Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel has passed away.
There is one statement that represents Chuck Smith to me.
“I would rather have the wrong facts and a right attitude, than right facts and a wrong attitude.” – Chuck Smith, Calvinism and Arminianism & The Word of God: A Calvary Chapel Perspective, p10.
Chuck Smith founded Calvary Chapel, which is now an international organization with over a thousand churches. Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapels believe in teaching the Bible verse-by-verse, chapter-by-chapter, book-by-book. They are to teach the entire counsel of God from Genesis to Revelation.
I spent 5 years in a Calvary Chapel in Texas, and I was ordained as a Pastor in June 2004. My certificate was signed by my 3 pastors and witnessed by hundreds of people.
I was unordained as a Pastor in June 2007 without a phone call, with no opportunity to present my side of the story, allowed no time to share my beliefs from the text of the Bible, and misrepresentations. I was accused of writing that I disagreed with Calvary Chapel doctrinally on my blog repeatedly, and allegedly said so to another Pastor repeatedly. Both misrepresentation bordering on lies. The third misrepresentation was that I was accused of being a Calvinist.
There were three men who signed my Certificate of Ordination here in Texas, the senior pastor and two other pastors. One of the other pastors was told I was a Calvinist (and voted), and the other pastor wasn’t even consulted. The one who voted told someone close to me that he did not agree with what happened (though the statement was a bit vague), and I haven’t ever gotten any detail. He changed his story when I talked to him.
How can men see and know that a man is called by God to serve as a shepherd, yet somehow 3 years later that decision is nullified with no true infractions? (It’s not like I was teaching against Christ in some way) Especially with the accused completely unaware of what is happening and living in another state.
“Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked, ‘Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing?’” (John 7:50-51)
Am I a Calvinist? No. Am I an Arminian? No. I love the Word of God, believe every Word, and I love Jesus Christ as my savior. Jesus is everything to me, and He will always be the focus of my life no matter where I end up.
Am I a shepherd called by God? I have no doubts, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has made it clear to me in many ways (I hesitate to go into detail). I know the Lord is with me, I will fulfill my purpose, and it doesn’t matter what men think. I’m not here to be pleasing to men or organizations, I am here to teach the truth without compromise and please God.
Calvary Chapels teach the Bible verse-by-verse, encourage the people in the congregation to believe the Bible completely, absorb every verse into their minds and souls, but if they embrace Calvinism then they are rejected out of leadership, ministry, and pastorship.
How does Chuck Smith play into this? This is all a direct result of Chuck Smith’s directives to purge Calvary Chapel of anyone who was a “Calvinist.” Sadly, what they believe to be “Calvinism” is actually “Hyper Calvinism.” Calvary Chapel has men like George “Read My Book” Bryson who write books about it and completely misrepresent Calvinism only to knock it down. That is called a straw man argument.
I’ve learned in 2013 George Bryson is leading a purge against Calvary Chapel pastors (again), and Ken Sutton (a Calvary Chapel pastor) finally has spoken out about it. You can read his article here (As Ken’s article appears to be scrubbed from the internet, see it below this article in the replies). Here is George’s email that sparked Sutton’s reply (linked in Phoenix Preacher’s blog entry here).
Sadly I can still see that Sutton believes in George Bryson’s falacious definition of Calvinism and its actually Hyper Calvinism. And Sutton still has the “right” attitude that Chuck Smith has by asking anyone who believes in George’s definition of Calvinism to simply leave. If they don’t leave they’ll be ejected just like Bryson wants.
Its full of hypocrisy, especially about how George Bryson should meet with these brothers. I offered to meet with him, I’d be happy to discuss my beliefs with him, and I never heard anything. My pastor didn’t even meet with me. But after all, I wasn’t some pastor with a big fancy church and hundreds of people to listen to me. I was a nothing and was treated like a nothing.
Calvary Chapels believe that if you are called of God you will have a big church and successful ministry. Oh yea, that is a real indicator. How about Benny Hinn, Oral Roberts, Kenneth Copeland, Jimmy Swaggart, Joel Osteen, Jim Baker, Peter Popoff, and Robert Tilton?
How about Jeremiah? Jeremiah was a prophet and called by God to serve and preach His word. Jeremiah was rejected by Israel. It was the false prophets during Jeremiah’s time that had big followings. Jeremiah had a successful ministry and obeyed God, yet he didn’t have a big “church” somewhere.
So that brings us full circle to Chuck Smith’s statement above. How can anyone who loves the truth of God, teaches the truth, and leads people to believe the truth of the Bible prefer being wrong in doctrine and have the “right” attitude? The statement is astonishing. What we believe defines us as Bible believing Christians. It is what sets us apart from the world and all of its false religions.
Simply, the entire statement is hypocrisy. What is the right attitude? Is the right attitude rejecting your brothers and sisters you are supposed to love like Christ? Kicking them out of leadership and ministry is that the right attitude? Saying if they don’t agree with you that they can get out and go somewhere else? Is that the right attitude? How about accusing someone of something, putting them on trial, and convicting them without so much as a phone call?
The statement should be different. Perhaps… “I would prefer to have the truth and the right attitude, than have the wrong truth and the right attitude, or the right truth and the wrong attitude.”
One of the biggest problems in the Church is Christians not believing the Bible. They would rather believe tradition, believe what they were taught growing up, believe motivational speaking, or believe whatever they want God to be in their own minds. The latter part is the most troubling. Are they believing in the true God of the revelation given to us, or are they believing in a god of their own making? What is the difference between that and making up another god, carving an idol, then bowing down to worship a piece of lifeless rock.
Give me the true Jesus! I don’t want the Jesus of Islam, nor the Jesus of the Mormons, nor the made up Jesus, nor any other that is not based on the truth.