Posts Tagged ‘Chuck Smith’
LTRP Note: Two weeks ago, we presented Part 1 of this story.
By Roger Oakland
(author of Let There Be Light, director of Understand the Times)
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
On July 17, 2009, I almost died while at the farm in Eston. Though the circumstances surrounding this incident have not been made public in the past, I believe it is important for me to share what happened. The incident and the weeks and months following changed the course of my life and the ministry at Understand The Times.
This part of my story actually begins in January 2007 while on a flight heading to the Philippine Islands. While the long flight itself from Southern California was just another journey and part of my “1 K” annual flight itinerary, the following day I noticed my body was not the same. I broke out in a “rash” or better described as “hives” from head to toe. I also came down with what seemed a terrible viral illness. From my hotel room, I dialed a friend on my cell phone, “I am very sick,” I said weakly. “I feel so bad, I don’t even know if I will make it out of here alive.”
However, in spite of the way I grew increasingly ill each day, I continued on with my speaking schedule in Manila and Bageo that lasted about ten days. When I arrived back in the USA, Myrna took one look at me and said, “I think you have scabies.” I wasn’t even sure what that was. But when I saw a doctor, he treated me for hives with steroids, and the hives went away. Within a few days of arriving home, we were scheduled for a long anticipated family holiday in Hawaii with my daughter and her family. We had a wonderful time, but on the flight home, I broke out again.
We actually had a second trip planned for shortly after we arrived home from our family trip. While it would seem to have been better to stay home and rest, Myrna and I left for Israel. We no sooner arrived there when I had another major attack. My face became so distorted that I looked like a monster. My skin erupted with scores of itching volcanoes that would not go away no matter what I did.
Once back home in California, a doctor referred me to an allergy specialist. By now, I had been taking steroids for over three weeks. It seemed this was the only way I could sleep. My condition was diagnosed as chronic idiopathic urticaria. The disease name may sound intimidating, but the side effects of the malady are far worse than the name. Chronic essentially means serious and long lasting; idiopathic means the medical profession does not know what you have, when you got it, how you got it, and how to get rid of it; urticaria means a problem related to the skin, which in my case was hives.
Week after week, month after month, the hives kept coming back, and I never knew when they were going to hit. Often they came right in the middle of a conference or other ministry trips. I continued making visits to the doctor who was treating me. After two years of extensive steroid use, weaning down and then off, I started to notice a difference in the way I was dealing with problems. I told my doctor I felt I was breaking down. . . .
[T]here was another factor. I was not only subjected to stress related to travel but also from human opposition to the positions I was taking as I stood for biblical truth. As well, I was now facing a lot of backlash from writing the book Faith Undone. While some Calvary Chapel pastors liked the book, many did not. The book had certainly hit a nerve. It named names, and some of those were names that certain prominent Calvary Chapel pastors were fond of. There were those who wanted me to come to their churches and speak on the topic; and there were those obsessed with trying to harm and even shut down the ministry of Understand The Times through spreading false rumors. Ironically, the book was selling quite well through the publisher to many outside the Calvary Chapel movement. Others could discern what was happening in the church, but many in my own fellowship could not.
It wasn’t just Faith Undone that brought about such opposition but also Another Jesus: the Eucharistic Christ and the New Evangelization, which was re-released in 2007 by the same publisher as Faith Undone. The books were like water between the rocks when it freezes. It breaks the rocks and shatters them.
The biblical position I wrote about in Another Jesus that reveals how Pope John Paul II had implemented an evangelistic program to win the world to the Roman Catholic Jesus was the first book written on the topic. The facts supporting this agenda are overwhelming. The thesis is not based on speculation but on solid documentation and biblical evidence. Further, the scenario is clearly laid out in Scripture by Jesus as one of the end-time signs that indicate His soon return.
