Christian and Missionary Alliance

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Christian and Missionary Alliance
CMA logo.png
Classification Protestant
Orientation Evangelical
Polity Elements of Congregationalist, Presbyterian and non-sacramental Episcopal polities
Headquarters Colorado Springs, Colorado
Founder Albert Benjamin Simpson
Origin 1887
Members 3,500,000 ca.
Official website www.cmalliance.org

The Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA) is an evangelical Protestant denomination within Christianity.

Founded by Rev. Albert Benjamin Simpson, an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, in 1887, the C&MA did not start off as a denomination, but rather began as two distinct parachurch organizations: the Christian Alliance, which focused on the pursuit and promotion of the Higher Christian life, and the Evangelical Missionary Alliance, which focused on mobilizing "consecrated" Christians in the work of foreign missionary efforts. These two groups amalgamated in 1897 to form the C&MA. It was only much later, around mid-20th century, that an official denomination was formed.[citation needed]

In 2006 there were 2,010 C&MA churches and approximately 417,000 members in the United States.[1] Approximately 600 of those churches were described as intercultural.[2] In Canada there were 440 churches, 59 of which multicultural, and approximately 120,000 members. In the C&MA 2004 annual report estimated that outside North America C&MA membership exceeded 3 million.[3] The C&MA center used to be in Nyack, New York, which continues to be the home of Nyack College (formerly Missionary Training Institute) and Alliance Theological Seminary. C&MA headquarters are now located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Dr. John Stumbo is the president of the C&MA in the United States, Rev. David Hearn is the president in Canada, Rev. Rod Russell-Brown is the president in Australia, Rev. Sami Dagher is the president in Lebanon, while Rev. Arie M. Verduijn is president of the Alliance World Fellowship.

Beliefs[edit]

The C&MA's Statement of Faith defines it as an evangelical Protestant denomination. The following is a summary of the Statement of Faith for the U.S. Church:[4]

  • One God who exists as a Trinity.
  • Jesus Christ is both God and man who died as a substitutionary sacrifice, was resurrected, ascended to heaven, and will return to establish his kingdom.
  • The Holy Spirit indwells, teaches, and empowers believers; he convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment.
  • The Bible, in its original languages, is inerrant, divinely inspired, and the complete revelation of God's will for the salvation of men. It is the only rule for Christian faith and practice.
  • Man was created in the image of God, but through disobedience is born with a sinful nature. Mankind can only be saved through Christ's "atoning work".
  • Those who repent and believe in Christ are born again of the Holy Spirit, becoming children of God.
  • The will of God is for each believer to be filled with the Holy Spirit and "sanctified wholly" to receive "power for holy living and effective service". This is both a "crisis" and "progressive" experience occurring after conversion. Sanctification is "Separation from sin" and "Separation to God". The believer must, through faith, surrender, accept Christ as sanctifier, and continue to abide in relationship with Christ through obedience to his Word.
  • Within the "redemptive work" of Christ provision is made for bodily healing. Prayer for the sick and anointing with oil are scriptural and the privilege of the Church.
  • The Church is all who believe in Christ, are redeemed through his blood, and are born again of the Holy Spirit. It has been called to fulfill the Great Commission. The local church is a body of believers joined together for worship, edification through God's Word, prayer, fellowship, proclaiming the gospel, and observing the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper.
  • The just shall be resurrected unto life and the unjust unto judgment.
  • The imminent second coming of Christ will be personal, visible, and premillennial.

A.B. Simpson articulated the Alliance's core theology as the Christological "Fourfold Gospel": Jesus Christ as Savior, Sanctifier, Healer, and Soon Coming King.[5] Sanctification is sometimes described as "the deeper Christian life".[6] This teaching is similar to that of the Higher Life movement and the Keswick Convention. It is perhaps best exemplified by the writings of A. W. Tozer. The C&MA also emphasizes missionary work, and believes that the fulfillment of the Great Commission is the reason it exists.[7]

History[edit]

The Christian and Missionary Alliance was not founded as a denomination. Rev. A. B. Simpson was a Presbyterian clergyman motivated by the spiritual needs of the metropolitan multitudes in North America, as well as by those of the unevangelized peoples in other lands. He was compelled by a sense of urgency to take this message to all nations because of Jesus' statement in Matthew 24:14: "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come" (KJV translation).

