The 5 Craziest Things Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel Ever Said

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Now that the proper time of mourning has passed, we can stop with the respectability game and report the truth: while Calvary Chapel founder Chuck Smith, who passed away from cancer last week at 86, was a titan of American Christianity, he was quite often a raving lunatic who seemed better suited to hosting Coast to Coast AM than preaching about God.

This observation isn't the bias of a godless leftist, as so many Calvary Chapel members have claimed in their hundreds of letters, comments, and phone calls sent my way after my obit last week (Santo Niño de Atocha all the way, bitches!), but facts thankfully documented in many outlets. Don't believe me? Let's go into the Wayback Machine and consider five of Papa Chuck's crazier musings. And while Calvary Chapel members will say Smith was merely following the Bible, we don't remember Pope Francis ever going gonzo like this!

5. The (Many) Times Chuck Smith Predicted the End Times...and Was Wrong, Wrong, Wrong

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One of the biggest critiques Smith endured from fellow Christians was his zeal for trying to predict the End Times. In books like the appropriately titled End Times: A Report on Future Survival and numerous DVDs and commentaries, Smith would predict Jesus' coming with increasing confidence, for years pegging 1981 as the date. "From my understanding of biblical prophecies, I'm convinced that the Lord is coming for His Church before the end of 1981," he wrote. "I could be wrong, but it's a deep conviction in my heart, and all my plans are predicated upon that belief."

What happened? A bunch of people showed up to the Calvary Chapel mother ship in SanTana on New Year's Eve in 1981...and nothing. Eventually, someone told Chuckie to knock it off with the false prophecies, so Smith tempered his outlook, going so far as to deny he ever offered predictions--and here's the audio to prove it. Tellingly, End Times is no longer available via Calvary Chapel--you'll have to find a copy yourself at the Bookman.

4. When Chuck Smith Wished Divine Retribution on the Abused Son of One of His Pastors

One of Smith's biggest critics over the past couple of years has been Alex Grenier, the stepson of Calvary Chapel Visalia pastor Bob Grenier. Alex says Bob physically abused him as a child, and has long sought redress for it; Bob denies all charges and is suing Alex for defamation. But Smith believed Alex's charges, going so far as to meet with him then saying he has no control over any of Calvary Chapel's pastors--a lie if ever there was one.

Then it got personal. As we reported in 2011, Smith attacked Alex Grenier from the pulpit of the Calvary Chapel mother ship, cracking, "I feel sorry for the guy, because...what I could do wouldn't hurt much, but I'll tell you what the Lord can do can really..." Smith chuckled a bit, then ended, "I'm glad I have the Lord on my side."

Coincidence or not, as Alex notes on his blog, Smith was diagnosed with cancer a month later.


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45 comments
crimsonclay7
crimsonclay7

This will be one of the stupidest things Gustavo Arellano ever said when he stands before God at the time of judgement and has to give an answer for everything he's said and done. The foolishness of the wicked, to think there will be no recompense for their wicked deeds.

donaldevanduyse
donaldevanduyse

"Put the blame where the blame belongs, not on God, but upon American, and the people of American who have trangressed the laws of God, refused to obey it, and thus, God's curse upon us"---Pastor Chuck Smith following the September 11 terror attacks.

raymondjstaniorski
raymondjstaniorski

I listen to Chuck often and telling you how great he is would just be a waiste. Men of God don't need to throw there pearls at swine

tsangarisjohn
tsangarisjohn

If god exists Chuck will not be along side him. He and many religious officials are con-men. They use peoples fears and weaknesses for financial gain. look at his million dollar home, his financial prosperity. And its not just him and his organization. Religion has always been used as a tool to control and profit off of people desire to have a happy life and afterlife.

fanofgold
fanofgold

Didn't the "Santo Niño de Atocha" sink... 

krukyle
krukyle

Oh yeah as if you never made a mistake writing a story you where wrong about. That is the beauty of his (Chucks) ministry. We can make mistakes and still be of great service to GOD and our fellow believers by GODs Grace. The grace of GOD grace covers all those mistakes we make as humans that is the reason Jesus was sent to die for us. For our sins and mistakes, not our perfection. When I see Chucks mistakes I see the Grace of GOD and I am encouraged by them. I hope you are too. 

