What are the Calvary Chapel Distinctives?
The Foundational Principles of the Calvary Chapel Movement
God’s Model for the Church
In Calvary Chapel, we look to the book of Acts as the model for the church. It is a church filled with the Holy Spirit, led by the Holy Spirit, and empowered by the Holy Spirit. The four basic functions of the early church are found in Acts 2:42, “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
Church government typically is found in three basic forms: rule by a bishop or overseer (episkopos); a board of elders (presbyteros); and congregational rule. In Calvary Chapel, we believe that the senior pastor is ruled by the Lord and aided by the Board of Directors to discover the mind and will of Jesus Christ for His church. Complementing the senior pastor are the assisting pastors, who minister to the spiritual needs of the congregation on a daily basis.
Empowered by the Spirit
We believe that there is an experience of the empowering of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer that is distinct and separate from the indwelling of the Spirit that takes place at conversion. We acknowledge a three–fold relationship between the Holy Spirit and the believer: “para” – coming alongside; “en” – in you; and “epi” – an overflow.
Building the Church God’s Way
At Calvary Chapel, we have a relaxed, casual style. We don’t get involved in a lot of spiritual hype. We don’t try to motivate people carnally, and we are not apt to shout at the congregation. We simply trust in the work of the Holy Spirit, and of Jesus Christ who is building His church as He said He would.
Grace Upon Grace
We realize that without the grace of God, none of us would have a chance. We need the grace of God in our lives daily. We believe in the love and grace that seeks to restore the fallen.
The Priority of the Word
We endeavor to declare to people the whole counsel of God. The teaching ministry of Calvary Chapel is expositional (verse by verse/chapter by chapter) in nature. We read the word, give the sense, and cause people to understand the meaning.
The Centrality of Jesus Christ
Another characteristic of Calvary Chapel is the centrality of Jesus in our worship. We don’t allow any practice or behavior during our services that would distract people from focusing on Him.
The Rapture of the Church
We believe that Jesus Christ will come for His church (rapture) and then the period of Tribulation will begin, followed by the second coming of Jesus, with the Millennium period to follow.
Striking the Balance
While we have strong Biblical convictions, it is our desire not to divide God’s people over non-essential issues. When the Bible speaks clearly, we must as well. But on other issues, we try to recognize the spiritual validity of both sides of the debate and avoid excluding or favoring those on one side or the other.
Tag: Calvary, Chapel, Distinctive, Acts, Model, Church filled, Holy Spirit