Pastor Chuck Smith Stuns Radio Listeners By Encouraging Woman To Abort

Operation Rescue urges Calvary Chapel’s Pastor Smith to retract his advice and apologize to his listeners

UPDATE Feb. 17, 2011: We have word from our friends from Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust that a member of that group called the radio program and provided Pastor Smith with the phone number of a physician who handles complicated pregnancies such as Nicki’s without resorting to abortion. Under public pressure, co-host Don Stewart put out a appeal for Nicki to call the station for that number. We have been told that Nicki did in fact call and received the phone number of that physician from the program staff. We pray she gets the help and care she needs to honor both her life and the lives of her pre-born twins. We stand by our statement that Smith’s recommendation of abortion in this case was dead wrong.
Commentary by Troy Newman and Cheryl Sullenger

Costa Mesa, CA — Pastor Chuck Smith, founder of Calvary Chapel, shocked listeners on Tuesday on his “Pastor’s Perspective” call-in radio program when he encouraged a tearful mother to abort conjoined twins.

The caller, who identified herself as “Nicki from Riverside”, indicated that her babies share a body but have two heads and that she was being pressured by her doctors to abort them due to their assessment that the babies would likely not survive the pregnancy or live beyond a day if carried to term. At no time did Nicki indicate how far advanced her pregnancy was or that her life was in danger from the pregnancy.

Choking back tears Nicki told Smith and his co-host Dan Stewart, “My heart does – never wants to have an abortion, but I don’t know what to do. I don’t know — I don’t know what direction to go to right now. I’m really praying hard and trying to believe that the Lord is going to do what He’s going to do with these two little ones, and I don’t know what to do.”

It is obvious to us, with our combined 45 years of experience working with abortion vulnerable women, that Nicki did not want an abortion but was seeking some spiritual affirmation and encouragement that would help her amidst the pressure from her secular doctors to take the lives of her innocent babies. She got none from Smith and Stewart, who told her that God would not condemn her if she chose abortion.

“It’s awfully hard to actually suggest abortion,” said Smith. “But, you know, I’m sure that, uh, in a case like this where the life expectancy is just, you know, is so bleak, and all, that I’m sure that the Lord would not condemn her if she went ahead and had an abortion at this early stage of the development of the fetus.”

(Audio clip of Feb. 8, 2011, radio conversation)

Smith then went on to misuse the Biblical story found in John, Chapter 8, of the woman caught in the act of adultery and taken to Jesus for judgment. Jesus told the crowd who sought to condemn her, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” After the crowd disbanded in shame, Jesus told the woman, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”

The way Smith used this passage, he was implying that abortion is sin, but that if she went ahead and sinned in this case, God would not hold it against her. There is no basis in traditional Christian theology to support Smith’s misuse of this incident in Scripture. Jesus told the woman to “go, and sin no more,” not to continue her sin with the expectation that God would not hold her to account.

While we respect Chuck Smith’s long service to God and his work in reaching the lost for Christ, his advice to Nicki regrettably showed extremely poor pastoral judgment. His answer was dead wrong, and could lead others to sin and error, along with a life-time of grief and remorse.

The Bible never condones the shedding of innocent blood nor does it allow for the taking of life based on the unfortunate circumstance that someone is sick. Instead, the Bible is full of recommendations to pray and fast for the sick.

Smith and Stewart attempted to “clarify” their advice to Nicki the following day on the Pastor’s Perspective broadcast, but in doing so only made a bad situation worse.

(Audio clip of Feb. 9, 2011, radio “clarification.”)

“I am totally opposed to abortion,” stated Smith. “I believe it is a great sin. I do believe that the 50-plus million children that have been aborted in the United State since the Roe verses Wade is one of the greatest sins of America, and I think that we’re going to be judged for it.”

However, in the next breath, Smith betrays his emphatic pro-life confession.

“I do not believe in abortion as it is being practiced today. However, there can be extenuating circumstances,” Smith continued.

Smith and his co-host then go on to completely mischaracterize the conversation with Nicki the previous day.

We hate to use the word “lie” but there is no other term for what the two pastors said next.