amiejoylie
amiejoylie

It's quite sad that the commentary that you wrote is so acerbic in nature.  Typically, when we disagree with someone, we can still find something kindhearted to say, if not for the benefit of others, at least to not make yourself look so heartless.  Understandably, you have issues that you are hellbent on pushing to the forefront.  However, no matter how thin you pour the pancake, there are always two sides.  It would behoove all of us to show so respect towards one another.  If you don't like things that you believe (I will state that I disagree with your opinion of him) about him, behaving in a way that promotes peace and not more factions would seemingly be the appropriate approach in dealing with this.  Peace is never achieved by mud slinging.  If you are angry about what you perceive as someone's hypocrisy... Should we then all act out in a riot and behave in such a manner that draws negative attention to both parties.  Because this article doesn't paint you in a good light.  It makes you look like a hater.  It make you come across as someone who can't even let a mourning family have a week before you are on the attack.  It's more of a bulldog approach.  If it appeals to you, then you shouldn't be surprised when people come back at you in such a manner.  For me, I think it's nonsensical to create strife and division where it's not even needed.  It's like someone who stirs pots.  Eventually, you will get tangled in your own web, and wish that you had been nicer when your life takes some pitfalls.  Wouldn't it be terrible if for some reason, you were to get some terrible cancer this year, and we all blamed it on your horrible lack of consideration and tact, and your scoffing nature.  When in reality, that would not be the way the church would treat you at all.  Not at all.  We are all sinners.  Oh man.  If I had to give an account for all of my shortcomings and failures to God, I would fall so short, I wouldn't even try starting.  I am the chief of all losers.  I have blown it more than I care to remember, and pray to God that He will help those I've offended forgive me and heal.  I am not perfect.  I am a sinner.  I'm a sinner saved by grace... through the love of Jesus Christ - God's one and only Son that came and bore the sin of all mankind upon Himself to redeem us... so that we wouldn't have to bear the burden of our sin in the presence of a perfect God.  God knew we weren't perfect... but He is holy, and as a Judge, he is righteous and has to judge according to righteousness.  So, he made a perfect plan to take a man who knew no sin - a righteous man - Jesus Christ - God's Son - and Jesus willingly and lovingly took upon Himself all the sin of mankind - so that we can be cleansed by the blood of His righteousness.  He paid the ultimate sacrifice for us.  That is why Gandhi loved our Christ, but not Christians.  We are losers, but Christ has made us righteous in Him.  Through Him we have received the righteousness of God. Now... this is the deal... a lot of "Christians" (I say that flippantly) stop there.  That is not what God is talking about, because that's not where HE stops.  We are then to begin to pursue a life after Him.  But we are still humans... we still have our human nature... we still fail... All of us are at different stages of our faith.  It's so easy to look at it from the outside and assume that it is a certain way.  And for some reason, I don't know why it is... A lot of Christians don't open up to anyone about their "human frailty" and "human nature"  that never left just because we accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.  By the way, I am VERY thrilled to be a Christian... and I've been one for 34 years.  But I don't consider myself more important to God than you are.  In fact, I KNOW I AM NOT!  God does not show partiality.  HE is not a respecter of men... as in He created all mankind, loves and desires that all should come to know Him.  He's also not pushy.  But He for some reason chose to use HUMANS as His ambassadors.  That's tough for all of us... Christians and non Christians.  We don't want to fail you guys.  REALLY.  It brings me to tears when I see how angry the world is at God, because of Christians... Yet I know, that because we are ALL humans, none of us could do better than the other.  That's where we learn about the loving and forgiving nature of God.  I could write all night about His beautiful nature.  I imagine you don't want me using your entire wall for that... but I do want you to know... I know Pastor Chuck.  I know him to be a man.  I know him to be a man who sincerely loved God.  I also know him to to have been a man who's made failures... as we all have done, are doing, and will continue to do... may we be gracious with one another.  I also have known him to do things that have made people really happy and really mad.  But in the 65-70 or so years that he genuinely tried his best to serve God... he did a pretty good job.  I'm not a big man praiser.  I'm a big GOD praiser.  God gets the glory when a Christian person does anything profound, because it's His heart in us, and His Word that is moved in our hearts to act.  HE gets the glory.  So, I'm not a man praiser... But I will say, Pastor Chuck was a very good man.  I will also tell you that his youngest daughter is one of my very best friends, and she is one of the nicest people you will ever meet.  She hasn't done anything to deserve this article.  Pastor Chuck is no longer here, so the only people this is hurting are the people that are trying to grieve.  Would you please in the kindness of your heart, reconsider the potential damage this type of post may cause to daughters, and other innocent grievers?  I know you probably were not even thinking about that at all.  I know Alex would never have wanted this either.  I wish you all the best, Gustavo.  I hope you can understand where I am coming from and know that I am being sincere and not attacking.  Have a good weekend.  

