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Assemblies of God

Discussion in 'Assemblies of God DIR' started by Bishka, Jan 16, 2006.

  1. Bishka

    Bishka Veteran Member

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    This time I remembered to post the link to the website. Sorry about that mods!!! http://religiousmovements.lib.virginia.edu/profiles/listalpha.htm

    I find this a very helpful quick stop for easy information on faiths.

    1. Name: Assemblies of God


    2. Founder: Eudorus N. Bell

      Eudorus N. Bell was born in Lake Butler, Florida (Brugess & McGee, 53) on June 27, 1866, and died on June 15, 1923. In 1903, Bell graduated from the University of Chicago and became a pastor in Texas with the Southern Baptist Convention. In 1907, he became the pastor of a small Pentecostal church in Malvern, Arkansas (Melton, 34). Bell was instrumental in calling together the first General Assembly meeting of Pentecostal leaders. The Assemblies of God evovled from this meeting (Blumhofer, 35).
    3. Date of Birth: June 27, 1866 - June 15, 1923
    4. Birth Place: Hot Springs, Arkansas
    5. Year Founded: 1914
    6. Sacred or Revered Texts: Holy Bible - specifically Acts 2
    7. Cult or Sect:

      Negative sentiments are typically implied when the concepts "cult" and "sect" are employed in popular discourse. Since the Religious Movements Homepage seeks to promote religious tolerance and appreciation of the positive benefits of pluralism and religious diversity in human cultures, we encourage the use of alternative concepts that do not carry implicit negative stereotypes. For a more detailed discussion of both scholarly and popular usage of the concepts "cult" and "sect," please visit our Conceptualizing "Cult" and "Sect" page, where you will find additional links to related issues.
    8. Size of Group:

      The Assemblies of God are one of the world's largest and fastest growing Protestant Pentecostal denominations. They currently claim over 2.3 million members in the United States and over 30 million worldwide. There are roughly 11,100 established churches in the United States and approximately 117,000 churches worldwide in 120 nations. Church ministers and leaders are educated in over 325 Bible Colleges across the world.



      The Assemblies of God maintains an aggressive foreign missions program. Currently, over 1,500 missionaries are spread throughout 120 different countries (Assemblies of God, 1989, 14). Gospel House Publishing, the Assemblies of God printing company, prints 24 tons of church literature and curriculums daily (Assemblies of God, 1989, 15). A radio broadcast entitled Revivaltime is the official radio production of the Assemblies of God. This radio program is broadcasted over 600 times per week. They claim this coverage allows the gospel to reach nearly the entire English-speaking world (Assemblies of God, 1989, 13).
    9. Organizational Structure:

      The General Council is the legislative body which rules over the Assemblies of God. It is composed of every ordained minister within the Assemblies of God churches. Also, one delegate representing each church has a position on the council (Assemblies of God, 1989, 7). The General Council has ordered business meetings every two years. On August 5th - 10th, 1997, they convened for the 47th General Council in Indianapolis, Indiana.

      One of the essential features of the Assemblies of God organizational structure is local church autonomy. Each congregation of the Assemblies of God is considered a self-governing "assembly." The General Council is not directly involved in running the local congregations. Every congregation has the right to select its own pastor and elect its own officers. The church also has the power to discipline its members and sanction the pastor. In administering discipline, the church must follow its by-laws and the words of the Holy Scripture. The church is also responsible for its property holdings and its business transactions (Assmblies of God, 1989, 8).

      Beyond the individual congregations, the fellowship of the Assemblies of God is divided into 57 districts which are headed by a District Council. Each district has the power to ordain ministers, establish new churches, and provide monetary aid or other resources for the congregations in their district (Assemblies of God, 1989, 7).



      The international headquarters of the Assemblies of God is separated into seven divisions. Each of the divisions govern a different aspect of the church's fellowship. The seven divisions are: Division of Christian Education, Division of Church Ministries, Division of Communications, Division of Foreign Missions, Division of Home Missions, Division of Publication, and other Departments (Assemblies of God, 1989, 9 - 15).
     
  2. Bishka

    Bishka Veteran Member

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    **MODS Can we move this to the Pentecostal section?? Thanks. **
    II. History



    1. Revival swept through the United States during the late 1800s and early 1900s. One important manifestation of this revival was the birth of the Pentecostal movement. The Assemblies of God, the largest of the Pentecostal traditions, traces its origins to a gathering in Hot Springs, Arkansas called by Eudorus N. Bell. The assembly, entitled "A Convention of Pentecostal Saints and Churches of Christ" (Melton, 375) was called for the purpose of "(1) doctrinal unity; (2) chartering churches under a common name for legal purposes; (3) the need for a Bible Training School; (4) conservation of the work; (5) foreign mission interests" (Assemblies of God. 1989, 4).

