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As a child I spent every Sunday, Wednesday night, Vacation Bible School and many revivals in the Assemblies of God Church. I later left the church because I became tired of everything being a sin. Now don’t get me wrong, I loved the people in my church, for the most part, but the rules were in my opinion outrageous. I just couldn’t believe so many things could be a sin. In my opinion God is about love.
The Assemblies of God Church traces its roots back to the religious revivals started in the late 1800’s though the early 1900’s. Charles Parham is the most prominent figure in the history of the Pentecostal movement. His teachings were thought to have greatly influenced their doctrines and beliefs.
The Pentecostal movement continued its trek spreading across the nation. One of the greatest meetings was held in the Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles, California for three years from 1906 until 1909.
But the most important historical gathering was in Hot Spring, Arkansas in 1914. Lead by a preacher named Eudorus N. Bell. Pastor Bell sited the need for an organized assembly of likeminded believers. As a result of his quest the General Council of the Assemblies of God Church was formed, and this structural model remains intact to this day.
The Assemblies of God Church is one of the largest Pentecostal denominations with fifty-seven million members worldwide. The four core beliefs are: Salvation by repentance and faith, Holy Spirit baptism as evidenced by speaking in tongues, divine healing and the Second Coming of Christ.
Members are often thought of as peculiar people of faith because of the churches strict rules on prohibition of behavior. While many of these rules have been dropped or changed over the years these are the original set.
1. No drug use.
2. No gambling.
3. No social dancing.
4. No drinking of alcohol.
5. No smoking.
6. No attending of any type of theater.
7. No bowling.
8. No swimming in a public pool or beach.
9. No watching or owning of a TV.
10. No makeup, no jewelry (except for a wedding ring), long hair and dresses for female members.
The main emphasis of the church has always been evangelism, missions and faith healing. While many have found Christ though the good works of the faithful members, there have also been a significant number of problems associated with their ministries. Benny Hinn, Jim Baker, Morris Cerullo, and Jimmy Swaggart all were Assemblies of God ministers who have been in many scandals.
The Toronto Blessing and the Brownville Revival in Pensacola, Florida were both lead by Assemblies of God Churches and they both had a wide range of biblically questionable practices. It is also noted in these cities where thousands supposedly came to Christ there has been no decrease in crime, the divorce rate or any documented cases of visibly evident healing.
In conclusion; am I saying the Assemblies of God are bad churches? No. I am only saying it was not the church for me and because of the strict rules, I began to hate the church. Later as an adult I again found the joy in loving God, as it should be. As believers in God we need to carefully examine the teaching and practices of any church we attend. Compare the word of God to these teaching and then make your own decision.
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