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Monday, April 28, 2014

Leaving Calvary Temple

Most members find it very difficult to leave Calvary Temple. Leaving Calvary Temple has been long seen as not just a departure from a church building but rather a departure from the body of Christ and  God Himself. In addition to "leaving God", you will be leaving family and friends forever. You will be shunned. If you dare to speak out, you will be "marked" and have your reputation maligned from the pulpit. Leaving Calvary Temple can be very painful.

Recently a pastor specializing in abusive and authoritarian churches noted that Calvary Temple is one of the worst in terms of  control that he has ever seen.  He believes the level of "pastor worship", twisting of scriptures, information control, the attack on people's reputations, and especially the destruction of marriages and families is alarming. Local pastors have been struggling for many years as to how to best help the people leaving Calvary and how to reach the people still within the church.  One local pastor remarked that many leaving Calvary Temple struggle greatly with legalism and their assurance of salvation. Another local pastor has spent  hours praying for the people within Calvary Temple and the leadership that is misguiding them. Other pastors have tried to have meaningful conversations with the leadership of Calvary but say "it is impossible to get to them..they won't talk with other pastors."

Controlling churches make it impossible to leave on good terms. When a member leaves they are usually categorized as rebellious. There is never an acceptable reason for leaving the church. It has been said by the pastor of Calvary that NO ONE has ever left for doctrinal issues. And yet many say that is EXACTLY why they left. Instead, the leadership may state that the leaving members were approached with a correction of some sort and were offended by the word of God or that they have backslidden. Their character will be denigrated. If the leaving member attempts to explain why they are leaving or tries to defend themselves, they will be labeled as "reaching in" and "bitter".

When members run into those who have left, there is much confusion as to how to treat them. They will be unsure who to avoid, who to treat as "marked", and who they might talk to. It becomes easier to shun everyone they run into. A few will speak to the "defector", usually to admonish them to repent and return to Calvary Temple. You will be treated as a backslidden Christian or even an enemy.

The most damaging results of leaving Calvary Temple are the loss of spouses, children, grandchildren, parents and other family members, along with friendships of long standing. In addition to this will come the difficulty of adjusting to life "outside". Life will change dramatically. Some changes will be easy to adjust to but patterns of legalistic thought will take much longer to change. It will require many hours of prayer and studying the scriptures to undo the hold of legalism.

This blog will explore life outside of Calvary Temple and the errors within. I hope to include many resources for those who have left CT. Leaving may be difficult but there is great joy under the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit.

Before I end this post, I want to encourage any one reading this to pray for our brothers and sisters that are connected in any way to Calvary Temple, including Pastor Scott and the leadership. Pray for the ministry. Pray for the families that have not seen loved ones for months and years. And pray for a discerning heart - to know the word of God and to love and honor God above all else.

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Proverbs 18:10

I shall hear a word behind me, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," whenever I turn to the right or the left.  Isaiah 30:21

The Spirit of truth has come and He is guiding me into all truth.  He will tell me things to come. John 16:13