Douville isn’t the only Calvary Chapel pastor who has weighed the cost of staying in an organization that has shifted from its original mission into unbiblical waters. Many CC pastors have come the same conclusion, saying they feel they can no longer in good conscience be under the same doctrinal and fellowship umbrella as the current leadership of Calvary Chapels.
A Calvary Chapel pastor who warned of false teachings and apostate movements seeping into the Calvary Chapel organization has been removed from his regional leadership position, and is now removing his local congregation out of the Calvary Chapel Association altogether.
Pastor Dwight Douville of Calvary Chapel Appleton, Wisconsin was informed last month that he was being removed from his position as a regional leader, a position he’s held for many years. Why? He says because personal friendships have been put above doctrinal truth, muddying the waters of what Calvary Chapels are all about. And because he advocated for maintaining and staying the course while calling out wolves and yeast seeping into Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and the organization as a whole since the death of founder Chuck Smith.
“Back in March, I sent out the first of 2 letters regarding ongoing concerns about the direction of Calvary Chapels since the passing of Pastor Chuck. In both the primary letter and follow up, many of us had hoped that the CCA Council would follow up and see what could be done to address these concerns.
Instead, I was told that the real reason for my recent removal from leadership in Wisconsin following the release of my March letters isn’t related to how I asked pertinent questions about the direction of CCs, it’s that I asked at all and actually sent it out. This is not the first time a pastor who dared ask questions has been sanctioned either.”
While not an official denomination, Calvary Chapel churches operate autonomously and share a commitment to the doctrinal distinctives outlined by Smith. But in recent years many CCA leaders are no longer holding to those distinctives.
The Calvary Chapel Association is seemingly now run by Smith’s son-in-law Brian Brodersen, who inherited the pulpit at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa with his marriage to Chuck Smith’s daughter, Cheryl. Since Smith’s death, many changes have occurred at CCCM as the “new Calvary” replaces the “old Calvary” under new leadership (Brodersen even changing Calvary’s dove logo). Case in point, Brodersen’s first media interview with Christianity Today titled, “A Case for Big Changes at Calvary Chapel.”
Douville says the ongoing problems have been of concern to many Calvary pastors, church members, and former members who he says are, “grieved by the lack of care on the part of CC leadership in protecting the sheep from wolves that have walked right through the front door of Calvary Chapel, which has always been known for its distinctive doctrinal views that are now being compromised for the sake of unity.”