I received your letter today stating that Calvary Chapel Houston voted on
June 25, 2007 to remove my Ordination. The letter states:
“In light of your doctrinal position that you do not agree with Calvary
Chapel theology, clearly stated to Pastor (redacted) on many occasions, as
well as your comments stating such on your Web page, the Board of Calvary Houston in accordance with Articles XV of the By-Laws voted on June 25,
2007 to remove your ordination.”
I accept the decision of the board. I knew in my heart that it would come.
Officially, during my affiliation process I could not agree with Chuck
Smith’s interpretation of the Doctrines of Grace and the order of salvation.
That was the reason I withdrew my application to affiliate. It was not
because I disagree with Calvary Chapel “doctrine.” I am bound by my
conscience to Christ. It has nothing to do with arrogance or pride.
I want to be clear with you and the board on the specifics of my
disagreement. As I said to you by email and conversation, I cannot affirm
one man’s interpretation on these matters. Chuck Smith is a good man, a
good pastor, and I respect all that he has done. But in the end he is just
a man and I am accountable to Christ alone. If Chuck Smith is wrong, how am
I going to answer Christ when I stand before Him when I am responsible for
what I believe and teach? I will not be able to put the blame on anyone
else but myself. Chuck Smith will not be standing by my side when I am
Also, I would like the official record to show that I am not a “Calvinist.”
That term is a man made label used to divide and stereotype what people
believe. There is enough hatred without taking on a label for myself. I am
not a follower of John Calvin, I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I do not
100% agree with everything John Calvin taught nor believed.
Everything I believe on the matters of the Doctrines of Grace are clearly
stated in the document attached. I sent you a copy, but I do not know if
you still have it. You will recognize the form as the one a pastor fills
out when applying with Calvary Chapel.
If you want to know what I believe concerning who can come to Christ, read
my article on my web page by that title. Its on the front
page and has been there since October 2006.
I believe that whoever desires or wants to come to Christ can do so. God
does not keep people away by putting up a wall to keep them out. People
don’t come to Christ because they hate God and love their sin.
You ordained me for a purpose, and that purpose was to come to Broken Arrow,
Oklahoma and start a church. I did my best to do that, but I had to put it
on hold for financial reasons. Now that the Board there has removed
my Ordination, that endeavor has failed officially. I had hoped that one
day God would make a way.
I love Christ more than life itself. I love Christ more than family,
friends, or anything else in this life. I felt called to ministry at 7
years old and that drive and motivation never relented. He pursued me to
the point of crushing me. Everything I did in my education and adult life
was focused on serving Him in ministry. If it has been a false calling and
I am self deceived, then grieve for me because it has been 25 years in the
making. It was the entire purpose of my life.
I believe the initial start failed because of my inexperience, bad
decisions, and spiritual maturity. The inexperience and bad decisions was
because I was a novice. I thought I was spiritually mature enough at the
time, but I look back now and see where I fell short. So many mistakes, but
I really learned so much. But it was too late not to put things on hold
because of finances. After all the church had very little financial support
from anyone else other than (redacted) and I.
The Calvary Chapel view would be that God was not with me. It failed
because I was wrong about the call.
You taught me 3 things during our 5 years together. Love God, love
His Word, and love His people. I love God above all else. I love His Word
and accept it fully. I will not align what I believe His Word teaches to
gain the approval of men or an organization. I love the people of God, and
if Christ ever gave me a flock to shepherd I would lay my life down for
them. After all He is our example to follow.
I have been and was always upfront and honest with you about everything I
believed. I did not hold anything back, and nothing has changed since I
left. I am doing my best to have an accurate, honest, truthful
understanding of the Bible and all it teaches. I want a 100% fully
harmonious grasp of all the truth He has given us in His Word. If He did
not want us to know He would not have told us. The Bible does not
If I could have gotten a copy of the affiliation papers, an understanding of
the affiliation process, maybe even went through it before I left for
Oklahoma like I asked, maybe we would have come to an understanding that I
should have not been sent out by CC. I wouldn’t have been able to affirm
Chuck’s views on 100% of everything.
