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Chuck Smith & Calvary Chapel
IN RESPONSE TO an article on Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa (in California), Mr. Justin T. Alfred, the pastor of Calvary Chapel of Colorado Springs, Colorado stated, ". . . not everything that Chuck writes or teaches is fully embraced by all Calvary Chapels. However, we do respect and appreciate him for what God has done in and through his life" (letter on file). This is an astounding statement in the light of the article to which he was responding.
A response to Mr. Alfred was summed up in the following questions:
You respect a man who subtly leads people away from a love for the truth (our first documented point)? You respect a man who is ecumenical (our second documented point)? You respect a man who denies the power of godliness (our third documented point)? You respect a man who teaches "that a person who is driven to the point of committing suicide no longer has full responsibility for the things he's doing."; thus opening the door to a very hellish deception (our fourth documented point)?
To this we add, "You respect a man who . . .
I. Teaches A Perverted View Of The Holy Spirit
In Charisma vs. Charismania, by Chuck Smith, in the context of unscriptural anticipations of receiving the Holy Spirit, he says,
Others would testify of various sensations, such as "ten thousand volts of electricity passing through my body" or "a warm sensation came over me." Still others described waves of glory sweeping over them or the tingling sensation down their spine. Some told of uncontrollable weeping, while others spoke of violent shaking.
All of these may be valid reactions to the work or power of the Spirit upon a person's life, but the wide variety only shows that God is not bound to any pattern in bestowing the gift of the Holy Spirit upon our lives. (p. 133-134)
When Galatians 5:22 says that part of the fruit of the Spirit is "self-control", how in the world could "uncontrollable weeping" or "violent shaking" be a "valid" reaction "to the work or power of the Spirit upon a person's life"? Such teaching is not only perverted and unfounded in Scripture, but it also opens wide the gate to false manifestations of supposedly the Spirit of God. Should we respect a man whose teaching invites delusions upon the "Christian" mind? Should we respect a man who . . .
II. Hypocritically Stands Against Psychology
Chuck Smith is the editor of a recent booklet that Bob Hoekstra has written entitled, The Psychologizing Of The Faith, that attempts to expose the evils and false doctrine that has come into the church via psychology. This booklet is sold in the bookstore at Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa under the approval and authority of Chuck Smith. Although there is a disclaimer at the cash register in the bookstore saying basically that they cannot fully endorse every book that is sold, it is absolute hypocrisy to propagate the booklet The Psychologizing Of The Faith and at the same time sell and promote (by selling) books written by Psychologist Dr. James Dobson. Dobson is the most influential "Christian" leader in America who is "psychologizing the faith"!
Some of the titles by Dr. Dobson which are sold in the bookstore are the following: The New Dare To Discipline, Love Must Be Tough, Parenting Isn't For Cowards, Love For A Lifetime, When God Doesn't Make Sense, etc.. It is evident, by the mere preponderance of titles, that Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa has little to no problem with one of the main (if not the main) psychologizer of the faith.
Mr. Smith and the Costa Mesa Calvary Chapel claims to be against the "psychologizing" of the faith, yet in the booklet What Calvary Chapel Teaches, A Brief Explanation Of The Doctrine Of The Calvary Chapel Movement (dated 1994) by Larry Taylor, they approve of "mental health professionals". On page 9, Taylor states that this booklet was, for the most part, written by Pastor Chuck Smith, and all of it was approved by him. On page 8 it says:
It is God's Word that changes lives for the better. At Calvary Chapel our services remain centered on the teaching of the Bible. This is not to imply that we object to the work of the many dedicated Christian mental health professionals; conversely, we thank God for them.
Along the lines of hypocritically standing against the psychologizing of the faith and denying the power of godliness (part one), they have "DISCIPLESHIP SUPPORT GROUPS" every Friday evening at 7:20 in Room MCA 202 (from a flyer distributed by Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa). These discipleship support groups are stated to be for...
PEOPLE PLEASERS - For those who painfully depend on approval from others in an attempt to find safety, value and identity.
SEXUALLY ABUSED - For women whose lives have been impacted by sexual abuse in some form.
BEREAVEMENT - For those who have lost a spouse or other loved one, whether recently or in the past.
