Chuck Smith from Calvary Chapel entertains Rick Warren

This might be slightly old news, but I am bringing it up again because it seems that Chuck Smith (Calvary Chapel) is an ‘untouchable’.  Everything he does wrong, that goes against the Bible and being a Christian, when it is exposed, no matter what he does gets swept under the carpet. Well that time has come to an end.

In 2006, Chuck Smith denounced the teachings of Rick Warren:

“The teachings and positions of Rick Warren have come into conflict with us at Calvary Chapel. Pastor Chuck has directed us to discontinue this product [Purpose Driven Life] effective immediately.”  —

In 2009 Chuck Smith introduced Rick Warren as my good friend who pastors Saddleback Church at a Calvary Chapel’s 20-year anniversary called “Harvest Crusade” (16 Aug 09).   Chuck Smith asked Rick Warren to lead in prayer.

See from 3:16 minutes onward:

Watch the full video here:

Chuck Smith’s response to a caller regarding sharing a platform with Rick Warren the next day on the Pastor’s Perspective radio show: [ click on Podcasts, then 17 Aug 2009]

Caller’s (John’s) Question: Should pastors share a platform at an evangelical event with someone who typifies the Emergent Church, a minister?

Smith: [chuckle] That’s difficult, John, because, you know, you might say in a sense that last night I was on the platform with a minister that they say that he is a part of the Emergent Church, that he has, you know, sort of a different emphasis in his ministry, more of a social emphasis on what the church should be doing socially for people rather than the spiritual emphasis, and so I was on the platform with him but, you know, I think that it would be divisive. Now the man, I’m convinced, loves the Lord, has a large church, and is, you know, feels that he is called of God to really deal with the social problems of our world today. Now it could be that God IS calling him to that, but that isn’t why God has called ME to do and so, but I can still look at him as a brother in Christ – he believes that Jesus died for our sins and he just has a different emphsis as far as what he feels should be the priority of the church today..
We were both invited to be there but we were on the platform together, sat next to each other, and he is a brother in Christ, and so I didn’t really have any real problem with sharing, being on the same program together with him.  [Emphasis added]

Firstly, Rick Warren deals with people on a spiritual basis. When ever you speak about the gospel you ARE dealing with people on a spiritual basis. Rick Warren as far as I am concerned has managed to single handedly destroy the church with his Purpose Driven Drivel. But Chuck Smith can’t see that.  He saw it in 2006 (apparently) and then changed his mind in 2009.  But is it really that odd that Chuck Smith would hang with an Emergent such as Rick Warren?  Well not really, because we are in the end times, and the great apostasy.

Stay tuned for more on Chuck Smith

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Deborah (Discerning the World)

Deborah Ellish is the author of the above article. Discerning the World is an internet Christian Ministry based in Johannesburg South Africa. Tom Lessing and Deborah Ellish both own Discerning the World. For more information see the About this Website page below the comments section.

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Christian man

Please keep in mind that at the official Calvary chapel Costa Mesa bookstore, they sold the Purpose Driven Life for quite awhile until a few people began to complain, and only then did they pull it.

As I stated in the other article on this topic. Calvary chapel Costa Mesa (the blueprint for the other Calvary chapels) was built upon doctrinal compromise from the very beginning. So it is wrong how some do regard Chuck Smith as invincible somehow. He is just like everyone else in that he is subject to Acts 17:11.


Hi All,
Just another example of the continous shape -shifting of the “leaders”. I wonder if there are many out there that have any firm convictions about anything, lol! Lord help us all…

Burning Lamp

Christian man, did you know that they fired the man who had tried to keep the bookstore clean – that being Paul Smith, Chuck’s brother? Yet they tolerate error after error and let the leaven grow throughout the association.

Christian man

Tolerating error is the only way to “cast a wider net”, as was the phrase I heard while being there.

