Christian and Missionary Alliance

Christian and Missionary Alliance
Christian and Missionary Alliance
CMA logo.png
Classification Protestant
Orientation Evangelical
Polity Mixed. Elements of Congregationalist, Presbyterian and non-sacramental Episcopalian polity present
Founder Albert Benjamin Simpson
Origin 1887

The Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA) is an evangelical Protestant denomination within Christianity.

Founded by Rev. Albert Benjamin Simpson in 1887, the Christian & Missionary Alliance did not start off as a denomination, but rather began as two distinct parachurch organizations: The Christian Alliance which focused on the pursuit and promotion of the Higher Christian life and The Evangelical Missionary Alliance, which focused on mobilizing "consecrated" Christians in the work of foreign missionary efforts. These two groups amalgamated in 1897 to form The Christian and Missionary Alliance. It was only much later during the mid twentieth century that an official denomination was formed.[citation needed]

As of 2006, there are 2,010 C&MA churches and approximately 417,000 members in the United States.[1][dead link] Approximately 600 of those churches are described as intercultural.[2] In Canada, there are 440 churches, 59 of which are multicultural, and approximately 120,000 members. In the C&MA 2004 annual report estimated that outside of the U.S. and Canada, C&MA membership exceeds 3 million.[3]

Previously, the C&MA center was in Nyack, New York, which continues to be the home of Nyack College (formerly the Missionary Training Institute) and Alliance Theological Seminary. C&MA headquarters are currently located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Dr. Gary Benedict is the current elected president of the C&MA in the United States of America, Dr. Franklin Pyles the current elected president for the C&MA in Canada (Autonomous), Rev. Rod Russell-Brown is the president of the C&MA of Australia, and Rev. Sami Dagher is the president of the C&MA in Lebanon.



The C&MA's Statement of Faith defines it as an evangelical Protestant denomination. The following is a summary of the Statement of Faith:[4]

  • One God who exists as a Trinity.
  • Jesus Christ is both God and man who died as a substitutionary sacrifice, was resurrected, ascended to heaven, and will return to establish his kingdom.
  • The Holy Spirit indwells, teaches, and empowers believers; he convinces the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment.
  • The Bible, in its original languages, is inerrant, divinely inspired, and the complete revelation of God's will for the salvation of men. It is the only rule for Christian faith and practice.
  • Man was created in the image of God, but through disobedience is born with a sinful nature. Mankind can only be saved through Christ's "atoning work".
  • Those who repent and believe in Christ are born again of the Holy Spirit, becoming children of God.
  • The will of God is for each believer to be filled with the Holy Spirit and "sanctified wholly" to receive "power for holy living and effective service". This is both a "crisis" and "progressive" experience occurring after conversion. Sanctification is "Separation from sin" and "Separation to God". The believer must, through faith, surrender, accept Christ as sanctifier, and continue to abide in relationship with Christ through obedience to his Word.
  • Within the "redemptive work" of Christ provision is made for bodily healing. Prayer for the sick and anointing with oil are scriptural and the privilege of the Church.
  • The Church is all who believe in Christ, are redeemed through his blood, and are born again of the Holy Spirit. It has been called to fulfill the Great Commission. The local church is a body of believers joined together for worship, edification through God's Word, prayer, fellowship, proclaiming the gospel, and observing the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper.
  • The just shall be resurrected unto life and the unjust unto judgment.
  • The imminent second coming of Christ will be personal, visible, and premillennial.

A.B. Simpson articulated the Alliance's core theology as the Christological "Fourfold Gospel": Jesus Christ as Savior, Sanctifier, Healer, and Soon Coming King.[5] Sanctification is sometimes described as "the deeper Christian life".[6] This teaching is similar to that of the Higher Life movement and the Keswick Convention. It is perhaps best exemplified by the writings of A. W. Tozer. The C&MA also emphasizes missionary work, and believes that the fulfillment of the Great Commission is the reason it exists.[7]


The Christian and Missionary Alliance was not founded as a denomination. Rev. A. B. Simpson was a Presbyterian clergyman motivated by the spiritual needs of the metropolitan multitudes in North America, as well as by those of the unevangelized peoples in other lands. He was compelled by a sense of urgency to take this message to all nations because of Jesus' statement in Matthew 24:14: "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come" (KJV translation).

