The Calvary Chapel Method

One imperative for the life of the Church is Biblical saturation. The doctrinal and textual ignorance of Christians can never be underestimated – myself included. Sunday morning sermons are not the primary place to combat this problem. In the context of the liturgy, sermons must hold to a certain, shorter length and they do not allow for interaction. My belief is that the pastor should hew to the lectionary cycle and preach from it on Sunday mornings.

So how can the Church address the wider deficiencies amongst Christians? I think that what Calvary Chapel has done in their verse by verse exposition of Scripture is one helpful approach. A pastor or another teacher could take one night a week and go through every book of the Bible, verse by verse, basically riffing on the text as he goes and perhaps taking questions – though not necessarily. Calvary does this admirably, but unfortunately with some preconceptions (i.e., pretrib rapture is a tenet of the faith) that hamper their results. Nevertheless, gettings taught on everything instead of just the things that interest the pastor leads to a much deeper appreciation of Scripture, theology and the sweep of God’s story. This is something that can be done ecumenically, no single denomination has a monopoly on the Bible. Any church can do it, all of us should do it.

5 thoughts on “The Calvary Chapel Method”

  1. I would offer one additional observation. I do appreciate CC’s dedication to an exegetical, verse-by-verse approach. But, it seems to me, they can be a bit overly strict on the approach when encountering text better examined in another fashion. Poetics, for instance, isn’t always best handled with explicit verse-by-verse exposition.

      1. Not really poem-by-poem, but sometimes, the way translations break up poetry, and with the nature of Hebrew poetry, a verse-by-verse exposition can miss the connections and links that are more subtle. I am a great proponent of verse-by-verse exposition, but want to honor the nature of the text as well.

        Does that make any more sense? Or complicate matters? Thanks for the post as well.

  2. Yes, that makes more sense. I think it could be done. Attention to the different forms would go a long way to helping people see the Bible better, rather than as a textbook of sorts.

  3. I think it was James Jordan who said that the best place to be is a church saturated in Scripture. I am grateful for the floating Bible verses in my head and heart from my CC days. This primed me for systematics and harmonizing all of these chunks of Scripture that I believed to be God’s Word. CC doesn’t systematize well beyond their eschatology, which explains why many CC folks come to the “Reformed” faith when introduced to a broader unifying confessional hermeneutic.

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