Catholic / Protestant Dialogue

Calvary Chapel Splits In Two, As All Protestant Denominations Do

News stories recently appeared about a split in Calvary Chapel.

Founded in 1965, Calvary Chapel started in southern California as a Christian outreach to hippies, and blossomed into a worldwide Protestant denomination of 1,600 churches.

The details of the Calvary Chapel split are not important for the purpose of this article. The fact that the split occurred is important– because splits always occur in Protestantism, which rejected authority by rejecting the pope. Since there is no authority in Protestantism, no one is in charge. Therefore, if I don’t like what you say from your Protestant pulpit, I simply go and start my own Protestant church. This endless splintering and factionalizing has resulted in today’s over 30,000 Protestant denominations.   
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Unrecognizable Before Too Long

Not only do Protestant denominations split and factionalize, but before too long, none of the factions resemble the original. For example, less than 100 years ago, the main Protestant denominations all taught against contraception. Do you know of any main Protestant denominations today teaching against contraception? Of course not, but the stodgy, old, stick-in-the-mud, no-fun Catholic Church has taught against contraception for 2,000 years and continues to teach against it to this day. Contraception is just one of many examples wherein the Catholic Church, by the power of the Holy Spirit, sticks to its moral and doctrinal guns, while the Protestant denominations surrender to secular culture. 

I the LORD do not change… ~ Malachi 3:6

God does not change, so His church should not be so quick to change either. 

The Irony

What really floors me about the Calvary Chapel split is that the spirit of Martin Luther, the spirit so enthusiastically embraced by Calvary Chapel when it comes to rebelling against the Catholic Church, is not-so-enthusiastically embraced when it comes to rebelling against Calvary Chapel. The following excerpt is from a letter sent by one faction in the split to all the Calvary Chapel churches. My comments are in red.

The division that has occurred in Calvary Chapel is not a minor issue. It is more than “good men separating.” Sadly, Brian [leader of one faction in the split] is insisting on being the primary and authoritative voice of the movement [What’s wrong with that?!?! Isn’t that exactly what Martin Luther did?!?!]… None of the CCA Council members [another faction in the split] would take that kind of authority into our own hands [Why not?!?! Isn’t that exactly what Martin Luther did?!?!]. We recognize that no one man has the calling from God, or the stature in the movement to define “official theological positions” for all the churches [Why not?!?! Isn’t that exactly what Martin Luther did?!?!]. ~ Letter from Calvary Council Association to all Calvary Chapel churches, November 28, 2016

To me the irony is overwhelming. Calvary Chapel (and Protestantism in general) is based upon Martin Luther rebelling against the Catholic Church by nailing his ninety-five theses to the church door at Wittenberg, Germany in 1517. In my over seven years of attending services at Calvary Chapel, and my countless hours of listening to Calvary Chapel pastors on Christian radio, I never heard one disparaging word against Martin Luther’s rebellion against the Catholic Church. In fact, it is quite celebrated. But now I am to believe that no one man has the right to rebel against Calvary Chapel?!?! What’s good for the Catholic goose is apparently not good for the Protestant gander.  

It seems to me that Brian is merely nailing his 95 theses to Calvary Chapel’s door, just as Martin Luther nailed his to the Catholic Church’s door. If Martin Luther can do it, why can’t Brian?


P.S. I attended Calvary Chapel for more than seven years. I have many dear friends in Calvary Chapel, and it’s a denomination loaded with selfless Christians, both in the congregations and in the pulpits. It is my prayer and my hope that these dear brothers and sisters in the Lord investigate the infancy of Christianity and see that the earliest church, the church launched by Jesus and the Apostles, was Catholic, not Protestant. This shocking find has brought me and many other former Protestants home to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. 

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