Alliance World Fellowship

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Alliance World Fellowship
PolityElements of Congregationalist, Presbyterian and non-sacramental Episcopal polities
PresidentJura Yanagihara
Region88 countries
HeadquartersReynoldsburg, United States
FounderAlbert Benjamin Simpson[1]
SeparationsAssemblies of God

The Alliance World Fellowship or Christian and Missionary Alliance (The Alliance, also C&MA and CMA) is an international evangelical Christian denomination within the Higher Life movement of Christianity, teaching a modified form of Keswickian theology.[3][1][2] The headquarters is in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, United States.


Building of Zamboanga Alliance Evangelical Church, member of the Christian and Missionary Alliance Churches of the Philippines (Alliance World Fellowship), Zamboanga, Philippines

The Alliance has its origins in two organizations founded by Albert Benjamin Simpson in 1887 in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, in the United States, The Christian Alliance, which concentrated on domestic missions, and The Evangelical Missionary Alliance, which focused on overseas missions.[4] These two organizations merged in 1897 to form the Christian and Missionary Alliance.[5]

In 1887, in a series of sermons called The Fourfold Gospel in New York, United States, which will characterize his teaching, Simpson summarizes the Gospel in four aspects; Jesus Christ Savior, Sanctifier, Healer and Soon Coming King.[6]

The Missionary Training Institute (later including Alliance Theological Seminary), founded in 1882 by Simpson in Nyack, near New York, contributed to the development of the union. In the 21st century, the school moved again to New York City and changed its name to Alliance University.[7] After losing their accredation, Alliance University ceased operations in 2023, with its records transferred to Houghton College.

A.B. Simpson was influenced by Keswickian cleric W.E. Boardman in his view of sanctification.[8] During the start of the 20th century, Simpson became closely involved with the growing Pentecostal 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 Alliance 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, Alliance 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 Alliance 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 Alliance as an organized Christian denomination, shifting more authority to the council and becoming more ecclesiastical. To ensure the survival of the Alliance in the face of division, Simpson put all property in the name of the Alliance. In the event of separation, all property would revert to Alliance.[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 Alliance 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.[10] In 1975, the Alliance World Fellowship (AWF) was officially organized.[11] In 2010, it was present in 50 countries.[12]

In June 2023, the Christian and Missionary Alliance of the United States approved women being ordained as pastors, but only if the women's local church leadership approves, and never as senior or lead pastors.[13]


According to a census published by the association in 2022, it has 22,000 churches, 6,200,000 members in 88 countries.[14]


The denomination has an evangelical theology,[15][5][16] and is largely aligned with the Higher Life movement.[2][3][1][17] A.B. Simpson articulated the Alliance's core theology as the Christological "Fourfold Gospel": Jesus Christ as Saviour, Sanctifier, Healer, and Soon Coming King.[18] These are represented by a cross, laver, oil pitcher, and crown in the Alliance's logo.[19] Sanctification is sometimes described as "the deeper Christian life".[20] This teaching is that of other churches aligned with the Higher Life movement and its Keswick Conventions.[8][2][21] It is perhaps best exemplified by the writings of A. W. Tozer. Simpson, however, departed from traditional Keswickian teaching in his view of progressive sanctification and his rejection of suppressionism.[22][23] The Alliance also emphasizes missionary work, and believes that the fulfillment of the Great Commission is the reason it exists.[24]

Espousing a modified form of Keswickian theology, the Christian and Missionary Alliance, as with Simpson, differs from the Wesleyan-Holiness movement in that the Christian and Missionary Alliance does not see entire sanctification as cleansing one from original sin, whereas adherents of the Wesleyan-Holiness movement affirm this Methodistic teaching of John Wesley.[21][25][1]


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.[26]

Begun in 1974 by Andy Bishop 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.[27] CAMA Services worked together with local C&MA churches in 2005 to provide Hurricane Katrina relief in the United States.

Seminaries and colleges[edit]

Grace Chapel and Performing Arts Center, Toccoa Falls College in Toccoa Falls, Georgia, United States.

