Chuck Smith (pastor)

Charles Ward “Chuck” Smith, (born June 25, 1927), is the senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and the founder of the Calvary Chapel movement. Beginning with the 25-person Costa Mesa congregation in 1965, Smith's influence now extends to thousands of congregations worldwide, some of which are among the largest churches in the United States.

Contents

Early life and career

Smith was born in Ventura, California to Charles and Maude Smith.

Smith graduated from LIFE Bible College and was ordained as a pastor for the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. In the late 1950s, Smith was the campaign manager and worship director for healing evangelist Paul Cain. After being a pastor for a different denomination, he left his denomination to pastor a non-denominational church plant in Corona, California, and eventually moved to a church called Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, California in December 1965. It was the only church on Church Street in Costa Mesa, and had been planted by Pastor Floyd Nelson as a ministry to shut-ins; it had begun with a small group of people in a mobile home park, populated mainly by senior citizens in 1962.[citation needed] From there, they moved to a Girl Scout building and eventually to Church Street, which is where the church was meeting when Chuck Smith was hired as the "pulpit pastor."

Calvary Chapel

In March 1968, Smith brought into his home the then-18-year-old pentecostal evangelist Lonnie Frisbee with his wife Connie. Chuck Smith paired him up with John Higgins who already had a Bible study going for youth; they started a Christian commune called "The House of Miracles." John and Lonnie went out into the community to reach its youth with the gospel during the early days of the Jesus movement.

The church in Santa Ana grew and, as of 2006, 35,000 people have attended it. Over 1,000 churches have branched out from his church; some of these churches are led by those whom Smith discipled, including: Jon Courson, Don McClure, Joe Focht, Skip Heitzig, Bil Gallatin, Greg Laurie, Mike MacIntosh, Raul Ries, Xavier Ries, Malcolm Wild and Bob Coy.

At its beginning, Calvary Chapel operated as a cross-cultural missions organization that bridged the "generation gap" as it existed during the Vietnam War period. Calvary Chapel was a hub of the "Jesus People" phenomenon that existed at that time and was featured in Time Magazine for its success among "hippies" and young people. Calvary Chapel pioneered a less formal and contemporary approach in its worship and public meetings; for example, it did outreaches on the beach, and baptisms in the Pacific Ocean.[1] Much of Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) has it roots in Calvary Chapel worship music. Calvary Chapel's rolling commentary-style of preaching kept the Calvary Chapels close to the text of the Bible and was readily understandable by many hearers. Calvary Chapel developed its own internal training early for multiplication of church leaders and pastors; by pioneering a more informal and contemporary style in its church practices, Calvary Chapel reached large numbers in Costa Mesa, CA and expanded easily by adding many pastors and new congregations in many locations. The impact of Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel on evangelical Christianity is profound, widespread, and largely unheralded. Rather than being a teacher of systems and methods of growing large churches (elements of which frustrated him in his denominational experience), Chuck Smith teaches the Bible at pastors' conferences modeling in word and deed what he feels is the critical core of Calvary Chapels.

Chuck Smith is the author and co-author of several books; titles of his books include Answers for Today; Calvary Chapel Distinctives; Calvinism, Arminianism & The Word of God; Charisma vs. Charismania; Comfort for Those Who Mourn; Effective Prayer Life; Harvest; Living Water; The Claims of Christ; The Gospel According to Grace; The Philosophy of Ministry of Calvary Chapel; Why Grace Changes Everything; Love: The More Excellent Way; The Final Act; and others.

Eschatology

In 1978, Chuck Smith wrote to his followers that he believed that "man has come to the end of his time."[2] Smith postulated, "If I understand scripture correctly... I believe that the generation of 1948 is the last generation.... I believe the Lord could come back for His Church any time before the Tribulation starts, which would mean any time before 1981."[3]

Smith supported his convictions again in his 1980 manuscript "Future Survival," postulating that from his "understanding of biblical prophecies... [I am] convinced that the Lord [will come] for His Church before the end of 1981." He identified that he "could be wrong" but continued in the same sentence that "it’s a deep conviction in my heart, and all my plans are predicated upon that belief."[4][5][6]

Controversy

Smith attracted criticism for drawing connections between disasters such as the September 11 attacks and divine wrath against homosexuality and abortion.[7]

Smith has also been criticized publicly with allegations that he has tolerated financial[8] and sexual[9] improprieties within the Calvary Chapel movement.

In 2006, Smith was instrumental in removing his son, Chuck Smith Jr., from ministry in the Calvary Chapel movement. The Los Angeles Times reported that Smith Jr. was dismissed when he raised questions about his father's theological beliefs and philosophy of ministry.[10]

Stroke

On December 27, 2009, in the early morning hours, Smith suffered a minor stroke in his home and was immediately hospitalized.[11][12][13][14] He has since recovered and has returned to the ministry.[15]

Family

Smith's wife, Kay, directed the women's ministry at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa for many years. Smith's four children currently work or have worked in the ministry.

References

  1. ^ Time Magazine June, 1971: "The New Rebel Cry: Jesus Is Coming!"
  2. ^ Future Survival by Chuck Smith, 1978
  3. ^ End Times by Chuck Smith, 1978
  4. ^ Future Survival by Chuck Smith, 1978
  5. ^ see also Snatched Away by Chuck Smith, 1980
  6. ^ End Times by Chuck Smith, 1978
  7. ^ LOBDELL, WILLIAM (22 September 2001). "In Aftermath of Attacks, Talk of 'End Days' Soars". Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/2001/sep/22/local/me-48633. Retrieved 1 August 2011. 
  8. ^ Mol, Robb (May 8, 2006). "Unaccountable at Calvary Chapel". christianitytoday.com. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/mayweb-only/119-12.0.html. Retrieved August 29, 2011. 
  9. ^ Moll, Rob (February 16, 2007). "Day of Reckoning". christianitytoday.com. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/march/7.53.html. Retrieved August 29, 2011. 
  10. ^ Goffard, Christopher (September 2, 2006). ""Father, Son and Holy Rift"". Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/2006/sep/02/local/me-smiths2. Retrieved August 29, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Father of 'Jesus People' suffers minor stroke". http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=120298. Retrieved 2010-12-18. 
  12. ^ "Famed Pastor Chuck Smith recovering". http://articles.ocregister.com/2010-01-04/cities/24628719_1_senior-pastor-stroke-symptoms-mild-stroke. Retrieved 2010-12-18. 
  13. ^ "Pastor Chuck Smith Hospitalized After 'Mini Stroke'". http://www.christianpost.com/article/20091228/pastor-chuck-smith-hospitalized-after-mini-stroke/. Retrieved 2010-12-18. 
  14. ^ "After suffering a couple of ‘minor strokes’ Chuck Smith is recovering". http://www.christianexaminer.com/Articles/Articles%20Jan10/Art_Jan10_01.html. Retrieved 2010-12-18. 
  15. ^ "Feel The Love: Pastor Chuck Smith and Love Song on Tour". 2010-09-16. http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/2010/s10090096.htm. Retrieved 2010-12-18. 

External links


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