Monday, July 23, 2007

Chuck Smith, Jr. Emergent

I came across a letter that Chuck Smith, Jr. (Pastor Chuck's son) wrote (he was told to not affiliate with the calvary chapels anymore after he went emergent:

Hey, Andrew, I lost your email address too and Craig forgot to forward it to me.

Anyway . . . No, my dad didn't write the CCOF letter. I think it was written by my uncle. Of course, my dad is still responsible for everything that comes out of Costa Mecca and claims to define Calvary Chapel, so we can assume that he holds to the views expressed in that document. Which is, of course, sad.

Yes, write my dad. He needs to hear from people who are in the emerging conversation. He needs to be informed that it is not what he's been told or what someone else read on someone else's blog site.

I do not believe my uncle has done any firsthand research (i.e., read McLaren, Sweet, yourself, Paggitt, Kimbal, etc.). I tried to correct his views a couple of weeks ago, but his ears were already attuned to other voices and they prevailed.

Something rather silly is behind all of this . . .

Last year I edited ten of my dad's sermons dealing with life's troubles. Since I was turning oral expository sermons into a book, I reformatted them, took out a lot of filler, filled in a lot of empty spaces, and modified statements that were unclear. I also reformatted the prayers, etc. In the process, I included quotes by Len Sweet and Anthony de Mello. When I emailed the manuscript and my edits to my dad, I included a cover email to warn him about the de Mello quote and to urge him (or his editor) to read the mss carefully and remove anything he did not like or that might be offensive to others (who, perhaps having no understanding of biblical or spiritual discernment, think that if you read an author you automatically embrace everything the author says, true or false, and therefore try to control the reading habits of all Christians, especially Christian leaders), etc.

A couple weeks later I asked my dad when I would see the mss again (having three published works I was looking forward to working with the editor at the publishing company). Well, he had sent the mss into the pipeline, which resulted in a small bit of weak editing (by someone who assumed I meant "program" when I wrote of a "pogrom" against the Jews--that type of thing). But the poor sentence structure and "offensive quotes" did not get edited out. The errors are astounding.

My dad explained that when the publisher saw "storms" in the title of the book they rushed it to pring in order to capitalize on the Katrina hurricane. And so there it is, errors and all. Quite embarrassing to say the least.

In fact, there was a note I had put in italics and bracketed for the editor, saying that I wished my dad would clarify a statement in the book that contradicted an earlier statement. That editor's note appears in the published book! Sort of like a scribal note getting inserted into the text.

But more than embarrassing for my dad. He became the target of the neo-Pharisees who believe it's their job to sniff out error and defame those men and women of God who are actually doing something for the kingdom of heaven. And so those websites that in all their history have had less than 2,000 hits began to publish their heresy reports. My dad has had to explain that the offensive parts of the book were my insertions and not original to his work.

So . . . [deleted]

Now to be perfectly honest, I haven't belonged in the Calvary Chapel community for a long time. I identify with early Calvary Chapel (the culturally relevant, rock-n-roll worship, hippie church), but not as much with the institutionalized version today. I've stayed only because of my relationship to my father, whom I love and respect.

Calvary Chapel, as I perceive it is:
Fundamentalist--I am not
Dispensationalist--I am not
Anti-intellectualist (like the warning about not anything written by emergent leaders)--I am not
Primitivist--I am not

Officially, we have withdrawn from the Calvary Chapel affiliation, and for the very amicable reason that I (we) seek a breadth of relationships that CC is not willing to accommodate. For example, my close friendship with a Roman Catholic monk who died a few weeks ago. He was a wonderful person and spiritual mentor to me.

I should add, some of the stuff written in the CCOF missive were assumptions someone made based on how they perceived our church in Capistrano Beach. For example, I don't know of any emergent church (if there is such a thing yet) that has incorporated icons into the devotional life of their spiritual community. But for a while we had beautiful icons (byzantine-style) hanging in our sanctuary. Someone assumed "That must be one of those dadgum emergent thingies!" If only they had asked. But those in my old hood have never given me credit for originality, and they're always guessing who it is that's influincing me now. I've tried to tell them, it's the Lord Jesus Christ whose teaching they taught me to trust and to follow, but for some people, that just doesn't make any sense.

Grace and peace,


Posted by: chuck (the jr.) | May 24, 2006 2:15:49 AM"


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