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Assemblies of God

ASSEMBLIES OF GOD

ASSEMBLIES OF GOD emerged from the mass of Pentecostal sects that formed during the nineteenth century and trace their formation to the Azusa Street revival of 1906. Following early efforts by Pentecostals to organize, southern leaders called for a general conference to meet at Hot Springs, Arkansas, in 1914. Although many pastors feared the usurpation of congregational autonomy, the three hundred who did attend recognized the advantages of cooperation, fellowship, and the setting of standards of conduct and practice. Founder Eudorus N. Bell also argued the need to expand publishing, missionary, and education efforts. The new body showed great respect for congregational autonomy and did not initially adopt a statement of faith, holding the Bible to be "all sufficient rule for faith and practice." A twelve-man executive presbytery was created, and by the end of 1914, the number of ministers participating stood at 531.

Bell drafted an early summary of beliefs, which included the preaching of salvation, baptism in the Spirit, spiritual gifts, premillenialism, divine healing, and observance of baptism and communion. In 1915, however, the "Jesus Only" controversy erupted, when several pastors called for rebaptism in the name of Jesus alone. This led in 1916 to the General Council's preparation of a statement of fundamental truths, a serious matter in a movement that disdained creedal statements. Although 156 ministers left, membership continued to climb, and by 1918 ministerial membership stood at 819. In 1918, the Assemblies of God also took a firm stand that the baptism of the Holy Spirit was regularly evidenced by the initial physical sign of speaking in tongues.

After 1918, the Assemblies of God operated from Springfield, Missouri, where the Gospel Publishing House provided vital periodical support to a scattered flock. The Word and Witness spread the Pentecostal message, while the Christian Evangel serviced the Pentecostal constituency. After 1919, the Christian Evangel, renamed the Pentecostal Evangel, became the sole paper of the movement. The 1945 General Council set up a radio department, with its first broadcast in 1946, and created the half-hour Revival time in 1950. The Assemblies of God also founded the Midwest Bible School at Auburn, Nebraska, in 1920 and Central Bible Institute at Springfield in 1922. For missionary work, the General Council of 1914 created the Home and Foreign Missions Presbytery to funnel funds, offer counsel, and provide legal holding of property purchased abroad. The 1915 General Council set guidelines for making missions effective, and the Foreign Missions Department was created in 1919. In 1937, the Assemblies of God established a Home Missions Department, with special ministries to the deaf, foreign-language groups, and Native Americans.

During the 1940s, 76,000 members of the Assemblies of God served in the military and 1,093 were killed. The denomination began work among servicemen and the Servicemen's Department was set up in 1944, while thirty-four pastors became military chaplains. Closer cooperation with other denominations also took place. Representatives of the Assemblies of God attended the 1942 St. Louis meeting that formed the National Association of Evangelicals, with which the 1943 General Council voted to affiliate. The Assemblies of God also joined the World Pentecostal Conference in 1947, and participated in the Pentecostal Fellowship of North America organized in 1948, for which J. R. Flower of the Assemblies of God was appointed to draw up the constitution.

In the postwar world, the Assemblies of God faced new challenges as Pentecostalism won public acceptance. A renewed focus on evangelism and spiritual life was emphasized with the establishment of the Evangelism Committee in 1965. The Assemblies of God refined its statements on biblical inerrancy and engaged in greater cooperation with other religious groups on issues of moral and social concern. In an effort to retain its appeal to a younger generation, it created a youth department in 1940 and fostered campus ministries and the Mobilization and Placement Service, which allowed church members to use their skills in Christian service. The Teen Challenge program proved particularly effective in dealing with troubled youth, through coffee hours, drop-in centers, school and club programs, and some vocational training. In 1999, the Assemblies of God, under the leadership of general superintendent Thomas Trask, boasted a constituency of 2,574,531. It was a growing body and the largest single Pentecostal denomination, apart from the Church of God in Christ.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Blumhofer, Edith L. Restoring the Faith: The Assemblies of God, Pentecostalism, and American Culture. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993.

McGee, Gary B. People of the Spirit: The Assemblies of God. Spring-field, Mo.: Gospel Publishing House, 1997.

JeremyBonner

See alsoAfrican American Religions and Sects ; Evangelism, Evangelicalism, and Revivalism ; Pentecostal Churches .

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Assemblies of God

Assemblies of God, a large group of churches comprising the second largest Pentecostal organization in the United States, founded at Hot Springs, Ark., in Apr., 1914. In doctrine the Assemblies of God affirm the basic teachings of Pentecostalism (i.e., baptism with the Holy Spirit as evidenced through glossolalia and divine healing, and the daily presence of the charismatic gifts basic to the early church) and of fundamentalism, emphasizing the premillenarian belief in a return of Jesus and his saints to reign over a period of peace and righteousness. The U.S. membership, numbering nearly 2.5 million, is organized into over 10,750 local autonomous churches with a general council and a general presbytery formulating and administering policies, respectively. The churches actively engage in missionary work.

See W. W. Menzies, Anointed to Serve (1971).

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Assemblies of God

Assemblies of God. Christian denomination. It was organized in 1914 in Hot Springs, Arkansas, USA, from previously independent Pentecostal churches. It became the largest white Pentecostal body in the USA, with 1.4 million adherents in 10,000 autonomous congregations throughout the country.

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"Assemblies of God." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Nov. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Assemblies of God." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Retrieved November 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/assemblies-god

Assemblies of God

Assemblies of God Largest Pentecostal religious sect in the US. Founded in 1914 by preachers of the Church of God in Hot Springs, Arkansas, in 1916 it was incorporated and titled General Council of Assemblies of God. Today, the Church has c.600,000 members.

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