Small Group: The Church & Denominations-05/16/18

Calvary Chapel

Founded: 

  • While Chuck Smith was a member of the Foursquare Gospel Church, he reported a prophecy came to him in which the Lord said to him that He was changing his name. His new name would mean “Shepherd” because the Lord was going to make him the shepherd of many flocks and the church would not be large enough to hold all of the people who would be flocking to hear the Word of God.
  • In 1965 Pastor Chuck Smith started his ministry at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa.
  • Pastor Chuck made room in his ministry for a generation of hippies, surfers, and drug addicts. This movement was instrumental in bringing thousands of young people to Jesus Christ during the 60s and 70s in what was known as the Jesus People Movement.
  • Among the converts were musicians who now were writing music for praise and worship. This became the beginning of Jesus musicand Christian rock concerts.

Maranatha! Music was eventually formed to publish and promote the music.

 # People:

  • Today Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa draws over 10,000 people each week.
  • In 2017, there are 1,800 churches in all 50 states across the United States, and more internationally.

 How Governed

  • It’s a “fellowship of churches” and not a denomination they say.
  • They do not have formal church membership.
  • Calvary Chapels operate under a senior pastor-led system of church government, sometimes referred to as the “Moses” model.  Like Moses “senior pastors should be answerable to God, not to a denominational hierarchy or board of elders”.

Christianity Today says that Smith’s “Moses Model”, in which senior pastors do not permit their authority to be challenged, can lead to churches that are often resistant to accountability.

          -It is not congregational rule.

-They believe that God’s people collectively made poor decisions in the Old Testament.

-They also criticize Presbyterian style of government because when “the pastor is hired by the board and can be fired by the board,” they fear that “the pastor becomes a hireling”.

-The congregation has no direct authority over the pastor.

  • Calvary Chapels are independent and self-governing churches. The church is not a member of Calvary Chapel, the pastor is. If the pastor leaves and no CC pastor replaces him, they are no longer a CC.
  • Pastors do not need a seminary

Scripture:

  • They believein the inerrancy of Scripture, that the Bible, Old and New Testaments are the inspired, infallible Word of God.

 God:

  • They believe that God is eternally existent in three distinct persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  • They believe that God is the personal, transcendent, and sovereign Creator of all things.

 Jesus:

  • They believe that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully human, that He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, provided for the atonement of our sins by His substitutionary death on the cross, was bodily raised from the dead, ascended back to the right hand of the Father, and ever lives to make intercession for us.

Holy Spirit:

CC Ft. Lauderdale

  • The Holy Spirit is the third person in the triune Godhead.
  • The Spirit teaches.
  • The Spirit testifies.
  • The Spirit guides
  • The Spirit convicts.
  • The Spirit regenerates.
  • The Spirit intercedes.
  • The Spirit sanctifies.
  • The Spirit equips
  • The Spirit fills us.

 How Saved:

  • They believe that all people are, by nature, separated from God and responsible for their own sin, but that salvation, redemption, and forgiveness are freely offered to all by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • When a person repents of sin and accepts Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord, trusting Him to save, that person is immediately born again and sealed by the Holy Spirit, all his/her sins are forgiven, and that person becomes a child of God, destined to spend eternity with the Lord.

 After Life:

  • They believe in the personal, visible, and pre-millennial second coming of Jesus Christ to the earth. He will return with His saints and set up a kingdom of which there will be no end.
  • After Jesus ascended to Heaven, He poured out His Holy Spirit on the believers in Jerusalem, enabling them to fulfill His command to preach the Gospel to the entire world, an obligation shared by all believers today.

 Worship:

  • Baptism: Believer by immersion.
  • Lord’s Supper: Symbolic
  • Worship atmosphere: They have a casual and laid-back atmosphere. People may wear street clothes to church.
  • Praise and worship usually consists of upbeat contemporary Christian music though many Calvary’s also use hymns.
  • The style of worship generally reflects the region and the specific make-up of the congregation.

 HO: Jersey Shore Calvary Chapel Sunday Bulletin

Other Beliefs:

Calvary Chapel Coastlands

‘We are not a denominational church, nor are we opposed to denominations as such, only their over-emphasis of the doctrinal differences that have led to the division of the Body of Christ. We believe that the only true basis of Christian fellowship is His (Agape) love, which is greater than any differences we possess and without which we have no right to claim ourselves Christians.’

-Worship of God should be spiritual. Therefore: we remain flexible and yielded to the leading of the Holy Spirit to direct our worship.

