Monday, April 28, 2014

Moses Model

I recently came across something interesting. The following screen shot was taken from page 61 of a document entitled "The History of Calvary Chapel" by Chuck Smith.
You can can go and download this document from a web page hosted at calvarychapel.com, which is one of the official websites run by the Calvary Chapel Association. And it is available for anyone to look over. Just go to the bottom of the page where it says "To read Pastor Chuck's personal telling of the history of Calvary Chapel click here."

Clicking the "click here" link will download a large PDF file. So you will need Adobe Reader to view it (unless your browser has a built-in PDF viewer). Apparently the PDF file contains a scan of an earlier printed document, which is the reason why it is about 16 MB in size. I suspect that the original document might have been printed sometime after 1974 but before Greg Laurie had left to minister in Riverside full time, since he is mentioned on page 34 as teaching on Monday nights still. However, looking at a spot on page 43, the document is dated in 1992. But it's possible that this is a later section that was added by Chuck. As far as history goes, this document is not especially illuminating, but Chuck did spend about 30 pages in it explaining his ideas about the ministry in a very long section entitled "The Philosophy of Ministry of Calvary Chapel," beginning on page 36.

Make no mistake about this. When Chuck Smith discusses the role of a senior pastor, the diagram above illustrates the idea that he had in mind. Even if he doesn't use that exact term, the diagram screams "Moses Model," as if it were drawn in bright fluorescent colors. Now if people want to criticize the "Moses Model" — and there is no shortage of people who do — then this is the urtext that they should be studying.

When I look at the diagram, the first thing that jumps out at me is that pastor Chuck has gotten his typology wrong. Moses is the type for which Jesus is the anti-type. It's not the senior pastor, as the diagram above strongly suggests. I can't think of anything in the New Testament that says otherwise. For an example of the typological parallel between Moses and Christ, see Hebrews 3:1-6.

[update 2017 Oct 21] Since the time I wrote this, the original "history-cc.pdf" document has been removed by calvarychapel.com, and I haven't been able to locate a new URL for it. So the links I gave above are not working. Fortunately, the "Wayback Machine" has preserved a copy of the document. The calvarychapel.com website is no longer under the control of or associated with the Chapel Chapel Association. It is owned and operated by Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa.