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Paul L. King: The Christian and Missionary Alliance

 

Paul L. King, “The Christian and Missionary Alliance: Higher Life Movement of Missions, Holiness, and Healing” Refleks: med karismatisk kristendom i fokus 2-1 (2003), pages 21-30.

Professor King introduces readers to A. B. Simpson and the Christian and Missionary Alliance in this Finnish and English journal of theology and Pentecostal/charismatic history. This article explains where the C&MA fits in relation to the proto-Pentecostal and early Pentecostal movement.

After being miraculously healed and given a vision for worldwide outreach, in 1883 Simpson started a Bible institute that eventually became Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary. He also founded a parachurch organization that became the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination many decades later.

Summing up Simpson’s connection with the charismata and the historical Pentecostal movement, King says:

On matters of faith, healing, and supernatural manifestation, Simpson has been considered a forerunner to the Pentecostal movement and has become known as a “apostle of balance.” He believed in and encouraged the supernatural power of God and the gifts of the Spirit decades before the Pentecostal movement, but when the movement arose in 1906 he also exhorted believers to exercise discernment (p. 24).

This call for discernment has been a mark of the C&MA, even though it seems apparent that there was a waning of the supernatural in the denomination many decades ago. The fellowship also never insisted that tongues were the initial evidence of the Baptism in the Spirit, to the disappointment of many early Pentecostals.

The C&MA maintains belief in the gifts of the Spirit, but continues to deny that tongues is the initial evidence of the filling of the Spirit, and also maintains some distance from the charismatic movements, not wanting to identify with all of its beliefs and practices (p. 27).

Although the C&MA “still teaches holiness and healing” (p. 29), “the healing emphasis is not as strong or radical” (p. 27) as in the early movement. Still today, “its greatest emphasis is on missions” (p. 29).

King briefly discusses the beliefs of the C&MA. He also notes some leaders that have connections to the C&MA including A. W. Tozer, Billy Graham, Watchman Nee, Kathryn Kuhlman, John MacMillan, T. J. McCrossan, Charles Price, David Rambo, R. G. LeTourneau, and Ravi Zacharias.

While Missions is still the C&MA’s middle name, those interested in the history of holiness movements, healing, and charismata in the church will not want to miss this article by historian Paul King.

Reviewed by Raul Mock

Paul King and Raul Mock at the Society for Pentecostal Studies symposium in March, 2014.

 

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Category: Church History, Summer 2004

About the Author: Raul L. Mock is one of the founders and directors of the Pneuma Foundation and editor of The Pneuma Review. Raul has been part of an Evangelical publishing ministry since 1996 and their Information Technology team since 1998. He and his wife, Erin, have a daughter and twin boys and live in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. Google+ LinkedIn

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