Posts Tagged ‘Chuck Smith’
When Leaders Wrongly Share Speaking Platforms with Ecumenists and Teachers of False Doctrine
By Chris Lawson
Spiritual Research Network
Many years ago Pastor Chuck Smith’s long-time associate, Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa’s Associate Pastor, L.E. Romaine, once told me personally”Don’t complain about it unless you first try to do something about it.”Pastor Romaine was exhorting us (pastors) not to complain about anything, unless we seek first to aright the situation, no matter what it is. Obviously, the Bible says we are not to grumble and complain, and Romaine knew that too. Romaine was simply communicating to us that we ought to deal with issues and not make messes in the church; theological, or otherwise. The following material is not meant to be a complaint, but an introduction as to why Calvary Chapel is not standing against Ecumenical compromises. I am not complaining, I am telling the truth.
For the record, I have tried to do something about the issues I am presenting here for years now(2004-2012). Some may say I am wasting my time; however, I have persisted because I care about the countless people who are being confused and spiritually damaged by the many leaders who either won’t apologize for their theological compromises or heavy-handed leadership, or both. When people in Calvary Chapels (and other churches) address ecumenical compromises, pastors either resist and reject accountability, or they obey the LORD, yielding to the principle of biblical separation from aberrant and false teachers/teaching. What I and many others have seen and experienced firsthand, and continue to see, in leaders who are unrepentant, is incredible and thoroughly inexcusable. I personally know numerous pastors that see the problems and yet sit back and remain silent and comfortable, watching from afar and doing nothing.
Based on the sociological dynamics of what occurs when one stands up and attempts to deal with the compromises, it is truly apparent that many are caught in a snare – that snare being the fear of man and fear of being ostracized by bigger name, “higher up” pastors.
“The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe” (Proverbs 29:25).
“Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD” (Jeremiah 17:5).
“A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident” (Proverbs 14:16).
“These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue” (John 9:22).
The remedy for this plague in the church however is a healthy and truly reverential fear of Almighty God. Click here to continue reading.
By Dan Wooding
COSTA MESA, CA (ANS) – Pastor Chuck Smith, the 84-year-old senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, California, is about to start chemotherapy for his lung cancer.
This was revealed by Mike MacIntosh, one of the early converts of the Jesus People Movement that took place at Calvary Chapel in the late 60s and early 70s, writing on his Facebook page.
MacIntosh, the senior pastor of Horizon Christian Fellowship in San Diego, California, on Saturday, January 14, 2012, said, “Chuck Smith is doing fine. I spoke with him last week and this cancer is not going to separate him from Jesus. Please pray for him as he will begin chemotherapy next week and then radiation. Click here to continue.
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. John 13:19
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Galatians 6:7
We realize some readers may think we are posting the following story just to dig up dirt on Calvary Chapel for the mere purpose of hurting them or bringing them down. But this is not the case. For nine years, Lighthouse Trails has been reporting consistently on areas of darkness in the church and in our society. In the beginning of our work, we included child sex abuse as one of these areas. Thus, we published Laughter Calls Me in 2003 and The Color of Pain in 2010, and we carry the DVD The Kinsey Syndrome, all of which fall in this category. We have also tracked many stories where children are at risk. While we know there are those within the Calvary Chapel movement who will not appreciate our publicity of the following story, the voices of millions of children throughout the world being sexually abused rings loud in our ears. We will stand as an outspoken advocate because we know the power of sin lies in its secrecy. It is better for those who are hurting children or those who are covering up these crimes against children to have the chance to repent here on this earth than to face God on judgment day having never repented.
What is needed today in the Christian church is for the sins of the leaders and pastors to be uncovered, either by their victims or better yet, by themselves in humility and contriteness. When we heard of this story, we had one of two choices: ignore it or talk about it. To ignore it is to avoid the path of truth and join the multitudes of silent onlookers – this we cannot do. In view of the slide into apostasy that Calvary Chapel has been making, this story is just another indication that the movement is in deep trouble, and repentance by its leaders and its pastors is long overdue.
In this story, you will learn that a Calvary Chapel youth worker who had a history of committing child molestation was allowed to remain working with youth at Calvary Chapel churches. Sadly, a number of Calvary Chapel pastors knew about the abuser’s history. The result was that at least four other boys were allegedly sexually abused. We strongly suspect that as this story unfolds others will come forward with their own stories. While we realize that sexual abuse of children happens within every denomination (not to mention the horrendous abuses within the Roman Catholic church covered up for years), the Calvary Chapel structure where the pastor is in full charge and where the whole movement is basically under the authority of one man makes it very susceptible to abuse and cover up as there is not a good accountability structure for pastors and youth pastors. What’s more, it creates an environment, not of humility by leaders, but rather one of power, manipulation, and control. In virtually every story we have heard from those who have contacted us about having to leave a Calvary Chapel church, the common element in each story was a lack of regard for church members and a power play by church pastors. These things ought not to be so as Christian pastors and leaders are to be servants of the people, not heavy-handed arrogant controllers. We remember the words of Chuck Colson (sorry to say he is ecumenical) in talking about his role in Watergate when he said that the two worst things to happen to a Christian leader is power and money.
The Christian church is in trouble, but not for the reasons that Rick Warren supporter and pollster George Barna gives. His statistics do not portray an accurate picture but are rather used to promote the “new” Christianity.” The Christian church is in trouble largely because those leading the evangelical/Protestant Christian church - publishers, prolific authors, organizations, ministries, radio and television stations, mega pastors, speakers, futurists, networks, colleges and seminaries, etc. – are embracing an emerging, contemplative, sensual, power-purpose-driven “gospel.” For true revival to happen, there must be repentance and humility. God will not work in any other environment. It is interesting to watch dominionist-type figures running around the country telling people to repent to “restore” America when they themselves have not repented and are totally misrepresenting true Christianity.
