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Page history last edited by MrTundraMan 11 years, 3 months ago

Chuck Smith taught Jesus would return in 1981


This page documents the false predictions from Chuck Smith's own writings.


Quote from Chuck's Own Hand


In principle, Chuck Smith rejects setting a date for the return of Jesus Christ and he has even condemned other ministers for their date setting. For instance, Chuck Smith said:


So Jesus is saying that no man knows the day, or the hour, only the father. So that anyone who presumes to know the day or the hour is making an unbiblical presumption. But there are many people who try to explain away," this, no man knows the day or the hour," and try to proclaim that they do know the day or the hour. But they fall in that category of false prophets. (Tape 5189 transcribed here and also here). 


This page examines whether Chuck Smith contradicts his own teaching on date setting. By his own words, Chuck Smith is a false prophet since he did name a date.


Are There Speculative End Times Books by Chuck?


In a number of his books and messages, Chuck Smith taught that Jesus would return by May of 1981. When the May prediction failed the date was moved to December 31, 1981. Three of the books are documented here including "Future Survival", "Snatched Away", and "End Times". Quotes from each of these books will be examined as well as their immediate context.


Quotes From Future Survival


Future Survival, ©1978, was published by The Word For Today. See pages 7, 17, 20, 21, 22, 49, 53, and 67. Some of the quotes are included below:




Page 17



Page 20


Page 21






Page 49

© 1978 The Word For Today - Brief quotations included for review purposes only.


Quotes From Snatched Away


Another one of these books was Snatched Away on pages 23 and 45 of the ©1976, 1980 edition.









Page 45










Page 23

© 1976, 1980 The Word For Today - Brief quotations included for review purposes only.


Quotes From End Times


This was all based on a flaw in understanding of Matthew Chapter 24 and the fig tree illustration. In his book, End Times, © 1978, Chuck Smith provided a 3rd grade math example for the reader. An excerpt from page 35 follows:









Page 35

© 1978 The Word For Today - Brief quotations included for review purposes only.


Clearly these speculations have proven to be incorrect. However, many prophecy teachers have just changed the 1948 to be 1967 and now get 2000 as the date for the rapture. That's the big fad that we are in now. Smith himself includes the 1967 escape clause (just in case 1981 did not work out) in his book End Times:



Page 35 bottom



Page 36 top

© 1978 The Word For Today - Brief quotations included for review purposes only.


Radio Program Quote - Dec 1996


In more recent times, Chuck Smith has denied that he ever set a date for the return of Jesus Christ.


A caller to the To Every Man An Answer radio program on KWVE, on 12-27-96 asked Chuck Smith a question about date setting and Calvary Chapel.


... at some point there was a prediction of Christ's return via Calvary Chapel - is that real; some years ago? is that; did that happen?


Smith responded with:


No. Uh, never, we all, we do believe he's going to return soon, and, uh, but, and but never any date. No. No. No. Never any date. Because no man knows the day or the hour. I believe he's going to come this next year, but (laughter) you know...


Hear Smith for yourself.


Smith criticizes others for date setting

There have been numerous attempts by Chuck Smith to criticize other Christian ministers for naming a date. These are documented in several places.


For instance, in the book Dateline Earth: Countdown to Eternity, © 1989, on page 26, Smith wrote:


A well-meaning Christian wrote a well-publicized book in which he explained why the rapture would occur in September 1988 (Edgar Wisenant). He had 88 reasons to support his contention, and backed up his claims by the fact that the was a former NASA engineer, accustomed to solving complicated mathematical mysteries. He was certainly well-intentioned --- including about his revised prediction of September 1989, when September 1988 came and went --- but he was also dead wrong.


In the same book, on page 26, Smith also wrote about the Jehovah's Witnesses:


The Jehovah's Witnesses, for example, thought the world was sure to end in 1914. When it didn't happen, they merely moved the date up a few years.


