Christian and Missionary Alliance
CHRISTIAN AND MISSIONARY ALLIANCE
Both a Protestant denomination in the evangelical tradition and a worldwide missionary society that grew out of the work of the Rev. Albert B. Simpson. A native of Canada, he served as a Presbyterian minister for 18 years, leaving the pulpit of a New York City church in 1881 to embark on an independent evangelistic program aimed at reaching the masses. Simpson at first preached in tents and halls and on street corners. In 1887 he organized twin societies at a convention in Old Orchard, Maine. The Christian Alliance emphasized home missions, while the Evangelical Missionary Alliance concentrated on the foreign field. The two associations were combined in 1897 to form the present Christian and Missionary Alliance. The founder died in 1919. Prior to 1974, it was a loose alliance of local congregations. In 1974, the alliance was formally constituted as a church denomination.
The Alliance sponsors missionaries overseas, in addition to local pastors, evangelists, and church workers in North America. Starting out in 1884 with a fivemember team to the Congo, the Alliance's missionary outreach comprised more than 1,000 missionaries in 49 countries by the end of the 20th century. Alliance missionaries preach and teach worldwide and have established self-sustaining and self-governing national churches in all its mission fields.
The theology of Alliance churches is conservative, and based on a literal interpretation of the Bible. The sect practices the anointing with oil for bodily healing and proclaims that Christ's Second Coming may be imminent (see parousia). Local congregations or branches are identified as Alliance churches or sometimes as Alliance Gospel Tabernacles.
Bibliography: h. d. ayer, The Christian and Missionary Alliance: An Annotated Bibliography of Textual Sources (Lanham, Md.2001).
[w. j. whalen/eds.]