WHAT WE BELIEVE

We believe that there is one living and true GOD, eternally existing in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, equal in power and glory; that this triune God created all, upholds all, and governs all things (Genesis 1:1; Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 44:8 and 48:16; Matthew 28:19-20; John 10:30; Hebrews 1:3).

 

We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God, fully inspired, without error, and the infallible rule of faith and practice. The Word of God is the foundation upon which this church operates and is the basis for which this church is governed. We believe that the Word of God supersedes any earthly law that is contrary to the Holy Scriptures. (John 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12; 1 Peter 1:23-25; 2 Peter 1:3-4 and 1:21).

We believe in the person of God the Father, an infinite, eternal, personal Spirit, perfect in holiness, wisdom, power and love; that He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of men; that He hears and answers prayer; and that He saves from sin and death all those who come to Him through Jesus Christ (Deuteronomy 33:27; Psalm 90:2; Psalm 102:27; John 3:16 and 4:24; 1 Timothy 1:17; Titus 1:3).

We believe in the person of Jesus Christ, God's only begotten Son, conceived by the Holy Spirit. We believe in His

virgin birth, sinless life, miracles, and teachings, His substitutionary atoning death, bodily resurrection, ascension into heaven, perpetual intercession for His people and personal, visible return to earth (Isaiah 7:14; Micah 5:2; Matthew 1:23; Mark 16:19; Luke 1:34-35; John 1:1-2, 8:58 and 11:25; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 1:8; 1 John 1:2; Revelation 1:8).

We believe in the person of the Holy Spirit, Who came forth from the Father and Son to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and to regenerate, sanctify and empower for ministry all who believe in Christ (Acts 1:8; 2 Corinthians 3:18; John 16:8-11; Romans 8:26 and 15:13,16; Hebrews 9:14).

 

We believe the Holy Spirit indwells every believer in Jesus Christ and that He is an abiding helper, teacher, and guide

(John 6:13, 14:16-17 and 16:8-11; Romans 8:26).

 

We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit and in the exercise of all biblical gifts of the Spirit according to the instructions given to us in 1 Corinthians 12-14 (1 Corinthians 14).

We believe that all people are sinners by nature and, therefore, are under condemnation; that God saves and regenerates, based upon faith by the Holy Spirit, those who repent of their sins and confess Jesus Christ as Lord (Acts 8:15-17; Ephesians 2:1-3 and 8-9; Romans 3:23 and 5:8; Titus 3:5).

We believe in the universal church, the living spiritual body, of which Christ is the head and all who are born again are a part of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-13; Ephesians 4:15-16).

We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ instituted two ordinances for the church: (a) full immersion water baptism of believers, and (b) the Lord's Supper (Matthew 28:19; Luke 22:19-20; Acts 2:38; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26). We also believe that the Lord Jesus Christ validated the ordinance of marriage (Matthew 19:4-5 and John 2:1-11).

 

We believe in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ which is His personal, visible return to earth and the establishment of His millennial kingdom, in the resurrection of the body, the final judgment and eternal blessing of the righteous and endless separation of the wicked (Matthew 16:27; Acts 1:11; Revelation 19:11-16, 20:11-15).

We believe in the Pretribulation Rapture of the church, where all believers will meet the Lord in the air and be taken out of this world prior to the tribulation that will come upon the earth (Isaiah 26:20; Matthew 24:29-31; Luke 21:36; Romans 1:18, 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 4:13-16 and 5:9; 2 Peter 2:7-9; Revelation 3:10, 5:7-10 and 7:13-14).

We believe in a literal Heaven and a literal Hell and that all those who place their faith, hope, and trust in Jesus Christ will spend eternity in Heaven with the Lord, while those who reject Jesus’ free gift of salvation will spend eternity separated from the Lord (Psalm 9:17; Matthew 5:3, 5:22, 18:9 and 25:31-34; Mark 9:42-49; Luke 12:5; John 3:18; Hebrews 12:23; 1 Peter 1:4; Revelation 14:10-11 and 20:11-15).

More about what we believe...

A Balance

In a broad general sense, Calvary Chapel is the middle ground between fundamentalism and Pentecostalism in modern Protestant theology. In fact, we believe that this is at least part of the reason why God has raised up this ministry.


Fundamentalism is that portion of Protestantism that holds to the literal interpretation of the Scriptures, believing that they are divinely inspired and inerrant. Hence, the "fundamentals" of the faith are emphasized. Although the modern news media and the liberal church scorn fundamentalists as backwards and stupid, the truth is that fundamentalism has preserved the integrity of God's Word and held on to the essential doctrines of the orthodox faith.