Pastor David Hocking criticizes other date setters


Chuck Smith was out of town Sunday Morning, 22 June 1997. In his place was David Hocking. From the Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa pulpit on David Hocking admitted that:


I was in a conference in New York with Dave Hunt recently and he said something very provocative about the lack of interest in prophecy. He went back a few years especially in the early days when Calvary Chapel was beginning. How excited we were. Oh, some of the prophecy preachers got a little out of hand and those plagues like Revelation 9 were Vietnam helicopters and you know we sort of started dating things and we were even told that a generation is fourty years, and when Israel became a nation in 1948 it would be fourty years and then the Lord would come. So we back it up seven. So the rapture is coming in 1981. I've met people all over this country who believed that, followed that, anticipated that. It did not come and as a result many of them bombed out, dropped out, copped out; they're not around anymore.


Hear Hocking say it.


So have we, David, that's why we wrote this page.


What was the response of the church "members" to 1981 date?


Lot's of people were with Chuck on that final midnight New Year's Eve at the end of 1981 who went home disappointed. Some of our friends were there and they left the faith not long after that. This page is dedicated to our memories of them.


When we first brought up this subject in the newsgroup, the pastors there denied that Chuck had ever named a date. Then when confronted with the proof they backed off and one of them claimed that it was never taught, but was just presented as a marvelous possibility.


Bill Alnor's Book


Chuck Smith's failed date setting for the second coming of Christ was also covered in a section of Bill Alnor's book titled Soothsayers of the Second Advent, © 1989, on pages 41-42. Here's the section from the book.





Page 41




Page 42

 From endnotes


Alnor quotes the Future Survival passage where Smith uses equivocal language, where Smith wrote: "I could be wrong, ...", and excludes the unequivocal passages in the other books. This was a private interview between Alnor and Chuck Smith. To be clear, the author of the book, Bill Alnor (now deceased) had a Calvary Chapel affiliated Bible Study. Alnor's book paints a soft soap version of reality.


Additionally, Smith would never teach anything as "scriptural dogma". How would one tell when Smith was teaching "scriptural dogma"? This is a distinction that has no difference.


Bottom Line : Chuck Smith blames it on Hal Lindsey


Did Chuck send the book royalties that he received to Hal Lindsey? After all, if it's really Hal's teaching...


Yet, 30 Years Later - Chuck Smith still hangs out with Lindsey and does end times speculations


This was a set of videos from 2009 where Don Stewart interviewed Chuck Smith and Hal Lindsey.


As of 2-2013 these videos have been removed from the Internet.



Objections to these Points


There have been some objections to our points here. They are covered in the following sections.


That was years ago


Smith is still doing the same end times speculations now.



Smith Did Not Actually Name a (specific) Date


This is partially true. Although Smith did not name a date in the style of say, Sept 12, 1981, he still did name a date in a real sense of the phrase. Smith said that Jesus would return by May 1981, and when that failed the date was updated to Dec 31, 1981.


To try another view on this, let's examine another Dispensational work on the subject of date setting.


We have some "new" materials on this one. One of them, is a book that we picked up at the SCC library that was written in 1929 by Anthony Zeoli named The Second Coming of Christ. This book is (or course) heavily Dispensational in it's theme. He does have an interesting paragraph on pages 34-35 that say (in part):


Does Anyone Know the Hour of Christ's Coming?

Beware of fanaticism. Beware of those who give dates, the year, the month, etc. Setting dates for Christ's coming has brought shame and reproach to this blessed truth. Many folks made fun of it, because of a few fanatics who have set dates and then suffered disappointment. Beware of setting the time.


The fact that Chuck Smith placed a terminus date (i.e., Jesus will come back before the end of 1981) sets the date. Certainly it sets the date as no later than December 31, 1981 and that's why the church was full that night (and went home disappointed). The day that our pastor had taught would be the final day for their existence on the earth, came and went.


But Chuck Smith Used Equivocal Language in his Prediction...


The denial that Smith made on tape above was that he never taught it. It would be sufficient for Chuck Smith to admit that he taught it, and was in error because he misunderstood the Scriptures. This is problematic for Smith as his authority rests on correct interpretation of the Scriptures. That is why, to some people, this very point is so devastating. If Chuck Smith could have been wrong on that one point, then what other things is he also wrong about now?


As another counterpoint, in the past Smith has also made exactly the same sort of equivocal statements about the teaching of the rapture itself and yet it is now part of the official doctrine of the church.


Are there Speculative End Times Books By Chuck?


Yes. Chuck Smith has a number of speculative end times books. Some of these include:



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