During the start of the twentieth century, Simpson became closely involved with the growing Pentecostal movement, an offshoot of the Holiness movement. It became common for Pentecostal pastors and missionaries to receive their training at the Missionary Training Institute that Simpson founded. Consequently, Simpson and the C&MA had a great influence on Pentecostalism, in particular the Assemblies of God and the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. This influence included evangelical emphasis, C&MA doctrine, Simpson's hymns and books, and the use of the term 'Gospel Tabernacle,' which led to many Pentecostal churches being known as 'Full Gospel Tabernacles.'

Eventually, there developed severe division within the C&MA over issues surrounding Pentecostalism (such as speaking in tongues and charismatic worship styles). By 1912, this crisis was a catalyst for the emergence of the C&MA as an organized denomination, shifting more authority to the council and becoming more ecclesiastical. To ensure the survival of the C&MA in the face of division, Simpson put all property in the name of the C&MA. In the event of separation, all property would revert to C&MA.[8]

After Simpson's death in 1919, the C&MA distanced itself from Pentecostalism, rejecting the premise that speaking in tongues is a necessary indicator of being filled with the Holy Spirit, and instead focused on the deeper Christian life.[8] By 1930, most local branches of the C&MA functioned as churches, but still did not view themselves as such.

By 1965, the churches adopted a denominational function and established a formal statement of faith. This new mission society soon became a major evangelical movement. Today it is a growing missionary denomination committed to evangelism around the world through church planting.

Membership trends

The Christian and Missionary Alliance has experienced steady and significant growth since its inception. In 1925, there were just 25,000 members in 392 churches.[9] Membership reached 50,000 members in 1950 and by 1976 had reached 150,000.[9] In 2006, there were 417,008 members in 2,010 congregations.[9] While membership is concentrated in the Midwest and Northwest, the denomination is well represented throughout the United States.[10] Pennsylvania has the largest number of both members and congregations.[10] As of January 1, 2011, there was recorded more than 2,000 U.S. churches with a combined membership of more than 430,000 regularly gather to celebrate Jesus in multiple languages, according to the CAMA website.


The biennial General Council is the highest governing body of the C&MA. It elects officers, transacts business, enacts policies, and evaluates the progress of denominational ministries. Delegates include licensed workers (i.e. clergy), members of the board of directors, three representatives from each C&MA postsecondary educational institution, two lay delegates from each accredited church (with additional delegates for every 100 church members), national officers of Men and Women’s ministries, lay members of district executive committees, and retired and disabled missionaries and official workers.[11]

A 28 member board of directors elected by General Council provides general oversight and management of the denomination and acts as the executive committee of the General Council when the council is not in session. National officers (president, vice president, secretary, treasurer) are ex officio members.[12]

Churches are organized into either geographical or cultural districts. A district is led by a conference, a legislative body meeting once a year. The conference elects the district executive committee and a superintendent, the chief officer of the district.[13] The ordination and licensing for clergy is the responsibility of districts.[14]

Local churches elect their own officers and elders. Pastors are called by the elders but must be appointed by the district superintendent. Local church property is owned by the denomination.[15]


CAMA Services

Associated with the denomination is CAMA Services. “CAMA” stands for “Compassion and Mercy Associates”. Services include a variety of relief and development efforts providing food, clothing, medical care, and job training to people in crisis situations around the globe in the name of Jesus.

Begun in 1974 as an outreach to refugees fleeing the Indochina conflict, CAMA now works in refugee camps in Thailand, and has worked with refugees in Hong Kong, Lebanon, Jordan, and Guinea, and famine victims in Burkina Faso and Mali.[citation needed] CAMA Services worked together with local C&MA churches in 2005 to provide Hurricane Katrina relief in the USA

Envision Culture

Envision is the Short-Term Mission Office (STMO) of the Christian and Missionary Alliance whose purpose is to facilitate short-term mission trips to mission fields served by the C&MA.

