Alliance World Fellowship
|Alliance World Fellowship|
|Polity||Elements of Congregationalist, Presbyterian and non-sacramental Episcopal polities|
|Headquarters||São Paulo, Brazil|
|Founder||Albert Benjamin Simpson|
The Alliance World Fellowship is the international governing body of the Christian and Missionary Alliance (The Alliance, also C&MA). The Alliance is an evangelical Protestant denomination within the Higher Life movement of Christianity, teaching a modified form of Keswickian theology. The headquarters is in São Paulo, Brazil.
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. These two organizations merged in 1897 to form the Christian and Missionary Alliance.
A.B. Simpson was influenced by Keswickian cleric W.E. Boardman in his view of sanctification. 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.
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. 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. In 1975, the Alliance World Fellowship (AWF) was officially organized. In 2010, it was present in 50 countries.
According to a census of the denomination, in 2020, it had 22,000 churches, 6,200,000 members and 90 theological institutes in 88 countries.
The denomination has an evangelical theology, and is largely aligned with the Higher Life movement. A.B. Simpson articulated the Alliance's core theology as the Christological "Fourfold Gospel": Jesus Christ as Saviour, Sanctifier, Healer, and Soon Coming King. Sanctification is sometimes described as "the deeper Christian life". This teaching is that of other churches aligned with the Higher Life movement and its Keswick Conventions. 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. The Alliance also emphasizes missionary work, and believes that the fulfillment of the Great Commission is the reason it exists.
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.
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 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. CAMA Services worked together with local C&MA churches in 2005 to provide Hurricane Katrina relief in the United States.
Seminaries and colleges
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.
- Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary in New York City and Puerto Rico, United States
- Simpson University and A.W. Tozer Theological Seminary in Redding, California, United States
- Toccoa Falls College in Toccoa, Georgia, United States
- Crown College and Crown Graduate School in St. Bonifacius, Minnesota, United States
- Ambrose University in Calgary, Alberta, Canada
- École de théologie évangélique du Québec in Montreal, Quebec, Canada
- Seminario Teológico AC&M (ITAM) in Santiago, Chile
- Seminario Biblico Alianza in Armenia, Colombia
Asia and Middle East
- The Alliance Leadership Institute (ALTI) in Jerusalem
- Alliance Graduate School in Philippines
- Alliance Bible Seminary in Hong Kong
- The Christian Alliance Institute of Theology (CAIT) in Beirut, Lebanon
- Northeastern Bible Seminary in Khon Kaen, Thailand
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.
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."
In 1995, 30 alumni from Mamou approached the C&MA for an investigation and restitution. They reported systemic abuse including psychological abuse, excessive beating, sadistic dental practices performed without novocaine, sexual molestation, and rape. 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.
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."
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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- George A. Rawlyk, Aspects of the Canadian Evangelical Experience, MQUP, Canada, 1997, p. 281
- Randall Herbert Balmer, Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism: Revised and expanded edition, Baylor University Press, USA, 2004, p. 156
- 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.
- Burgess, Stanley, et al. 1993. Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements. Grand Rapids: Zondervan. p. 166.
- Samuel S. Hill, Charles H. Lippy, Charles Reagan Wilson, Encyclopedia of Religion in the South, Mercer University Press, USA, 2005, p. 182
- J. Gordon Melton, Martin Baumann, Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, ABC-CLIO, USA, 2010, p. 80
- J. Gordon Melton, Martin Baumann, Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, ABC-CLIO, USA, 2010, p. 605
- Alliance World Fellowship, Statistics, awf.world, Brazil, retrieved May 9, 2020
- George Thomas Kurian, Mark A. Lamport, Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States, Volume 5, Rowman & Littlefield, USA, 2016, p. 462
- Randall Herbert Balmer, Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism: Revised and expanded edition, Baylor University Press, USA, 2004, p. 156
- Alliance World Fellowship, Statement of Faith, awf.world, Brazil, retrieved May 9, 2020
- 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.
- "Fourfold Gospel". Christian and Missionary Alliance. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
- Pardington, George P. The Crisis of the Deeper Life. New York: The Christian Alliance Publishing Company, 1925. Accessed May 31, 2011.
- 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.
- 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."
- Gordon T. Smith, Conversion and Sanctification in the Christian & Missionary Alliance, awf.world, Brazil, 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."
- "The Great Commission". Christian and Missionary Alliance. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
- "The Radical Holiness Movement and The Christian and Missionary Alliance: Twins, perhaps, but not Identical". Bernie A. Van De Walle. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
- Michael G. Yount, A. B. Simpson: His Message and Impact on the Third Great Awakening, Wipf and Stock Publishers, USA, 2016, p. 188
- "Our Work". Our Work. Compassion and Mercy Associates. 2014-05-17. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
- "ITAM". Seminarioacym.com. Archived from the original on 2012-11-14. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
- "Seminario Biblico Alianza de Colombia Educación Teológica a Distancia". Sebacdistancia.org. Archived from the original on 2007-12-07. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
- "Evangelical Alliance Church in the Holy Land". Each-cma.org. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
- "Alliance Graduate School". AGS. Retrieved 2017-10-31.
- "Alliance Bible Seminary". Abs.edu. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
- "Siam Mission". Siam Mission. Archived from the original on 2013-06-06. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
- All God's Children – Documentary - 2008
- "A Badly Broken Boarding School". Christianity Today. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
- Board of Directors of the U.S. C&MA. "alife". Alliance Life. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
- "Child Safety & Protection". Cmalliance.org. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
- Official website of the Alliance World Fellowship
- Official website of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in the United States
- Official website of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in New Zealand
- Official website of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada
- Official website of the Asia-Pacific Region of the Christian and Missionary Alliance
- Official website of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Australia
- Official website of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Hong Kong
- Alliance Life: Official Magazine of the Christian and Missionary Alliance
- Christian and Missionary Alliance at Curlie
- Christian and Missionary Alliance: Association of Religion Data Archives