CALVARY CHAPEL

GENERAL
 History
  Calvary Chapel began in the late 1960's in Southern Cal. This area was about to experience a major spiritual revival commonly known as the Jesus Movement.

Question: What do you remember about the Jesus Movement?

  Chuck Smith, a local pastor of a small church in Huntington Beach, realized that the younger generation of hippies were being neglected by most of the mainstream churches and felt God's call to   reach out to them ... just as they were. It was through Chuck Smith's obedience to that call that Calvary Chapel ministries was born. Today, a little over 30 years later, that small church has grown into what Christianity Today calls, the largest growing movement within evangelical Christianity (April 91).

Question: You all know of the rapid growth and popularity of the CC movement. To what do you attribute its success?

     Education
       Sunday School
       Children's Sunday School classes meet during worship.
       There are no adult Sunday school classes.

Question: What does this mean about Children and worship?

      Pastoral Education
           Calvary Chapel's Bible College, Twin Peaks, Cal and over 20 extension campuses world wide. Men and women from all over the world gather together in Southern California to study the Word of God with Calvary Chapel pastors. All students at CCBC are exposed to the teaching of the entire Bible by Pastor Chuck Smith. The central core of the CCBC Program requires the students to listen to Chuck Smith's complete Bible taped commentary series.  Pastors are trained for 2 years .Costs are listed as $8000.00.

     Publications
      The Word for Today publishes Bible study books and tapes all over the world.

     Radio
      KWVE broadcasts God's Word to all of Southern California.

     Attendance
      Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa has approximately 30,000 believers. There are over 400 Calvary Chapel affiliates in the United States, as well as hundreds more worldwide. No over all attendance numbers are available.

     Physical Property
        Icons
           Calvary Chapels typically do not put crosses on their buildings because they desire to avoid the external trappings of religion. In the place of the cross, they have a Holy Spirit dove symbol in the church. The goal seems to be to not put people off. There may be an occasional CC that has a cross, but  that is the exception rather than the rule.

Question: What about this? How do you feel about avoiding using the cross in the church because it may be offensive to
                  visitors?

  Other Church Features (general)
       Altar/communion table at the front with an inscription
       Flowers and plants are in a bed at the front.
       A pulpit is also present.
       Chairs are placed in the front and the leaders take their places on them.
       Padded pews or chairs.
       Often CC will meet in rented buildings and will use auditoriums for their worship service.

     Missions
       To my knowledge, Calvary Chapels do not. have mission boards but do faithfully support  missionaries as a church. Missionaries may also be supported by individuals.

     Membership
      There is none.  Called church 'fellowship' not membership.

WORSHIP
     Tithes and Offering
      Generally there is no offering taken in the church and tithing is not normally discussed. Often there is a box or basket in the  rear of the church where people can place something in it as they leave. In some churches an offering is taken in the traditional manner while the worship team sings.

Question: What about this?

     Music
      Although most Calvary Chapels do utilize a form of contemporary worship with the soft contemporary sound made popular by Maranatha! Music and by Asaph Records (which both originated at Calvary Chapel). There is a variety of styles of music found in their churches. A few are very traditional and conservative, with organs or pianos and hymns, while most others prefer electric guitars and drums.
       Music is often praise and worship choruses with a guitar and or praise band with drums. This 'praise' part of the service usually lasts 30-45 mins. in the beginning of the service.
      Most do not use hymn books..

     Atmosphere/Environment
      Similarly, a few of the worship services at Calvary Chapels are quite traditional, while most are more contemporary. A few churches are filled with elderly people in suits and ties, some are filled with young people in jeans and tee shirts, and many are a combination of all different ages, styles, and races.
      Most are places where anybody with any style of dress or culture feels welcome. The make-up of Calvary Chapel is simple.  The emphasis is on a casual, non threatening environment where all people can feel welcome regardless of their physical appearance, social status, or ethnic background.

     Preaching
      The Bible is taught systematically in an expository way, verse by verse thru the Bible taking about 5-7 years to complete. Then they start all over again. Preaching is often very application oriented.

