We believe that the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God, fully inspired (“God breathed out” the original words of the Bible) without error (inerrancy) and the infallible rule (the authority of the 66 Books of the Bible cannot be broken) of faith and practice. The Word of God is the foundation upon which the church operates and is the basis for which the church is governed. We believe that the Word of God supersedes any earthly law that is contrary to the Holy Scriptures. (Isaiah 28:13; Nehemiah 8:8; John 10:34-35 and 17:17; 2 Timothy 2:15 and 3:16-17; Ephesians 4:12; Hebrews 4:12; 1 Peter 1:23-25; 2 Peter 1:3-4 and 1:19-21; Matthew 5:18 and 24:35; Acts 17:11 and 20:27; Revelation 19:9 and 21:5 and 22:6)
We believe that there is one living and true GOD, eternally existing in three persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, equal in power and glory; that this triune God created all, upholds all, and governs all things. (Genesis 1:1; Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 44:8 and 48:16; Matthew 28:19-20; John 10:30; Hebrews 1:3)
- We believe in the person of God the Father, an infinite, eternal, personal Spirit, perfect in holiness, wisdom, power and love; that He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of men; that He hears and answers prayer; and that He saves from sin and death all those who come to Him through Jesus Christ. (Deuteronomy 33:27; Psalms 90:2; Psalms 102:27; John 3:16 and 4:24; 1 Timothy 1:17; Titus 1:3)
- We believe in the person of Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, conceived by the Holy Spirit. We believe in His virgin birth, sinless life, miracles and teachings, his substitutionary atoning death, bodily resurrection, ascension into heaven, perpetual intercession for His people and personal, visible return to earth. (Isaiah 7:14; Micah 5:2; Matthew 1:23; Mark 16:19; Luke 1:34-35; John 1:1-2, and 8:58 and 11:25; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 1:8; 1 John 1:2; Revelation 1:8)
- HOLY SPIRIT
- We believe in the person of the Holy Spirit, Who came forth from the Father and Son to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and to regenerate, sanctify and empower for ministry all who believe in Christ. We believe the Holy Spirit indwells every believer in Jesus Christ and that He is an abiding helper, teacher, and guide. The supreme evidence of the Spirit filled life is the fruit of the Spirit, love. We believe in the present day ministry of the Holy Spirit in regard to the exercise of all biblical gifts of the Holy Spirit according to the instructions given to us in 1 Corinthians chapters 12, 13 and 14. (Acts 1:8; 2 Corinthians 3:18; John 16:8-11; Romans 8:26 and 15:13,16; Hebrews 9:14, John 6:13, 14:16-17 and 16:8-11; Romans 8:26)
SIN & SALVATION
We believe that all people are sinners by nature and choice, falling short of God’s standard and breaking His commandments – and therefore are under condemnation and God’s righteous judgment. Yet God saves and regenerates or gives new life to all who come to Him in repentance and faith by the Holy Spirit, trusting in the Person and work of Jesus Christ as they repent of their sins and confess Jesus Christ as Lord. At the cross, Jesus Christ died in our place as our substitute, absorbing God’s wrath that should have come upon us. Because Jesus died for the sins of the world the invitation to believe is open to all, and whoever desires may come unto Jesus for new life and the forgiveness of sins. Our assurance of salvation is based on the perfect and complete salvation God has provided for us through trusting in Jesus Christ. (Acts 3:19 and 20:21, Ephesians 2:1-10, 1 John 2:2 and 5:13; John 3:16, and 5:24, and 10:28; Matthew 11:28, Revelation 22:17, Acts 8:15-17; Romans 3:23 and 5:8 and 10:13; Titus 3:5)
We believe in the pattern and principle of male leadership and responsibility in both the home and the church, according to the sacrificial example of Jesus. We believe this limits the roles of pastoral leadership and doctrinal authority to qualified men. We believe in the universal church, the living spiritual body, of which Christ is the head and all who are born again are a part of the Body of Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1-12 and 12:12-13; 1 Timothy 2:1-15; Ephesians 4:15-16)
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ instituted two ordinances for the church: (a) full immersion water baptism of believers, and (b) the Lord’s Supper. Though they are not the means of salvation, both of these two ordinances visibly and tangibly express the gospel, both of which are open to all believers in Jesus Christ. We believe that baptism is done in obedience to the Lord and is done once receiving salvation, and that communion is to be done regularly in remembrance of the Lord’s sacrifice on the cross for our sins. (Matthew 28:19; Luke 22:19-20; Acts 2:38; 1 Corinthians 1:17 and 11:23-26) (Parents we will let you decide on what age you desire to allow your children to participate in communion to remember Jesus)
