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Chuck Smith, Calvary Chapel & the end times fascination

by randy on June 23rd, 2010

This little known book written by Chuck Smith and published in 1978 reflects the end times obsession prevalent amongst modern evangelicals. The book predicts that a rapture will take place before 1981 whereby all Christians will disappear off the face of the earth. The book was taken off the shelves shortly after 1981 and was swept under the proverbial carpet. Attached are some quotes from the book.

Some dispensationalists view Jesus’ words whereby he stated, “Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place” as a reference to the generation that sees Israel restored in 1948. However, in the context of Luke 21 the disciples asked Jesus about the destruction of the temple (v. 7). Jesus tells them what to look for and assures them that it will take place in their generation (v. 32) as it did in 70AD.

According to the dispensationalist interpretation and usage of the date 1948, Smith calculates the end to be no later than 1981. If we allow him to move Israel’s restoration to a future date in Israel’s timeline (1967) and use the same math, the end should have been only 19 years later (2000). Both of these dates have passed without any signs of a rapture.

This one is particularly funny. Normally Smith provides proof texts when he makes statements like, “The bible says…” but here no footnote is given. Can someone fill me in where the Bible makes mention of the federation of European nations? Sounds like someone has confused their newspaper for their bible.

Obviously the day is coming pretty soon since barcodes and UPC scanners are becoming popular in….grocery stores??!!!

I’d like to know what farmers are interested in shaving off thousands of a second from their branding process. Today, laser beams are so popular that kids and professors alike use them for things like laser tag and pointing at things. I guess lasers are pretty cool, but I’m not quite sure where they fit into eschatology.

Sadly modern evangelicals are doing the same sort of speculation with newer technology such as RFIDs, Smartcards, etc.. Kim Riddlebarger provides a much more reasonable, historic and biblical interpretation in his short blog post, “666 and the Mark of the Beast.”

The back cover of Chuck Smiths book:

13 Comments
  1. WOW……..and I thought it was only the mormons who did this….this is absolutely horrible!…….I go to a Calvary Chapel and I must say….their theology and eschatology deeply worries me. This just confirms even further how dispensationalism has taken over the center of EVERYTHING Calvary Chapel does. In evangelism you have them forcing their eschatology on people so they make a “decision” for Christ, on every sermon there must always be references to the millenium, every sermon passages are taken completely out of context and said to be references to the millenium or the pre-trib rapture….thank you so much for posting this…do you have this book?

  2. Livingstone T permalink

    Well it is good to give your opinions but your judgment should not be blanket nor sound like settling score cards. For instance I may not agree with the dates Chuck gave for ends times, however the news testament writes like Paul and even Jesus Himself, end time was part of the message. At one time Paul tells the believers to live in such a way to reflect their expectation for the Return of Christ. Therefore it is perfectly OK to be fascinated with end times because the ultimate of our walk with the Lord Is to spend eternity with him.

    • randy permalink

      You do realize that date setting is strictly commanded against in scripture. Your logic would of worked well to defend those who constructed the golden calf. “I don’t agree with making idols but moses did talk about worship, therefore it is completely legit to talk about worship and it would really be too judgmental to put these worshipers to death.”

  3. taco permalink

    FYI just for your enjoyment I have found this corresponding link talking about this book.

    http://calvarychapel.pbworks.com/1981

  4. Allen Christensen permalink

    The Reformation Shortfall
    I would be interested in comments regarding the following quote–

    “A thousand years later, under the influences of Martin Luther and others, the Reformation brought an intensive return to the authority of the Scriptures which, in turn, resulted in the subsequent reform in soteriology (the study of salvation) with its emphasis on salvation by faith alone. Many were willingly burned at the stake for their commitment to a Biblical perspective. However, one of the unfortunate shortcomings of the Reformation was that it failed to also reexamine the eschatology of the Medieval Church in the light of Scripture. Thus, the allegorizing alchemy of Origen, institutionalized by Augustine, left a denial of the Millennium that still continues to pervade the doctrines of most Protestant denominations today.” –Chuck Missler

  5. randy permalink

    Allen-

    I find the quotation interesting on several accounts:

    1- Chuck Missler praises the soteriology of the reformers yet subscribes to the soteriology of the counter-reformation (Arminius -> Palagius -> Semi-Pelagian).

