Assemblies of God
Overview
 
The Assemblies of God (AG), officially the World Assemblies of God Fellowship, is a group of over 140 autonomous but loosely-associated national groupings of churches which together form the world's largest Pentecostal denomination
Christian denomination
A Christian denomination is an identifiable religious body under a common name, structure, and doctrine within Christianity. In the Orthodox tradition, Churches are divided often along ethnic and linguistic lines, into separate churches and traditions. Technically, divisions between one group and...

. With over 300,000 ministers and outstations in over 212 countries and territories serving approximately 57 to 60 million adherents worldwide, it is the sixth largest international Christian group of denominations.

As an international fellowship, the member denominations are entirely independent and autonomous; however, they are united by shared beliefs and history.
Encyclopedia
The Assemblies of God (AG), officially the World Assemblies of God Fellowship, is a group of over 140 autonomous but loosely-associated national groupings of churches which together form the world's largest Pentecostal denomination
Christian denomination
A Christian denomination is an identifiable religious body under a common name, structure, and doctrine within Christianity. In the Orthodox tradition, Churches are divided often along ethnic and linguistic lines, into separate churches and traditions. Technically, divisions between one group and...

. With over 300,000 ministers and outstations in over 212 countries and territories serving approximately 57 to 60 million adherents worldwide, it is the sixth largest international Christian group of denominations.

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
Missionary
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism or ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin...

 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.

National fellowships

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

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 in South Africa
  • Tanzania Assemblies of God
  • Assemblies of God Benin

Asia Pacific
  • Australian Christian Churches
    Australian Christian Churches
    Australian Christian Churches , also known as Assemblies of God in Australia , is a Pentecostal Christian denomination and the Australian branch of the Assemblies of God, the largest Pentecostal denomination in the world...

  • Assemblies of God of Fiji
  • Ecclesia Ministries Limited (Hong Kong)
  • Assemblies of God of Indonesia
  • Japan Assemblies of God
    Japan Assemblies of God
    The Japan Assemblies of God is a Pentecostal Christian denomination in Japan affiliated with the World Assemblies of God Fellowship. It claims 10,766 adherents and 211 churches...

  • Korea
    • Assemblies of God of Korea
    • Assemblies of God of Korea Yoido General Council
      Yoido Full Gospel Church
      Yoido Full Gospel Church is a Pentecostal church on Yeouido in Seoul, South Korea. With about 1,000,000 members , it is the largest Pentecostal Christian congregation in South Korea, and the world...

    • General Council of the Korea Assemblies of God
  • http://www.ag.org.my/ Assemblies of God of Malaysia
  • Assemblies of God in New Zealand
    Assemblies of God in New Zealand
    The Assemblies of God in New Zealand is a Pentecostal denomination in New Zealand and a member of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship, the world's largest Pentecostal denomination. In 2007, the denomination had nearly 200 congregations and preaching points and 30,000 members and adherents,...

  • Philippines General Council of the Assemblies of God
    Philippines General Council of the Assemblies of God
    The Philippines General Council of the Assemblies of God is a Pentecostal Christian denomination in the Philippines. It has 4,000 churches, claims to be the largest evangelical group in the country, and is led by General Superintendent Rey Calusay. The General Council was established in 1953, but...

  • Samoan Assemblies of God Fellowship
    Samoan Assemblies of God
    The Sāmoan Assemblies of God Fellowship or SAOG is a Pentecostal fellowship of churches. Established in 1928 on the Islands of American Sāmoa, it reached the Western Islands and outer countries with large Sāmoan communities, such as New Zealand, America and Australia...

    • Samoan Assemblies of God in New Zealand Incorporated
      Samoan Assemblies of God in New Zealand Incorporated
      The Samoan Assemblies of God in New Zealand Incorporated are a group of Pentecostal churches predominately made up of Samoan people. Established in New Zealand in the early 1960s by a group of Pentecostals from Samoa bringing the message of Pentecostalism to their Samoan people living in New Zealand...

  • Tongan Assemblies of God in New Zealand Incorporated
  • Assemblies of God of Singapore
  • Assemblies of God in Vietnam
    Assemblies of God in Vietnam
    The Assemblies of God in Vietnam is a Pentecostal Christian denomination in Vietnam affiliated with the World Assemblies of God Fellowship. In 2009, there were an estimated 40,000 adherents...


