I have heard this story many times in the last 20+ years, especially from Calvary Chapel goers (I say “goers” because for some reason CC does not believe in local church membership).
Here it goes.
Calvary Chapel, indeed, should be applauded for encouraging their people to study their Bible closely, verse-by-verse.
But what happens so often is when CC goers study their Bible, many do not come to the CC position of pretribulationism.
They discover prewrath, even though they may have never knew it existed as a view or may have never read a book on it. They discovered it naturally, as a Berean.
But the response experienced by many CC believers, I am told, is not—well done—but instead they are patted on the back and told that their interpretation is not correct and they need to study so-and-so’s pretrib book.
They Bible then is left in the dust and eclipsed with “Pastor Bible Prophecy’s word as Gospel.”
So the CC higher ups attempt to corral them back to the official CC position of pretribulationism. I say “official” because there is an unstated warning from CC if a pastor comes out publicly prewrath. How many non-pretrib CC pastors are conference speakers?
The next phase then is that the CC goer looks around for biblical sources to find out whether he or she got it wrong, and, as often the case, they come across prewrath material and realizes, yes, it confirms their understanding that they discovered from their personal Bible study on the second coming.
They then go back to their CC pastor to seek a meaningful interaction concerning their new-found prewrath view, only to be shot down and told (in nicer terms of course) that they should adhere to the CC tradition of the church because “smarter people have studied this much more than you have.”
Finally, the CC goer realizes that the Calvary Chapel’s principle of personal, verse-by-verse Bible study is disingenuous as it is selective up to the point that it butts up against the pretribulation tradition of Calvary Chapel.
Calvary Chapel prides itself as “not a denomination.” In truth, they are in fact one, and they have their human traditions as any other association of churches.
Incidentally, this is the same description experienced by many believers who attend other churches outside of Calvary Chapel circles.