In a broad general sense, Calvary Chapel is the middle ground between fundamentalism and Pentecostalism in modern Protestant theology.
Fundamentalism holds to the literal interpretation of the Scriptures, believing that they are divinely inspired and inerrant. Pentecostalism emphasizes 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. 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 un-accepting of spiritual gifts; while 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 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.
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.
Calvary Chapel also differs from most mainline churches in its style of church government. Our church government is simple; 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 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.
In addition, our church has a church board that is made up of mature Christian businessmen who can advise our pastor with respect to the business operations and decisions of the church, such as property management and investments.