We believe in a literal Heaven and a literal Hell and that all those who place their faith, hope and trust in Jesus Christ will spend eternity in Heaven with the Lord, while those who reject Jesus’ free gift of salvation will spend eternity in Hell separated from the Lord. (Psalm 9:17; Matthew 5:3, 5:22, 18:9 and 25:31-34; Mark 9:42-49; Luke 12:5; John 3:18; Hebrews 12:23; 1 Peter 1:4; Revelation 14:10-11 and 20:11-15)
We believe in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, which is His personal, visible return to earth and the establishment of His millennial kingdom, in the resurrection of the body, the final judgment and eternal blessing of the righteous and endless separation of the wicked. We believe in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church where all believers will meet the Lord in the air and be taken out of this world prior to the Tribulation that will come upon the earth. (Matthew 16:27 and 24:29-31; Acts 1:11; Isaiah 26:20; Luke 21:36; Romans 1:18, 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 4:13-16 and 5:9; 2 Peter 2:7-9; Revelation 3:10, 5:7-10 and 7:13-14 and 19:11-16 and 20:11-15)
We believe that God created man and that He created them male and female. As such He created them different so as to complement and complete each other in oneness. God instituted monogamous marriage between one biological male and one biological female as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. We also believe that the Lord Jesus Christ validated the ordinance of marriage and the pattern it follows in the unity and oneness of Christ and the church. Therefore, we only perform marriages in accordance with the Bible as defined in both the Old and New Testament. (Genesis 2:18-25; Matthew 19:4-6; John 2:1-11 and 4:16-18; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 5:11, 6:9-11 and 6:18-20 and 7:1-3 and 7:8-9; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:3-7 and 31-32; 1 Timothy 1:9-11)
We believe all things in the universe have an origin and were created by God in the six literal days as described in Genesis 1:1-2:3, and confirmed in Exodus 20:8-11. We believe that all human beings are descendants of the first human beings, Adam and Eve, who were specially created by God. We believe the biblical record of the history of the earth in Genesis 1-11 is fully factual, historical, straightforward and includes the creation and fall of man, the curse on the creation and its subjection to the bondage of decay, the promised Redeemer (Jesus Christ), the worldwide cataclysmic flood in the days of Noah, and the origin of nations and languages at the tower of Babel. (Genesis 1:1-3:24, Exodus 20:8-11 and 31:17, Matthew 19:4, Mark 10:6, 1 Corinthians 15:21-22, Romans 5:12-21, Psalm 33:6-9)
We believe that all human life is sacred and begins at conception (defined as the moment of fertilization). All human beings are created in the image of God, and must be respected and protected both before and after birth. We believe that people can experience healing and recovery once coming to Jesus as the Bible says that there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1), and so when we ask Him for forgiveness, He freely gives it. (Genesis 9:6, Exodus 20:13 and 21:22-23, Deuteronomy 5:17, Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 127:3 and 139:13-16, Isaiah 49:15, Colossians 1:16, Romans 8:1, 1 John 1:9)
- …the teaching of “positive confession”.
- …the belief that Christians can be possessed by demons.
- …“dominion theology” or “kingdom now theology” that we can bring about the Kingdom Age.
- …a fatalistic Calvinist view, which allows no room for free will. We believe that anyone who wills to come to Christ may do so.
- …prophesy that overrides or supersedes Biblical Scripture.
- …the incorporation of humanistic psychology or philosophy into Biblical teaching.
- …“charis-MANIA” (the over-emphasis upon spiritual gifts, experiential signs and wonders, etc.).
- …the belief that those who don’t speak in tongues are unsaved.
Philosophy of Ministry
Our ‘Philosophy of Ministry’ flows from ‘What We Believe’ and explains how we do what we believe. The information that follows is our philosophy of ministry and is explained from a number of different Calvary Chapel pastors and we believe it helps us keep the proper balance in ministry.
- At Calvary Chapel or Fergus Falls, we are associated with the Calvary Chapel Association.
by Skip Heitzig (Calvary of Albuquerque, NM)
We place great emphasis on the exposition of Scripture and teaching the entire Bible chapter-by-chapter and verse-by-verse. We believe that the Spirit of God works through the Word of God in the hearts of the people of God. Exposition is more than merely speaking about the bible or from the Bible; it is the proclamation of the Bible itself. The work of the expositor is to determine what God has said in Scripture and then to convey it to God’s people so that God’s own voice is heard.
