Sunday, September 03, 2006

"Father, Son and Holy Rift"

One of the biggest evangelical names here in Southern California is Pastor Chuck Smith. “Papa Chuck” founded the Calvary Chapel movement that reached out to the hippie generation of the 1960’s, combined conservative Bible teaching with contemporary style worship, and over three decades has spawned 700 affiliated Calvary Chapels in America and overseas. Yet the movement has recently suffered a generational rift. For according to an article in yesterday’s L.A. Times, Chuck Smith Jr., who pastors a church just 25 miles away from his father, was forced to sever his ties with Calvary Chapel last year for drifting too far from some of the hard line stances of his Pentecostal father, including his views on homosexuality.

During the 1980’s, as an AIDS pandemic exploded, Smith Jr. embraced members of the gay community from nearby Laguna Beach.

The father on homosexuality: ‘It is the final affront against God.’

The son: ‘I met homosexuals who were trying to live celibate lives or be heterosexual, and I heard all about their struggles, and I never wanted to exacerbate that. My heart went out to them. Listening convinced me that homosexual orientation is not something people chose.’

It’s another example of how each successive generation tends to have a more enlightened understanding of homosexuality than the previous one. Even within the conservative church.