The Calvary Stance on God

The Calvary system has missed two fundamental beliefs that are Biblical, historical and critical to the life of the believer. These errors bring about a considerable change in the way Christians live, evangelize and understand who God is as revealed in Scripture. And it is these errors that I believe are significant enough that we can not recommend Calvary churches beyond 3 stars. The first error attacks God’s Sovereignty and the second confuses who the Church is.

Calvary’s Attack on God’s Sovereignty

Sovereignty Definition – When we speak of God’s Sovereignty we mean God’s absolute control, that all things work out according to the purposes of God who both knows these and ordains that they come to pass.

This attack finds its roots in the 17th Century where Jacobus Arminius wanted to ‘protect’ God from being considered the author of sin and make man free from the constraints of God’s sovereignty. He presented that election was based on God’s foreknowledge of who would accept Christ on their own. He taught that men could ‘save themselves’ if they exercised their free will (outside of God’s control) and work towards a faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.

Philippians 1:29 “For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” This teaches that suffering for Christ is a gift, along with believing in Him. Both are gifts, and both are from God.”

Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast”

The result is that Ephesians 2:8-9 would be wrong, that faith is not a gift but a work that Christians do even though we are told that no one seeks after God (see Romans 3). Further because we have ‘chosen’ our faith we also can ‘lose’ our faith. The belief can be expressed this way; Christ made the down payment on our salvation on the cross, however once a person is saved he has to keep up the payments through being faithful and good works. This serious error therefore bases salvation on the ability of a person to merit their salvation by their good works. Clearly the Bible condemns this false teaching. This error was once considered heresy in the early church but now has become common teaching in many mainstream churches.

The consequences are believers are never certain of their salvation and it leads to a works based faith. On good days if a believer dies, they go to heaven, but if they die on a bad day where they ‘backslide’ then they can go to hell. I have seen this lived out in friends and family who feel it necessary to go to church every day of the week; they never have a chance to go out into the world and live the gospel. There never is a confidence and trusting that the believe is secure in God’s hand and His grace now in a position to respond to this by being obedient.

It also impacts evangelism as people feel like they can ‘convince’ people to come to God. Through emotional pleas and timely alter calls if the Pastor does a good enough job, his abilities and convincing will do the work to save the lost. The Spirit of God is not seen as the only agent that opens the eyes of the unbeliever, it is only through getting the person to say the “Sinner’s Prayer”.

We can have assurance of salvation because it is a gift from God, He will not lose us:

John 6:40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.

John 10:27-29 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.

This does not mean that we should now not do ‘works of righteousness’. As believers we should bear fruit that demonstrate that we are God’s.

John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.

John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

Calvary’s Confusion on God’s People (Who is Israel)

Calvary believes in what is called Dispensationalism. They believe that throughout the ages God is pursuing two distinct purposes: one related to earth with an earthly people and earthly objectives involved which is Judaism; while the other is related to heaven with heavenly people… which is Christianity.”

Galatians 6:15-16 tells us, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.” Paul is certainly not saying that the Old Covenant nation of Israel walks after that “rule” (salvation), as he knows clearly that they are lost, and will perish in their sins without Christ. Neither is Paul wishing peace upon the lost nation, for, having “great heaviness and continual sorrow in (his) heart” (Romans 9:1) regarding them, he knows the only peace is in Jesus Christ. Therefore, it appears, according to Scripture, that the only Biblical Israelite is the individual, regardless of lineage, who is ‘in Christ’ through salvation.

As a consequence to this misunderstanding, there are Calvary churches that make yearly pilgrimages to Israel bringing checks for the politicians of Israel. One church I knew raised ½ Million and flew it to Israel. This is money that could be used to fund Church plants, missionaries and ministry to those in need. Instead it supports a nation that does not worship God.


  1. Now there are differen view’s on scripture. my concern is that some my think they have a corner on the truth. now if the calvary stance is not a good stance. what should all of us be looking to as the right stance on God’s soverinty and how the people of Israel fit into todays would.

    Thank you

  2. no answer yet scared to answer?

  3. Shawn,

    We should look to Scripture for the right stance. Just because there are differing views doesn’t mean there isn’t a correct view.

  4. I love that you did this sight to warn people about cults. I wonder how bias you are? You are Quite hard on calvary chapels though.
    Forgive me but it sounds like one or more rubbed you the wrong way and caused you to blackball them all. Please pray about this.
    What is the price of being contriversal? I would not want to be in Howard Sterns spirit when he faces Jesus. Amen?

  5. Chad,

    I don’t think we are ‘being hard on Calvary’. Our goal is to present God’s Word and why we disagree with their stance. There are consequences to mis-applying scripture and we want to discuss these.

    Overall, Calvary churches are brothers in the Lord who desire that all people come to know Jesus Christ. For that I am thankful!

