Chuck Smith and Cousin Mother Superior (Abbess)
Chuck Smith says he has the same Lord and same Faith
as his cousin - a Mother Superior (Nun/Abbess) in the Roman Catholic Church
Commentary and Transcript By Chris Lawson
(December 5, 2011)
Can two walk together, except they be agreed? (Amos 3:3)
And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. (Mark 3:25)
The purpose of this article is not to malign Pastor Chuck Smith in any way, but rather, to help leaders and listeners of Chuck Smith's messages think through a few things that many today seemingly want to brush under the rug.
Biblical separation or ecumenical confusion?
The Bible very clearly poses a sobering question in the book of Amos, "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" (Amos 3:3). In consideration of this, another Scripture comes to mind, "And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand"(Mark 3:25).
In light of these scriptures, one must consider that for the true born-again believer in Jesus Christ, biblical separation from defiling influences is a way of life, at least, it should be! The biblical standard for Christians is to not be yoked together with unbelievers:
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1)
For over 1500 hundred years the Roman Catholic Church has spawned and manifested manifold doctrinal heresies and moral decay. It is a living example of what the Apostle John saw as being Mystery, Babylon The Great, The Mother Of Harlots And Abominations Of The Earth.
"And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon The Great, The Mother Of Harlots And Abominations Of The Earth. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration." (Revelation 17:1-6)
Based on these few straightforward scriptures, one has to seriously wonder what Chuck Smith (1927-2013) was thinking when he said that he had "the same Lord and same faith" as his cousin who was a Mother Superior (Nun/Abbess) in the Roman Catholic Church. The Jesus of Roman Catholicism is a "Eucharistic" Jesus.
I have a cousin who was a Mother Superior [ABBESS] in the Catholic Church, and uh, she was just a wonderful Christian, loved her and we had great conversations together, and I didn’t try to convert her from Catholicism nor did she try to convert me uh into becoming a Catholic, its just we both recognize that uh you know we have, we had the same Lord, and the same uh faith ya know and so uh we just uh you know on those things we agreed upon we just agreed upon and we didn’t really bring up the things where there were disagreements.
Considering statements, not judging hearts
When Pastor Chuck Smith (1927-2013) made these comments in the transcript below, he was in his right mind and answered many other questions very clearly on this same hour-long radio program with Don Stewart.
While we do not know what actually transpired between Chuck Smith and his cousin, who was apparently in the Roman Catholic Church, Pastor Chuck's statements are pretty clear. In observing things like this, the words of Jesus come to mind about not judging the hearts of others:
Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. (Matthew 7:1-5)
That being said, Jesus also gave sober instruction on how to recognize false converts. We find His following statements in the same chapter as the quote above:
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:13-23)
Mother Superior, Nuns, and Abbesses
The following headings and subheadings are from the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, and explain the role of a "Mother Superior," who is more formally referred to as an Abbess, or, a female superior nun in a Roman Catholic context.
Abbess: Historical origin - Mode of election - Eligibility - Rite of benediction / Authority of the abbess - Confession to the abbess - Protestant abbesses of Germany - Secular abbess in Austria - Number and distribution, by countries, of abbesses
Nuns: Origin and History - Various kinds of nuns - Nuns properly so called - Nuns of the old orders without solemn vows - Religious congregations and pious societies under pontifical authority - Diocesan congregations
The same Lord and the same faith?
Chuck Smith's statement on Pastor's Perspective needs no commentary at all, it is as clear as night and day.
Pastor’s Perspective Radio Program Transcript - 11/10/2011
Begin at Minute 48:10
Don Stewart: All right," back we go to the phones to Orange, California with Ben on the line. Ben welcome to Pastor's Perspective, Hi!
Ben: Hi how are you?
Don Stewart: Fine thank you!
Ben: I uh, I am a loyal listener, I um love going to uh your men’s conferences [Don Stewart: Good!] and I fellowship with a bunch of people at Calvary Chapel's, um I visit Greg Laurie’s Harvest, and I have a question because I sometimes I have a hard time understanding um how I um, communicate with people um of the Protestant faith because I am Catholic, and sometimes we um have communication issues and, they want to get into apologetics and um, you know I love the worship and the fellowship with those - with the different people but um I’m going to hang onto my faith as well, and I am just curios what you think about it.
Don Stewart: Okay, good question there Ben in fact were glad your going to these events we’re glad you listen to this program. Okay Chuck what about that?
Chuck Smith: Ben I have a cousin who was a mother superior in the Catholic Church, and uh, she was just a wonderful Christian, loved her and we had great conversations together, and I didn’t try to convert her from Catholicism nor did she try to convert me uh into becoming a Catholic, its just we both recognize that uh you know we have, we had the same Lord, and the same uh faith ya know and so uh we just uh you know on those things we agreed upon we just agreed upon and we didn’t really bring up the things where there were disagreements.
Don Stewart [Minute 49:42]: Yeah, um again the question is Ben if you love the Lord Jesus, if you’re trusting Him and Him alone for your salvation that’s the key, what are you trusting in, what’s going to get you to heaven is it Jesus and something else or Jesus and Jesus alone and that’s the question that needs to be answered, and of course the Bible said its Jesus alone by grace through faith we’re saved, it’s not of ourselves, not of works lest anyone should boast, cause Chuck it wouldn’t be heaven would it if people were walking around bragging what they’ve done...and uh no peacocks strutin’ around, na na it’d be real miserable we’re not going to see that in heaven. All right let’s go now to Aurora, Colorado and talk to Jay on Pastor's Perspective, Jay welcome to the program...