Pentecostalism as a modern movement grew out of the Azusa Street revival in Los Angeles at the turn of the 20th century. It spawned denominations that emphasize the fullness of the Holy Spirit and the exercise of spiritual and Scriptural gifts of the Spirit that had fallen dormant in the main line churches. Also criticized by the liberal church and news media as being emotionally driven, Pentecostalism restored to the church the importance of gifts of the Spirit and the power of God for the believer today.


Over the years, however, 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 is the balance between the two. At Calvary Chapel we believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit mentioned in the Bible, and we encourage their exercise, but always decently and in order, and with the primary emphasis on the Word of God which we look to as our primary rule of faith.


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."


Because of this balance, Calvary Chapel services are designed to be centered around the verse by verse teaching of God's Word. Special "after glow" services and home fellowships 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. That balance is indication, in my opinion, that we are right where God wants us to be.


Church Government

Calvary Chapel also differs from most mainline churches in its style of church government. Most denominational churches maintain either a congregational form of church government, a Presbyterian form, or an Episcopal form of running their churches. These three terms should not be confused with the denominations that bear the same names because other churches of different names share the same styles of government.


The congregational form of church government is an American invention and appeals to our American sense of democracy. Basically, the congregation as a whole makes all decisions in these churches by voting on matters of importance and appointing committees from its ranks to run the daily operation of the church. Most Congregational, Baptist, Pentecostal, Brethren, and non-denominational churches are organized in this fashion. The congregation votes on hiring a pastor, votes on how to spend the money, and on anything else of importance. Although democratic people like the idea, congregational forms of church government often wind up at best causing the pastor to be directed by the sheep he is supposed to lead, and at worst reducing the pastor to a hireling.


The Episcopal form of church government, used by Episcopalian, Anglican, Catholic, Orthodox, and Methodist churches (to name a few) is controlled by a church hierarchy that may have differing names. Basically, there is a bishop, or someone of similar stature if called by a different name, who oversees the churches, appoints pastors to pulpits, sets policy, and guides the vision of the local congregations. Unfortunately, this style of government, which grew out of European monarchies, leaves little freedom for the local pastor or congregation to follow the leading of the Spirit.


The Presbyterian form of church government, which is typical in Presbyterian and Reformed churches, puts the decisions of church polity in the hands of a select group of elders (the "presbytery") who are appointed in various ways, depending on the church. These elders are over the pastor, who in turn is over the congregation. The problem here too is that this system puts the God-appointed leader, the pastor, under some of those he is supposed to lead.


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, at Calvary Chapel we believe 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 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.


In addition, our churches have church boards as required by most states 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 the Holy Spirit leads him, and we trust God to put pastors where He wants them to be.


What We Do Not Believe

At Calvary Chapel, we reject some popular doctrines of various Christian groups because we believe them to be in error Scripturally. This does not mean that we 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, we reject, "amillennialism", post-millennialism, as well as a mid or post-tribulation rapture view. At Calvary Chapel, we believe in the pre-tribulational rapture of His saints and the pre-millennial return of Jesus Christ with His saints.


We also reject the belief, held by some Pentecostals and charismatics, that Christians can be demon possessed. The Scripture says "greater is He that is in you than he who is in the world" which makes no sense if both the Holy Spirit and evil spirits can simultaneously indwell a believer. Christians can be attacked and externally oppressed by demons, but they cannot be possessed or controlled by them.


In addition, we reject "5-point Calvinism". For a deeper understanding of what Calvinism is, see the book Calvinism versus Arminianism, but for our purposes here, suffice it to say that Calvary Chapel rejects two of the five points of five point Calvinism. First, Calvinism teaches that Jesus' atonement on the Cross was limited, that is, that He died only for a chosen group, His "elect", not for the sins of the entire world. At Calvary Chapel, we believe that Jesus died on the Cross for all the sins of all people, and that anyone who wants to can accept Him as Lord and Savior and be born again. Strict five point Calvinists believe that only the elect can be saved and that God has elected others to spend eternity in hell.


Secondly, we reject the Calvinistic teaching called "irresistible grace", which is the belief that man cannot, even if he wants to, resist the wooing and calling of God to salvation. Instead, at Calvary Chapel we believe that man has a free will and he can resist the call of God if he chooses to do so. Therefore, those who hold to five point Calvinism are outside of the borders of what defines Calvary Chapel.


