At the end of Peter’s second letter he says these words.
You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
There seems to be a double standard that is becoming more prevalent these days (that’s what the picture of the sweet & sour pork is for, get it?). I was going to say “popular” but that’s not quite right. It just is and it’s disturbing. The double standard is this; stand up for truth but don’t be divisive. Declare what is right, what you are for, but don’t talk about what you are against and be divisive. It is as though the expectation is that by only talking about love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness we will build unity and grow, but if we walk about the dangers of false doctrines and unbiblical practices we no longer care about love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness, and we are divisive, closed minded anti-tradition traditionalists.
There seems to me to be an either/or mentality. You are either for things and are on the right track, or you are against things and on the wrong track. I believe the Bible teaches that we are to teach both. Both are required. One comment I read on a blog asked if we are on a journey, learning, growing, and loving, or if we are a guard on the wall of a fortress keeping the enemy out. The Biblical reality is that we are both. We are sojourners, we are pilgrims, we are nomads in this world. Not only that but we are in enemy territory. Our citizenship is not of this world. So while we are nomads on a journey we also post guards to keep from being robbed or killed. As shepherds we lead the sheep to green pastures while watching out for wolves. But what is happening now is some say we are either one other the other, and keeping guard and keeping the enemy out is bad and divisive.
This is what is playing out in the Calvary Chapel fellowship of churches as we speak. It concerns me. Why? Well, while it won’t effect me personally or the church I pastor, it will effect a lot of things, many we can’t see at this point. In some ways we are at a “proof is in the pudding” point. We are at that third generation point in CC. We have been riding on coat tails and it is soon going to be apparent if our momentum is in the Spirit or if it is in man, or in one man in particular. That man being Pastor Chuck Smith.
My point in discussing what I’m about to discuss isn’t about Pastor Chuck per se, rather it is about the reactions to various decisions he has made and opinions he has expressed. See, back in the day of the Jesus scene, Chuck was all about the love. Jesus wasn’t harsh and judgmental of sinners, He came to save them. He didn’t come for those who were well but those who were sick. This, the power of the Spirit in the life of the believer, and the end times were the main thrusts of Chuck’s preaching and teaching. They still are. As they should be. No question.
However, when some within CC rose up and were putting an emphasis on some practices, Chuck said, “That isn’t us. This is who we are. If you want to do that, you are free to go do that.” He didn’t condemn those who left, but he did teach what was right concerning those practices. Over the years Chuck also taught on doctrines and practices that weren’t Biblically sound. Word of faith, cults, the occult, etc. In all of this Chuck taught people the love, grace, mercy and forgiveness of God, how to love and serve one another, and he taught people what to watch out for.
Recently Pastor Chuck has taken some very public positions on some things that have been happening in the Christian community. Specifically, Rick Warren and the Purpose Driven books, the Emergent Church (with regard to the errant theology), he has been re-emphasizing the pre-trib rapture and literal millennium end times view, and has also been coming against strict Calvinism (the kind that goes beyond sovereign election and ignores man’s responsibility to choose).
Reactions in the CC community have run from blindly following to outright opposition. Those who blindly follow to do what Chuck does and say what Chuck says without considering the issue for themselves. I don’t think that’s a good thing. We shouldn’t just swallow anything from anyone no matter who it is or how much we respect them. Those who are outright oppositional seem to be saying that the only thing Chuck is about now is what he is against, that his legacy will be division and opposition. I think that’s ridiculous.
Peter’s warning to the beloved was, “Beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked.” Beware. Watch out. Keep your guard up why? Because we are supposed to be steadfast and we might fall away from that. Not from salvation
NOTE – Somehow the ending of this post got erased. I remember writing it and posting it, and I think seeing it after it posted. But it isn’t there now. I don’t remember how it ended unfortunately. Al I can remember was that Peter tells us to both beware and to grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Doing one isn’t to the exclusion of the other. At times one may need to be emphasized, but that doesn’t mean the other has been abandoned. Sorry about the technical glitch.