The Bible: The sole basis of our belief is the Bible, composed of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament. We believe that Scripture, in its entirety, originated with God, and that it was given through the instrumentality of chosen men. Scripture, thus, at one and the same time, speaks with the authority of God and reflects the backgrounds, styles and vocabularies of the human authors. We hold that the Scriptures are infallible and inerrant in the original manuscripts. They are the unique, full and final authority on all matters of faith and practice and, there are no other writings similarly inspired by God.
God: We believe that there is one true, holy God, eternally existing in three persons — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — each of Whom possess, equally, all the attributes of deity and the characteristics of personality. In the beginning God created, out of nothing, the world and all the things therein, thus, manifesting the glory of His power, wisdom and goodness. By His sovereign power He continues to sustain His creation. By His providence He is operating throughout history to fulfill His redemptive purposes.
Salvation: The central purpose of God’s revelation in Scripture is to call all people into fellowship with Himself. Originally created with the ability to have fellowship with God, man defied God, choosing to go his independent way, and was, thus, alienated from God, thereby he suffered the corruption of his nature, rendering him unable to please God. The fall took place at the beginning of human history, and all individuals since have suffered these consequences and are, thus, in need of the saving grace of God. The salvation of mankind is, then, wholly a work of God’s free grace, not the result, in whole or in part, of human works or goodness, and must be personally appropriated by repentance and faith. When God has begun a saving work in the heart of any person, He gives assurance in His Word that He will continue performing it until the day of its full consummation.
Jesus Christ: Jesus Christ is the eternal second Person of the Trinity who was united forever with a true human nature by a miraculous conception and virgin birth. He lived a life of perfect obedience to the Father and voluntarily atoned for the sins of all by dying on the cross as their substitute, thus, satisfying divine justice and accomplishing salvation for all who trust in Him alone. He rose from the dead in the same body, though glorified, in which He lived and died. He ascended into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of the Father, where He, the only Mediator between God and man, continually makes intercession for His own. He shall come again to earth, personally and visibly, to consummate history and the eternal plan of God.
The Holy Spirit: The essential accompaniment of a genuine saving relationship with Jesus Christ is a life of holiness and obedience, attained by believers, as they submit to the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity. He was sent into the world by the Father and the Son to apply to mankind the saving work of Christ. He enlightens the minds of sinners, awakens in them recognition of their need of a Savior and regenerates them. At the point of salvation, He permanently indwells every believer to become the source of assurance, strength and wisdom, and uniquely endows each believer with gifts for the up-building of the body. The Holy Spirit guides believers in understanding and applying the Scripture. His power and control are appropriated by faith, making it possible for the believer to lead a life of Christ-like character and to bear fruit, to the glory of the Father.
Human Destiny: Death seals the eternal destiny of each person. For all mankind, there will be a resurrection of the body into the spiritual world, and a judgment that will determine the fate of each individual. Unbelievers will be separated from God into condemnation. God’s judgment will reveal His justice in consigning them to perpetuate in eternal retribution for their own rejection of God. Believers will be received into eternal communion with God and will be rewarded for works done in this life.
The Church: The corollary of union with Jesus Christ is that all believers become members of His body, the church. There is one true church universal, comprised of all those who acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. The Scripture commands believers to gather together to devote themselves to worship, prayer, teaching of the Word, observance of baptism and communion as the sacramentarian ordinances established by Jesus Christ, fellowship, service to the body through the development and use of talents and gifts, and outreach to the world.
Wherever God’s people meet regularly, in obedience to this command, there is the local expression of the church. Under the watchful care of elders and other supportive leadership, its members are to work together in love and unity, intent on the one ultimate purpose of glorifying Christ.
Faith and Practice: Scripture is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice. This church recognizes that it cannot bind the conscience of individual members in areas where Scripture is silent. Rather, each believer is to be led in those areas by the Lord, to whom he or she alone is ultimately responsible.
Calvary Chapel Distinctives
One of the mistaken concepts many have is that all Christians and churches should be identical. They assume that “unity” is equivalent to “sameness.” But the Apostle Paul points out that differences do and will exist between churches and individuals in Christ:
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.” (1 Cor.12:4-6)
We are called to unity in faith and doctrine, and there should be no tolerance for false, heretical doctrine. But on issues of style and practice, there should be tolerance. These are the areas of personal preference that should be respected. We refer to these as “distinctives.” They represent diversity within the greater Christian unity. The following is a short list of our distinctives:
1. We believe in the expository teaching of the whole Word of God
Therefore, our worship services are structured around verse-by-verse teaching of the whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. (Acts 20:20,27; Neh 8:8; Ps.138:2)
2. We believe the Book of Acts represents “normal” Christianity.
Therefore, we seek to pattern our lives and ministry after that modeled by the early church, as revealed in the book of Acts.
- Our Missions & Means: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
- Our Lifestyle: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship (koinonia), to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” (Acts 2:42)
- Our Growth: “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:47)
3. We believe in pastoral leadership as the truest biblical pattern for church government.
Therefore, the Elder Board, under the leadership of the Senior Pastor, is primarily responsible for direction and decision making.
4. We believe that the worship of God should be . . .
- Spiritual, therefore, we remain flexible and yielded to the leading of the Holy Spirit to direct our worship
- Inspirational, therefore, we give a great place to music in our worship
- Intelligent, therefore, our services are designed, with great emphasis upon teaching the Word of God, that He might instruct us how He should be worshipped
- Fruitful, therefore, we look for His love in our lives as the supreme manifestation that we have truly been worshipping Him.
5. We believe in balance regarding the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, we consider ourselves to be neither charismatic nor non-charismatic. We believe that all the gifts of the Spirit are available and operational within the church, but should only be publicly exercised under the guidelines found in 1 Corinthians 12-14, and by permission of the pastoral leadership.
6. We believe that our ministry should be simple and sincere.
Therefore, we seek to imitate the testimony of the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians: “For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have behaved in the world, and more abundantly toward you.” (2 Corinthians 1:12)
Therefore, our services are conducted in a relaxed, comfortable and normal style. Human efforts to coerce or manipulate a response are contrary to the gentle and personal nature of the true ministry of the Holy Spirit.
7. We believe we are only one member of the body of Christ.
Therefore, we can rightly be classified as nondenominational. “Denominationalism” is an attempt to draw a line of exclusivity around Christ. No such line can honestly be drawn. We have our distinctive (as the hand is distinct from the foot). And, we have our role that may differ from other parts of the body, but we are still only a part.
8. We believe in both the sovereignty of God and mankind’s free will/choice.
Therefore, we resist the extreme positions of hyper-Calvinism and/or hyper-Arminianism. We feel that both try to force a conclusion that disregards a Biblical balance. The believer in Christ is both secure in his faith and responsible to live a life of faith.
9. We believe in the imminent return of Jesus Christ.
Therefore, doctrinally, we are Pre-Tribulational and Pre-Millennial in our interpretation of Last Day’s prophecy. Consistent with this position, we believe there is no sign or condition that must be fulfilled before Christ’s imminent, visible, bodily return.
10. We believe that healthy sheep beget healthy sheep.
In keeping with this purpose, we seek to win the lost, disciple the saved and encourage the faithful. We believe that if we take care of our “depth,” God will take care of our “breadth.” The purpose of the church is not numerical growth, but spiritual growth. The only strategy we have for our ministry is to “feed the flock of God.” (John 21:12; Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2).