In the 1890's the first missionaries arrived in Jerusalem from the CMA. They are known in the CMA letters by their surnames, Miss Brown and Miss Dunn. The CMA work in Jerusalem would eventually result in the founding of the Church on Prophets Street and the Alliance Church in the Old City of Jerusalem.[8]

During the start of the 20th century, Simpson became closely involved with the growing Pentecostal movement, an offshoot of the Holiness movement. It became common for Pentecostal pastors and missionaries to receive their training at the Missionary Training Institute that Simpson founded. Consequently, Simpson and the C&MA had a great influence on Pentecostalism, in particular the Assemblies of God and the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. This influence included evangelical emphasis, C&MA doctrine, Simpson's hymns and books, and the use of the term 'Gospel Tabernacle,' which led to many Pentecostal churches being known as 'Full Gospel Tabernacles.'

Eventually, there developed severe division within the C&MA over issues surrounding Pentecostalism (such as speaking in tongues and charismatic worship styles). By 1912, this crisis was a catalyst for the emergence of the C&MA as an organized denomination, shifting more authority to the council and becoming more ecclesiastical. To ensure the survival of the C&MA in the face of division, Simpson put all property in the name of the C&MA. In the event of separation, all property would revert to C&MA.[9]

After Simpson's death in 1919, the C&MA distanced itself from Pentecostalism, rejecting the premise that speaking in tongues is a necessary indicator of being filled with the Holy Spirit, and instead focused on the deeper Christian life.[9] By 1930, most local branches of the C&MA functioned as churches, but still did not view themselves as such.

By 1965, the churches adopted a denominational function and established a formal statement of faith. This new mission society soon became a major evangelical movement. Today it is a growing missionary denomination committed to evangelism around the world through church planting.

Membership trends[edit]

The Christian and Missionary Alliance has experienced steady and significant growth since its inception. In 1925, there were just 25,000 members in 392 churches.[10] Membership reached 50,000 members in 1950 and by 1976 had reached 150,000.[10] In 2006, there were 417,008 members in 2,010 congregations.[10] While membership is concentrated in the American Midwest and Northwest, the denomination is well represented throughout the United States.[11] Pennsylvania has the largest number of both members and congregations.[11] As of January 1, 2011, there was recorded more than 2,000 U.S. churches with a combined membership of more than 430,000 regularly gather to celebrate Jesus in multiple languages, according to the C&MA website.

Structure[edit]

The biennial General Council is the highest governing body of the C&MA. It elects officers, transacts business, enacts policies, and evaluates the progress of denominational ministries. Delegates include licensed workers (i.e., clergy), members of the board of directors, three representatives from each C&MA postsecondary educational institution, two lay delegates from each accredited church (with additional delegates for every 100 church members), national officers of Men and Women’s ministries, lay members of district executive committees, and retired and disabled missionaries and official workers.[12]

A 28 member board of directors elected by General Council provides general oversight and management of the denomination and acts as the executive committee of the General Council when the council is not in session. National officers (president, vice president, secretary, treasurer) are ex officio members.[13]

Churches are organized into either geographical or cultural districts. A district is led by a conference, a legislative body meeting once a year. The conference elects the district executive committee and a superintendent, the chief officer of the district.[14] The ordination and licensing for clergy is the responsibility of districts.[15]

Local churches elect their own officers and elders. Pastors are called by the elders but must be appointed by the district superintendent. Local church property is owned by the denomination.[16]

Ministries[edit]

CAMA Services[edit]

Associated with the denomination is CAMA Services. “CAMA” stands for “Compassion and Mercy Associates”. Services include a variety of relief and development efforts providing food, clothing, medical care, and job training to people in crisis situations around the globe in the name of Jesus.

Begun in 1974 by ptr. Johnver Eblacas together with his son Samuel Eblacas as an outreach to refugees fleeing the Indochina conflict, CAMA now works in refugee camps in Thailand, and has worked with refugees in Hong Kong, Lebanon, Jordan, and Guinea, and famine victims in Burkina Faso and Mali.[citation needed] CAMA Services worked together with local C&MA churches in 2005 to provide Hurricane Katrina relief in the USA.

Envision Culture[edit]

Envision is the Short-Term Mission Office (STMO) of the Christian and Missionary Alliance whose purpose is to facilitate short-term mission trips to mission fields served by the C&MA.

