Way of Life Literature


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Lancaster Baptist Church’s Contemporary Fruit
September 19, 2017
David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061
California is being populated with contemporary churches that are products of and spin-offs of Lancaster Baptist Church of Lancaster and the West Coast Baptist College that it operates. The same thing is happening in many other parts of North America and beyond. In fact, the reason we began warning about Lancaster a few years ago was that we had seen the fruit of its contemporary compromise in churches overseas.

In many cases, the pastors of the contemporary churches are sons of Lancaster’s leaders, staff, and teachers.

Any man can have a son or student who goes in a different direction philosophically, but that is not the case here. These contemporary works have not been publicly renounced. In most cases, they have the express blessing of the (allegedly) non-contemporary fathers.

These works are a product of the positivist philosophy that is taught at Lancaster. It is a New Evangelical philosophy: keep the message positive, avoid dealing with personalities, be known for what you are for, not for what you are against.

These works are a product of Lancaster’s despising of clear warnings.

The resulting ignorance leaves men and women liable to deception.

These works are also a product of Lancaster’s commitment to the use of contemporary praise music. While Lancaster has toned down the rhythm and cleaned up the presentation of the music (e.g., singers standing still instead of dancing), the music has transformational power, nonetheless. CCM’s “lighten up, don’t be so strict, keep it positive, promote unity” philosophy has captured the hearts of many people at Lancaster, and many of the West Coast graduates are taking the use of CCM much farther than Lancaster probably intended it to go. When you let the camel put his nose in the tent, the result is predictable. (For documentation of Lancaster’s commitment to contemporary music see “
Have I Exaggerated the Music Problem at Lancaster?


This year, Paul Chappell's youngest son, Matt, started a contemporary work called Rock Hill Church in Fontana, California.

Paul ordained him for this work on April 25, 2016, and has tweeted praise for the new work.

In a blog at the founding of Rock Hill in early 2017, Paul Chappell tweeted, “Thankful to hear from our son Matt tonight how the Lord is already working as they are planting Rock Hill Baptist Church in Fontana, CA.”

When Paul talks about Matt’s work, he says he is starting Rock Hill
Baptist Church, but the church's online material (rockhill.church), is listed as "copyright Rock Hill Church." The church sign says “RH Rockhill Church.” They are positioning themselves as a generic church.

In a blog dated September 15, 2017, Paul again recommended Matt’s work. He says that Matt “uses some methods I do not use” and he says, “I’ll not have these methods taught at WCBC” (“3 Priorities for Ministry Dads and Their Ministry Sons,”
Paulchappell.com, Sep. 15 2017). So using Christian rock and preaching a Chuck Swindoll brand of “grace” and accepting immodest and unisex fashions are just different methods.

Rockhill Church uses full blown contemporary music, including Hillsong, and in typical emerging fashion, everything is dark. The room is dark for the worship service and it is dark for the preaching. It would be nearly impossible to actually look at your Bible and “search the Scriptures.”

Matt’s Instagram post for Feb. 18, 2017, featured a photo of his praise team singing Hillsong’s “Love So Great.”

The following ad published by Rock Hill uses full-blown rock and roll:

Matt’s messages are littered with motivational, positive-thinking language such as “leveraging a new beginning.” The messages are very light on sin and holiness and very heavy on grace, and it is not a Titus 2:11-15 grace. It is an emerging grace. It is a Chuck Swindoll grace. Matt's preaching is filled with non-critical references to the pop culture. In his first message at Rock Hill, Matt cited and non-critically referenced a basketball star, rocker Taylor Swift, Steve Jobs, the Los Angeles Lakers, and a professional fisherman. What signal does that send to his listeners?

When Paul Chappell ordained Matt in 2016, he reminisced online about how that Matt surrendered to preach in the 7th grade and that he is the product of Lancaster Baptist Church and West Coast Baptist College. Consider the following excerpt:

“Last night was a highlight for Terrie and me and our church family as we had the ordination here for our youngest son, Matthew. ... I look back over the years since [Matt surrendered to preach], and I know that where Matt is today is the fruit of so many investments. It’s the fruit of every Sunday school teacher, Christian school teacher, youth worker, West Coast Baptist College faculty and staff, and the Lancaster Baptist Church deacons and church family who have loved our family and encouraged our children. ... It was my joy last night to preach Matt’s ordination service...”

We agree with what Pastor Chappell says here. Matt Chappell
was prepared by Lancaster and West Coast. He is a product of the positivist philosophy that is taught at Lancaster. He is a product of the use of contemporary praise music. He is the product of Quick Prayerism.

The fruit of a New Evangelical stance is a never-ending progression of change. Each generation goes farther from the truth. The emerging church is simply the twenty-first century face of New Evangelicalism. It is the product of a natural and inescapable path of progression. See “
Emerging Church: The 21st Century Face of New Evangelicalism.”

As already noted, any man can have a son or student who goes in a different direction philosophically, but that is not the case here. 


Coastline Baptist Church, Oceanside, pastored by Paul Chappell’s brother, Steve, is a full-blown rock & roll church. Paul’s son, Matt, spent a few years there as youth pastor before he started Rockhill.

Robert Bakss, a rock & roll pastor with an emerging philosophy who has caused a lot of confusion in Australian Independent Baptist churches, spoke at Coastline on February 5, 2017. (See
A Baptist Church on a Slippery Slope, available in print or as a free eBook from www.wayoflife.org.)

