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Thread: Chuck Smith, Calvary Chapel and Calvinism (James White)

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    Soon to be Husband of Lannie Expositor's Avatar
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    Default Chuck Smith, Calvary Chapel and Calvinism (James White)

    I post this for discussion purposes only. I know that some here are members of Calvary Chapels. Please understand that my posting of this video is not to attack Chuck Smith or Calvary Chapel and certainly not you or your individual church. There seem to be a bunch of strawmen arguments put forth, and it doesn't seem they even understand Calvinism. Chuck Smith refers to Calvinism as "Christianity without Jesus"

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8whxBj2fQY&feature=sub

    I'll hold my own comments until others have had time to listen to the entire clip.

    Those of you who know Dr. White, you know he can be a bit sarcastic when things seem ridiculous. So...I hope no one is offended by his use of sarcasm at certain points.
    Last edited by Expositor; October 6th, 2009 at 06:16 PM.
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    Member ROB's Avatar
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    Man! I thought Calvary Chapel supported Calvinism.

    My wife has a friend in Mx who attends a Calvary Chapel and she attempted to commit suicide because she was having some marital problems.

    She was taught by her pastor that as a Christian if she committed suicide she would still go to Heaven because salvation was of God and had nothing to do with her good or bad actions. I thought that was a Calvinistic statement.

    Does Calvary Chapel teach OSAS from a different perspective or something?

    I understand that Calvinism teaches POS.

    Any feedback would be appreciated.
    Last edited by ROB; October 6th, 2009 at 08:13 PM.
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    Senior Member eve's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Expo View Post
    There seem to be a bunch of strawmen arguments put forth, and it doesn't seem they even understand Calvinism. Chuck Smith refers to Calvinism as "Christianity without Jesus"
    No worries, Mike. Lol! I am part of a Calvary Chapel and, yes, the arguments against Calvinism by people in my own fellowship as well as from Chuck Smith do appear to miss the point. I'm actually amazed by the (1) insistence on defining Calvinism by Hyper-Calvinist beliefs and (2) the notion that the "I" in TULIP is "spiritual rape" revealing a lack of understanding about that precious and humbling doctrine.

    There are a variety of people with many theological bents who are part of Calvary Chapels, so, no, no offense taken at all.

    I think you'll find that Reformed folk who stay at CCs do so because (1) Chuck Smith's notion of Calvinism isn't discussed even 1% of the time, and (2) the preaching is expository so the DOG inadvertently gets preached anyway since in preaching CC ministers tend to cling to whatever the Word says. Everytime this happens at my church, I find another Reformed fam member to elbow and poke!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ROB View Post
    Man! I thought Calvary Chapel supported Calvinism.

    My wife has a friend in Mx who attends a Calvary Chapel and she attempted to commit suicide because she was having some marital problems.

    She was taught by her pastor that as a Christian if she committed suicide she would still go to Heaven because salvation was of God and had nothing to do with her good or bad actions. I thought that was a Calvinistic statement.

    Does Calvary Chapel teach OSAS from a different presepctive or something?

    I understand that Calvinism teaches POS.

    Any feedback would be appreciated.
    Yes. CC's are not reformed churches. Most strongly dissagree with the DoG. They do believe in OSAS, which is different from POTS...



    I heard this segment of the Dividing line the other day... I was hoping someone would put it on the web, too...
    Last edited by JARZJR; October 6th, 2009 at 06:58 PM.

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    Senior Member daveski's Avatar
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    Expo,

    I'm a former CC "member". In my experience, my former pastor at times seemed like he agreed with election, etc., but still gave altar calls and used language like "accepting Jesus in your heart." On the other hand he did preach OSAS with firm conviction.

    At the same time, the college and career pastor at that time of the same church was hard set against it and often ridiculed the D.O.G.'s, though he completely misunderstood the doctrine. He was very uncharitable in his stance.

    It seemed like they were under the Cal-Minian persuasion (except for the college and career pastor), but often read Spurgeon, Barnhouse, Sproul. etc.

    When I left CC I talked with the former college and career pastor (who had taken a sr. pastor position at another CC fellowship here in Austin that I was attending), and told him that I had to leave due to ministry reasons and doctrinal convictions. He tried to get me to stay there to hear his exposition of Romans, but it was no use. I already knew from what angle he was going to teach it.

    @ eve - There is a growing division in CC on many fronts, so many CC pastors don't find themselves walking the traditional CC line. There is some apostasy and some just gaining a better understanding of certain doctrines that either cost them their CC title or force them to leave the movement and find their niche, if you will.

    d.
    Last edited by daveski; October 6th, 2009 at 10:33 PM.