    2- Reformed theology actually says very little about end times. There are those who are reformed and hold to a historic pre-mil, amil, postmil, etc…

    3- Origen is red herring in the conversation and has very little to do with anything. However, Misslers comment that everyone else holds to an anti-literal (allegorical “alchemy”) is quite the accusation.

    3a- Missler and Calvary Chapel hold to a dispensational view of scripture that reads the OT scriptures concerning the second temple as a post-crucifixion temple number three AND ascribe these sacrifices spoken about in the second temple to a “God approved” post-Christ third millennial sacrifice. I’ve written about it here: http://www.modernpulpit.com/2010/03/29/the-millenial-reign-of-christ/ . There really is no literal interpretation of scripture that allows for this.

    3b- If dispensationalists takes everything literally, why then do they add an imaginary break in the middle of Daniel’s 70 sevens?

    3c- If dispensationalists take everything literally, why then in Matthew 24 when the disciples asked Jesus about the destruction of the temple do they interpret his answer “surely this generation will not pass…” to mean a future generation of the dispensationalists imagination? When indeed, that generation that Jesus was speaking to SAW the destruction of the temple just as he said?!

    Dispensationalists live in some sort of bubble where they seem to think they are the only ones who interpret scripture literally. If they would stop refuting straw-men and actually dialogue with real people, I’m confident they’d quickly realize their 19th century sectarian doctrine doesn’t really hold up to ANY sound exegesis.

    I don’t have much respect for Missler or any other leader in the Calvary Chapel movement… Hence the blog :)

    You might enjoy this article http://www.enjoyinggodministries.com/article/daniels-70-weeks/

  6. whatever permalink

    You should never take what another person says about the bible as truth without looking into it yourself and praying about it; doing so would be giving the glory to that person and not to god.

    As for this site in general, I have read the description at the bottom of this page and persist in asking what calling is being fulfilled, what work is being performed of the Lord. For it is written, speaking of the those who would preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, “but what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.” (Php 1:18). So I ask, is Christ absent from the Dispensationalists and the reformist, or even the modern evangelist?

    In regards to works, it is written “his work will be shown for what it is, because the day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work.” (1Co 3:13). I fully expect my work in replying to this blog post to be revealed as a pointless exercise, yielding no reword to myself in that time of judgment; because lets be honest, what impact will my comments actually have? I expect my works to be shown for what they are, just as i know that all the works of chuck smith, chuck missler, Darby, Scofield, Finney, Wesley and even the writer and readers of this blog post will be shown for what they are.

    Certainly there are many more productive things to do than arguing with other believers over right doctrine. For did Paul not say: “I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.” (1Co 1:10). What does it gain us to bicker amongst ourselves, or point out our own flaws. For are we not “…all one in Christ” (Gal 3:28)? Why not instead pursue that which is pleasing to the Lord and explore his living word, share his good news with those of this world, and praise him in fellowship with other believers!

    Finally, “Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a ‘fool’ so that he may become wise.” (1Co 3:18).

    Feel free to trash my comment, remove it, whatever. I have no intention of coming back, and as a result no intention of further defending my point.

    Again, one should bring all things to the lord.

    • randy permalink

      @Whatever-

      Ironic that you criticize me for criticizing and then insist that you won’t be back to hear a reply. That’s typical of folks with inconsistent theology. If there is dialogue, it’s one way. It’s not the motivation that I am calling into question, it’s the doctrine. Paul didn’t call into question the motivation of others but he did have a lot to say about false doctrine. But you only read the “love” chapters, right? How will we ever agree with one another if folks like you insist we continue to stick our head in the ground about false teaching? So the folks with bad theology are supposed to set the standards and everyone else just sits quietly until the rapture? That has done wonders for the “gospel” these last hundred years. I’m not quite convinced scripture commands us to allow false teachers to flourish un-addressed while we wait for the cavalry.

