Moriel Response To The Recent Christianity Today Article Attacking Calvary Chapel

Moriel and Jacob Prasch take extreme exception to the article by Bob Moll in the March edition (posted on the Internet on 2/16/07) of Christianity Today as factually inaccurate and misrepresentative in its contents and grossly unfair and unjust in its conclusions.

This publication, Christianity Today, has itself long ago departed from what Moriel would hold as a biblical orthodoxy in its compromise regarding ecumenical deception and, of late, its promulgation of the contra ascriptural “Purpose Driven” errors and of the unmitigated heresy of Emergent Church guru Brian McLaren.

  • What Calvary Chapel defines as “The Moses Principle” with a its emphasis on the role of senior pastor is  probably the model of ecclesiastical polity of the majority of churches, movements, and denominations in the world today and is not the implied invention of Calvary Chapel or Chuck Smith as is implied in the article.

    While it is not the form of church government Moriel views as most scriptural as a New Testament norm, neither is it the autocratic monument to non-accountability conveyed in the article in Calvary Chapels. The large churches and ministries within Calvary Chapel have their own boards and affiliated churches are accountable on doctrinal and moral issues to the home church pastored by Chuck Smith who also has a board to whom he is in turn accountable.

    Moreover, Calvary Chapel has never had a history of “heavy shepherding” or the kinds of spiritual abuse characteristic of corrupted expressions of autocratic or hierarchical leadership.

  • The disgraceful and Christ-dishonoring prevalence of adultery among pastors is a widespread problem in the modern church and is by no means more prominent in Calvary Chapels than in other churches. We are aware of no episodes of this happening in a Calvary Chapel where an offending  pastor demonstrated as guilty of this misconduct was not removed from pastoral ministry.
  • The facts surrounding the reports of David Hocking’s alleged affair are untrue and if David Hocking did not choose to abide by the teaching of God’s Word in 1 Corinthians 6 prohibiting civil litigation against other believers, it would probably be a libel. We know David Hocking, his wife, the woman involved , her husband, and the two Calvary Chapel leaders who handled the matter. David Hocking had no affair. The indiscretion was more unwise than anything. It is moreover illogical and unthinkable that someone would perpetrate an intentionally adulterous act in front of what they knew to be a switched-on security camera.

    The problem was rather that The Los Angeles Times, (not known for any empathy towards Evangelicals and which also published a damaging article on Chuck Smith’s differences with his son theologically) amplified what David Hocking would admit was a stupid indiscretion out of proportion to what it was, and David Hocking willingly has remained out of pastoral ministry as a result for the sake of the reputation of the Body of Christ and of his own volition has refused to re-enter pastoral ministry even when urged to do so. There was also a dispute with another leader of David Hocking’s former church where substantial assets belonging to him were expropriated, but again on the basis of 1 Corinthians 6 he refused to litigate.

    Chuck Smith never re-appointed David Hocking to a pastoral position, but simply gave him a job using his academic credentials in biblical Greek in a non-pastoral capacity. We have no doubt as to the Christian moral integrity of David Hocking.

  • Chuck Smith has consistently upheld biblical standards of solid doctrine and has repeatedly withstood those who departed from these standards, including the late John Wimber and Lonnie Frisbee, and more recently despite charges of nepotism, even taking issue with positions advocated by one of his sons in what has without doubt been one of the most personally painful and difficult ordeals of his long ministry. He also stopped appearing on TBN. Chuck Smith has consistently demonstrated both courage and integrity, even at considerable personal cost.
  • It is not Chuck Smith who commenced legal proceedings in the unfortunate matter of disposition of proprieties for Calvary radio network. It is not Chuck Smith or Calvary Chapel who have violated the teaching of 1 Corinthians 6 in this regard.

None of us are yet perfect, but we are being perfected. The Lord has used Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel mightily and our prayer is that the Lord will continue to do so. It would be impossible for a movement that has experienced the often exponential growth of Calvary Chapels or its leaders to be without occasional errors in judgment, but that is all they have been – errors in judgment, not heretical flaws or moral debauchery. There may indeed be secondary points of disagreement, but these are non-fundamentals and are limited to a few instances. There are also certain trends among some Calvary Chapels that we find disturbing, but these stem not from Chuck Smith but rather from those departing from his example. For the most part the good far outweighs the mistakes and Moriel and Jacob Prasch are pleased to continue to endorse the ministry of Pastor Chuck Smith and to sanction Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. We also continue to stand with our friend David Hocking. The evidence, to the best of our knowledge, does not biblically exclude him from the kind of ministry in which he is engaged.

Even without reference to this sad and unconstructive article, we do not and can not in any way approve of Christianity Today as a publication. From a biblical perspective and in our best estimation it is a magazine that has lost its way a long time ago.

Moriel Ministries