Calvary Chapel and The Propaganda of the Phoenix Preacher

INTRO: Michael Newnham, AKA the “Phoenix Preacher”, has repeatedly made unfounded accusations against the Calvary Chapel Association – accusing them of engaging in “Propaganda”, etc. The facts are, it is Newnham & Co. that are the ones guilty of propaganda. Since 11/01/16, [the day after CC’s response to BB’s comments] the Phoenix Preacher blog has posted 17 articles on the CC split; NOTE: In contrast, how many posts has the CCA done regarding the split – Only 3! The 10/31 Initial response to BB’s critical comments @ the NWPC; The 11/10 “Letter to the Movement”, and the 11/29/16 “Letter to the Movement”;  They did however, repost the July 19, 2013 CCA letter.

The following is a chronological breakdown and analysis of the posts on the Phoenix Preacher blog, regarding the Calvary Chapel split, as of 12/18/16

12/13 – Phoenix Preacher [“PP” hereafter] soliciting Money – “Help Support”

12/12 – “Things I think”– Opening line “The Calvary Chapel Association has waged a propaganda war against someone who was one of their own that make Goebbels proud. ..” and, “It has spread to the rank and file… This is demonic…”

12/07- Kevin’s Conversations – Gracious Division”  This post praises the alleged collective wisdom of PP’s blog: “One of the unique things about this blog is the degree of theological diversity we have in our community. Certainly among our commenters and who knows how much more with our readers. Collectively, we have quite a range of opinion…” <>> Diverse? Anglican, Calvinist, Emergent & Contemplative – if this is “Diversity”, it is a bad joke.

12/06- “Spiritual McCarthyism” – This is PP’s most despicable rant, wherein he vilifies BB’s critics and anyone who dares challenge his propaganda. McCarthyism, is defined herein as, “the practice of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence… [and] tmaking unfair allegations or using unfair investigative techniques, especially in order to restrict dissent” This description, more than anything – precisely describes what PP &Co. are doing on his blog. Yet PP asserts, “The Calvary Chapel split has revealed that McCarthyism is alive and well in the church… [and is ] fueled by unsubstantiated accusations of theological treason put forth by some Calvary Chapel Association council members and spread like manure…

       Quaint imagery, huh? Then Mr. PP launches into an extended apology for BB & his announced new policy. [See ] regarding women teaching mixed, and his so-called “complementarianism”. Brodersen and his propagandists have tried to backtrack and play down what Brian announced on Oct. 22, 2016 in CCCM’s “Further thought on Women in Ministry”  Video “Things That Matter Episode 13 – Women in Ministry”; And see

12/05- Repost of Dave Rolph’s pro-BB post

12/05- “When a Movement becomes an Institution” – by Duane Arnold; See (NOTE: Arnold is a contemplative promoting Anglican priest! > See my EW post of 11/20/16) So here, PP let’s Arnold post, and offer his theologically aberrant opinions of the CC split. Although he admits herein, “I’ve not set foot into a Calvary Chapel for close to thirty years.”; And that he’s never even met BB, still he rants on how CC’s have become “Institutional” and “formal”, and then he pulls out Lonnie Frisbee, exalting him as though he’s somehow the model of theological freedom CC’s need to follow, etc., etc.

12/01- “The CC split: Commentary”  – Here, PP  refers to the CCA as “Well heeled Tyrants fighting over territory.” and he feigns compassion as he tries to evoke emotions regarding the poor missionaries and other “caught in the middle”, who are “being fed online accusations and rumors that they have little ability to parse”. Stuff like his, “In any war, there are always victims considered “collateral damage”…”, etc., etc…

11/30- “Like Father in law, like son in law” Another Brodersen promo – another vain attempt to compare BB with Pastor Chuck.

11/30- On his Facebook, PP reposts Sahah Mossman Wolfe’s post of New Age “Christian” Gary Thomas’ book, “Enough is enough”. Thomas is most well know for his creepy book, “Sacred Pathways”, where he promotes occultic type prayer and straight up Gnosticism.