      If you had quote the scriptures you did properly and kept the context you would find that Paul was addressing believers in a local congregation. He wasn’t telling orthodox believers to agree with false teachers. In fact, he says of the Judizers of Galatians, “let them be accursed.” Regarding become a ‘fool’ so that we may become wise. That’s in regard to human philosophy and tradition, not in regard to the Word of God. We forsake the human philosophy and wisdom of this age for the wisdom of God contained in the Word, then we become fools in the eyes of the men of this world and wise in the eyes of God. Not the other way around as you seem to insist. If you insist on being ignorant regarding the wisdom of God (scripture) then you will be a fool in the eyes of God.

  7. Kent permalink

    Chuck Smith doesn’t really set a date as he hedges his bet by statements that he could be wrong but he came close in both his book End Times and also in a book called Future Survival, which has copyright of 1978 and an updated copyright of 1980.

    In one of those books (I have both books but they aren’t in front of me at the moment) Smith says that scientists were saying that an especially close pass of Halley’s Comet that was going to occur in 1986 could cause debris from its tail to hit the earth that would damage the Ozone layer and cause people to have ultraviolet radiation damage that Smith said was predicted in the Bible.

    Well the comet’s passing was actually further away than usual as it was not widely seen by the general public because it wasn’t as close to the earth as in previous visits so it wasn’t very bright.

    Add on to the fact that its tail didn’t even pass through the earth’s atmosphere, as it had in 1910, which proved in that year to be harmless.

    From Future Survival by Chuck Smith:

    “from my understanding of biblical prophecies, I am convinced that the Lord will come for His Church before the end of 1981. I could be wrong, but it’s a deep conviction in my heart and all my plans are predicated upon that belief.”

    Yes, Smith did come very close to setting a date for Christ’s return, which he frowns upon when others have set dates, but I just don’t pay much attention to some of what he says about the end of the age because of this.

  8. Thanks for your posts. I enjoy reading them and am encouraged to have a strong grasp on reformed theology.

    I’ve been in the Calvary Chapel system as well and there’s something fishy when the pastor on a Sunday morning says, “Forgive me if I butcher these names…” First of all, as a pastor, one should do his homework and get the pronunciations right. Second, even if you can’t, don’t apologize. It makes it sound like you just put your sermon together last minute.

  9. Arguing over variations in doctrine is one thing — should I be dabbed, douched, or dunked in water for water baptism — and trying to keep false doctrines or “relative” revelations out of our lives is another. Cults pop up all the time because people find doctrines that “appeal” to them. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4) and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” (New American Standard Bible) This is also a reason why the Catholic church got so messed up and had to have a Reformation to try and correct their fallacies. 2 Timothy 3 has some good points too. It refers mostly to malicious insertions of false doctrines but is still true. 2 Timothy 3:6-7 “For among them are those who enter into households, and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, 7) always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (NASB)

  10. Rayla permalink

    Randy-you do make a lot of sense on this issue and I appreciate your comments.
    All I can say about CC and their obsession with the end times is that the constant reference to it and how bad things are going just depressed the heck out of me. I mean why start anything when you know that any minute..poof! You’ll be gone! And to then, all your unsaved friends and family whom you love dearly get to stay and be tortured by the anti-Christ. Oh but wait, while that’s happening, you and all your evangelical pals (there won’t be any Catholics, or Orthodox up there anyone) are gonna have a great big party. A 7 year party-kinda like a religious Disneyworld. And then when the 7 years is up, you get to come back with Jesus to Armageddon where the blood is flowing like a river. Yep–that sure sounds like fun to me.
    Like hell it does.
    Now that I am out of CC I feel like a huge weight has been off my shoulders. I really didn’t know how depressed I was until I left and I still haven’t gotten over it yet. But I will.

  11. I recently left a Calvary chapel in mercer county NJ,Robbinsvile NJ to be specific, because after asking scriptural questions of 3 of the main pastors,1 of them being from the Ewing NJ campus and 2 layman, I found out they were preaching the false doctrine of Humanism. which is a non belief in the spiritual and caters to human needs and acceptance,instead of what God requires. this includes tolerance of sin instead of bringing correction to sin as God requires. I am sad to say that I have Good friends that still go there and who will not speak to me because one of the pastors has caused a division between us, so he can continue to speak his unholy lies undetected. PLEASE PRAY FOR MY FRIENDS THAT GOD WILL OPEN THEIR EYES AND THEY WILL RUN FROM CALVARY CHAPEL and towards Gods truth.

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