Calvary Chapel founder Chuck Smith goes home

Thursday, October 3, 2013
Becky Yeh - California correspondent (

One of the nation's best-known evangelical leaders has passed away. Chuck Smith, pastor and founder of the Calvary Chapel movement, died early this morning.

COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) - The Rev. Chuck Smith, an evangelical leader who embraced and fostered the 1970s Jesus movement, has died at the age of 86 after a 21-month battle with cancer.

Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, Calif., announced the death of its pastor on its web site. The church says Smith "passed into eternity peacefully in his sleep" before dawn Thursday.

Chuck Smith founded Calvary Chapel in 1965. His church's openness to hippies and spiritual seekers helped it grow exponentially and become an incubator for contemporary Christian music. 

Under Smith's leadership, Calvary Chapel went on to launch hundreds of churches nationwide.

This past Sunday, seated and with difficulty breathing, Smith preached his final sermon, titled "Be Strong in the Faith." In his closing prayer, Smith said, "It doesn't matter what the prognosis is. We know, Lord, that you are able. And we're trusting, Lord, in you."

Smith, 86, passed away Thursday after a battle with lung cancer. Pastor Alan Esses shares with OneNewsNow his favorite memory of the beloved pastor.

"I remember one time, recently, where he would stand at the door. People would come out of the church. He had just finished teaching or someone else had just finished teaching and he would stand at the door, holding onto the door, or someone would give him a chair, but he would still meet the people, hug the people, love God's people, which shows the love of Jesus Christ."

Smith was diagnosed with cancer in 2011. Known for his expository teaching through the Bible, Smith began his ministry reaching out to hippies in the 1960s. Over the years, Smith saw the birth of Calvary Chapel during the Jesus Movement in the 1960's and early 1970's. The Calvary Chapel movement includes roughly 1,600 churches in the United States and overseas.

"Just how gracious and kind he was – always – to me and my family and to countless others."

Smith, who also founded Maranatha! Music, was born in 1927 to a Bible-believing mother and a father who was a salesman. He grew up in Southern California and went to Bible college and started working as a traveling evangelist before pastoring several churches.

We moderate all reader comments, usually within 24 hours of posting (longer on weekends). Please limit your comment to 300 words or less and ensure it addresses the article - NOT another reader's comments. Comments that contain a link (URL), an inordinate number of words in ALL CAPS, rude remarks directed at other readers, or profanity/vulgarity will not be approved. More details




How much lasting impact do you expect from the Project Veritas Action videos?





Latest: Early voting surges in race's closing stretch
Trump to-do list: Speech to lay out agenda for 1st 100 days
Anthem singer at Heat-76ers game kneels during performance
Cameroon train crash death toll as high as 73, rescuers say
Race in GOP-friendly Missouri could determine Senate control
Over 50K evacuated in typhoon's path in southern China
Police arrest 35 suspected members of a Long Island gang
Texas school bus crash injures 19, including 16 children


Stop Hillary PAC spends $1M in swing states to remind voters about Benghazi
Gravely illegal act: China blasts US over destroyer's passage
Trump to make 'Gettysburg Address,' and reveal vision for his 1st 100 days in office
Clinton vs. Trump: The Supreme Court
WSJ: On SCOTUS, Trump has 'superior grasp' on Constitution, while Clinton's views threatens liberty


Cartoon of the Day


Growing orphan crisis demands awareness

Global conflicts, AIDS and child trafficking are some of the problems that have generated a large number of orphans. One organization is trying to draw attention to the plight of older children who need to be adopted.