Chuck Misslerby Skip Heitzig
Chuck Missler has been one of the strong threads in the fabric of my spiritual wardrobe. Having been clothed in the righteousness of Christ and learning to “put on the new man” (Ephesians 4:24), I grew in my love and respect for Scripture by the example and teaching of Chuck Missler. I was saved in 1973 in a San Jose apartment after watching Billy Graham on an afternoon telecast. Soon thereafter, I moved back home to SoCal (Southern California) to get plugged into the only church I knew of at that time that was welcoming of young people, Calvary Chapel. Week after week I was nourished by the sound verse-by-verse bible teaching of pastor Chuck Smith, who took us through the entire Bible verse-by-verse and book-by-book. The messages were decidedly absent of junk food — no fluff, just straight up Scripture. We learned to view life through the lens of the scriptural text. While in the midst of pursuing a career in the medical field, someone handed me a set of cassette tapes by a guy named Chuck Missler. I thought I’d give them a listen.
The white plastic package of messages was a series of teachings on the Old Testament book of Daniel. I can only describe the experience of listening to them as “jaw-dropping.” It was an explicit pivot point in my spiritual walk. Every day in my tiny San Bernardino apartment I listened as Chuck unfolded the magnificence of God’s Word — so intricately woven together with precision and providence. The message on Daniel 9 — the backbone of biblical prophecy — was especially profound, so much so, that I decided to memorize it, every date, every number, every name. I would use this information for years to come. Since there were no Chuck Missler books at the time, and since I thought this teaching on Daniel should be in written form, I figured out a plan. I would play each one of those cassette tapes on a variable speed tape recorder at its slowest speed and, for the next few months, type out every recorded message word for word. I’m happy to say I still have the very first Chuck Missler book in existence — a commentary on the book of Daniel, courtesy of my Corona typewriter!
Some time later, living in Santa Ana, I had the privilege of meeting Chuck at church, as he and Nancy always sat in the same section of the church sanctuary for the Sunday evening service. When Nan told me that Chuck was doing a weekly Monday night bible study in the fellowship hall, I quickly made it a weekly staple. I attended and took notes. I invited friends and they took notes. The fellowship hall at church was packed out each week as Chuck shared his unique insights on scripture as only Chuck Missler could. He always insisted that his audience be like the Berean believers of Acts 17:11 who “searched the scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” I will never forget this admonition nor will I forget the frequency with which Chuck quoted it. At that time, he was juggling a full-time career in the business world while trying to meet the demands of his Bible class. It just kept growing as news of this exciting textual luminary got around. People just couldn’t get enough of it. Some nights Chuck would be landing at Orange County airport while I was leading the worship before the Bible study, and he would walk in just in time to pull out loosely scribbled notes he’d made before landing and teach his study without missing a single biblical beat.
Those early days of Chuck’s Monday night ministry sharpened my thinking and shaped the course of my life. As his ministry skyrocketed in the 80’s and 90’s I was church planting in New Mexico, still being fed by Chuck Missler’s ministry by radio. I will always be grateful for the ways he challenged me to see the wonders of the Bible and to mine its depths. I will be even more grateful for his personal friendship over the years, the way he encouraged and supported me, and how he kept pointing me back, not just to the Word of God, but also to the God of the Word.
Senior Pastor, Calvary Albuquerque