Do You Really Know What Your Calvary Chapel Believes? It’s not Just the Bible, it’s the “Distinctives”…

Happy New Year 2015!  This is LVAE’s third most viewed article in 2014. Thousands of people are curious about Calvary Chapels’ falsehood.

You walk into the room on a Sunday morning.  Everyone is worshipping God with hands raised.  You greet smiling faces.  The message is delivered from the Bible (word for word) in a powerful, authoritative manner by the senior pastor.  Greetings are made.  You drop some money in the “tithe” box.  Great day at church.  And you do this year after year after year.  The pastor says his church only goes by “the Word”.  And, that’s how it appears on the outside.  You sense there is something wrong at the church, but you cannot pinpoint it and doubt yourself.  Afterall, the Bible is taught word for word from the pulpit!

One church movement that claims to “simply teach the Word, simply” also follows a set of teachings they say are “foundational”, written by a man named Chuck Smith.  Oddly, these doctrines are not brought up normally.  Why?  This set of “foundational” teachings that most Calvary Chapel church goers are not told about is:

The Calvary Chapel Distinctives by Chuck Smith (PDF)

So, what is this “Distinctives” document, exactly?  You thought that you were attending a place whose allegiance, leadership models, practices and doctrines were solely based upon the Word of God and sound doctrine rightly divided (2 Tim. 2:15)?

Not so fast.

Calvary Chapels appear to be a very solid, Biblical church.  In fact, the messages are usually word-for-word out of the Bible.  Almost anyone would gather that from attending on Sundays.  This is where it gets tricky.  Discernment is needed.  Get a little closer, stay a little longer, dig a little deeper – and you will see something quite different at play.  A friend of Las Vegas Apologetics once said that discovering the issues at Calvary Chapel is like peeling back the layers of an onion.  Keep peeling, dig deeper, and don’t settle for the outside.

Have you ever had a funny feeling in your gut when attending a Calvary Chapel but you just didn’t know why?  Listen to it.  It could be the Spirit of Truth speaking to you.

Know your church.  Most importantly, know the Bible.  You could protect yourself and your loved ones from spiritual abuse and/or practices and teachings contrary to orthodox Christianity.

In section two of the Distinctives, Smith discusses the Moses/Aaron form of leadership.  He also twists the meaning of a “hireling” to mean someone who is not accountable to a Board of Directors:

“Becoming a hireling is a real danger when the church is run by a Presbyterian kind of a government, and the Board is ruling over the church. The pastor is hired by the Board and can be fired by the Board in the same fashion. With that kind of rule the pastor becomes a hireling.”

Smith here is putting the pastor above the Board of Directors (the “Board” is a worldly, business term and really is found nowhere in the Bible).  Sort of like a pyramid.  If the pastor cannot be hired or fired by the Board, doesn’t that make the pastor a church boss with no accountability whatsoever (as opposed to a “hireling”)?  Jesus said a hireling is someone who does not care for the sheep, not someone who is accountable to a board or fellow brethren (John 10:13).  In fact, every true pastor/shepherd will be accountable to others.  A true, humble servant of God wants to be accountable to Godly people and will listen to correction (Proverbs 12:1; 2 Tim. 4:2).  A pastor who cannot get fired is a pastor who can get away with anything in the name of God or being “the Lord’s anointed one”!  Do you see any similarities with the Roman Catholic Church?  This is a set up for abuse and false teaching unchecked in the church.  Smith simply (and unbelievably) puts the pastor at the top of the pyramid in his Moses/Aaron form of leadership – on an island unto himself separate from any possibility of being fired by the Board.

On another note, in section eight, Smith speaks of a pre-tribulation, secret rapture.

The problem is that the pre-tribulation quiet, secret rapture is simply not Biblical because the Bible says it is a loud event (1 Thessalonians 4:16).

There are many friends of this ministry who have attended Calvary Chapel Green Valley in Henderson.  At least one prior member of CCGV has heard the senior pastor speak of the missionary Corrie Ten Boom (on at least one occasion) and LVAE has known a few people who have witnessed the pastor speak on the pre-tribulation rapture of the Church (on multiple occasions).  Please note that this ministry does lovingly pray for and care for the souls at Calvary Chapels, hoping for Godly repentance and hoping God’s best for each and every soul including all leadership who we pray for, of course!

Even though many Calvary Chapel senior pastors will speak about Corrie Ten Boom, this same woman has stated in a letter from 1974 that pastors who teach a pre-tribulation rapture are the “false teachers that Jesus was warning us to expect in the latter days”!

