Saturday, February 17, 2007

Scandal Mongering? Gossip? Objective Reporting? You be the judge...

I love it when Christianity Today reports good news. CT's articles are well written, encouraging, and relevant. That's generally my opinion until reading Rob Moll's latest piece about Calvary Chapel Leadership. Calvary Chapel is a church movement that has impacted culture like no other in modern history. Yet, my first impression of Moll's article is that he's trying to be the Bob Woodward of Christian media and expose some kind of scandal. Not a scandal based on actual law breaking, but one based on the "he said, she said" shoddy style of journalism made popular by the main stream media. It's a little sensationalistic.

But maybe I'm just defensive. I love Calvary Chapel. The Calvary Chapel Movement has been my spiritual home for fifteen years.

The article is worth reading, but it's difficult to find anything newsworthy beyond a lot of "where there's smoke, there's fire" kind of thinking. When someone uses this line of reasoning to peddle rumors, slander or gossip, I like to show them this verse in the book of James:
Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.


Anonymous said...

I find it increasingly disturbing for people in media to only partially research an issue, or only fully deliver one side while expressing a bias. The article is biased, strongly so. It is not news, it is attack. The work of the Lord is under attack and this is simply a manifestation of it under the guise of reporting. Yes, I am biased towards Calvary Chapel. But I am also biased towards grace, forgivness and God's word. It appears that there are still many who would be quite pleased to return to the days of ostracism and unforgivness characteristic of the days of the Puritans.

Chris Goeppner said...

this is my comment.

Anonymous said...


I agree with your assessment of the CT article. I have read a lot of articles through the years on different ministries. This one really did seem to have a real agenda.

Also, what's your take on Phoenix Preacher at this point?

Bryonm said...

My take? Well, let me sit down and think about that...

I stumbled onto the PP blog when our own little church was going through some rocky times. There was a letter writing campaign slamming my pastor and I wanted to see if anyone was internet savvy enough to have created an online forum to slam the leadership at our church. I googled Calvary Chapel and got a screen full of hits about the Skip Hietzig/Pete Nelson rift.

My initial impression of PP was, "man, this dude's bitter." And then I showed my pastor and said, "You think people are mad at you! People are smokin' mad at Skip." And that made us feel a little better.

Honestly. I didn't take it too seriously. I've been a churchgoer that's left a name-it-claim-it church, and as I left, I became a vocal, anti-name-it-claim-it guy. But that was twenty years ago--before Al Gore invented the internet. There was no forum to be heard or have a discussion.

I've also been an ex-smoker. Those are some pretty bitter and vocal guys, too.

Here's my point: PP is a forum for people who feel they've been burned by us. People have been hurt by us. I wish we could work it all out since we're all gonna have to hang out with each other for a pretty long time. For some reason I can't get my brain around the idea that heaven's gonna be really cool if I gotta hang out with this dude I've been bad-mouthin' here on this side. I can't figure it out. But I can't figure out how to work my microwave or set the clock on my DVD player, either.

So no matter what I think, PP is taken seriously. Guys I respect both in CC and out of CC frequent that blog and bring some weight and intellegience and grace to the parade of bitter opinions and calls to lynch Pastor Chuck and Pastor Skip. Guys like Bill Ritchie and Lary Taylor bring wisdom a experience to the table.

Bottom-line: if you can wade through it, there's some interesting things to read and think about. Questions are being asked in real time format that we probably need to be asking and answering ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Are you serious when you say CC has impacted our culture "more than any other" in MODERN history? Did modern history start in 1970 and is it limited to California and Florida? Just curious.

Bryonm said...

Jesse P.

Thanks for the comment.


Email me if you want an explanation beyond that.

Anonymous said...

Well I agree

If modern is post 1970
If modern history is limited to the states of California and Florida

Then, CC has had more impact on the culture than anyone. Now the culture they gave was a christianized hippy movement full of individualism and autonomy, but they did have a huge impact, I agree.

Now if modern is defined by the age commonly known as "modern" ie the enlightenment forward, CC is far too late in the game to say that they had the "most" impact. That is historically niave.

Bryonm said...

I plead guilty to being both historical and naive :)