Calvary Chapel Origins
Calvary Chapel began in the late 1960s as a small non-denominational church of 25 members pastored by Chuck Smith. Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa is now home to about 30,000 believers. Its non-profit outreach, The Word for Today, publishes Bible study books, CDs and podcasts for use all over the world. Its radio station, K.W.V.E. broadcasts God’s Word to all of Southern California, and Calvary Chapel’s Bible College provides Bible education to thousands at its home campus in Twin Peaks, California — and at more than 20 extension campuses worldwide.
Calvary’s Florida Connection
In the Jacksonville, Fla. area, Reach FM is a ministry of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, which airs teaching and music 24-hours a day. You can visit these stations in Jacksonville at FM 102.1, Jacksonville Beach FM 106.9, Fernandina Beach FM 95.7, and St. Augustine FM 88.9.
What Does Calvary Chapel Believe?
Because of its size and influence, many Christians have asked exactly what does Calvary Chapel believe? What are its distinctives and what sets it apart from other Christian groups? Calvary Chapel has always been hesitant to try and answer these questions, not because we are unsure of our beliefs, but because we prefer to avoid division within the Body of Christ. After all, what matters is what we have in common as Christians: the “essential” doctrines that include: the inerrancy of God’s Word, the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, His sinless life, death in full payment for our sins, bodily resurrection, ascension to glory, and personal return to rule the earth. These are the essence of Christianity, and agreed upon by virtually all born again believers.
Unity Among God’s People
When we move away from the essential doctrines to those that are less essential we risk setting up barriers in the church, something we at Calvary Chapel have no desire to do. Still, Calvary Chapel is distinct from denominational churches and other Protestant groups. This is why people are curious to know what those distinctions are. It is not our purpose to cause division or discord in the Body of Christ. Instead, we long for unity among God’s people and we allow for a great deal of flexibility even within our own fellowships. Calvary Chapel pastors are not clones who all believe exactly the same thing. Still, there are distinctives that make Calvary Chapel unique and which define our mission.