Calvary’s Pastor Chuck Smith disputes Pope Benedict’s Catholic ways

We can come to God directly through Jesus Christ. We confess our sins to Jesus. – Pastor and Calvary Chapel founder Chuck Smith


July 16, 2007

COSTA MESA, California – Evangelical pastor and founder of the Calvary Chapel movement, Chuck Smith, fielded several questions about Pope Benedict XVI’s recent approval of a Catholic-centric document during the radio show Pastor’s Perspective today.

Chuck Smith

The document implies that the Catholic church is the only true church and the only true path to salvation.

“I really can’t understand why a person who is reading the word of God and believing the word of God can embrace the teachings of the Catholic church in this matter,” said Smith, who is the pastor of Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, Calif.

In answering a caller to the radio show, who asked why the Pope would make such a statement about the Catholic church, Smith said, “The Catholic church believes your righteousness and salvation is by good works. As Christians, we believe that it is by God’s grace you are saved, not by works.”

The Pope has had a wide spectrum of reaction to his recent approval of a document that states other Christian communities such as Protestants “cannot be called ‘churches’ in the proper sense” since they don’t have what’s known as apostolic succession – that is, the ability to trace their bishops back to the original 12 apostles of Jesus.

It was “difficult to see how the title of ‘Church’ could possibly be attributed to them,” said the statement from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, purporting Roman Catholicism was “the one true Church of Christ.”

While discussing the practices of the Catholic church, including praying to Jesus’ mother Mary, Smith said, “We don’t believe Mary has any value toward praying to God. They also, pray to saints, and we don’t believe that has any value either.

“We can come to God directly through Jesus Christ. We confess our sins to Jesus,” he said.

Pastor’s Perspective can be heard on local Christian radio and


27 thoughts on “Calvary’s Pastor Chuck Smith disputes Pope Benedict’s Catholic ways

  1. For Chuck Smith, doctrine comes out of his own private interpretations of Scripture which has led him to deny the resurrection of the flesh.

    Which is a worse heresy, Chuck Smith explicitly denying the resurrection or Roman Catholics praying to saints for intercession?

  2. Alexander,

    Doug (100th), has been maligning Chuck Smith for years. He’s an eccentric, disgruntled, bitter boned, bound up man who didn’t get his way at church and dogs Chuck every chance he gets. Let him take his resurrected flesh wherever it leads him. Chuck and the rest of us will live eternity in our glorified bodies. Can’t hardly wait.

  3. Don’t all denominations feel as the Catholic Church does? Pastor goes on to say how wrong the pope is which means, he has the truth, not the pope, right? Pastor Chuck’s not speaking for all protestants since he’s got other denominations that believe differently than he does and even contradict his beliefs.

    You cannot remove man from the equation and go straight to Jesus for the truth – thousands of contradictory beliefs have already came out of the protestant notion that we can read God’s word in the bible and find truth without a church.

    History and the bible speaks against the pastor here. Consider that the catholic church put the bible together in 398 and Martin Luther removed 7 books from it in the 15th century. Based on these facts, aren’t all bible Christians putting our faith in both God and man. There is no way around it since Jesus didn’t give us the bible directly. Either Jesus gave us a church we could trust to deliver the written truth (Matthew 16) or it’s all relative and can never know who’s right.

  4. Pastor Chuck Smith is pointing to Jesus, whereas the Pope gives a muddled message putting way to much emphasis on the church. Smith has never said his is the one true church.

    Yes, you can go straight to Jesus for the truth. But be careful not to point to yourself in your efforts at knowing the truth.

  5. I find it hard to believe that anyone can go to Jesus and know the truth. Especially since truth cannot be relative. Martin Luther believed everyone would believe as he did and he quickly found that people didn’t come to the same conclusions he did.

    I think your last sentence refers to “works” which is a great example of a basic belief that many can belief differently on. Romans speaks of works of the Mosaic law and how Gentiles did not need to foolow the Jewish laws to be justified. James speaks of works as good deeds and as necessary to salvation.

    How confused are Christians over this one topic alone? In the end, without an authority on earth granted by Jesus, how can we know truth? It’s easy for you to say “Yes, wou can…” but please explain why history says otherwise.

  6. It seems to me the Pope and Pastor Chuck have something in common. They both think their way is the best “correct” way. It is my understanding that the Catholic Church does believe that you are saved by grace. They both say it is by grace, but…then they qualify that.As for praying to Mary or the saints – hey who cares? Sometimes I think about and pray to my deceased loved ones.

  7. You are right, Pat about grace. I think we believe the same thing but speak of it differently. Catholics recognize that it’s God’s grace that allows us to do any good yet it is first proposed to us in our mind and hearts, then we either respond to it and do it or we say no to it and we don’t. God never steps on our free will. He wants us to choose to do the good or not. Interesting to note how the other reformers struggled with Luther’s view of grace automatically causing the good to happen. I know to well from experience I can say no to it unfortunately (need some more courage at times I think).