Firmly convinced that the Lord had revealed these important things through His Word, I felt I must boldly confront this deceptive plan that fit into Bible prophecy. Three years prior to Faith Undone being released, Hollywood announced the release of Mel Gibson’s The Passion film (discussed in the previous chapter). It did not take me long to see that Gibson was part of the New Evangelization program and that the film was going to be used as propaganda to bring back the “separated brethren” to the Mother of All Churches. Later, I even documented where Gibson admitted that his goal for the film was evangelistic . . . for the Catholic Church.1
In an attempt to warn pastors and others on our UTT mailing list, we began to publish a number of articles explaining what was going on. These articles were met with mixed reviews—a high percentage of the negative response came from several Calvary Chapel pastors. “Pastor Chuck has endorsed the film. What give you the right to think you can challenge something that has been endorsed by Chuck,” a number said.
Even though the opposition against me over the books continued, Paul Smith was able to give away about a thousand copies of Another Jesus at the 2005 Calvary Chapel Pastor’s Conference alluded to in [Let There Be Light]. It was a rather historic time. While my book was handed out the first day of the conference to the pastors warning about the coming Eucharistic Christ, two days later Calvary Chapel pastor Jon Corson performed the communion for Chuck Smith and suggested to the pastors that it was time for Catholics and Protestants to lay down their differences.
Corson even made reference during communion to the idea that the bread or wafer is more than just a remembrance. When he did that, over fifty pastors, many of them former Roman Catholics got up and walked out. Paul Smith, at that time the head of Calvary Chapel Outreach Fellowship, walked with them. While the tape of that meeting is no longer available from Calvary Chapel, one eyewitness said, “The pastors who walked out were standing on the sidewalk outside with some pointing at the building and crying out, ‘Heresy!’”
From June 2005 to July 2009, my life was like a rocky road covered with ice. Another Jesus was the first bridge over troubled waters. I had never estimated how difficult it would be to tell the truth to a church fellowship that I had been part of for over two decades. In August 2007, Faith Undone came off the press . . . all hell broke loose when the book hit the market.
However, while the release of the book caused a great disturbance, it also brought about many opportunities to speak. Perhaps there were too many opportunities and too many invitations. Being on a steady diet of steroids in an attempt to control what had now been diagnosed as an autoimmune disease, caused me to feel hyped up. This fed my feeling of urgency that it was imperative to fulfill all invitations. When I should have been resting, I was traveling. When I should have been healing, I was fighting on the front lines. In a twelve-month period, I visited and lectured in ten different countries as a speaker. My body was breaking down, and I knew it. My allergist doctor told me that time off and some physical labor on the farm in Saskatchewan would do wonders.
Around the middle of April 2009, I flew to Tulsa, Oklahoma and participated in a Bible conference with Dave Hunt and some other men who often spoke together. It did not require a medical professional to know there was something seriously wrong with me. Not only did my facial features show that I was very ill, so did my speeches. I was only going through the motions; while some may not have not seen it, others were probably wondering what was going on.
A few weeks later, I left for my annual long drive up to the farm to help my son Wade and his wife Lisa put in their crop. Before seeding, I had committed myself to speak at two conferences—one in Calgary and another in Saskatoon one week later. I barely remember those two conferences. What I do remember is that I was not who and what I once was.
When the conferences finally ended, I headed to Eston to help Wade and Lisa who had already started seeding. My life was deteriorating quickly. Myrna was not with me. She was back in California doing her full-time job as an industrial nurse. Without her working, there was no ministry. But our family was a farm family, and hard work was no stranger to any of us.
“You need to see a doctor here in Saskatchewan,” Wade prodded me daily.
“I can’t do that now, Wade. Not without Canadian health insurance. It’ll have to wait,” I protested whenever he brought up the subject.
For four weeks, I slept very little. The hives caused me to itch constantly. The only thing that would give me rest was when I took the steroids, and even they seemed to be losing their effect. I was in a trap and could not get out. I was beginning to feel like Job—I had already lost my son, I was losing many long-time friends and ministry support, and I had itching hives all over tormenting my body.
