The word "Orthodox" comes from the Greek orthos ("straight" "correct" "true" "right") and doxa ("glory"), which expresses the idea of "correct glory", or in other words, "correct worship". For the ancients, this includes the adherence to accepted creeds and teaching. We embrace the Apostles', Nicene-Constantinopolitan, Athanasius, and Chalcedonian Creeds, the
creeds of the unified church. We are an
autocephalous jurisdiction of Western
Orthodoxy, but we are not
in any formal union with the Eastern
Orthodox Church. We do, however, consider
ourselves in general agreement with their
understanding of the sacraments, doctrine,
and church government. Concerning the liturgy, ours is an ancient-modern form that incorporates both formal and informal worship.
The word Pentecostal comes from the Greek word pentēkostē
("fiftieth"), the Greek term for Feast of Weeks (Leviticus 23:15; Deuteronomy 16:9) which was a holiday that was celebrated by ancient Israel on the fiftieth day after the Passover-Sabbath. For Christians, the Day of Pentecost following the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ commemorates the moment when the Holy Spirit was first given as a distinct Gift to the first believers in Jerusalem.
This Promise and Sealing of the Father has always been recognized as a free gift available to individual believers throughout every generation since Pentecost; being historically recognized as "Confirmation", "Chrismation" and/or "Sealing" of the Spirit; and normally conferred through the laying on of hands and/or anointing with oil (Acts 8:14–17, 9:17, 19:6, and Hebrews 6:2). Over the years, this Sacrament has become a mere ritual for many. Pentecostalism is a renewal movement within Christianity that places special emphasis on the ongoing receiving of the Gift of the Holy Spirit in the same manner as the early church received Him, where His Divine Indwelling is manifested by believers through the continuous ability to speak in languages that have never been learned. We embrace this reality!
Apostle Paul referred to individual gatherings of Christians throughout the known world as "Assemblies of Christ" (Rom. 16:16 LITV). Each Assembly included all the disciples of Christ within a particular city boundary. For example, believers close to Jerusalem were part of the Assembly (of Christ) in Jerusalem (Acts 8:1). Those close to Antioch were part of the Assembly (of Christ) in Antioch (Acts 13:1). Although in some cases there were multiple congregations within a particular city district, they were all considered a part of one unified Assembly of Christ led by one leadership team of Presbyters (priests)
working in harmony and cooperation with an Apostle.
In an expression of absolute unity with the early church, we fully embrace the Apostolic designation by Apostle Paul ~ "The Assemblies of Christ" ~ and welcome you to become a part of this integrative movement.
We are part of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church founded by Jesus Christ and His apostles, yet, we are a Living, Vibrant and
Passionate Modern Assembly. We have blended the beauty and richness of the Ancient Apostolic Faith with the powerful Charismatic gifts and ministries rediscovered by the Pentecostal and Charismatic
renewal movements of the last century ~ all designed to draw believers into a living and life-giving relationship with the Triune God!
The word "catholic", which was first coined by Ignatius of Antioch, means universal, whole and complete; a term referring to the universal nature of Christ's Church. However, due to the influence of the Roman Catholic Church in the West, the words "catholic" and "catholicity" are usually understood as a reference to the Roman Catholic Church alone. Although we acknowledge the Roman Catholic Church, we are not in any formal union with them. Yet, as another Catholic communion, we fully embrace the beauty and mystical depth of the Holy Apostolic Church, Tradition, and Sacraments shared by the Roman and other ancient Church communions before the Great Schism.
The Church is holy because God makes her members holy by union with him. God sanctifies the Church by drawing her into his divine life, supremely through the union effected by the Incarnation. The faith and life of the Church participates in the holiness of God by expressing the divine life in doctrine, sacraments, services and saints --- men and women whose lives have been recognized for their holiness. Just as untruth separates from the unity of God and ultimately separates from the unity of the Church, immorality also separates one from God and the Church.
The term "apostolic" means "of the Holy Apostles" of Christ, referring to the fact that just as the apostles received their authority from the Son (Matthew 28:16-20; John 20:21), and the apostles passed on that same authority by ordaining others. This succession has continued. Thus, there is an apostolic succession by which the pastors of the Church are able to trace their orders back to the infant Church founded by Jesus Christ in the first century. In this sense, then, the Assemblies of Christ is called apostolic. The bishops of the Assemblies of Christ trace their succession to the very apostles themselves, therefore receiving their consecrations from our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ignatius, the Apostle of Antioch*, coined the term "catholic" as early as AD 105 to express the idea of a universal, whole and complete Church, and for the first thousand years of Christianity, there was only ONE worldwide Church with[h many Assemblies. Although there was liturgical diversity, Christians held to common doctrines, sacraments, and faith. Moreover, they embraced apostolic succession and a conciliar form of Church government. No matter where Christians lived, everyone was part of the same Church and essentially believed the same thing.
However, the unified Church began to split towards the end of the first millennium, and has been splitting and re-splitting over and over again ever since. Now, there are over 30,000 denominations and 40,000 church organizations. This was never the plan of Christ! His heart cry has always been that His Church would be one just as He and the Father are one (John 17:16-20). Therefore, we are endeavoring to cooperate with the very heart of Christ by keeping the unity of the Spirit as we fully embrace the unity of the faith as understood before the Great Schism.
We do not see ourselves as the One True Church in all her fullness. We only see ourselves as part of the One True Church visible family, united by the doctrines, sacraments, and faith of the ancient unified church, to include an apostolic succession and a conciliar Church government. We believe that to the degree that all His people move closer to the ancient faith of the unified church, to that degree we will be fulfilling the very heart cry of Christ ~ become one as He and the Father are one (John 17:11-23). We are doing our part!
*Ambrose asserts that all bishops were called apostles at first (Com. Eph. iv; Gal. i. 1).
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