But God will not be mocked, and He will expose the hidden things of darkness, both in the leader’s life and the follower’s life. Now is the time for Christians and their leaders to soberly fall on their faces, repent of their hidden sins, and walk the rest of their days in humility and gratitude for God’s forgiveness. In these last days in which we live, judgment will take place, and it has begun in the house of the Lord. We should praise Him when He exposes sin. It means He loves us, enough to where He will chastise us. Calvary Chapel has historically had a strong message on God’s grace; but perhaps they forgot about the message of God’s judgment on sin.
Lest any reading this thinks that his or her denomination is without fault, virtually every denomination, to one degree or another, has succumbed to the “new” spirituality. And one of the key elements in the “new” spirituality is sensualness. This is why books like The Shack and practices like contemplative are so popular – it appeals to people’s senses; thus they are sensual. The word sensual means gratification of the flesh be it appetite, sexual, physical, etc. James 3:15 puts sensualness in the same category as earthly and devilish. And below we can see where Jude says those who are sensual do not have the Spirit.
To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage. But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. Jude 1:15-19
It is a coincidence that the day before we found out about the Idaho abuse situation (below), we posted an article just written by Roger Oakland, in which he states a strong warning to Christian leaders:
Christian pastors and leaders need to know – your sin will indeed find you out. Better to willingly humble yourself and repent than to wait for God to bring His hand of judgment upon you. If you are a leader who is part of the apostasy come out from among her; if you are a leader who is sitting on the sidelines in utter silence while spiritual havoc is taking place, humble yourself and repent and you too, come out from among her. The days are short – there is no time for any believer to compromise.
As we explained to one Calvary Chapel pastor a couple years ago, it is better to be exposed now, even thrown into a prison while on this earth, than to go to your grave with unrepented, covered up sins. It is a holy and just God that we will each face one day. He promises to forgive the contrite humble heart who has put his trust and faith in Jesus Christ; but for those who are not in that category, He promises to judge. Repentance is really quite easy, but it does require our willingness to give up our own lives in order to have His.
But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. Jude 1:20-25
While some reading this may feel bad for the demise of Calvary Chapel, let us not forget the boys in this case, who were sexually abused. Please pray for them. In view of the APA’s (American Psychological Association) recent efforts to call pedophilia “normal,” it is all the more urgent for discerning Christians to speak up on behalf of children in a godly and responsible manner.
After sharing with Roger Oakland our plans to post this article, we asked Roger if he would like to comment on this situation. He stated:
This is truly a heartbreaking situation. We are grieved and troubled that we even have to draw your attention to what is now being revealed to the body of Christ about what has been going on and even covered up by Christian leaders who many respect. The cause of Christ has certainly been damaged. Our prayer is that the sheep will have the wool removed from covering their eyes and will begin looking to Jesus. For the record, I am sad to say there is much more to come. So far, within the leadership of the movement, NO one has listened. Their only response is that I am crazy. I think it is a sad thing when the world has to expose the Church because there is no one in the church to do it.
Lighthouse Trails spoke with the Idaho Judicial Courts on 8/24/11 to confirm that case number CV 2011-6451 in Kootenai County, Idaho is a legitimate case filed with their courts, which we have now confirmed with that office.
This first document below is a record of events showing the court actions since August 9th, 2011, when the case was filed.
And another section of the case files:
Now one of the news articles on the case:
By Gustavo Arellano
Orange County Weekly
Everyone knows about the Catholic Diocese of Orange and its pedophile-protecting ways . . . but Orange County’s other Christian yahoo network has had its kiddie-diddling scandals as well–except Calvary Chapel does a much-better job hiding its tracks, signing settlements that remain under seal. I should get to exposing those, and will after I finish a couple of projects, but nice to see others aren’t waiting.
This is a follow up of our recent article, New Book and Upcoming Conference Bring More Confusion Out of Calvary Chapel Movement where we reported that Calvary Chapel Ft Lauderdale had hosted a concert by a musical group called Gungor this past March. Our article addressed the slide that the Calvary Chapel movement is making toward contemplative/emerging and Purpose Driven.
Today, a Lighthouse Trails reader contacted us, after reading our article (see link above). The reader stated:
I recently attended Calvary Chapel in St. Petersburg, Florida and they too are hosting Gungor on July 17th. I just emailed the Pastor of CCSP and told him that the lead singer and his wife practice New Age meditation and that they tell people how to do it in their blog. Thanks for EXPOSING that group! Will be praying for them as they are leading many astray!!
As you can see by these two links, one of which is from Calvary Chapel St. Petersburg’s website, they are hosting Gungor on July 17th. http://www.itickets.com/events/266030.html and http://calvarystp.org/
As was pointed out in our previous article, on the Gungor website blog, Michael Gungor (head of the band) is giving detailed information on how to practice contemplative meditation in a three part article. We think it is necessary to take a closer examination of this three part article written by Michael Gungor. We hope this will help skeptical readers who think perhaps Lighthouse Trails is being too critical of Calvary Chapel to better understand our concerns.
In the first part of Michael Gungor’s article, he explains to his readers that he went on a “spiritual pilgrimage” in September 2010 that incorporated a week to Italy and a week to Spain. Gungor states: ”The first week was a week of silence and meditation at a spiritual retreat that I found by googling ‘best spiritual retreats in the world.’” He said that he went on this pilgrimage because he was “on the brink” and “didn’t really know what [he] believed in.” Gungor began his journey with a trip to the Vatican where he heard the Pope speak: “not a bad way to start out my spiritual journey. Made me want to be Catholic actually.” After this, Gungor caught a flight to Assisi and on the flight he ”listened to a couple Rob Bell sermons on [his] ipod.” Gungor explains that the retreat was ”a cross religious retreat, so they had statues of Mary in the room next to a Buddha next to a Hindu something or other.” Part of the week of silence included times called “prayer movements,” where participants ”slowly wav[ed] [their] arms around, turning in circles and kneeling in the grass . . . It was a lot of ‘now the river that gave us everything is taking everything back’ kind of stuff.” Gungor writes in his journal at the retreat:
Peace. We just came back from our first prayer movement meditation, and I feel so close to God right now. So close that “You” almost feels funny. I get why one might say close to everything. I was going to say some sort of defensive, fearful statement clarifying that I’m not talking about pantheism. But I don’t need to be afraid.
