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Apostolic Assembly of the Faith in Christ Jesus

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Apostolic Assembly of the Faith in Christ Jesus
Classification Oneness Pentecostal
Orientation Apostolic*
Polity Episcopal
Geographical area United States of America, Mexico, The Caribbean, Latin America, Italy and Spain
Founder Francisco F. Llorente
Origin California, 1925
Separated from Pentecostal Assemblies of the World
Congregations est. 1,300
Members unknown
* Apostolic is the more widely used term to refer to Oneness Pentecostalism

The Apostolic Assembly of the Faith in Christ Jesus (Apostolic Assembly) is the oldest Spanish-speaking Oneness Pentecostal denomination in the United States. It is also the oldest primarily Hispanic denomination in the world and is also the eighth fastest growing Hispanic denomination. It was founded in 1925 and incorporated in California on March 15, 1930, and is currently headquartered in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Most of its congregations are in the United States, but the Apostolic Assembly also has a significant number of churches in Mexico and Central and South America.

History

The Apostolic Assembly is one of many denominations that grew out of the Azusa Street Revival movement that emphasized unconventional and expressive forms of worship such as Glossolalia or speaking in tongues . A novelty of the Azusa Street Revival was its initial multiracial character. Unfortunately, this type of racial integration could not be sustained thereafter within the confines of one organization. This denomination is of all races.

The Episcopal Body

Below the General Board is the Episcopal Body, which includes all District Bishops and Pastors. Districts generally correspond to state or regional boundaries and are led by a Bishop who serves a four-year term. The Bishop is assisted by a District Secretary and a District Treasurer. Bishops may also rely on Elders, an elected position for Pastors who advise a small group of congregations on behalf of the corresponding district.

Congregations

Churches are established in three steps, contingent on membership. Initially, new congregations are classified as "New Works" and headed by a minister in charge. Upon reaching fifty members, the New Work can become a Mission, and the minister can be formally recognized as a Pastor.

With one hundred or more members, the Mission becomes a Church or Assembly headed by a Pastor. The Pastor may be assisted by deacons or ministers. The former have no ministerial privileges as this position is an antecedent and probationary period for formal induction into the ministry. Once ordained, ministers are under the authority of local pastors.

Local churches are not self-governed and pastors respond to two higher authorities described above: (1) Elders, sector leaders with advisory roles, and (2) District Bishops.

Congregations outside of the established districts are included under National Missions (Bishop Abel F. Aguilar). These are areas were there are not enough churches to establish a district.

Corporate groups

In addition to the formal political authority that flows from the General Board to local churches, there is a parallel organization built around gender or age groups to perform regular functions. Three Auxiliary Departments have been set up for societies of Men (known as Varones), Women (known as Dorcas), and Youth. Within churches, each of these groups has a local board, led by an elected or appointed president who is assisted by a vice president, secretary, and treasurer. This structure is replicated at the district level, where it is known as a federation, and at the national level, where it is known as a Confederation. However, at the Local level the Pastor may choose to organize differently a society. Program development and policy directives flow from confederations to federations to local societies. The latter are also required to assist with other local projects. At the Confederal and Federal levels, elections for officials is every two years. Electors for the Confederation tier, comprises two representatives of each district (Commonly the President and Vice President of said District Federation). Electors for the federation tier, comprises two representatives from each church (Again, commonly the President and Vice President).


The factual accuracy of this article is disputed.
See further information on its talk page.
== Membership and statistics ==

As noted above, the Apostolic Assembly arose to meet the need to reach out to Mexican immigrants who were largely ignored by other Pentecostal denominations. Whereas this situation led to the development of a self-governed movement, this history also has presented severe challenges that continue to this day.

One recurrent challenge is connected to the composition of its membership. Since most of its members have historically been Mexican immigrants, Church growth has been subject to fluctuations in migration trends. Because of its mobile nature, immigrant communities are hard to count and keep as stable groups. But while challenging, the reliance on immigration has also helped membership in recent times. The Apostolic Assembly, like most Christian denominations in the United States, has problems retaining members, especially younger generations. A continued flow of immigration has undoubtedly kept membership figures from falling drastically, although there are no figures to actually track membership changes over time.