Europe
  • Assemblies of God in Armenia
  • United Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith (Belarus)
  • Apostolic Church in the Czech Republic
  • Assemblies of God of France
  • Federation of Pentecostal Churches
    Federation of Pentecostal Churches
    The Federation of Pentecostal Churches is a Pentecostal Christian denomination in Germany. With 44,102 members in 2009, it is the largest Pentecostal church in Germany and is the German branch of the Assemblies of God...

     (Germany)
  • Assemblies of God in Great Britain
  • Apostolic Church of Pentecost of Greece
  • Assemblies of God Ireland
    Assemblies of God Ireland
    Assemblies of God Ireland is a Pentecostal denomination and a part of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship, the world's largest Pentecostal denomination with a global adherence of 52.5 million people....

  • Assemblies of God of Italy
  • Assemblies of God Luxembourg
  • United Pentecostal and Evangelical Churches
    United Pentecostal and Evangelical churches
    The United Pentecostal and Evangelical Churches is the largest Pentecostal and evangelical Christian denomination in the Netherlands. It was created on February 16, 2002, when the Brotherhood of Pentecostal Churches and the Full Gospel Churches of the Netherlands merged together...

     (Netherlands)

  • Pentecostal Church in Poland
    Pentecostal Church in Poland
    The Pentecostal Church in Poland is a Pentecostal Christian denomination in Poland. With 21,700 adherents and 211 congregations, it is the second largest Protestant church in Poland after the Evangelical-Augsburg Church...

  • Assemblies of God of Portugal
  • 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
  • Swiss Pentecostal Mission


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
    Assembleias de Deus
    The Assembléias de Deus are a group of Pentecostal denominations in Brazil related to the Assemblies of God.- History :The Assembléias de Deus began when Daniel Berg and Gunnar Vingren, two Swedish Baptist immigrants from South Bend, Indiana had the Pentecostal experience in Chicago and departed...

  • 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
  • Jama'at-e Rabbani (Assemblies of God in Iran)


North America
  • Canada
    • Canadian Assemblies of God (formerly the Italian Pentecostal Church of Canada)
    • Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada
      Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada
      The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada is a Pentecostal Christian denomination and the largest evangelical church in Canada. It reports 234,385 adherents and 1,077 member congregations throughout Canada...

    • Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Assemblies of God USA


Southern Asia
  • Bangladesh Assemblies of God
  • Assemblies of God in India
    Assemblies of God in India
    The Assemblies of God of India is a Pentecostal Christian denomination in India and a member of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship. The Assemblies of God in India has 8,000 member churches and operates an Assembly of God College in Jabalpur. The fellowship will host the 2011 AG World Congress,...

  • Assemblies of God in Pakistan
  • Assemblies of God in Sri Lanka


Beliefs

The doctrinal position of the Assemblies of God is framed in a classical Pentecostal and an evangelical
Evangelicalism
Evangelicalism is a Protestant Christian movement which began in Great Britain in the 1730s and gained popularity in the United States during the series of Great Awakenings of the 18th and 19th century.Its key commitments are:...

 context. The AG is Trinitarian
Trinity
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity defines God as three divine persons : the Father, the Son , and the Holy Spirit. The three persons are distinct yet coexist in unity, and are co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial . Put another way, the three persons of the Trinity are of one being...

 and holds the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 as divinely inspired and the infallible authoritative rule of faith and conduct. Baptism
Baptism
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

 by immersion is practiced as an ordinance
Ordinance (Christian)
Ordinance is a Protestant Christian term for baptism, communion and other religious rituals. Some Protestants, like the Mennonites, do not call them "sacraments" because they believe these rituals are outward expressions of faith, rather than impartations of God's grace.While a sacrament is seen...

 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
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

 is also practiced. The Assemblies of God also places a strong emphasis on the fulfillment of the Great Commission
Great Commission
The Great Commission, in Christian tradition, is the instruction of the resurrected Jesus Christ to his disciples, that they spread his teachings to all the nations of the world. It has become a tenet in Christian theology emphasizing missionary work, evangelism, and baptism...

 and believes that this is the main calling of the church.