God is beautiful.
Light and essence and love of the purest kind. God is something to be experienced not to “believe” in? God is too big to be believed in or not believed in. God is. Am I? Today, yes.
In part 2of Gungor’s article, he does what most emerging figures do – he de-emphasizes beliefs and doctrine, calling evangelism a “pyramid scheme” and says in many ways he agrees with the “new atheists.” He says he doesn’t ”believe in the old guy in the sky,” talking about God, adding:
To me, God is the basic Reality of the universe. God is what is. That’s how Moses wrote that God introduced Himself, isn’t it? “I am that I am.”
Whatever is, that is God.
Gungor tells his readers that “encountering” God is more important that beliefs and doctrine. In part 3 of his article, he teaches how to “encounter” God, through meditation. ”Assisi helped me discover a new discipline for me that I can’t believe I had gone so long without. Meditation.” He adds:
I had tried meditating a handful of times before, but it never really did that much for me. So I stopped. But in Assisi, we would get up every morning and meditate with each other for an hour. Than we’d do a movement meditation, then we’d go and meditate on our own for most of the day, and then we’d get together at night one more time and meditate for another half hour before going to bed. That’s a lot of meditation.
And I finally got it. Now I understand why people from pretty much all religions do this.
Gungor isn’t talking about biblical meditation where one ponders on and thinks about the Word of God. That is not something “all religions do.” He is talking about eastern-style meditation where either the breath (or something else) is focused upon or a word or phrase is repeated.
A de-emphasis in doctrine and beliefs is very common among those who practice contemplative meditation. Why is this? Because the meditator is going into altered states of consciousness during meditation, he is entering into what we believe are demonic realms (that’s a hard thing to hear for someone who is practicing contemplative). The result of ongoing meditation is spiritual deception. After awhile a meditator begins to see himself as connected to everything and everyone.He also begins to believe that God is ineverything and everyone. Eventually, for the Christian who practices meditation, the doctrines of Christianity begin to grow dim and become less important than how he once may have viewed them. And once these doctrines diminish, even the doctrine of the atonement can take on new meaning (e.g. how could a loving God send His son to a violent death for the sins of others?). We believe this is the spirituality that many of these young people like Michael Gungor and Ann Voskamp could end having if they continue on this contemplative path.
And that is why we hold Calvary Chapel and other denominations responsible for what they are doing. As Christian leaders, they do not have the right to promote people with these views, because such promotion only propagates the deception. The Bible says so – not us. Calvary Chapel claims to be a Bible-centered organization with mature Christian pastors who adhere to the Gospel; but a lot of misrepresentation is going on these days. There are many well-meaning Christians who attend Calvary Chapels, and we are sure there are Calvary Chapel pastors who would never consider having Gungor do a concert at their church. But two of their large churches are doing that, and a mixed message is being sent out from Calvary Chapel.
Just as with other denominations, pastors (and congregants) within the Calvary Chapel movement have a responsibility to speak up against serious compromises within their organization, especially if those compromises are ones that represent “another gospel” and ”another Jesus” as does the contemplative prayer movement and the emerging church movement. If a pastor cannot speak up, then according to Scripture, he should separate himself (come out from among them) and by thus doing so, protect his flock and the message of the Cross.
In 2006, Calvary Chapel made a public stand against contemplative spirituality and the emerging church; they also stated: ”The teaching and positions of Rick Warren have come into conflict with us at Calvary Chapel. Pastor Chuck has directed us to discontinue this product effective immediately. Chuck Smith read Deceived on Purpose, A Time of Departing, and Faith Undone and found them right on. In a number of radio programs, Smith favorably acknowledged the work of Lighthouse Trails, and in private e-mails to editors at Lighthouse Trails, he made his support of our work and warnings to the body of Christ evident. But over the past few years, several confusing things have taken place that leave many wondering just what direction the Calvary Chapel movement is really heading. An upcoming conference called Twelve: 2011 Global Online Gathering held by Saddleback Church and Rick Warren is another example of why many people are becoming increasingly confused about Calvary Chapel.
Rick Warren has become a major figure in helping to bring about what he calls a “new reformation,” one which he says will include other religions, not just Christianity. Throughout his efforts this past decade to develop his global P.E.A.C.E. Plan, Warren has consistently turned to the writings of contemplative advocates for training and teaching his followers. Lighthouse Trails has documented countless examples of this (see our research site). Even today books like Adele Ahlberg Calhoun’s Handbook on Spiritual Disciplines (which promotes several New Age mystics) sits on the Saddleback Resource Center website. It has for a number of years now. Warren also helped to grow the emerging church movement in a number of ways (such as writing the foreword for Dan Kimball’s book, The Emerging Church), and most recently he launched the Daniel Plan at his church where he is using eastern-meditation teachers (ones promoted by Oprah) to teach mental and physical health to participants (including meditation). This is just less than a handful of ways that Rick Warren is working to change the face of Christianity.
These activities hardly seem conducive to biblical Christianity standards for pastors, enough so that some Christian pastors have distanced themselves from Rick Warren and the Purpose Driven movement. Many pastors, however, are drawn to Rick Warren, of which there are some Calvary Chapel pastors (contrary to Chuck Smith’s directive). Case in point, one of the speakers at the Twelve: 2011 Global conference is pastor Greg Anderson, an Assistant Pastor at Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale (senior pastor Bob Coy). CC Ft. Lauderdale is one of the fastest growing churches in the U.S. according to their website. Lighthouse Trails has mentioned CC Ft. Lauderdale in a few articles, particularly relating to their online church bookstore that had carried several contemplative and/or authors such as Rob Bell in the past. After a personnel at the bookstore told us over the phone that they had removed these types of books, a Lighthouse Trails reader visited the walk-in store months later and purchased a Rob Bell book sitting on the shelves and sent us the receipt. Today, the CC Ft. Lauderdale bookstore sells books by emerging mystic proponent Tony Campolo, futurist/globalist John Maxwell, and contemplative advocate Max Lucado.