Mike Hernandez

It seems these days Calvary is going more and more emergent. It is time for people to stay away. This man, Chuck Smith, is dangerous.

peter macharia

gibb allen is righteous and talented and there is no question about that.may main concern was him to brief me all about the freemasons and their signs


I would just caution anyone who calls themself a Christian to be careful not to throw away the baby with the bathwater and make carte blanche statements about Calvary Chapel. Do you believe that just because one person in an entire church organization has an errant view on something that EVERYONE is now a reprobate? That seems to be a prevailing mood in the witch hunt. MY pastor doesn’t tolerate sin. He preaches separation. He preaches repentance. He preaches Christ crucified and is one of the most biblically sound people I know and yet he is a Calvary Chapel pastor. Just because someone is in a Calvary Chapel doesn’t mean they are suddenly totally lacking in discernment and headed to Hell as some would like to articulate. Yes, there are issues with some PEOPLE’S doctrinal beliefs in Calvary Chapel. Show me ANY Christian church on the planet that doesn’t have something that someone else is going to disagree with and swear on their mother’s grave that if someone believes differently than they do that the other party is surely deceived by Satan and bound for Hell. That wreaks of pride and elitism the likes of which I’ve only seen in the world system. We differ on various things doctrinally with other believers and yet we love Jesus Christ and serve Him alone. The cardinal doctrines of the church can NEVER be compromised but other things are peripheral and not related at all to our salvation. We will grow in the Lord, HE will lead us and His Spirit will teach us. How can we share the love of Christ with the world when we spend all of our time pointing fingers at others that differ with us on peripheral issues? Is it any wonder that unbelievers don’t want anything to do with the church? Read 1 John and you’ll notice that in that short book, the word “LOVE” is used some 29 timse. The only other book that uses the word more is the gospel of John (and it’s four times longer too). Perhaps there is a message there?????


And as for Pastor Chuck sharing the stage with Rick Warren, I about came unglued. Rick Warren’s theology is WRONG and Pastor Chuck had no business being on the stage with him. I was personally disgusted with that decision. Does that mean we shun Chuck and cast him aside as a reprobate? Well, answer this first? Have you ever made a bad decision where it concerns your walk with the Lord? Let him who is without sin cast the first stone. Gosh, I wonder who said that. My point? My point is that Pastor Chuck made a TERRIBLE ERROR in judgment in my opinion and Rick Warren doesn’t belong anywhere near an evangelical church. He has compromised and capitulated with heresy and as far as I’m concerned is a heretic himself. It doesn’t take long to figure that out when reading his purpose-driven crap. And for the record, the Calvary Chapel that I attend does NOT tolerate, accommodate, or cooperate with heretical teachings and practices that would contaminate the body of Christ. We don’t fit into the mold of the “New Evangelicalism”. Again, don’t throw away the baby with the bathwater. EVERY church could be found wanting in some regard but be careful what you say about the church because it is and always will be the BRIDE OF CHRIST with all of it’s idiosyncrocies and such. Jesus died for His church and so to be bad-mouthing everything and everyone you disagree with is not a good idea. In fact, it’s sin. Use discernment and remember that the ENEMY is the enemy.


k Mike. Hold your breath and watch the fruit drop…
God WILL reveal the true colors.


Mike, we all certainly make mistakes at times but there is a difference when a leader who comes in the name of Christ and has great exposure and influence aligns himself with an individual or body that is blatantly suspect and dodgy…in leadership you have corporate or collective responsibily not only to those around you but to the larger public or greater community at large. To be chosen or elected as a leader with true Christian integrity carries this very awesome responsibility and therefore astute caution is needed so that the power of the true gospel is not lost and made non-effective.Exercising judgment in the selection of close friends and associates is an important part of Christian living. This form of judging is proper and right. Yet, it should not be done with an attitude of self-righteousness. Christians must not allow themselves to be tainted by the world. Paul wrote: “Make no mistake about this: bad company is the ruin of good character” (1 Cor. 15:33

This is certainly not throwing stones. Discernment is a huge responsibility as it affects the eternal destiny of souls and the modern church has fallen so far down today that we seldom hear the “fire and brimstone preaching” that told it as it is, today. Preachers preach a non-offending gospel today which is a lie and false. That is why disassociation with infected individuals or bodies is an absolute imperative.


