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Assemblies of God
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Classification Protestant
Theology Pentecostal
Governance Presbyterian and Congregational
Geographical areas Worldwide
Origin 1914
Separated from Church Of God In Christ
Separations Oneness Pentecostals (separated 1916)
Congregations 312,048
Members 60 million
Official Website worldagfellowship.org

The Assemblies of God (AG), officially the World Assemblies of God Fellowship, is a group of national Christian denominations which together form the world's largest Pentecostal body. With over 300,000 congregations and outstations in over 212 countries and territories serving approximately 57 to 60 million adherents worldwide,[1][2][3] it is the fourth largest international body of Christians.[4]

As an international fellowship, the member denominations are entirely independent and autonomous; however, they are united by shared beliefs and history. The Assemblies originated from the Pentecostal revival of the early 20th century. This revival led to the founding of the Assemblies of God in the United States in 1914. Through foreign missionary work and establishing relationships with other Pentecostal churches, the Assemblies of God expanded into a worldwide movement. It was not until 1988, however, that the world fellowship was formed.

Contents

History

Origins

The Assemblies of God has its roots in the Pentecostal revival of the early 20th century. This revival is generally traced to a prayer meeting held under the leadership of Charles Parham, at Bethel Bible College in Topeka, Kansas, on January 1, 1901. It spread rapidly to Missouri, Texas, California and elsewhere. In 1906, a three-year revival meeting under the leadership of William Seymour began at the Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles that attracted believers from around the world. The Pentecostal aspects of the revival were not generally welcomed by established churches, and participants in the movement soon found themselves forced outside existing religious bodies. These people sought out their own places of worship and founded hundreds of distinctly Pentecostal congregations.

Samoan Assemblies of God church in the village of Lotopa, Samoa

By 1914, many ministers and laymen alike began to realize just how far-reaching the spread of the revival and of Pentecostalism had become. Concerned leaders felt the desire to protect and preserve the results of the revival by uniting through cooperative fellowship. In April 1914, about 300 preachers and laymen were invited from 20 states and several foreign countries for a general council in Hot Springs, Arkansas, United States, to discuss and take action on these and other pressing needs. American racial and cultural norms at the time, such as Jim Crow laws, deeply affected such cooperative fellowship of the early movement by excluding many African-American Pentecostal leaders such as Charles Harrison Mason, founder of the predominately African-American Church of God in Christ. Bishop Mason credentialed such ministers in the early inception of this cooperative fellowship.

A remaining fellowship emerged from the meeting and was incorporated under the name General Council of the Assemblies of God in the United States of America. In time, self-governing and self-supporting general councils broke off from the original fellowship or were formed independently in several nations throughout the world, originating either from indigenous Pentecostal movements or as a direct result of the indigenous missions strategy of the General Council.[5]

Prior to 1967, the Assemblies of God, along with the majority of other Pentecostal denominations, officially opposed Christian participation in war and considered itself a peace church.[6] The US Assemblies of God continues to give full doctrinal support to members who are lead by religious conscience to pacifism.

International fellowship

In 1988, the various Assemblies of God national fellowships united to form the World Pentecostal Assemblies of God Fellowship at the initiative of Dr. J. Philip Hogan, then executive director of the Division of Foreign Missions of the Assemblies of God in the United States. The initial purpose was to coordinate evangelism, but soon developed into a more permanent organism of inter-relation.


Dr. Hogan was elected the first chairman of the Fellowship and served until 1992 when Rev. David Yonggi Cho was elected chairman. In 1993, the name of the Fellowship was changed to the World Assemblies of God Fellowship.[7] In 2000, Thomas E. Trask was elected to succeed Cho.[8] At the 2008 World Congress at Lisbon, Portugal, George O. Wood, General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God in the United States, was elected chairman.[9]

Beliefs

An AG church in Fiji, conveniently located to serve passengers entering the country via Nadi Airport

The doctrinal position of the Assemblies of God is framed in a classical Pentecostal and an evangelical context. The AG is Trinitarian and holds the Bible as divinely inspired and the infallible authoritative rule of faith and conduct. Baptism by immersion is practiced as an ordinance instituted by Christ for those who have been saved. Baptism is understood as an outward sign of an inward change, the change from being dead in sin to being alive in Christ. As an ordinance, Communion is also practiced. The Assemblies of God also places a strong emphasis on the fulfillment of the Great Commission and believes that this is the main calling of the church.[10]

As classical Pentecostals, the Assemblies of God believes all Christians are entitled to and should seek the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The AG teaches that this experience is distinct from and subsequent to the experience of salvation. The baptism in the Holy Spirit empowers the believer for Christian life and service. The initial evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues "as the Spirit gives utterance". In addition, it also believes in the present day use of other spiritual gifts and in divine healing.[10]