Sincerely,

Amie

Susan Wu
Susan Wu

I love Chuck Smith. I went to his church to hear him preach on our wedding anniversary... twice on the same day!!

18usc241
18usc241

In this interplay between Alex and pastor Chuck, I understand the pastor claimed that he had sent several emails to Alex but they had not arrived. This pastor may have found out by now that the communication principles upon which the internetz are based are fairly robust - you can't send several emails out to someone without them arriving ; were it to be that unreliable the internet as we know it would not exist. God bless TCP/IP and assorted technologies.

Also, in the previous obit article some commenter implied that I was gay or something. Reading that reminded me of that passage by Gandhi ... "I like your Christ. I don't like your Christians".

danielschatzie
danielschatzie

I thought I was going to read something of substance in this article and this is all you got on him? A bunch of half-baked stories without enough substance to merit a discussion?  This article was a waste of my time.

Josh English
Josh English

Calvary members shouldn't "pull a Hubbard", just because they can't take regulatory, introspective criticism. Practice what you preach, and have some spiritual accountability! Just because someone has passed, doesn't mean that they can't be held responsible for their actions. Yes, give him some dignity, but don't be in complete denial either. (What we call) God doesn't like that. ;-)

Josh English
Josh English

^@ Jay - I hear you. LOL. ;-) Let me clarify - I mean that some of those incidents and important topics in the shouldn't be ignored or overlooked, simply because Smith has died. I am Christian, but I don't care much for the Exoteric side of things anymore. Smith had some pretty interesting dogma that he followed, to say the least. I haven't stepped foot inside of a Calvary Chapel church since around 2001, or Saddleback since 1997, because those churches have nothing to offer me anymore. I've matured and grown, and I have personal needs in my life that the outside church has failed to adequately address. If it works for others, fine. More power to you. To each their own. :-) Nowadays, I only go to mainstream churches for funerals and such.

AlphaOmega
AlphaOmega

Ironic how all the Branch Calvarians come to here to resurrect Chucks misdeeds in life.  Chuck did not walk on the spray of the water people.

nevermetasmartmex
nevermetasmartmex

lol..this coming from a guy who probably sacrifices chickens in his backyard... how's worshiping that indian tramp guadalupe helping you mexicans. ignorant peons...

carguys100
carguys100

I wrote on this earlier and it disappeared . As I said Your stories are either out of context or untrue in one way or another. I do know what Chuck was saying in his sermon on Sampson and anyone that reads the Bible understands . He did Love Lonnie very much as a person but again he was practicing homosexual and there for could not be an elder or in a pictorial position. The fact that he was a practicing Homosexual also makes him an adulterer to his wife and a fornicator none of which is expectable in any Christian Church as far as a pastor or on staff

Chuck when teaching on the coming of the Lord always has said know one knows the hour or the day but things in the last forty years have been lining up more so than any time in history Yes he gets excited while preaching on it but that does not constitute a false profit .I know the service you were speaking of and I was there .Were You? He was not sitting there waiting for God to show up. Nor was anyone else , your story was completely out of context and a lie as to what happened there .

Lonnie came to the church prior to his passing and did apologize to Chuck for all the things he was saying things I heard Lonnie say and others also that were not true. 

Chuck has always preached against any sin not just homosexuality ,in fact he often takes it away from that subject when callers would call in and said "lets address it as adultery ,fornication ,any sexual sin not just homosexuality. He is hardly obsessed with homosexuality ,but it appears you are and you are obsessed with Chuck.

It sounds like you are hurt  by Lonnie's death  as a lot of people were . Chuck always talked about how gifted in praise song and  he was .Yet I know in my own life when you allow sexual sin of any kind in it is a slippery slope and I have suffered from that slope myself with women but like Chuck always said man women sin is sin and it is .

As far as the other you take a little bit of what was said and that does not tell the whole story. I wonder just how many sentences Chuck said in his 65 years of Preaching -teaching and you take what 10 sentences . Now if you were to play the whole service where Chuck always pulls it together for a message then you may have something . But one or two sentences out of a hour long service is pulling it out of context.

They are both gone ,Lonnie for 20 years .There is know real purpose for your story than to bash a person that has helped tens of thousands and supported thousands . You cant say that Lonnie could not say that nor could I so I guess the story is to some how make you important but it doesn't.