In our small coastal town the Dutch Reform Church has more and more `emergent` traits. Apart from that it seems the `contemplative` approach is finding inroads. The `susters` are very excited to present the `sewe stasies van Christus se lyding (lydingsweek? -Lent?) All the chairs will be removed and seven wooden cubicles erected on the floor. Then all the churches in the area are invited to come and walk them `contemplatively` The Catholic Church is again invited! They gladly participated in a number of `unity` sermons already presented from his Dutch Reform Church. Does anyone of you know of another `seven stations` planned for `lent` in other Dutch Reformed Churches?

Burning Lamp

Mike, I hear you brother. Yes, there is a remnant of CCs that are absolutely like you describe and we should thank the Lord for them.

However, Pastor Chuck has made a series of missteps. Michael has so well described the accountability of leadership.

Pastor Chuck has been on TBN a number of times, capitulating to the Crouch’s and praising their network. He has not used his bully pulpit to reign in rougue CC pastors who have brought damnable heresies of emergent garbage to their flocks. These are his “sons” and he is their “father” whom they respect. He has set a bad example by sending a mixed message.

Also regarding the Harvest/Warren incident, the next day on the radio he had the opportunity to set the record straight but failed to do so, just as he failed to publicly address his error in advising abortion to the woman caller.

His brother, Paul came to serve and tried to keep the distribution center biblically sound. But he was summarily fired with the blessing of Pastor Chuck.

There is much more that could be said. No one is denying that Pastor Chuck is a humble, compassionate, caring man who loves the Lord. But he is not above deception and it stands to reason that he and the CC Fellowship would be a prime target of Satan.


Good points made on both sides of the issue, but at the end of the day, michael has the greater point. That is because God says in his Word what leaders MUST be in their qualifications. A leader is not perfect of course, but ought to be humble to correct issues immediately. A leader is not working towards the qualification(though of course growing spiritually like the rest of us) but rather he ought to have attained a certain level of spiritual maturity before coming into leadership to begin with! If a leader can’t walk it out, he does not belong in leadership plain and simple.Sit in the pew and be a sheep, lol!

Christian man

Anyone remember Chuck Smith on stage with Kathryn Kulhman?

Lest you think this problem with Chuck Smith is only recent.

Burning Lamp

Regarding CS with KK – he turned away from that false teaching and left the 4 Square Church. I don’t think we can hold this old stuff against him – haven’t we ALL done something in our past that we have since abandoned? I was caught up in the charismatic movement many eons ago and would hate to have that come back to haunt me.

There is plenty in the current day that is of concern. Just this past weekend CCCM hosted the David Barton Video Conference and two CC pastors who USED to be solid were speakers along with Larry Stockstill who is so far removed from CC teaching it is unbelievable that they would share a platform with him.

Roger Oakland exposed this over the weekend and you can read more at his site. Truly a sad day. But we must remember there is a remnant within the CC fellowship. Who knows what they must be thinking – things just seem to get worse all the time.

Christian man

Actually though my point was that he has had a pattern of falling off the track doctrinally. From KK to Rick Warren to the current example you cited. Those are just a few examples.

In His Grip

Burning Lamp,
You seem (to me at least) to hold a very balanced view on the issues that are discussed on this blog. Your comments always resonate with me. Does that sound New Agey? I hope not cause I can’t stand that stuff! Anyway,there are a few things I’d like to ask you. You mentioned something somewhere about being sure to use the right tracts and I can’t find that post now. Also, because I agree with everything you say, I’d like to know your opinions about a few teachers whose names don’t ever come up on this blog (that I’ve seen). Deborah has my address. It would be great if you could mail me there. No pressure though. I hope you’re well.

Burning Lamp

CM, your point is well taken. CS seems to be a very kind and compassionate man who eschews confrontation. But only God knows his heart and is his judge. A lot of good has come out of the movement, but there seems to be a disconnect when it comes to discernment and calling out error.

