GRACE UNDER FIRE
3/9/12 at 07:47 PM 4 Comments

Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel teaching on the 'blessed hope' debunked: Smith's teachings contrary to apostles and early church writers. A comparison to sound Bible doctrine...

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"They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace." (Jeremiah 6:14)

According to a recent article (click here to view), Chuck Smith, lead pastor and founder of the Calvary Chapel movement, explains that there is a very bright outlook for the church in the coming days:

The future for the world is pretty bleak, but for church it's exciting. I can hardly wait.

According to the author, Smith closed out the 2012 SoCal Prophecy Conference at Calvary Chapel Chino Hills Sunday [March 4, 2012] with a message of "blessed hope" for Christians during the end times. Chuck spoke to over 8,000 people.

The purpose of this article is to enlighten Christians, to encourage them to be wise like a Berean and search the scriptures diligently and carefully, and to bring the truth of the Word of God to light in order to reveal what is true and what is merely the opinion of man or demonic doctrine. This article contains a comparison of Smith's statements with some statements made by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth who does not lie, as expressed through the Apostle Paul centuries ago. Since God does not lie, the Holy Spirit's views are still the same today.

Christians must analyze doctrinal fruit in light of sound Bible doctrine and reprove the unfruitful, unBiblical teachings in an effort to edify the Body of Christ and build up one another toward sound doctrine of the faith. This article is not intended to unrighteously/falsely 'bash' any person (even though, Jesus severely rebuked the Pharisees as did Paul the false teachers and it was considered righteous; see Matthew 23; slander is a false accusation as opposed to true), for I love all souls including Smith, but to cast down any teachings that are not consistent with the doctrine of Christ. 2 John 1:9 says, "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son". The apostles and Christians in the Bible exposed teachings and those who taught them, and did so publicly, to warn and care for the people of God.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:3,4)

In addition, this article contains a list of the beliefs and teachings of the early church writers (who had the same scriptures we do today) which are starkly opposed to Smith's modern teaching.

According to the above mentioned article, Smith explains that even though times will get worse for the world (unbelievers), he said for the church (Christians), the times are exciting with a bright outlook! He conveys the idea to his audience (of many thousands) that he can hardly wait for the (secret) 'rapture', for being whisked away by Jesus (i.e., before the tribulation begins and seven years before the resurrection of the dead in Christ in the 'secret pre-tribulation rapture'). Though he mentions Matthew 24:12 and that the world is getting worse (that the love of many shall wax cold), he did not continue on to rightly divide the Word of Truth to include the very next verse, which says, "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved". Why is it that Smith mentions nothing of persecution, tribulation of the saints or suffering for the Church in the coming days (as seen in the book of Revelation and elsewhere), but only a peace not founded on the scriptures, excitement and escape to well over 8,000 listening ears and probably many more thousands than those who were physically present at the conference?

Here is a portion of Smith's teachings:

Smith, who regularly gives updates on the events of the Middle East at his church in Costa Mesa, often begins with news that shows the potential outbreak of war, but ends by referring to the current events as 'exciting times.'

'How can you make, you say, all these dire predictions with a smile on your face?'

'Well, because the outlook for the Church is very bright,' he explained. 'We're almost there and I know how this story ends and that it's always comforting when you know that it ends and 'they all lived happily ever after.'

Talking about the future, the influential pastor said, 'What do we know for sure? We know there are two major events awaiting the Church. One is the rapture of the Church. It's the hope that we have right now of the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ who is coming for His Church.'

He explained that although the word "rapture" is not found in English translations of the Bible, 'the teaching of the rapture is definitely in the Bible,' he said. 'The second coming of Jesus is the next major event when He comes to establish His kingdom here on the earth. That is what we pray for when we repeat the Lord's prayer, 'Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.' In the rapture He is coming for His church, but in the second coming He is coming with His Church,' Smith said. 'I do believe in the imminent coming of Christ and that it might be today. He could come at any moment ... hopefully, before we are out of here today. Why not?' The California pastor concluded his message by saying, "The future for the world is pretty bleak, but for church it's exciting. I can hardly wait. The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ is our blessed hope that sustains us today and in a world that is falling apart we can stand tall, we can stand strong with the blessed hope predicated on the promises of God based on our faith.' Speakers on the other days of the conference included Miles McPherson, Jack Hibbs (lead pastor of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills), Mark Hitchcock, Charlie Campbell, Ed Hindson, and General Jerry Boykin, U.S. Army (retired).

