John Nelson Darby
John Neslon Darby
Christian Premillennialism

Chuck Smith Is Ecumenical

In his 1993 book, Answers For Today , Smith says the following:

"Paul points out that some say, 'I'm of Paul,' while others say, 'I'm of Apollos.' He asked, 'Isn't that carnal?' But what's the difference between saying that or saying, 'I'm a Baptist,' 'I'm a Presbyterian,' 'I'm a Methodist,' 'I'm a Catholic'? I have found that the more spiritual a person becomes, the less denominational he is.

We should realize that we're all part of the Body of Christ and that there aren't any real divisions in the Body. We're all one . What a glorious day when we discover that God loves the Baptists!--And the Presbyterians, and the Methodists, and the Catholics . We're all His and we all belong to Him . We see the whole Body of Christ, and we begin to strive together rather than striving against one another" (p. 157). (Emphasis added.)

If anything should be clear, it is that Catholicism is a false religious system and is in no way part of the Body of Christ. Yet Chuck Smith views Catholicism as merely another Christian denomination.

Chuck Smith's Hypocritical Stand Against Psychology

Chuck Smith is the general editor of a booklet that Bob Hoekstra has written entitled, The Psychologizing of the Faith , that attempts to expose the evils and false doctrine that has come into the church via psychology.

This booklet is sold in the book store at Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa. Although the Calvary Chapel book store has a disclaimer at the cash register which says that they can't fully endorse every book sold, it is absolute hypocrisy to endorse The Psychologizing of the Faith , and at the same time sell and promote (by selling) books written by pop psychologist Dr. James C. Dobson, Tim and Beverly LaHaye (four-temperament gurus), Charles Stanley, Billy Graham, Max Lucado, Kay Arthur, Bill Bright, etc.

In addition, in the 1994 booklet What Calvary Chapel Teaches: A Brief Explanation of the Doctrine of the Calvary Chapel Movement by Calvary Chapel Assistant Pastor Larry Taylor, Calvary Chapel admits to approving of "mental health professionals" and says, "we thank God for them." (Taylor has a Ph.D. in psychologically-based counseling and has held previous private employment as a consultant to psychiatric hospitals and social service departments; he claims most of the booklet was written by Chuck Smith.)

Calvary Chapel also sponsors "DISCIPLESHIP SUPPORT GROUPS" every Friday evening at the church. A flyer distributed by Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa describes who should attend these support group meetings:

"For (a) People Pleasers--For those who painfully depend on approval from others in an attempt to find safety, value and identity; (b) Sexually Abused--For women whose lives have been impacted by sexual abuse in some form; (c) Bereavement--For those who have lost a spouse or other loved one, whether recently or in the past; (d) Separated/Divorced--For those who have suffered the break-up of a marriage; (e) Men Impacted by Sexual Abuse--For men who have been sexually abused or have a loved one who has been abused; and (f) Overeaters--For those who compulsively eat."

This all follows the pattern of a psychological approach--as does Calvary Chapel's "Tuesday School of the Bible." Of the 34 course offerings listed in a recent catalog, over a quarter are blatantly psychologized, with such titles as: (a) Preparation for Marriage (using a book written by pastor turned psychologist H. Norman Wright); (b) Choosing to Love (teaches codependency concepts); (c) The Step to Sobriety (codependency course using The Serenity Bible for the text); (d) Children With Chemically Dependent Parents (taught to 7 to 12 year-olds who have parents who are drunks or are on drugs); and (e) Biblical Strategies For Recovery From Abuse (with a course description that reads like a course on Inner-Healing).

Smith teaches psychological concepts in many other places. For example, in his 1982 book Charisma vs. Charismania , Smith teaches Freud's concept of the superego as a picture of our ideal self (p. 47); that God prizes and values us (p. 63); that Maslow's concept of a hierarchy of needs is valid for Christians (pp. 99-100); that what the Bible calls sins are actually "overt escapes" (plus such psychological terminology as "I hate myself" and "a subconscious desire for punishment") (pp. 102-103); etc. More psychological concepts can be found in Smith's 1977/1980 booklet titled Family Relationships , wherein he speaks of the "ego" and "superego" (p. 9) (also found in his most recent book, Why Grace Changes Everything , [pp. 32-33]); the "emotional spectrum" of women and men (p. 12); "emotional needs" and the "male ego" (pp. 32-33); and "psychological problems" (p. 54).

Chuck Smith the Charismatic

Though Smith cannot be classified as a hyper-charismatic (i.e., one who holds physical healing and/or demon deliverance services in open church), his theology is definitely charismatic. (However, we are told by former Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa members that some of the more radical charismatic practices are allowed and even encouraged in home Bible studies and prayer groups.)

In his 1982 book Charisma vs. Charismania , Chuck Smith teaches that the "abuse of tongues" (i.e., blurting out gibberish in a formal church service) makes one a "charismaniac," but speaking in tongues as a private prayer language is not only acceptable, but encouraged (p. 113) and to be an enjoyable "experience" (p. 110).

Smith's experience-oriented theology probably comes from the fact that he is strongly Arminian, so strongly Arminian that he, in effect, has rendered meaningless the Biblical doctrine of God's sovereignty (Word for Today tape#1849 & Calvinism vs. Arminianism , by Larry Taylor).

Chuck Smith's Worldly Evangelism

Perhaps a result of Smith's early days in the counter-cultural "Jesus Movement" (see note below), he seems to have a particular fondness for using the world's methods to aid in teaching and/or evangelism. For example, drama and soft-rock musicals have always been a staple in Calvary Chapel's youth ministries. However, "Christianizing" the things of the world in order to reach the lost seems to have gone considerably further at Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa.

The 6/13/94 NIRR and the 11/16/94 Christian Century report that Calvary Chapel has begun a ministry at all-night "rave" parties. Rave is a dance movement from Europe in which teens take designer drugs, use virtual-reality devices, and dance (usually alone) away the night and early morning hours to repetitive techno-pop dance music. Often there is no lighting except for strobes and lasers.

The raves are usually held in abandoned warehouses or on Indian reservations. The youth members from Calvary Chapel dress like the ravers. The males wear leather jackets, T-shirts, parachute pants or shorts, and shoes similar to army boots. The females usually wear T-shirts, cutoff shorts, and the same style boots. Calvary outreach assistant Tracy Herman claims that the Calvary Chapel evangelists hand out "really hip tracts" at the raves, and the response to the gospel is "almost always positive." Even if that were the case, is it not a sin for a church to expose its young people to such a wicked environment (1 Cor. 15:33)?

[Note on the Jesus Movement: The 9/93 issue of Charisma magazine had a section of articles discussing the legacy of the "Jesus Movement" of the late 1960s. Some key words/phrases characterizing this movement were: Sexual revolution, acid generation, long hair, hippies, rock/folk music, rebellion, anti-war protest, peace, love, "Jesus freaks," flower children, communes, and coffeehouse ministries.

Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel were prominently discussed. The "Jesus Movement" helped fuel the wild-fire spread of the charismatic movement along with its so-called Contemporary Christian Music. It gave vitality to such ecumenical/neo-evangelical organizations as Campus Crusade, Youth With A Mission, and Jews for Jesus. Cornerstone magazine (Jesus People USA) (indirectly) and Greg Laurie (an early Calvary Chapel convert) are also products of the Jesus Movement. (Reported in the 9/15/93 Calvary Contender .)]