      The rise of the Pentecostal movement is largely based on the teachings of a man named Charles Parham. He is credited with being the founder of the first Pentecostal Church - the Apostolic Faith Church (Melton, 1991, 352). His early teachings involved two main criteria: (1) the understanding that holiness was the second work of Grace (Blumhofer, 23); This involved entire sancitification (Lippy & Williams, 1264). (2) Parham taught and practiced divine healing (Blumhofer, 23); this act of divine healing was grounded in his faith ( Lippy & Williams, 1264).

      Parham opened a Bible School in Topeka, Kansas. He modeled his Bible School after "The Holy Ghost and Us" Bible School founded by Frank Sandford. Parham's students paid no board or tuition to attend this school. Here students assembled to study and to learn about the Word of God. His school emphasized one divine text, the Holy Bible, and one divine teacher, the Holy Spirit. The experience of Spirit Baptism was considered to be a key component of one's faith (Blumhofer, 24 - 25).

      During the Christmas recess of 1900, Parham asked his students to search the Bible and discover the biblical evidence for the act of Baptism in the Holy Spirit. His students found the evidence for Spirit Baptism in Chapter 2 of the book of Acts. Baptism in the Holy Spirit was expressed and accompanied with speaking in tongues (Melton, 1991, 352). With this belief, a distinct Pentecostal Movement was created. From this belief the Assemblies of God eventually emerged. For the next several years, Parham lead religious revivals spreading this "Apostolic Faith" (Blumhofer, 26 - 27).

      This revival of the Pentecostal mission first spread to Missouri, Texas, and then on to California. Pentecostal believers across the world were drawn together for the first time at the Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles (Assemblies of God, 1989, 5) in 1906. William J. Seymour, an African American holiness minister, was delivering the messages. Here, the west coast of the United States heard speaking in tongues for the first time (Melton, 1996, 81). The Pentecostal message had succeeded in spreading across the nation and beyond. As the fires of revival continued to spread exclusive Pentecostal congregations began to form.

      During the revival, the Holy Spirit came on to large numbers of these eager Christians. They responded with an outpouring of spontaneous worship and a driving desire to spread the love and grace of Christ found in the Gospels. The coming of the Holy Spirit came to be known as the "Baptism of the Holy Spirit." The act of speaking in tongues accompanied the baptism. This ritual is rooted in the text of the New Testament Book of Acts. Speaking in tongues involves speaking in a language believed to be divinely inspired by God. It usually is not understood by others. Also, according to Acts, the Holy Spirit was revealed to Jesus on the Christian holy day called Pentecost. Hence, the name Pentecostals (Assemblies of God, 1989, 4).

      Between 1910 and 1913, a preacher by the name of Eudorus Bell began to have his voice heard. In the south, Bell and his colleagues had been promoting the Pentecostal faith in a newspaper publication called "Apostolic Faith." A man by the name of H. G. Rogers was heading another independent Pentecostal movement in the southeastern part of the country. Bell eventually merged his group with that of Rogers. The two formed a loosely knit organization called "The Church of God in Christ and In Unity with the Apostolic Faith Movement." By 1913, 352 independent groups were associated with this religious movement. They shortened their name to "Church of God in Christ" (Blumhofer, 35 -36).

      By the year 1914, the need for an organized assembly had arisen. The revival continued to have growing needs. Bible literature, missionaries, specialized funds, and the need for formal ministers were some of those needs. Eudorus N. Bell was instrumental in calling this meeting/assembly into existence. Bell invited Pentecostal "Saints" from everywhere to attend (Blumhofer, 36). During this year, approximately 300 preachers and laymen, from 20 states and foreign countries, came together to discuss these needs. This discussion, in Hot Springs, Arkansas, on April 2 - 12, 1914 (Melton, 1996, 375) became the first "General Council." The cooperative fellowship which evolved from this meeting was called The General Council of the Assemblies of God ( Assemblies of God. 1989. 5). By the end of 1914, Assemblies of God's list of independent followers had grown to include 531 organizations. At this time, the movement had an initial membership of approximately 6,000 members. By 1926, membership had jumped to 41,000. The Assemblies of God continued to report positive membership growth with 300,000 members in 1950 and approximately 500,000 in 1960 (Queen, Prothero, & Shattuck, 1996, 43)
     
