Christian Congregation in Brazil
|Christian Congregation in Brazil|
|Congregations||18,877 in Brazil (2013)|
|Members||2.5 million (2000)
2.8 million (2016)
The Christian Congregation in Brazil (Portuguese: Congregação Cristã no Brasil) is an evangelical denomination founded in that country by the Italian-American missionary Luigi Francescon (1866–1964), as part of the larger Christian Congregation (Pentecostal).
Francescon came, for the first time, to Brazil from Chicago, Illinois to São Paulo and from there to Santo Antonio da Plantina, Paraná in 1910. His ten missionary trips were quite successful among fellow Italian immigrants.
This was part of the first wave of Pentecostalism, and evidently the first organized Pentecostal denomination in Brazil. Together with the Brazilian Assemblies of God founded 1911 in Pará, by the Swedish-Americans, Daniel Berg and Gunnar Vingren, the Christian Congregation of Brazil are the early foundation of the Brazilian Pentecostal Movement, one of the most dynamic and fast-growing evangelical movements worldwide.
The Christian Congregation in the Brazil had around 2.5 million members in 2001 and 17,000 temples (2008) in that country and an intense missionary work abroad. In the metro area of São Paulo, the church shows its faith: there are 500,000 followers, distributed in 2,000 branches and a mother-church in the Brás district that houses a 5,000 member congregation.
Francescon was among the early founders of the Italian-American Pentecostal church in Chicago. He had left the First Italian Presbyterian Church of Chicago because of his belief in Water Baptism by immersion. Later he accepted the doctrines of anointing with oil, miracles, and Holy Spirit baptism at the North Avenue Full Gospel Mission led by William Howard Durham. Evangelists from Chicago went to the Italian colonies in the United States planting churches mostly in the Northeast. Most of those churches were incorporated into the Christian Church of North America, with a few affiliated with the Christian Congregation in the United States.
The beliefs of the Christian Congregation are set forth in their 12-articles of Faith. They believe in the Trinity, and in the Bible, salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. They accept the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and divine healing and miracles. The church holds two ordinances - water baptism by immersion and the Lord's supper.
Congregational worship is held inside a chapel. Hymn singing is accompanied by a brass/silver band or orchestra. While in worship, women wear white head veils and their attire is dresses and skirts. Men dress in suit outfits. All chapels are immaculately kept. The inscription "In the Name of the Lord Jesus" is displayed and a baptismal font at the front of the chapel.
Points of doctrine and of the faith which was once given to the saints
- We believe and accept the entire Bible as the infallible Word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit; it is the only perfect order of our faith and manner of living, to which nothing can be added or taken away, and which is the power of God unto salvation to every believer. (II Peter 1:21; II Timothy 3:16,17; Romans 1:16)
- We believe there is only one living and true God, eternal, with infinite power, Creator of all things; and in the unity of Him there are three distinct Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 4:6; Matthew 28:19, I John 5:7)
- We believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the Word made flesh, who assumed the human nature through the virgin Mary and, so, is true God and true Man, having two natures in one Person, the divine and the human; and therefore is the only Saviour, who suffered death for the guilt of all men. (Luke 1:27-35; John 1:14; I Peter 3:18)
- We believe in the personal existence of the devil and his angels, evil spirits that together with him will be punished in everlasting fire. (Matthew 25:41)
- We believe that the regeneration, or the new birth, is received only through faith in Christ Jesus who was delivered up for our offenses and was raised again for our justification. They who are in Christ Jesus (cleansed through His blood), are new creatures, and have Him for wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. (Romans 3:24,25; I Corinthians 1:30, II Corinthians 5:17)
- We believe in water baptism, performed in the Name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38), with a single immersion, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, according to Christ's commission. (Matthew 28:18-19)
- We believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance. (Acts 2:4, 10:45-47; 19:6)
- We believe in commemorating the Lord's Supper. The Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye as oft ye drink it, in remembrance of me. (Luke 22:19-20; I Corinthians 11:23-25)
- We believe it is necessary to abstain from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled and from fornication, as decreed by the Holy Spirit in the general assembly held in Jerusalem. (Acts 15:28-29, 16:4; 21:25)
- We believe that Jesus Christ, Himself, bore all our sicknesses; and for that reason, we obey the following commandment: Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church. and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the Name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. (Matthew 8:17, James 5:14-15)
- We believe that the Lord, Himself, (before the millennium) shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (I Thessalonians 4:16- 17; Revelation 20:6)
- We believe that there shall be a bodily resurrection of all dead, both of the just and unjust. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (Acts 24:15; Matthew 25:46).
- "Pentecostalism in Brazil". The Economist. 23 January 2016. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
- Read, William R. New Patterns of Church Growth in BrazilGrand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1965.
- 2000 Brazilian Census IBGE
- Hymns of Praise and Supplication to God. USA: CHRISTIAN CONGREGATION IN THE UNITED STATES. 1998.
- ALVES, Leonardo M. "Christian Congregation in North America: Its Inception, Doctrine, and Worship". Dallas, 2006.
- FRANCESCON, Louis. "Faithful Testimony". Chicago, 1952.
- HOLLENWEGGER, Walter. "The Pentecostals".Minneapolis, 1972.