What we believe
Change is common to all human life. We are not today what we were yesterday, we will not be tomorrow what we are today. Like our world, much of what we are, do and say is temporal.
However, there are a few things in life that never change nor should they. Such is God. Unlike the human condition, God never changes (Malachi 3:6). he is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And like Him-His truth is also everlasting. It remains the single constant in our ever dynamic world of shifting cultural values. These truths of God are His word. They are recorded in the Bible and are foundational to successful happy living.
The formulation of the church and a need for essential standards:
When the Assemblies of God formed in 1914, America was in the midst of a sweeping global revival. This revival was deeply spiritual, and like none other of its day. Unlike many present day revivals, this one was not planned, or heavily promoted-nor was it the nation. In reality this was more than a revival-it was a sovereign move of God’s Spirit. It was one that transcended all boundaries and reached across people of all colors, ages, and denominations.
In this revival people began experiencing the baptism in the Holy Spirit in similar fashion as that recorded in the New Testament. Like the 120 believers in the Upper Room on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2), people involved in this revival were filled with the Holy Spirit. They too began speaking in unknown languages. Outstanding miracles and signs of God’s presence and anointing were openly visible. People were saved and lives were magnificently changed. Participants of the revival were given the name Pencostals.
As news of the revival spread, sightseers and news reporters came to mock and investigate this new out-pouring of God. Many who came to scoff were convicted under the power of the Holy Spirit and became converts to the cause of Christ.
As participants of the revival returned to their homes, they were now changed. All carried the message and reports of God’s out pouring with them. Some were welcomed back, many weren’t. Still others had been so moved by the Spirit that they involved themselves in full-time ministry.
Problems soon arose. The mainline churches quickly rejected the new Baptism phenomenon. Those involved were asked to leave or made to feel uncomfortable in their churches. Many were ostracized and ridiculed by their communities. Others, now involved in ministry and efforts to continue the revival, were isolated from friends of similar belief.
Soon Pentecostal leaders recognized the need for some type of organization or framework for supporting their ministry and continuing fellowship with one another. A call went out for the Pentecostals to meet and consider the possiblility of establishing a new church.
However, many having just been scorned by their former churches didn’t want anything to do with creating a new denomination. These Pentecostals felt it best for local churchs to remain totally independent. Still others tought organizing a new church was the only way to continue the wonderful Holy Spirit revival.
In April 1914 some 300 of the Pentecostal leaders met in Hot Springs, Arkansas, to discuss the matter. With division in the ranks they opened the meeting with 3 days of prayer. Afterwards they voted to organize, but not as a denomination. Instead they chose to form themselves in what is best described as a loosely knit fellowship. A fellowship that allowed local churches the needed freedom to conduct their own ministries, yet provided the vital network for servicing the Pentecostal work of the Holy Spirit. So was born the General Council of th Assembllies of God in April 1914.
The first years of a headquarters operation consisted primarily of printing a paper to carry reports of the ministry, establishing a fund for supportiing the work of missionaries and formally credentialing ministers.
It wasn’t until 2 years later in 1916 that the new fellowship saw the need to establish a set of doctrinal standards. After only a few months, an unscriptural practice of baptizing converts in water using “only the name of Jesus,” surfaced. The teaching spread like wildfire in many churches where entire congregations were rebaptized. At stake for the young Assemblies of God was the danger of leaving the Trinitarian ranks of Christianity, creating further isolation from other Christian groups and setting sail on ill winds of biblical error.
However, Bible scholars stepped forward explaining the Scriptures, and pointing out the error of the new teaching. Nearly all involved in the “Jesus only” teaching admitted their error and reputed the practice.
It is in that context that the young Assemblies of God realized its need for outlining some essential standards of truth-standards that would navigate the church on a bilical course. In a meeting held in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1916, the Assemblies of God estalbished 16 doctrinal standards called the statement of Fundamental Truths, standards that have withstood the test of time and served the church well.
Concerning This Document:
Today’s Assemblies of God Statement of Fundamental Truths is the same as that established in 1916. Only minor adjustments in wording and clarification have been made since that first statement. Based on the eternal, inerrant Word of God, the Statement needs no alteration of the truth it proclaims.