  6. In the 17th Century, the concept of Faithfulness was attacked by Calvin’s over-exaggerated view of pre-destination. It was taken to the point that he preached “a man had no say whatsoever – - God granted salvation to whosoever He willed” and also refused it to the whosoever He willed as well.
    In reaction to that narrow view of God’s Sovereignty, people with a deep understanding of God’s love and purpose rose up against the dogma. Many were burned at the stake for their conviction – - that Father God would accept the sincere repentance of ANY man. And just as God allowed one of His highest Arch angels to fall, likewise would accept man’s choice to turn away from Him.
    This reply to Calvinism finds its roots in the 17th Century theology of James Arminius. Anglican, Methodist, Holiness, Nazarene, Pentecostal, and most 20th Century born church movements hold to Arminianism over Calvinism.
    If one would reject Calvary Chapels and Vineyards for being Arminian, one would also rule out all these other denominations for the same reason.
    As for judging Dispensationalism, now we are criticizing the theological constructs in just about every denominational paradigm. For example, Baptists say the gift of healing and the speaking of tongues is not for today because “we are in a different dispensation.” And so on . . .
    One of my professors in Seminary always used to say, “The theology that is perfect is the one you possess when you see Him face to face. All others are subject to refining as we approach that day.”
    But I think we all know that.

  7. I’m not sure if I could trust your evaluation. Firstly, because you got the wrong person that help build the theological framework that Calvary Chapel doctrine on Theology proper and Soteriology. His name is Luis Molina 1535–1600and he was a spanish Jesuit counter-reformation thelogian.

    Second of all. You spelled Arminius’ name incorrectly. His name is spelled Jacobus Arminius and he was a Dutch Theologian c.1559-1609. John Wesley was significantly influenced by Arminius view of sanctification.

    Third I think you mean CC holds to a Dispensational Theology as opposed to a Reformed Covenantal Theological view of ecclesiology & soteriology.

    So if you want to get really technical with names and theological categories, CC holds to a Wesleyan/Arminian/Molinist doctrine of scripture with a dispensational historical methodological approach towards interpreting God’s plan of salvation.

    Besides these corrections, I think your right.

    Joel A. Montes
    M.Div. Student
    Talbot Theological Seminary
    Biola University

  8. Joel,

    Thanks for your post. First, I corrected the misspelling. Thanks.

    “Third I think you mean CC holds to a Dispensational Theology as opposed to a Reformed Covenantal Theological view of ecclesiology & soteriology.”
    Where does it state otherwise. I see it reads, “Calvary believes in what is called Dispensationalism.”

    “Besides these corrections, I think your right.”
    I believe most people who study these issues come to the same conclusion.

  9. I wholeheartedly agree with the review, but then I would– being a 100 percent Biblically certified calvinist!! (oh the arrogance right?!) Sorry but one can’t get around it. These truths are simply too powerful. And they should be–it is the Word of God! I have found calvinism to be the purest and most organized and most beautiful exposition of Christianity that we have. It’s not perfect because no system can be absolutely perfect on this earth. Not with our fallen, sinful nature. But anyway I am just rambling….

  10. As a Calvary ‘goer’, there are no members, for 17 years I totally agree with Michael. These truthes are simply too important! God isn’t sovereign
    in some areas and not in others. And He doesn’t have to look down the tunnel of time to know who will accept His gift of salvation and who won’t! What an absurd thought about Almighty Soverign God! I can just imagine Him sitting in heaven ringing His hands wondering about who will and will not be saved.

    Calvary tries too hard to be everything to everyone at the expense of the truth. And they take their “Come as you are” philosopy far too literally. There is more skin showing on the young women coming to Calvary churches than I can beleive. Discipline takes a back seat to the numbers in the congregation.

    I have left Calvary and now go to a Reformed church where I feel like I’m being sheparded and not left to my own devices.

  11. I don’t understand why everyone is so concerned about this issue. Are we all not judging one another? Is God so small that he can be categorized into a small idea of who he is and what his plan for the world is? I think that the Holy Spirit shows each of us in his own way how he works in our lives,and in the lives of others. No two people are the same. We need to live by biblical truths, but after that, we have no right to judge one another. One church may be right for one person, but not right for another. It is absurd to nit-pick and judge each other for personal beliefs. If you are comfortable in a church, and are being fed the Word and living out your life for Christ, then what is the real issue?

  12. You are so sure you are correct in your interpretation of the Bible and that Calvary is completely wrong. And your wording and tone in the explanation of the two main problems you have with Calvary’s interpretations, or wait…you call them “attacks” is blatantly divisive and un-Christian in manner. How is that you are so sure you have the divine interpretation and everyone else is wrong! Wow!
    I have never heard a distinction taught in all my years at Calvary between earthly purposes and heavenly purposes and somehow one being Jews and one being Christians. I don’t think your correct in what you are attributing to Calvary. But we love Israel because God loves Israel and God has made it clear that Israel is special and dear to Him. What is special to Him should be special to us. Israel is as deserving of our monetary support as all the other non-believing countries that we as Christians are reaching out to with the gospel. Why should the money go for missionary outreaches to other countries and not Israel? You are singling them out to be ignored in your statement in the last paragraph.

    When you critique other churches you should say that you don’t agree with them, but not that you are right and they are wrong. Your website makes me sad. And your superior attitude could use a bit of humility.
    But I will end asking God to bless you with His mighty love!

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