Envision, originally called AYMission, was started in 2003 by Matt Peace as a way of facilitating youth short-term mission trips. Today Envision sends out over 1000 people every year to 40 different countries. However, their main focus of work is currently in 11 locations, including:

Taipei, Taiwan- In 2005 work was started in Taipei in the Ximen area and continues to grow. Ministry in Taiwan includes teaching English (year long interns) and church planting.

Phnom Penh, Cambodia- Each Summer trips are formed from the United States and Canada travel to Cambodia to teach English to students. In 2006 the camps expanded to Siem Reap.

Ensenada, Mexico- Short-Term teams are in the process of helping plant churches in Ensenada and do community outreach through VBS, building relationships and building projects.

San Salvador, El Salvador- With the help of Pastor Mario Gonzalez, the work of Envision in El Salvador has helped hundreds of people. Several people in their twenties live in El Salvador for up to one year with this program.

Gabon, Africa- Beginning in 2008, the ministries included in this site are working at the Bongolo Hospital, orphanages, working with AIDS patients and relief projects.

Paris, France

United States- Inner-city ministries in Philadelphia and Chicago help at risk children, youth and the community through soup kitchens, food banks, coffeehouses, and many other types of ministries.[17]

Seminaries and colleges[edit]

As of 1998, there are two C&MA graduate schools, four C&MA colleges, and one C&MA seminary accredited by The Association of Theological Schools. Seminaries in other countries may be accredited by other organizations. For C&MA educational institutions in the Philippines, see Christian and Missionary Alliance Churches of the Philippines.

United States[edit]

Other[edit]

Controversies[edit]

C&MA boarding school abuse[edit]

In the 1980s, alumni of Mamou Alliance Academy in Guinea, West Africa, began to write letters to C&MA headquarters informing leadership of systemic child abuse that occurred at the school. Phone calls and letter writing of this nature to the C&MA continued for ten years.[23]

The alumni have reported that the C&MA response was evasive, deceptive, and employed “stonewalling” tactics. Alumni were reportedly told that they should forgive, and that they would “hurt the name of Jesus” by coming forward. One alumnus has stated that “the only way that we could get the Alliance to do anything was through the media. It was only through shaming them by putting the truth out there”. Dr. Robert Fetherlin, vice president for International Ministries for the C&MA has stated “We heard as far back as the 1980s that there were some questionable events that took place at Mamou. That there may have been mistreatment of children, however we were slower than we should have been in responding to that.”[23]

In 1995, 30 alumni from Mamou approached the C&MA for an investigation and restitution.[24] They reported systemic abuse including psychological abuse, excessive beating, sadistic dental practices performed without novocaine, sexual molestation, and rape.[23] The following year, an independent commission of inquiry (ICI) was formed and 80 testimonies were heard. In April 1998, the ICI released a report which found the denomination negligent in monitoring Mamou and in training teachers. The report identified nine offenders, four of which were retired, three deceased and two that were no longer with the C&MA.[24]

The US C&MA Board of Directors has issued an open letter to the victims of abuse asking for “forgiveness for the pain and trauma that you suffered while under the care of C&MA dorm parents, teachers and missionaries.”[25]

Since these abuses occurred, the Alliance has made paradigm shifts in its policies and practices to help ensure that the children of missionary families receive quality educational opportunities in a culture of nurture and care. Notes Dr. Fetherlin, “We have embraced a key core value for MK [missionary kid] education: to keep families together as much as possible, as opposed to asking parents to commit to sending their elementary children off to MK boarding schools. Prior to 1999, we did not encourage homeschooling as a valid educational option. Today, we embrace this option, which keeps many of our families together.”

The Alliance also established a Sensitive Issues Consultative Group made up of professional counselors and caregivers as part of its response to the commission’s recommendations. Significant efforts have been made over the last 10 years to address child safety and protection in C&MA churches and on its mission fields, including a publication entitled Safe Place, a child safety and protection policy for its international work, and a revised Uniform Discipline, Restoration and Appeal policy that mandates denomination-wide zero-tolerance when there is a finding of sexual abuse of a child or vulnerable adult.

The Alliance also has created a child protection training program to help ensure that no child in its care will suffer abuse. Every overseas Alliance worker is required to attend this training.

