Dear George Bryson,
I have tried to find another way to contact you, but to no avail. I don’t even know if you will ever get this or not. I write to you with a heart of peace and in the love of Jesus, yet troubled.
I attended a Calvary Chapel for 5 years, served diligently, was mentored, ordained and sent out by my Pastor to start a Calvary Chapel. That was 2.5 years ago.
Long story short, I tried to affiliate with CCOF, but had to retract my application because of the issue of Calvinism/Arminianism because I could not affirm Pastor Chuck’s position 100%. To say that one man’s view on the subject is correct for me is not possible.
To say the least I was severely disappointed, felt abandoned, and the church start failed. That last two years have been some of the most difficult in my life.
When I began attending CC, I was not aware that Calvary Chapel had rejected Calvinism, kicked out Calvinistic Professors and Pastors, and turned their back on their Christian brothers who thought the Doctrines of Grace were valid. I wish I would have been told.
I was not a Calvinist, nor do I consider myself a Calvinist, but I believe you and others would label me as one since I believe the Doctrines of Grace are legitimate. I consider myself a Biblical Christian, nothing more and nothing less.
Before I came to that conclusion, I even defended the Calvary Chapel view on the subject before I even began attending a CC, and continued to defend the CC view when others in our church began to study Calvinism because our Pastor taught through the book of Romans, including Chapter 8-9. That sparked interest.
During my mentorship I read your first book on the subject, which of course sparked my studies. After hours and hours, weeks and weeks, and months and months of study and discussion with fellows in my church, I realized that the Doctrines of Grace were legitimate, but would not press my view on others. Though your definition of the Doctrines of Grace and my definition are different. When I teach the subject I am balanced and teach both sides and let the people decide.
Anyway, that is the short version of all that has transpired over the last 8 years. I write to you because I am troubled by what you write and say. I have read both your books, wrote reviews for my CCOF application and Pastor, listened to you on the Bible Answer Man, and watched your debate with James White.
I listened to part of your teaching at the CC Pastor’s Conference at the end of 2003 on James White’s show today. My conclusion is simple. You have confused mainstream Calvinism with Hyper-Calvinism and deny that the mainstream rejects Hyper-Calvinism. You misrepresent the main group of those who believe the Doctrines of Grace, and you don’t appear to be concerned that you do so.
I am concerned that you never present an alternative interpretation of those passages in scripture such as John 6, John 10, John 17, Romans 9 etc etc.. and a ton of other passages that teach the Doctrines of Grace to line up with Calvary Chapel theology.
And despite that you say your a Biblicist, you do believe man can respond to God in his sinfulness, that God elects on condition, general atonement, and grace can be resisted. Those are 4 points of Arminianism according to Pastor Chuck in his pamphlet.
I am concerned with God’s truth and what His Word teaches. I love the truth of God’s Word, and I love the God of the Bible. I am not a malicious, manipulating, deceitful “Calvinist” as you basically said in your talk in 2003 at the Pastor’s conference.
You believe your theology is the truth, and you may not be concerned with searching the truth of God’s Word like the Bereans, but don’t say that those who disagree with you when it comes to this subject are arrogant, prideful, “intellectual”, manipulating people.
Yes I am a young man, 32 at present, and it is true I love God’s Word and want what I believe to line up with His truth. Yes I believe in the Doctrines of Grace because I am convinced of their accuracy by the Bible. That doesn’t make me an evil, manipulating “Calvinist.”
Maybe if someone on the other side of the issue were to give us a valid interpretation of those texts that teach the Doctrines of Grace that lines up with CC teaching we could come out of “Calvinism.” I have yet to see anyone who does so, and that is why people believe the Doctrines of Grace and defend them against the tradition of men.
I am not a “scholar” like some, nor do I have implicit first hand knowledge of the original languages. I study to show myself approved, and do my best to understand God’s Word. I love His truth.
I am currently writing a book to detail my understanding of the Doctrines of Grace. I’ve titled it God’s Salvation, and I am basing all of my presentation on the text of the Bible alone. I am not interested in presenting what men have said about this subject because at the end of the day the only thing that matters is God’s Word.
If you choose to continue misrepresenting the position of many Christians that is your choice, but I believe as a Bible believing Christian that I should confront you on this issue.
You may not be concerned with this letter in the least bit because I’m just a small little person out here in the world, but I know God is concerned with how we believe and teach His Word.
Therefore, I would be willing to come to the next Calvary Chapel Pastors’ Conference in California this next year and have a session with you on this subject. I’d be willing to have a parallel presentation with you including cross examination.
Who would be better to discuss these things with than an ordained Calvary Chapel pastor banished from the ranks because I love and choose to understand the truth of God’s Word to the best of my ability. And I am not willing to accept one man’s interpretation of these things.
I do hope you know that I write these things with gentleness and respect. I write with the love for my brothers in Christ. I believe you are my brother.