It is interesting to note that the CC Ft. Lauderdale bookstore is currently carrying Roger Oakland’s books Another Jesus and Faith Undone and his emerging church DVD series. Faith Undone was at one time being carried by the Calvary Chapel Distribution but was recently dropped for unexplained reasons. We think if the Calvary Chapel Ft Lauderdale pastors, including Greg Anderson, would read Faith Undone, they would see how the spirituality and goals of Rick Warren and Tony Campolo are the very thing that Roger Oakland warns against in his books and DVDs. By Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale partnering with Rick Warren on one hand and promoting Roger Oakland’s books on the other it certainly feeds the fires of confusion to the body of Christ further regarding Calvary Chapel.
Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale has also brought in contemplative/emerging type musicians for church-sponsored concerts. One was musician David Crowder in a church sponsored concert. Crowder is author of Praise Habit: Finding God in Sunsets and Sushi, where he encourages the practice of lectio divina and references and quotes contemplative/emerging figure Walter Brueggemann a number times. The book is of a “road to Rome” caliber. In addition to the Crowder concert at CC Ft. Lauderdale, we received this e-mail from a Lighthouse Trails reader last February:
You may be aware of this but I am writing to give you a heads up if you are not. Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale is promoting a concert on March 16th for a band named Gungor, see link below; on Calvary’s web page they have a link to Gungor’s web site and on the bands blog they promote Spiritual Formation (meditation) in 3 consecutive blogs and give detailed instructions on how to practice this “ancient discipline”. http://www.calvaryftl.org/event/2011-03-16-gungor-in-concert/
Below is Gungor’s site where the blog can be seen.
I have not contacted Calvary Chapel but not sure it would matter anyway because surely Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale is aware of the bands beliefs. I just followed the link they provided and checked out the band. I am not sure if it is something you would want to report on but thought you should know.
The upcoming Twelve conference at Saddleback isn’t the first time a Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale pastor has teamed up with Rick Warren. In 2007, we issued an article when Bob Coy was to share the platform with Rick Warren and John Ortberg at a conference. After our article, plans changed, and Coy addressed the audience from video cast rather than live on stage. Our report Plans Changed for Bob Coy and the Exponential Conference relayed this.
While Calvary Chapel says that each of their churches is run independently and not under the control or jurisdiction of the Calvary Chapel founding church, Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa with founding pastor Chuck Smith, there are “distinctives” that have been issued that all Calvary Chapel pastors are expected to follow (even Chuck Smith’s own son was asked to step down from being a Calvary Chapel pastor because of his emergent leanings). But there has not been consistency in following the distinctive that Calvary Chapel would not endorse in any way the contemplative prayer movement or the emerging church. One such example of this inconsistency actually took place at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, when they held an event for several thousand young people and had an emerging author as the featured speaker. Mike Erre, author of Death by Church, spoke that night. A Calvary Chapel minister introduced Erre and said to the crowd of youngsters, “The haters [referring to Lighthouse Trails] tried to stop us but they didn’t.” 1 That was based on an article we had written about Erre’s book and his scheduled appearance at the youth event.
And then there was the time that a parent of a CC Costa Mesa high school student contacted us, concerned because one of the teachers was using a book by a Protestant-turned-Catholic professor in class. This particular author promotes various contemplative practices.2
One of the most “memorable” incidents was at Greg Laurie’s Harvest Crusade 2009, when Rick Warren sat on the podium, was introduced by Chuck Smith as his “friend,” and gave the opening prayer.3 And Calvary Chapel pastor Skip Heitzig’s Riptide film must be included in this list of inconsistencies: Rick Warren and contemplative advocate Mark Driscoll were featured.
Other troubling issues have surfaced: Understand the Times reported on Calvary Chapel’s promotion of the Roman Catholic Knights of Malta Jerry Boykin when he participated in their Preach the Word Prophecy Conference. As most realize, the Roman Catholic Church has a plan to “bring back the lost brethren” to the “Mother of all churches.” In this day and age where so much of the evangelical/Protestant church is being pulled toward “Rome” (which we believe will ultimately lead to a one-world religion), is it not showing a lack of wisdom and discernment to engage publicly with one of its leading figures? And in a Preach the Word conference, what “Word” was Jerry Boykin preaching about? Lighthouse Trails and Understand the Times will soon be releasing a special report on the Catholic Jesuit Order and its connections to the evangelical church.
Some are also concerned about the issue with Chuck Smith’s brother Paul Smith, who was fired from CCOF in 2009. In fact, we received an e-mail this week from a woman sharing her concerns. Smith had been involved with efforts to keep emerging spirituality from coming into Calvary Chapel. His termination took place less than a month before the youth event with Mike Erre that we spoke of above. Paul Smith called Lighthouse Trails within a couple hours of being fired and told us he had hoped to stop the event. Smith told us his niece’s husband, Brian Brodersen, had seconded the motion to fire him and that his brother, Chuck Smith, who was in the meeting, did not object. Why do we bring this up now? We have been receiving e-mails from some of our readers lately asking if we were aware that Chuck Smith wrote the foreword to Paul Smith’s new book, The New Evangelicalism. Yes, we were aware of it. What we found even more distressing about the book though was that the book did not address the fact that many Calvary Chapels, including Costa Mesa, have in one form or another promoted the emerging/”road to Rome”/contemplative movement. The New Evangelicalism succinctly lays out the damaging influence Peter Drucker has had on evangelicalism, in particularly Rick Warren. Smith calls the coming together of Drucker and Warren a “slippery slope” and a “marriage made in postmodern heaven” (p. 124). Smith says this Drucker/Warren slippery slope includes “an emerging one-world church, and a new world order” (p. 131). So Paul Smith’s book clearly indicts Rick Warren and the Purpose Driven movement. But herein lies more confusion.