The Assemblies of God, like every Bible believing group, must speak God’s eternal truth to each generation and to each individual. Sometimes a statement of fundamental truths, with its theological terminology, speaks more to theologians than it does to the man and women on the street or in the pew. This publication of the 17 fundamental doctrines of the Assemblies of God expresses the doctrines in non-theological terminology. We desire that every man, woman, and child understand the truth of Scripture as did our predecessors who searched the bible, composed the Statement, experienced its truth, and left it to us a precious heritage.
The Assemblies of God Statement of Fundamental Truths
The Bible is completely adequate by itself to serve as the guide for our beliefs and way of living. This paraphrased version of the Statement of Fundamental Truths is intended only to make an official Statement more readily understood. The Primary Statement, as it appears in the Constitution of the Assemblies of God, is intended to be the common basis for our fellowship and unity, or as the Bible recommends, that we may agree with one another so as to avoid divisions because of disagreements on what we believe (1 Corinthians 1:10 and Acts 2:42). There is no claim that the wording of this statement is divinely inspired(as is the Bible), but the truth it sets forth is felt to be essential to a full-gospel, Bible-based ministry. Furthermore there is no pretense that this statement contains all of the Bible’s truth. It merely covers some basic fundamental teaching thought to be vital to successful Christian living.
The General Council of the Assemblies of God
STATEMENT OF FUNDAMENTAL TRUTHS-Condensed
1. WE BELIEVE…The Scriptures are Inspired by God and declare His design and plan for mankind.
2. WE BELIEVE…There is only One True God–revealed in three persons…Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (commonly known as the Trinity).
3. WE BELIEVE…In the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. As God’s son Jesus was both human and divine.
4. WE BELIEVE…though originally good, Man Willingly Fell to Sin–ushering evil and death, both physical and spiritual, into the world.
5. WE BELIEVE…Every Person Can Have Restored Fellowship with God Through ‘Salvation’ (accepting Christ’s offer of forgiveness for sin). [1 of 4 cardinal doctrines of the A/G]
6. WE BELIEVE…and practice two ordinances—(1) Water Baptism by Immersion after repenting of one’s sins and receiving Christ’s gift of salvation, and (2) Holy Communion (the Lord’s Supper) as a symbolic remembrance of Christ’s suffering and death for our salvation.
7. WE BELIEVE…the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a Special Experience Following Salvation that empowers believers for witnessing and effective service, just as it did in New Testament times. [1 of 4 cardinal doctrines of the A/G]
8. WE BELIEVE… The Initial Physical Evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is ‘Speaking in Tongues,’ as experienced on the Day of Pentecost and referenced throughout Acts and the Epistles.
9. WE BELIEVE…Sanctification Initially Occurs at Salvation and is not only a declaration that a believer is holy, but also a progressive lifelong process of separating from evil as believers continually draw closer to God and become more Christlike.
10. WE BELIEVE…The Church has a Mission to seek and save all who are lost in sin. We believe ‘the Church’ is the Body of Christ and consists of the people who, throughout time, have accepted God’s offer of redemption (regardless of religious denomination) through the sacrificial death of His son Jesus Christ.
11. WE BELIEVE…A Divinely Called and Scripturally Ordained Leadership Ministry Serves the Church. The Bible teaches that each of us under leadership must commit ourselves to reach others for Christ, to worship Him with other believers, and to build up or edify the body of believers–the Church.
12. WE BELIEVE…Divine Healing of the Sick is a Privilege for Christians Today and is provided for in Christ’s atonement (His sacrificial death on the cross for our sins). [1 of 4 cardinal doctrines of the A/G]
13. WE BELIEVE…in The Blessed Hope—When Jesus Raptures His Church Prior to His Return to Earth (the second coming). At this future moment in time all believers who have died will rise from their graves and will meet the Lord in the air, and Christians who are alive will be caught up with them, to be with the Lord forever. [1 of 4 cardinal doctrines of the A/G]
14. WE BELIEVE…in The Millennial Reign of Christ when Jesus returns with His saints at His second coming and begins His benevolent rule over earth for 1,000 years. This millennial reign will bring the salvation of national Israel and the establishment of universal peace.
15. WE BELIEVE…A Final Judgment Will Take Place for those who have rejected Christ. They will be judged for their sin and consigned to eternal punishment in a punishing lake of fire.
16. WE BELIEVE…and look forward to the perfect New Heavens and a New Earth that Christ is preparing for all people, of all time, who have accepted Him. We will live and dwell with Him there forever following His millennial reign on Earth. ‘And so shall we forever be with the Lord!’