There are five questions for your consideration:

  1. Why does Chuck tell people that the pre-tribulation secret rapture is the 'blessed hope', when sound doctrine (the Holy Spirit) clearly defines what the 'blessed hope' is?
  2. Why does Chuck choose not to tell people that the Word of God says that the major event that must happen before living believers are 'caught up' is the resurrection of the 'dead in Christ' first?
  3. Why is Chuck teaching the people something entirely different than what the apostles, Jesus and early church writers, such as Martin Luther and Augustine, taught the people of God?
  4. Why is General Jerry Boykin, an ecumenical Knight of Malta having allegiance to Roman Catholocism, the Vatican and the Pope, speaking at this prophecy conference as well as several other Calvary Chapel events and conferences to the people of God?
  5. Why is Chuck teaching people the 'secret rapture' teachings of John Nelson Darby (1800-1882) instead of sound Bible doctrine from centuries ago as we see today in the Word of God?

Let's look at the first point. Why does Chuck tell people that the pre-tribulation secret rapture is the 'blessed hope', when sound doctrine (the Holy Spirit) clearly defines what the 'blessed hope' is?

In his speech, Chuck refers to the scripture of Titus 2:13. Titus 2:11-13 says, "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ".

Notice how Chuck Smith says we have a 'blessed hope', but he erroneously puts this 'blessed hope' in the secret pre-tribulation rapture theory by twisting scripture cleverly (2 Peter 3:16 warned us about this), instead of where scripture says it is supposed to be. Smith says, "One is the rapture of the Church. It's the hope that we have right now of the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ who is coming for His Church.'

Notice in the article how Smith teaches that the pre-tribulation rapture of the Church itself is the 'blessed hope' that the book of Titus is speaking of. How does this teaching stand up to the Truth of God's Word?

Smith uses Titus 2:13 to justify this teaching that the 'blessed hope' is when Christ comes for his church seven years prior (the rapture; what Smith defines as the first phase of the second coming of Christ). Though the book of Titus speaks of a 'glorious appearing' of Christ; in scripture, we see only one 'glorious appearing' of Jesus Christ, not two second comings of Christ. Is this really what the book of Titus is telling us? According to the entire counsel of God and weighing in on the entire book of Titus (not only one verse twisted out of context), our 'blessed hope' as Christians is defined for us so that we would not be left in the dark or be swayed by opinion of man or doctrines of demons.

'Blessed Hope' defined with sound, Bible doctrine is referring to:

  • The resurrection of the dead (Acts 24:15) - "And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust."
  • Heaven and eternal life (Colossians 1:5 and 1:23; Titus 1:2; Titus 3:7)
    • "For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel." (Colossians 1:5)
    • "If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister." (Colossians 1:23)
    • "In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began." (Titus 1:2)
    • "That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." (Titus 3:7)
  • The second coming of Jesus Christ at His glorious appearing as He brings salvation (Titus 2:11-13) - "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."

Notice, none of these verses say that our 'blessed hope' is at any time prior to when these events happen! Therefore, the secret pre-tribulation rapture theory is not our 'blessed hope', Biblically. Smith's teaching that the pre-tribulation rapture is the 'blessed hope' that God intended for us to have is completely erroneous when held up to the light and purity of sound Bible doctrine of the Holy Spirit! This gives listeners a false hope. Furthermore, this idea was completely foreign to the holy apostles and the early church writers (keep in mind, the early church writers had the same Bible we have today, and they noticed nothing of a secret pre-tribulation rapture doctrine being our 'blessed hope'). Again, scripture makes clear what the 'blessed hope' is - and it is not seven years before His second coming (glorious appearing).

Why does Chuck avoid telling people that the Word of God says that the major event that must happen before living believers are 'caught up' is the resurrection of the 'dead in Christ' first?

Why does Chuck withhold the information that the 'dead in Christ shall rise first'? Smith speaks of 'two major events'. Why does he leave out this major event? Would the Holy Spirit say that the next thing on the prophetic calendar is that the living believers (church) be 'caught up' first? The Holy Spirit said in 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 that the 'dead in Christ' must rise first. And, we know Biblically that the resurrection of the dead believers is on the last day, at the last trump (John 6:54; John 11:24; 1 Cor. 15:52; etc). Therefore, does not the Bible conclude that believers are going nowhere until after the 'dead in Christ' are raised first? This is what the Holy Spirit has made extremely clear in sound doctrine through the Apostle Paul as he wrote to the church at Thessalonica.