-Worship of God should be inspirational. Therefore: we give great place to music in our worship.

-Worship of God should be intelligent. Therefore: our services are designed with great emphasis upon teaching the Word of God that He might instruct us.

-Worship of God should be fruitful. Therefore: we look for His love in our lives as the supreme manifestation that we have been truly worshiping Him.

Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, California

  • Calvary Chapels hold to the five points of Calvinism
  • Calvary Chapel holds that all the spiritual gifts mentioned in the Scriptures are valid for today if they are exercised within the scriptural guidelines.
  • Calvary Chapel does not teach that the outward manifestation of every Christian counts as speaking in tongues. Instead, the movement’s theologians regard speaking in tongues as one of the many gifts of the Spiritand see believers as blessed as the Spirit moves.
  • Similar to other Pentecostal or Charismatic movements, Calvary Chapel holds that the baptism of the Holy Spirit does not take place during conversion, but is available as a second experience. It is their understanding that there are three distinct relationships with the Holy Spirit.

-First is experienced prior to conversion. In this relationship the Holy Spirit is convicting the person of his sin.

-Second the Holy Spirit indwells believers during conversion for the purpose of sanctification.

-Third is the baptism of the Holy Spirit which is for the purpose of being a Christian witness.

Big on prophesy:

-Pastor Bruce Kozman had a cable TV show exclusively on prophesy.

-During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Chuck Smith wrote and published a prophetic timeline that declared the imminent return of Christ.

-In the book Snatched Away!, published in 1976, Smith wrote: the generation that was living in May 1948 shall not pass until the second coming of Jesus Christ takes place and the kingdom of God be established upon the earth.

-In a 1978 book, Smith wrote: I believe that the generation of 1948 is the last generation. Since a generation of judgment is forty years and the Tribulation period  lasts seven years, I believe the Lord could come back for His Church any time before the Tribulation starts, which would mean any time before 1981.

-Disappointment resulting from the prophecy not materializing in 1981 caused some to leave the church.

 They do not ordain women or homosexuals as pastors.

 Major Divisions:

  • In November 2016, two new Calvary Chapel networks began side by side:

-Calvary Chapel Global Network

-Calvary Chapel Association.

Most Calvary Chapels remain affiliated with both Calvary Chapel Association and Calvary Chapel Global Network. However the leaders’ churches of each network have been erased from the other’s church locator map.

From Christianity Today

  • Smith’s son-in-law and successor at California flagship Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, Brian Brodersen, left the Calvary Chapel Association (CCA) this past fall with plans to build on Smith’s vision—but from outside the fellowship that “Pastor Chuck” began.
  • “As I look at the current situation within Calvary Chapel, I don’t see this separation as negative but rather [as] necessary for God’s work to be expanded,” announced Brodersen, who launched a broader, looser body focused on international missions called the Calvary Chapel Global Network (CCGN).
  • His statement likened the split to the biblical example of Paul and Barnabas going different ways based on different understandings of mission.
  • However, a CCA council member compared Brodersen’s departure to a different biblical example: Mark leaving Paul’s authority.
  • Brodersen’s congregation maintains CalvaryChapel.com, and still includes the association’s 1,700 churches in the new CCGN unless they opt out. The CCA council stated they “cannot endorse” Brodersen’s network and recommended that churches leave it.
  • What he sees as growing Smith’s vision, they see as diluting it.

 

Prominent Leaders:

Chuck Smith, Skip Heitzig, Greg Laurie, Jeremy Camp, Switchfoot, Phil Wickham, Kelly Willard.

 

 

Christian and Missionary Alliance

Founded:

  • Founded in 1897 by A. B. Simpson, a Presbyterian minister who left a lucrative pastorate in New York City, he had a call from God to reach the lost masses both in New York and around the world.
  • He established the New York Gospel Tabernacle to bring likeminded people together into an organization that could facilitate outreach ministries.
  • He set up the Missionary Training Institute (MTI) to provide training and resources for men and women God was calling to take the gospel to the world.

-They sent out the first team of missionaries to the Congo in 1884.

  • It didn’t start off as a denomination, but as two distinct parachurch organizations:

-The Christian Alliance, which focused on the pursuit and promotion of the Higher  Christian life.

-And the Evangelical Missionary Alliance, which focused on mobilizing “consecrated” Christians in the work of foreign missionary efforts.

-These two groups joined in 1897 to form the C&MA.

