Like thousands of others in ministry today, I came to faith in Christ through the ministry of Pastor Chuck and Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa in 1968. Since the wonderful day of my salvation (like so many others of this generation) I have also been encouraged by Pastor Chuck to build upon my faith in Christ and spend the rest of my earthly sojourn endeavoring to be as faithful to Christ as possible. That is, after I was justified and regenerated (which was by grace alone, through faith alone and in Christ alone) I was challenged to give a proper and biblically based and balanced emphasis to practical sanctification and the closely related matter of spiritual maturation.
From day one I was taught that those who believe in Christ, should endeavor to live for Christ. I was also taught that by reading and heeding what God says in His holy and infallible Word, and by yielding or submitting to the power of God’s Holy Spirit, faithfully following Christ (however imperfectly) was not only possible for every child of God but was expected of every child of God. I continue to firmly believe this more than four decades after I first learned it.
I have been with Pastor Chuck and the Calvary Chapel movement for over 40 years. I started out (with my wife) as an itinerant youth minister, traveling throughout America with a ministry called Shiloh. Shiloh was an outreach of Calvary Chapel to the young people of the counter-culture of that time. After nearly a decade in Shiloh, in the late seventies I became the senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel of Eugene-Springfield. In the very early eighties I added to my pastoral duties a daily (2 1/2 hour) call-in Christian talk show, called Scripturally Speaking. My involvement in this kind of radio ministry was a reflection and extension of my serious interest in all matters of a biblical and theological nature. To varying degrees and in various ways, I am still involved in ministry on the radio.
In 1988 I embarked on my first mission to the former Soviet Union. These were the latter years of perestroika and glasnost and were exciting to say the least. In 1991, the Soviet Union dissolved and the doors opened wide in the CIS for the Gospel. It was then that I began traveling back and forth (almost every month) helping plant and nurture Calvary Chapel churches in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. This new opportunity that opened up for believers in what was previously a very closed land, was even more to my liking. With the encouragement of Pastor Chuck, I started a full-time work (primarily in and to Russia) called Calvary Chapel Church Planting Mission. I am the director of CCCPM to this very day. From the day I came to know Christ as my Savior I have been very interested in and committed to the study of Scripture, apologetics, as well as biblical and systematic theology.
Like a lot of Calvary Chapel pastors, after a few years in the ministry, I decided to continue my study of Scripture and theology in a more formal fashion. I studied New Testament Greek at a local Christian College and was in my own estimate a less than stellar student. I also studied Biblical Hebrew at a nearby University, where I received good grades but hardly know an Aleph from an Alpha. I suspect that my good grades can be accounted for because my professor (also a local Rabbi) and I had previously become good friends.
Eventually I found myself in a graduate level study of theology (New Testament and Systematic) in a program that was established for those who worked fulltime during the day and could only take classes in the evening. I already loved theology (as my friends will attest) and a graduate program of this kind made me feel like a kid in a candy store. I do not point this out to suggest that I know more about theology than someone with no formal training in theology. That is certainly not the case. I do not necessarily know less than someone with more formal training in theology. Formal or even advanced training can be very helpful and for me I believe it was. But some heretics were formally trained and have very advanced degrees in theology.
The final measure will not be how much we know (in doctrinal or practical terms) but how right we are in what we believe and how we live our lives in light of the truth revealed to us in Scripture. And since everything we ought to believe (and how we ought to behave) is found in the pages of Scripture (and not always or even necessarily in a seminary class) I rarely ever make mention of my formal education. For me it was a good thing and I am glad I did it. But I would rather learn from someone who has only studied his Bible and passed on to me the truth of it from Scripture than by someone who has picked up and passes on a lot of errors. The Lord knows that is also an unfortunate possibility.
I have written articles and books (of a theological nature) published by the two main publishing arms of Calvary Chapel (The Word For Today and Calvary Publishing). Some of these books can be downloaded and are available at no-charge on this site. I have even been published by a mainstream Reformed publishing house. Don’t panic, the book I wrote that was published by a Reformed publishing company was not about Reformed Theology though it was edited by a well-known Reformed scholar. I understand and agree with the foundational and fundamental theology and doctrine of the Calvary Chapel movement. Although I consider myself to be “Calvary to the core” I am also convinced that the foundational and fundamental theology and doctrine of the Calvary Chapel movement is (for the most part) also foundational and fundamental to a non-Reformed but Orthodox Evangelicalism.