  8. Hello guys. First off I really want to apologize for the length of this post, but I have a lot to say about some things I picked up on.
    I was actually raised Catholic and now I have been going to a Calvary Chapel in IL since it was planted about 3 or so years ago, and I have been an evangelical Christian for about 5 years now.
    First things first, I have never heard any Calvary Chapel teacher teach that there is no resurrection of the dead, and it’s hard to see how they could, since our style of teaching is verse-by-verse, precept upon precept, and the resurrection is definantly in the Bible. And my own pastor has taught on it when the subject came up in the texts we were covering. Our bodies will be risen from death and we will put on incorruption. Our bodies will be glorified in Christ as we go with Him.
    Secondly, while I don’t want to sound blindly niave, I believe that Pastor Chuck recognizes that with his role as a Pastor he also has a responsibility to rightly divide the Word of Truth, which can be done. The Epistles, the Gospels and Acts were written and circulated so that all the believers in the Churches, which ARE the saints, could hear them. They were not dumb. They could understand what the apostles were instructing them in.
    You do not have to have a special annointing or a position as a priest to understand the Bible. Everyone interprets everything that happens to them. That’s how we survive. God gave us minds to be able to understand our surroundings, and the information that comes our way.
    Now that doesn’t stop people from misinterpreting things whether it be by a mistake or for their own benefit; taking things out of their context, whether it be the context of the passage that a verse is taken from, the History or culture it was written in, the meaning of the words in the original language, where it was written, ect.
    Also, didn’t Jesus tell us that we would know the Truth, and the Truth would set us free? And that truth is Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I am the Way, THE TRUTH and the Life, NO ONE comes to the Father BUT BY ME” (John 14:6 emphasis added)Jesus said that we do go straight to Him for the truth. And also, I find a lot of times how Catholics take themselves out of the arena of opinions, but the truth is that your opinion is really just another one of the hundreds, and I am just as responsible to Test all things, and to keep that which is good with the Catholic position as I am with all the other views. Also, the Church did not just up and decide in 398 A.D. to determine the Canon. The epistles were passed about throughout the first few centuries to the churches, along with some that were not added to the canon, such as the Clement of Rome’s epistle or the Shepherd of Hermes. The Church recognized which were canonical by there authorship, or close connection to an apostle, their internal integrity and there integrity when compared with already known scripture. In fact, Peter already recognized Paul’s epistles as authoritative along with the other scriptures in 2 Peter 3:16. THe Church recognized by the guidance of the Holy Spirit which books were canonical, and it was more of a process that culminated in the 4th century than it was some immediate decision in 398 A.D. If by the 7 books, you mean the Apocrypha, those books were disputed throughout Church History as to whether or not they were canonical. Even some Popes did not accept them as Scripture. In fact, Jerome, who wrote the Latin Vulgate, did not accept them as canonical. If you are referring to some of the New Testament epistles that Luther was supposed to have thrown out, that can be seen as false as he completed his edition of the Bible in the German Language with all 27 New Testament books intact. It was the Reformation that caused the Catholic Church to dogmatically accept the apocrypha in the Council of Trent as scripture because it could be used to dispute Luther.
    Jesus may not have directly given us the Bible (though He did in a way since He was the God who spoke the Words to the Prophets and Apostles who wrote them down), he did promise the apostles that the Holy Spirit would guide them to all truth. And then he gave the same promise to all believers (John 14-17).
    Also, the Church is not just a teaching institution set above God’s people to teach them and lead them. God’s People are teh CHurch. The original Greek word for Church, is Ekklesia, and it means “called out.” It denoted an assembly of those who were called out, and in with teh Chirstian Church it is all those called out of the World and to God. The Church is the Body of all Believers, the Body of Christ. He promised to give His Holy Spirit to the Church, and all its members. Now its up to its members whether or not they want to rely on the Holy Spirit to help them understand Scripture or whether or not they want to use their own methods and philisophies to try and interpret scripture. The latter is what often causes all those contradictions in opinion. But then again, whats to stop the one individual Catholic from interpreting a Sacred Tradition of the Church differenly than another. In fact, that happens often. Truth does not depend on some kind of absolute Christian Monarch to dictate it and spoon feed it to us. God gave us minds, and He gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us in correctly using our minds to gleen from His infallible, innerant, living and powerful Word what we need to know.
    Also Paul does more than rule out works of the Jewish law. In Romans 11:6 he says “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. In Titus 3:5 Paul rules out even our works done in righteousness. The Bible is pretty clear works do not justify us before God, but from passages such as James 2:14-26, and Galatians 5:22-23, we see that our works will reflect a life and a heart that has been truly regenerated by God. Works are the fruit of salvation, not a root of it. James never says anything about them being necessary to salvation. But from what he does say we can see that when they are not present, some one who SAYS he has faith, yet he has no works to back it up, his life contradicts his talk, then His faith is dead, vain, fake.
    As for the comment made about GOd giving us te grace to do His will, I can’t agree more. Jesus is the author and the finisher of our faith. He who justified us in his Blood is also Sanctifying us by the power of the Holy Spirit. And yes you can go against what the Holy Spirit is guiding you to do, but in time you learn that you just don’t want to do that.

