WHAT WE BELIEVE
The roots of the Assemblies of God Movement in New Zealand are both ancient and modern. Our current testimony to the power and person of the Holy Spirit reaches back over almost two thousand years of church history to the day of Pentecost when the Church was born. However, it was not until the beginning of the 20th Century that the modern Pentecostal Movement was born when students at a Bible School in Topeka, Kansas, came to the conclusion that the biblical evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit was speaking in other tongues. From that point on there were outbreaks of spiritual revival accompanied by Pentecostal phenomena, as in the Welsh Revival of 1904 and at Azusa St, Los Angeles, in 1906. As the message of a new Pentecost spread far and wide it encountered such opposition from the Church of that day, that Pentecostals found it necessary to set up their own church structures, one of which is the Assemblies of God, now found in most countries throughout the world.
Interest in Pentecostal Christianity in New Zealand was evident before World War I, but it was the visits of evangelist Smith Wigglesworth to New Zealand between 1922 and 1924 that launched the Pentecostal Movement in this country. The Assemblies of God in New Zealand were organised following a meeting in Wellington on 29 March 1927.
The fundamental philosophy of Assemblies of God Movements worldwide is one of cooperative fellowship between local churches. This is based upon mutual agreements voluntarily entered into by the members of those churches and with four principal aims in view:
- To encourage and promote the evangelisation of the world
- To provide a basis for the nurture, equipping and edifying of Christians who share the same precious faith
- To establish and maintain churches where God is worshipped in spirit and truth according to what the scriptures teach
- To approve all scriptural teachings, methods and conduct, and to disapprove of all unscriptural teachings, methods and conduct.
While recognising the right of a local church to govern itself in accordance with biblical principles, Assemblies of God Movements see clear evidence in the New Testament scriptures of churches in a particular area being linked together (1 Corinthians 16:1,19; 2 Corinthians 8:1). The Assemblies of God in New Zealand is thus an attempt to emulate the New Testament suggestion of self-governing churches working together in cooperative fellowship.
Statement of fundamental truths
This Statement of Fundamental Truths is intended simply as a basis of fellowship among us. No claim is made that it contains all biblical truth, only that it covers our present needs as to these fundamental truths.
The Inspiration of the Scriptures
We believe that the Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments are inspired by God and are the revelation of God to humanity; they are the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct.
The One True God
We believe that the one true God has revealed Himself as the eternally self-existent “I AM,” the creator of heaven and earth and the redeemer of all people. He has further revealed Himself as embodying the principles of relationship and association as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We speak of God as a Trinity or as one being of three persons. These three persons are coequal, coexistent, coeternal and consubstantial. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are never identical as to person, nor confused as to relation, nor divided in respect to the Godhead, nor opposed as to cooperation. Father, Son and Holy Spirit exist in, with and through each other; united eternally in fellowship, love and common purpose. In their fellowship and community they share all they are and have in communion, openness and self-giving love. Hence, no person in the Godhead either exists or works separately or independently of the others.
The Lord Jesus Christ
We believe that Jesus Christ is one, but He has two natures, the human and the divine. He is truly God and truly man, composed of body and rational soul. He is consubstantial with the Father and the Holy Spirit in His deity and consubstantial with humankind in His humanity, except for sin. In His deity He eternally proceeds from the Father, and in His humanity He was conceived by the Virgin Mary, through the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. The distinction between the two natures is not diminished by their union, but the specific character of each nature is preserved and united in one person. Christ is not divided into two persons; He is one person, the Son of God. The Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God. The Scriptures declare His virgin birth, His sinless life, His miracles, His substitutionary work on the cross, His bodily resurrection from the dead, and His exaltation to the right hand of God the Father.
The Fall of Humanity
We believe human beings were created good and upright, being made in the image of God. However, they became sinful by voluntary transgression of God’s command and thereby incurred not only physical death but also spiritual death, which is separation from God.
The Salvation of Humanity
We believe that a person’s only hope of salvation is through the atoning work of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who shed His blood on the cross that all may be saved. Salvation is received through repentance and faith. Being justified by grace through faith, we receive the righteousness of Christ, regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit and become heirs of God according to the hope of eternal life.
We believe that sanctification initially occurs at the time of salvation. It is not only a declaration that a believer is holy, but also a progressive lifelong process of separation from evil as believers continually draw closer to God and become more Christ-like. When Christ returns the Holy Spirit will complete the work of sanctification in our lives. In Christ we become a new creation, the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit.