     Length of service
      Services are usually 30-45 mins.of praise time and 30-45 mins. of preaching. Total service time 1 hr 15-30 mins.

     Order of Service
      There is none. Just the text for the mornings message. Announcement and weekly activities are also found with a brief doctrinal statement in the weekly bulletins. Although the worship team usually has a more structured outline for the order of service.

     Sacraments

      The Lord's Supper
       Held monthly for regular attendees.

      Baptism
       By immersion. Believer's Baptism.

     Afterglow/Believer's services
      These are special service times (apart from regular 'church') where the gifts of the Holy Spirit can operate freely under the leadership of mature Christians.

DOCTRINE
 Philosophy
      Calvary Chapel seems hesitant, in print media, to answer questions relating to their doctrinal positions. Their reason is not because they are unsure of their beliefs, but because they are cautious to avoid division within the Body of Christ. They believe what really matters is what we have in common as Christians: the "essential" doctrines of the infallibility of God's Word, the virgin birth of Christ, His sinless life, death for our sins, bodily resurrection, ascension to glory, and personal return to rule the earth.

 Statement of Faith
  We believe the Bible, both Old and New Testament to be the inspired, infallible Word of God and the final authority for all faith and life.

  We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is the Personal, Transcendent, Sovereign Creator, Redeemer, Lord and Judge.

  We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ; He is fully God and fully human, and in His   virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, in His intercession for us, and in His personal return in power and glory.

  We believe that all people are by nature separated from God and responsible for their own sin, but  that salvation is freely offered to all by the grace of our Lord and the only hope of redemption is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. When a person repents of sin and accepts Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord, trusting Him alone 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 present ministry of the Holy Spirit to convict, indwell, guide, instruct, fill and empower the believer for godly living and service.

  We believe in the bodily resurrection of both the saved and the unsaved; they that are unsaved unto the resurrection of damnation and they that are saved unto the resurrection of life.
                                                                           by, Larry Taylor

 What they don't believe.
  Calvary Chapel  rejects some popular doctrines of the Christian faith as they believe them to be in error Scripturally. This does not mean that they will not fellowship with those holding these views, it simply means that such views are outside the boundaries of what constitutes a Calvary Chapel church.

  For example, they generally reject, "amillenniallsm", post-millennialism, as well as a mid or post-tribulation rapture view. CC is strongly pre-millennial and pre-tribulational rapturists.

  They also reject the belief, held by some Pentecostals and charismatics, that Christians can be demon possessed. They teach that Christians can be attacked by demons, but they cannot be possessed or controlled by them.

  Calvary Chapel rejects two of the five points of five point Calvinism.
       Limited Atonement: Calvinism teaches that  Jesus died on the cross to secure the salvation of His elect. That although His atonement was sufficient for all it is effective for the Elect.

       Irresistible Grace: Is the belief  that when God calls a person to Himself for salvation and relationship with Him, although that person is free to say no, he will not say no because the call of God is efficacious. God is Sovereign and His will can not be thwarted.

  Therefore, those who hold these two points Calvinism are outside of the borders of what defines Calvary Chapel.

  And finally, Calvary Chapel rejects the over-emphasis of spiritual gifts and experiential signs and  wonders to the exclusion of Biblical teaching. Their services,  focus on a personal relationship with God through worship, prayer, and the teaching of the Word of God.  They do not allow speaking in  tongues loudly during services.

 Is Calvary Chapel 'Charismatic'?

  Calvary Chapel believes it is the middle ground between fundamentalism and Pentecostalism in modern Protestant theology. In fact, they believe this is at least part of the reason why God has raised up their ministry.

  Fundamentalism is that portion of Protestantism which holds to the literal interpretation of the Scriptures, believing that they are divinely inspired and inerrant. Hence, the "fundamentals" of the faith are emphasized.

  Pentecostalism as a modern movement grew out of the Azusa Street revival in Los Angeles at the turn of the 20th century, and spawned denominations that emphasize the fullness of the Holy Spirit and the exercise of spiritual and Scriptural gifts of the Spirit which had fallen dormant in the main line churches. They have restored to the Church the importance of the miraculous spiritual gifts of the Spirit and the power of God for Believers today.

