Chuck Smith, Legendary Founder of Calvary Chapel, Passes Away From Cancer

chucksmith.jpg
Earlier today, Chuck Smith passed away at 86 after a long battle with cancer. He was 86 was 86'ed.

His spot in the history of American Christianity as one of its titans is secure. It was Smith who founded the Jesus People movement with his Calvary Chapel, who revolutionized evangelism with Calvary Chapel's decentralized approach, ensuring that the movement would never fall to the traps of nepotism, bureaucracy, or apathy that has plagued denominational churches in the United States for decades. His embrace of Christian rock essentially founded the movement, as did his sponsorship of mega-events like Harvest Crusade, started by his disciple, Greg Laurie. And the Calvary Chapel empire, from the radio stations to the podcasts to the everything, will stand for decades.

On the other hand, Smith was an ass of a man.


The whole reason Calvary Chapel came into existence, of course, was due to the original Jesus Freak: Lonnie Frisbee, the man who saved Smith from a lifetime of obscurity. Frisbee's homosexuality would lead Smith to exile him from Calvary Chapel and effectively erase him from church histories for decades. His church's antagonizing of OC's LGBT community was infamous, and came to a hilarious climax when hundreds of his congregants blasted SanTana Unified for extending same-sex benefits to its workers back in 2004. More than a few child abusers went through the Calvary Chapel ranks, leading to allegations of coverups that are winding their way through the court system, and verified hush-hush settlements. And Smith called his church's mothership Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa even though the entirety of its operations are in SanTana. LAME...

Kind words, of course, are coming from across Christianity, so Smith's legacy is secure. His afterlife? Only God knows...

Email: garellano@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @gustavoarellano.

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417 comments
journeysnonnie
journeysnonnie

The life of Lonnie Frisbee was the most touching and powerful story I have read in a very long time. God chooses whom He chooses. It is not the choice of any mortal man. If you do it too the least of these you have done it unto me.  We are failing the biggest test of them all by turning our backs on sinners. After all we are ALL just that sinners. I thank God that Jesus died for the likes of me. Love and forgiveness is the foundation of the works of our saviour.  RIP Mr. Smith I'm sure you are forgiven.

cdefxx
cdefxx

Glad he's dead. Bet he doesn't get his effing hoped for reward, though.

Lola
Lola

We are ALL Sinners in need of a Savior,Jesus, love covers a multitude of sins, the mercy you give is the mercy you are going to get.............. so Peace and Mercy Out!!!!!

pamon
pamon

Awesome article and what we love OC Weekly for. Proving that the church is corrupt, covered up for child peddlers, how they ruled against homosexuality, and ripped off the masses. Smith was just the ringleader of the massive business that is religion and churches. He just did it well. Heaven or hell, who knows. Those who are devoted Sunday church goers will only say good things about him, but the truth comes out for those who know the church. 

In words of Jimmy Buffett: religion is in the hands of some crazy ass people. Great article and the afterlife will only rule his final fate

ResIpsaLoquitur
ResIpsaLoquitur

Ecclesiastes 3:17 ESV     

I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every work.

Therefore; God will judge Chuck for his persecution of God's children.

spectrumlarry
spectrumlarry

Chuck was as human as Gustavo still is and both have shortcomings. Mr. Smith would become visably frightened in front of gay men and that was part of his human fraility. Maybe something happend to him during his upbringing who knows and who cares. He loved Lonnie like a real son  but he was human and afraid of the same sex male attractions and would become filled with fear and act accordingly.He was a wonderful teacher dispite his human shortcomings. 

He would be so bummed at this thread.

mexicanIQavgis30
mexicanIQavgis30

gustavo is just jealous bc when he dies only his mommy will mourn his passing... 

jje_mccory
jje_mccory

@GustavoArellano @ocweekly @latimes CEO Eddy Hartenstein

Yes, I would say "OC Weekly, fire Mr. Arellano" but because nobody's perfect, not even Christians, who am I to say. God knows. That is the reason why he sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross so whoever believes in Jesus, can have eternal life. I hope that you choose wisely and this ultimately will be between you and God.           