Lighthouse Trails discussed Paul Smith’s new book with Roger Oakland. Roger told us that he had read the original manuscript before it was edited and published by The Word for Today* and was very surprised to see how many important facts had been edited out of the original manuscript. Paul Smith told Roger Oakland that the edits had been done by The Word for Today. One of the facts that was left out was Paul Smith’s reference to Rick Warren speaking at the Greg Laurie Harvest Crusade and being introduced by Chuck Smith. Sadly, there is no mention in The New Evangelicalism about the co-mingling of Calvary Chapel with Rick Warren. In fact, references to Calvary Chapel in Smith’s book are glowing:
“Calvary Chapel can best be understood as a marvelous work of God” (p. 53).
“Calvary Chapel has been a God-blessed phenomenon . . . a marvelous work of God that defies human explanation” (p. 131).
We’re not here to say that God has not ever done “marvelous” things through Calvary Chapel over the years. Many people have found the Lord through the movement, and they have set a good example in studying the Word verse by verse. But what we are saying is that it is sending out confusion to many people when a book is published by Calvary Chapel that rightly identifies the apostasy of the Purpose Driven movement but does not acknowledge and report that Calvary Chapel is engaging with that very movement. The book could be considered as a smoke screen, which could take any focus off of the slippery slope that Calvary Chapel itself appears to be on right now. Not only does the book not acknowledge what is happening within the Calvary Chapel movement, but virtually no one from inside the movement is publicly acknowledging this either. Just the Boykin connection to the Calvary Chapel leadership alone is absolutely shocking!
So is it really any wonder that people are confused about what is going on at Calvary Chapel? While Lighthouse Trails and Understand the Times have been accused of trying to destroy Calvary Chapel, that simply isn’t true. But we also don’t believe it is right to ignore what is taking place and pretend a shift hasn’t occurred.
In the Calvary Chapel Distinctive titled “Position Letter Number Two,” it states: “The great confusion that exists in the divergent positions of the Emergent church results from their challenging the final authority of the Scriptures. When you no longer have a final authority, then every one’s ideas become as valid as the next person’s and it cannot help but end in total confusion and contradictions.” We would challenge Calvary Chapel pastors to consider the things we have said in this article and to see that Calvary Chapel’s increasingly laxed view on Rick Warren and the Purpose Driven movement is truly bringing “total confusion and contradictions.”
Earlier in this article, we mentioned Walter Brueggemann because he was frequently quoted and referenced in David Crowder’s book, Praise Habit. To get a glimpse of where this “new” Christianity is heading, consider this: Brueggemann endorsed the back cover of a book by Alan Jones titled Reimagining Christianity. In that book, Jones talks about a mystical spirituality in which not only all the world’s religions will be united but all humanity will be united whether religious or not. Jones says the doctrine of the Cross and Substitutionary Atonement is a vile doctrine. This is why Lighthouse Trails is so concerned. This is why we write about Calvary Chapel and other Christian groups, not to harm them but to alert people to the danger and deception that has come on board. On the back cover of Jones’ book, also sits an endorsement by Brian McLaren who claims that this [Jones'] view “stimulates” and “encourages” him “deeply” and that Christianity is moving away from “dogma” (doctrine) and toward “authentic spirituality” (mysticism). It is for the sake of the Gospel that we are compelled to speak up; and we pray that pastors of Calvary Chapel and of other denominations will begin to speak up for truth, no matter the cost and return to the purity of the Word of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, leaving all the rudiments of the world behind.
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. Colossians 2:8
*Note: The New Evangelicalism was published by The Word for Today; however in the copyright page of the book and on the cover it lists Calvary Publishing as the publisher. LT spoke by phone with The Word for Today prior to posting our article. We were told that this was a “typo” and that the actual publisher of Paul Smith’s book is The Word for Today. Calvary Publishing, according to the person we spoke with, is a now defunct publishing arm of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. The Word for Today is also an arm of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa.
Attempt to Discredit Contenders of the Faithby Kjos Ministries
Open Letter To Evangelical and Protestant Pastors Worldwide – Now is the Day to Turn Back to God’s Word
May 31, 2011
From: Roger Oakland, Understand The Times
The following letter is to all Bible-believing pastors throughout the world who have been or are being influenced by current trends that are attacking the Word of God through the postmodern humanistic mystical belief system. I have witnessed this deception firsthand on a worldwide basis but am most familiar with what has been happening in the two fellowships I have been part of for the past thirty years – one in Canada and one based in southern California.
It is with a heavy heart I write this open letter to those who consider themselves evangelical or Protestant pastors. While my desire is to do this respectfully and with the love of the Lord, I am compelled with a strong sense of responsibility to write this warning.
The fact is we are living in a time in history where there is great spiritual apostasy (a falling away), and sadly, many pastors don’t even realize it is happening. Others realize it but don’t know what to do about it, while still others see it but promote it anyway. The purpose of this letter is to shine light on the darkness that has crept into so many churches today.
For many years, I have documented my concerns about this apostasy and presented the evidence to the body of Christ. An article I wrote a few years ago called “Ichabod” described the departing of God’s Spirit from many churches. That article was later followed by the commentary “Is Your Denomination a Sinking Titanic?.” I believe we are witnessing the sinking of the Titanic at the present time. While most are still dancing around in the ballroom, a few have chosen to get off the boat. How many get off in time is the question that remains to be answered.