Accommodating Roman Catholicism, or warning against it?
Chuck Smith saying he has the same faith as his cousin who was a "Mother Superior" in the Roman Catholic Church ought to cause serious alarm to all Calvary Chapel pastors and missionaries. Why? Because Roman Catholicism is not biblical Christianity, the two are in total opposition to each another.
The biblical standard is to warn the flock of God about spiritual dangers, not accommodate them.
"But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand. So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand." (Ezekiel 33:6-8)
Paul the Apostle warned that we are to be "keeping a watchful eye ever open for those" which "cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye [we] have learned; and avoid them [be turning away from them]."
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them [be keeping a watchful eye ever open for those] which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them [be turning away from them]. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches [smooth and plausible address which simulates goodness, and with polished eulogies] deceive the hearts of the simple [are leading astray the innocent]. For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple [pure ones] concerning [with reference to] evil. And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. (Romans 16:17-21)
In relation to false gospels that are qualitatively different gospels and in reality no gospels at all, Roman Catholicism qualifies; it is a works-based belief system that can never provide the true assurance of salvation through trusting in Christ alone for salvation. Paul warned of similar legalistic false gospels and the counterfeit messengers that bring them. This warning was addressed to believers in the province of Galatia:
I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another [qualitatively different] gospel: Which is not another [of the same kind]; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other [qualitatively different] gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other [qualitatively different] gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:6-9)
Chuck Smith said “Catholics are basically Christians too”
Pertaining to Chuck Smith's problematic statement that "Catholics are basically Christians too," the following transcript is from the Pastor's Perspective KWVE 107.9 radio program on November 23, 2011. On this episode Robert Baltodano was filling in for Pastor's Perspective radio show host, Don Stewart.
K-WAVE Pastor’s Perspective Radio Program Transcript - November 23, 2011
(Begin at minute 28:24)
ROBERT BALTODANO (of Generation 242): Alrighty, we’re going to go to Ontario, California and talk to Beverly. Beverly you’re on Pastor’s Perspective. Welcome, you have about a minute left so if you can state your question.
BEVERYLY (CALLER): Yes I have a question. Is it right for a Catholic woman to marry a Christian man even though she’s pregnant with his child?
BALTODANO: All right, pastor Chuck.
CHUCK SMITH: Well I don’t uh see that uh, a th, th, well there’s gonna be difficulty, uh ya know it’s it you know ah but if you can resolve the differences, I don’t think that they’re that great and I think that you’ve probably uh if you’re pregnant with his child you should marry him, and uh, and of course I think that uh, you know its um, ah hh its all right, it can uh, uh you can resolve the differences I and I think that uh it’s it’s uh hehe I know I know of many of of that ya know that, you know you know Catholics are basically Christians too, and uh, so uh, I think that uh ya know what the differences are are much less than uh what a lot of people face and are overcoming in their marriages. [Chuck Smith Jr. cuts in at this point and says...]
CHUCK SMITH JR.: I think the more important questions are, is he a good man and do they love each other?
CHUCK SMITH: M, hmm!
"We're all one," where is that in the Bible?
The following quote from Pastor Chuck Smith saying, “there aren't any real divisions in the Body," and "We're all one," shows us where the root of these ecumenical statements can be found...in Chuck Smith's own theology.
In his 1993 book, Answers For Today (p. 157), Chuck taught, in context (emphasis added):
Paul points out that some say, ‘I’m of Paul,’ while others say, ‘I’m of Apollos.’ He asked, ‘Isn’t that carnal?’ But what’s the difference between saying that or saying, ‘I’m a Baptist,’ ‘I’m a Presbyterian,’ ‘I’m a Methodist,’ ‘I’m a Catholic’? I have found that the more spiritual a person becomes, the less denominational he is. We should realize that we're all part of the Body of Christ and that there aren't any real divisions in the Body. We're all one.
What a glorious day when we discover that God loves the Baptists! - And the Presbyterians, and the Methodists, and the Catholics. We're all His and we all belong to Him. We see the whole Body of Christ, and we begin to strive together rather than striving against one another. But, as long as a person is filled with a haughty spirit, he will show the mark of carnality rather than real spiritual growth and maturity.
Spiritual maturity or spiritual confusion
According to Chuck Smith’s teaching here, “real spiritual growth and maturity” is characterized by those who are “less denominational.” Real spiritual maturity and growth is also shown when one “realize[s] that we're all part of the Body of Christ and that there aren't any real divisions in the Body. We're all one.”
This is spiritual maturity? The apostles thought differently.
In relation to who passes the test of genuine Christian spirituality and doctrinal purity, the apostles said:
For there must be also heresies [factions] among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest [recognized] among you. (1 Corinthians 11:19)
Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. (1 John 2:18-19)
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1)
But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness:. (1 Thessalonians 2:4-5)
Let no man deceive you by any means
Considering all that has been read thus far, one must also take into account that which Paul the Apostle warned would confront the body of Christ one day:
Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-12)
In conclusion, we must never forget that even "the very elect" can be deceived at various times and in varying ways. Jesus warned:
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (Matthew 24:24)
Could it be that "Mother Superior" truly was "born-again" and that she had the right "Jesus?" Or conversely, could it be that Pastor Chuck is seriously misled on ecumenism issue? We don't know about Mother Superior, but we do know that several of Chuck Smith's statements contradict Scripture to quite a large degree.