Envision, originally called AYMission, was started in 2003 by Matt Peace as a way of facilitating youth short-term mission trips. Today Envision sends out over 1000 people every year to 40 different countries. However, their main focus of work is currently in 11 locations, including:

Taipei, Taiwan- In 2005 work was started in Taipei in the Ximen area and continues to grow. Ministry in Taiwan includes teaching English (year long interns) and church planting.

Phnom Penh, Cambodia- Each Summer trips are formed from the US and Canada travel to Cambodia to teach English to students. In 2006 the camps expanded to Siem Reap.

Ensenada, Mexico- Short-Term teams are in the process of helping plant churches in Ensenada and do community outreach through VBS, building relationships and building projects.

San Salvador, El Salvador- With the help of Pastor Mario Gonzalez, the work of Envision in El Salvador has helped hundreds of people. Several people in their twenties live in El Salvador for up to one year with this program.

Gabon, Africa- Beginning in 2008, the ministries included in this site are working at the Bongolo Hospital, orphanages, working with AIDS patients and relief projects.

United States- Inner-city ministries in both Philadelphia and Chicago help at risk children, youth and the community through soup kitchens, food banks, coffeehouses, and many other types of ministries.[16]

Seminaries and colleges

As of 1998, there are two C&MA graduate schools, four C&MA colleges, and one C&MA seminary accredited by the American Association of Theological Schools. Seminaries in other countries may be accredited by other organizations. For C&MA educational institutions in the Philippines, see Christian and Missionary Alliance Churches of the Philippines.

United States


Prominent members

  • Angelino Apelar, founder of the Association of Filipino Churches (AFC)
  • Severino R. Bagtasos III, He was killed inside the church where he was a pastor because of his works towards the muslim people of Jolo[22]
  • Lisa Beamer, author
  • Todd Beamer, United Airlines Flight 93 passenger
  • Charles A. Blanchard, early president of Wheaton College, Honorary Vice President of the C&MA
  • F. F. Bosworth, healing evangelist, author of Christ the Healer. Served as a C&MA pastor and evangelist.
  • Peter Budaj, ice hockey goaltender for the Colorado Avalanche
  • Joel Comiskey, prominent author on cell church ministry, C&MA pastor and missionary
  • Dr. V. Raymond Edman, president of Wheaton College, 1940–1965, author, C&MA missionary to South America
  • Dr. Kenneth Gangel, prominent author and Christian Education professor
  • Dannah Gresh, Author and National Youth Speaker
  • Stephen Harper, 22nd (current) Prime Minister of Canada
  • Ben Heppner, tenor
  • William Holmes Howland, 25th Mayor of Toronto from 1886 to 1887 president of the Toronto Board of Trade in 1874-1875
  • Clement Humbard, brother of TV pastor/evangelist Rex Humbard. Served as a licensed C&MA evangelist.
  • Robert A. Jaffray, missionary statesman to China
  • Howard O Jones, Billy Graham's first African-American evangelist, author
  • Reuben & Grace Larson, missionaries to Ecuador in the 1930s, co-founders of HCJB, international Christian healthcare and media ministry
  • Rev. Sunder Krishnan, pastor, author, conference speaker
  • R.G. LeTourneau, prolific inventor and philanthropist, founder of LeTourneau University
  • Preston Manning, founder and former leader of the Reform Party of Canada
  • Archie E. Mitchell, minister, missionary to Vietnam
  • Wilmer “Vinegar Bend” Mizell,former Major League baseball star and member of C&MA Board of Directors
  • Carl Ralston, founder of Remember Nhu,
  • Dr. David Rambo,former president of the C&MA and vice president of the National Association of Evangelicals
  • Paris Reidhead, author, missionary to Africa, and Deputation Secretary of the Sudan Interior Mission
  • Kurt Schmoke. former Mayor of Baltimore
  • Charles Randal Smith, formerly prominent Canadian forensic child pathologist
  • Ryan Smyth, ice hockey player for the Edmonton Oilers
  • James L. Snyder, minister, writer, humorist, biographer of A. W. Tozer
  • Chuck Strahl, prominent Canadian politician
  • Mike Tomlin, Head Coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers[23]
  • A. W. Tozer, author and pastor
  • Rev. Dr. Agustin B. Vencer, Filipino Pastor, Lawyer, Author, former International Director of World Evangelical Alliance, current Regional Director and Vice President at DAWN Ministries
  • Phil Vischer, creator of VeggieTales and founder of Big Idea Productions
  • Cam Ward, ice hockey goaltender for the Carolina Hurricanes & 2006 Conn Smythe Trophy winner
  • Ravi Zacharias, author and apologist, the well known Christian apologist and head of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, has roots in the Christian and Missionary Alliance, and was, at one time, Professor of Evangelism and Contemporary Thought at Alliance Theological Seminary in Nyack, NY.

