Happy New Year 2015! This is LVAE’s third most viewed article in 2014. Thousands of people are curious about Calvary Chapels’ falsehood.
You walk into the room on a Sunday morning. Everyone is worshipping God with hands raised. You greet smiling faces. The message is delivered from the Bible (word for word) in a powerful, authoritative manner by the senior pastor. Greetings are made. You drop some money in the “tithe” box. Great day at church. And you do this year after year after year. The pastor says his church only goes by “the Word”. And, that’s how it appears on the outside. You sense there is something wrong at the church, but you cannot pinpoint it and doubt yourself. Afterall, the Bible is taught word for word from the pulpit!
One church movement that claims to “simply teach the Word, simply” also follows a set of teachings they say are “foundational”, written by a man named Chuck Smith. Oddly, these doctrines are not brought up normally. Why? This set of “foundational” teachings that most Calvary Chapel church goers are not told about is:
The Calvary Chapel Distinctives by Chuck Smith (PDF)
So, what is this “Distinctives” document, exactly? You thought that you were attending a place whose allegiance, leadership models, practices and doctrines were solely based upon the Word of God and sound doctrine rightly divided (2 Tim. 2:15)?
Not so fast.
Calvary Chapels appear to be a very solid, Biblical church. In fact, the messages are usually word-for-word out of the Bible. Almost anyone would gather that from attending on Sundays. This is where it gets tricky. Discernment is needed. Get a little closer, stay a little longer, dig a little deeper – and you will see something quite different at play. A friend of Las Vegas Apologetics once said that discovering the issues at Calvary Chapel is like peeling back the layers of an onion. Keep peeling, dig deeper, and don’t settle for the outside.
Have you ever had a funny feeling in your gut when attending a Calvary Chapel but you just didn’t know why? Listen to it. It could be the Spirit of Truth speaking to you.
Know your church. Most importantly, know the Bible. You could protect yourself and your loved ones from spiritual abuse and/or practices and teachings contrary to orthodox Christianity.
In section two of the Distinctives, Smith discusses the Moses/Aaron form of leadership. He also twists the meaning of a “hireling” to mean someone who is not accountable to a Board of Directors:
“Becoming a hireling is a real danger when the church is run by a Presbyterian kind of a government, and the Board is ruling over the church. The pastor is hired by the Board and can be fired by the Board in the same fashion. With that kind of rule the pastor becomes a hireling.”
Smith here is putting the pastor above the Board of Directors (the “Board” is a worldly, business term and really is found nowhere in the Bible). Sort of like a pyramid. If the pastor cannot be hired or fired by the Board, doesn’t that make the pastor a church boss with no accountability whatsoever (as opposed to a “hireling”)? Jesus said a hireling is someone who does not care for the sheep, not someone who is accountable to a board or fellow brethren (John 10:13). In fact, every true pastor/shepherd will be accountable to others. A true, humble servant of God wants to be accountable to Godly people and will listen to correction (Proverbs 12:1; 2 Tim. 4:2). A pastor who cannot get fired is a pastor who can get away with anything in the name of God or being “the Lord’s anointed one”! Do you see any similarities with the Roman Catholic Church? This is a set up for abuse and false teaching unchecked in the church. Smith simply (and unbelievably) puts the pastor at the top of the pyramid in his Moses/Aaron form of leadership – on an island unto himself separate from any possibility of being fired by the Board.
On another note, in section eight, Smith speaks of a pre-tribulation, secret rapture.
The problem is that the pre-tribulation quiet, secret rapture is simply not Biblical because the Bible says it is a loud event (1 Thessalonians 4:16).
There are many friends of this ministry who have attended Calvary Chapel Green Valley in Henderson. At least one prior member of CCGV has heard the senior pastor speak of the missionary Corrie Ten Boom (on at least one occasion) and LVAE has known a few people who have witnessed the pastor speak on the pre-tribulation rapture of the Church (on multiple occasions). Please note that this ministry does lovingly pray for and care for the souls at Calvary Chapels, hoping for Godly repentance and hoping God’s best for each and every soul including all leadership who we pray for, of course!
Even though many Calvary Chapel senior pastors will speak about Corrie Ten Boom, this same woman has stated in a letter from 1974 that pastors who teach a pre-tribulation rapture are the “false teachers that Jesus was warning us to expect in the latter days”!
“There are some among us teaching there will be no tribulation, that the Christians will be able to escape all this. These are the false teachers that Jesus was warning us to expect in the latter days. Most of them have little knowledge of what is already going on across the world. I have been in countries where the saints are already suffering terrible persecution.” (Corrie Ten Boom)
You see, these teachings are foundational to the Calvary Chapel church you attend. What are you being taught?
May the Holy Spirit speak to you. God bless you.
(Las Vegas Apologetics does not necessarily agree with all content from the above ministry)