Friday, June 01, 2007

The Phoenix Riseth

The Phoenix Preacher blog was taken down last week. There seems to have been an underhanded deal that went down which forced Mike Newnham to remove the blog. Whatever your thoughts are regarding PP, that was just low. Whoever is involved should be slapped upside the head with the right hand of fellowship.

Again, I'll state: I did not personally care much for a lot of what went on over at PP. The dialog often rose to the level of histrionics with several... ahhhh... angry people (...must...not...say...bitter...) people venting, spleen letting, etc. (One poster posted under the name CCVictim... oy, vey...)

HOWEVER, there was a lot of actual ministry that went on, too. There were, sadly, some legitimately hurt people who found the PP online community, and found healing.

And - again, sadly - there were some dastardly deeds done in the name of Calvary Chapel that were addressed ::cough:: Mike Kestler and the CSN debacle ::cough, cough::, and real issues that needed to be and were slogged through. NO man is above scrutiny, and no church... and no movement. It has been said, "Keep your friends close... and your enemies closer." Your critics are often in reality your best friends - they much more readily see your blind spots and, if you're listening, can alert you to them so that you can prayerfully address them.

I love Calvary Chapel. I'm a Chuck Smith/Jon Courson/Joe Focht/Mike MacIntosh/Damian Kyle groupie. I have Romaine's visage tatooed on my right bicep.

Okay, perhaps not that last one there.

But you get the point.

I love Calvary Chapel. I'm a Distinctives boy all the way. I want to name my first child - whether a boy or girl - "Paul Smith Macon." Or "Chuck Damien Macon." Or do the whole Catholic thing and give the poor kid a billion middle names... something like "Chuck Jon Joe Mike Damian Macon."

I make no apologies for the fact that we're distinctively pretrib premil. I make no apologies for the fact that we teach verse-by-verse through the Bible, or for our system of church polity (the much-ballyhooed "Moses Model"), or the fact that we are neither a denomination, nor are we against denominations as such... etc.

But no movement is perfect; we can examine ourselves, and we can accept and receive "outside" scrutiny, listen to those who disagree with us, and pray through what is said without a knee-jerk reaction that tends to short-circuit what the Spirit might be saying to us. And so, ultimately, PP served a very useful (if often irritating) function.

Besides: This is the internet. You cannot silence your critics. Shut down one blog, and ten more will pop up to take it's place.

Enter: Under The Cross. This seems to be the nascent reforming of the PP community online.

Whatever else your opinion might have been about PP, this at least seems true:

The Phoenix riseth.

1 comment:

Shane said...

I think that the folks who posted at the PP got plenty of their gripes and complaints vented about some of the short comings of the Calvary Chapel movement (ie CSN, Jeff Smith, Skip Heitzig's big fat arrogant ego, etc, etc.). It needs to die--dwelling on the negatives of anything can't be healthy in the long run. Hopefully, the PP will die and allow others to pop up--people who want to move ahead and serve the Lord without dwelling on the past.

Calvary was certainly a great movement of God in the history of the church. They have spawned many off-shoots, influenced literally millions and have seen many come to know the Lord through their various ministries.

Let me recap what I think are the most important things I learned while there:

1. The Word--God's word is supreme. It should be taught, loved and given a very high place in worship. It's God's very words to us. Thus, I am a hopeless conservative--not giving room for such liberals as McLaren. We need to both love the Word and defend it.

2. The Spirit--we need to be sensitive to the things of the Spirit in all that we do. We need to be led by the Spirit--open to the Spirit and dependent upon Him in our churches.

3. Missions--thanks to men like Brian Brodersen, I will always be a mission minded person. I got to do a trip over to England to see how the Lord was using some of the Calvarys and it forever changed my life. I saw Calvary at it's best over there. There was a totally fresh and different feel there than what I have experienced in other Calvarys.

4. Fellowship--friendships and fellowshipping with others, in the things of the Lord, it critical.

With great men like Bob Coy, Damien Kyle, and Brian Brodersen leading the movement into better and fresher waters, I have a lot of confidence in where it is going. Hopefully, some of the older genertation will get out of the way and let them lead. It's time for Chuck to chill and write his autobiography and pray for the future of the church. The Rapture didn't happen in his lifetime and I know that Brodersen is anxious to plant more churches overseas--without being hindered by Chuck's "Hal Lindsey hype". There seems to be a resistence to allow the younger genertations lead. Hopefully, Chuck will see this soon.

I believe that the future of Calvary is bright as long as they concentrate on missions and reaching people for the gospel. Calvary-centeredness will kill the work of the Spirit. Chuck-esteem will kill it. Love Song reunions will kill it. Rapture hype will kill it....But a Christ centered church will always be healthy. A gospel-centeredness will move it right along.

I've had to "unlearn" many things too, but that's not my point. Calvary is no less healthy than other movements that I have seen. It's all part of our human condition.

Let's pray that they stay Christ-centered in all that they do. May the Lord bless and lead His church forward!