It had 90 theological colleges.[14]


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.[28]

The alumni 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 said 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". Robert Fetherlin, vice president for International Ministries for the C&MA, said "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."[28]

In 1995, 30 alumni from Mamou approached the C&MA for an investigation and restitution.[29] They reported systemic abuse including psychological abuse, excessive beating, sadistic dental practices performed without novocaine, sexual molestation, and rape.[28] 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, of whom four were retired, three deceased and two no longer with the C&MA.[29]

The US C&MA Board of Directors 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."[30]

Since these abuses occurred, the Alliance changed its policies and practices. Fetherlin said that the Alliance tried "to keep families together as much as possible, as opposed to asking parents to commit to sending their elementary children off to 'missionary kid' boarding schools", and supported homeschooling, which they had previously opposed.

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. A publication on child safety and protection entitled Safe Place was produced, a child safety and protection policy for its international work introduced, and a revised Uniform Discipline, Restoration and Appeal policy implemented that mandates denomination-wide zero-tolerance when there is a finding of sexual abuse of a child or vulnerable adult. A child protection training program which every overseas Alliance worker is required to attend was set up. Child Protection and Safety policies were published on the Alliance Web site.[31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Wu, Dongsheng John (1 April 2012). Understanding Watchman Nee: Spirituality, Knowledge, and Formation. Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 58. ISBN 978-1-63087-573-2. D. D. Bundy notes that A. B. Simpson (1843–1919)—Presbyterian founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance—who never accepted the Wesleyan doctrine of eradication of sin, accepted the Keswickian understanding of sanctification.
  2. ^ a b c d Kenyon, Howard N. (29 October 2019). Ethics in the Age of the Spirit: Race, Women, War, and the Assemblies of God. Wipf and Stock Publishers. ISBN 978-1-4982-8522-3. Much of the Keswickian influence came through A.B. Simpson's Christian and Missionary Alliance, itself an ecumenical missionary movement
  3. ^ a b Knight III, Henry H. (11 August 2010). From Aldersgate to Azusa Street: Wesleyan, Holiness, and Pentecostal Visions of the New Creation. Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 365. ISBN 978-1-63087-656-2.
  4. ^ George A. Rawlyk, Aspects of the Canadian Evangelical Experience, MQUP, Canada, 1997, p. 281
  5. ^ a b Randall Herbert Balmer, Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism: Revised and expanded edition, Baylor University Press, USA, 2004, p. 156
  6. ^ Daryn Henry, A.B. Simpson and the Making of Modern Evangelicalism, McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP, Canada, 2019, p. 168
  7. ^ George Thomas Kurian, Mark A. Lamport, Encyclopedia of Christian Education, Volume 3, Rowman & Littlefield, USA, 2015, p. 132
  8. ^ a b Burgess, Stanley M.; Maas, Eduard M. van der (3 August 2010). The New International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements: Revised and Expanded Edition. Zondervan. ISBN 978-0-310-87335-8. A.B. Simpson, founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance (CMA), influenced by A.J. Gordon and W.E. Boardman, adopted a Keswickian understanding of sanctification.
  9. ^ a b Burgess, Stanley, et al. 1993. Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements. Grand Rapids: Zondervan. p. 166.
  10. ^ Samuel S. Hill, Charles H. Lippy, Charles Reagan Wilson, Encyclopedia of Religion in the South, Mercer University Press, USA, 2005, p. 182
  11. ^ J. Gordon Melton, Martin Baumann, Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, ABC-CLIO, USA, 2010, p. 80
  12. ^ J. Gordon Melton, Martin Baumann, Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, ABC-CLIO, USA, 2010, p. 605
  13. ^ Ian M. Giatti, In historic vote, Christian and Missionary Alliance approves 'priestly' roles for women,, USA, June 07, 2023
  14. ^ a b Alliance World Fellowship, Statistics,, USA, retrieved November 5, 2022