SEPARATED/DIVORCED - For those who have suffered the break-up of a marriage.
MEN IMPACTED BY SEXUAL ABUSE - For men who have been sexually abused or have a loved one who has been abused.
OVEREATERS - For those who compulsively eat.
This all follows the pattern of a psychological (humanistic) approach to man, rather than a Biblical approach. What is the Biblical approach to these matters?
1. If you are a "people pleaser", you had better fear God and repent! You are on your way to hell! You are not a bondservant of the Lord Jesus Christ. Note how Paul put it in Galatians 1: 10:
For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.
2. Sexually abused? Find refuge in God, not some "abused group"! (Psalm 9:9 10.) Certainly, the Lord gives us each other to encourage one another, but this should be in the context of the whole body, not just other"abusites". Also, God calls us to forgive, Mark 11:25 26
3. Bereaved? Follow Job's example, and worship God (Job 1:21).
4. Separated/Divorced? Why would this need some kind of special group? If this is the case, we had better get a special group for anybody and everybody who might have experienced some kind of trouble or sin in their life (which we ALL have)! God has designed the body to function as a whole, not special groups. (1 Corinthians 12:26.)
5. Are you a compulsive overeater? Repent! You're an enemy of the cross of Christ! (Philippians 3:17-19)
This is the Biblical approach. To have a special group in the church for "people pleasers" and "compulsive overeaters" is not only a psychological undertaking, but it opens wide the door to ungodly leaven (sin) within the church (1 Corinthians 5:6-8f).
More psychological deceit can be found in the booklet Family Relationships (copyright 1977, 1980) where Smith speaks of the "ego" and "superego" (page 9; also found in his most recent book, Why Grace Changes Everything on pages 32 33), "emotional spectrum" of women and men (page 12), "emotional needs" and the "male ego" (pages 32-33), and "psychological problems" (page 54).
Finally, Chuck Smith...
III. Preaches Another Gospel.
Conjoined with the seduction of psychology to which Chuck Smith has been taken captive (Colossians 2:8), is the foreign (i.e. foreign to Scripture) gospel Mr. Smith proclaims.
In Charisma vs. Charismania (copyright 1992) by Chuck Smith, he says,
Abraham Maslow has identified and cataloged in order of strength our body drives, which are known as the homeostasis. These are the beautiful built-in mechanisms that God created to monitor our bodies to keep the proper balance that will sustain and perpetuate life. Maslow has identified the strongest of these drives as the air drive: the body monitors the oxygen levels in the blood and demands that oxygen be replenished when it gets too low. The body's response is to start panting as the rate of heartbeat increases. Next in order is the thirst drive, then hunger, then bladder, then sex, and so on in a declining order. These drives all involve man's physical needs. The sociologists have also listed what they call our sociological drives. Man thirsts, or has a drive, for love. There is also a need for security. And there is the need to be needed. Down in the deepest part of man, in the area of his spirit, there is also a very strong thirst or drive. This is the thirst of man's spirit for a meaningful relationship with God. The attempt of the psychologist to understand human behavior will always be limited until he recognizes the spiritual dimension of man. The strongest drive and the deepest need of man is to know God. (p. 93-94)
Man has a drive and thirst for God? This is the exact opposite of the teaching of the Word of God. Please note:
The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, . . . (Psalm 14:2-3a, see also Psalm 53:2-3)
The very heart and beginning of the gospel is the fact that there are none who seek after God. There are none who want Him. This is man's basic problem. At the very beginning of Paul's gospel (starting at Romans 1:16 and running through to Romans 11:36), Paul says of mankind,
. . . although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:21)
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind. (Romans 1:28)
Right smack in the heart of Paul's gospel he says, "There is none who seeks after God" (Romans 3:11). Man does not want God. Yet, the gospel according to Chuck Smith says otherwise!