While I recognize that I am “marked” by some as someone who has caused division within the church, please understand I do not fear any man. I look to Jesus Christ and am committed to tell the truth whatever the cost. I know I have enemies among the “brethren” who insist that I remain silent. I have also been falsely accused and slandered by gossip as a means of discrediting me.
The Bible teaches that we should never fear man or follow man’s ways. “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12). We should fear God and His Word alone. Based upon what God revealed to Ezekiel (Chapter 3: 17-20), there is a biblical principal that cannot be overlooked. When God reveals deception and darkness, a watchman must speak out and tell the truth regardless of the circumstances and the consequences.
What I find very alarming is that many pastors who gave warnings in the past about End Times deception seem to have now ceased and become silent. Taking the place of the warnings are teachings or promotion on everything from church-growth, seeker-friendly, contemplative spirituality, Purpose Driven, postmodern/emerging spirituality to even a Catholic/Jesuit agenda.
These various teachings are not biblical Christianity, and for many pastors who once taught the Bible faithfully, these seductive teachings have pulled these pastors in a direction that negates so much of what they once stood for. It is not uncommon now to hear these pastors espousing those such as Mark Driscoll, Rob Bell, Richard Foster, and Rick Warren, all of whom de-emphasize Bible prophecy of the last days and emphasize the “Kingdom of God on earth” now.
Some pastors recognize that their own denominations or fellowships have turned or are turning away from the teachings of the Bible, yet so many have remained active participants of these denominations. As the years go by, these pastors do not speak up – they are silent. Is this silence an indication that they have bought into a sensual, carnal, three-legged stool plan that links hands with those such as Rick Warren and Tony Blair and is on the road to Rome for a One World Religion? I fear that for many that is the case. What may have begun as “looking the other way” has become outright rebellion in many cases. This is the way deception often happens.
We are living in the time of strong delusion that Paul wrote about (2 Thessalonians 2:11). If you are a Bible-believing pastor, shouldn’t you be helping to lead the way in warning about deception, not promoting the apostate agenda in any fashion?
Ecumenism within the church has been allowed to develop for years.
When a pastor does not warn his flock about ecumenical apostasy, it sends the message that exposing apostasy is just not that important. When a church, organization, or denomination starts down the Road to Rome, there is very little chance of turning back – the pull is just too great. Nowhere in the Bible is it acceptable to join hands with those who promote another Jesus and another gospel like that of the Roman Catholic Church.
This is why John warned: come out of her (the harlot) and be set free (Revelation 18:4).
Some Personal Ministry History:
In June 1981, Chuck Smith, the founder of the Calvary Chapel movement, invited me to fly down from my farm in Saskatchewan, Canada to speak at Costa Mesa at a four-night conference called “The Bible: Key to Understanding Science, History and the Future.” Seven years later, in the fall of 1988, Chuck Smith asked me to join the staff at Costa Mesa. My family moved to Orange County, California from Saskatchewan, Canada.
My position at Costa Mesa involved being an outreach from CCCM as an apologist in the area of creation and evolution. I also showed the association of the New Age Movement and its relationship to Bible Prophecy.
In 1991, after being on staff for three years, Understand The Times was founded as an independent ministry, separate from CCCM. However, UTT was still closely associated with CCCM and was given missionary support. The UTT association with Calvary Chapel pastors and missionaries encompassed the world for about twenty years.
During a fifteen year time period, UTT had an office on church property at CCCM from time to time. Understand The Times had a five-minute radio program that aired on KWAVE and CSN for over ten years. I also had close relationships with members of the Smith family including Chuck’s brother Paul and his son Jeff.
While many of my experiences and associations with those in Calvary Chapel had been good over the years, I observed many serious problems in the Calvary Chapel movement, especially in the last five years. Many Calvary Chapel pastors I know have admitted they also see these same warning signs, but most have not felt they could speak out.
The reason I am writing this letter as an open letter to all pastors is because I believe that many of the problems I witnessed while part of the Calvary Chapel movement are the same problems that many other Christian organizations and denominations are experiencing today. And many of these kinds of problems lead to deception and apostasy.
Common Problems in the Churches:
Today many evangelical and Protestant pastors are operating on the principal or idea that if their churches are small, there is something wrong with them. The “doctrine of big” has replaced the doctrine of being faithful to the Word of God. Along with this doctrine of big comes the subtle attitude that any “offensiveness” must be removed from the church. Thus, a watered-down gospel takes effect; and thus, people in the churches are not hearing the true Gospel. Crosses are removed, Bibles are left at home, hymns are stopped, and talk about the blood of Jesus and His atonement for our sin ceases.
As Bible-believing Christians, we should be able to discern that there is a flaw in this doctrine of big. As churches get bigger, more funds are required to accommodate bigger budgets. The bigger the budget the bigger the offering is needed to meet the budget, and big donors become more and more important. Now you have a situation where the pastor preaches carefully so as not to create controversy. Controversy can cause powerful donors to leave. Pastors who once feared God now become man-fearing where doctrine is determined by men and their motives, and not by God’s Spirit and His Word.
Over the past two decades, I believe the Lord led me to author or co-author six books warning about the ecumenical one world religion movement and how it is impacting Evangelical Protestant Christianity. These were: (1) New Wine or Old Deception (2) When New Wine Makes a Man Divine (3) New Wine and the Babylonian Vine (4) How Marian Apparitions Plan to Unite the World’s Religions (5) Another Jesus: The Eucharistic Christ and the New Evangelization (6) Faith Undone: The Emerging Church – a New Reformation or an End Time Deception. God has put in my heart all these years a passion to warn of impending spiritual danger.
On March 6, 2011, I attended the Peace in a Globalized Society Forum that was held at Saddleback. Rick Warren and Tony Blair both explained what they are doing to set up a one-world religious program for peace. Yet even though it has become most apparent to many discerning Christians what is taking place with Rick Warren and his “new” reformation, very few pastors are publically denouncing the Purpose Driven Peace Plan. In fact, prominent pastors like John Piper are embracing Rick Warren and his teachings.