The weeks passed. I refused to go back to California because I was certain that Wade and Lisa could not manage seeding time without me. When I wasn’t working, I isolated myself, not wanting to see anyone. I pulled the curtains so that my house would be dark. I sat in a chair and watched television programs and the odd Blue Jays ball game.
In the middle of all this, a series of unfortunate events happened. First, our webmaster and good friend, Ron Pierotti, who is an integral part of Understand The Times, was diagnosed with a reoccurring brain tumor and told he may only have a month to live. Next, my long time friend Paul Smith called one day and told me he had just been fired from CCOF (Calvary Chapel Outreach Fellowships) at an impromptu meeting that afternoon. He sounded shocked and upset, saying that his own brother, Chuck, sat by and let it happen while one board member made the motion and another seconded it. This news about Paul came at a time when I was already deeply discouraged. Paul was being used by God to warn his brother about the wave of apostasy sweeping through the Calvary Chapel movement, and now he was being eliminated.
Everything solid in my life was crumbling.
And then, as if enough hadn’t happened to completely dishearten me, I received a call from Rob Yardley, a member of UTT’s board at the time and also a member of CCCM’s board. Rob told me that he had met with the Missions pastor at Calvary Costa Mesa, and it was decided that because CCCM was losing tens of thousands of dollars every month due to the bad economy, they were looking for ways to cut their budget. The money that CCCM was paying each month in support of the Myanmar orphans was one of the cuts. The children in Myanmar were going to lose the five hundred dollars a month the church was providing.
After hearing that, and while I didn’t think I could get much lower, I received two e-mails. One came from Sarah Yardley, Rob’s daughter and the overseer for Calvary Distribution. She said that Calvary would no longer be carrying Lighthouse Trails books* because of an article they wrote about Calvary Chapel and their firing of Paul Smith.2
For several days after all this, I drove a tractor helping Wade and Lisa pack or “roll” the legume crops to make the land level, preparing for harvest when the header of the combine needs to shave the ground. I drove the tractor day after day like a robot: I was there in body doing all the right things, but my mind was somewhere else. All I could think about was the death of a vision. Perhaps this is the end for me, I thought. Maybe God took me from the farm to Los Angeles and to the world for a season. Maybe it’s all over.
I tried calling and talking with the men on the Board of UTT in both Canada and the USA. They were either unavailable, not interested, or they told me they never had the vision God had given me in the first place. Doubts began to plague me. Maybe I have never had a vision, I began to reason. Maybe this whole thing is the figment of my imagination. I could not get my mind to stop racing with these thoughts of defeat.
On July 16th, Wade and Lisa left the farm early that morning with my seven-month-old granddaughter Elizabeth to go to Clearwater Lake for a few days. I was alone. I decided to be useful by cutting the grass in my yard, which was located about a quarter mile from our original home where Wade and his family now lived.
The events of the rest of the day and the next several days are merely a shadow in my memory. There are many details I do not recall. But what I do remember is this—I was very, very tired because I had not slept for days. I was also very depressed. Upon returning from cutting grass, I opened the shed door and drove in with our small John Deere garden tractor equipped with a mower attachment. The next thing I remember is waking up on the floor of the shed, my fingers tapping the floor. Then more blackout.
After that, the next thing I remember was Saturday morning the 19th of July 2009. I was curled up in my favorite chair in our living room; I had no idea how I got from the shed floor to my chair. But later, piecing things together, I must have fallen from the tractor, been knocked unconscious, came to, and crawled inside to the living room and into the chair. Now here it was Saturday morning, three days after my fall. Wade had returned from his trip. He was talking to me but getting nowhere. “Dad, I’m going to call Mom,” he finally told me walking toward the phone. Myrna was still in southern California.
“You better get him right over to the doctor in town,” she told Wade with concern in her voice. As soon as Wade hung up, he called the local doctor. The nurse told Wade to bring me in for a check right away.