Prominent former members

  • David Berg (deceased), who left and eventually founded the Children of God, now known as The Family International
  • Billy Graham, evangelist, preached his first sermons as a licensed assistant/youth pastor at the Tampa Gospel Tabernacle of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in 1933-1937.
  • Jack Hayford, president of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. Attended Neighborhood Church of the C&MA, Oakland, CA, as a teenager.
  • Felix Manalo, who later founded the Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ)
  • Frederick K.C. Price, prominent African-American Word of Faith mega-church pastor, formerly a C&MA pastor.
  • Paul Rader, a pioneer in radio evangelism, pastor of Moody Memorial Church and Chicago Gospel Tabernacle. Served as president of C&MA, 1919–1924, after A.B. Simpson's death.
  • Oswald J. Smith, pastor of People's Church, Toronto. Served as a C&MA pastor in the 1920s.
  • Charles Templeton, post-World War II evangelist. Subsequently left and became an agnostic.


  1. ^ Benedict, Gary M., "Report to General Council 2007",, p. 52.
  2. ^ Gary M. Benedict, p. 7.
  3. ^ The C&MA 2004 report to General Council & Minutes of General Council 2005, p. 19
  4. ^ Christian and Missionary Alliance Statement of Faith. Accessed May 31, 2011.
  5. ^ Christian and Missionary Alliance, "Fourfold Gospel". Accessed May 31, 2011.
  6. ^ Pardington, George P. The Crisis of the Deeper Life. New York: The Christian Alliance Publishing Company, 1925. Accessed May 31, 2011.
  7. ^ Christian and Missionary Alliance, "The Great Commission". Accessed May 31, 2011.
  8. ^ a b Burgess, Stanley, et al. 1993. Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements. Grand Rapids: Zondervan. p. 166.
  9. ^ a b c "Historic Archive CD and Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches". The National Council of Churches. Retrieved 2009-12-03. 
  10. ^ a b "2000 Religious Congregations and Membership Study". Glenmary Research Center. Retrieved 2009-12-03. 
  11. ^ Manual of the C&MA (2009 Edition), Section A2 Article VI General Council, page A2-14.
  12. ^ Manual of the C&MA, Section A2 Article VII Board of Directors, page A2-5 and 6.
  13. ^ Manual of the C&MA, Section A4 Uniform Constitution for Districts.
  14. ^ Manual of the C&MA, Section E3 United Policy on Licensing and Certification, I. Orders of Ministry, page E3-1.
  15. ^ Manual of the C&MA, Section A5 Uniform Constitution for Accredited Churches.
  16. ^
  17. ^ ITAM
  18. ^ Seminario Biblico Alianza de Colombia Educación Teológica a Distancia
  19. ^ Evangelical Alliance Church in the Holy Land
  20. ^ Alliance Bible Seminary
  21. ^ Siam Mission
  22. ^ "",
  23. ^ "Mike Tomlin, Steelers head coach, talks about his faith",

External links

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