Apostolic Faith Church

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The Apostolic Faith Church, formerly the Apostolic Faith Mission, is a Pentecostal Christian denomination with headquarters in Portland, Oregon, United States. The Apostolic Faith Mission of Portland was founded in 1906 by Florence L. Crawford,[1] who was affiliated at that time with William J. Seymour and the Azusa Street Revival of Los Angeles, California. By 1908 Crawford had founded what would become the Apostolic Faith Church. Since July 2000, the President and Superintendent General of the Apostolic Faith Church has been Darrel D. Lee, who also pastors the headquarters church.

The Apostolic Faith Church has a presence in the United States, Canada, Africa, Asia, Europe, Central and South America, and Australia.[2] In 1997, the AFC had 2,013 members in 115 local churches served by 188 clergy in the United States.[3] There are ten churches in Canada, several hundred in Africa (six-hundred in Nigeria alone), twenty throughout the Philippines and Korea, nine in Europe (centrally Romania), and over sixty in West Indies.[2] Church-affiliated groups also regularly assemble in other parts of the world and recently include India. In some locations, member churches carry instead the name Trinity Apostolic Faith Church in order to differentiate themselves from non-affiliated churches in the same area.[2]

History[edit]

The founder of the Apostolic Faith Church was Florence L. Crawford. Crawford was a participant in the Azusa Street Revival. This revival began in 1906 at the Apostolic Faith Mission in Los Angeles. The Azusa Street Mission, as it was called, quickly became the center of the Apostolic Faith movement mainly through the publication of The Apostolic Faith newspaper. Seymour appointed Crawford as the state director of the Pacific Coast Apostolic Faith movement where she would help other missions and churches join the movement. Crawford's break with Seymour was complete by 1911. She began an independent work in Portland, Oregon, with the same name as Seymour's mission and most of the churches under her supervision followed her.[4]

Florence L. Crawford was of three original missionaries ordained from the Azusa Street Revival. There was one other woman and Dr. Joseph P. Widney who was one of two men who were the first general superintendents in the Los Angeles area for the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene. Florence was called Mother Crawford and her son Ray Crawford took over after her death as Brother Crawford as overseer. After his death, Brother Carver was appointed. After him, Brother Dwight Baltzel took over as General Superintendent. However, he stepped aside for Brother Darrel Lee to become the Leader after some time. He (Brother Baltzel) is currently in charge of African Missions.

Doctrine[edit]

Through the years, the Apostolic Faith Church's leaders have maintained the doctrines outlined in Seymour's editions of the Apostolic Faith papers printed in 1906 through 1908. As a Trinitarian and fundamental church, their doctrinal position centers on a born-again experience, supports the Wesleyan teaching of holiness (Christian perfection), and stresses the need of sanctified believers to receive the Pentecostal experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Their teachings are in direct conflict with Calvinistic beliefs regarding sin, predestination, and eternal security.

The doctrinal statement of the Apostolic Faith Church can be found on the headquarters' website.[5] The text of the page is reprinted below:

  • The Divine Trinity consists of three Persons: God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Ghost, perfectly united as one. Matthew 3:16-17; 1 John 5:7.
  • Repentance is a godly sorrow for sin with a renunciation of sin. Isaiah 55:7; Matthew 4:17.
  • Salvation is the act of God's grace whereby we receive forgiveness for sins and stand before God as though we had never sinned. Romans 5:1; 2 Corinthians 5:17.
  • Sanctification or Holiness, the act of God's grace whereby we are made holy, is the second definite work and is subsequent to justification. John 17:15-21; Hebrews 13:12.
  • The Baptism of the Holy Ghost is the enduement of power from on high upon the clean, sanctified life, and is evidenced by speaking in tongues as the Spirit gives utterance. Luke 24:49; Acts 1:5-8; 2:1-4.
  • Divine Healing of sickness is provided through the atonement. James 5:14-16; 1 Peter 2:24.
  • The Second Coming of Jesus will be just as literal and visible as His going away. Acts 1:9-11. There will be two appearances under one coming: First, to catch away His waiting Bride. Matthew 24:40-44; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17; second, to execute judgment upon the ungodly. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Jude 14-15.
  • The Great Tribulation will occur between Christ's coming for His Bride and His return in judgment. Isaiah 26:20-21; Revelation 9 and 16.
  • Christ's Millennial Reign is the literal 1000 years of peaceful reign by Jesus on earth. Isaiah 11 and 35.
  • The Great White Throne Judgment is the final judgment when all the wicked dead will stand before God. Revelation 20:11-15.
  • The New Heaven and The New Earth will replace the present heaven and earth, which will be destroyed after the Great White Throne Judgment. 2 Peter 3:12-13; Revelation 21:1-3.
  • Eternal Heaven and Eternal Hell are literal places of final destiny, each as eternal as the other. Matthew 25:41-46; Luke 16:22-28.
  • Marriage is for Life, a holy institution that is binding before God, giving neither partner liberty to marry again as long as the first companion lives. Mark 10:6-12; Romans 7:1-3.
  • Restitution is subsequent to salvation, wherein wrongs against our fellowmen are made right in order to have a clear conscience before God and man. Ezekiel 33:15; Matthew 5:23-24.
  • Water Baptism is by one immersion "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost," as Jesus commanded. Matthew 3:16; 28:19.
  • The Lord's Supper is an institution ordained by Jesus so that we might remember His death until He returns. Matthew 26:26-29; 1 Corinthians 11:23,26.
  • Washing the Disciples' Feet is practiced according to the example and commandment Jesus gave. John 13:14-15.

The denomination differentiates itself from other Pentecostals by teaching that Speaking in Tongues is only acceptable in known languages and there must be someone there who can interpret.

Membership is not by formally joining the church but when you are Saved you are considered a member.

While they are pacifist members can do things that are not non-violent they served in hospitals and other such services.

They are one of the early groups that had bus ministries, ministries to ships, nursing homes, street meetings and jail meetings.

Literature is printed in many languages and is free. All literature is prayed over and can be used for healing and answers to prayers.

Services are composed of the music and they have an orchestra and choir. At the end was an altar call, with the altar being a bench on either side of the front of the church.

Ministers are not formally trained but were chosen by elders who laid hands on the person after it was believed they were called.

Camp meetings in Portland are two weeks, but used to be longer.

Members are expected to pay ten per cent of their income which is put in a box instead of passing a plate or bag. Expenses for the local church are paid out of this and ten per cent is sent to Portland which also used that to run the headquarters. There were never any sales of cakes, dinners or other fund raisers.

Among the missionary trips was a trip by boat every year to Alaska.

Criticism[edit]

In former years the church and pastors controlled almost all aspects of a person's life with very strict standards. In the early days of radio, it was considered sin, later TV. The use of doctors which has gradually changed. If a person left the church for any reason they were shunned and members and those who left were not allowed to speak to each other, including family members.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Blumhofer, Edith L. (2002). "Apostolic Faith Mission (Portland, OR)". In Stanley M. Burgess. The new international dictionary of Pentecostal and charismatic movements. (Rev. and expanded ed.). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Pub. House. p. 327. ISBN 0310224810. 
  2. ^ a b c http://apostolicfaith.org/OurChurches/ChurchLocations.aspx, Retrieved April 23, 2012.
  3. ^ The Association of Religious Data Archives profile on the Apostolic Faith Mission
  4. ^ Robeck, Cecil M. (2006). The Azusa Street Mission and Revival: The Birth of the Global Pentecostal Movement. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Inc. pp. 297–310. ISBN 978-1-4185-0624-7. 
  5. ^ http://apostolicfaith.org/OurFaith/Doctrines.aspx, Retrieved April 23, 2012.

External links[edit]