Former NBA player Nick VanderLaan, a recent money-giving member of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, tells his story of being detained against his will and then arrested for speaking out at a meeting to question the presence of the controversial Ergun Caner.
He attended a special meeting at CCCM featuring Ergun Caner as the guest-speaker. Previous to the meeting, Nick expressed his concern to CCCM Leadership, believing he had the right and responsibility to do so as a giving member of the Church. His concerns were basically ignored.
At the meeting, Nick stood up to challenge Caner’s presence. He was non-violent and merely spoke out and spoke up. Calvary Chapel Leadership knew who he was. Nick and his family were known quantities, attended a trip to Israel with Chuck Smith, counseled with pastors there, dedicated their kid at the CCCM pulpit etc etc.
He was immediately surrounded and detained by the Calvary Chapel goon squad (my opinion, my description of the security guards and CC personnel based off of their subsequent actions).
The goon squad cuffed Nick up, took him to another part of the church, denied him bathroom and water and detained him against his will for a prolonged period of time.
Santa Ana police arrived later and arrested and charged Nick.
This incident was not during a church service, but during a conference. In the 36-second YouTube recording below, you can hear Ergun Caner seemingly inviting audience response by his words: "So if you've got a problem with me, hit me up and tell me what I did wrong."
VanderLaan's response was: "I have a problem with you. You're a liar, you're a fraud, you need to repent."
Some might not find VanderLaan's method appropriate. Some pastors have complained to me about my blogging. Oh well. Speaking out against against abuse is a subject that many find uncomfortable, but there is biblical precedent. And if those in authority are ignoring issues, we might see more of this kind of response.
The District Attorney eventually dismissed the case, but I'm sure it came with a cost to the VanderLaan family. You can find attorney's letters, police report, court records and the complete story at Ephesians 5:11 Blog.
But as I was reading this article, what struck me was how fast police were involved in this situation. As we've been reading about so many abuse cases where pastors or church leaders refuse to report crimes (including cases at Calvary Chapel), look how fast they reported this church disruption as a CRIME by getting civil authorities involved and consequently Nick arrested.
So disrupting a conference is worse than child rape or sodomy, or spousal abuse? Give me a break, people. I see how it is - they call the police when it benefits them, but when there are real crimes like sex abuse in the church or spousal abuse, they do NOT call authorities at all. It makes me sick - BLECH!
* * * Update: Nov 5, 2012: I was just sent a link giving more background information on Ergun Caner which helps to explain why Nick felt justified to speak out at the meeting.