In the aforementioned book, Smith deepens his deceit. On page 95 he writes,
You cannot satisfy an emotional thirst with a physical experience. It is also true that, down deep, man has a deep spiritual thirst for God. One of the problems of our present age is that man has endeavored to satisfy that deep thirst for God with physical or emotional experiences. This deep thirst for God is one of the reasons behind the pleasure mania in the world today. (p. 95)
What an amazing statement! We are in serious trouble if a thirst for God leads to "pleasure mania"! This is, again, the complete opposite of the teaching of the Word of God which says,
". . . in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of money, boasters, proud, . . . LOVERS OF PLEASURE RATHER THAN LOVERS OF GOD," (2 Timothy 3:1-4)
Loving pleasure ("pleasure mania") is the direct result of not loving (wanting, thirsting for, desiring) God. Smith's deceit continues on page 96,
THE DEEP UNIVERSAL THIRST When Jesus said, "If any man thirst," He was referring to that deep universal thirst of man's spirit for God.
What a lie! Jesus did not say, "Since all men thirst". He said, "If any man thirsts,". In other words, if God has drawn you, "Come and drink!" (John 7:37; Isaiah 55:1-3; Revelation 22:17). No one can thirst for God apart from God, because men, left to themselves, do not want God (Romans 1:28; 3:11; John 3:19 20). Christ made it abundantly clear that no one can thirst for God apart from God when He said, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him;" (John 6:44; see also Ephesians 2:1-5).
Covered in deceit, Mr. Smith proclaims another gospel. Moreover, Chuck, in his error, brings more error (worldly wisdom) as he teaches against the counsel of the Lord in this same book on page 96 as follows:
It is interesting to me that some psychology textbooks identify frustration as one of the root causes of neurotic behavior. They declare that a person's problem often begins with frustration, that feeling that you have not attained what life is all about, that there must be more to life than what you have experienced - but what is it and how do I attain it? It is reaching out for something I am not sure of, and not finding what I am hoping for. What is frustration but thirst, spiritual thirst that deep thirst in man's spirit for God?
The psychology books show how frustration leads to an inferiority complex, which is nothing more than my rationale to myself as to why I have not achieved this satisfaction or fulfillment that I long for. I say, "If only I had money," or "If only I had blue eyes instead of brown," or "If only I had attained a better education." With these or a thousand other excuses I explain to myself the reason for my frustration.
TWO KINDS OF ESCAPES
According to the textbooks, I then move from my inferiority complex to an escape. This can be overt or invert. The inverted escapes are manifested in attempts to build a wall around your true self. You will often display to other people a facade which is far different from the real you. You act as if it does not hurt when it really does; you act very confident when in reality you are scared. You begin to keep people at a distance; you are afraid they might find the true you. You avoid the person whom you feel is moving in too close to you. You do not want to speak to him when he calls. You get to the point where you do not want to answer the doorbell. In its final form the invert escape is manifested in the hermit living alone in his shack in the desert, firing shotgun blasts at anyone who comes beyond his gate with the "Keep Out - No Trespassing" signs. ( p. 96-97)
Smith foolishly follows the psychological explanation for what the Bible simply calls "hatred" (please see Titus 3:3). His delusion goes on,
The overt escapes are manifested in many forms, such as alcoholism, drug abuse, compulsive eating or gambling, nomadism, extramarital affairs, etc. I cannot bear to face the reality of my failure to find true fulfillment, so I escape into unreality. These escapes then bring me to a guilt complex. I know that what I am doing is wrong. I know it is destroying me and those around me who love me, yet I do not seem to have the capacity to stop. I begin to hate myself for what I am doing to myself and others. The guilt complex then moves into a subconscious desire for punishment. ( p. 97 )
and so on . . .
There is so much psychological deceit in there, it would be a bit like trying to unscramble an egg to address it all. Suffice it to say, he admits it came from the psychological textbooks. This alone not only reveals his hypocrisy (claiming to be against the psychologizing of the faith, yet, in actuality, a psychologizer himself), but it reveals some of his basis for truth and understanding the human heart, i.e. the textbooks of men, rather than the textbook of God (Scripture). In this light, it is no wonder that he has altered the gospel of Christ (thus making it another gospel) to fit a more humanistic approach to the ills of mankind.
Is such a man to be respected? Our respect for such a man should be no less and no more than any man or angel who alters the light of the glory of the gospel of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4). Such "respect" due to such men (or angels) is given in Galatians 1:8-9.
But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
(Also see Matthew 23:33)