Recently I have started looking around for a new church to attend, and the choices are many, as it seems my side of town almost literally has a church every few blocks. Now, one might thing this a good thing, but I know of at least a few that are churches in name only, as I am familiar with how they do things within their walls and, personally, do not approve. I have attended at least two of these churches and have left them for various reasons, not all due to conflicts in scripture, but I have watched those churches devolve into places that run based on warped scripture.
One of the churches in the roster is a Calvary Chapel pastored by a gentleman I am familiar with. Not extremely well, but well enough that if I see him on the street or in a store we recognize each other and would have a light conversation before awkwardly seeking a way out and going about our business. Acquaintances more than friends, really.
Now, I have always liked Calvary Chapel and have attended more than one in my lifetime. My parents used to be friends with Greg Laurie back in high school and Pastor Laurie officiated over their wedding. I like the expository teaching of CC and they pretty much stick to the word, though I find their ‘Jesus movement’, ‘Lover of my soul’ worship music to be disconcerting at times and that they are a bit weak in the ‘husbands authority over their wives’ department (as most churches are now days). In fact, Greg Laurie, as much as I enjoy his podcast, has a nasty habit of cutting men down by degrading their intelligence while propping women up as hyper-intelligent, and he often pushes the narrative that men would be lost without their wives.
That being said, while looking over the web page for the CC in question I noted something in the pastors bio that gave me concern, maybe more from a red pill standpoint, but concern nonetheless. The pastor had, at one time, owned a few game stores around town, three for four, I believe, and they did exceedingly well. He sold used games and hardware as well as provided a gaming room with a number of systems set up on a network in which kids could come in and pay a per hour fee to have a LAN party with friends or even rent the room for an extended period of time for things like birthday parties and what not. I actually had my sons birthday parties there, as their birthdays are literally days apart on the calendar (though there is a year difference between them).
In his bio the pastor mentions that “He began prospering in materialism and business but his spiritual life was dead.”, so he sold all of his stores, “re-dedicated his life to the Lord” and attended bible college for a few years until obtaining his pastorship. Now, I’m not one to judge a mans heart but this throws up a bit of a red flag for me. It seems that a lot of Christians feel that if they are making money and succeeding it is somehow “focusing on the things of this world” and that, when they cannot devote four hours every day to studying the bible that they are becoming “spiritually dead” and find the need to “re-dedicate” their lives to God, as though they weren’t dedicated before. (Sorry, I know that was a lot of quotation marks in there!).
Any time I see or hear Christians that act in this manner my mind turns to Job. Job was extremely successful in life and, even being blessed by God, I seriously doubt he obtained all of his success by standing still and doing nothing. I have no doubt that he had to work hard for his success, using the same 24 hours in a day we use to tend to his home, his cattle, his servants. I’m sure he read the scriptures, probably daily, but I don’t suspect he had hours and hours to devote to them. He would probably read them then live them, as instructed.
So why then are Christians so afraid of working and being successful? Why does running a business that grows and allows you to have a nice home and nice things for your family have to be “prospering in materialism”? Job had TONS of stuff, and I’m sure he enjoyed it, but it was how he handled it in his heart and to whom he gave credit to that made the difference. Was it not King Nebuchadnezzar’s boasting of his own greatness, his own inflated pride, over the things that God had given him that condemned him to act as a beast? Yet had he given credit where it was due, by acknowledging that his vast kingdom and wealth had been a blessing from the Lord, he might have avoided the whole ordeal!
Again, I cannot judge this pastors heart. Maybe he really was going spiritually dead, but if I recall correctly he was, while running his businesses, still a deacon of the church and active in bible studies and other church functions, so its not like he had completely dropped out of the church scene and was beginning to live the life of a heathen (as far as I know). It just seems odd to me and is off putting. It seems very blue pill to me, as though one were afraid of success or, as a pastor, one is afraid of being too successful. Maybe he thinks Christians should live in near poverty (as some pastors do). I should think to ask him, but I don’t know if I want to waste my time stepping through the door if its not worth the trouble.
What do you think? Am I overthinking this or does this raise a “blue pill red flag”?