Structure

The World Fellowship unites Assemblies of God national councils from around the world together for cooperation. Each national council is fully self governing and independent and involvement with the World Fellowship does not limit this independence. The work of the World Fellowship is carried out by the Executive Council. Executive Council members represent different regions of the world and serve 3 year terms. Africa, Asia Pacific, Latin America/Caribbean, and North America each have 4 representatives while Europe has 3 and the Middle East and Southern Asia each have 1. They are elected by the General Assembly. Each World Fellowship member is entitled to send one or more delegates to the General Assembly with one vote. The General Assembly also elects the Chairman, Vice Chairman, and Secretary of the World Fellowship.[11] The World Assemblies of God Relief Agency (WAGRA) directs its humanitarian work.[12]

The Assemblies of God has missions programs that are designed to establish self-propagating, self-supporting, and self-governing national church bodies in every country. As of late 2006, the Assemblies of God World Missions Research Office reported constituencies in 212 countries and territories, with over 5,000 adherents added per day.[13] As of 2005, the fellowship operated 859 Bible schools, 1,131 extension programs and 39 seminaries outside of the United States.[14]

National councils

The World Assemblies of God Fellowship is structured as a loose alliance of the following independent national councils:[15]

References

  1. ^ http://worldmissions.ag.org/downloads/PDF/agwm_current_facts_08.pdf Assemblies of God World Missions Research Office - AGWM Current Facts and Highlights (2008)
  2. ^ http://ag.org/top/About/statistics/index.cfm AG Statistical Reports (the full one is for U.S. adherence, the summary is for worldwide)
  3. ^ World Christian Database, Asia Pacific Mission Office
  4. ^ adherents.com (2007-04-18). "Religious Bodies of the World with at Least 1 Million Adherents". http://www.adherents.com/adh_rb.html. Retrieved 2009-01-18. 
  5. ^ General Council of the Assemblies of God (USA) - Our History (2006) [1]
  6. ^ Jay Beaman, Pentecostal Pacifism: The Origin, Development, and Rejection of Pacific Belief Among the Pentecostals (Hillsboro, KS: Mennonite Brethren Historical Society, 1989)
  7. ^ "History of WAGF and its Leadership", David Cho Evangelistic Mission Journal: 9, September, http://www.davidcho.com/journal/default.asp?jref=2000-9&jlang=ENG 
  8. ^ "WAGF Executive Committee Meeting and 6th General Assembly", David Cho Evangelistic Mission Journal: 11, September, http://www.davidcho.com/journal/default.asp?jref=2000-9&jlang=ENG 
  9. ^ Assemblies of God USA. "General Superintendent's Office". http://ag.org/top/General_Superintendent/index.cfm. Retrieved 2009-02-26. 
  10. ^ a b World Assemblies of God Statement of Faith
  11. ^ World Assemblies of God Constitution and Bylaws
  12. ^ WAGF Relief and Development
  13. ^ Assemblies of God World Missions Research Office - AGWM Current Facts and Highlights (2007)
  14. ^ Assemblies of God World Missions Research Office - AGWM Current Facts and Highlights (2005)
  15. ^ "WAGF Participating Members". http://worldagfellowship.org/fellowship/countries/. Retrieved 2010-02-1. 

External links


Assemblies of God
File:World Assemblies of God Fellowship
Classification Protestant
Theology Pentecostal
Governance Presbyterian and Congregational
Geographical areas Worldwide
Origin 1914
Separations Oneness Pentecostals (separated 1916)
Congregations 312,048
Members 60 million
Official Website worldagfellowship.org

The Assemblies of God (AG), officially the World Assemblies of God Fellowship, is a group of national Christian denominations which together form the world's largest Pentecostal body. With over 300,000 ministers and outstations in over 212 countries and territories serving approximately 57 to 60 million adherents worldwide,[1][2][3] it is the sixth largest international Christian group of denominations.[4]

As an international fellowship, the member denominations are entirely independent and autonomous; however, they are united by shared beliefs and history. The Assemblies originated from the Pentecostal revival of the early 20th century. This revival led to the founding of the Assemblies of God in the United States in 1914. Through foreign missionary work and establishing relationships with other Pentecostal churches, the Assemblies of God expanded into a worldwide movement. It was not until 1988, however, that the world fellowship was formed. As a Pentecostal fellowship, the Assemblies of God believes in the Pentecostal distinctive of baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues.

