History of Calvary Chapel

Calvary Chapel began in 1965 as a small non-denominational church of 25 members pastored by Chuck Smith. Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa is home to some 30,000 believers.

Some of Calvary Chapel’s outreaches include:

  • The Word for Today publication – provides Bible study books and tapes worldwide.
  • KWVE radio station – broadcasts God’s Word to the Southern California area.
  • Calvary Chapel’s Bible College – provides Bible education to thousands at its home campus in Twin Peaks, California, and to more than 20 extension campuses worldwide.

What Makes Us Different

Many Christians have asked exactly what Calvary Chapel believes, what are its distinctive’s, and what sets us 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.

When we move away from the essential doctrines to those that are less essential, we risk setting up barriers in the church, something we have no desire to do. This is what makes Calvary Chapel distinct from denominational churches, and other Protestant groups.

What Makes Us the Same

What matters to us, is what beliefs we have in common with other Christians.

  • The “essential” doctrines of the infallibility of God’s Word.
  • The virgin birth of Christ.
  • His sinless life.
  • Death for our sins.
  • Bodily resurrection.
  • Ascension to glory.
  • Jesus’ return to rule the earth.

These are the core beliefs of Christianity that are agreed upon by virtually all born-again believers.

Our Perspective

We long for the unity among God’s people of all denominations. With that in mind, we allow for a great deal of flexibility even within our own ranks. Here at Calvary Chapel, these are the distinctive’s that make us unique, and define our mission.