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    Soon to be Husband of Lannie Expositor's Avatar
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    Dave, something you said made me think of another point I like to make with folks.

    There's a difference between line upon line teaching from the Bible and expository preaching. If a man takes an angle on Romans other than what the Bible clearly teaches, he's not an expositor and he's not preaching expositionally.

    So, in my opinion, does CC preach expository? No, not if the Biblical doctrines of grace are not plainly taught from Scripture.
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    Senior Member daveski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Expo View Post
    Dave, something you said made me think of another point I like to make with folks.

    There's a difference between line upon line teaching from the Bible and expository preaching. If a man takes an angle on Romans other than what the Bible clearly teaches, he's not an expositor and he's not preaching expositionally.

    So, in my opinion, does CC preach expository? No, not if the Biblical doctrines of grace are not plainly taught from Scripture.
    Mike, I see your point. Perhaps I should have said "his perceived exposition" of Romans. We did get into a discussion one time about Ephesians 1:4-5 and it was clear to me he wasn't taking the Greek into account for the meaning of those verses in light of God's sovereign actions throughout the text.

    good point nonetheless.

    d.

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    I have an article I'm working on for this very topic:
    "Reformed in a Non-Reformed Church: Why ?"

    and I'll be discussing what folks are 'missing' when they do this (I say this as a person who stayed in a non-reformed church an additional year and attempted to 'reform it' myself....learned a few lessons quickly, and I'll be sharing).
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    Even the great Reformer Martin Luther left his church. However, it wasn't his original intention. He intended to reform the Catholic church, not leave altogether.

    Personally, I don't know if I'd want to belong to an organization that calls my beliefs about salvation "Christianity without Jesus" and refers to my use of Scripture as "almost cultish." Chuck Smith and the other guy spent their time ridiculing the position, but not actually dealing with the real Calvinistic viewpoint. How lazy for those who claim to be expositors.
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    Quote Originally Posted by eve View Post
    I think you'll find that Reformed folk who stay at CCs do so because (1) Chuck Smith's notion of Calvinism isn't discussed even 1% of the time, and (2) the preaching is expository so the DOG inadvertently gets preached anyway since in preaching CC ministers tend to cling to whatever the Word says. Everytime this happens at my church, I find another Reformed fam member to elbow and poke!
    I'm sorry but ones theology need not be discussed to be present. One does not need to see the foundation of a house to know that it is there. The same with theology. Smith's contempt for Calvinism need not be formally addressed because it is always present. The DoG are not getting preached. You are hearing the buzzwords but they mean two different things. When you hear a message from the pulpit and it "sounds" DoG but then there are altar calls or anything else which contradict the DoG you have not actually heard the DoG. You are applying DoG definitions for an Arminian sermon, I did this for 3 years.


    Quote Originally Posted by G.R.A.C.E. Preecha View Post
    I have an article I'm working on for this very topic:
    "Reformed in a Non-Reformed Church: Why ?"

    and I'll be discussing what folks are 'missing' when they do this (I say this as a person who stayed in a non-reformed church an additional year and attempted to 'reform it' myself....learned a few lessons quickly, and I'll be sharing).
    Been there, done that.
    I too thought I would be able to reform the non-denom (read Baptist) church I was in. God opened my eyes to the DoG in 2005 and I didn't leave that church for another 3 years. The last year I was angry all the time. I was angry at seminary, church, home...just a fellow. Thanks be to God that he got me out of there. I'm still attending a non-Reformed, and at times I think non-Christian seminary, but the fact that every Sunday I get to receive the Word preached and in sacrament has made all the difference.

    The thing is those "buzzwords" we hear at Arminian churches are not the same. They do not mean the same and all we are merely doing is hearing what we want in the message.

    Quote Originally Posted by Expo View Post
    Personally, I don't know if I'd want to belong to an organization that calls my beliefs about salvation "Christianity without Jesus" and refers to my use of Scripture as "almost cultish."
    I left. I would go with the pastor when he preached at other churches and the response by his colleagues was that I was following a racist theology. I was accused of being hateful and how Calvinists do nothing but talk about theology. I joined the church I'm at now and they go door-to-door just about every Saturday; they volunteer at a homeless shelter, they volunteer at the local jail... The previous church did NONE of these things yet pointed their fingers at "those Calvinists and their pride, and their faith without works"....

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