Contents

History

Origins

The Assemblies of God has its roots in the Pentecostal revival of the early 20th century. This revival is generally traced to a prayer meeting held under the leadership of Charles Parham, at Bethel Bible College in Topeka, Kansas, on January 1, 1901. It spread rapidly to Missouri, Texas, California and elsewhere. In 1906, a three-year revival meeting under the leadership of William Seymour began at the Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles that attracted believers from around the world. The Pentecostal aspects of the revival were not generally welcomed by established churches, and participants in the movement soon found themselves forced outside existing religious bodies. These people sought out their own places of worship and founded hundreds of distinctly Pentecostal congregations.

church in the village of Lotopa, Samoa]]

By 1914, many ministers and laymen alike began to realize just how far-reaching the spread of the revival and of Pentecostalism had become. Concerned leaders felt the desire to protect and preserve the results of the revival by uniting through cooperative fellowship. In April 1914, about 300 preachers and laymen were invited from 20 states and several foreign countries for a general council in Hot Springs, Arkansas, United States, to discuss and take action on these and other pressing needs. American racial and cultural norms at the time, such as Jim Crow laws, deeply affected such cooperative fellowship of the early movement by excluding many African-American Pentecostal leaders such as Charles Harrison Mason, founder of the predominately African-American Church of God in Christ. Bishop Mason credentialed such ministers in the early inception of this cooperative fellowship.

A remaining fellowship emerged from the meeting and was incorporated under the name General Council of the Assemblies of God in the United States of America. In time, self-governing and self-supporting general councils broke off from the original fellowship or were formed independently in several nations throughout the world, originating either from indigenous Pentecostal movements or as a direct result of the indigenous missions strategy of the General Council.[5]

In 1919, Pentecostals in Canada united to form the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada which formally affiliated with the Assemblies of God USA the next year. The Assemblies of God in Great Britain was formed in 1924 and would have an early influence on the Assemblies of God in Australia, now known as Australian Christian Churches. The Australian Assemblies of God was formed in 1937 by a merger of the Pentecostal Church of Australia and the Assemblies of God Queensland. The Queensland AG had formed in 1929; though, it was never formally affiliated with the AG in America. The Assemblies of God of South Africa was founded in 1925 and like the AG Queensland, was also not initially aligned with the US fellowship.

Prior to 1967, the Assemblies of God, along with the majority of other Pentecostal denominations, officially opposed Christian participation in war and considered itself a peace church.[6] The US Assemblies of God continues to give full doctrinal support to members who are led by religious conscience to pacifism.

International fellowship

In 1988, the various Assemblies of God national fellowships united to form the World Pentecostal Assemblies of God Fellowship at the initiative of Dr. J. Philip Hogan, then executive director of the Division of Foreign Missions of the Assemblies of God in the United States. The initial purpose was to coordinate evangelism, but soon developed into a more permanent organism of inter-relation.

Dr. Hogan was elected the first chairman of the Fellowship and served until 1992 when Rev. David Yonggi Cho was elected chairman. In 1993, the name of the Fellowship was changed to the World Assemblies of God Fellowship.[7] In 2000, Thomas E. Trask was elected to succeed Cho.[8] At the 2008 World Congress at Lisbon, Portugal, George O. Wood, General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God in the United States, was elected chairman.[9]

Beliefs

, conveniently located to serve passengers entering the country via Nadi Airport]] The doctrinal position of the Assemblies of God is framed in a classical Pentecostal and an evangelical context. The AG is Trinitarian and holds the Bible as divinely inspired and the infallible authoritative rule of faith and conduct. Baptism by immersion is practiced as an ordinance instituted by Christ for those who have been saved. Baptism is understood as an outward sign of an inward change, the change from being dead in sin to being alive in Christ. As an ordinance, Communion is also practiced. The Assemblies of God also places a strong emphasis on the fulfillment of the Great Commission and believes that this is the main calling of the church.[10]

As classical Pentecostals, the Assemblies of God believes all Christians are entitled to and should seek the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The AG teaches that this experience is distinct from and subsequent to the experience of salvation. The baptism in the Holy Spirit empowers the believer for Christian life and service. The initial evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues "as the Spirit gives utterance". In addition, it also believes in the present day use of other spiritual gifts and in divine healing.[10]

Structure

The World Fellowship unites Assemblies of God national councils from around the world together for cooperation. Each national council is fully self governing and independent and involvement with the World Fellowship does not limit this independence. The work of the World Fellowship is carried out by the Executive Council. Executive Council members represent different regions of the world and serve 3 year terms. Africa, Asia Pacific, Latin America/Caribbean, and North America each have 4 representatives while Europe has 3 and the Middle East and Southern Asia each have 1. They are elected by the General Assembly. Each World Fellowship member is entitled to send one or more delegates to the General Assembly with one vote. The General Assembly also elects the Chairman, Vice Chairman, and Secretary of the World Fellowship.[11] The World Assemblies of God Relief Agency (WAGRA) directs its humanitarian work.[12]