  3. Bishka

    Bishka Veteran Member

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    Beliefs of the Group

    1. The Assemblies of God are Pentecostal. With their faith comes several distinctly Pentecostal beliefs and worship practices. The most distinct Pentecostal worship practice is "glossolalia," or "speaking in tongues." To those outside of the Pentecostal tradition glossolalia may seem to be unintelligable gibberish. To believers, speaking in tongues is a sign of anointing and is understood as a gift of the Holy Ghost. It is a sign of a "second baptism" and means the Holy Ghost dwells in the heart and soul of the believer.

      Pentecostal believers worship in several spontaneous ways including rythmic hymns, energetic "Amens", and prayers. Another distinct practice of the Pentecostal faith includes "healing." The power to heal is a gift from the Holy Ghost. Assemblies of God often hold healing services (Melton, 1996, 79-80). The Assemblies of God believe several basic tenets of faith. Specifically, they believe in the Holy Bible, the official word of God. They believe Christ was born a man and was sacrificed on the cross. This, the son of God, was sent to provide believers with a new life. Each individual has sinned and is in need of God's forgiveness. Jesus Christ, the son of God, through his death and resurrection offers this forgivness to any who believe.

      About the Bible... Scripture Search - 2 Timothy 3:15-17 The New and Old Testaments of the Bible are the divinely inspired, unquestionable truths delivered by God. The Bible is looked to as the ultimate example of how to model one's life and one's faith (Assemblies of God, 1989, 17).

      The Godhead... This is a belief in three distinct persons: Father (God), Son (Jesus Christ), and Holy Spirit. They believe in the unified existence of these three persons into one body. The existence of God is accepted. He is the creator and sustainer of the universe. God is revealed in the writings of the Bible. He existed before creation and will continue to exist infinitely. Jesus Christ was the human manifestation of God the Father. He was born of the virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life and died by being crucified for the sins of the world. The third day after his death, he was resurrected from the dead and exalted to heaven with God. The Holy Spirit is the essence of God which moves among the people. It touches the lives of believers here on Earth. God's power is incorporated into one's self. It leads to a better understating of God's love and renewed energy to spread the Gospel.

      About the Church... Scripture Search - Eph. 1:22-23 The church is understood to be the Body of Christ here on Earth. It is charged with the mission to spread the word of God to all the nations. It is a place where believers come to worship their God (Assemblies of God, 1989, 20).

      About the Future... Scripture Search - 1 Thess. 4:13-18 Some date in the near future will bring the "Second Coming of Jesus Christ." The first coming was experienced when Jesus was born in human form to the virgin Mary. In the event called the "Rapture of the Church" current and past Christians will be taken to live with Christ forever (Assemblies of God, 1989, 21).

      The Assemblies of God practice two official ordinances. The first ordinance is "Holy Communion." This is the representation of Christ's Last Supper here on Earth prior to his death on the cross. "Bread and Wine" are presented as symbolic representations of the "Body and Blood" shed by Christ for the sins of the world. Believers are invited to take part in this service. The second ordinance is "Water Baptism." This takes place by complete immersion in a pool of water. This serves as a public showing of a believer's acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (Assemblies of God, 1989, 20).
     
  4. Bishka

    Bishka Veteran Member

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    Current Controversies


    1. Many controversies and conflicts have plagued the Assemblies of God within the past 20 years. The organizational structure of the church is designed to allow individual congregations autonomous control over activities within their church. Since there is no uniform control over the preachers of each congregation, this autonomity has been a topic of great conflict and problems. Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart, infamous televangelists, surrounded the Assemblies of God with stories of sexual scandals and exploitations. Their promiscuous behavior resulted in negative reputations and publicity for the Assemblies of God.



      Jim Bakker's television ministry began in 1978 when he became a co-host with Pat Robertson of the The 700 Club. He left the Christian Broadcasting Network to join Paul Croach in launching the Trinity Broadcasting Company. After only a short partnership with Crouch, the Bakkers returned to the East coast where they built the PTL Television Network and Heritage U.S.A. Bakker, an Assemblies of God preacher, and his wife Tammy Faye shared the gospel with the television audience with an emotional flair that is probably unparalleled in religious broadcasting. In 1987, details of an illicit sexual scandal involving Jim Bakker and a church secretary was uncovered. Other stories regarding homosexual behavior and the misuse of religious ministry funds began to surface. The Assemblies of God relieved Jim Bakker from his ministerial duties within the fellowship for sexual misconduct. The United States Criminal Justice System charged Bakker with financial fraud. The courts found Bakker guilty and sentenced him to 45 years in prison (Melton, 1997, 19 - 22).