2 Peter 3:9 ESV         

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Romans 3:20-24 ESV

For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

Romans 6:16 ESV         

Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?

Ecclesiastes 3:17 ESV     

I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every work.

artgardner
artgardner

So much I want to say here but instead of a long, rambling screed, this quote is far more fitting: 

"Hatred never ceases by hatred, but by love alone is healed. This is an ancient and eternal law."

notanocweekling
notanocweekling

To speak more specifically to the significant fact that Gustavo hangs on about the name of Calvary Chapel being Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa instead of Calvary Chapel SanTana (or whatever he figures it should be called): the original Calvary Chapel was located in Costa Mesa-- which existed before Pastor Chuck became its Pastor. When its congregation began to grow beyond the capacity of that building they looked for a new location that (1) would accommodate their current members, (2) allow the Church to grow, and (3) they could afford to purchase. They found that in the property they now occupy. Gustavo's lame hangups aside, Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa existed before its current location, and it existed in Costa Mesa. It moved back in the 1960's.

Laura Brown
Laura Brown

definitely poor taste and bad timing of this article

ResIpsaLoquitur
ResIpsaLoquitur

Question to all disciples of Chuck; Is Lonnie Frisbee greeting Chuck at the Gates of heaven or the Gates of Hell?

It's fact what Chuck did to Lonnie in a Pontius Pilate fashion.   

ResIpsaLoquitur
ResIpsaLoquitur

Question to all disciples of Chuck; Is Lonnie Frisbee greeting Chuck at the Gates of heaven or the Gates of Hell?

It's fact what Chuck did to Lonnie in a Pontius Pilate fashion.   

important_3
important_3

The article you (Gustavo Arellano) wrote about a women at your church selling her jewelry in front of the church as being of poor taste. Stating that  your live from paycheck to paycheck as if that makes a difference; that your making an honest living and she's not?  Gustavo, where is your heart brother.  Maybe her only income is selling jewelry to the attendees of your church.  In order for her to sell her wares at the church-front, she needs permission from one of the Catholic Brothers.... And/or it is quite possible that she belongs to the Catholic Daughters raising money for the poor and needy!   I hope you ask her if she was hungry and how could you help her? Matthew 7:1  Judge not or you too will be Judge.  Come on Gustavo, as a church going person, you and I were taught to have the love of Jesus.  You know that someday you and I will be at the Bema seat of Christ to be judged, but to reward us for the service we did on behalf of Our Lord in sharing His Love to others for His Glory.  We have this time on earth to Glorify HIM; that is our purpose in life.  Jesus said to Love one Another , and that my brother is what we should strive to do.  God's Mercy and Grace is for All. 

I wish you and yours to have a God Blessed week filled with HIS loving care.

Earnest Jake Lieurance
Earnest Jake Lieurance

Arturo, the structure or building is not the church the church is the congregation of people that meet on a regular basis to worship God and hear the Bible taught. I still say you never truely knew Calvary Chapel, or Pastor Chuck very well.

Arturo Angel Cabrera
Arturo Angel Cabrera

Actually Earnest Jake Lieurance I have been to Calvary Chapel and it is one of the most beautiful structures I have ever witnessed. What happens behind those doors, Pastor Chuck and Calvary Chapel treated people and themselves very differently. They may have changed lives, but are no different than politicians and/or criminals: power corrupts. "Though Smith’s Calvary 'distinctives' exalt the authority of individual pastors, Calvary churches are never completely exempt from meddling by Smith or other powerful figures in the movement. One of those figures is Skip Heitzig, the founding pastor of Calvary Albuquerque, and perhaps the most prominent public face of the evangelical community’s mourning of Greg Griego, who also served as a pastor there." http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/01/26/calvary-chapel-s-tangled-web.html

Earnest Jake Lieurance
Earnest Jake Lieurance

Take heart Nichole our beloved Pastor Chuck is no longer suffering. He has left the mortal shell, entered the gates of heaven to the sounds of heralds trumpets and the angels choir, been greeted and welcomed by the Apostles and sits face to face with Jesus in fellowship.

