The Assemblies of God denomination is one of the fastest-growing movements within Protestant Christianity over the last 100 years. Non-denominational churches are also growing as many Christians look to live out their faith in a community that isn’t tied to a historical denomination. What’s the difference between these two traditions?
Assemblies of God and non-denominational churches are both expressions of Protestant Christianity. However, the Assemblies of God tradition is Pentecostal while many non-denominational churches don’t. Non-denominational churches also lack a national organizing body, which the Assemblies of God has.
What is the difference between the origin, organization, and worldview of Assemblies of God and non-denominational churches? What does each believe about God, the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the inspiration of Christ, human sinfulness, the Holy Spirit, water baptism and communion, and the end times? Keep reading to learn more.
Assemblies of God and Non-denominational churches comparison
The challenge of comparing Assemblies of God churches to non-denominational ones is that the latter doesn’t have a clearly defined history or doctrinal statement. Each non-denominational church has its own history. The majority of their belief statements reflect conservative, Protestant views.
Even though they are independent, there are commonalities among non-denominational churches. For example, many of their leaders and members express dissatisfaction with mainline denominations because of their recent tendency of some to adopt liberal theological and social perspectives. Additionally, some non-denominational church planters and pastors believe denominational oversight would hinder their development, not help it.
|OVERVIEW||Assemblies of God||Non-Denominational Churches|
|Founder||Pentecostal pastors and leaders who had strong convictions about speaking in tongues||there is no single founder|
|Origin||Hot Springs, Arkansas; 1914||each church has its own origin story|
|Early influencer(s)||Charles Fox Parham (1873-1929), Agnes Ozman (1870–1937), William Joseph Seymour (1870-1922)||non-denominational churches are disconnected from one another, so each has its own influences|
|Significant writing outside the Bible||The 16 Fundamental Truths is the name of the denomination’s belief statement||there is no collective belief statement, yet the majority have Protestant convictions|
|Organization||Assemblies of God churches are organized according to prebyterian polity (though not theology) at the national level as well as the regional or district level. Individual churches, however, are self-governing.||In most non-denominational churches, the congregation elects elders or similar leaders and votes on important decisions.|
|Divisions||Compared with other large Protestant denominations, the Assemblies of God has been free of significant splits. Internal debate has occurred over a number of issues, but the denomination has avoided large protesting factions.||Individual churches sometimes split for a variety of reasons|
|Theological and social worldview||The Assemblies of God denomination is evangelical and conservative, theologically and socially. The denomination ordains women to be pastors, which some Christians consider liberal and progressive.||Most non-denominational churches are conservative in theology and politically.|
Assemblies of God vs Non-denominational beliefs
There are many overlapping beliefs between Assemblies of God and non-denominational churches because both are Protestant. Their beliefs about God, Christ, Scripture, and more are the same. The Assemblies of God emphasizes baptism in the Holy Spirit in which speaking in tongues is the initial, confirming evidence. Most non-denominational churches don’t have this emphasis.
|BELIEFS||Assemblies of God||Non-denominational churches|
|Theology (general)||Assemblies of God is Protestant. They believe that salvation is by grace through faith in Christ alone, and not according to works.||The majority of non-denominational churches are Protestant. They believe that salvation is by grace through faith in Christ alone, and not according to works.|
|Theology (specific)||Assemblies of God are Arminian. Within the framework of Arminianism, their belief systems is often referred to as “Pentecostal theology.”||A church could be Arminian or Calvinistic in their theology; there are often Baptist-like elements in non-denominational churches no matter their theological convictions, such as believer’s baptism.|
|God||Assemblies of God believe in the Trinity. There is one God who exists in three persons.||Non-denominational church are also Trinitarian.|
|Is Jesus God?||Yes||Yes|
|Is the Holy Spirit God?||Yes||Yes|
|The Bible||#1 of The 16 Fundamental Truths state, “The Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, are verbally inspired of God and are the revelation of God to man, the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct.”||Non-denominational churches are generally evangelical and conservative; the authority, inspiration, and inerrancy of Scripture are often part of their doctrinal statements.|
|View of the atonement||Assemblies of God believes that in the penal-substitutionary atonement of Christ. His death was the punishment for sin and he took the place of sinners on the cross.||Non-denominational churches affirm the truth of the Gospel and believe that Christ took the place of sinners and paid their penalty on the cross.|
|Salvation||#5 of The 16 Fundamental Truths state, “Salvation is received through repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ. By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, being justified by grace through faith, man becomes an heir of God, according to the hope of eternal life.”||They could be Calvinist or Arminian, but not Lutheran.|
|Spiritual gifts||Assemblies of God believes that all spiritual gifts mentioned in the Bible are operational today, including speaking in tongues, divine healing, and miracles.||They could be cessassionist or continuationist.|
|Water Baptism||Believer’s baptism; only professing believers, therefore not infants, are baptized. Baptism isn’t necessary for salvation.||Most practice “believer’s baptism,” which describes the conviction that only professing believer’s should be baptized; infants aren’t baptized, but children can be as soon as they are able to make a genuine profession of faith.|
|Communion||#6 of The 16 Fundamental Truths state, “The Lord’s Supper, consisting of the elements — bread and the fruit of the vine — is the symbol expressing our sharing the divine nature of our Lord Jesus Christ, a memorial of his suffering and death, and a prophecy of His second coming, and is enjoined on all believers ’till He come!'”||They mostly seen as a memorial of the death of Christ.|
|Eschatology||#14 of The 16 Fundamental Truths state, “The second coming of Christ includes the rapture of the saints, which is our blessed hope, followed by the visible return of Christ with His saints to reign on earth for one thousand years.”||Many are dispensational and premillennial. Those with Reformed theology may be premillennial (similar to Reformed Baptists) or amillennial.|
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