Rocky Mountain Calvary Chapel

As a semi-permanent staff member at Summit Ministries in Manitou Springs, CO, I have been planning on finding a surrogate home church to attend for the eight weeks that I will be here, just to add some sort of routine comfort to my life.  I have grown up in Calvary Chapels.  In California my parents were faithful members of Calvary Chapel Hanford (when we still met int he YMCA).  I remember being led to Christ by the pastor there.  My parents were both on the worship team, so I usually arrived early and stayed late, which had its advantages, including being given rides on the dollies by those setting up and taking down the stage every Sunday and getting to partake of some of the donuts reserved for the ministry leaders.  Those eight years were glorious in the eyes of a young child and, occasionally, I still find myself nostalgically revelling in the memories of those good times.

So, when our family moved to Memphis in ’97, it was only natural that we would seek out the nearest Calvary Chapel branch, which happened to be located in Bartlett.  I don’t want to turn this into a criticism of any institution or of its leaders, but I became somewhat discouraged and disillusioned and decided to leave.  Since then my loyalties to the CC “denomination” have been slim at best.  I miss the community I had at Hanford and was dismayed that I had not been able to find an adequate replacement.

To bring this long reverie back to the present, I discovered that there was a Calvary Chapel located in Colorado Springs called the Rocky Mountain Calvary Chapel.  I decided to attend.  The name was familiar, and I at least had some knowledge of what to expect (and I knew I could get away with wearing jeans and a t-shirt).  I don’t want to give judgment prematurely, as I have only attended one Sunday morning service, but I felt so totally refreshed and strengthened after this morning’s service.  The praise and worship was led by a group of four guys – two acoustics, one percussionist, and one singer.  They played with skill and style, yet also kept the sound clean, uncluttered and not distracting.  What was the clincher for me, however, was the pastor and his message.  It was actually quite ironic, as he happened to be teaching on Romans 8:28, a passage that I had just finished being taught by my reformed pastor back home in Tennessee, so I was quite excited to witness the contrasts in interpretation.

Surprisingly, though, the messages were quite similar.  The RMC pastor broke down verses 28-32 into three sections – Confidence in all things working for good for believers (vs. 28), Confidence in the calling, foreknowledge and choosing of the elect by God (vs. 29-30), and Confidence in God’s love (vs. 31-32).

For treatment of the verses 29-30 he explained:

  • the Bible teaches predestination, foreknowledge, and God’s choosing of His elect before the foundations of the world
  • the Bible also teaches that man has the responsibility of choice
  • there is an ongoing debate on the weight of each of these two points known as Calvinism and Armenianism
  • both are taught in Scripture, so he will stand on Scripture and believe both rather than pick one or the other and try to fit God into his finite intellect, “because if God can fit inside my intellect, then He is too small to be worshipped”
  • he is not dismayed that God chose and drew certain men to Him, but rather overwhelmed that God would choose him or anyone to be saved!

I will let all my CC friends decide what they think about that, but it has always been my impression that the CC camp has always been ardently Armenian, with no exception, so it was very refreshing to hear from a pastor that allows for both views.  Also, although we are instructed to seek after the things of God and train ourselves to be discerning and knowledgable, I agree that we need to remember that we are finite creatures crafted by an infinite God, and we need to allow for the fact that we may never know exactly how certain details of God’s sovereignty and providence work out in the moral responsiblities of man.  Needless to say, I have a feeling that the existence of this church will make it even harder for me to leave CO and return to the wild and woeful desolation that is Mississippi.


About becklegacy

Emergency Veterinarian by night; Crossfit athlete by day; Redeemed work-in-progress by the Grace of God.
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2 Responses to Rocky Mountain Calvary Chapel

  1. James says:

    Bravo to the pastor of RMCC. As someone who came to Christ as a young adult, it wasn’t too long until the idea of predestination vs. free-will came up. At the time, I knew that I chose Jesus, 100%. But as time went on and I read those verses such as Ephesians 1:4-5, Romans 8:29 etc., I came to the realization that God had in fact chosen me, before time even began. It seems to me that the whole problem is really just a matter of perspective. Looking at it from the outside, I chose the Lord. But turning around and looking at it from the inside, it’s obvious that He has chosen me. I’ve often wondered “why on earth would He want to do that?”

    On taking sides: if I had to choose (haha) between being a Calvinist or an Armenian, I would emphatically choose Mr. Calvin. The reason being is that leaves no room for developing a self-works salvation. The dangers of Armenianism are that if you don’t do x, y, and z, then you are no longer saved. That’s works, and is incompatible with the doctrine of Grace.

    I like this quote regarding this issue:
    “The river of truth flows between the banks of two extremes.”

  2. Whitney says:

    I have to agree with James here. As I’ve contemplated this issue over quite a few years, I’ve decided that at its heart is one’s view of God. Is your God a weak God who leaves the decision of eternity up to his creatures? A God to whom his creatures can say no? Or is your God irresistible, just yet sovereign, all-powerful yet merciful? When always trying to keep at the heart of the issue a lofty view of God, I find it impossible to NOT believe that God in his justice condemns sinners to hell and in his sovereign mercy saves some. It seems almost laughable to me that I, the creature, could say “no” when God says “Come”.

    When one continues to contemplate what they were before salvation, namely a dead man, it seems impossible that we could choose anything. Dead men don’t choose. So logically it must take some act of God to make us undead before we can look upon God favorably. So in essence, what our finite human minds think of as “choosing” or “free will” actually happens after the act of God (regeneration and the gift of faith). So then it is not really our choosing, is it? When God makes us “undead” we are then alive in Christ and hence “saved”. And thus far none of this has happened by our choice! And perish the thought that we could say “No!” to God and thus lose the salvation he has just so mercifully bestowed upon us!

    I suppose this is what bothers me so much in this debate: if in any way my salvation is the result of my choice and not the sovereign decree of God, then my salvation could just as easily be lost by my choice. Resting salvation in my own choice leaves me with no assurance that some day I will not just decide to “unchoose” God. How much more freeing is it to say that I was saved solely by the sovereign decree of God!

    It is frustrating that so many pastors and churches see this as an offensive and ugly doctrine rather than one that leaves us free to enjoy the assurance and beauty of our salvation! And because they see it as cruel and ugly and offensive that God would mercifully save some and leave the rest to their deserved judgment, these leaders of our churches choose to be wishy-washy and take the “middle ground”! It is EITHER God’s decision or ours, logically a middle ground doesn’t work! Why is it so difficult for people to say that that it was God’s decision and not ours? Who in their right mind would want to leave their hope of salvation in their own hands rather than God’s?

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