John Nelson Darby
John Neslon Darby
Christian Premillennialism

Chuck Smith & Calvary Chapel Movement

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Chuck Smith is best known to those outside of the state of California as the teacher on the nationwide radio program, "The Word for Today." The radio programs are edited messages from Smith's sermons at Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, California, where he is the senior pastor. Calvary Chapel also operates a wholly-owned radio station (KWVE), as well as a Bible College in Twin Peaks, California, a castle in Austria, and other properties.

Born in 1927, Smith started Calvary Chapel in 1965 with only 25 people. In six months it doubled. Today it has a reported "membership" of approximately 15,000 and has planted Calvary Chapels all over the globe. Smith's ministry grew out of the Christianized version of the hippie youth movement of the 1960s and '70s (he was a leader in the "Jesus Movement," a counter- cultural movement which focussed heavily on subjective religious experience) into what has become a nationwide group of churches known as Calvary Chapels. Over 600 churches (approximately 525 nationally and 85 more worldwide) have grown out of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, some of them with memberships of more than 5,000.

Chuck Smith has been touted thusly: "This man, Chuck Smith and his church, Calvary Chapel, has had an amazing influence upon the Christian world." That being the case--What kind of message have they received (and do they receive) from Smith and Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa? In this article, we will examine only four aspects of Chuck Smith and his ministry--his ecumenism, his compromise with psychology, his charismaticism, and his worldly evangelism methods.