We believe that the work of sanctification in the life of a believer results in a life characterised by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. This kind of life rejects pride and rebellion and all behaviour stemming from this, such as homosexuality, sexual immorality and sexual perversion, lust, incest, idolatry, envy, murder, strife, drunkenness, deceit, malice, gossip, slander, insolence, arrogance, boasting, promoting evil deeds, disobedience, greed, covetousness and all forms of moral depravity.
The Baptism in the Holy Spirit
We believe that all believers are entitled to, should eagerly expect and seek the promise of the Father, the baptism in the Holy Spirit, according to the command of Christ. This was the normal experience of all in the early Church. This experience is distinct from and subsequent to the experience of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit received at the new birth. We give continuing emphasis to the New Testament pattern by teaching and encouraging believers to be baptised in the Holy Spirit. This experience:
- Enables them to evangelise in the power of the Spirit with accompanying supernatural signs.
- Adds a necessary dimension to a worshipful relationship with God
- Enables them to respond to the full working of the Holy Spirit in expression of fruit and gifts and ministries as in New Testament times for the worship of God through Christ, the edifying of the Body of Christ and the evangelisation of the world.
The Physical Evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit
We believe that the baptism of believers in the Holy Spirit is shown by the physical sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit of God enables them to do so.
The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
We believe that the gifts of the Spirit continue to be experienced by the Church. They are given to empower the believer for life, ministry and witness. They are supernatural having their origin in God, but are also incarnational in that they operate in and through believers. They are intended to be part of the normal spiritual exercise of every believer.
The Ordinances of the Church
We believe in baptism by immersion in water following salvation. This ordinance is commanded in the Scriptures. All who repent and believe in Christ as Lord and Saviour are to be baptised. In this act we declare to the world that we have died with Christ and have been raised with Him to live a new life. We believe in Holy Communion, also known as The Lord’s Supper, consisting of bread and wine. These symbols express our sharing in the divine nature of our Lord Jesus Christ. They are also a memorial of His suffering and death and a prophecy of His second coming. The observance of Holy Communion is to be celebrated by all believers until He returns.
The Church and Mission
We believe that the Church is the body of Christ, the habitation of God through the Holy Spirit, with divine gifts and graces for the fulfillment of the Great Commission. Every believer is an integral part of the universal Church and should find a place of connection and belonging in a local church. Since God’s purpose concerning humanity is to seek and to save those who are lost, to draw humanity into fellowship, and to build a body of believers in the image of His Son, the primary reason for being of the Assemblies of God in New Zealand as part of the Church is:
- To be an agency of God for evangelising the world
- To be a corporate body in which people may worship God
- To be a channel of God’s purpose to build a body of believers, who are being perfected in the image of His Son
We believe that a divinely called and biblically ordained body of ministers has been provided by Christ for the threefold purpose of leading the Church to evangelise the world, the worship of God and in building a body of believers, who are being perfected in the image of His Son. We also believe that every member of the body of Christ is called to active service.
We believe that divine healing is an integral part of the gospel. Healing, health and wholeness for the whole person is provided for in the atoning work of Christ.
The Kingdom of God
We believe that Christ came to inaugurate the Kingdom of God. This Kingdom is therefore already present but is not yet fully realised. It is seen wherever God’s reign is extended and is a present reality in the hearts and lives of believers. The Church is empowered by the Holy Spirit as the agency by which the Kingdom is extended. The Kingdom will be seen in its fullness when Christ returns at the end of this age.
Marriage and Family
We believe that marriage was established by God and confirmed by Jesus Christ as a life-long relationship between one man and one woman. We believe that a Christian should marry within the community of faith. Christian marriage is a reflection of the love, purity and permanence between Christ and the Church. We therefore discourage divorce as a solution to marital difficulties and encourage husbands and wives to devote themselves to God and find nurture in the instruction of the body of Christ. Children are regarded as “a heritage of the Lord”. Raising them is therefore considered as a sacred trust.
The Return of Christ
We believe in the physical and visible return of Christ. At this time those who have died believing in Christ will be resurrected. They will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, along with those believers who are alive at the time of His return. This is the hope of all believers, in all ages. We believe in the millennial reign of Christ.
We believe that every person who has ever lived will face a day of final judgment. The righteous will be judged for rewards at the judgment seat of Christ. The unbelievers will face eternal separation from God in hell.
The New Heavens and the New Earth
We believe in the promise of a new heavens and a new earth, the eternal home of the righteous