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Calvary Chapel and the Calvinists

A Second Account

By Sam Khoury


I will give you a short rundown on my experiences in Hungary.


Before reading this you have to read JJS' post. I do not want to repeat what his story was. Basically if it wasn't for JJS I would still be in Hungary. Our stories are only similar because we are both reformed but how we got there and how our churches treated us is not.


I was enrolled at CCBC and I was just happy to be there. I was not about to question what I was being told and anyone that opposed what Larry Taylor or Chuck Smith preached was going to get an ear full. I argued with many wayward students and one guy who had just been released from prison and found CCBC through a catalog would just listen to all of us and then would ask me questions. Ken did not know he was reformed, his stint in prison gave him a lot of time to read and so the Bible and some Bible studies were what he spent time with. He asked me questions that in the end led to me embracing the doctrines of grace. It wasn't just a logical choice but I was struggling with the cross and what it actually accomplished, what does it mean when we say Jesus died for you. Soon after that Larry Taylor approached me about working at the Bible College and I let him know that I was struggling with these questions. Larry said that it didn't matter as long as I "loved Jesus' and didn't get on a soap box.


At my home church in Redlands I found many people to talk to about these things. I didn't know how volatile an issue it was until I was in Hungary. I approached it like a christian smoking, we do it but don't let anyone know. It was never a secret from those I ministered with that I believed those things. I was told by the pastor in Redlands pretty much the same thing Larry told me and that Brian Brodersen had told Jason.


When I arrived in Hungary Jason was neck deep in his studies. We got to know each other and the rumors started up. Most of them had Jason leading me down the path to Calvinism. The truth is we were both working through things while ministering as pastors. This is where things got real murky for me. Everyone from my church knew what I believed and I had been "cleared" for ministry and assured that I had the support of the church. When Brodersen issued the ultimatum my head was spinning. I didn't know Brian or Chuck, I wasn't from Costa Mesa and my pastor had told me that no matter what happens I have their support so it never occured to me that I would be leaving Hungary. The ultimatum was no choice at all, how can I trade in my beliefs about the Gospel for a position, it also helps to be stubborn when taking a stand.


Unlike Jason I was in contact with Ed Rea, my pastor at the time, and my support would continue until my wife, who is Hungarian, gave birth to our child and we could get her visa straightened out. This was very encouraging to me until I met with one of the elders who explained to me that no company continues to pay someone who is going over to a competitor. When I told him that we are the body of Christ not a corporation he told me I need to grow up. This encounter made me feel a lot better about what was taking place. I did not want to be in Corporate America.


This time in Hungary allowed me to say goodbyes to some dear folks that I had grown close to over the years and for my wife to spend some time with her parents. We went to the annual conference where we could visit with those we see only once a year. While there the kid who had taken over the church I had been pastoring went to Ed Rea with concerns that I was leading the "sheep" astray. Ed berated me in front of this guy and told me to not speak to people from the church. I was a little shocked and when I asked if he was seriously telling me I couldn't speak with other adults who had questions as to why I was leaving he reminded me that as long as I get a check from them he could tell me who I could and could not have contact with. After I cooled off I confronted him on his assertions at which time he let me know it was all a show to let the young pastor feel good about things.


It is really a mixed bag. A year after returning my brother passed away at age 38 and Ed Rea along with a few other CC Redlands folks showed up at the funeral. I share these stories because the way abuse happens in most cases is with men who think they are hearing from the Lord. Ed berating me was a result of his feeling that God would have him support this 20 year old pastor. At the same time when he hears of my loss he makes an appearance to show support, which I was extremely touched by. There continues to be this idea that I left on my own and Ed tells people that when the subject comes up. On the one hand he wants to be there for me in my time of sorrow and on the other he makes statements that cast doubt on my character. As is probably obvious from these comments I am still dealing with some of my hurts from these events.


Along with Jason I do not regret what happened. It was providence that allowed it and as a result I hope to be starting seminary in August, Lord willing. Phoenix Preacher has also allowed me to meet up with some old friends, reconciliation with a dear brother who took the initiative to write me after seeing me on here, and even connecting again with Don McClure who was my pastor as I was growig up. It is rare that someone gets involved with ministry with the hopes of hurting people, splitting churches, and building a kingdom but with "success" comes a lot of opportunity for all those things. I thank God for His grace towards me and I pray that I do not fall into those same sins when I am in that position but if I do the session (elders) will correct me. (Presbyterianism really does work!) There will always be good endings for God's people so as we work through our issues we can do so with the confidence that we are in His care.


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