“As the lady said yesterday, the doctors were saying that her life was in jeopardy and carrying the babies, er, uh, baby that is in her womb with two heads, that the baby would not be able to survive more than five minutes after the birth, and that her life was jeopardized by it and she has a little two-year old daughter and I would say in a situation like that with these extenuating circumstances, that God would be gracious and forgiving. But that isn’t endorsing abortion at all…I’m totally opposed to abortion for just any reason, but I believe in being reasonable.”

Smith is speaking out of both sides of his mouth. One cannot say that abortion is justifiable with one breath then say that he is not endorsing abortion with the other. This kind of double-talk only serves to create confusion amongst believers. The Bible is clear; innocent bloodshed is not reasonable, it is sin.

As far as his version of Nicki’s story, the audio recording proves that she never said her life was in jeopardy or that the babies could not survive more than five minutes after birth. She repeatedly referred to her babies in the plural sense.

Smith referred to them as a “fetus” on the first day and later as “a baby with two heads,” language that served to dehumanize the twins in much the same way as abortionists do to justify their actions.

“It wasn’t about a deformity there, it was about something being life-threatening,” said co-host Don Stewart who went on to say that Smith was trying to explain her options in a “lose-lose” situation.

It was grieving to hear Stewart in such an obvious and blatantly deceptive damage-control mode.

Perhaps Smith and Stewart have forgotten that God is the Giver of Life that He alone numbers our days. The two men completely discount any thought that these babies might be given to Nicki and her husband to bring glory to Himself.

Take the example of Abigail and Brittney Hansel, conjoined twins that have been the subject of a special on TLC. Abigail and Brittney share one body. A YouTube video clip shows them celebrating their 16th birthday, each getting a driver’s license, and discussing the possibility of one day being mothers.

The girls are shown on another video clip answering questions about their condition. “How did you get this way?” one of the girls read off a list. “God made us this way,” answered the other.

Yes, God made them that way, and he made Nicki’s twins the way they are. If God decides to take their lives before birth or decides to give them long, productive lives like the Hansel twins, that is up to Him. It is not up to us to stand in the place of God and dictate the time and matter of death of innocent human beings, created in His image. Scripture calls that murder.

The least Smith and Stewart could have done was refer Nicki to a peri-natal hospice, such as the one operated by Choices Medical Clinic in Wichita, Kansas. Programs like these counsel families facing terminal diagnoses for their pre-born babies. They help the families cope with the stressful days ahead, support families through the grieving process, facilitate healing all the while allowing the families to show their babies dignity and love during their short lives.

Smith and Stewart owe their listeners a true Biblical perspective. We understand that people make mistakes, but when a mistake is made, we expect men of integrity own up to it and to do what they can to make it right. These men owe Nicki and their listeners a retraction and an apology.

Given the devastating consequences that could follow Pastor Smith’s unbiblical response to Nicki’s situation, perhaps he is at a time in his long and illustrious career that he should consider refraining giving further extemporaneous advice on call-in shows like Pastor’s Perspective.

Learn more about Peri-Natal Hospice Programs.

Hat tip to Tim & Terry Palmquist

  • Trev Zero

    well Youell, year and a half later and still up?
    i have a feeling that people who rage agajnst this article may be CCites. led to believe that everything except antiTraditional, antiAmerican, sterilized buildings of music and pastoral-centered meetings where partial counsel from the Scriptures is taught with a pseudo-intellectualism based on Young post-Renaissance theology is exactly what the Early Church looked like…..its why their apparently dangerous Whosoever movement is so entertainment-consumerism oreinted…..and they attack the pope who is very humble and compassionate Christ lover and exalt Pope Chuck. and they call him Papa (Pope) Chuck……very contradictory……

  • Trev Zero

    michael adrianna and frank: well said
    FOR SELFISH AMERICANIZED CONSUMERS! what u say about this is very consistent with your view of GOD and the visible Church He started through the Apostles…u believe anyone that says they are “called” and seem “gifted” to teach (from a little but of charisma, a synoptical knowledge of
    scripture and a tiny bit about church history minus ad 95 to 1500….) is then
    really appointed by Christ to be a pastor……DIVISION NEVER PRODUCES MORE UNITY OF FAITH, but LIKE MUTATIONS THAT THEY ARE ALWAYS PROMOTE MORE DISVISION, DISAGREEMENT, AND DISORDER. ESSENTIALLY DENOMINATIONS ARE DIVORCES that continue to promote more cancerous division……now read about SAINT GIANNA BERETTA MOLLA who sacrificed her life for her unborn….who
    still lives today…( Dr. Gianna Emanuela, her daughter , Italy )