On Coastline’s website under “Our Team,” the ministers include their favorite super heroes. Worship Pastor Ryan Gass’s is Wolverine; Assistant Pastor Jon Telles’s is Captain America; Student Ministries Pastor J.J. Mordh’s is Batman; Spanish Pastor Jairo Dominguez’s is Spiderman; Office Secretary Lisa Chappell’s is Wonder Woman. That is a huge green light for church youth to immerse themselves in worldly, sensual things that are forbidden by God’s Word (Ephesians 5:11; 1 John 2:15-16). No wonder most churches have thrown away godly, modest dress standards when the minds of the leaders are filled with such garbage (and probably much worse).


The church’s web site under “Our History” says it was founded at the direction of Paul Chappell. Los Angeles Baptist has followed Lancaster’s example of despising “warnings” and thus being ignorant of many important issues facing God’s people today. It has also followed Lancaster’s example of using “adapted” contemporary worship music.

Not surprisingly, last year, the pastor’s daughter, who graduated from West Coast with a BA in missions, raised nearly $18,000 to join World Race on an 11-month backpacking “missions trip” in multiple countries. The backpacking teams are called “squads.” The endeavor was promoted by her pastor father. She told the congregation that while working on a presentation for the church’s mission day, World Race caught her attention and she felt that God was calling her to this. It should be obvious, though, that the voice she heard is not God’s. World Race is extremely ecumenical. Its belief statement says, “We emphasize interdenominationalism and unity of the body of Christ, as such we are ministers of reconciliation. We seek to bring pastors and churches together in ministry.” Thus, World Race squads are seen as instruments for ecumenical unity. Christian rock music is at the heart of World Race. It is also committed to contemplative prayer. (See the free eBook
Evangelicals and Contemplative Prayer, www.wayoflife.org.) The emphasis is more on “kingdom building” than preaching the gospel. In fact, the gospel is not mentioned in World Race’s belief statement. There is also no mention of repentance, the imminent return of Christ, biblical separation, end-time apostasy, defense of the faith, and other teachings of Scripture that are essential to the times in which we live. There are no warnings of such things as Roman Catholicism, theological liberalism, Pentecostalism, Charismaticism, and the deep compromise of evangelicalism. Because of its ecumenical, positivist, “judge not” philosophy, World Race is a bridge to anything and everything. It’s one thing for a pastor’s child to depart from what he or she has been taught; it is quite another thing for a pastor to support and promote a child that has gone in an unscriptural direction.


Grace Gathering was founded by Todd Weaver, a graduate of West Coast Baptist College and the son of Toby Weaver who is listed on the staff page of West Coast.

The church’s goal is to “partner with God to build to advance his kingdom.” It’s more about kingdom building than gospel preaching and discipleship. Grace Gathering believes “that God hasn’t given up on the world and is working through people to bring about His renewal of all things.”

Everything is very emerging at Grace Gatherings. Instead of a statement of faith, they have a “Theology Narrative.” Instead of the Bible being infallibly inspired by God, it is an “authoritative narrative.” For salvation, there is no mention of repentance or born again, just the “the Spirit of God affirms as children of God all those who trust Jesus.”

They don’t do missionary work; they do “holistic,” “missional” work. They say the church’s work is to “usher in the kingdom of God” and “partner with God to build to advance his kingdom.” The church, they say, “is a global and local expression of living out the way of Jesus through love, peace, sacrifice, and healing as we embody the resurrected Christ, who lives in and through us, to a broken and hurting world.” Grace Gathering is “participating in God’s movement to rescue and restore His good creation.” That is an emerging philosophy, and the church’s “theology narrative” uses emerging terms such as “narrative,” “missional,” “relational,” “fractured,” “marginalized.” Grace Gathering teaches that Christians are to “serve, care for, and cultivate the earth.”

One will look in vain in the church’s “theology narrative” for a statement on God’s eternal judgment of the unsaved in the lake of fire. There appears to be a strong element of universalism. Their “community works” projects include the New Agey Alcoholics Anonymous with its emphasis on a “higher power” rather than the God of Scripture.

Grace Gathering describes itself as “a people that “respect differences of opinion and encourage dialogue.”

It sounds like Weaver has been influenced by men such as Rob Bell, Robert Webber, and Brian McLaren. In fact, Grace Gathering’s web site says they are “a people that trust that Love Wins in the end.” That’s the title of Rob Bell’s book promoting universalism.

But Lancaster/West Coast’s “do not criticize” philosophy doesn’t allow for church members and students to be properly educated and warned of such men and their heresies. And many bridges are built from the church and student body to evangelicalism and beyond by such things as contemporary worship music.

New Life is a satellite of Lancaster Baptist Church and is listed at the ministry section of Lancaster’s web site under “New Life Baptist Campuses” (www.lancasterbaptist.org).

New Life’s web site is very hip and emerging, and the church features a contemporary praise team and a contemporary style P&W stage.

Other New Life Baptist Chapel campuses in California are in Rosamond, Mojave, Castaic, and Taft.

None of them mention or even hint at repentance in their gospel presentations.


Ambassador Baptist Church (also known as Fresno Church) was pastored by Mark Irmler until it was turned over to his son, Joshua, in 2007. Mark has taught at West Coast and is promoted on Paul Chappell’s Ministry 127 blog.

Under Joshua’s leadership, Ambassador Baptist has a full-blown contemporary praise program and philosophy. Currently (September 2017) they are using Rick Warren’s
40 Days in the Word program. (See fresnochurch.com.)

When has Pastor Paul Chappell publicly and emphatically renounced the many contemporary West Coast graduates, including his own son Matt of Rock Hill Church, that are leading people astray around the world?

For more about the emerging church see the free 55-page eBook
The Emerging Church Is Coming, and for a more thorough study, see the 440-page What Is the Emerging Church? Both are available at www.wayoflife.org.

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