved and even in Calvary Chapel, after a short time of being there, there were friends that were being left behind.
If a church will not stand up to protect children, then yes you must leave. That shows wickedness to great extents. I would not be Catholic based ALONE on the corruption of the leadership that was exposed in 2002.
That is sick they took the side of the sexual molester instead of standing up for the mother and child.

It looks like they did want to all accept the status quo and make excuses.

I am so sorry you had to experience seeing all this, it is good you did leave and got out. I will pray for you and those involved. Did anyone else leave with you?

I agree. Wow. that is a great verse. Well we are to follow Jesus's example, not comitting ourselves to man, because men are fallible. We should all be of the same mind today, you are right about that. Sadly the Christian world has "joining" fever, where instead of just saying "I am a Christian", they connect themselves to celebrity pastors and denominations instead.

We all need to trust in Jesus Christ only, and people need to stop giving their hearts to men instead.

So glad you got out and did not tolerate that evil.

God bless you.

Anonymous said...

It is true about the pretrib doctrine at calvary chapel. I disagree with this doctrine since scripture proves we will go thru the tribulation.
( I will debate anyone on this matter )

A friend was being considered to sit on the "board" or leadership committee of the church. He was rejected and subsequently left the church at the same time I was leaving because he did not agree with the pretrib rapture.

Only 2 couples out of around 5-700 people left the church over this incident of child sexual molestation.

I was in the "wilderness" for some time. I consoled myself that Moses, Paul, and our Lord had also had a wilderness experience.

I would rather be in the wilderness with Jesus, than surrounded by the apostates in the world.

Thank You for your kind words

The time has come and will come when this is required of us:

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. 12 Therefore rejoice , ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them.

Yes I say Rejoice



Bible Believer said...

I agree with you about the pretrib rapture, it is being used for massive deception by all these false churches. Why does almost ever wolf love the pre-trib rapture? [There are a few sincere folks who do but most have made the mistake of listening to the wolves] I praise God that He warned me about that stuff too. It's sad in CC how one some things, holding to strong doctrine they consider divisive, but the pretrib thing they hold to with 100% with no wiggle room. Only 2 couples left, that is very sad. Well that is good you did.

Yes being in the "wilderness" there are many ending up there coming out of these bad churches. I've been outside the churches myself for some years, living without in the flesh Christian fellowship can be tough, but loyalty to God comes first, and yes like you I'd rather be in the wilderness with Jesus then hooked up with the apostates. Consider this blog, given that 99% of the churches are part of the one world system, that alone tells me, I can have nothing to do with them.
Thanks for that verse. I agree REJOICE, those who are with Jesus, and knowing the truth about the false church system.

Eph 3:19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Anonymous said...

Please explain how to leave a comment. I seem to be having difficulty in figuring this out by myself.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you all for sharing! I would like to see this post kept alive and updated as so many of us can relate to the abuse within CC and the Moses model error...

Texas Mike said...

I too was involved in a Calvary Chapel Church for a number of years. It never ceases to amaze me how there and at many Southern Baptist Churches as well, that evil men with fat tithing envelopes or cute stories that make the girls think their cool get promoted in these joints.

Anonymous said...

I attended a CC for a short time and noticed a few things. Neither the pastor nor the people there were very bright. The pastor was in need of an attitude adjustment: he came off as arrogant, blunt and unfriendly. The people were pretty basic and prone to stereotyping. There was a fundamentalist 'feel' to the place, but without the Sunday clothing. And yes, behaviorally they operated a bit cult-like, though their beliefs were mostly Christian.

Anonymous said...

I attended a Calvary Chapel for a short time and found it was uneducated, fundamentalist, and authoritarian. Knowing what I know now, I would never again attend one.

Anonymous said...

I like to keep an open mind, so I decided to visit a Calvary Church, as a co-worker of mine is a member. I have to tell you, it was not for me. I felt uncomfortable. I am a traditionalist at heart, and even a pastor I spoke to said I was not being picky, but perhaps this was God letting me know that this church was not for me. Without being judgmental, it felt almost "cult-like". I will not be back, but I'm glad I did go. I appreciate all your reviews, especially finding the Moses Model to be very interesting.