Was this what Paul was saying to the Thessalonians? No. Yet, this is the scripture that Chuck twists to say that there will be a 'blessed hope rapture' seven years prior to the resurrection of the dead in Christ at the last day, when the words of Paul say something starkly different:

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 King James Version, emphasis mine)

Why does Chuck teach people something entirely different than what the early church writers (such as Martin Luther and Augustine) and the apostles taught the people of God?

Augustine (A.D. 354-430):

"The kingdom of Antichrist shall fiercely, though for a short time, assail the Church." (The City of God, XX, 23)

Hippolytus (A.D. 160-240):

" ... the one thousand two hundred and three score days (the half of the week) during which the tyrant is to reign and persecute the Church …” (Treatise on Christ and Antichrist, 61)

Martin Luther (A.D. 1483-1546):

"The book of Revelation is intended as a Revelation of things that are to happen in the future, and especially of tribulations and disasters for the CHURCH..." (Works of Martin Luther, VI, p. 481)

Tertullian (A.D. 150-220):

"That the beast Antichrist, with his false prophet, may wage war on the Church of God." (On the resurrection of the flesh, 25)

Victorinus (A.D. App. 270):

"He shall cause also that a golden image of Antichrist shall be placed in the temple at Jerusalem, and that the apostate angel should enter, and thence utter voices and oracles...The Lord, admonishing His churches concerning the last times and their dangers, ... three years and six months, in which with all his power the devil will avenge himself under Antichrist against the Church." (Commentary on the Apocalypse, 20:1-3)

Justin Martyr (A.D. 100-168):

"And the man of apostasy, sho speaks strange things against the Most High, shall venture to do unlawful deeds on the earth against us the Christians." (First Apology of Justine, Chapter 110)

Cyprian (A.D. 200-258):

"The Lord hath foretold that these things would come. With the exhortation of His forseeing word, instructing, and teaching, and preparing, and strengthening the people of His Church for all endurance of things to come. He previously warned us that the adversary would increase more and more in the last times." (Treatise 7)

"For you ought to know and to believe, and hold it for certain, that the day of affliction has begun to hang over our heads, and the end of the world and the time of Antichrist to draw near, so that we must all stand prepared for the battle ... “The time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service…” Nor let any one wonder that we are harassed with increasing afflictions, when the Lord before predicted that these things would happen in the last times." (Epistles of Cyprian, LV, 1,2)

Nor let any one of you, beloved brethren, be so terrified by the fear of future persecution, or the coming of the threatening Antichrist, as not to be found armed for all things by the evangelical exhortations and precepts, and by the heavenly warnings. Antichrist is coming… but immediately the Lord follows to avenge our sufferings and our wounds." (Epistles of Cyprian, LIII, p.722)

John Knox (A.D. 1515-1572):

“The great love of God towards his Church, whom he pleased to forewarne of dangers to come ... to wit, The man of sin, The Antichrist..." (The Historie of the Reformation etc., 1, p. 76)

Charles Hodge (A.D. 1797-1878):

"...the fate of his Church here on earth ... is the burden of the Apocalypse." (Systematic Theology, III, p. 827)

Other early church writers:

Didache, Irenaeus, Roger Bacon, Roger Williams, and Carl F. Keil, ALL the early church writers...as well as the Apostle Paul...believed that the followers of Christ will face the antichrist (2 Thess. 2:3; Rev. 12:17; Rev. 13:7; Dan. 7:21,25; etc.) during the tribulation, and go through the entire end times events all the way up until right after the dead in Christ are raised on the last day, last trump (John 11:24; 1 Cor. 15:52).

The Apostles inspired by the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ:

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry." (2 Timothy 4:2,4)

"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." (1 Thess. 4:16, 17)

"But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness." (1 Thess. 5:1-5)

"In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." (1 Cor. 15:52,53)

"Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:54)

"Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day." (John 11:24)

"And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever." (Revelation 11:15)

"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." (Revelation 21:4)

Why is General Jerry Boykin, an ecumenical Knight of Malta having allegiance to Roman Catholocism, the Vatican and the Pope, speaking at this prophecy conference as well as several other Calvary Chapel events and conferences to the people of God?

