Re: Calvary Chapel
Date: August 28, 2010 03:00AM
I think that Calvary Chapel (which I have left recently) has some very cult-like tendencies though I would not go so far as to say that the whole church is a cult. I am an evangelical Christian and conservative both politically and in my Christian walk. Nonetheless I have experienced this church in my city as the most oppressive to women that I have ever attended. I have attended many churches in my life, Catholic and Protestant and Evangelical. Baptist and Pentecostal. Even the most conservative Baptist churches that would never ever ordain a women as a pastor will still allow a women to speak in church to lead a prayer, ask for an intercession, give a testimony, or speak from the pulpit as leader of a women's group encouraging other women to come to a meeting, or giving a report at an annual general meeting. The strong women of these churches are not totally silenced as I experienced at Calvary Chapel. A good testimony with a couple of Bible verses thrown in is almost a sermon even though officially women are not allowed to preach. You will find this in many churches that do not allow women to be pastors but never at Calvary Chapel. A woman is allowed to pray out loud in front of men only at the mid-week prayer group but on Sunday a woman could only lead songs for worship. I have never ever heard a woman speak out loud with a microphone. I was feeling as if I were in an Orthodox synagogue or a mosque rather than a Christian church where I am supposed to have been set free.
Women who make demands to have their needs met are called manipulative or divisive. If you smile a lot and speak quietly and don't complain about anything you are called gracious or godly. The only thing I could do publicly is make food for fellowship. The pastor was kind, not overbearing, but still it was a benevolent dictatorship. I went through a personality change and reached a point where I did not want to go on living. There was another leader in the church who was using innappropriate language and geeting people involved in a strange activity that put men and women uncomfortably close together. He is married and sometimes would sit too close to me and I felt uncomfortable. I have complained to the pastor. I am not staying around to see what he does about this leader under his authority.
I do not think that you would feel comfortable in this church but if you had come to the church that I have left I would have tried to make you feel comfortable. Anyone should feel welcome in a church and free to ask questions and disagree. This doesn't mean that the church should try to be everything to everybody - biblical standards must be followed but there is much room for discussion about what is biblical as long as the whole counsel of scripture is followed. The bible teaching about women keeping silence in church began because women were interupting services to ask their husband a question and this was disruptive. Elsewhere women pray and prophesy in church and Junia is called by Paul an ''apostle'' and women were the first to announce the resurrection of Jesus.