Skip to comments.As Southern Baptist, Mainline Churches Lag, Assemblies of God Booms
Posted on 06/18/2014 11:03:20 AM PDT by SoFloFreeper
Last month, Southern Baptists reported its seventh straight year of declining numbers. Yet, even as the largest American Protestant denomination, along with many other Mainline denominations, continue to lose members, the charismatic Assembles of God has experienced its 24th year of attendance growth in the United States.
The Pentecostal denomination, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, reported an uptick of just over 30,000 in attendance from 2012 to 2013, bringing their total number of adherents to 3.1 million, up from 3.09 million.
....Domestically, the denomination credits its growth to the United States' growing Latino population, which they say make up 20 percent of their American population.
(Excerpt) Read more at christianpost.com ...
Of course growth must not be the sole arbiter of God's blessing...but I have met many people from this denomination. They have the loving heart of Jesus--and they are not afraid of hard work to show it.
They have a good way of showing their love for God and man.
Christians of all stripes can learn from these people, I am convinced.
Out of curiosity, I wonder what the pattern is for the Church of God in Christ, the “black” version of the Assemblies of God, formed at the beginning of the Pentecostal movement just like the AG, but during the time of segregation.
Our SBC church has grown.
Perhaps their concentration on Holy Spirit has been propitious. God will bless them as long as they strive to keep within His will.
I’m a very much non-tongues-speaking quasi-Baptist, but I’ve had tangible contact with Holy Spirit phenomena.
The SBC is not a "denomination" but an orgaization that Baptist Churches can join if they agree with its tenents. This merely shows that fewer Baptist churchs are affiliating with the SBC.
Some AoG folks have been good friends and neighbours of mine.
This is simple to understand. I’ve attended services at many AOG churches across the country and they had one thing in common - fervor. These people really believe and their faith informs their everyday lives, unlike so many congregants at mainline churches where they only think of God on Sunday mornings.
Here is the operative scripture:
He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made his liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath not the Son of God hath not life." (1 John 5:10-12)
If one truly believes the Son of God, then he has the witness (Holy Spirit) in himself. It convinces him that he has eternal life and cannot lose it, because he is no longer trusting in his works to save him, but in the finished work of Jesus Christ.
I've spoken with lots from the holiness/arminian crowd and they all believe that one must have the works to demonstrate salvation and that they can consequently lose their salvation if they stop believing or stop exhibiting the works. The Bible says they do not have the witness in themselves. They aren't saved. The unsaved world may refer to them as "evangelicals" or "Christians", but it's what the Bible says that's eternally important.
As an adherent myself, I can say the growth is continually happening. Although to clarify, a lot of the growth is from folks from other churches leaving their denomination for a pentecostal one. Seems like most of those who leave AG, go to some sort of non-denominational church.
AG is fairly conservative and traditional. I think many who have frustrations with their church allowing homosexual ministers are finding comfort in a denomination like the AG for standing their ground against it.
Of course, the denomination isn’t without it’s own faults either. During the first 50 years, AG wouldn’t allow African-Americans to become credentialed ministers, which caused the Church of God split. This has since changed, but it has been a slow road to repair that damage. The Church of God in the United States is technically larger than the AG in the states. Internationally, the AG is huge and may be getting up there as one of the largest.
That isn’t true, of course, and that makes for a spiritual Achilles heel.
But it isn’t the worst fault there could be with a Christian body.
I do recall that when the World Vision organization announced they were going to accept sodomites who claim to be married as employees, the Assemblies of God IMMEDIATELY issued a memo to their churches (independent though they are) urging them to STOP GIVING to the organization.
In other words, the A/G took a stand for the Word of God. Very bold and yet very comforting.
I was writing my post as you asked this, see my earlier comment on some of the CoG differences. Fundamentally, both are pretty similar in what they believe. In terms of how each denomination expresses outreach, AG focuses a lot on overseas missions, while Church of God works more with the local community. In that way, Church of God is larger than the AG in the US, but worldwide AG is huge.
I don’t think any merger would happen anytime soon, but the relationship between both denominations has improved significantly.
Yeah, I am on your side of that debate. Which is a debate between fellow Christians.
My point is not to bash them for where their theology goes wrong. I was trying to applaud them for where they do it right.
That particular roaring lion got told to scat. Baptist reactions were doubtless similar.
That's kind of an unfair way to put it. It's more the idea of this, God will never forsake you, but YOU can choose to forsake Him. If you get saved and then later change your mind and renounce Jesus, the AG says you have then lost your salvation. It's not calling God a liar because God never did anything different. You yourself are making the choice to turn the other way.
Don’t be too excited take a look at where the growth is coming from (this is in the article)
“Domestically, the denomination credits its growth to the United States’ growing Latino population, which they say make up 20 percent of their American population.”
So a bunch of ILLEGALS coming to the US find a comfy home with the Assembly of God church. Just how special is that?
One can believe in fervor AND in salvational permanence.
The “trick” is in seeing that it really is all of God. Both classic Calvinism and classic Arminianism fall short because they either discount God’s view or God’s power. The telling point to me is that both would turn the gospel from Good News to Good Luck. That is out of biblical character.
And then the question immediately arises as to how much of a move needs to be made.
It is also out of biblical character. When nobody can snatch them out of Jesus’ hand that really is nobody.
God will never enter into a salvation that He has seen will not finish.
We could wish all illegales would be devoted Christians; then they would be far less trouble than they are.
As a Lutheran who believes that salvation cannot be lost, I would cut them a break, on two levels.
First, if I think that I can lose my salvation, but I can't lose my salvation, then I have not lost my salvation: all I have done is made myself worry about something that I do not have to worry about. As the Scripture says, if we disbelieve (apisteo), God still believes (pisteo), because He cannot deny Himself.
Second, the Bible tells us what it takes to be saved: confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus Christ, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead. (Romans 10:9) AG people confess Jesus as Lord and Christ, and believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. If they do this, they are saved, and cannot be un-saved, even if they think they can be.
P.S. I worshipped in a Word of Faith church for years, until God called me back into working for the LCMS. I am where God wants me to be, but I miss the power and presence of the Holy Spirit that was palpably available every time I worshipped in the WOF church. Barring a miraculous intervention, it will never happen where I am now.