A Word on George Bryson’s presentation of the Doctrines of Grace since that
is what we looked at together and you use to train the Deacons there. In
both the books I have read by him, his presentation is not what I believe
concerning the Doctrines of Grace. He in no way represents me or what I
believe. I want to make that very clear. He does not represent the
Doctrines of Grace accurately or fairly. Here are 5 of the points I sent to
you on his book The Darkside of Calvinism. I believe these 5 are the most
1) on page 15 and many, many other pages George writes something like,
“Despite formal denials from Calvinist…” and then he will go on to give an
explanation of what Calvinism teaches on a particular aspect of Theology.
Doesn’t formal denials from those who believe in a system count for
anything? Not according to George Bryson. He misrepresents “Calvinism”
quite badly, yet says that despite what Calvinist teach, this is what it
really teaches. There is something really, really wrong and dishonest about
2) on page 106 Bryson comes out and says the audience of a piece of writing
doesn’t matter in regard to how we interpret a text. He is speaking in
regard to 2 Peter 3:9. Thats one of the first rules of good interpretation.
The audience of a letter must be taken into account, and this show me that
Bryson does not really care about correct interpretation. He is only
concerned with his tradition and what he wants to believe about God.
3) He keeps saying that Calvinist believe that “many or most of the
individiuals in the world” will not be saved. That is a terrible
4) George never deals with many texts of the Bible that teach the Doctrines
of Grace such as John 10, John 17, Romans 9, Phillipians 1:29, 1
Corinithians 1 and many, many others. His explanation of John 6 and
Ephesians 1 was severly lacking in my opinion.
5) Most of George’s texts to prove his points were John 3:16, 1 Timothy
2:4-6, 2 Peter 3:9, 1 John 2:2, Hebrews 2:9. This is fine, and I understand
the points he was making, but he never gives a alternative interpretation of
those texts in response to many other areas of scripture that teach the
Doctrines of Grace. All you are left with are contradictions in Scripture
if you believe what George is saying. We are supposed to specifiy what we
believe on certain scriptures of the Bible in light of what all of scripture
says about certain issues.
You and everyone else should watch the debate between George Bryson and
James White on this subject. I was simply stunned.
I will not send back the Certificate of Ordination I was given. It is a
part of my life and biographical history. I will keep the letter you sent
with it, and as a man of integrity and one who loves Christ and His truth, I
give you my word that I will never pretend to be a Calvary Chapel pastor. I
have already altered my website to reflect the change.
So where am I at? I’ve given up on ministry and church in general. The
first church I attended as an adult, Grace Community Church, rejected me
after 3 years because I rejected the hyper-charismatic movement with the
Toronto blessing and the Pensacola Revival. Calvary Chapel has rejected and
abandoned me because I won’t affirm Chuck Smith’s concrete teachings on the
Doctrines of Grace and order of salvation. My current church rejects me
because of the same reasons and has sidelined me when it comes to ministry.
There is no where to go. The Catholics expect you to affirm the Pope’s
infallible teachings, the Lutherans, Presbyterians, Methodists,
Episcopalians, Charismatic groups all have bad doctrine. The Baptists are
split into numerous camps about all these issues, and I don’t see the
Southern Baptist Convention surviving because of this issue of theology.
Men love tradition over God’s Word. Its been that way from the beginning
and always will be. Its very sad to me, and I grieve.
As for me, I will remain among the flock somewhere I guess. I’ll keep my
head down and just go with the herd. Christ wants me with the herd for
whatever reason, and my most important responsibility is to lead my family
spiritually. I want to raise my child to love God’s truth and be a worshiper
of the pure, holy, majestic God of the Universe. I want my love for Christ
to be the same love that my wife and son have.
I’m rebuilding my life in the IT field if you are wondering. I’m working on
my Microsoft and CISCO certifications so I can support and take care of my
family effectively. It does not appear that God has any other plans for me.
I stand before Christ as nothing… a helpless, sinful man saved by grace
alone for His glory alone, for no other reason. I deserve the judgment and
wrath of God for my sins, but in Christ I have found life and hope. Nothing
can separate us from the love of Christ.
I include the men I have copied on this letter as witnesses to this official
event. One day we will stand before Him, and look into the eyes of the one
who saved us. The one who is a witness of all things, of all thoughts, and
of all motivations.
George Bryson was right! Thank God they got rid of another Calvinist tare among Christians.
Interesting opinion. Thank you for sharing.