Beware of Dave Hunt

By Bro. David Cloud

Way of Life Website


Updated August 20, 2004 (first published May 10, 2001; updated July 3, 2001) - David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143. Send e-mail: fbns@wayoflife.org


It was a disappointment to learn recently that well-known Christian author Dave Hunt is speaking at Calvary Chapels. Through the years I have enjoyed Hunt’s books and the Berean Call publication. Mr. Hunt is a member of a Brethren assembly, and though I have never met him, I have corresponded with him and talked with him on the phone. Perhaps he has spoken at Calvary Chapels before, but I did not know about it. We believe these churches represent an easy-going, worldly, ecumenical philosophy that is very dangerous, even more so because they have many good qualities. By speaking in these forums, Mr. Hunt is putting his imprimatur upon their errors, because those who observe his actions assume he stands where they stand (and apparently he does.)

Following is an excerpt from a report by Pastor Author Houk of Long Beach, California, who attended Mr. Hunt’s meeting at a Calvary Chapel near him:

“My wife and I visited Calvary Chapel in Westminster, CA, on Sunday morning, May 6, 2001. I pastor Liberty Baptist Church in Gardena, CA, and our church meets at 2:30 and 3:30 each Sunday afternoon. This morning I had no pulpit supply ministry.

“Before the service started we visited the Dave Hunt book table. I have been greatly helped spiritually by his books, A WOMAN RIDES THE BEAST and THE SEDUCTION OF CHRISTIANITY. While there, my wife, Shirley, and I had the opportunity to meet the prolific author and his wife. The ushers and service personnel at Calvary Chapel were kind and helpful. This was our first visit to any Calvary Chapel.

“As the service began, the worship team of six men led the congregation in singing, using their guitars, drums, and keyboard. Five men had neat haircuts and one had shoulder length hair. … The words of the songs were in the church bulletin. There was much repetition in the four songs.

“Dave Hunt used the King James Bible. He began his message by reading Acts 17:15, and continued to read many of the following verses. More than once he quoted John 14:6. He clearly gave the plan of salvation.

“Dave Hunt is now speaking at a number of the Calvary Chapels across America. As I look back on my experience I believe that it would be an excellent idea to have the Calvary Chapel people memorize I John 2:15, ‘Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him’” (Dr. Arthur Houk, 519 Cedar Avenue #12, Long Beach, CA 90802. 562-435-8846).

CONCLUDING NOTE FROM BROTHER CLOUD:

In the mid 1960s Chuck Smith took over the pastorate of the non-denominational Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, California. (He had started his ministry in the Four Square Pentecostal denomination.) By the early 1970s, this church became the center for the Jesus People Movement, which allowed hippie types to bring their worldly appearance and rock music over into their Christian lives. (We believe in the “come as you are” philosophy, but we also believe in the “leave as He is” philosophy. In other words, we believe that Christians should make the unsaved feel welcome in their midst to hear the gospel, but we believe that the gospel, when received, changes a person’s life, so that he has a new life, new look, new philosophy, new music, etc.) This worldly philosophy has spread endless confusion and compromise throughout churches around the world. Smith felt that his ministry in Costa Mesa was established through a prophetic vision. Today there are more than 600 Calvary Chapels in the United States, Canada, and abroad.

The Calvary Chapels have a biblical gospel, preach a pretribulational rapture, and focus on expository Bible teaching from Genesis to Revelation. They are very zealous evangelistically. But they are also very ecumenical and allow for unscriptural charismatic experiences. John Wimber, founder of the Vineyard movement, came out of the Calvary Chapel movement.

Note the following quotes from the Statement of Faith, Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa, and from web cites linked from the Calvary Chapel main web page.

ECUMENISM: “We are not a denominational church, nor are we opposed to denominations as such, only their over-emphasis of doctrinal differences that have led to the division of the body of Christ. We believe that the only true basis of Christian fellowship is His (Agape) love, which is greater than any differences we possess and without which we have no right to claim ourselves Christians” (Statement of Faith, Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa).

Chuck Smith, founder of the Calvary Chapels, is very ecumenical. In a 1993 book he says: “We should realize that we're all part of the Body of Christ and that there aren't any real divisions in the Body. We’re all one. What a glorious day when we discover that God loves the Baptists! -- And the Presbyterians, and the Methodists, and the Catholics. We’re all His and we all belong to Him. We see the whole Body of Christ, and we begin to strive together rather than striving against one another” (Smith, Answers for Today, p. 157).