Earnest Jake Lieurance
Earnest Jake Lieurance

Jason I am sorry to hear that there has been such strife in your life and that of your loved ones that you would blame on Calvary Chapel, I will keep you in my prayers.

Earnest Jake Lieurance
Earnest Jake Lieurance

Arturo Angel Cabrera you obviously never met Pastor Chuck or been to Calvary Chapel. If you had you would reallize just how false and in poor taste Arellano's piece is.

Earnest Jake Lieurance
Earnest Jake Lieurance

Thank you Tim Strifler there are so many people writing comments that are better journalism then what I expect Gustavo Arellano has ever written.

Earnest Jake Lieurance
Earnest Jake Lieurance

Paul David, I ask you to not bring yourself down to their level of evil. Pastor Chuck would not be pleased or flattered by this type of vocabulary.

notanocweekling
notanocweekling

@pamon I imagine that those who love OC Weekly do love this "great article." (Do you know what the word "great" means?) Those that can read well and write well don't see your point and expect the same from those that attempt to write as a profession. I do have a question: in what way does this blog post prove anything, apart from Gustavo's poor writing skills and how willing a certain segment of the population is to be disgraceful, crazy, and act like asses in a public forum?

jje_mccory
jje_mccory

Again between you and God. People's past doesn't exist in the future if it's not present. Everyone makes mistakes and if you're Gay, that is between the homosexual and God. We all know between right and wrong and have a choice. I have a Gay cousin that I love dearly. She knows God and has admitted that it is wrong but that's her personal choice. If it was so right why do some hide? Because someone might say or think something? No, it is the conscious. Because we all know that when we know that we know (truth), there is no reason to hide anything. We make a choice to let desires or logic take over. Nobody is born this way and it is not natural. If it were so, they would be able to reproduce naturally and/or have the opposite sex's body, again, naturally. It's all psychological.

notanocweekling
notanocweekling

@ResIpsaLoquitur Persecution of God's children? Please provide specific examples of this. No, remember I used the word specific. If you don't know that word, Google it.

jje_mccory
jje_mccory

Yes and God will also judge you and judge me. Nobody's perfect here on earth. God still uses the imperfect man. God will judge all who believe and who don't believe ,whether you're a drunkard, homosexual, heterosexual, liar, etc. This life is full of imperfect people and as long as we try to go the right direction with God's help, that's all that matters. We are supposed to love everyone, to show God's love and not love the sin but pray for those that struggle. God obviously chose Pastor Chuck Smith for a reason. And if people don't understand, it's up to God to give you that wisdom and He doesn't have to. Remember all the people he used were not perfect. They had an honest heart to follow him and do his will. People that let God take control of their life are the ones that truly change and not make something right that is wrong(sin). He is upfront. You have to take all of God not half of Him.

notanocweekling
notanocweekling

@spectrumlarry I have never got any vibe from Pastor Chuck that he was frightened by homosexuals or that "something happened to him during his upbringing." (You really shouldn't be so irresponsible in your choice of words.) Pastor Chuck was not a Progressive Christian--he taught what the Bible teaches on Homosexuality. It is clear that is not popular, but he was not concerned with what is popular, like some Pastors. He taught the Word of God. For this he is a target by those who demand him (and others) to abandon their faith because they don't like it. I thank God he never did. With that said, he never taught people to hate anyone including homosexuals--and by hate I mean hate, not disagree or not accept a particular lifestyle. He taught to hate sin, not sinners. Besides, all sin is against God, not man. That is not hate, and that is not persecution. People really need to learn the meaning of these words, because there are people (including Homosexuals) around the world who really experience hate and really experience persecution. Pastor Chuck Smith never did or condoned any of that. I do agree with you, however, he was a wonderful teacher and indeed he had shortcomings, which he spoke of many times.

whhackett3
whhackett3

@jje_mccory It is beyond telling that you quote exclusively from books other than the 4 Gospels.  Yet another Paulist taken down the path to Hell by the greatest liar in human history.  

