Breaking News: RIP Pastor Chuck


UPDATE: Michael Newnham at Phoenix Preacher has a nice list of links to articles reflecting on Pastor Chuck Smith’s death.

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While we’ve been discussing Pentecostal/Charismatic/Third Wave theology and its influence on politics this morning, I saw this breaking news from Christianity Today:

Chuck Smith, the evangelical pastor whose outreach to hippies in the 1960s helped transform worship styles in American Christianity and fueled the rise of the Calvary Chapel movement, died Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, after a battle with lung cancer. He was 86.

Though the Calvary Chapel church movement never had much of an impact on my life, related ministries such as Maranatha! Music were greatly influential in my spiritual awakening in the 1970’s.

Chuck might not appreciate the traditional, liturgical nature of this prayer, but I offer it on his behalf today:

May angels lead you into paradise; upon your arrival, may the martyrs receive you and lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem. May the ranks of angels receive you, and with Lazarus, once a poor man, may you have eternal rest.

6 thoughts on “Breaking News: RIP Pastor Chuck

  1. You would never have said “Chuck might not appreciate the traditional, liturgical nature of this prayer, but I offer it on his behalf today:…” if you had attended his church.
    He advocated worship and heartfelt prayer. He would say a liturgical prayer, sing “praise songs” or have chamber music as worship. He did not fit any conventional mold.


  2. I grew up in Calvary Chapel, it was my cradle tradition, so to speak, and so it has had a unmistakable impact in the development of my psyche, among other things. Even today, in my LCMS parish in New York, we have members who were baptized by Chuck. The CC tradition has virtually exploded numerically so much that it might actually qualify as the third great awakening. For how influential he was as a leader, he sure wasn’t much of a celebrity either. I also grew up with a lot of the Maranatha! music, which was highly influential in my aesthetic development. Those “praise songs” had real melodies to them, and even some that I only heard once have stuck with me to this day. Their lyrics were also very scriptural, often simple paraphrases. If only Evangelicalism generally would maintain such a devotion to the value and study of the Christian Scriptures as Chuck Smith led his churches to.


  3. My parents took us to Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa in the early 1970s, back when it was surrounded by cabbage fields. My conservative dad generally liked what he heard in the sermon, but he wondered what kind of Christian pastor would forego having a cross at the front of the sanctuary in favor of a giant logo of “some bird”.


  4. I often listened to Chuck on the radio and while I disagreed many times with his teaching, somehow the goodness of God always seemed to come through his voice. Rest in peace Pastor Chuck.


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