Chuck Smith’s ecumenism is also evident from a statement quoted in the December 1995 issue of Sojourner magazine. “Paul points out that some say, ‘I’m of Paul,’ while others say, ‘I’m of Apollos.’ He asked, ‘Isn’t that carnal?’ But what’s the difference between saying that or saying, ‘I’m a Baptist,’ ‘I’m a Presbyterian,’ ‘I’m a Methodist,’ ‘I’m a Catholic’? I have found that the more spiritual a person becomes, the less denominational he is. We should realize that we’re all part of the Body of Christ and that there aren’t any real divisions in the Body. We’re all one.”

A prominent Calvary Chapel representative is Greg Laurie, who is a frequent speaker at Promise Keepers meetings and the Billy Graham Training Center.

CHARISMATIC GIFTS IN GENERAL: “We believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit mentioned in the Scriptures are valid for today if they are exercised within the scriptural guidelines” (Statement of Faith, Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa).

TONGUES: “When you're alone in your closet, when you are among believers in an after-glow prayer service, you can speak in tongues -- and you can pray to God. Why? Because nobody is going to benefit from tongues. You know who’s going to benefit? Paul says? only the Lord. Because nobody understands what you're saying. Only the Holy Spirit knows what you’re saying” (A Raul Ries Bible study; tape #IN44-5, Acts 1:8; Calvary Chapel, West Covina, CA).

BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT: “The Baptism with the Holy Spirit is a definite occurrence, subsequent to salvation, whereby the Third Person of the Godhead comes upon the believer to anoint and energize him for Spiritual service" (Greg Laurie’s web site, as linked from the Calvary Chapel main web page).

The Calvary Chapels continue to be centers for CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN MUSIC AND CHRISTIAN ROCK MUSIC. For example, Before You Breath is a “second-generation Jesus music” group which has a web site linked from the main Calvary Chapel web page. The group is composed of Joel and Beverly Wild of Calvary Chapel, Merrit Island, Florida. Before You Breath’s debut album “Wide Open Future” features edgy, new agey, music with shallow, sometimes obscure lyrics and a vague, undefined gospel. Beverly Wild poses somewhat immodestly in pictures on the web site.

Though Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapels claim to be opposed to the more radical charismatic experiences, they associate closely with those who are involved in them. Chuck Smith and another well-known Calvary Chapel leader, Chuck Missler, hosted the “Praise the Lord” broadcast in 2000. This is the program headed up by Paul Crouch, who praises Pope John Paul II and who supports “holy laughter,” “seed faith,” “spirit slaying,” “the word of faith,” and practically every strange, unscriptural doctrine and practice found in the charismatic movement today. Robert Hurzeler, who was a deacon at a Calvary Chapel before he came out of that movement, warns: “Chuck Smith’s compromise has a huge impact on those who attend the various Calvary Chapel churches and who identify strongly with him, for it implies that this network and its blasphemous ‘word of faith’ teachings have his stamp of approval. After all, if the gifts of miracles, tongues and prophecy are for today, who would dare question or judge TBN’s ministry? . . . I have heard Chuck Smith warn people about unscrupulous televangelists on his various radio ministries, but he rarely names the people or programs against whom he is speaking. . . . How can church leaders warn God’s people if they remain silent for the most part and go so far as to participate with and, thereby, endorse those who promote unscriptural teachings for profit? When church leaders fail to separate and speak out against the ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ that permeate the Charismatic movement, new believers as well as those who have been poorly taught suffer much confusion. I did not know what to think about the sign and revelatory gifts when I attended Calvary Chapel. I was in a perpetual fog about the person and function of God the Holy Spirit. I was never certain whether or not one or two baptisms existed. I often wondered, if all the spiritual gifts were still for today, why had I never met or even heard of anyone who had the gifts of healing or miracles. I am not referring to the theatrics and alleged miracles displayed on TBN, but to genuine miracles such as described in Acts chapter 3” (Hurzeler, “Some Reflections on the Calvary Chapel Movement,” Foundation magazine, May-June 2001).

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