The Assemblies of God are a global network of Pentecostal churches, a denomination that follows a type of Evangelical Christianity. The AG was formed soon after Pentecostalism was founded in the early 20th century, and is now the largest Pentecostal network in the U.S. Like other Evangelical Christians, the beliefs of the AG strongly emphasize their idea of personal salvation through Jesus Christ.
What Is Salvation?
Most Christians believe that Jesus died on the cross to atone for the sins of humanity, allowing people to be saved and live forever with God in heaven. The Assemblies of God further believe that each person achieves salvation only by fully accepting Christ as his or her personal savior. They also believe that salvation is not an ongoing process, but a sudden transformation in which the believer is reborn through the power of the Holy Spirit. The AG churches consider salvation to bring what they call "sanctification," in which the believer is made holy and brought closer to God.
Unlike many other Christian denominations, the AG churches do not consider baptism to be a part of salvation. On the contrary, they consider it to be something that can only happen after someone's salvation is complete. For them, baptism symbolizes a believer's empowerment and further commitment to living a life of dedication to Jesus Christ, and is proven effective when the person being baptized begins to speak in tongues.
The End of Time
Like other Pentecostal churches, the Assemblies of God believe that before Jesus returns to earth in the Second Coming, all believers who have died will be literally brought back to life in human bodies, then taken directly to heaven alongside all living Christians who have been saved. After this, they believe Jesus will rule the Earth for 1,000 years of peace, after which all people will have their final chance to repent before Judgement Day.
The Assemblies of God believe that a main purpose of the church is to bring salvation to the sinners of the world. In the big picture, this means spreading the "good news" of salvation to all humanity. But in a specific sense, it can refer to AG pastors' responsibility to continually offer people the chance to accept Christ and be saved. Pastors are encouraged to set aside a part of the church service for inviting anyone who wants to repent to publicly proclaim their faith in Jesus and be saved. They believe that this continues a tradition of confronting people about salvation, which was begun by Jesus himself.
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