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Calvary Chapel and Emerging Spirituality

Church News

Edited Article

On May 5th Paul Smith, brother of Chuck Smith (the founder of the Calvary Chapel movement), was fired from his position in the Calvary Chapel (CCOF) organization during an unscheduled meeting that day. The motion to fire Paul Smith was made by board member Roger Wing and seconded by Chuck Smith’s son-in-law, Brian Broderson. Other board members affirmed the motion and Paul Smith was dismissed.

For some time now Paul Smith, who has been in full-time ministry since 1951, has been putting forth tireless efforts to help keep contemplative and emerging spirituality out of the Calvary Chapel movement. At times, this caused conflict with other Calvary Chapel figures who did not resonate with these efforts.

Calvary Chapel released a Position Paper denouncing mystical practices (i.e. contemplative prayer) and the emerging church. This weekend a position paper addressed to pastors was posted on the Calvary Chapel website. The paper indicates that Calvary Chapel is taking a stand against contemplative spirituality and the emerging church and decrees that the title Calvary Chapel not be attached to such movements.

In the Position Paper, Calvary Chapel pastors were told not to use the Calvary Chapel title on their church name if they were going to go in the contemplative/emerging direction.

Calvary Chapel is at a critical point in the history of the movement. If nothing more happens than a written statement, and pastors and churches are permitted to carry the name Calvary Chapel but embrace contemplative purpose driven seeker friendly market driven ideas, the movement will break into various segments. There are many Calvary Chapel pastors who are asking for this kind of clear cut direction and want Calvary Chapel to remain what it once was.

If Calvary Chapel stands firm on defending the gospel message and rejecting heretical demonic doctrines, it may be setting a precedent for other Christian ministries to do likewise. With organizations such as Purpose Driven, Zondervan,

(Zondervan Publishes the NIV Bible that omits hundreds of words and phrases from the Word of God by NIV translators. The “Godhead” in the NIV was completely removed from the Word of God. All the following words have been omitted from the NIV: Propitiation, regeneration, mercyseat, remission, Jehovah, immutable, omnipotent, Comforter, Messiah, infallible, et cetera. The word “sodomite” is completely gone, as are the words: fornication, carnal, effeminate, vanity, devils, Lucifer, damnation, brimstone, and the bottomless pit. Zondervan Publishers does not reveal they are OWNED by Harper Collins, which also publishes The Satanic Bible and The Joy of Gay Sex. Dr. Marten Woudstra, chairman on the NIV committee, was involved in sex perversion. He is quoted as saying that loving monogamous relationships between gay men or women were acceptable to God and that there was nothing in the Old Testament that spoke against the perversion. (Lies) Dr. Virginia Mollenkott, a literary critic on the NIV translation, was a sodomite. In Episcopal, Witness (June 1991, PP. 20-23), she comes out of the closet by saying, “My lesbianism has ALWAYS been a part of me. . .” This could explain why, “sodomite” is never found in the NIV. (Deut. 23:17, I Kings 14:24, 15:12 , 22:46 , II Kings 23:7) Not only that, but all other references to sodomy are perverted to say something else: 1Cor. 6:9, “. . . Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, . . .” is replaced with the “. . . Nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders. . .” According to, the New International Bible (NIV) printed by Zondervan is the most popular Bible version today. Zondervan Publishers does not reveal they are OWNED by Harper Collins, who also publishes The Satanic Bible and The Joy of Gay Sex.

Nav Press publishers (Publishers of the heretical Message Bible),  Willow Creek and Renovare, all promoting contemplative spirituality, and with many other ministries appearing to head that way; it is becoming less and less popular to do what Calvary Chapel has done. But it is a time in history when compromising the integrity of the Gospel could actually help to unfold the greatest spiritual deception Christianity has ever seen.

Calvary Distribution (the resource arm of Calvary Chapel) removed all Purpose Driven materials from their resource database. The pressures on young pastors today to conform to the current trends for the sake of having a successful big church are ever-increasing. The financial backing that is behind the birth of the current emerging church movement reveals the movement is not simply a “discontent grumblings of young people looking for answers” but entails a far more structured effort to bring about a new mystical spirituality that would ultimately reject the very core of the Bible’s main tenets and its inerrancy.

But as with most denominations and Christian organizations, there are indications that contemplative/emergent/Purpose Driven is continuing to influence the Calvary Chapel movement contrary to the efforts and statements of Chuck Smith in 2006. For instance, Calvary Chapel speaker Gayle Erwin has come out strong in support of the New Age sympathizing book, The Shack. Erwin’s endorsement for William Paul Young’s New York Times best-seller sits on The Shack website and says: Riveting with twists that defy your expectations while teaching powerful theological lessons without patronizing. I was crying by page 100. You cannot read it without your heart becoming involved.