The Jesuit Connection
As I have written in some of my books, Ignatius Loyola was the founder of the Order of the Jesuits in the Catholic Church. The Jesuit goal is to turn the inerrant Word of God into the word of man while at the same time promoting the word of the pope as the word of God. In addition, the Jesuit ambition is to bring the “lost brethren” back to the “Mother” church (read Another Jesus). This is no minor thing. I have been to the city of Rome. I have seen the multitudes worship and adore a man (the Pope) who carries a wafer and a vial of juice that is supposed to be Jesus. Martyrs in earlier centuries were murdered for rejecting the papacy and the Eucharist. And yet today, I am horrified to watch once Bible-believing pastors turn their hearts and their congregations toward Rome, often through a Jesuit influence. Instances of this are occurring more every day.
Now that Rick Warren and Tony Blair (who converted to Catholicism) have announced they will be working together to set up a One World Religion as they did on March 6, 2011 in southern California, how will Christian pastors respond to this? Or will they at all? History shows, most probably won’t.
What is known as fact is this: the emerging/postmodern, Purpose Driven ecumenical, contemplative mindset in the Evangelical or Protestant Christian church has not gone away. And it is not popular to speak against this growing apostasy. It is a lot easier to go down stream than upstream. The Bible foretells we are in the Last Days. What do you as Christian pastors want to be: dead salmon washed out to sea or true fishers of men?
Check out the Bible! There will be a One World Religion. Do you want to be part of the problem, or do you want to be standing up for truth? The latter is not easy and carries with it a high price.
A Wake Up Call to Pastors
Teaching and preaching the Word of God is a high calling. You should always be true to your calling and remain true to the Word. And yet, many know that something is seriously wrong, but they say nothing.
Saying nothing can be as detrimental as outrightly supporting the lie. It is time to wake up! We are in the last days, and many sheep are being deceived, and pastors have a huge role in that deception taking place. When the sheep have the wool pulled over their eyes, they cannot see. This is not acceptable. What about the wolves who are among the flock? Good shepherds should never allow that to happen.
While there still remain faithful Christian pastors who look to Jesus Christ as their Good Shepherd and still believe in the inerrant Word of God, the fact that so many pastors have moved away from the basics of biblical Christianity toward a man-made apostate church will result in much of the flock drifting with them.
And may I say this to any believer who now realizes his or her own pastor is compromising the Word of God and embracing apostate teachings: If you have done what you can to warn and exhort your pastor(s) to turn back to the truth, and if your warnings and exhortations are rejected, perhaps it is time to get out of that church. Paul addressed this when he said: “A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject” Titus 3:10.
Deception has crept in, unnoticed to many, and even at times been purposely covered up. Jude warned this was happening in his day (Jude 4). The same is true in the perilous days in which we live (2 Timothy 3: 1-5).
As of last fall, I am no longer affiliated with the Calvary Chapel movement, although I am still friends with and associate with some of the pastors, ones who have sought to remain faithful to the Lord and His Word.
As do many leaders in the body of Christ, Calvary Chapel pastors who have veered need to get right, and they need to do it quickly. According to the Word, our redemption draweth nigh, and He could return for those who are ready at any moment.
If you are a pastor who has succumbed to the present-day spiritual apostasy, get back to the Word of God, and preach it, and teach it! If your congregation shrinks, so what! Better to have a few who are solid and can go out and be fruitful for the Lord than have a mega church full of participants of a social gospel that is being prepared for the coming One World Religion.
While the large-scale move toward apostasy has been taking place for some time, and postmodern/emerging, Purpose-Driven ideas are widely accepted, there still may be time if pastors will repent and return to the purity of the Gospel and God’s Word.
Many pastors reading this open letter who belong to an organization or denomination may feel fearful about leaving the security of such a “covering.” Perhaps you have never been out from under that umbrella. But at some point, you are going to have to ask yourself the question, Am I really “counting all things but loss” in order to gain Christ (Philippians 3:8)? Am I taking up my cross and following Him, no matter the cost (Matthew 16:24)? I have heard stories now of pastors (both in the Calvary Chapel movement and in other groups and denominations) who finally did make that decision to separate themselves from any apostate associations. If you are one of those, continue on with the ministry God has given you and follow Jesus Christ alone. You can never go wrong by being obedient to Jesus and His Word.
The Lord Jesus Christ is coming soon. May we be found ready and waiting.
Sincerely in Christ,
Understand The Times
Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion. . . . Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD. Isaiah 52:8, 11
But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. Matthew 15:13-14
Roger Oakland, author, lecturer, missionary is saying farewell to a 29-year relationship with Calvary Chapel. It began for Roger in 1977 where he taught Biology from an evolutionary perspective at a Canadian university to becoming a born-again, Bible-believing Christian. His life had been turned right side up by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Roger zealously became a servant of the Lord. In contrast to his years teaching evolution, in 1991, he spoke on national Russian television to a potential audience of over 200 million people and shared the Gospel. In Roger’s biography, Let There Be Light, he explains:
That great nation was still reeling from the news: it was the morning after Mikhail Gorbachev had announced the final countdown to the collapse of the Soviet Union. “The Bear” that had terrified the world for so long, was now about to die, unceremoniously, with barely a whimper.
Three years after Roger became a Christian, he met Chuck Smith, the founder of Calvary Chapel, in June of 1981. In the spring of 1988, Roger met Chuck Smith again and describes the event, one that changed the course of his life:
[W]hile in Southern California in 1988, I stopped by the church to see if Pastor Chuck was available to see me. As I walked through the door of the Calvary Chapel church office, Chuck was coming out of his private office.
“Roger! How are you? Why don’t you come in and bring me up to date on what you’ve been doing?” I was delighted with the opportunity to share with him my recent discovery regarding the connection between evolution and the New Age philosophy.