    • That’s freakin’ awesome! I just watched the motion picture “Luther” again; I love that depiction of his life and the Lord quickening Luther’s heart against the evils within the catholic church. I can’t fathom paying an “indulgence” today, to pay for salvation for what Christ already paid for in full! Praise be to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! The way, the truth, the life. Solo de gloria! solo de gratia! As Charles Spurgeon has said: “I know the Lord chose me, for I never would have chosen him.” Here is a man, like Luther that understands/understood TOTAL depravity. I am an ER RN, I’ve never asked a dead person if they wanted epinepherine, if they wanted to be shocked, if they wanted CPR, oxygen etc,,,, Christ loved us while we were enemies of the cross, dead in our transgressions. Jesus said, You did not choose me, I chose you! “Free Will” comes after salvation, not before, dead men don’t make decisions.


    1. WORKS – The Catholic Church does not teach that we are saved by works alone. However, faith without works (& obedience) is dead. (As I recall, this angered Luther so much regarding his self-proclaimed revisionist theology that he said of the apostle James, “Jimmy can burn in hell.”)

    2. CHURCHES IN PROPER SENSE – The pope is not saying that you have to be Catholic to be saved. He is saying that the fullness of the faith is in the original church, the Catholic Church. And those that no longer accept the graces that come from the Sacraments are at a disadvantage in their spiritual formation. So, our Protestant brothers (and others) can be “saved” as the evangelical describes, but they will lack some of the graces, etc. They also don’t have the advantage of tradition and leadership and are therefore more subject to private interpretation (mis-interpretation) of the scriptures.

    3. VALUE OF MARY – Basing a theology of intercessory prayer on a single (one) verse, such as – one mediator between G_d and man, negates concepts such as communion of the saints and actions of angels. I guess that according to Past Smith, we can not ask our guardian angel to protect us. (Does the Book of Tobias belong in the Old Testament? . . . a great book on Raphael and giving credit / glory only to God.)

    • “Where God is not rightly known, He cannot be rightly worshiped!” –Martin Luther. Luther also said, “…for if it is unclear to my what part God had in my salvation, and what part I have, then it will also be equally unclear to me how much glory to ascribe to God, and how much should be attributed to me.” Our God is a jealous God, There is NONE like Him! No angel, no “saint”, no priest or pope! He alone is worthy to be praised, Beyond the trinity, there is nothing intrinsically Holy in any being! Grace alone, leave it alone!

  10. 1 corinthians 11:2 Hold fast to this tradition,
    11:23-32 In the body and blood proclaim his death until he returns.
    Acts 2:46 Daily, For these scripture alone I will never leave the Catholic Church. The Catholick Church holds the body and blood of Christ with much reverence and respect. If Jesus wants this done then that is good enough for me.

  11. Just saying, Holding fast to tradition and continuing with Jesus’ instructions. And again this beautiful 2,000 yr old scripture is why I remain Catholic. I really find it beautiful that Catholics respect this tradition.
    1 Corinthians 11:23-32…And when he had given thanks. He broke it and said, “Take, eat: this is My body which is broken for you , do this in remembrance of Me.”
    in the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you drink this cup, you proclaim the LORD’s death till he comes. Also see, John 6:51-56 “Iam the living bread which came down from haven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?” Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. “Whoever easts My Flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. “For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.

    • As a Christian, I observe the Lord’s Supper every Sunday with my fellow Christians. We do not propose to add any extra-Biblical interpretation that somehow magically the bread becomes the body again, nor the juice or wine his literal blood, again. Christ merely said, do this in remembrance of my, the sacraments of bread and wine were figurative of his own body and blood shed for us on Calvary. When Jesus said bore our sins, and cried out, “Father! Why have you forsaken me!” He felt the pain and separation that you and I inflicted upon Him! He then commanded His Spirit into His Father’s hands, and knowing that He had completed the perfect sacrifice for sins, for all of time, for God’s elect, He announced, “It is finished!” To postulate that we crucify the Lord every time we take communion is absurd, unnecessary, and who would want to repeatedly murder our Lord? Wasn’t a botched trial of an innocent God-man enough?!