 

# People:

  • Approximately 417,000 members.

 

How Governed

-Alliance churches are united in a pattern of geographical districts. Local churches within the Alliance are related to a district conference as well as to the national organization.

-There are currently 28 districts and ten associations.

 

Scripture:

  • The Old and New Testaments, inerrant as originally given, were verbally inspired by God and are a complete revelation of His will for the salvation of men. They constitute the divine and only rule of Christian faith and practice.

 God:

  • There is one God, who is infinitely perfect, existing eternally in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

 Jesus:

  • Jesus Christ is the true God and the true man.
  • He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.
  • He died upon the cross, the Just for the unjust, as a substitutionary sacrifice, and all who believe in Him are justified on the ground of His shed blood.
  • He arose from the dead according to the Scriptures.
  • He is now at the right hand of Majesty on high as our great High Priest.
  • He will come again to establish His kingdom, righteousness and peace.

 

Holy Spirit:

  • The Holy Spirit is a divine person, sent to indwell, guide, teach, empower the believer, and convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.

 

How Saved:

  • Man was originally created in the image and likeness of God: he fell through disobedience, incurring thereby both physical and spiritual death.
  • All men are born with a sinful nature, are separated from the life of God, and can be saved only through the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Salvation has been provided through Jesus Christ for all men; and those who repent and believe in Him are born again of the Holy Spirit, receive the gift of eternal life, and become the children of God.

 

After Life:

  • The portion of the unrepentant and unbelieving is existence forever in conscious torment;
  • and that of the believer, in everlasting joy and bliss.
  • There shall be a bodily resurrection of the just and of the unjust; for the former, a resurrection unto life; for the latter, a resurrection unto judgment.
  • The second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is imminent and will be personal, visible, and premillennial.
  • This is the believer’s blessed hope and is a vital truth which is an incentive to holy living and faithful service.

 

Worship:

  • The Lord’s Supper: Open, memorial
  • Baptism: Immersion, outward sign of inward work of God
  • Prayer for the sick and anointing with oil are taught in the Scriptures and are privileges for the Church in this present age.

 

HO: Murrysville Alliance Church Weekly Bulletin

HO: Union City C&MA Weekly Bulletin

Other Beliefs:

  • VERY strongly missions oriented.
  • They are part of the holiness movement, heavily influenced by Wesleyan-Arminian theology. They are at the heart of the Keswick Movement in Canada, a holiness movement. They often place more importance on personal experience in spiritual matters, than on solid doctrines. Pentecostalism also is a part of the holiness movement.

-It is the will of God that each believer should be filled with the Holy Spirit and be sanctified wholly, being separated from sin and the world and fully dedicated to the will of God, thereby receiving power for holy living and effective service. This is both a crisis and a progressive experience wrought in the life of the believer subsequent to conversion.

-A severe division developed within the C&MA organization over “the initial evidence doctrine” within Pentecostalism. While Simpson and the C&MA wholeheartedly embraced the Filling of the Holy Spirit and the spiritual gifts, including speaking with tongues, they rejected the position that tongues was the only initial evidence for that Baptism experience; instead, they held that the primary evidence is the Fruit of the Holy Spirit and that “fruitful ministry” is another strong proof.

-They believe in the various Pentecostal gifts, but do not practice them as a group; speaking in tongues, as one example.

-If you attended a regular service, you normally wouldn’t find much difference from most Baptist churches.

  • The Fourfold Gospel: Represents the core valuesof The Christian and Missionary Alliance. Through dramatic spiritual encounters that changed the course of his life, Simpson came to firmly believe that Christ was not only his Savior, but also his Sanctifier and Healer.

-Jesus Christ is our Savior.

-Jesus Christ is our Sanctifier. (Lord)

-Jesus Christ is our Healer.

-Jesus Christ is our Coming King.

  • Do not support LGBTQ agenda.
  • In 1998, the “General Council defines elder authority as male, therefore women are not be pastors or elders.” There are many women presently serving in positions similar to associate pastor, youth pastor, or children’s pastor.  They are “consecrated” rather than “ordained” and do not hold the title of “pastor”.
  • Can be too contemporary or relevant to culture

-This is a line taken from the ‘Leadership’ page of a local C&MA church’s website

-‘We’d love to grab a cup of coffee or craft beer with you’

 

Major Divisions:

  • None that I was able to find

 

 PP: Prominent Leaders:

 

 

Categories: Small Group, The Church & Denominations