I had known this doctor for most of my life. His father was also a doctor who had treated my grandmother. When he asked me how I got in the condition I was in, I told him I had chronic idiopathic urticaria and that I had been taking steroids. He then instructed Wade to go to my place and bring him all the medications I was taking.
From Eston, I was transported to Saskatoon to the University Hospital, but upon arrival, we discovered there was no room there, so I was shuttled to City Hospital. The next morning, doctors determined that I had a pneumothorax (collapsed lung) and thus was transported to St. Paul’s Hospital for surgery. All of this happened within twenty-four hours.
Before the surgery took place, my vision became extremely blurred, almost to the point of blindness. After the surgery, this condition continued. The rest of my hospital experience in Saskatoon, Canada may become the subject for a book in the future regarding the pros and cons of socialized health insurance. For now, let me say, I was in the hospital for two weeks before they found out I had a hemorrhage in my brain, and this was the reason I could not see.
Before this diagnosis, at least one doctor treating me suggested that perhaps I was just depressed. But it would take a pretty heavy dose of depression to actually cause someone to lose his eyesight.
As soon as Myrna heard the diagnosis of the brain bleed, she left her job immediately in California, taking an emergency leave of absence, and came to Canada. When she learned that the hospital could not do an MRI for at least a month, she had me discharged, packed me in a car, and headed for California. She was afraid to fly and was advised against it in light of the brain injury. Because of Myrna’s quick response and insistence that I receive proper care right away, my life was saved.
Over the next several months, many things took place for me to get on the road to recovery. When we first got back, a doctor, who was a new ministry friend of ours, advocated for me and got me in to see one of the best brain specialists in southern California. Looking back, this was another step in God’s intervention of what Satan had meant for my destruction.
For one year, I was forced to take a sabbatical. I rarely saw anyone except for the odd occasion when Rob Yardley would show up. The rumors were spreading that I was either dead or that I would never be back in ministry again. While I’m sure there were those pleased with such news, God had other plans.
One afternoon, several months after my fall, and when I was beginning to get out a bit, I went into a Calvary Chapel bookstore and asked the clerk, out of curiosity, if she carried the book, Faith Undone.
“Yes, we do have a copy of that book.”
“Oh great,” I answered. “What do you know about the author, anyway?” I was curious what the word on the “street” was.
“Well, I think he died recently. That’s what I heard.” My eyebrows rose with interest.
“Oh, I don’t think that is true,” I told her. “In fact, I’m certain of it.”
“Really?” the young clerk asked, looking puzzled.
“Yes, you see I am the author.”
I have to admit I was amused at the stunned look on the girl’s face. As I walked out of the store, a purchased copy of Faith Undone under my arm, I smiled to myself and to the Lord. “I’m still here Lord. You protected me and must have kept me alive for a reason.”
What took place in my life those difficult few years has some similarities to the “Joseph” in the book of Genesis. His brothers, who should have been his friends, were instrumental in his near demise. But God took the thing that Satan had meant for evil and brought good out of it for Joseph and his family. Evil plots against those who belong to the Lord do not hinder God who is in charge of all things. He turns human manipulation around and in Joseph’s case made Joseph victorious.
The Bible tells us that our redemption draws near and that we are to look up in anticipation for that blessed hope of His appearing. None of us know the hour, but God’s Word tells us if we are watching the signs and the seasons, we can be aware of the times. I believe Jesus is coming soon, and Satan wants to keep the darkness protected. However, God’s Word is light. God hates darkness and will always expose it, even if those protecting the darkness are well-known and respected spiritual leaders.
Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me. (Micah 7:8)
(Taken from the 21st chapter of Let There Be Light, 2011, Lighthouse Trails, by Roger Oakland – links added by Lighthouse Trails editors for this online version.)
*LTPC note: While Calvary Distribution did drop all Lighthouse Trails books, some Calvary Chapel church bookstores still carry our books but must purchase them from other outlets.
