Well, no, you don't have to. This is just the way Chuck did it.
Where did this more rigid idea of Smith's come from?
In the later years, people got around Chuck who thought that they knew what he felt about everything. They would start speaking for him. What they were saying simply just was not true. It made it look to some degree like Chuck had really become rigid. He had really tightened things up, and he had really become a control freak.
These were interpretations of Chuck by people around him who had personal agendas. It was to their advantage to try to interpret Chuck that way, because it would help extend their power.
Knowing Chuck as well as I did, I would say, "Look. You're wrong. That's not how Chuck feels, because I've had a conversation with him about it. He doesn't feel the way you think he does."
I'm not saying it was intentional. People thought, Well, I know Chuck, and this is the way he thinks about this. Those who knew him better would say, "No, that's not how he thought about it."
How are Calvary Chapel leaders addressing the reality that more Americans are turning their backs on organized religion?
All through church history, the church tends to lose touch with the culture. God raised Calvary Chapel up because much of the church at the time was out of touch with the culture.
The people in my generation could relate to Calvary Chapel. It wasn't weird religious. You could wear your surf trunks, T-shirt, and flip-flops to church and carry your Bible. You could still go out and surf, and nobody was going to tell you that you were sinning.
God brings into existence ministries that are relevant to the culture. Forty-plus years have passed. We are in a danger that every other previous group has been in—becoming irrelevant. The church has lost touch with the larger culture. The Lord knows everything and knows exactly what needs to be done to reach every generation. We need to be in step with what God's doing, not what God did 30 years ago. If we're stuck in what God did back then, we're going to miss what he might want to do today.
Calvary Chapel has a reputation for being between fundamentalism and Pentecostalism. Has that ever really been true?
It would only be connected back to Chuck's roots in the Foursquare Church. Theologically, we are definitely non-cessationist. We believe in the ongoing ministry and gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Theologically, I would say fundamental in the best sense of the term. We believe in biblical inerrancy. We believe in all the cardinal doctrines of the faith, and we're going to go to our grave holding fast to those things.
We need to make sure we are not following culture that is prohibitive to the gospel. What happened in our movement? We became more and more traditional. That has worked against us. As a church, we have become more culturally conservative. We maintain our theological conservatism. We need to be more Christ-centered. Confusing the United States of America with the church is part of the problem.