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
Glossolalia
Glossolalia or speaking in tongues is the fluid vocalizing of speech-like syllables, often as part of religious practice. The significance of glossolalia has varied with time and place, with some considering it a part of a sacred language...

 "as the Spirit gives utterance". In addition, it also believes in the present day use of other spiritual gifts and in divine healing
Faith healing
Faith healing is healing through spiritual means. The healing of a person is brought about by religious faith through prayer and/or rituals that, according to adherents, stimulate a divine presence and power toward correcting disease and disability. Belief in divine intervention in illness or...

.

While the World AG Fellowship has a statement of faith which outlines the basic beliefs which unify the various branches of the movement, each national AG denomination formulates its own doctrinal statements. The Assemblies of God USA, for example, adheres to the Statement of Fundamental Truths
Assemblies of God Statement of Fundamental Truths
The Statement of Fundamental Truths is a description of the 16 essential doctrines adhered to by the General Council of the Assemblies of God in the United States of America. These doctrines are heavily based on evangelical confessions of faith but differ by being clearly Pentecostal...

.

Origins

The Assemblies of God has its roots in the Pentecostal revival of the early 20th century. 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. 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
General council
General council may refer to:In education:* General Council , an advisory body to each of the ancient universities of Scotland...

 in Hot Springs, Arkansas
Hot Springs, Arkansas
Hot Springs is the 10th most populous city in the U.S. state of Arkansas, the county seat of Garland County, and the principal city of the Hot Springs Metropolitan Statistical Area encompassing all of Garland County...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, 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
Charles Harrison Mason
Bishop Charles Harrison 'C.H.' Mason was an American Pentecostal–Holiness and Charismatic, denomination leader. He was the founder, Chief Apostle and first Senior Bishop of the Church of God in Christ, Inc. He was also the grandfather of Bishop J.O...

, founder of the predominately African-American Church of God in Christ
Church of God in Christ
The Church of God in Christ is a Pentecostal Holiness Christian denomination with a predominantly African-American membership. With nearly five million members in the United States and 12,000 congregations, it is the largest Pentecostal church and the fifth largest Christian church in the U.S....

. 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. In 1919, Pentecostals in Canada united to form the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada
Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada
The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada is a Pentecostal Christian denomination and the largest evangelical church in Canada. It reports 234,385 adherents and 1,077 member congregations throughout 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
Australian Christian Churches
Australian Christian Churches , also known as Assemblies of God in Australia , is a Pentecostal Christian denomination and the Australian branch of the Assemblies of God, the largest Pentecostal denomination in the world...

. 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. 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
David Yonggi Cho
David Yonggi Cho is a Korean Christian minister. He is Senior Pastor and founder of the Yoido Full Gospel Church , the world's largest congregation with a membership of 1,000,000...

 was elected chairman. In 1993, the name of the Fellowship was changed to the World Assemblies of God Fellowship. In 2000, Thomas E. Trask was elected to succeed Cho. At the 2008 World Congress at Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

, Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

, George O. Wood
George O. Wood
George O. Wood is an American Pentecostal minister. Since August 2007, he has been the General Superintendent of the General Council of the Assemblies of God in the United States of America and has been Chairman of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship, the largest Pentecostal denomination in the...

, General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God in the United States, was elected chairman.

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. The World Assemblies of God Relief Agency (WAGRA) directs its humanitarian work. At the national and lower levels, the Assemblies of God are generally structured around a form of presbyterian polity
Presbyterian polity
Presbyterian polity is a method of church governance typified by the rule of assemblies of presbyters, or elders. Each local church is governed by a body of elected elders usually called the session or consistory, though other terms, such as church board, may apply...

, combining the independence of the local church with oversight by district and national councils.

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. As of 2005, the fellowship operated 859 Bible schools, 1,131 extension programs and 39 seminaries
Seminary
A seminary, theological college, or divinity school is an institution of secondary or post-secondary education for educating students in theology, generally to prepare them for ordination as clergy or for other ministry...

outside of the United States.

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
  • Poloma, Margaret M., and John C. Green. The Assemblies of God: Godly Love and the Revitalization of American Pentecostalism (New York University Press; 2010) A sociological study that draws on surveys and interviews conducted in 22 diverse congregations.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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