Early this morning Chuck Smith, the founder of the Calvary Chapel movement, passed away. He was 86 years old and had been diagnosed with cancer in 2011. Below is a news story from WorldNetDaily, which talks about Chuck Smith’s life and influence in the church. Between 2006 and 2007, Chuck spoke with Lighthouse Trails editors a number of times, sharing with us his support for our warning against contemplative spirituality, Purpose Driven, and the emerging church (see links below). He found the writings of Roger Oakland, Ray Yungen, and Warren B. Smith to be highly informative and revealing. In more than one e-mail to Lighthouse Trails editors, Chuck said he was grateful for the “important” and “needed” work at LT. He is the only Christian leader we know of who bravely pulled one of his own books from the market because he learned that it had, unbeknownst to him, been tainted by an editor with New Age promoting quotes. We’ve witnessed no other figure within Christianity who did something like this with such humility and sincerity. While Chuck said little about our warnings in the last few years of his life, he never publically recanted his support for them. We know that many will grieve over the passing of this highly influential Christian leader. It is our prayer that the man or men who will fill his shoes will walk in the kind of discernment that Chuck Smith showed the church in 2006 and 2007. We know there are some Calvary Chapel churches today that have carried on this discernment in warning the church about spiritual deception.
“Chuck Smith, 86, Dies After Cancer Battle”
Renowned California pastor founded Calvary Chapel movement.
By G. Jeffrey MacDonald (WorldNetDaily)
Diagnosed in 2011, Smith continued to preach and oversee administration at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa (California), where he’d been pastor since 1965. In 2012, he established a 21-member leadership council to oversee the Calvary Church Association, a fellowship of some 1,600 like-minded congregations in the United States and abroad.
Smith was known for expository preaching as he worked his way through the entire Bible, unpacking texts from Genesis through Revelation and offering commentary along the way.
Yet it was his openness to new cultural styles, including laid-back music and funky fashions of California’s early surfer scene, that helped him reach young idealists and inspire a trend toward seeker-sensitive congregations.
“He led a movement that translated traditional conservative Bible-based Christianity to a large segment of the baby boom generation’s counterculture,” says Brad Christerson, a Biola University sociologist who studies charismatic churches in California. “His impact can be seen in every church service that has electric guitar-driven worship, hip casually-dressed pastors, and 40-minute sermons consisting of verse-by-verse Bible expositions peppered with pop-culture references and counterculture slang.”
Born to a Bible-quoting mother and a salesman father who became a zealous convert in midlife, Smith grew up in Southern California, where he witnessed to the Gospel from a young age.
After Bible college training and a stint as a traveling evangelist, he sought a niche in Pentecostalism by pastoring several Church of the Foursquare Gospel congregations. But he confesses in Chuck Smith: A Memoir of Grace: “I just never succeeded” in that denominational environment. Click here to continue reading.