What we believe.
To better help people not familiar with the Calvary Chapel ministries understand who we are, we at Calvary Chapel's Bible College developed the following statement of faith, most of which was written by, and all of which was approved by Pastor Chuck Smith, the founder of the Calvary Chapel movement, pastor of Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, and President of the Bible College.
Calvary Chapel has been formed as a fellowship of believers in the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Our supreme desire is to know Christ and be conformed to His image by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are not a denominational church, nor are we opposed to denominations as such, only to their over-emphasis of the doctrinal differences that have led to the division of the Body of Christ.
We believe the only true basis of Christian fellowship is Christ's (Agape) love, which is greater than any differences we possess, and without which we have no right to claim ourselves Christians.
We believe worship of God should be spiritual. Therefore, we remain flexible and yielded to the leading of the Holy Spirit to direct our worship.
We believe worship of God should be inspirational. Therefore, we give great place to music in our worship.
We believe worship of God should be intelligent. Therefore, our services are designed with great emphasis upon the teaching of the Word of God that He might instruct us how He should be worshipped.
We believe worship of God should be fruitful. Therefore, we look for His love in our lives as the supreme manifestation that we have been truly worshipping Him.
We believe in all the fundamental doctrines of orthodox evangelical Christianity.
We believe in the inerrancy of Scripture-- that the Bible, Old and New Testaments, is the inspired, infallible Word of God.
We believe that God is eternally existent in three separate persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We believe that God the Father is the personal, transcendent, and sovereign Creator of all things.
We believe that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully human, that He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, provided for the atonement of our sins by His vicarious death on the Cross, was bodily resurrected by the power of the Holy Spirit, ascended back to the right hand of God the Father, and ever lives to make intercession for us.
After Jesus ascended to Heaven, He poured out His Holy Spirit on the believers in Jerusalem, enabling them to fulfill His command to preach the Gospel to the entire world, an obligation shared by all believers today.
We believe that all people are by nature separated from God and responsible for their own sin, but that salvation, redemption, and forgiveness are freely offered to all by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. When a person repents of sin and accepts Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord, trusting Him to save, that person is immediately born again and sealed by the Holy Spirit, all his/her sins are forgiven, and that person becomes a child of God, destined to spend eternity with the Lord.
We believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit mentioned in the Scriptures, and that they are valid for today if they are exercised within the Scriptural guidelines. We as believers are to covet the best gifts, seeking to exercise them in love that the whole Body of Christ might be edified. We believe that love is more important than the most spectacular gifts, and without this love all exercise of spiritual gifts is worthless.
We believe that church government should be simplistic rather than a complex bureaucracy, and we depend on the Holy Spirit to lead, rather than on fleshly promotion.
We await the pre-tribulation rapture of the church, and we believe that the second coming of Christ with His saints to rule on the earth will be personal, pre-millennial, and visible. This motivates us to holy living, heartfelt worship, committed service, diligent study of God's Word, regular fellowship, and participation in adult baptism by immersion and Holy Communion.
We seek to teach the Word of God in such a way that its message can be applied to an individual's life, leading that person to greater maturity in Christ.
We reject: (1) The belief that true Christians can be demon possessed; (2) "5-point Calvinism" (i.e., a fatalistic Calvinistic view that leaves no room for free will; specifically, we reject the belief that Jesus' atonement was limited, instead we believe that He died for all people, and we reject the assertion that God's wooing grace cannot be resisted or that He has elected some people to go to hell; instead we believe that anyone who wills to come to Christ may do so); (3) "positive confession" (the faith movement belief that God can be commanded to heal or work miracles according to man's will), (4) human prophecy that supersedes the Scripture, (5) the incorporation of humanistic and secular psychology and philosophy into Biblical teaching, and (6) the over-emphasis of spiritual gifts, experiential signs and wonders to the exclusion of Biblical teaching.
In our services, we focus on a personal relationship with God through worship, prayer, and the teaching of the Word of God. We teach both expositorily and topically. We do not allow speaking in tongues loudly during services, nor prophecy while a Bible study is in progress because we do not believe that the Holy Spirit would interrupt Himself. We have specific "after-glow services" and believer's meetings when these gifts of the Spirit may be exercised.
By clarifying some of what we believe at Calvary Chapel, our purpose has been simply to help others less familiar with the movement gain insight into who we are. It has not been our intention to say that we are right and everyone else is wrong, nor has it been our intention to argue our position with any Christian believer. We are content to agree to disagree, and we desire to have nothing but love and fellowship with anyone who calls on the name of our Lord in truth and sincerity .
While there are many additional areas of polity and doctrine we could discuss, and while we could write volumes in an effort to defend all our positions against other positions, this is not our desire. Our desire is to simply adore Jesus, and we invite all God's people to join us as we do so.
On the other hand, there have been people who have started churches and called them Calvary Chapel that hold views and practices very different from what has been described here. In our opinion, it would be better if they would take a different name for their churches that more accurately reflects what they believe and practice so as not to confuse people who are looking for a ministry that is in line with what we have described on the preceding pages.
While many different kinds of people attend and pastor Calvary Chapel affiliated churches, all of the Calvary Chapel leadership (men such as Raul Ries, Greg Laurie, Mike MacIntosh, Jeff Johnson, Jon Courson, Skip Heitzig, Don McClure, Steve Mays, Oden Fong, and Wayne Taylor) agree on the essential elements of this booklet, although their individual styles of ministry, methods of preaching, and visions for outreach vary greatly.
As a potential Calvary Chapel affiliated pastor, we welcome you to start a ministry under the direction of the Holy Spirit and to join our fellowship of independent autonomous churches if you are in harmony with our vision. As an individual believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, we welcome you to our churches and Bible College programs regardless of your background or doctrinal position.
We seek the unity of the Spirit in a bond of peace and love and believe that God has called us to a unique ministry that fulfills His special purpose in this generation. May God bless you as you seek to draw near to Him in love.