notanocweekling
notanocweekling

@wlkernan It was on Church St & Walnut St in Costa Mesa. The building is still there and it is the Costa Mesa Community of Christ. If you click on the link below, it should take you to a Google Map of it. Just look at the little building! Clearly it is not big enough to fit the current congregation of Calvary Chapel, so it is clear why they moved 5 miles away to their current location.


https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Church+St+and+Walnut&ll=33.644099,-117.914253&spn=0.009191,0.018797&sll=33.644102,-117.914257&layer=c&cbp=13,100.19,,0,1.2&cbll=33.644187,-117.914173&hnear=Walnut+St+%26+Church+St,+Costa+Mesa,+Orange,+California+92627&t=m&z=17&panoid=483SKXHKuLq6Z6pRokoQcg

notanocweekling
notanocweekling

@ResIpsaLoquitur I doubt that had Chuck and Lonnie really parted ways like Jesus and Pontius Pilate did that Chuck Smith would have spoke at Lonnie's funeral. I understand that people like you are stuck on conflict theory and cannot get out of it, so there must be an oppressor and an oppressed--that is your issue, which you need help with. As for Heaven or Hell, that depends on their relationship with God. No person can answer that even for Pastor Chuck--just what they believe about them. If I had to guess, I would suspect at the gates of Heaven. NO ONE at Calvary things badly of Lonnie. He struggled with several issues (his words), and everyone knows it. People who like to create the conflict are likely doing so to sell books or videos.

notanocweekling
notanocweekling

@ResIpsaLoquitur I doubt that had Chuck and Lonnie really parted ways like Jesus and Pontius Pilate did that Chuck Smith would have spoke at Lonnie's funeral. I understand that people like you are stuck on conflict theory and cannot get out of it, so there must be an oppressor and an oppressed--that is your issue, which you need help with. As for Heaven or Hell, that depends on their relationship with God. No person can answer that even for Pastor Chuck--just what they believe about them. If I had to guess, I would suspect at the gates of Heaven. NO ONE at Calvary things badly of Lonnie. He struggled with several issues (his words), and everyone knows it. People who like to create the conflict are likely doing so to sell books or videos

cdefxx
cdefxx

@important_3 Oh, crap! Gustavo goes to church?  Damn, I lost a lot of respect for him, unless, of course, he's going as an investigative journalist to expose the suckers.

notanocweekling
notanocweekling

@important_3 He has no heart. There is no compassion in the world of people like Gustavo. They hate, and that is all.

ResIpsaLoquitur
ResIpsaLoquitur

@wlkernan @ResIpsaLoquitur  @wlkernan @ResIpsaLoquitur I understand your reply is one steeped in all things Calvary, but that fact remains that Chuck persecuted Lonnie because of his homosexuality.

Of course no one at Calvary thinks badly of Lonnie, why would they.  Does anyone at Calvary think badly of Chuck for what he did to Lonnie?

I'm just as religious as you Wlkernan; conflict theory is the best you have in retort to skirting the question?

ResIpsaLoquitur
ResIpsaLoquitur

@wlkernan @ResIpsaLoquitur I understand your reply is one steeped in all things Calvary, but that fact remains that Chuck persecuted Lonnie because of his homosexuality.

Of course no one at Calvary thinks badly of Lonnie, why would they.  Does anyone at Calvary think badly of Chuck for what he did to Lonnie?

I'm just as religious as you Wlkernan; conflict theory is the best you have in retort to skirting the question?

notanocweekling
notanocweekling

@ResIpsaLoquitur @wlkernan I have not skirted the question. I Replied. I think many of you skit the issue. Please provide clear proof that Chuck Smith "persecuted" (your word) Lonnie. I want actual proof, not just accusations or claims.

notanocweekling
notanocweekling

@ResIpsaLoquitur @wlkernan I have not skirted the question. I Replied. I think many of you skit the issue. Please provide clear proof that Chuck Smith "persecuted" (your word) Lonnie. I want actual proof, not just accusations or claims.

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