Current Alliance policies and procedures on child safety and protection can be found at http://www.cmalliance.org/about/beliefs/perspectives/child-safety.

Prominent members[edit]

Prominent former members[edit]

  • David Berg (deceased), who left and eventually founded the Children of God, now known as The Family International
  • Billy Graham, evangelist, preached his first sermons as a licensed assistant/youth pastor at the Tampa Gospel Tabernacle of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in 1933-1937.
  • Jack Hayford, president of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. Attended Neighborhood Church of the C&MA, Oakland, CA, as a teenager.
  • Felix Manalo, who later founded the Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ)
  • Frederick K. C. Price, prominent African-American mega church leader, advocating Word of Faith and Prosperity Gospel, was formerly a C&MA pastor.
  • Paul Rader, a pioneer in radio evangelism, pastor of Moody Memorial Church and Chicago Gospel Tabernacle. Served as president of C&MA, 1919–1924, after A.B. Simpson's death.
  • Oswald J. Smith, pastor of People's Church, Toronto. Served as a C&MA pastor in the 1920s.
  • Charles Templeton, post-World War II evangelist. Subsequently left and became an agnostic.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Benedict, Gary M., "Report to General Council 2007", p. 52.[dead link]
  2. ^ Gary M. Benedict, p. 7.
  3. ^ The C&MA 2004 report to General Council & Minutes of General Council 2005, p. 19
  4. ^ "Statement of Faith". Christian and Missionary Alliance. Retrieved 2013-03-29. 
  5. ^ "Fourfold Gospel". Christian and Missionary Alliance. Retrieved 2013-03-29. 
  6. ^ Pardington, George P. The Crisis of the Deeper Life. New York: The Christian Alliance Publishing Company, 1925. Accessed May 31, 2011.
  7. ^ "The Great Commission". Christian and Missionary Alliance. Retrieved 2013-03-29. 
  8. ^ Miller, Duane Alexander (June 2010). "Renegotiating the Boundaries of Evangelicalism in Jerusalem's Christian Quarter: Christian and Missionary Alliance Church". Anglican and Episcopal History 79 (2): 185–188. Retrieved 16 December 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Burgess, Stanley, et al. 1993. Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements. Grand Rapids: Zondervan. p. 166.
  10. ^ a b c "Historic Archive CD and Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches". The National Council of Churches. Retrieved 2009-12-03. 
  11. ^ a b "2000 Religious Congregations and Membership Study". Glenmary Research Center. Retrieved 2009-12-03. 
  12. ^ "''Manual of the C&MA'' (2009 Edition), Section A2 Article VI General Council, page A2-14" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-03-29. 
  13. ^ Manual of the C&MA, Section A2 Article VII Board of Directors, page A2-5 and 6.
  14. ^ Manual of the C&MA, Section A4 Uniform Constitution for Districts.
  15. ^ Manual of the C&MA, Section E3 United Policy on Licensing and Certification, I. Orders of Ministry, page E3-1.
  16. ^ Manual of the C&MA, Section A5 Uniform Constitution for Accredited Churches.
  17. ^ http://www.Envision-Culture.com
  18. ^ "ITAM". Seminarioacym.com. Retrieved 2013-03-29. 
  19. ^ "Seminario Biblico Alianza de Colombia Educación Teológica a Distancia". Sebacdistancia.org. Retrieved 2013-03-29. 
  20. ^ "Evangelical Alliance Church in the Holy Land". Each-cma.org. Retrieved 2013-03-29. 
  21. ^ "Alliance Bible Seminary". Abs.edu. Retrieved 2013-03-29. 
  22. ^ "Siam Mission". Siam Mission. Retrieved 2013-03-29. 
  23. ^ a b c All God's Children – Documentary - 2008
  24. ^ a b "A Badly Broken Boarding School". Christianity Today. Retrieved October 30, 2012. 
  25. ^ By Board of Directors of the U.S. C&MA. "alife". Alliance Life. Retrieved 2013-03-29. 
  26. ^ Cox's Book of Modern Saints and Martyrs - Caroline Cox - Google Books. Books.google.com.ph. Retrieved 2013-03-29. 
  27. ^ "Mike Tomlin, Steelers head coach, talks about his faith". Baptistpress.com. 2009-01-29. Retrieved 2013-03-29. 

External links[edit]