Monday, December 2, 2013
SAYING FAREWELL TO TWO VERY DIFFERENT CHRISTIAN LEADERS
Last month the Christians of the world said a fond farewell to Pastor Chuck Smith, an iconic leader of the Jesus movement and founder of Calvary Chapel. As a former Calvaryite, I learned a great deal from Pastor Chuck. Chuck Smith impacted not only American culture but had an incredible impact on global missions. The Word For Today radio broadcast still reaches millions each day. Undoubtedly, Pastor Chuck will be remembered among the great names of the faith such as Moody and Wesley.
Pastor Chuck Smith taught the word of God pure and simple. Calvary Chapel has many critics, and I am one at times, but the legacy of Bible teaching that Chuck Smith left behind is par none. Pastor Chuck taught expositorily, verse by verse, line by line, the full counsel of God. I have found that this is the most effective method of teaching the Word as it does not allow a teacher to focus on favorite passages or ignore difficult truths.
In stark contrast, another well known name in Christian circles passed away today, Paul Crouch of TBN. Crouch built a radio station into a worldwide empire which broadcasts to every continent on earth except Antarctica. Paul Crouch's message was one of prosperity for the faithful. TBN gave enough of the Gospel message to keep believers donating, but the real message of TBN was that believers had a right to health, wealth, and prosperity and the only thing keeping anyone from experiencing the good life was lack of faith. Paul Crouch lived a decadent lifestyle from donations sent in by those who believed they could sow a faith seed and reap a financial windfall.
I feel a sense of loss to the Christian world as Pastor Chuck moves on to his reward in heaven. I personally benefited from his ministry and still listened to his live call in show each night that I was in the car when he was on. On the other hand, Paul Crouch's death seems no loss at all. When you take into account the scandals he has been involved in and the lifestyle he lived and the shameless way he enriched himself from the donations of his viewers, it is hard to mourn his passing.
Chuck Smith modeled servant leadership while Paul Crouch modeled greed and corruption. The legacy of Pastor Chuck Smith will live on and continue to touch the world for Christ. The legacy of Paul Crouch will promote others of his ilk like Creflo Dollar and Benny Hinn. Pastor Chuck fed the sheep, Paul Crouch fleeced em.