The Assemblies of God is a group of churches belonging to Pentecostalism, a Christian revival movement that started in the early 20th century. The AG was founded in the U.S., but now it's become a major global religious organization, forming the world's largest network of Pentecostal churches. The AG is a network of churches whose members all ascribe to a certain set of key beliefs, based on mainstream teachings of the Pentecostal movement.
Many AG beliefs are a lot like those of other Christian churches. They believe that Jesus Christ was both human and divine, and they also believe in the Trinity, which in the idea that the one God is made up of the three "persons" of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Like most Protestant churches, the AG churches also emphasize the absolute trustworthiness of the Bible as the only source of knowledge about God.
One of the key doctrines of the Assemblies of God is that people can only find salvation by submitting to complete trust in Christ as their "personal savior." They see this as a distinct and dramatic event in each person's life. The World AG organization's Statement of Faith calls the event of salvation "an instantaneous and complete operation of the Holy Spirit whereupon the believing sinner is regenerated, justified, and adopted into the family of God."
For Assemblies of God followers and other Pentecostal Christians, baptism is something that happens after salvation, and not part of the salvation itself. Baptism through immersion in water is something chosen by the believer who has been saved, and represents a commitment to live a faithful Christian life. The AG and other Pentecostals are different from most other Christians in their belief that a true baptism always ends with the believer beginning to "speak in tongues" -- talking in an unknown language just like they believe Jesus' apostles did on the Day of Pentecost in the Bible.
Another essential doctrine of the Assemblies of God is belief in divine healing of the sick. They teach that when Jesus sacrificed himself for the sins of humanity, all believers were granted the privilege of being able to heal sick people by praying, anointing the sick people with oil and laying their hands on the sick to ask God for help. The Pentecostal belief in divine healing and other phenomena, like speaking in tongues, are based on the church's teachings that the miracles possible for Jesus' apostles in ancient times are still possible for true believers today.
The last cardinal doctrine of the Assemblies of God is the belief that when Jesus comes again, all believers who have died in the past will physically rise from their graves and join the living faithful in rapture with God. They also often teach that Jesus will rule the earth for 1,000 years before the Final Judgment, when nonbelievers will be cast into hell and the faithful will be taken away to live forever with Jesus in a new world.
- Scott Morgan/Getty Images News/Getty Images