  Over the years, Calvary Chapel believes fundamentalism, while it clung to the integrity of God's Word, tended to become rigid, legalistic, and unaccepting of spiritual gifts. Similarly, Pentecostalism became enthusiastic and emotional at the expense of the teaching of God's Word.

  Calvary Chapel believes it is the balance between the two. They believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit mentioned in the Bible, and encourage their exercise, but always decently and in order, and with the primary emphasis on the Word of God.

  Because of this balance, Calvary Chapel services are designed to be centered around the verse by verse teaching of God's Word, and special "after glow" services are provided where the gifts of the Holy Spirit can operate freely under the leadership of mature Christians.

  Many Pentecostals think Calvary Chapel is not emotional enough, and many fundamentalists think Calvary Chapel is too emotional. They believe this is right where God wants them to be.

 Miraculous Spiritual Gifts
  To quote Pastor Chuck Smith: "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."

  Most main-line denominations believe that the gift of tongues was an apostolic gift which meant that it was only necessary in the church during the time of the apostles to kick-start the church.  Therefore, many of these denominations do not promote this gift because they deny its existence for today.

  On the other end of the spectrum, all of the Pentecostal and Charismatic churches believe in and  practice the gift of tongues. And Calvary Chapel leadership states that they fall into the latter category which they claim is a biblical position in accepting the gift of tongues as a legitimate gift for today.  However, unlike many of their Pentecostal and Charismatic brethren, they claim to teach a balanced biblical position on the use of this gift as the Spirit has revealed its use in the Word of God.

 A 'Balance'
  CC says a gift is just that, a gift. We don't earn it or deserve it. And though we may ask for gifts, which is certainly proper, it is ultimately up to the Holy Spirit who determines who He will give certain gifts to. More often than not the Holy Spirit gifts you even before you ask.

  It is for this reason that they believe Pentecostals, who insist that the evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit must be the speaking in tongues, are absolutely wrong.

  They also state that if you do not have the "gift" of tongues and you desire to, you can certainly come to God and ask. They state that like prophecy, the gift of tongues is in the control of the speaker and if there is no one with the gift of interpretation the speaker should not speak out loud in the congregation, but may certainly speak to himself and to God without disturbing anyone near him. They claim that since they are to do all things in an orderly fashion, that the Body may be edified, you will not see this gift practiced under normal circumstances during a Sunday morning service unless they set aside a time for the gifts to be used. The reason for this is because other gifts are being employed so that the Body may be instructed during that time with the gift of teaching, perhaps the gift of prophecy, as the Lord gives something during the time of teaching.

 GOVERNMENT
 Elder Rule

 Selection  of a new pastor
   Elders make up the nominating committee. And nominating committee seek, find and  nominate a candidate. the final election is by 3/4 vote of the fellowship.

  Removing of a pastor
   2 Elders may call a meeting of the elders. 3/4 of the elders must agree that the pastor need  to be removed. a 2/3 of the majority of the fellowship must agree.

  Adding additional staff
   The Sr. Pastor appoints assistant pastors. The Sr. Pastor has the authority to fire an assistant Pastor too.

  CC's  Position
   Calvary Chapels are organized differently. Church government at Calvary Chapel is very simple, not a complex bureaucracy. Committees and sub-committees are essentially non-existent.

   Basically, Calvary Chapel believes that the pastor is responsible for the church, responsible to hear from God, and responsible to feed and love His people faithfully.

   Elders are appointed in the larger churches to help the pastor care for the spiritual needs of the congregation, as are deacons to help the pastor care for the material needs of the church.

   But some churches have boards as required by most states (Trustees/Finance Committee)  which vary in size depending on the size of the church, and which usually are made up of mature Christian businessmen who can advise the pastor with respect to the business operations and  decisions of the church such as property management and investments.

   At Calvary Chapel, church organization is de-emphasized, and only the organization that is needed to run the church is instituted. The pastor guides the church as he is lead by the Holy Spirit, and they trust God to put pastors where He wants them to be.
 

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Calvary Baptist Church
Oceanport, N.J.