Find out about the History of Calvary Chapel
Calvary Chapel began in the late 1960s as a small non-denominational church of 25 people pastored by Chuck Smith in Costa Mesa, CA. Today, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa is home to more than 15,000 believers. The Word for Today publishes Bible study books and tapes all over the world. KWVE broadcasts God's Word to all of Southern California. The Calvary Satellite Radio Network broadcasts worldwide. In addition to these dynamic ministries, Calvary Chapel's Bible College provides Bible education to thousands at its home campus in Murietta, California, and at over 40 extension campuses world wide.
Because of its size and influence, many Christians have asked exactly what Calvary Chapel believes, what are its distinctives, and what sets it apart from other Christian groups. At Calvary Chapel, we have always been hesitant to try and answer those questions, not because we are unsure of our beliefs, but because we are cautious to avoid division within the Body of Christ. After all, what really matters is what we have in common as Christians: the "essential" doctrines of the infallibility of God's Word, the virgin birth of Christ, His sinless life, His death for our sins, His bodily resurrection, His ascension to glory, and His personal return to rule the earth. These are the essence of Christianity, and agreed upon by virtually all born again believers.
When we move away from the essential doctrines to those that are less essential we risk setting barriers up 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 and people want to know what those distinctions are. It is not our purpose to cause division or discord in the Body of Christ, conversely, we long for unity among God's people of all persuasions, and we allow for a great deal of flexibility even within our own ranks. Calvary Chapel pastors are not clones who all believe exactly the same thing. Yet, there are distinctives that make Calvary Chapel unique and which define our mission.