By Roger Oakland
While I am sometimes accused of being a “Catholic-basher,” this is not my desire, nor my intention. I have a number of Roman Catholic acquaintances, and I care for them very much. I also have a number of Evangelical and Protestant acquaintances, and I care about them equally as well. However, in both cases, if a true understanding of the Gospel according to the Scriptures is not present in their lives, then their views will not be biblical—it won’t matter what they call themselves. For the record, my desire is to follow Jesus Christ and His Word and no man, no matter who he is. Likewise, I desire my acquaintances to do the same. It is love, not hate, that motivates me to share the Gospel with them, for there is only one Gospel that truly saves.
Here is the view I promote. Saving faith hinges entirely on a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, not on an affiliation with a church body. To be born again is to die to the old life of living for self and sin and to be reborn of the Spirit of God when one acknowledges his inability to save himself but rather trusts in Christ alone and His death on the Cross to purchase our salvation.
Many Catholics do not realize that official Catholic teaching does not recognize the biblical Gospel of salvation by grace alone but adds to it the appendage of our merit and participation in the sacraments. By the same token, many Protestants do not realize the biblical faith that martyrs (the disciples, the reformers, etc.) lived and died for. Our hope of an eternal home in Heaven rests in Christ and Christ alone and is offered to all, who in child-like faith, receive Him.
I am not certain when I first realized that the Roman Catholic Church, particularly the Jesuits, were the root force behind the coming one-world religion. If I were pressed to come up with an original time, it would be difficult. Coming to this realization was more of a process for me. The Bible foretells the coming of the Harlot. G.S. McLean always instilled in me that the harlot was apostate Christianity. This I still believe is the proper definition.
Through writing New Wine and the Babylonian Vine, I could see that the final one-world religion will be a mix of all religions for the cause of peace. This will include a revival of ancient Babylonianism that will be rooted in the worship of creation, based on Darwinian evolution that is rooted in Hinduism and Buddhism. . . .
[I]t became increasingly apparent to me the role that the Roman Catholic “Mary” and the Roman Catholic “Jesus” will play in the final delusion to prepare the world for the Antichrist. . . . .
It was about 2000, the year before Bryce [my son] died, that I came across Pope John Paul’s agenda to promote the “New Evangelization.” This is an organized agenda to point the “faithful” and the “separated brethren” to realize that Jesus Christ is truly present in the Eucharist. This program, coupled with so-called apparitions from a woman claiming to be “Mary” the mother of Jesus, seems to be the impetus behind the coming one-world religion for peace that would be headquartered in Rome. . . .
I had already come to the conclusion that there is a Jesuit plan to bring the separated brethren back to the “Mother of all Churches” in other ways, particularly their “dove” (signs and wonders) plan.
Following my miraculous come-back to ministry after Bryce died, I not only finished New Wine and the Babylonian Vine but started writing the outline and then the book Another Jesus: The Eucharistic Christ and the New Evangelization to continue the warning during 2004. While I was writing this book, Mel Gibson suddenly became a Calvary Chapel-proclaimed saint with his Passion of the Christ. Chuck Smith viewed a portion of the film before it was released and endorsed the film. The Calvary Chapel movement jumped on the bandwagon. As would be expected, they followed “Pastor Chuck’s” leading. There were few voices against the movie. Understand The Times was one of those voices who dared speak up.
While I don’t intend to name the pastors who called me to task over my position on The Passion, let me say there were many who wanted me to keep silent. Support for the ministry of UTT dwindled. There are pastors who even part ways to this day over my stand. Mel Gibson’s Hollywood film with the Eucharistic Jesus and the evangelism that it contained became a sacred cow for Calvary Chapel. If someone spoke against it, he came under zealous attack, as if speaking against Mel Gibson’s movie was speaking against Jesus Christ Himself.
Nevertheless, the book was completed. Jim Tetlow helped me by writing an appendix, which explains that a wafer is a wafer and not literally Jesus’ flesh under the “appearance of bread” and that the Roman Catholic view of transubstantiation is not scriptural.
