Pastor Chuck Smith, Calvary Chapel Founder, Dies of Lung Cancer at 86

Oct 03, 2013 02:16 PM EDT
Pastor Chuck Smith 1927 2013  <br/>
Pastor Chuck Smith (1927-2013)

Pastor Chuck Smith, founder of the Calvary Chapel movement, died early this morning. Smith, 86, passed away Thursday after a long battle with lung cancer.

"My beautiful, beloved, darling Daddy is in Heaven. He has heard the words, 'Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.' Matthew 25:21," his daughter Janette Smith Manderson posted on Facebook early this morning.

Smith have played an important role in the evangelical movement in the country, he's remembered as a leader of the Jesus Movement during the 1960s and 1970s. Pastor Chuck began pastoring at Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, Calif., in 1965, and was known for his less formal and contemporary approach to worship and church services.

Pastor Chuck also reached out to hippies and others in the counterculture when many other traditional evangelical churches did not. 

"He led a movement that translated traditional conservative Bible-based Christianity to a large segment of the baby boom generation's counterculture," Brad Christerson, a Biola University sociologist who studies charismatic churches in California, told Christianity Today. "His impact can be seen in every church service that has electric guitar-driven worship, hip casually-dressed pastors, and 40-minute sermons consisting of verse-by-verse Bible expositions peppered with pop-culture references and counterculture slang."

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Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Fellowship Church in Riverside, who began the ministry under Chuck Smith's leadership, stated in his blog, "Rarely does a man come along that impacts a generation, but Chuck Smith was that man. He certainly impacted my life."

Laurie's blog includes a link to an interview with Pastor Chuck Smith.