Another concurrent challenge has been the requirement to minister to both Spanish- and English-speaking members. Historically, Spanish has been the de facto language of the denomination, but newer generations do not always share the same cultural values and language as old and new migrant members. In response, there is an emergent trend of English-speaking congregations, along with a more deliberate attempt to reach Hispanic-Americans who do not speak Spanish.

The denomination is also challenged by its organizational capability. Early leaders supervised a relatively small number of congregations established along migrant routes. As the church has grown, it has become more difficult to oversee a larger number of congregations. A manifestation of this problem is the lack of reliable membership data. A recent official document acknowledges these and other related problems and provides a roadmap of strategies to enhance membership growth (please browse official page for more information)..

Finally, the Apostolic Assembly is challenged to raise its educational and theological levels. This is due to that initiation and ordination rules are not as demanding in this area as they are in other Oneness Pentecostal Denominations, thus raising the probabilities of ministerial unpreparedness to congregational and spiritual needs. To this point, the Apostolic Assembly currently has in most of its districts a CBAN (Colegio Biblico Apostolico Nacional or a National Apostolic Biblical College) College and it is now necessary that all deacons seeking ordination must attend courses in their District's CBAN, if there is one available to attend.

==Ex-Communication==

Members who break church rules may be excommunicated. Excommunicated members are shunned to shame the individual into returning to the church. Members may interact with and even help a shunned person, but may not accept anything — like a handshake, payment or automobile ride — directly from the wayward person. This form of discipline is recommended by the bishop president.

==Election irregularities==

In the 2006 general elections, the president, Daniel Sanchez and vice-president Samuel Valverde were re-elected, but after a long pause the general secretary, Daniel Solomon who received an overwhelming majority of the pastor's votes, was silently removed and disqualified. One of those sitting on the election committee(Bishop Abel Torres) saw the wrongdoing and became the whistle blower. To everyone's dismay, a questionable character and cousin of vice-president was elected with two votes to the position denied to Solomon. To this day, the general board consisting of President, Daniel Sanchez, Vice-president, Samuel Valverde, Secretary, Eddie Pacheco, Treasurer, Leobardo Maffey, Missions director, Abel Aguilar, Education Director, Martin DeCampo, World Missions director, Art Espinoza and Social Assistant secretary, Victor Prado all refuse to admit any wrongdoing.

See also

References

Cox, Harvey (2001). Fire from Heaven: The Rise of Pentecostal Spirituality and the Reshaping of Religion in the 21st Century. Da Capo Press. Note: Harvey Cox is a professor at the Harvard Divinity School.

Gaxiola-Gaxiola, Manuel J. (1970). La serpiente y la paloma;: Análisis del crecimiento de la Iglesia Apostólica de la Fe en Cristo Jesús de México. Calif., W. Carey Library. Note: Gaxiola-Gaxiola, an expert on Latin American Pentecostalism, is former president of the Society for Pentecostal Studies.

Martinez, Juan et al. (2004). Iglesias Peregrinas en Busca de Identidad: Cuadros del Protestantismo Latino en los Estados Unidos. Ediciones Kairos and CEHILA. Note: Juan Martinez is a professor at the Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.

Ramirez, Daniel (2002). "Antonio Castaneda Nava: Charisma, Culture, and Caudillismo" in James R. Goff and Grant Wacker, editors. Portraits of a Generation: Early Pentecostal Leaders. University of Arkansas Press, pp. 289–309. Note: Ramirez is assistant professor of Religious Studies at Arizona State University.

Martin del Campo, Ismael. Cosechando en el Field. Norwalk: Editorial Nueva Vision, 2004. Note: Author is the Bishop of Los Angeles and wrote the History of the Apostolic Assembly in the book Iglesias Peregrinas en Busca de Identidad: Cuadros del Protestantismo Latino en los Estados Unidos this book is his expanded version.

External links


Some or all of this article is forked from Wikipedia. The original article was at Apostolic Assembly of the Faith in Christ Jesus. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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