      Jimmy Swaggart was also a well-known Assemblies of God television evangelist. Swaggart is a flamboyant hellfire and brimstone preacher as well as a talented singer and song writer. When Bakker fell, Swaggart bitterly criticized him for bringing disgrace to religious broadcasting and the Assemblies of God. Less than a year later, on February 21, 1988, a teary-eyed Swaggart appeared on his nationally syndicated television program and confessed that he was guilty of sexual misconduct involving a prostitute. The Assemblies of God relieved Swaggart of his ministerial duties for the period of one year. When Swaggart complained about this penalty, and indicated he would defy the injunction, the denomination dismissed him. In the years following the scandal, Swaggart attempted to revive his ministries. However, in 1991 a second scandal involving another prostitute surfaced (Melton, 1997, 340 - 342). Swaggart continues a television ministry, but it is only a fraction of the size it was in the late 1980s before his sexual misconduct was disclosed.
     
  5. Bishka

    Bishka Veteran Member

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    Links to Assemblies of God Web Sites[size=-1]
    1. Assemblies of God Online
      This is the the official homepage for the Assemblies of God. From this link, vast amounts of information pertaining to the Assemblies of God can be located. Current press releases and news resources, both national and international ones about the Assemblies of God can be reached from here. Also, information on the beliefs and practices of the Assemblies can be found. This homepage also includes a comprehensive list of a large majority of known Assemblies of God sites.
      http://www.ag.org/

      Africa Watch
      The official website of the Africa Assemblies of God Alliance - AAGA. This organization claims representation of over 8.6 million believers affiliated with Assemblies of God congregations across the continent of Africa and surrounding island nations. Not a very extensive site, but it offeres an overview of the activities of groups involved in the AG alliance.
      http://www.africawatch.com/ </I>Richard Riss
      This link is maintained by historian Richard Riss. This page addresses the history of Pentecostal revivals. Also included is a brief update on the current activities of religious awakening which are occurring in the world today. There is a section including letters written in the defense of the present-day outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Riss's page includes an additional list of internet sites dealing with revival.
      http://www.grmi.org/renewal/Richard_Riss

      Brownsville Revival - Tenets of Faith
      This link explains the fundamental truths of the Assemblies of God. Biblically derived, these Tenets of Faith serve as guidelines or rules for the basis of fellowship among Assemblies of God believers.
      http://www.brownsville-revival.org/church/tenets.html

      Bible Gateway
      This is a link to the full text version of the Holy Bible on the internet. A full listing of books can be found from six differnt Biblical translations. This page also contains a "Biblical Search Engine" perfect for Biblical inquiry and browsing. From this site the Bible can also be accessed in seven different languages: German, Swedish, Latin, French, Spanish, Tagalog, and English.
      http://www.brownsville-revival.org/church/tenets.html

      Berean University
      This page links you to one of the accredited colleges of the Assemblies of God. From this page, one can learn about the University and its ministerial and professional goals. Information about other Assemblies of God colleges, institutes, and seminaries can be accessed from here.
      http://www.tacf.org/revivalnews/index.html

      Profile of Pentecostalism
      This profile, created by New Religious Movements student Christopher E. Brown provides significant information about Pentecostalism as well as many links to other Pentecostal sites.
      http://religiousmovements.lib.virginia.edu/nrms/penta.html
    [/size]
     
  6. Izdaari

    Izdaari Emergent Anglo-Catholic

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    Religion:
    Episcopalian + Zen & Taoist
    :clap

    Hey! I'm an Assemblies of God person! :D

    From reading all that, I'd have to conclude that AG is a very conservative, even fundamentalist, Pentecostal denomination. Well, it ain't necessarily so. Yes, we're pretty conservative on doctrine, but we're also (in my congregation at least, and admittedly I lack experience with any other) open-minded, loving, and into grace, not legalism. And our pastors are big fans of Rob Bell, one of the leading lights of the "emerging church" movement. So for a conservative church it has a surprisingly liberal feel to it. :rainbow1:
     
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