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The World Assemblies of God Fellowship or Assemblies of God (AG) is the world's largest Pentecostal Christian denomination. With over 300,000 congregations and outstations in over 110 countries and approximately 57 to 60 million adherents worldwide, it is the fourth largest international body of Christians. It prefers to be referred to as a cooperative fellowship instead of a denomination.

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 110 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 outside of the United States.



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, Kansasmarker, on January 1, 1901. It spread rapidly to Missourimarker, Texasmarker, Californiamarker and elsewhere. In 1906, a three-year revival meeting under the leadership of William Seymour began at the Azusa Street Mission in Los Angelesmarker 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, Arkansasmarker, United Statesmarker, 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 Lisbonmarker, Portugalmarker, George O. Wood, General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God in the United States, was elected chairman.


The Assemblies of God's “Cardinal Doctrines" are salvation through Jesus Christ, baptism in the Holy Spirit, divine healing, and the Second Coming of Christ. These beliefs are considered to have a biblical basis and are thus considered non-negotiable.

The doctrinal position of the Assemblies of God is framed in a classical Pentecostal and an Evangelical context. It believes both the Old Testament and New Testament are the divinely inspired revelation of God to man and the infallible authoritative rule of faith and conduct. It is Trinitarian, believing that there is only one God, yet three "persons" who are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God created the world and everything in it; however, man by voluntary transgression fell and thereby incurred not only physical death but also spiritual death, which is separation from God. Man's only hope of redemption is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ the Son of God. Salvation is received through repentance toward God and faith toward Jesus Christ. By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, being justified by grace through faith, man becomes an heir of God. The AG does not teach eternal security.

The Assemblies of God believes in Christ's virgin birth, his sinless life, his miracles, his substitutionary work on the cross, his bodily resurrection from the dead, and his exaltation to the Right Hand of God as told in the Bible. It also believes the Second Coming of Christ is imminent. The Second Coming of Christ includes the rapture of all who have been saved followed by the visible return of Christ to reign on earth for one thousand years. This millennial reign will bring the salvation of Israel and the establishment of universal peace. It believes in a literal Hell where those who do not receive Christ's salvation will go when they die. It also believes in a literal Heaven and that after the Second Coming there will be new heavens and a new earth.

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. With the baptism in the Holy Spirit comes such experiences as an overflowing fullness of the Spirit, a deepened reverence for God, an intensified consecration to God and dedication to his work, and a more active love for Christ. It is also important for empowering the believer for Christian life and service. The initial evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues "as the Spirit of God gives them utterance."

Sanctification is an act of separation from that which is evil, and of dedication to God. Sanctification is realized in the believer by recognizing his identification with Christ in his death and resurrection, by having faith in that union, and by submitting to the Holy Spirit. The Assemblies of God believes divine healing is an integral part of the gospel and that deliverance from sickness is provided for in the atonement.

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.


Internationally, the Assemblies of God is represented by the World Assemblies of God Fellowship. At the national level, independent and self governing Assemblies of God jurisdictions manage their own affairs and choose their own leaders. Local churches usually maintain great amounts of freedom from the national body, electing their own pastors and managing their own affairs.

The World Assemblies of God Fellowship is an association of autonomous national jurisdictions where the national jurisdictions join by choice and are not subordinate to the world fellowship. For this reason, the world fellowship is not a governing body but works within a framework of consultation and cooperation. Led by a chairman, the work of the World Assemblies of God is carried out by the Executive Council which has approximately twenty members representing different regions of the world: Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, North America, and Southern Asia. The World Congress meets every three years, and during this time delegates from the national jurisdictions elect the members of the Executive Council. The World Assemblies of God Relief Agency (WAGRA) directs its humanitarian work.

National fellowships

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


  1. Assemblies of God World Missions Research Office - AGWM Current Facts and Highlights (2008)
  2. AG Statistical Reports (the full one is for U.S. adherence, the summary is for worldwide)
  3. World Christian Database, Asia Pacific Mission Office
  4. Resolution #10 - Voluntary Cooperative Fellowship
  5. Assemblies of God World Missions Research Office - AGWM Current Facts and Highlights (2007)
  6. Assemblies of God World Missions Research Office - AGWM Current Facts and Highlights (2005)
  7. General Council of the Assemblies of God (USA) - Our History (2006) [1]
  8. Jay Beaman, Pentecostal Pacifism: The Origin, Development, and Rejection of Pacific Belief Among the Pentecostals (Hillsboro, KS: Mennonite Brethren Historical Society, 1989)
  9. Fundamental Truths of the Assemblies of God (AG website)

External links

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