The Assemblies of God has missions programs that are designed to establish self-propagating, self-supporting, and self-governing national church bodies in every country. As of late 2006, the Assemblies of God World Missions Research Office reported constituencies in 212 countries and territories, with over 5,000 adherents added per day.[13] As of 2005, the fellowship operated 859 Bible schools, 1,131 extension programs and 39 seminaries outside of the United States.[14]

National fellowships

The World Assemblies of God Fellowship is structured as a loose alliance of independent national Assemblies of God fellowships. For the particular beliefs, history and polity of individual national fellowships, refer to the links in the following list:[15]

Africa

  • Angola Assemblies of God
  • Assemblies of God of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Kenya
    • Kenya Assemblies of God
    • Pentecostal Assemblies of God of Kenya
  • Assemblies of God in Mauritius
  • General Council of the Assemblies of God Nigeria
  • Assemblies of God of Reunion Island
  • Assemblies of God of South Africa

Asia Pacific

Europe

  • Assemblies of God of Romania
  • Russia
    • Russian Assemblies of God
    • Union of Pentecostal Christians of Evangelical Faith (Russia)
  • Apostolic Church in the Slovak Republic
  • Assemblies of God of Spain
  • Assemblies of God Switzerland
  • Assemblies of God in the United Kingdom

Latin American/Caribbean

  • Union of the Assemblies of God of Argentina
  • Assemblies of God in the Bahamas
  • Assemblies of God of Bolivia
  • General Convention of the Assemblies of God of Brazil
  • Assemblies of God of Chile
  • Assemblies of God of Colombia
  • Assemblies of God of Costa Rica
  • Assemblies of God Dominican Republic
  • Assemblies of God of Ecuador
  • Assemblies of God of El Salvador
  • Assemblies of God in Guatemala
  • Assemblies of God in Haiti
  • Assemblies of God of Mexico
  • Assemblies of God in Paraguay
  • Assemblies of God Suriname
  • Assemblies of God in Uruguay

Middle East

North America

Southern Asia

See also

Further reading

  • Blumhofer, Edith L. Restoring the Faith: The Assemblies of God, Pentecostalism, and American Culture. (1993). 281 pp. A major scholarly study.
  • Crowe, Terrence Robert. Pentecostal Unity: Recurring Frustration and Enduring Hopes. (1993). 282 pp.
  • McGee, Gary B. 'This Gospel . . . Shall Be Preached': A History and Theology of Assemblies of God Foreign Missions since 1959. Springfield, Mo.: Gospel, 1990. 358 pp.
  • Poloma, Margaret M. The Assemblies of God at the Crossroads: Charisma and Institutional Dilemmas. (1989). 309 pp. scholarly study

References

  1. ^ http://worldmissions.ag.org/downloads/PDF/agwm_current_facts_08.pdf Assemblies of God World Missions Research Office – AGWM Current Facts and Highlights (2008)
  2. ^ http://ag.org/top/About/statistics/index.cfm AG Statistical Reports (the full one is for U.S. adherence, the summary is for worldwide)
  3. ^ World Christian Database gives 30 millions adherents for 2001, Asia Pacific Mission Office
  4. ^ Barrett, David. World Christian Encyclopedia. Oxford University Press: London, 2001. Table 1-5, pages 16–18
  5. ^ General Council of the Assemblies of God (USA) – Our History (2006) [1]
  6. ^ Jay Beaman, Pentecostal Pacifism: The Origin, Development, and Rejection of Pacific Belief Among the Pentecostals (Hillsboro, KS: Mennonite Brethren Historical Society, 1989)
  7. ^ "History of WAGF and its Leadership". David Cho Evangelistic Mission Journal: 9. September. http://www.davidcho.com/journal/default.asp?jref=2000-9&jlang=ENG. 
  8. ^ "WAGF Executive Committee Meeting and 6th General Assembly". David Cho Evangelistic Mission Journal: 11. September. http://www.davidcho.com/journal/default.asp?jref=2000-9&jlang=ENG. 
  9. ^ Assemblies of God USA. "General Superintendent's Office". http://ag.org/top/General_Superintendent/index.cfm. Retrieved 2009-02-26. 
  10. ^ a b World Assemblies of God Statement of Faith
  11. ^ World Assemblies of God Constitution and Bylaws
  12. ^ WAGF Relief and Development
  13. ^ Assemblies of God World Missions Research Office – AGWM Current Facts and Highlights (2007)
  14. ^ Assemblies of God World Missions Research Office – AGWM Current Facts and Highlights (2005)
  15. ^ "WAGF Participating Members". http://worldagfellowship.org/fellowship/countries/. Retrieved 2010-02-01. 

External links


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

English

Noun

Assemblies of God

  1. Plural form of Assembly of God.
  2. (uncountable) (Christianity) A Christian denomination.







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