We believe that Bible exposition is inductive: directing the listener to the Bible’s own truth without preconceived ideas. We believe that Bible exposition is exegetical: demanding that the pastor critically examine the text with accuracy and basing his message upon observable principles of interpretation.
Christ Centered Worship
by Tim Molter (Calvary Chapel Fergus Falls)
Singing is easy. Surrender is hard. Jesus said “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” John 4:24. What God is looking at is your heart. Man looks at the outward but God is looking at the heart. So we come before the Lord with joy and gratitude for the mercy we’ve been shown and the grace by which we’re saved through Jesus Christ. Therefore we live in response to the finished work of Jesus upon the cross we worship Him with heart abandon as we sing, surrender, and serve our King daily.
WE BELIEVE worship of God should be Spiritual. Therefore: We remain flexible and yielded to the Holy Spirit to direct our worship. WE BELIEVE worship of God should be Inspirational. Therefore: We give a great place to music in our worship. WE BELIEVE worship of God should be Intelligent. Therefore: Our gatherings are designed with great emphasis upon teaching of the Word of God that He might instruct us how He should be worshipped. WE BELIEVE worship of God is Fruitful. Therefore: We look for His Love in our lives as the supreme manifestation that we have truly been worshipping Him.
Equipping the Saints
by Mike Macintosh (Horizon Christian Fellowship, CA)
When Don McClure, Tom Stipe and I were asked by Chuck Smith to become interns at Calvary Chapel, we were thrilled. The crowds were gigantic and we were thrown into the ocean of ministry. The three of us were at every Bible Study that Pastor Chuck taught, plus we each had two or three studies going on at the same time either on campus or in homes.
Boy, we were blessed to learn deep and rich truths from Pastor Chuck as we sat and listened chapter by chapter and verse by verse through the Bible every Sunday, Monday and Thursday evening and Sunday mornings as well. Two of the early books we heard, along with all the church goers, we learned the depth of Romans. We knew we would die to ourselves, pick up our cross, and follow Jesus. As a side note, I hear of “stars” or “Christian celebrity teachers” having their names and conferences promoted. Pastor Chuck never has or would draw attention to himself. We were not following a man, but someone who always pointed us to Jesus.
We learned about the Walk of the Spirit and having a renewed mind. The book of Ephesians lit me up as I learned that I was God’s workmanship. And that God gives gifts to men, each of us has a gift of a measure of faith. When we learned that Jesus gave men gifts to serve His people, and I think the “Equipping of the Saints” happened with great fervor among us interns.
When I arrived in San Diego, not knowing anyone, not having any cash or savings, my wife Sandy and I arrived by faith. From the beginning I incorporated the things the Holy Spirit had taught me at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. Pastor Chuck’s ministry is easily defined. And, it is that definition that I have used to plant new churches and start new para church organizations, to send people all around the world for God’s glory.
Here is the simplicity that I minister and have learned by watching Pastor Chuck serve the Lord:
1. Win people to Jesus
2. Disciple that person in Jesus
3. Send that person for Jesus
Evangelism & Discipleship
by Greg Laurie (Harvest Christian Fellowship, CA)
We believe that, the Great Commission, entrusted to the church by Jesus Himself (Mark 16:15) is a command that is to be taken seriously.
It is both the responsibility and privilege of the church to declare, share, and testify to the good news of Christ’s substitutionary death and resurrection.
We also believe that the great commission is to not only proclaim the Gospel but to also ‘make disciples’. (Matthew 28:19-20).
There is salvation in no other name than the name of Jesus (John 14:6; Acts 4:12); and the gospel of Jesus is the power of God for salvation to all who hear and believe (Romans 1:16). Therefore, we are passionate in our responsibility to declare the gospel, both simply and boldly. This can take place one on one, or when speaking to large numbers of people (Acts 8:26-38; 2:14-42). The Scriptures clearly state that unsaved people must hear about Jesus and what He has done for them through the cross in order to respond and be saved (Romans 10:8-10, 14-15). The gift of God’s salvation comes to everyone who responds by faith to the message of the gospel (Matthew 10:32-33; Romans 10:17, Ephesians 2:8-9).
by Jack Hibbs (Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, CA)
Calvary Chapel holds to the Pretribulational Premillennial interpretation of Biblical Eschatology. This view anticipates a literal fulfillment of yet unfulfilled prophecies just as previously fulfilled prophecies have been literally fulfilled. (Matthew 5:17-18)
The Pretribulatinal Premillennial understanding encourages the most obvious and literal interpretation of the scriptures and has proven to be the most reliable and historically accurate form of interpretation of prophetic events. (Matthew 24:25, John 14:29)
Pretribulatinal Premillennial teaches that before the establishment of the one thousand year reign of Christ known as the millennium (Revelation 20:6). Jesus Christ will first remove His church, the bride of Christ from earth prior to the advent of the Antichrist and the tribulation period of the end times. (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8, John 14:1-3, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Titus 2:13).
