Calvary Chapel Leader Exhibiting Cult-Like Mentality

Pulpit & Pen is no stranger to confrontation when it comes to airing the dirty laundry in the professing Church. We recently covered the danger of Hillsong’s music in the church, and how Hillsong has exhorted its followers, in a cult-like manner, to unite, not around the teachings of Scripture, but around the senior “visionary” of the church, Brian Houston.

Now, One of Calvary Chapel Albuquerque’s pastors, Neil Ortiz, has adopted this theological poppycock, not by expositing the Scriptural text, but expositing a football team. In the video below, he starts out his presentation with an exposition of the success of the 1982 Chicago Bears under the coaching of Mike Ditka.

Equating the senior pastor of a church to Mike Ditka, and the team owner to God, he says,

…now you see, like a sports team such as the Bears, and more specifically for our purposes here our church, Calvary is un-apologetically led by a head coach that we call our senior pastor.  You see, we operate, all of us with this understanding, that God is the team owner. He’s the purchaser and owner of this his church, and that God has appointed our head, coach our senior pastor, to lead us. You see the rest of us are assistant coaches or special teams players. We all play a part but we’re under the leadership of our senior pastor. In fact we believe this so much that it’s one of our Calvary culture axioms. That axiom’s titled “Follow the Leader.” You see, we believe that God has given our senior pastor a vision and direction for ministry and we are called to follow him and to support that work. When that happens we have a chance–we have the opportunity to really win some games for the kingdom of God–to make a difference in this world.

Notice, in his exposition, there is absolutely no mention of Scripture, let alone any exposition of the text to support his claim of “following the leader.”

This is typical of the vision-casting cult mentality. The visioneer claims to have received some special revelation from God, and that the church he leads should unequivocally support him. In fact, if you question them, you are perceived to be in sin.

Yet, the Scriptures teach us to test all things (1 Thes. 5:21). Todd Pruitt puts it this way:

…the mission of the church is not difficult to discern. God has made it quite clear in his Word. The church is sent into the world to proclaim the gospel and make disciples of the Lord Jesus in the ways that he has prescribed (Matt 28:16-20; Luke 24:46-48; Acts 1:6-11). There is simply not a category in Scripture for a pastor who receives, by way of revelation from God, a particular mission for his church. It is not there.

The real danger behind following a vision-casting leader is that you are elevating him to the level of Christ. Scriptures teach that Christ alone is the head of the church (Col. 1:18). Christ alone has assigned the mission of the Church (Matt. 18:16-20). But, more often than not, the vision-casting leader leads its followers into semi-religious disarray. He becomes more of a motivational speaker, who prophesies the delusions of his own mind (Jer. 23:26), and disregard the clear teachings of Scripture. The church becomes centered around culture and entertainment, that draws in money to line the pockets of the leaders, while giving little to no Gospel to the lost who need to hear it most. And if anyone questions the leader’s authority, “let them be anathema.” And, according to Ortiz, you will be judged according to how well you obey.

You can see the full sermon here.

Be united around Christ alone, and follow his Word. If your pastor is doing the same, then you will both be following the same vision, and you will be united. But if he’s running around chasing his own “visions,” you better be suspicious.

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. – 1 Timothy 4:1-2

[Contributed by Pulpit & Pen]


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