Calvary Chapel Core Convictions
From 12 Calvary Chapel Pastors
- Biblical Exposition – Skip Heitzig “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.”
- Evangelism – Greg Laurie 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 preach the Gospel but to also ‘make disciples’. (Matt. 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 (Rom. 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 (Rom. 10:8-10, 14-15). The gift of God’s salvation comes to everyone who responds by faith to the message of the gospel (Matt. 10:32-33; Rom. 10:17, (Eph. 2:8-9).
- Christ Centered Worship – Tom Stipe Worship: noun- 1. the activity of worshipping 2. a feeling of profound love, admiration and adoration. In the book of revelation the scene in heaven is filled with heavenly voices worshipping the Lord. It is part of the life blood of Calvary Chapel and whether we are alone, in the congregation, with or without musical accompaniment we lift our voices to the heavens in praise to our living God. We sing hymns, choruses, contemporary and traditional expressions with a broad spectrum of instruments as sampled in Psalm 150. We worship God for what He has done for us through His Son’s death and resurrection. We are a people of praise and the voices we lift up here on earth will practice for an eternity of worship in heaven. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
- Eschatology- Jack Hibbs Calvary Chapel Association 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 Pretribulational 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) Pretribulational 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. (2Thes 2:7-8 John 14:1-3. 1Thes. 4:13-18. Titus 2:13). The Pretribulational Premillennial view espouses the Doctrine of Imminency which delineates between the sudden and joyous rapture of the church (Luke 21:36, 1Corinthians 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 and Love – Chuck Smith 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, 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 – Sandy Adams 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 – Malcolm Wild 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 Cor 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.
- Equipping the Saints – Mike Macintosh 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. May we all “Equip the Saints” for the work of the ministry.
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.
- Servant Leadership – Damien Kyle
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 – David Rosales When Paul wrote to Timothy concerning the qualifications of an pastor, he made it clear that a pastor was to be “able to teach” (1 Ti 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 Ti 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” (Jas 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 – Wayne Taylor 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 at Calvary’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 (Jn.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 feel 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.
- Reaching the Next Generation – Brian Brodersen Calvary Chapel was birthed out of an amazing outpouring of the Spirit of God upon predominately younger people in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Coming to faith in Christ from every imaginable background, thousands of teenagers and young adults found themselves caught up in what would later be referred to as the Jesus People Movement. Ever since those early days, Calvary Chapel pastors have put an emphasis on reaching the next generation. This is quite a natural thing for most of us; it almost seems to be part of our spiritual DNA since many of us came to faith in Christ ourselves during our teen or young adult years. To this day, we hold the deep conviction that God has a special place in His heart for young people, from children right into the young adult years. Because of this conviction, we try to make sure that we have strong, biblically based ministries that are relevant to the various age groups. With the smaller children, we want them to know how much God loves them and what a beautiful plan He has for their lives, so we do our best to communicate that in ways they will understand. Children’s ministry is a priority, not just a matter of keeping the kids occupied while the adults worship. We believe these young ones have a capacity to know and experience the Lord, so we do all when can to facilitate that. With the teen and young adult age group, we should try to structure our services in a way that lets them know they are welcome and wanted among us. Our music should inspire them to worship Jesus; the ministry should be something that they are made to feel a part of. Allow the younger generation to engage in serving the Lord throughout the fellowship. Use them to teach the younger ones; include them on the worship teams; call on them to lead in prayer; allow them to share from the Word of God. Encourage them to be on mission in daily life as well as through unique ministry opportunities such as outreach and short-term missions. Ultimately, it is the young people who are going to reach the next generation—their generation. That’s what happened in the early days of the Jesus People and that’s what will happen today. We who are pastors, teachers, and leaders have a role to play: to equip and empower these young people to rise up and fulfill the call of God on their lives. Remember the words of Jesus concerning the children: “Let the little children to come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:16). Let’s pray the Lord will continually give us a heart for the children; let’s pray for a great work of the Spirit among the younger generation; and let’s make ourselves available to be used by the Lord to influence and encourage the next generation to know, love, and serve Him.