  • Trev Zero

    ed smith? your reasoning is illogical.your dediction is based on that…all medical is sin because murdering BABIES is WRONG?????? DID NOT I THE LORD MAKE THE DEAF AND DUMB…..HEY ED DID HE MAKE MURDERERS TO MURDER…..or did jesus say he made them dead and dumb for HIS GLORY THAT THE POWER OF GOD WOULD BE MANIFESTED TO CONFOUND THE WISE……????????

    a broken bone and murdering a baby? really? ( or as some call fetuses )

    think again, take a deep breath and think. the hurting will subside.

  • Trev Zero

    Chely! good

  • Charles

    Michael, who wrote on Aug.21,2012, is “PERFECTLY,absolutely correct !!
    ” He, who is without sin, cast the first stone”, at Pastor Chuck! Remember, Jesus said that ! Every judgemental post in this last year—should be ASHAMED !!! You are definitely, hippocrates, liars, and very small life forms….

  • Trev Zero

    jesus did not say that concerning schismatic-heretical doctrinal error. he spoke to the individual. I myself am not the leader of 50000+ non-denom calvary chapelites, born from foursquare, from Luthers rebellion. If teachers of the Way are not united in the protestant front, how valid is this unity….the Life in the Womb is not a “Grey” area in Scripture. Abortion is a pagan practice. the Bereans were commended by Christ through the Apostles for checking doctrinal error. the Early church had accountability in place for doctrinal error. Non-denominational monarchies: do they? with pastor-appointed board of directors?

  • Trev Zero

    …and so you cast your own stones with name calling. “small life forms”. are we not all His image and Creation? Jesus delegated His Kingdom’s authority to faithful stewards in the Early Church to be repeated and not
    defeated to all generations. (hades will not prevail) hypocritical?

  • Robert Young

    Don Stewart,

    We listened to you a few nights ago, you said the Jewish people survived but other small tribes of people disappeared. Did these tribes/nations write as much as the jewish people did?

    Thank You,

    Robert Young

  • ChuckSoWrong

    Chuck Smith is soooooo wrong on this! Abortion is murder; murder, Chuck!! Who are you to make an out of hand decision to advise that poor, hurting woman to abortion a living child. Is it alright because it has a deformity? It might not go full term, or die shortly after birth? All of this is in God’s hands, certainly not Chuck Smith’s. Oh by the way, Chuck, there are any number of conjoined twins living fruitful lives; it’s a good thing their mothers didn’t listen to pastors warped prospective.

  • Rambler

    Trevor you are a dush bag!!!!!!

  • Joey

    Wow, can’t come up with your own ministry to reach the lost so you spend countless hours trying to find fault with someone else’s. Smith is in his mid eighties and might make a mistake hear and there. He never claimed to be the final say but always encouraged followers to go to the Word. Some of the posts on this article sounds like jealous, self-righteous pharisees. Little dogs barking at a big dog. Sad.

  • Matt Lambert

    I think it is tragic that some people spend more time attacking the body of Christ rather than being a “city on a hill,” as we are commanded to be. We should use our efforts to reach the lost, not attack our brothers and sisters. I am very much against abortion, and I don’t like it when people choose to play God and decide a life should be ended because it might not be healthy. But there are extreme cases, such as the one presented in this story, that I believe it is an act of love and compassion for the babies to not have to endure the pain and suffering if they were brought to term. In any case, Abortion, as horrible as it is, is not a sin that God can’t forgive us for. Oh how easy it is for us to cut the heads off of other people who make mistakes we haven’t or mistakes that as a man we can’t physically make with our own bodies. I’m tired of this kind of hate speech. Don’t attack others in the body in this manner. Calling Chuck Smith out is not an act of love.

  • Trev Zero

    not an act of love to be Bereans, to find out if those among us are of the Apostles Teaching and Word of God……

    yet you arrogantly sit on your god throne and say:

    “I believe it is an act of love and compassion for the babies to not have to endure the pain and suffering if they were brought to term. In any case, Abortion, as horrible as it is, is not a sin that God can’t forgive us for.”

    is it murder FIRST and then Compassion

    or Compassion then MURDER…..

    jesus christ is not schizophrenic in hos thinking as you appear to sound.


