To Moriel’s Subscribers and Friends in Calvary Chapels
by James Jacob Prasch
Following developments at the California Calvary Chapel Conference in circa 8th-10th of June a fair amount of our readers in Calvary Chapels are asking our view of the events that transpired. The reason of course being that Moriel has often recommended Calvary Chapels to people contacting us looking for a solid church in both the UK and USA.
In no uncertain terms Moriel and Jacob Prasch firmly agree with the position voiced by Pastor Chuck Smith and supported by Pastor Mike Mac Intosh critical of the Purpose Driven gimmickry. ‚ Independent of Pastors Smith and MacIntosh, ‚ we have always believed Purpose Driven to be rather “marketing driven” and foundationally based not on biblical principles, but on a combination of marketing and psychology, with influences of New Age seduction and rife with theologically dangerous doctrinal compromise and faulty exegesis. To this end we both solidly endorse the excellent books on this gimmickry by James Sundquist and Warren Smith and strongly sanction the stance taken by Chuck Smith. We also stand by the aversion to Purpose Driven voiced by Dave Hunt, Roger Oakland, John Mac Arthur, Bud Press, Dr. Robert Morey, Mike Gendron and a host of pastors known to us (many of them in Calvary Chapels).
While not mentioning Purpose Driven, we also commend the recently published Theologising Away Discomfort article by Jews For Jesus Executive Director David Brickner, addressing the detriment to the cause of Christ from “holistic” approaches to evangelism in a poorly designed response to the dilemmas posed by post-modernism.
Biblically aware Christians will recognize that instead of devising ways to re-contextualize the Gospel for a post-modern worldview, too much of what is being manufactured in the church today is actually the paradigm shift causing the Gospel to be redefined along unbiblical and pseudo-biblical lines. We have seen this badly contrived trend from Robert Schuller and Bill Hybels to C. Peter Wagner, and when examined scripturally Purpose Driven is, broadly speaking, essentially in much the same vein.
This should not, however, be misinterpreted to mean that we are casting any aspersions on the sincerity or motives of Rick Warren personally in writing these books. But we must scripturally challenge the validity of content of his books. Neither should appreciation of the stand taken by Chuck Smith or John MacArthur be misconstrued to suggest that we always automatically rubber stamp all of their assertions ‚ – nor they ours. But regarding this very serious affair, they are biblically and factually correct (as they often have been) and in time they will without doubt be proven to be biblically and factually correct.
Purpose Driven will reveal itself to be just another gimmicky fad that will largely produce transfer growth instead of any biblical or historical version of Evangelical revival, and will appeal to the same kinds of misguided and undiscerning churches and pastors who fell for the Toronto and Pensacola counterfeits, ecumenical Alpha courses, Jim Challenge, phony Gold Teeth, the so-called Kansas City Prophets, etc. Western society is largely post-Judeo-Christian and fast becoming neo-pagan, and there is no quick fix solutions to be found in pseudo-biblical trends, no matter how popular or well intended.
We thank the Lord and applaud the integrity and leadership demonstrated by Chuck Smith at this crucial point in time and we are gravely disappointed that some very vocal elements within the Calvary Chapel Movement have openly opposed Chuck Smith’s perspective; not merely because of Chuck Smith’s status as founder of Calvary Chapel, but mainly because on this issue he is biblically and practically right, and again, will be shown to be right. We urge our readers in Calvary Chapels to muster to the affirmation of Chuck Smith’s position on this issue should the matter further arise.
On a somewhat related but separate note, we also salute the plethora of Calvary Chapel pastors at odds with the radically ecumenical comments expressed by John Courson, particularly concerning his proto ” “ sacramentalist slant on the Lord’s Supper seemingly bordering on a Roman Catholic Eucharistic position. The entire Emergent Church syndrome with its icons, statues, incense, vestments, and candles marks a fundamental and sinister departure from biblical evangelicism and hopefully will find no enduring place in any christo-centric Bible-believing church.