The Pretribulatinal Premillennial view espouses the Doctrine of Imminency which delineates between the sudden and joyous rapture of the church (Luke 21:36, 1 Corinthians 15:50-58, Revelation 3:10) from the global and predictable Second Coming of Christ with the church in judgment. (Revelation 19:11-16)
God’s Grace & Love
by Chuck Smith (Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, CA)
Grace has been defined as God’s unmerited favor. In contrasting grace, mercy and justice, I see that justice is getting what I deserve, mercy is not getting what I deserve, and grace is getting what I don’t deserve. I don’t deserve the blessing that He bestows daily on my life. In Newell’s commentary on Romans 6 he has some great comments on grace, he declares that it is God acting freely, according to His own nature of love, with no promises or obligations to fulfill: and acting righteously in view of the cross it is uncaused in the recipient: its cause lies wholly in the giver. It cannot act where there is cause or desert, it does not help, it is absolute, and it does it all. Thus our proper attitude should be, to consent to be loved, though we are aware of how unworthy we are of that love; to refuse to make resolutions and vows to be better, for that is to trust in our flesh; to expect to be blessed, though we know how unworthy we are of those blessings. Satan would have me to focus on myself, and when I do, I can see many reasons for God to withhold His blessings, but when I focus on His grace, I expect and receive abundant blessings that never stop.
Male Leadership in the Pulpit
by Sandy Adams (Calvary Chapel Stone Mountain, GA)
Gender matters to God. Masculinity and femininity are not just social constructs. When God created mankind He did so male and female.
And God uses gender to teach important spiritual truths about His relationship with His people. The Bible reveals God as masculine, and His people as feminine. This is why in the Church and in the home, God wants our relationships between the sexes to mirror His relationship with His people. Like Christ, men should lovingly lead – and like the Church, women should willingly follow.
1 Timothy 1-3 sets out four qualifications for elders and pastors: moral character, giftedness to teach, divine calling, and male gender. God uses women in strategic ways, but pastoral authority and the teaching of doctrine in the church is reserved for qualified men.
In Calvary Chapel we have been blessed with a wonderful example of male leadership. Pastor Chuck has been a spiritual father to thousands of young people. He has been a model of biblical masculinity – strong yet gracious. A high priority in the Calvary Chapel philosophy is to help all our men be the servant leader God desires and their family deserves.
Baptism of the Holy Spirit & Gifts
by Malcolm Wild (Calvary Chapel Merritt Island, FL)
The task of reaching the world with gospel of Jesus Christ is an impossible one. Impossible that is without the equipping and enabling of the Holy Spirit. We acknowledge that to live for and serve the Lord we need the dynamic that the Lord Jesus imparts through the Baptism with the Holy Spirit. He has called us, commissioned us, and promised to equip us. (Acts 1:8) The promise of this power (Dýnamis) is a gift for every believer (Acts 2:39) subsequent to the Holy Spirits work of regeneration and to be received by faith as a separate and distinct work of grace to that of salvation. The Lord has also promised to equip His servants with spiritual gifts for the work of the ministry. (1 Corinthians 12:4-11) These gifts are for all believers to experience as the Lord wills and did not cease to be manifest at the end of the apostolic age.
[CALVARY CHAPEL FERGUS FALLS – In our gatherings, we focus on connecting with God through worship, prayer, and the teaching of the Word of God. We seek to teach the Word of God in such a way that its message can be applied to the believer’s life, leading that person to a greater maturity in Jesus Christ. We do not allow speaking in tongues loudly during the worship service, nor prophecy while a Bible study is in progress, believing that the Holy Spirit would not interrupt Himself. We have specific prayer meetings and gatherings, as well as smaller home groups for those gifts to be exercised. We also reject the Pentecostal belief that speaking in tongues (Acts 2:4) is evidence of salvation because love (1 Corinthians 13) is the real evidence!]
by Damian Kyle (Calvary Chapel Modesto, CA)
One of the things the Lord has been pleased to bless in Calvary Chapel is its emphasis upon servant leadership. This is the conviction among its pastors that the churches we pastor do not exist to serve us, but that we are called to serve and lay our lives down for them.