11/29- “The CC Split: Update” > In a shameless display of arrogance, PP herein revels in the fact that BB has all the CC assets (assets that were intended to be used by ALL the CCs). He says, “Brian Brodersen doesn’t have to answer to anyone, but his board and congregation, for how he uses the assets his father in law passed on to him. Whether you like it or not, CCCM is the home of Calvary Chapel…they own the trademarks to the name and logo and no smear campaign can change that.” Then, lastly, he defends BB’s cutting John Randall off of KWVE, saying, “the KWVE purge was not about Brodersen exacting wrath on his enemies.”

11/28- CCA Declares War On Brodersen    In response to CCA’s letter of 11/28, PP opens with, “This is the official notice of a split …and a declaration of open war instead of the passive aggressive back-stabbing that is the CC norm… again say that this is both a dishonest and duplicitous narrative that is being foisted upon the pastors and congregants of CC. We have said that it was a raw power grab on the part of the CCA… and this is the biggest grab of all!”, etc., etc…

11/17- More from the CC split  >> In response to the 11/16 CCA letter, PP, while offering no legitimate refutation to it, again hammers the lie that the CCA has no business license. Then PP asserts that the CCA, “They create doctrinal issues out of whole cloth to make him appear to be ’emergent’, ‘ecumenical’…”, etc., etc…

+11/16- PP again soliciting for money

+11/15 – “Practicing the Presence of the church” by DH Arnold (Anglican Priest/ Catholic-friendly contemplative)>> See my EmergentWatch response @

11/10- “CC split Widens”  >> Slander of Don McClure & the CCA guys here! In responding to the 2nd CC letter, PP cites their words, “Before he went to be with Jesus, Pastor Chuck made it clear he wanted the Calvary Chapel movement to be lead by a collaboration of men working together.” – PP says, “”Now then, the opening statement is a lie. It’s past time to put an end to this charade.” then he defames CCA leaders Don McClure & Joe Focht, say they are “known together as “McFocht” . Then he adds, Here’s the hard, cold, reality for “McFocht & Friends” – Brodersen and Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa own the trademark “Calvary Chapel”, they own the dove, and they own all the conference facilities all over the globe. Should he so desire, he can send a cease and desist letter to the group (if it becomes legally incorporated again) which demands they stop using it all. Frankly, IT WOULD BE FITTING IF HE DID!”

11/07 – “Does the CCA Exist?” > Even though the CCA has a legitimate up-to-date business license in states other than California, PP propagates the lie that the CCA has no license to operate at at.

11/07- On his 11/07 post, PP responds very crudely to a gal who challenges his CC propaganda.


 11/06- “My Take on Brodersen Resignation” Repost of BB’s resignation; PP says, “this is the most honest communication written by a Calvary Chapel leader in my memory… I applaud Brodersen for his honesty!” PP adds here “my guess is that the old guard will die with it’s aging leaders…but we shall see”.

11/03 – “Roasted Dove” > Here PP praises himself with, “I hate to say I told you so…no, actually I’m reveling in both the fact that I told them so…” Then he says of the CCA guys, “This bunch did what they’ve always done…they got together with an agenda for power and then pretended that God endorsed the plan. It was an exercise in oligarchy and back-stabbing by men exhibiting the worst and most petty traits of self appointed leaders.”, etc., etc…

11/02- “Busting Brodersen Pt.2”     > This exposes PP anti-Chuck bias and is just more CCA bashing.

11/01-Busting Brodersen Pt.1″ > Here PP characterizes CCA motives in their 10/31 letter as “dishonest and wicked, but facts and virtue have never stood in the way of lust for power.” he ends here with, “The only real “unity” in the leadership of this group is the unity of the Philadelphia coalition to usurp Brian Brodersen from the movement altogether.” This hit-piece was released the day after the initial CCA letter of response to BB’s despicable comments.


So the reader may understand where PP & Co. are coming from – a further examination of the documentation will reveal that he and alot of his friends are Catholic contemplative promoting, emergent & ecumenical. Here are a few recent samples:

12/10- In his “Open Blogging” post here – PP’s buddy Duane (Contemplative) Arnold says, “Michael, Have you read “The Gospel and the Catholic Church” by Michael Ramsey? It’s a short book that I think you would very much enjoy.”; >> PP responds: “Duane, I haven’t, but I’ll fetch it for myself today.”

