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KLHT 1040 AM Honolulu

Before I delve into what follows let me say up front I have a lot of sympathy for the Calvary Chapel movement, and I’m grateful for the time I had in my local Calvary, etc. It was a great place to hear Bible teaching and a pretty good place to serve.  Part of the Calvary experience included listening to KNKT-FM in Albuquerque, and even ten years ago I found the selection of teachers on KNKT peculiar. Most of it made sense: it mostly reinforced the Chuck Smith-Skip Heitzig-California-Sixties lineage of Calvary Albuquerque, there was a little bit from the other Calvaries in New Mexico, and a little bit that might appeal to Hispanics. There were also some odd choices: a man who never stopped talking about money (Hank Hanegraaff), an angry shouting Calvinist (John MacArthur), a Calvary guy who didn’t fit the lineage (Bil Gallatin) and a clinical psychologist who occasionally answered questions that in person Calvary pastors tend to reserve for themselves (James Dobson).

When I traveled to places where Calvary was relatively new I tended to find an unhosted Calvary Satellite Network feed [link], which featured no local voices and was then more of a pure Calvary platform: Chuck Smith, Greg Laurie, and a host of Calvary stars. My analysis then was that the network was a low-budget affair, and Calvary was doing what was necessary to keep the money in-house.

So last week when I was in Maui I was surprised to find in the middle of the AM dial a Calvary station of sorts, KLHT 1040AM [link]. It turns out to be owned by Calvary Chapel of Honolulu, and like KNKT it is a non-profit radio station that plays commercials. I’m not sure how all this works from a tax accounting perspective, but that’s another question for another day.

Their programming is similar to what you’ll hear on KNKT [link], but different: instead of regional New Mexico voices, there are voices local to Hawaii, including someone named Waxer Tipton [link], who is local but not so far as I can tell affiliated with Calvary at all. There are also more Californians, including Bill Stonebraker and Steve Mays, neither of whom I’d ever heard before.

It was a little jarring to hear Calvary pastors over the Independence Day weekend in a place that’s not so Anglo and where only three precincts (out of 538) voted Republican in the 2008 Presidential election [link]. Note to Steve Mays: yes, America needs to repent; no, it was never righteous.

It’s also kind of sad to hear how prevalent the guys we used to call the “Chuck-alikes” have become. We all love Chuck Smith and are grateful for him and for the Calvary movement, but we understand that while teaching through every verse in the Bible is something of a Calvary goal if not a distinctive, Chuck’s teaching on some verses is shallow to nonexistent. And there are guys in the Calvary Chapel movement who, if you’ve heard Chuck’s take on a passage in e.g. the C-3000 series [link] you know what they’re going to say about the passage. You’re just left to wonder what filler story they’re going to use as an illustration. And sadly it seems like the bulk of the newer California/Hawaii guys are more or less in this mold. These twin trends (a tendency to skirt difficult passages; a tendency to serve up warmed over Chuck Smith material) don’t bode well for the Calvary movement long term.

All that being said, it was great to hear Calvary voices generally, and I was glad to be within range of KLHT on the south side of Maui. It was like seeing an old girlfriend in passing, and being glad she’s aging well, or something like that.

In a later post I’d like to take up the general question of Calvinism on Calvary stations, and the unpleasant topic of Alistair Begg in particular. Stay tuned.


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