  • Trev Zero

    BTW joey. it does not take countless hours or detract from a compassionate and Christ-like Ministry to listen to KWave clips for 5 minutes.

    Was Chuck Smith speaking for Jesus Christ when he gave this advice.
    i do not hate Chuck Smith for saying this. We believe he is committing grievous error by counseling this. It is the antithesis of Scriptural counsel on life in the womb being His doing….

  • Daniel

    Pastor Chuck is right. The baby wouldnt survive 5 minutes after birth, and the mothers life was in jeopardy. If we are to choose one to live we need to choose the mother not the baby.

  • Joseph Bartek

    Pastor Chuck had been battling lung cancer for 5 years. He is an older man who has done more for Christ than many of us can dream of and if he misunderstood the woman and suggested abortion in her special case would be alright then do not condem him!

  • Mecca Wrecka

    wow, no criticism for the late Chuck Smith or Don Stewart, but maybe I would have said that I simply don’t think it’s my place to advise on a life-or-death situation, but that we would pray earnestly that God give the mother wisdom and then peace about her decision, whatever it is.

  • Trevor Sines

    Mecca. Neither is it Don Stewart’s place to counsel a medical issue, let alone a spiritual one, nor was it Chuck’s? I believe they, many pastors like Chuck, sit themselves in seats like those of historic bishops that have succeeded the Holy Apostles but deny the power and responsibility thereof. the bishop is counted with double honor and is accountable for the souls of their flocks as Christ’s appointed shepherds. Chuck double-talked this situation as the authors above pointed out. Will God give someone peace about a decision contrary to Christ’s teaching?Joseph? Chuck said two opposite things regarding this “special case.”I think all abortion is sin” “I think there are extenuating circumstances.” I always got this ignorant rhetoric from Calvary pastors. Too proud to say I dont know? too used to being seeker sensitive on moral issues? too afraid to condemn birth control as Chuck and all of his misinformed, misaligned teachers underneath him? If you compromise on one issue, why not the other? Contraception is the initial abortifacient to the marriage and then the family which corrupts the entire body of seekers whom you teach.

  • Trevor Sines

    A CC pastor says come to my church and receive Christ by faith, the way we believe it. be a partner, because we dont like to use the word “member.” We have a board who decides financial and logistical errors under the COO, which is the pastor. So you really must adhere to the doctrine of the denomination of CC or you will be asked to leave, and by ask I mean you may not dissent your opinion publicly or the cops will be called on you for trespassing as many have discovered. BUT THEN, you are taught that the Hoy Spirit ALONE will teach you the BIBLE (LUTHERS GRAVE SIN that all protestants follow) as you read it alone for yourself, but you still must agree with CC interpretation and force the HOLY GHOST to adhere to their interpretation, whatever it is on. There is no room for yours. ask the thousands of X CalvaryChapelites. CC like all protestantism and its 30,000+ other divisions, schisms, and tumors, is CHAOS masquerading as liberated Christianity. The answers the Seeker in Christ Jesus seeks are in the historic and modern Eastern Orthodox Church. Do your agonizing in the Word and The Word of The Good Tradition of our Preeminent Apostles Peter and Paul. This is adherence to the Holy Scripture. Read it and see.

  • Trevor Sines

    what an intelligent and informing rebuttal. thanks. Christ be with you.

  • Trevor Sines

    devoted themselves to encouraging people in Christ our Lord. Which Christ? If you ever decide to read relevant Church history and teaching, you may find that the Apostles, and the successors they laid hands on, would have considered Chuck anathema.

  • Trevor Sines

    then you really would not have liked the prophets when they came into town to deliver truth of the Word of the Law from God. Christianity is not an appeasement of Hippy preachers accepting everyone and telling them they can interpret Scripture themselves and then hypocritically saying BUT YOU MUST AGREE WITH what the Holy Spirit tells us about how we feel scripture must read.

  • Trevor Sines

    I am searching for your comment or input on here regarding the issue. I cannot find it. BTW, what is a “dush bag”?

  • Trevor Sines

    One cannot counsel another to go ahead and make a forgivable mistake. This itself is a sin that requires an act of penitential repentance. Do we counsel people to sin knowing that he will forgive anyway?