The book also warns about the coming lying signs and wonders that will occur associated with false appearances of the Eucharistic Jesus that are already underway. Coupled together with further lying signs and wonders, there will be appearances of an apparitional woman claiming to be “Mary” the mother of Jesus. We predicted that lying signs and wonders would impress Muslims because they have a special love for Mary—there is an entire chapter on Mary in the Koran. Most people don’t realize that.
In June of 2005, Paul Smith recommended that Another Jesus: The Eucharistic Christ and the New Evangelization be given out to the Calvary pastors at the annual senior pastors conference at Murrieta. As UTT did with New Wine and the Babylonian Vine, the books were donated through Calvary Distribution and handed out. In the back of the book is a commentary called “Passion Evangelism” that exposes Mel Gibson’s plan to win the world to the Eucharistic Christ.
By many accounts, the conference was deemed to be a watershed. A panel discussion one afternoon about Calvary basics ended up in a free-for-all. Greg Laurie led the way with Bob Coy in stand-up comedy. Things got serious when Greg Laurie chastised pastors for not participating in Harvest Crusades just because of his desire to be linked with Purpose Driven globalist pastor, Rick Warren. The only pastor who seemed to be in favor of studying the Bible instead of someone’s book was Mike Macintosh.
Many pastors left the meeting with a heavy heart. Mine was so heavy I decided to pack up my book table one afternoon and stay at my hotel. Later that evening while at the hotel, my cell phone started to ring. The messages were all the same sentiment: “You cannot believe what just happened!” one pastor from South Carolina cried out.
“This is heresy!” said another in an excited voice.
“What has happened to Calvary? Have we been seduced by the Jesuits?” asked another who called me. All this commotion was because Calvary Chapel pastor Jon Corson, who was to perform the communion service at the end of the meeting, turned it into a Eucharistic-style service.
After the conference, I wrote a letter from my heart to Chuck Smith. I expressed my deep love for him and for Calvary Chapel but also told him of my strong concerns. Here is some of what I said in that letter:
It is with a heavy heart that I must communicate to you that over the past several years, because of many firsthand encounters and experiences in various places with numerous Calvary Chapel pastors, that I have observed a change in the Calvary Chapel movement that deeply concerns me. Perhaps some of my concerns have filtered back to you through others. Until writing this letter, I have not formally contacted you with these concerns. I regret now that I have waited so long. After leaving the Pastors Conference in Murrieta this past week, I laid awake several nights contemplating what I should do or say. This letter is the result.
I explained to Chuck that while I knew there were Calvary Chapel churches that were staying true to God’s Word, there were many that were being influenced by another gospel. I gave him six points where serious error could be found. I want to list them here because every Christian denomination is being affected in these areas to one degree or another:
Ecumenical and unbiblical teachings are being endorsed for the cause of unity and church growth. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is being disguised to make it less offensive and more acceptable.
Churches that once taught the Bible faithfully verse by verse preparing the flock for the imminent return of Jesus Christ, now are looking for ways to make their services more seeker-friendly and are less concerned about the prophetic signs we are living in the last days.
Pastors and churches that once believed church growth was dependent on feeding the sheep and equipping the saved to share the Gospel, now promote humanistic means to draw in the masses based on a consumer style of evangelism focused on “finding out what people want” to “get them in the door.”
Churches once led by pastors committed to biblical truth, now are employing experts who use worldly principles borrowed from secular corporations with material goals for success. Rather than following Jesus and His Word, pastors and church leaders are looking to successful men and their methods so they can become part of a movement that is based on principles foreign to the Scriptures.
When church leaders promoting strategies to establish the Kingdom of God here on earth by humanistic methods are challenged by concerned believers warning about the dangers, the leaders label these believers as divisive. Contending for the faith is no longer considered biblical. A person taking a position for biblical truth is now accused of being critical of what others believe.