Jesus taught that we are not to be like the rulers of the Gentiles who lord their power and authority over others, but rather that the way to greatness in the kingdom of God comes by being a servant. He declared Himself to be our example in this, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28).
Pastors who consider themselves to be too important to do anything needed in order to serve the flock entrusted to them reveal that they have come to think of themselves as more self-important than our Lord. As pastors, we cannot represent our “Servant” Lord without being servants ourselves. Pride, harshness, a sense of self-importance, or a dictatorial spirit is inconsistent with Jesus’ example.
There are wonderful promises in God’s Word for those who choose to live a life of servant leadership, including 1 Peter 5:5, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
Integrity and Morality in Leadership
by David Rosales (Calvary Chapel Chino Valley, CA)
When Paul wrote to Timothy concerning the qualifications of a pastor, he made it clear that a pastor was to be “able to teach” (1 Timothy 3:2). The question is: was Paul only saying that one of the qualifications of a pastor is that he be able to verbally communicate theology, clearly? If that is the case, then even non-believers who read prepared scripts could qualify as a teacher of God’s Word, and thus become a pastor. Many church pulpits are occupied by such men.
Teaching the bible is different than teaching someone how to read, or write, or to do basic math. It is the communication of spiritual truth, and God’s Word is to be communicated by those who have personally partaken in the transforming power of the message that they now give.
Paul said that pastors are to be “examples to the believers” (1 Timothy 4:12), because the Word of God is lived out amongst people, and pastors of all people are “walking sermons” before the world, and the churches that they lead.
This means that, as ministers of the gospel, pastors should have lives that clearly line up with scripture, and as such a pastor’s life should be earmarked by integrity and moral purity.
Sadly, the gospel message has often been undermined, not only by obvious heretics, but also through ministers who have not “lived out” the gospel and have, by moral failures of every kind, done damage to the message of salvation and transformation that we find in its message.
In Calvary Chapel ministries, we desire to be men who not only talk the message, but also walk the message. We take Paul’s admonition to Titus to heart, where Paul instructed Titus to “in all things show himself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence (and) incorruptibility” (Titus 2:7).
As a group of men birthed by the Jesus Movement, it is our desire to keep Jesus first, to honor His name, and to keep ourselves “unspotted from the world” (James 1:27). Because this is true, we place a high emphasis on not just giving out, but living out the gospel before the world, our family, and those whom God has entrusted to our care.
As Calvary Chapel pastors, we know that the ministry is not a job, a fast-track to fame, a place to show off our talents, or something we try to do because we are not skilled enough to do something else. It is a calling, something that we must do because we long for nothing else. And this longing to minister is undergirded by a hunger to please God, and a desire to walk worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We are aware that God has entrusted the care of His sheep to us, and because we take such a charge seriously, we guard our hearts, and we minister with integrity, and moral purity.
Informal & Relaxed Style
by Wayne Taylor (Calvary Fellowship, WA)
Calvary Chapel gives high priority to a “relational style” of ministry. Romans 15:7 says to “accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.” Jesus accepted people as they were when they came to Him, so they could then be transformed by their relationship with Him. Because of this, people could be ‘real’ with Jesus. He did not want them ‘putting on airs’ of formality or religiosity. We Calvary Chapel’s cherish being able to have an intimate fellowship with Christ that is relaxed, and not filled with a sense of judgment, suspicion, or unworthiness. “The ground at the foot of the Cross is level,” meaning no one is more holy or righteous than another there, but we through Him are all accepted. For this reason we accept each other, and seek to love one another (John 13:34, 35). We try not to set up religious formalities as ‘hoops’ for people to jump through before they are welcomed. Rather we seek to show them and tell them of the genuine love that we have found in Christ. In this accepting, informal style we have found it easier for us all to be comfortable to express our needs, issues, and even our sins, thus allowing Jesus to help us, cleanse us, and change us! Through relationships Jesus discipled the 12, and with the help of the Spirit we seek to do the same. Though we tend to be relaxed and informal, it does not mean we are ‘loose or lax’ about hurtful or dishonorable behavior. Our utmost desire in our relationships is to both please the Lord, and provide a loving atmosphere so that everyone in the church can flourish.