Calvary Church is a community of believers that finds its roots in the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation. During the 1500s, Roman Catholic clergymen like Martin Luther of Germany (1483-1546), John Calvin of Switzerland (1509-1563) and Thomas Cranmar of England (1489-1556), endeavored to bring reform to the Catholic Church. It was not their vision to start a new church but to reform the Roman Catholic Church from within. However, the disagreements were so strong that those who wanted reform were called “Protesters,” resulting in the Protestant-Roman Catholic schism occurring around 1517. These Protestants were also known as “Evangelicals” (Luther’s preferred term) because of their emphasis on the “evangel,” which means “gospel.” During the 1600s, English Protestants (Anglicans) splintered over how extensively reformed measures should be taken. One particular group called the “Baptists” emphasized the complete separation of church and state (a radical idea at the time), as well as baptism for believers only. Baptists were considered Protestants who differed from their Protestant brethren on the issues of baptism and the church’s relationship with the state.
During the early 1900s, many Evangelical-Protestant churches were significantly impacted by theological liberalism, a movement that arose during the mid-1800s challenging the truthfulness of the Bible, the deity of Christ and the necessity of conversion. Between 1920 and 1950, many churches “came out” of their liberal denominations and formed groups like the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches, the
Calvary was founded in 1947, with thirty-three charter members, as
With the rise and influence of the famed Billy Graham, many Evangelicals became less comfortable with some of the extreme views of fundamentalism. Leaving liberal denominations may have been necessary in the 1930s and 1940s (though some Evangelicals remained within them in an effort to bring reform), but Graham and others felt that, by the 1960s, fundamentalists had gone too far. While retaining the “fundamentals,” Billy Graham criticized the extreme views of the “fundamentalists.” Most of Evangelicalism followed Graham and the movement became known as the “New Evangelical movement.” Those who left “fundamentalism” were called New Evangelicals, often a term of derision among fundamentalists. New Evangelicals emphasized the “fundamentals of the faith” but wanted to lose the baggage. They grew weary of narrow-minded denominationalism, provincialism, legalism, and the lack of concern for the world's social problems. New Evangelicals wanted to restore the fundamentalist movement to the historic Evangelical movement that found its history in the sixteenth-century Reformation.
During the decade of the 1990s,