  15. ^ George Thomas Kurian, Mark A. Lamport, Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States, Volume 5, Rowman & Littlefield, USA, 2016, p. 462
  16. ^ Alliance World Fellowship, Statement of Faith,, USA, retrieved May 9, 2020
  17. ^ III, Henry H. Knight (1 February 2014). Anticipating Heaven Below: Optimism of Grace from Wesley to the Pentecostals. Wipf and Stock Publishers. pp. 91–92. ISBN 978-1-63087-125-3. It is the other christological strand, that of the indwelling Christ, that is the heart of the distinctive sanctification theology of A. B. Simpson. A Presbyterian who ultimately founded the Christian and Missionary Alliance, Simpson operates within a Keswick framework while also drawing upon Wesleyan ideals. Like Wesley, Simpson described sin as in the motive or intent of the heart most especially lack of love for God and neighbour. While he agrees with Keswick that we can't ever be freed from this sinful nature in this life, he insisted, as Van De Walle puts it, "the power of the resurrected Christ would more than enable the believer to consider the sin nature a vanquished foe and to behave as though it were.
  18. ^ "Fourfold Gospel". Christian and Missionary Alliance. Archived from the original on 2013-03-30. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
  19. ^ Crow, Eric (January 21, 2021). "The Fourfold Gospel". The Alliance Canada. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  20. ^ Pardington, George P. The Crisis of the Deeper Life Archived 2011-06-05 at the Wayback Machine. New York: The Christian Alliance Publishing Company, 1925. Accessed May 31, 2011.
  21. ^ a b Murphy, Karen (23 May 2018). Pentecostals and Roman Catholics on Becoming a Christian: Spirit-Baptism, Faith, Conversion, Experience, and Discipleship in Ecumenical Perspective. Brill Academic Publishers. p. 131. ISBN 978-90-04-36786-9. ... the Christian and Missionary Alliance (CMA) ... accepted the Keswickian teaching over the Wesleyan-Holiness belief.
  22. ^ Bernie A. Van De Walle, The Heart of the Gospel: A. B. Simpson, the Fourfold Gospel, and Late Nineteenth-Century Evangelical Theology, Wipf and Stock Publishers, USA, 2009, p. 93; "Despite similarities, Simpson's sanctification doctrine included its own distinctives, not duplicating either Keswick or Holiness soteriology", p. 94 ; "Richard Gilbertson, like McGraw, distinguishes between Simpson's view of sanctification and those of Keswick and Wesleyanism: There have been frequent attempts to categorize Simpson and the C&MA. Often the assertion is made that Simpson held to a Keswick-type view of sanctification. More precisely, Simpson should be seen as having been influenced by Boardman's Higher Christian Life, a book which also impacted the Keswick movement. Other than an 1885 invitation to speak at one of their conferences, Simpson had little formal contact with the British Keswick movement."
  23. ^ Gordon T. Smith, Conversion and Sanctification in the Christian & Missionary Alliance Archived 2020-01-09 at the Wayback Machine,, USA, 1992 : "He differed in some notable ways from the teachings of his contemporaries: he rejected the perfectionism of the Wesleyan-methodists; he did not accept the suppressionism of the Keswick movement." And "In these respects, the C&MA is distinct from the Keswick movement. The Alliance heritage is more life and work affirming. Our actions in the world do make a difference and are meaningful."
  24. ^ "The Great Commission". Christian and Missionary Alliance. Archived from the original on 2013-04-29. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
  25. ^ "The Radical Holiness Movement and The Christian and Missionary Alliance: Twins, perhaps, but not Identical". Bernie A. Van De Walle. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  26. ^ Michael G. Yount, A. B. Simpson: His Message and Impact on the Third Great Awakening, Wipf and Stock Publishers, USA, 2016, p. 188
  27. ^ "Our Work". Our Work. Compassion and Mercy Associates. 2014-05-17. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  28. ^ a b c All God's Children – Documentary - 2008
  29. ^ a b "A Badly Broken Boarding School". Christianity Today. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
  30. ^ Board of Directors of the U.S. C&MA. "alife". Alliance Life. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
  31. ^ "Child Safety & Abuse Reporting". Retrieved 22 November 2022.

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