Unfortunately, an event is scheduled between Rock Harbor and Calvary Chapel at the end of May. The conference will take place at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and will feature Rock Harbor’s teaching pastor Mike Erre and worship team. Mike Erre is the author of a new book, Death by Church: Rescuing Jesus from His Followers, Recapturing God’s Hope for His People. The book is filled with kingdom-now theology—anti-Revelation, rapture and millennial, including dismissing the countless promises to the Jews found throughout the Word of God. Also numerous favorable references to and quotes by people like Brian McLaren, Dallas Willard, and other contemplative emerging figures. Based on this book alone, it is accurate to say that Erre has all the earmarks of a heretic, as an emerging church pastor. In Erre’s 2008 book, Why Guys Need God, he quotes and references a number of contemplative mystic-proponents: Richard Rohr, Larry Crabb, Pete Scazzero, Rob Belland others. It is very clear by Erre’s remarks about Richard Rohr (whom he references over a half a dozen times in the book) that he esteems him highly. And yet Rohr’s spirituality would be in the same camp as someone like Matthew Fox (author of The Coming of the Cosmic Christ) who believes in pantheism (god in trees, rocks, etc. A denial of Biblical God). Rohr wrote the foreword to a 2007 book called How Big is Your God? by Jesuit priest (from India) Paul Coutinho. In Coutinho’s book, he describes an interspiritual community where people of all religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity) worship the same God. How ironic that Paul Smith’s firing is sandwiched between two Rock Harbor events at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. Members at that church should be very, very concerned.

At a Calvary Chapel’s Costa Mesa’s high school, a teacher asked his class to read, review, and study How to Stay Christian in College written by Protestant-turned-Catholic J. Budziszewski. The book has references in the back of some editions to mystic emergent Tony Jones and Budziszewski himself is a proponent of contemplative prayer practices. Many families in today’s churches are trying to protect their children and teens from spiritual deception. Christian parents must realize that the souls of their youth are at stake. Satan is in churches trying to obtain them through the false demonic movement of contemporary Christianity.

Isaiah 11:1-5: “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.”

This situation with Calvary Chapel is not isolated. Nearly every evangelical denomination and organization of any size in North America is going in this same direction to one degree or another. One key factor in why this is happening so rapidly is that Christian colleges, universities, and seminaries are heavily saturated with contemplative/emerging spirituality. Biola University, for instance, where many Calvary Chapel pastors have attended and graduated is deeply involved in this “new spirituality.” Satan is certainly increasing in power in these later days as the Bible predicted. Christ revealed, He would not find any faith on the earth when He returns. Faith in the inerrant Bible is dwindling every day from our churches.

The spirituality of the desert fathers has gotten a grip on the current theological thought and practice like no one could have predicted just a few years ago, thanks largely in part to the emerging church and the work of Rick Warren and Bill Hybels. Remember, mysticism is what gives the emerging church its momentum. Holistic doctor and author Dr. Rick Levy revealed that in 2008, 17 million Americans were practicing meditation (eastern-style). That number is up from 10 million in 2003. At that rate, in another five years it will probably be somewhere between 20 and 25 million. There is no doubt that this surge of mysticism will have a profound effect on virtually every North American family. This statistic is sobering when you consider what Richard Kirby observed: The meditation of advanced occultists is identical with the prayer of advanced mystics, it is no accident that both traditions use the same word for the highest reaches of their respective activities: contemplation. (Mission of Mystic) Mysticism (i.e. the satanic controlled occult) is overtaking all segments of society, and this means that the world is falling under the spell of sorceries (magical arts). This fact represents the book of Revelation and the belief system that will arise in the later days (Revelation 18:23). The acceptance of Harry Potter in the church has certainly been the springboard to what we now observe in our apostate fellowships.


Contemplative prayer or Spirituality defined:

Below is a simple definition and Wikipedia’s take:

Definition of Contemplative Spirituality: “A belief system that uses ancient mystical practices to induce altered states of consciousness (the silence) and is often wrapped in Christian terminology; the premise of contemplative spirituality is pantheistic (God is all) and pantheistic (God is in all). The purpose of contemplative prayer is to enter an altered state of consciousness in order to find one’s true self, thus finding God. This true self relates to the belief that man is basically good. Proponents of contemplative prayer teach that all human beings have a divine center and that all, not just born again believers, should practice contemplative prayer.”

In Christian mysticism, Contemplative prayer can refer to:
• Repetitive chanting, breathing in a controlled manner or silent concentration to quiet the thoughts and feelings and commune with God.
• Infused contemplation, for many writers, including St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila (both demonic Catholic mystics), the sole sense of the term;
• Acquired contemplation, also known as “Prayer of Simplicity”; or
• Centering prayer, which is sometimes called contemplative prayer, although “It is not contemplation in the strict sense, which in Catholic tradition has always been regarded as a pure gift of the Spirit, but rather it is a preparation for contemplation.”[1]
“Contemplative consciousness,” says [Thomas] Merton, is “a Trans-cultural, Trans-religious, Trans-formed consciousness … it can shine through this or that system, religious or irreligious”[2]
One question that has surfaced at various times in history is whether contemplative prayer is given only to select people or whether everyone is called towards it. Generally, the latter view has prevailed. In the 17th century, however, several writers, most notably John Baptist Scaramelli, taught, in reaction to Quietism, that asceticism and mysticism are two distinct paths to perfection; the former was the normal, ordinary end of the Christian life, and the latter, to which contemplative prayer belongs, is something extraordinary. The controversy was more or less resolved in the early 20th century with Arintero and Garrigou-Lagrange exonerating the view that infused contemplation is a normal development of the spiritual life. This is now the generally accepted position.[4]

*Some info gathered and quoted from Lighthouse Trails Publishing  (This is a conservative publisher, but I do not agree with everything stated by their authors. I have appreciated the editor’s assistance at times.)

May 17, 2009 Posted by | Apostasy in the Church, Bible, Calvary Chapel, J. Budziszewski, Rick Warren, Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments