Aug 17, 2005

Calvary Chapel's Frisbee toss

Costa Mesa is "Vatican City" for the Southern California Protestant religious phenomenon known as "Calvary Chapel." Their "pope" is a guy named Pastor Chuck. Boasting of hundreds of "churches" and some 35,000 members, Calvary Chapel sees itself as a balance between rigid fundamentalism and overly emotional Pentecostalism. By way of its radio station, KWVE, Calvary's self-styled brand of evangelism with its strong strain of anti-Catholicism finds its way into the lives of thousands of Southern Californians.

Calvary Chapel is now a more or less mainstream Protestant sect with a membership composed of Bible toting, SUV driving average folks. But its beginnings were anything but conventional. In a revealing article about the origins of Calvary Chapel, the OC Weekly tells the story of how a young man, Lonnie Frisbee, a "...pot-smokin’, LSD-droppin’ seeker turned Calvary Chapel into a household name." Now, however, the mere mention of Frisbee, who left the "church" in the early 70's and who eventually died of AIDS in 1993, is carefully avoided in the official telling of the fascinating story of Calvary Chapel.


Anonymous joe mccool said...

Interesting info. I used to work with some Calvary Chapel people and they were very anti-Catholic. The sad thing is many of them were raised Catholic.

10:44 PM  
Anonymous Jason said...

Joe McCool-

I read somewhere that a huge percentage (way more than 50%) of their members are x-catholics. Of course, obviously, they were Catholics who never knew their faith in the first place.

8:20 AM  
Anonymous joe mccool said...


It's just history repeating itself. Someone comes along with a new twist on chrisitanity and people begin to flock to them (People who were never taught the faith). The Calvary Chapel types were all part of the "Jesus Movement" that rebeled against Tradition and the establishment. It was all new and exiting. However, today it appears that they are the establishment and the chickens are coming home to roost.

9:06 AM  
Anonymous Quintero said...


2:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Sorry, Quintero, but I'm not going to go along with this evangelical-bashing of yours. What makes you any better than those you criticize?

All who place their hope in Christ's atoning, redemptive work on the cross -- Catholic, Protestant, Eastern Orthodox, whatever -- find favor in His Father's sight. Without that work, everything in the Catholic Church (and all other churches, for that matter) becomes irrelevant vanity.

Perhaps if the Church spent more time teaching from Scripture instead of embracing intellectual fads, the drain you fear would be far less.

10:18 PM  

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