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William Menzies’ lecture on the Christian and Missionary Alliance, reviewed by Paul King

Menzies called the C&MA a “denomination,” when, in fact, at the time of the forming of the Assemblies of God, it was an interdenominational para-church movement, and it did not become a formal denomination until more than half a century later. He also claims A.B. Simpson “certainly diverged from his Calvinist roots.” However, although Simpson was not a five-point Calvinist, neither was he an Arminian. Simpson was heavily influenced by Scotch Reformed Covenant theology, and while ecumenical and conciliatory toward Arminians, still maintained Calvinist roots. Menzies further concludes, “There is nothing unusual about Simpson’s eschatology,” viewing it as consistent with Scofield’s dispensationalism. However, he seems not to be aware that Simpson, along with many evangelicals and Pentecostals of the time (such as J. Hudson Taylor and the Pentecostal Stone Church in Chicago) personally (though not the C&MA) held to a type of partial rapturism, the belief that some are raptured earlier, others later, depending on state of preparedness. Menzies observes that the correspondence between the C&MA and Assemblies of God are so close that the AG Statement of Fundamental Truths almost mirrors that of the C&MA with the exception of evidential tongues (p. 238). While a close correspondence does indeed exist, other significant differences can be seen as well between C&MA and AG theology: 1) the C&MA identifies the filling of the Spirit as a sanctifying experience, both crisis and progressive, 2) the C&MA does not take an Arminian position (or Calvinist, for that matter), 3) the C&MA, while premillennial, has always allowed for various views of the tribulation, whereas the AG is distinctly pre-trib. Menzies discusses the former “seek not, forbid not” tongues position of the C&MA, noting that Alliance historian John Sawin remarked it was not the position of Simpson.[2]

Overall, Menzies presents a mostly accurate portrayal of the non-Wesleyan influence of A.B. Simpson and the Christian and Missionary Alliance upon the Assemblies of God, with a few exceptions due to lack of more recent and more detailed and more accurate research. Most of his sources are older, the lectures being presented about 2000. More recent research, such as my own Genuine Gold: The Cautiously Charismatic Story of the Early Christian and Missionary Alliance, would inform, correct, and bring a higher level of accuracy to his portrayal and strengthen his thesis as well.

Reviewed by Paul L. King

Read the full article online at: http://www.apts.edu/aeimages//File/11-2_William_Menzies_4.pdf

 


[1] Menzies’ lecture on “Non-Wesleyan Pentecostalism: A Tradition: The Keswick/Higher Life Movement” will be reviewed in a separate article.

[2] It should be noted that the C&MA officially discarded the “seek not, forbid not” position in 2005, replacing it with a more positive and open statement on spiritual gifts with the motto “Expectation without agenda,” more in line with the early C&MA view of openness with discernment.

Editor’s note: William Menzies went home to be with the Lord on August 15, 2011.

 

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Category: Church History, Winter 2014

About the Author: Paul L. King holds a D.Min from Oral Roberts University and a D.Th. from the University of South Africa. He served for 16 years on the faculty of Oral Roberts University as Coordinator of Bible Institute programs and Adjunct Professor in the College of Theology and Ministry. Author of 12 books and more than 60 articles, he was ORU 2006 Scholar of the Year. He has also served as Scholar-at-Large for the D.Min. program at Alliance Theological Seminary, Doctor of Ministry Mentor for the Randy Clark Scholars program at United Theological Seminary and Global Awakening Theological Seminary, Leadership and Church Ministry Consultant and Trainer, an ordained pastor with the Christian and Missionary Alliance, Interim Consulting Pastor for the Plano (Texas) Chinese Alliance Church, and Faculty Director of Purdue Ratio Christi/Christian Faculty and Staff Network. His books include God's Healing Arsenal: A Divine Battle Plan for Overcoming Distress and Disease (2011), Anointed Women: The Rich Heritage of Women in Ministry in the Christian & Missionary Alliance (2009), Only Believe: Examining the Origin and Development of Classic and Contemporary Word of Faith Theologies (2008), Genuine Gold: The Cautiously Charismatic Story of the Early Christian and Missionary Alliance (2006), Binding & Loosing: Exercising Authority over the Dark Powers (1999), and A Believer with Authority: The Life and Message of John A. MacMillan. Twitter: @PaulLKing. www.paulkingministries.com/

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