“I’ve just come from the University of San Diego bookstore,” I began. Looking down at my bulging briefcase, I said, “You can’t believe where evolutionary thinking is headed.”
I reached into my briefcase and pulled out a copy of a book called Kundalini for the New Age. It had the following subtitle: A world-renowned yogi reveals the remarkable source of psychic energy that lies within us all. Handing it to him and reading from the back cover, I remarked, “See, the author of this book claims that evolution is slowly drawing the human race to a golden future of harmony, peace and happiness and the ‘higher consciousness’ will be the natural endowment of every man and woman in the future.”
I went on to share with him more about my research on the connection between evolution and the New Age idea–that man was on the evolutionary pathway to higher consciousness. Pastor Chuck was clearly shocked by what I had to say. “We need someone like you to come and deal with these issues here,” he commented. “Would you consider coming and joining us here at Calvary Chapel?”
Roger moved his family to Southern California from Saskatchewan, Canada and began speaking to Calvary Chapel churches. It was through Calvary Chapel that Roger eventually received his ordination for pastor, although he never used the title and always considered himself a Bible teacher and author.
As the years passed, Roger continued to see the impact that New Age thinking was having in our society; he became increasingly concerned as he saw this influence moving into the evangelical church at large. He felt relatively confident that Calvary Chapel would not go in that direction because of their verse by verse teachings of the Bible, something always encouraged by founder Chuck Smith.
In 2006, the emerging church had been on the scene for nearly a decade but had only recently moved into the forefront of influence in the evangelical and Protestant church. A 2005 public broadcasting special on the emerging church helped bring the movement to the forefront of the general public.1 That same year, Roger wrote a heart-felt letter to Chuck Smith (see in list below), warning of the danger he saw coming into the Calvary Chapel movement. By this time, Purpose Driven Life had sold millions of copies, and Rick Warren’s promotion of emerging leaders was no secret to discerning believers. As Roger studied and researched the emerging church, he saw that it was bringing in the same spirituality he had told Chuck Smith about in 1988, nearly twenty years earlier.
By 2006, Roger teamed up with Lighthouse Trails and began writing Faith Undone. Little did he or Lighthouse Trails know at the time that this book would become like water frozen in the cracks of rocks, causing the rocks to break and shatter. It would be his long standing relationship with Calvary Chapel that would shatter in this case.
The initial reaction by Chuck Smith over Faith Undone, released in 2007, was very favorable. But that was not the consensus by many in the movement. Roger had named names, including Rick Warren as well as Chuck Smith’s nephew Chuck Fromm (editor of Worship Leadermagazine). Soon, Roger began feeling the heat for speaking up. A number of events took place, many of which Lighthouse Trails reported on as they occurred.
In the summer of 2009, Roger had a serious accident at his farm in Saskatchewan. He had been very ill the previous three years with chronic idiopathic uticaria, a disease which Roger later learned was caused by toxics in airlines to kill bugs (Roger had flown extensively in his ministry). As a result of doctors prescribing steroids to Roger to deal with the symptoms of this disease, his body broke down. He fell and suffered a brain injury, and it has only been in the last few months that he has begun to return to normal health. When the year long ordeal of illness ended, it became painfully aware to Roger that many of his co-workers, associates, and even friends had abandoned him and his ministry. He had spoken the truth too many times, and they left when he was sick and even close to death.
Today, in many respects, Roger is starting over. As he recuperates from last year’s fall, he is realizing just how true that is. When it is all said and done, many of those who once stood with him, stand no more. At Lighthouse Trails, we consider Roger Oakland a defender of the faith, not afraid to speak the truth, even when it means taking personal and ministerial hits for it. One of the things in Roger’s ministry that took the biggest hit was his Myanmar orphanages. Churches that had once supported the mission pulled their support, in many cases clearly because of Roger’s stand for truth. You can read about the Myanmar orphanages (founded by Understand the Times) here.
The following is a chronological list of events leading to the present day. While we realize there may be questions, we believe if you read these reports the answers to most of those questions will become obvious. On November 20th, Understand the Times released a ministry update that we think you may find helpful as well in comprehending the serious nature of all that has taken place in Roger’s life and his ministry.
Please pray for Roger, his family, and his ministry during this time as he begins to put together his plans for the future. One of the things he will be working on is the new expanded edition of his biography, Let There Be Light (Lighthouse Trails, 2011). He will also be making trips to Myanmar. He plans to focus on and further develop the work of the Gospel and missions.
Chronological List of Events:
June 12th, 2005: Letter written by Roger Oakland to Chuck Smith
June 2006: Calvary Chapel Issues Notice to pull all Purpose Driven materials from their Calvary Chapel Distribution. At the same time, a statement is made stating that Chuck Smith’s book, When Storms Come, has been recalled because of an editor of the book adding in emerging/contemplative statements.
August 2007: Lighthouse Trails Releases Faith Undone: the emerging church – a new reformation or an end-time deception by Roger Oakland
November 13, 2007: “Ichabod” by Roger Oakland
November 19, 2007: Roger Oakland Removed from Calvary Chapel Radio!
December 6, 2007: Letter from Roger Oakland to Chuck Smith
Septembe 5, 2008: New Age Similarities, Popularity Continues, and Calvary Chapel Gives Official Statement (On Calvary Chapel’s Rejection of The Shack)
June 1st, 2009: A Letter from Ray Yungen: Is Lighthouse Trails “Haters?”
July 23, 2009: ROGER OAKLAND INJURED IN FALL
September 2009: WOE - Rick Warren Speaks at Greg Laurie’s Harvest Crusade – Introduced as Good Friend by Chuck Smith
July 26, 2010: Faith Undone – Back from 7th Printing!
September 24, 2010: ROGER OAKLAND SPECIAL REPORT: God’s Word Shines Light Upon End Time Apostasy
October 1, 2010: Is Your Denomination A Sinking Titanic?