See Jerry Boykin and the Calvary Chapel Connection, by Understand the Times and Chuck Smith, Knight of Malta, Vatican Connection.

Why is Smith teaching people the 'secret rapture' teachings of John Nelson Darby (1800-1882) instead of sound Bible doctrine from centuries ago as we see today in the Word of God?

John Nelson Darby (1800-1882; Organizer of the Plymouth Brethren and secret pre-tribulation rapture doctrine)

Who was he? John Nelson Darby was born in 1800, one hundred years after the birth of Count Zinzendorf. He studied at Trinity College, Dublin, between the ages of fifteen and nineteen. He studied law at Trinity and was admitted to the Irish bar, but he left to pursue spiritual matters. John Darby was ordained a priest in the Church of Ireland in 1826 and from then on was considered a very high Churchman.

Darby was not an apostle, and he came in rather late in the game to re-write sound doctrine.

Interestingly, Smith is imitating Darby because the foundation of the Darbyite message was that when evil is seen in society, Christians are to rejoice because that is a sign of the imminent return of Christ ('How did we get the idea of the pre-trib rapture?' by Sandy Fiedler).  

"The Roots of Fundamentalism," by Ernest R. Sandeen in discussing the history of the Brethren, says that Darby introduced the idea of a secret rapture of the church and a gap in prophetic fulfillment between the 69th and 70th weeks of Daniel. These beliefs became basic to the system of theology known as dispensationalism.

The origins of the relatively new secret pre-tribulation rapture doctrine were with Darby and are not sound in doctrine. Be a Berean, and search the scriptures to see if these things are true. Jesus told us we are to not be accepting of teachers' doctrines, but we must "believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1). If not, we run the risk of deception and eternal disappointment.

Conclusion

Perhaps, multitudes of sincere believers are going to shake their fist at God when the pre-tribulation 'rapture' does not happen seven years before the last trumpet or seven years before the 'dead in Christ' are raised, but at the last trumpet and after the dead in Christ are raised (like the Apostle Paul explicitly said in 1 Corinthians 15:52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17). They may blame God and say 'it was in the Bible, God!' - when it never was, but was based solely upon man's teachings and twisted scriptures (the devil's tactic - 2 Peter 3:16; Acts 20:30). I believe that many will fall away from the faith in the 'great falling away' when tribulation begins and persecution and trouble come because of the Word of God as seen in the Parable of the Sower, Matthew 24:10, 1 Timothy 4:1, Mark 4:17, and 2 Thessalonians 2:3. Even worse, many will worship the Antichrist thinking that he is Jesus (Revelation 13,14). Many are putting their 'blessed hope' and 'security' in something contrary to Bible doctrine and a 'false peace' or 'false hope', and consequently will fall away in times of persecution due to expecting to escape from all tribulation (Mark 4:17).

Some people may think that this topic is a 'non-essential doctrine' and there should be room for believers to disagree on rapture teachings. The truth is, it was important to the Apostle Paul and there are no 'non-essential doctrines' in scripture contrary to many false teachers today. Anything contrary to sound doctrine is to be dealt with according to the scriptures because the lie causes division in the church (Romans 16:17). God tells us not to lie and to put off falsehood and speak the truth.

"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition..." (2 Thess. 2:3)

"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." (1 John 4:1)

"For the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips let them even be taken in their pride: and for cursing and lying which they speak." (Psalm 59:12)

"My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation." (James 3:1)

"And mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies: they shall not be in the assembly of my people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD." (Ezekiel 13:9)

Many leaders ('shepherds') today are not preparing God's people for the days ahead, but setting them up for deception and falling away from the faith. We know that lies always sell more than the truth. We must search and base all of our beliefs on sound Bible doctrine (Titus 2:1). Please pray for Chuck Smith, his health and spiritual blessings - for the Lord to speak to him.

Last but not least, there most definately is hope for believers! We need not fear! Beloved, our hope cannot be in a lie. The Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit, does not lie. Our blessed hope is in the Truth of God's Word and God's promises of eternal life at His return. There are great times ahead for the Church free of all tears, suffering, persecution, tribulation and pain - but not in this world (Revelation 21:4). Jesus did not say we would escape tribulation in this world, but that we could have peace and be of joy and good cheer in the midst: "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).

Related Resources:


(Information on early church writers was found in the following book entitled Idiot's Guide to The Last Days, by author Richard H. Perry)


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