U

Tamara Danzara Wroclawsky
Tamara Danzara Wroclawsky

He is in a better place, and I'm not over it. He died last week. If he was alive to defend himself this post wouldn't bother me, but he isn't. The blogger didn't simply talk about his hypocrisy he flat out called Chuck a raving lunatic. That is disrespectful. come on now.

Jay Grayson
Jay Grayson

What are you talking about Christians can gloss over whatever they want sadly :p

Tamara Danzara Wroclawsky
Tamara Danzara Wroclawsky

If your grandfather believed in aliens would that mean it hurt less that people were disrespecting him when he just died? It doesn't matter what he believed in, he just died and he is someones- father, brother, uncle and grandpa ... papa to me!

mexheb72
mexheb72

Pastor Chuck was not perfect but your attack on him regarding control of the Calvary Chapel's is unfounded. What is your source for calling him a liar? No citation was given. As far as predicting the end of the world you are right. No pastor/preacher knows or should be setting dates. Alex Grenier is an alleged victim nothing has been proven. I don't doubt it happened but I will believe it when it has been proven. You should report the abuse as alleged if you are any kind of responsible journalist. Chuck did not issue a Fatwa that is a straight out malicious lie.

Helen Nailen Osborn
Helen Nailen Osborn

Both articles were unnecessary as the information was already known. Also, I think most people are just going to church and worshiping The Lord, not Pastor Chuck. He was human just like the rest of us and as such fallible. Nobody is perfect.

Ray Greene
Ray Greene

Seriously in bad taste as was the one written a week ago by the same bogger. Obviously the writer has a chip on his shoulder and is blowing off steam. Perhaps some therapy might be in place?

Natasha Nelson
Natasha Nelson

the respectability game? wrong, the morning he died OC weekly blogged something nasty.

Josh English
Josh English

I do agree that we should respect the dead, but if what the article suggests is true, why should we let those things slide? They are important - you can't gloss over them. I do believe that he should be forgiven, but we have to right to call out blatantly ridiculous Fundamentalism as we see it. B-)

Josh English
Josh English

I definitely remember him being really big on the Y2K scam, and this one long rant that he gave about COBOL programming......LMAO :v

Catherine Turley
Catherine Turley

i abhor religion and those who poison the minds of vulnerable people. and i don't think there's anything wrong with writing an article after death. but, this is clearly too soon.

Debby Harper
Debby Harper

It's one thing to write a controversial blog about a man when he is alive, so he can defend himself....but another thing to write about him when he is no longer with us, shows me that the writer is just plain a coward!

Rainbow Doll
Rainbow Doll

He was an amazing man this whole thing is just in bad taste. I guess you didn't have anything else important to write about.

Maria A. Moffa
Maria A. Moffa

I've said it before & I'll say it again: he got a lot of my friends off weed, turned them into a bunch of zombies!

Tamara Danzara Wroclawsky
Tamara Danzara Wroclawsky

This is in such bad taste. Have some respect. He was a real person, with real family and friends who are mourning his loss.

fanofgold
fanofgold

Actually I now realize it was "the Atocha" -- a galleon full of gold robbers and killers of Native Americans doing the work of Rome...

whhackett3
whhackett3

@amiejoylie Gustavo's issue, to the extent it can be discerned here, seems to be with organized religion.  Jesus of Nazareth did NOT tell his disciple, Peter, to setup a bunch of rules and regulations or to erect buildings.  He also gave but 2 commandments, that His followers should love God with all of their being and their neighbors as themselves.  While pointing out the failings of another human may not be "nice" the only question that is of any consequence is whether the quotes attributed to Smith are, in fact, his.  Too often Western Churches fail because they  focus on the man rather than the message.  Witness the role of Aquinas in the Roman Church.  All of the silliness about infallibility is little more than an extension of Aquinas' love affair with all things Plato particularly his love of Logic yet even Plato was forced to admit that the universe is NOT logical in nature (i.e. in its essence).  The solution here is simple, if you can empirically show that Gustavo's attributions are erroneous then do so otherwise you really should keep your baseless comments to yourself.


BobLoblawsLawBlog
BobLoblawsLawBlog

Stupidity, blind ignorance or Stokholm Syndrome? It's hard to tell. From what I'm reading he sounds like the prototypical Evangelical Preacherman. Why call these dupes your flock if you're not willing to fleece them?

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