  12. What is a Melchizedek Priest? The only thing I can find on him is in Gen 14:18 also, does Bethlehem really mean house of bread? Is Jesus a Melchizedek Priest?

  13. The word Catholic, it just means universal but I am sure you knew that. Alexander, do you have a King James version of the bible? It is my favorite. So interpret away. Your version is always entertaining, please do not skip a verse of scripture.
    Anyway I still think it is beautiful that the Catholic Church holds fast to the 2,000 yr old scripture. 1 corint 11:23-32 , again, the Catholic Church holds this scripture with reverence and respect. Visit a Catholic Church near you any day of the week. Masses are daily, come watch scripture be fulfilled until Jesus returns. Also, see John 6:51-56.

  14. We as Christians believe there is only one absolute truth, and this truth is revealed cover to cover in the Word of God, Bible scripture, showing that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the true Messiah of the Jews and the true and only saviour of humanity.
    The “true church” in the absolute truth of the Bible, is any group of Christian followers of Jesus who follow the teachings of Christ and the Bible as Jesus said, “My sheep know my voice, and they follow me.” We ought to obey God rather than men, or the teachings and traditions of men.
    The “true church” existed from the beginning, when it was first revealed in and by our Lord Jesus Christ and His 12 Apostles, and grew and developed across the pagan Roman Empire in the First Century A.D.
    The Roman Catholic Church was founded by a Roman Emperor, Constantine I, in 314 A.D. by combining the ancient pagan Roman religious system with Graeco-Roman Christianity, in a process known as syncretism, for political purposes, and did not exist before that date. Their claims to the contrary in this regard are false and erroneous, and the Bible makes no provision whatsoever for the office of the Pope, the priesthood, monks or nuns. The existing office of the bishop (overseer or pastor) in Rome, established by the Apostle Paul when he appointed Linus in 62 A.D. was then in the 4th Century elevated to the newly-founded Papacy, as the Roman Church adopted the titles first given to Julius Caesar, as pontifex maximus, or supreme pontiff, the religious leader of the Roman Empire, who also happened to be the political leader as well. The first Pope, Sylvester I, was appointed by Constantine I; and at the time of that event, in 315 A.D., the original Christian church headquarters in Jerusalem was deposed and subjected to imposed Roman Church rule.
    These are matters of history which anyone can verify.

    Mariolatry, the worship of the Virgin Mary, arose within a few hundred years of the founding of the Roman Catholic Church, circa 480 A.D. and was expressly prophesied and condemned by Christ Himself in Revelation 2:20-25 in His prophecy to the church of Thyatira, the prophetic archetype of the Roman Church.

    I was saved in 1970 at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa by the teaching and preaching of Pastor Chuck Smith during the Jesus Movement, and I have seen literally hundreds of miracles performed by the power of the Holy Spirit as a result of the outpouring of God’s Spirit upon all people
    from this powerful witness and testimony ministry of people who followed the Bible teachings of Pastor Chuck Smith. God bless him.

  15. The Catholic Church does not teach that people are saved by works but that it is by God’s grace you are saved, not by works.” Works are a proof that you have faith.James 2:14-26.
    Faith without works is dead.

  16. The enemy has everyone fighting over differences of opinions. We shouldn’t judge, lets wait and let Jesus seperate the wheat from the tare. We should be praying to father about spreading more truth and to sending his saving grace unto all men. The more we fight over denominations the more our advesary has the victory. Our hope and trust should fall only to jesus. All true believers should at least agree that there is no salvation in any other name than Jesus Christ. What ever happened to the fruit of the spirit? Lets get back to the old landmark!What can take away my sins nothing but the blood of jesus christ!

  17. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word WAS God. All things were MADE through Him, and without Him Nothing was Made that was Made. He was in the world, and the world was Made through Him, and the world did not know Him. And the Word Became Flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory,… (John 1:1,3,10,14)

    God did become a man. Jesus is God in the flesh.

  18. Chuck Smith is spreading false information about the Catholic Church. Where did he come up with the statement that Catholics believe that works and not grace get you into Heaven? There is no one on earth that can say they deserve to be in Heaven. It is a Catholic belief that it is only through Jesus Christ and the grace of God that we are welcomed into Heaven.

    On the topic of praying to Mary for intercession, is there any one out there who has never said to someone you care about “I will pray for you”? Or asked “Please pray for me.? If so, you are doing the exact same thing we ask of Mary, to intercede on our behalf, with our Lord. There is biblical evidence of the power of Mary’s intercession. At the wedding of Cana, when Mary tells Jesus that the wine has run out, Christ pretty much tells her that he does not want to get involved saying “Woman, my time has not yet come.” Mary ignores that, and says to the servants, “Do what he tells you”. And thus began Christ’s public life. Who but the Mother has such influence on the Son of God?

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