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Assemblies Of God



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, it is the fourth largest international body of Christians.

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.

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.


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.

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 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. In 2000, Thomas E. Trask was elected to succeed Cho. 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.

Beliefs




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.[http://www.247ag.com/WAGF/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/Application-Statement-of-Faith.pdf World Assemblies of God Statement of Faith]

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.

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.[http://www.247ag.com/WAGF/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/WAGF-ConstitutionBylaws.pdf World Assemblies of God Constitution and Bylaws] The World Assemblies of God Relief Agency (WAGRA) directs its humanitarian work.[http://worldagfellowship.org/relief/ WAGF Relief and Development]

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.Assemblies of God World Missions Research Office - ''AGWM Current Facts and Highlights'' (2007) As of 2005, the fellowship operated 859 Bible schools, 1,131 extension programs and 39 seminaries outside of the United States.

National councils


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

*Angola Assemblies of God
*[http://www.uad.org.ar/index.html Union of the Assemblies of God of Argentina]
*Assemblies of God in Armenia
*Australian Christian Churches
*[http://www.agbahamas.com Assemblies of God in the Bahamas]
*Bangladesh Assemblies of God
*[http://www.adbolivia.org Assemblies of God of Bolivia]
*General Convention of the Assemblies of God of Brazil
*[http://www.caogonline.org/ Canadian Assemblies of God]
*Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada
*[http://www.paonl.ca/ Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland and Labrador]
*[http://www.lasasambleasdedios.cl/ Assemblies of God of Chile]
*[http://adcolombia.org Assemblies of God of Colombia]
*[http://www.acadcr.org/?pagina=1 Assemblies of God of Costa Rica]
*[http://apostolskacirkev.cz The Apostolic Church in the Czech Republic]
*[http://www.acsr.sk The Apostolic Church in the Slovak Republic]
*[http://www.lacadc.org/ Assemblies of God of the Democratic Republic of the Congo]
*[http://www.concilioad.org Assemblies of God Dominican Republic]
*[http://www.ceade.org Assemblies of God of Ecuador]
*[http://www.ceadelsalvador.com/ Assemblies of God of El Salvador]
*[http://www.addfrance.org Assemblies of God of France]
*[http://www.asambleasdedios.tripod.com Assemblies of God in Guatemala]
*[http://www.bfp.de Federation of Pentecostal Churches] (Germany)
*[http://www.addhaiti.org/ Assemblies of God in Haiti]
*[http://www.emlhk.org Ecclesia Ministries Limited (Hong Kong)]
*[http://www.agindia.in/ All India Assemblies of God]
*[http://www.gssja.org Assemblies of God of Indonesia]
*[http://agireland.org Assemblies of God Ireland]
*Jama'at-e Rabbani (Assemblies of God in Iran)
*[http://www.ag-j.org/index-e.html General Council of the Japan Assemblies of God]

*[http://www.kag.or.ke/kag_new/content/ Kenya Assemblies of God]
*[http://www.ag.or.kr Korea Assemblies of God]
*[http://www.jesus.lu/add Assemblies of God Luxembourg]
*[http://www.aogmu.org/index.htm Assemblies of God in Mauritius]
*[http://www.ag.org.my/index.htm Assemblies of God of Malaysia]
*[http://www.asambleasdediosmexico.org Assemblies of God of Mexico]
*United Pentecostal and Evangelical Churches (Netherlands)
*Assemblies of God in New Zealand
*[http://www.agnigeria.com General Council of the Assemblies of God Nigeria]
*[http://www.concilio.org.py Assemblies of God in Paraguay]
*[http://www.pgcag.wordpress.com Philippines General Council of the Assemblies of God]
*Pentecostal Church in Poland
*[http://www.cadp.pt/ Assemblies of God of Portugal]
*[http://www.addreunion.fr Assemblies of God of Reunion Island]
*[http://www.aog.ro Assemblies of God of Romania]
*Samoan Assemblies of God Fellowship
*Samoan Assemblies of God in New Zealand Incorporated
*[http://www.aogscotland.org.uk/ Assemblies of God of Scotland]
*[http://www.ag.org.sg Assemblies of God of Singapore]
*[http://www.assemblies.org.za Assemblies of God of South Africa]
*[http://www.adenet.org/portal/ Assemblies of God of Spain]
*[http://www.ggs.sr.org/jarigen/sept.htm Assemblies of God Suriname]
*Assemblies of God in the United Kingdom
*General Council of the Assemblies of God in the United States of America
*[http://www.lasasambleasdedios.org/ Assemblies of God in Uruguay]
*Assemblies of God in Vietnam
*[http://addsr.comlu.com/ Assemblies of God Switzerland (French)]



Source: Wikipedia