“There are some among us teaching there will be no tribulation, that the Christians will be able to escape all this. These are the false teachers that Jesus was warning us to expect in the latter days.  Most of them have little knowledge of what is already going on across the world. I have been in countries where the saints are already suffering terrible persecution.” (Corrie Ten Boom)

You see, these teachings are foundational to the Calvary Chapel church you attend.  What are you being taught?

May the Holy Spirit speak to you.  God bless you.


Calvary Chapel’s Tangled Web by David Sessions

(Las Vegas Apologetics does not necessarily agree with all content from the above ministry)


About Christian Apologetics Research of Nevada

Christian Topics. Evangelism, Apologetics and Discernment. Board Certified.
This entry was posted in Calvary Chapel Distinctives, Calvary Chapel Movement, Calvary Chapel...cultic?, Chuck Smith, Hyper-Authoritarianism, Moses Model, Spiritual Abuse. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Do You Really Know What Your Calvary Chapel Believes? It’s not Just the Bible, it’s the “Distinctives”…

  1. Laurie says:

    Thank you and God bless you for sharing your experience about CALVARY chapel. The truth needs to be exposed about this false doctrine. I have attended Calvary chapel in the city for 10 years. It was there that I did learn how to have a relationship with Jesus, but like so many other churches it began as a spirit lead church but then changed to a works based church(legalism) I new something was not right about the church but could not put my finger on it. I could see that their was a division within the body that grew worse and worse over time. People woukd say they love you but I knew it was not genuine. I sought the Lord about what I was experiencing and about the truth. My eyes were opening to what was really going on there and winthin myself as I was taught there. I noticed their rules and regulations were more important than just allowing the Holy Spirit do His work there. The Holy spiritual was retrained from doing his work in the body. Grace was taught but not present not practiced. If you did not speak or act in an holy way, you knew it because all became silent and woukd not speak to you. There was no room for growth you were looked down upon if you were not like them. There were also so many unspoken expectations. Even though I was there for 10 years I did not feel like I was trusted. Always feeling like I was being watched, there was a lot of behavior modification. I began in a heart felt loving relationship with Jesus and in the end I noticed that when I became a leader, I was cold, judgemental hypocrital and far away from Jesus. It reminds me of that scripture that says there will be a time when false teachers will speak perverse things to draw you away from the Lord. I had the fruit of the Pharisee and no longer had fruit of the holy spirit. These people were very well meaning and caring so I thought, so it’s very easy to be decieved. I asked for discernment and Jesus gave it to me and He will give it to anyone who seeks Him. Since then I repented I my false way and doctrine I was following, to follow Jesus alone. After a careful study of the word I see that the church today is a spiritual one not a physical one made with hands. Jesus says I am the church- His people are the church. Come out of Babylon revelation 17-18. Do not share in her sins. Be careful my brethren- Satan came to decieve the world and he is decieving many in the church today. They think they are following Jesus but it’s not Jesus it’s another Jesus ( Satan himself disguised as Jesus) Satan does not come dressed as the devil but as a bright light and he is beautiful. God be with you all and may you seek to be true worshippers of God that worship Him in SPIRIT and in TRUTH.


  2. Alice says:

    you will discover the deeper problems along with the truth by studying theology – and a wonderful book by a former Calvary Chapel pastor, Michael Brown, “Sacred Bond”.

    This book is not a rebuttal of CC. It explains Scripture and the true covenantal relationship God has with his people. You can email Pastor Brown, also. He currently cares for Christ United Reformed Church in Santee:

    Calvary Chapel is a “sect”. Ask Pastor Brown what that means. A true Christian church will have the “three marks” noted in Scripture: the Word rightly preached; the sacraments (baptism/Lord’s Supper) rightly administered; church discipline rightly applied.



  3. I have been mentored by a calvary chapel pastor for 3 yrs now,but when I have request for affiliation he told me to attend their affiliate church and college inorder to get it.So now I’ve attended almost 1 yr.Please advice and help me.


  4. rebecca says:

    I grew up in the Calvary church and never saw anything wrong with it. As an adult I stopped going because the people at Calvary Chapel were like a cult saying only this church is teaching the true word of God. My father still remains a devout Calvary Chapel goer and has always criticized any church I’ve gone to saying they don’t teach the “whole” word, meaning they don’t read straight through the bible which calvary chapel does ( even though it takes 5 years or so to do it).



Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s