Arnold interjects: “I first met Bishop Michael on our honeymoon in the UK… he was my confessor/spiritual director for several years. A genuine godly man… “The Gospel and the Catholic Church” ties together the concept of the Body of Christ in terms of the Church itself, the ascended Christ and the Eucharist. Simple but profound… ” >> PP responds: “Duane, I just picked it up on my Kindle…thank you! I take book recommendations pretty seriously from folks like you…” A little further down, Arnold adds, “Ramsey was [Anglican] Archbishop of Canterbury… His relationship with the RC church was warm. Pope Paul VI gave him his bishop’s ring… He bequeathed it to the office in perpetuity…”

12/06 – His “Linkathon” links to the contemplative “Advent with St. John of the Cross” @


PP& D.Arnold-link-catcon

NOTE that PP’s 11/28 comments, apparently in response to my EW article -exposing his Catholic contemplative advocacy – contained NO PROOF of anything. As usual, PP considers his own word good as holy writ, as he says, “I have to laugh… This site [] is full of nonsense that I’ve refuted…” Yet, WHERE is ANY legitimate refutation, any documentation? It doesn’t exist, because he hasn’t a shred.

pp-newham-claims refutes-EW-article

He has no real evidence of anything. Newnham’s claim to fame seems to be his secret un-name-able “inside” sources in CCCM. But factually, Mr. PP tries to foist his folly on his faithful followers, with nothing more than his word – and that being hearsay.


Newnham’s Blogroll

Lastly, as further evidence of PP’s spiritual inclinations, I point you to his BLOGROLL. One can also discern a fair amount about a person’s proclivities in a blog by their blogroll – their recommended blogs.

1] “Calvary Chapel Abuse” – which is an essentially an abusive site attacking CC & pastor Chuck amongst other things.

2] “Heavy for the Vintage” – This “explores spirituality as displayed by those whose lives are a mess… On his popular weekly podcast, Drunk Ex-Pastors, Jason and his agnostic co-host sit down over drinks and discuss everything from religion to pop culture… Jason stepped down from ministry to embark on a career as a writer, speaker, mentor, and really bad Catholic …”

PP linked heavy-vintage2

3] “Internetmonk” ; A quick search of this site for “contemplative” shows us there are 110 tagged articles for this. including multiple posts on Thomas Merton, Brennen Manning & Julian of Norwich, etc.


And of course, now PP Newnham shamelessly promotes his “wisdom” and pithy saying in his book series entitled: “Make your own Application”, whose tagline is “You’ve read the blog, NOW GET THE BOOK”! Seriously – No thanks you!


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3 thoughts on “Calvary Chapel and The Propaganda of the Phoenix Preacher

  1. To 4Philemon
    Brother….you are so correct in all you say about Michael (PP), the “owner” of Phoenix Preacher. That blog, (put out under is totally prejudice against Calvary Chapel Association and Chuck Smith. I just finished a series of back-and-forth comments with PP and many of his minions, finally coming to the same conclusion that you have so aptly described here: PP and the Phoenix Preacher blog is a bunch of garbage. I actually ended up begging that PP ban me from the blog because I was wasting too much time following his posts, but I couldn’t stop reading them because it was so humorous to me that anyone could be so slanted, false, and ignorant. Finally, thank God, I was banned. Oh, by the way, I went onto WordPress to open my own TRUTH-SEEKING blog and I discovered PP only has 31 followers. (that brought even more chuckles and joy to me).

    Peace and truth in love,

    Pastor Robert Trohon
    La Via-The Way (Calvary Chapel)
    Managua, Nicaragua

  2. Mike Donohue

    During the seventies groups like Chuck Smith’s Calvary Chapel exploded and charismatic characters led the charge, some of them were scoundrels. I knew one mean one, down in New Mexico, who still has his own radio show. But one scoundrel really surprised and astounded me. AS a popular Christian radio commentator, and part of Calvary at one time, he got Chuck Smith in a mess by engaging young girls on his show, then seeking Smith. A lawsuit ensued, Chuck Smith backed out, and the scoundrel divorced his wife and married the girl, 38 years his junior, who quickly had his child. Whew! This character is still on religious radio, today. Clever, clever fellow! There happens to be a lot of money in Media for religious shows. Even the 700 Club pulls in a billion dollars a year, while putting on shows promoting the ‘Shroud of Turin’. The above commentators, all two of them, are naive. So, the world marches on!

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