Question: Have you been following Roger Oakland and his most recent exposure of error at Costa Mesa? If not, I would advise it – this dear man has the heart of a David and the courage of a Daniel and needs support and prayer. I think you would especially appreciate his latest commentary even though you are no longer involved with CCs. We are all the Body of Christ and Roger has suffered great attacks from those he used to call friends. He stands alone and needs prayer. He doesn’t seek to do anyone harm, just sound the alarm and speak the truth in love. His website is

Burning Lamp

IHG, thank you for your kind words. I will be in touch with you soon.

Christian man

Well I’ve seen a lot of destruction from the movement too, lots of wounded sheep that needed years of recovery.

Burning Lamp

Christian man, did you check out the site I recommended?

I will have to say that there are certainly legitimate criticisms and concerns about the CC movement. HOWEVER, there are some nutcases out there and some malcontents who just like to point fingers and blame when the problem is themselves. Also, there are false accusers.

There are many good, solid, servant pastors in CCs. They are trying to keep their flocks fed and tended.

I know many people who have been blessed through the CC movement. And you can be sure that Satan is going to attack, undermine and delude. There are many other “movements” that have done greater harm. Let’s expose what is wrong, but let’s be fair.

In His Grip

You’re welcome. “Chat” soon.

Christian man

Burning Lamp, we’re going in circles, and we obviously don’t agree. So I will conclude with saying that I’ve seen enough to know that it is a toxic environment due to some of their church government beliefs. If you disagree, that is your choice. But my position stands for me. I’ll conclude with that.

Burning Lamp

Christian man, I have been DEEPLY wounded by a Calvary Chapel – however, I did not throw the baby out with the bath.

I don’t see many acceptable alternatives out there. Every denomination without exception has been in some way invaded by wolves and leaven entertained unchecked. This includes the most fundamental of churches. Believe me, I have done my research. Each body has to be judged on their own merit.

Yes, the Moses model can result in pastoral abuse, but at the same time the alternative, congregational rule has its downside and has resulted in silly church splits and the pastor being voted out because he stood for truth and people were offended.
Some fundies are legalistic and that is not good.

So there we go – yes, it is an endless circle/cycle in these last days and so we search for suitable food and fellowship. There are no easy answers. May the Lord grant you His peace and plant you in a good place where you can serve and grow in grace and knowledge of Him.


This is very interesting. I like your style of writing. Refreshing. And bold. Good stuff.


I think one must be quite careful about making blanket statements about Calvary Chapel or other churches for that matter. The Israelites sure did get some major consequences for complaining and discouraging Moses. While there is place for calling out false teachers, it seems to me that many people online can lean to having a critical spirit–not saying you do per se, but to be watchful of that. I see Christian sites blasting solid preachers about something and then when I go to verify what has been said, I discover they tool something out of context or added their own perception on it with a few doses of their own assumptions. I will say I attend a very good Calvary Chapel after spending years in an emergent church before God opened my eyes and led me out. Our Calvary is strictly expository, not legalistic, and definitely not emergent…I can smell those from miles away now. Yeah Chuck Smith is not perfect, but I worship Jesus not him, and hope people will test his words for themselves and unless he goes completely rogue–I give him some grace.

Burning Lamp

Maxcine, are yuo familiar with the ministry of Roger Oakland and Understnd the Times?

Although most likely you didn’t mean to compare Chuck Smith to Moses, it could be interpreted that way. I think you rather mean the general concept. I could see where some might think you mean the “touch not my anointed” false teaching.
Chuck Smith SHOULD be called out when he embraces false teachers such as Rick Warren, he SHOULD be called out when he tells a woman he doesn’t know that she should get an abortion, and when false teachers are brought in to a venue at Calvary Costa Mesa, etc.

Calvary Chapels have been criticized for their lack of accountability because of the form of church government that says that the pastor sits in the seat of Moses. If there is a good pastor, things are great. If the pastor falls into error, there is a problem because he is not accountable to anyone, including his elder board if he chooses not to listen to them.

You are apparently fairly new to a Calvary Chapel. Glad you are in a good one. But don’t ever let your guard down. No man is perfect and he has a big target on his back and Satan is relentless. The Bible says we are to test all things.

And your contention that solid teachers have been misquoted and wrongly accused does not hold water. I don’t know of any solid Bible teacher where this has been the case. If you can cite one I would appreciate it.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x