Calvary Chapel Saving Grace, Mesa is an outreach ministry of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. Calvary Chapel was founded by Pastor Chuck Smith who is still the Senior Pastor. Calvary Chapel is a non-denominational, Protestant fellowship of churches, which began in December 1965, when Chuck Smith became the pastor of a 25 person congregation and in 1968 broke away from the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel denomination in Santa Ana, California. 12 of the 25 members were in a prayer meeting, before Chuck became their pastor, about whether or not to close their church when the Holy Spirit spoke to them by prophecy and told them that Chuck would become their pastor, that he would want to elevate the platform area, that God would bless the church, that it would go on the radio, that the church would become overcrowded, and that he would become known throughout the world.
Calvary Chapel then became associated with what is now known as the Jesus People Movement when Chuck’s daughter introduced him to her boyfriend John. John was a former hippie who had become a Christian. John then introduced Chuck to Lonnie Frisbee, a hippie Christian who would eventually become the key figure in the Jesus Movement and Calvary Chapel. Lonnie moved into Chuck’s home, and in a few days, more hippies moved in with Chuck and his wife.
In their form of church government, Calvary Chapel uses a mostly episcopal structure. Tongues and prophecy are not a normal part of typical Sunday morning church services, but they are held as doctrinally valid. Calvary Chapels faithfully uphold expository teaching, a “verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book” approach to teaching the Bible. This essentially means that their sermons are directly related to a passage of the Bible, and following sermons will start where the previous sermon left off (often this is done from Genesis to Revelation). They hold the opinion that topical studies fail to present the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27) and that ministers who use this approach often choose topics that they have a certain inclination to teach, while leaving out important controversial issues of the Bible. It is Calvary’s desire to teach, not preach the word, in order to equip and train laymen for everyday ministry – as well as encourage development of a personal relationship with Christ.
Although Calvary Chapel believes in the continuing efficacy of the gift of tongues, they do not recognize uninterpreted tongues spoken to the whole congregation to be those inspired (or at least directed) by the Holy Spirit because of their understanding of 1st Corinthians 14. Interpreted tongues and modern prophecy are affirmed doctrinally by Calvary Chapel. Practicing tongues in private is more common.
Baptism and Communion
Baptism by immersion is practiced. Calvary Chapel does not believe baptism is necessary for salvation, but instead sees it as an outward sign of an inward change. As a result, they do not baptize infants, although they may dedicate them to God. Communion is viewed in a similar way.
Calvary Chapel is strongly pretribulationist and premillennialist. In their eschatology, which is the study of the end times, they believe that the rapture of the Church will occur first, followed by a literal seven year period of great tribulation, followed by the second coming of Jesus Christ, and then finally a literal thousand year reign of Jesus Christ on earth called the Millennial Kingdom. Calvary Chapel also rejects supersessionism and instead believes that Israel will play an important part in the end times.
Calvary Chapel’s most defining practice is the emphasis on the Bible. We believe that God meant what He said and said what He meant and desires that we follow the Word literally.
We still teach the Word of God Verse by Verse.