At Calvary Chapel, we also reject the teaching of "positive confession" which is the doctrine put forth by the faith movement teachers that says that we as human beings can have unlimited health and wealth because we, like God, have the ability to create our own reality by the confession of our lips. These people teach that if a person will confess health and wealth consistently, then that is what they will have, and, conversely, the Christian living in sickness or poverty is settling for less than his full inheritance in Christ. At Calvary Chapel, we believe that many believers both in the Bible and in daily life are often afflicted not because their confession is wrong, but simply because we live in a fallen world. We believe that the health and prosperity doctrine is a perversion of Scripture and is often used to fleece the flock of God. We do not believe that God can be commanded by man to heal or provide, but that we must always submit to His perfect will even in affliction.


Additionally, we reject the teaching that uses human prophecy to supersede the Word of God. There are some Christian groups around which claim to have prophets and apostles of equal validity with those who wrote the Bible. Moreover, they claim that the prophetic utterances from these people take precedence over the Word of God. At Calvary Chapel, we believe that the Bible is the final authority and the complete Word of God for His church today, and that no prophecy or teaching can ever supersede it.


Some churches have incorporated human secular psychology and philosophy into their teaching programs, creating sermons that are more based on secular humanistic theory than on the Word of God. While we respect our fellow believers who work in mental health related fields, we at Calvary Chapel believe that the central mission of the church is to proclaim God's Word to a lost and hurting world. Moreover, it has been our experience that humanistic psychology and philosophy often do more harm than good, and people respond best when God's Word is proclaimed in the power and love of the Holy Spirit. It is God's Word that changes lives for the better. At Calvary Chapel, our services remain centered on the teaching of the Bible.


And finally, as we have mentioned before, Calvary Chapel rejects the over-emphasis of spiritual gifts and experiential signs and wonders to the exclusion of Biblical teaching. Again, we are a Bible based ministry that avoids programs and gimmicks in favor of the simple teaching of the Word of God in love to His people. In our services, we focus on a personal relationship with God through worship, prayer, and the teaching of the Word of God. We offer both expository and topical studies; we do not allow speaking in tongues loudly during services because we do not believe that the Holy Spirit would interrupt Himself.


What We Do Believe

At Calvary Chapel Red Wing, we believe in all the fundamental doctrines of the evangelical Protestant church.


WORSHIP

Many people are under the impression that a particular style of worship is insisted upon at Calvary Chapel, that style being the soft contemporary sound made popular by Maranatha! Music and by Asaph Records (which both originated at Calvary Chapel). Although most Calvary Chapels do utilize a form of contemporary worship, there is actually a great variety of styles of music found in our churches. Some are very traditional and conservative, with organs or pianos and hymns, while others prefer electric guitars and drums. There is no set style of worship makes a Calvary Chapel unique; instead there is wide latitude in expression. All of us desire, of course, that whatever the style of worship, it come from our hearts.


Similarly, some of the worship services at Calvary Chapels are quite traditional, while others are more contemporary. Some of our 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 of folks. We come together with one common focus: love for Jesus Christ and the desire to know Him more intimately.


A Few Final Thoughts

By clarifying some of what we believe at Calvary Chapel Red Wing, our purpose has been simply to help others less familiar with the movement gain insight into who we are. It has not been our intention to say that we are right and everyone else is wrong, nor has it been our intention to argue our position with any Christian believer. We are content to agree to disagree, and we desire to have nothing but love and fellowship with anyone who calls on the name of our Lord in truth and sincerity.


While there are many additional areas of polity and doctrine we could discuss, and while we could write volumes in an effort to defend all our positions against other positions, this is not our desire. Our desire is to simply adore Jesus, and we invite all God's people to join us as we do so.


On the other hand, there have been people who have started churches and called them Calvary Chapel that hold views and practices very different from what has been described here. In our opinion, it would be better if those fellowships would take a different name for their churches that more accurately reflects what they believe and practice. This would help not to confuse people who are looking for a ministry that is in line with what we have described on the previous pages.


While many different kinds of people attend and pastor Calvary Chapel affiliated churches, all of the Calvary Chapel leadership (men such a Raul Ries, Mike MacIntosh, Jeff Johnson, Skip Heitzig, Joe Focht, Don McClure) agree on the essential elements of this summary. Yet, their individual styles of ministry, methods of preaching, and visions for outreach vary greatly.


We seek the unity of the Spirit in a bond of peace and love and believe that God has called us to a unique ministry that fulfills His special purpose in this generation. May God bless you as you seek to draw near to Him in love.


We invite you to make Calvary Chapel Red Wing your spiritual home.