Bible-believing pastors who once taught the Bible are now looking for ways to attract people to their congregations by providing extra-biblical experiences [e.g. contemplative] and an atmosphere that includes candles, icons, incense, and the introduction of Roman Catholic sacraments. When concerned observers suggest this appears to be leading to a partnership with Roman Catholicism, they are considered to be negative opponents of the “new thing” God is doing to reach our generation.
I told Chuck that it was apparent to some that we are at another crossroads in church history, a fork in the road. I asked him if pastors were going to stand up and make their voices known if they have concerns about the direction current trends are leading. I reminded him, “While some say, don’t be negative—just be known for what you believe, not what you are against—the Old Testament prophets were outspoken when followers of God strayed away from the truths of God and never allowed the sheep to feel comfortable in their sin.”
Before coming to the 2005 Murrieta Conference, I had spoken at another conference in Tempe, Arizona called “Upon This Rock.” The theme of the conference was examining the claims of the Roman Catholic faith to see if they are biblically sound, and what role they play in the establishment of apostasy and the one-world religion that the Bible calls the Harlot.
This was the first time I had spoken publicly on “The Emerging Church.” By now, it had become apparent to me that the emerging church, an attempt to reach the postmodern generation by the present-day church, was another deceptive “road to Rome.”
During this conference in Phoenix, I gave actual examples of how Calvary Chapel was being drawn into the darkness from what once had been a position of light. While there were a few voices that were warning about this, they were in the wilderness and felt very much alone. They were also considered to be the crackpots, the ones causing division—and the ones who needed to be “marked” and disfellowshiped.
By now, I had enough ministry under my belt to know when the writing is on the wall. The writing in this case was very clear. I had stepped over the line. Consistent with my nature and my calling, I was not able to sit down and keep silent. My resistance was met with nasty e-mails, phone messages, and innuendos coming from people and places that I will refrain from mentioning.
For me, this was like adding fuel to a burning fire. It seemed the Lord was impressing upon me to start putting together an outline for a book. By the fall, I received an invitation to speak at a well-known conference in Dallas, Texas where I was asked to share the evidence that Bible-believing Christianity was under attack by apostates masquerading as brothers and sisters in Christ.
The outline for that presentation would become the outline for a book that I would call Faith Undone: the emerging church—a new reformation or an end time deception. . . . I completed the book, and in August of 2007, a small grassroots publishing house called Lighthouse Trails Publishing released the book.
Immediately, a firestorm was created. A copy of the book had been given to Chuck Smith; he in turn read several pages of the book from the pulpit on a Wednesday night study, but did not mention the source. Whether or not he was trying to protect me from the “wolves” in Calvary Chapel, I suppose I will never know. One of my friends, who is a pastor in Minnesota, heard Chuck’s message and announced on the Calvary pastors’ private web forum that Faith Undone should be read and discussed because Chuck Smith had quoted from it. This caused quite a stir on that forum. Of course, those for the emerging church were not for me. One responded that he had read the footnotes of Faith Undone, and that was all he needed to know that Roger Oakland was a heretic. . . .
Over the next few months, it became apparent that my days at “Big Calvary” were numbered. And why not? I had written several letters to Chuck Smith and Paul Smith (whom I had become close friends with). Paul told me that whenever he delivered some of these letters, Chuck would either say “Roger is too negative,” or he would just roll his eyes. I wondered if this was because of pressure he was receiving from members of his own family involved with the Peter Drucker agenda to influence Calvary Chapel. Whatever the case, apparently Chuck did not want to intervene and take sides. . . .
My efforts to counter the counter reformation by Rome led me to discover that my own fellowship of churches was not only being influenced by the very thing I was trying to expose and warn against, but some within the movement were working to discredit and harm me and the ministry of Understand The Times because I was trying to expose the error. This is an example of how Satan can lead astray Christian organizations once used by God without those in charge seeming to be aware. If they were aware, surely they would have done something about it. . . .
Satan certainly is clever in his tactics. He hates the light.
(Excerpt from Let There Be Light by Roger Oakland, from chapter 20)
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