Here is what we believe at Resonate Life Church!
We are an Assemblies of God Church
The Four Defining Truths of the Assemblies of God
Two years after the church’s founding, the pioneers of the Assemblies of God adopted 16 beliefs for the Fellowship, which remains virtually unchanged. Four of these beliefs are considered the core beliefs of the Fellowship. You may hear them referred to as our cardinal doctrines. They weave in and through all the teaching, music, preaching, discussions… everything we do. The Church’s message revolves around these four defining beliefs.
Salvation Through Jesus Christ
Salvation is deliverance from spiritual death and enslavement by sin. God provides salvation for all who believe and accept His free offer of forgiveness. Mankind’s only hope of redemption from the fallen sinful state is through the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son–blood that was shed as Jesus died on the cross. [The account of the crucifixion of Jesus is recounted by four of His contemporaries: Matthew (chapter 27), Mark (chapter 15), Luke (chapter 23), and John (chapter 19).] (Luke 24:47; John 3:3,16,17; Rom. 8:16; 10:13-15; Ephesians 2:8,9; 4:24; Titus 2:11-12; 3:5-7)
Divine healing is an integral part of the gospel. Deliverance from sickness is provided for in the atonement, and is the privilege of all believers. (Isa. 53:4,5; Matt. 8:16,17; James 5:14-16)
Baptism in the Holy Spirit
All believers are entitled to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and therefore should expect and earnestly seek the promise of the Father, according to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ. This was the normal experience of all believers in the early Christian church. With the experience comes the provision of power for victorious Christian living and productive service. It also provides believers with specific spiritual gifts for more effective ministry. The baptism of Christians in the Holy Spirit is accompanied by the initial physical sign of speaking in other tongues (unlearned languages) as the Spirit of God gives them audible expression. (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4,8; 2:4; 8:12-17; 10:44-46; 11:14-16; 15:7-9; 1 Cor. 12:1-31)
The Second Coming of Christ
All Christians who have died will one day rise from their graves and will meet the Lord in the air. Christians who have not yet died will be raptured or caught up with them, to be with the Lord. Then Christians of all ages will live with God forever. The scriptural truth of the Lord’s soon return is "the blessed hope". (Romans 8:23; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Titus 2:13)
These are nonnegotiable tenets of faith that all Assemblies of God churches adhere to. This list is derived from the official Statement of Fundamental Truths. Click links below to see the complete original statement with scriptures.
- WE BELIEVE...The Scriptures are Inspired by God and declare His design and plan for mankind.
- WE BELIEVE...There is only One True God–revealed in three persons...Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (commonly known as the Trinity).
- WE BELIEVE...In the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. As God's son Jesus was both human and divine.
- WE BELIEVE...though originally good, Man Willingly Fell to Sin–ushering evil and death, both physical and spiritual, into the world.
- WE BELIEVE...Every Person Can Have Restored Fellowship with God Through 'Salvation' (accepting Christ's offer of forgiveness for sin). [1 of 4 cardinal doctrines of the A/G]
- WE BELIEVE...and practice two ordinances—(1) Water Baptism by Immersion after repenting of one's sins and receiving Christ's gift of salvation, and (2) Holy Communion (the Lord's Supper) as a symbolic remembrance of Christ's suffering and death for our salvation.
- WE BELIEVE...the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a Special Experience Following Salvation that empowers believers for witnessing and effective service, just as it did in New Testament times. [1 of 4 cardinal doctrines of the A/G]
- WE BELIEVE... The Initial Physical Evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is ‘Speaking in Tongues,’ as experienced on the Day of Pentecost and referenced throughout Acts and the Epistles.
- WE BELIEVE...Sanctification Initially Occurs at Salvation and is not only a declaration that a believer is holy, but also a progressive lifelong process of separating from evil as believers continually draw closer to God and become more Christlike.
- WE BELIEVE...The Church has a Mission to seek and save all who are lost in sin. We believe 'the Church' is the Body of Christ and consists of the people who, throughout time, have accepted God's offer of redemption (regardless of religious denomination) through the sacrificial death of His son Jesus Christ.
- WE BELIEVE...A Divinely Called and Scripturally Ordained Leadership Ministry Serves the Church. The Bible teaches that each of us under leadership must commit ourselves to reach others for Christ, to worship Him with other believers, and to build up or edify the body of believers–the Church.
- WE BELIEVE...Divine Healing of the Sick is a Privilege for Christians Today and is provided for in Christ's atonement (His sacrificial death on the cross for our sins). [1 of 4 cardinal doctrines of the A/G]
- WE BELIEVE...in The Blessed Hope—When Jesus Raptures His Church Prior to His Return to Earth (the second coming). At this future moment in time all believers who have died will rise from their graves and will meet the Lord in the air, and Christians who are alive will be caught up with them, to be with the Lord forever. [1 of 4 cardinal doctrines of the A/G]
- WE BELIEVE...in The Millennial Reign of Christ when Jesus returns with His saints at His second coming and begins His benevolent rule over earth for 1,000 years. This millennial reign will bring the salvation of national Israel and the establishment of universal peace.
- WE BELIEVE...A Final Judgment Will Take Place for those who have rejected Christ. They will be judged for their sin and consigned to eternal punishment in a punishing lake of fire.
- WE BELIEVE...and look forward to the perfect New Heavens and a New Earth that Christ is preparing for all people, of all time, who have accepted Him. We will live and dwell with Him there forever following His millennial reign on Earth. 'And so shall we forever be with the Lord!'
The General Council of the Assemblies of God (USA), one of the largest Pentecostal denominations in the United States, was organized in 1914 by a broad coalition of ministers who desired to work together to fulfill common objectives, such as sending missionaries and providing fellowship and accountability. Formed in the midst of the emerging worldwide Pentecostal revival, the Assemblies of God quickly took root in other countries and formed indigenous national organizations. The Assemblies of God (USA) is a constituent member of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship – one of the largest Pentecostal fellowships in the world.
Throughout the latter half of the 19th century in the United States, Protestants from various backgrounds began to ask themselves why their churches did not seem to exhibit the same vibrant, faith-filled life as those in the New Testament. Many of these believers joined evangelical or Holiness churches, engaged in ardent prayer and personal sacrifice, and earnestly sought God. It was in this context that people began experiencing biblical spiritual gifts.
Pentecostals pioneers were hungry for authentic Christianity, and they looked to previous spiritual outpourings, such as the First Great Awakening (1730s-40s) and Second Great Awakening (1800s-30s), for inspiration and instruction. They identified themselves in the tradition of reformers and revivalists such as Martin Luther, John Wesley, and Dwight L. Moody.
The Pentecostal Revival
One of the focal points of the emerging Pentecostal movement was known as the Azusa Street revival (1906-09). It was an unlikely location for an event that would change the face of Christianity. In the summer of 1906, revival erupted in the newly-formed congregation meeting at the small, run-down Apostolic Faith Mission at 312 Azusa Street in Los Angeles, California. Critics attacked the congregation because its mild-mannered African-American Holiness preacher, William J. Seymour, preached racial reconciliation and the restoration of biblical spiritual gifts. The revival soon became a local sensation, then attracted thousands of curiosity seekers and pilgrims from around the world.
Seymour had been a student of Charles Parham, who provided the doctrinal framework for the young Pentecostal movement. Parham’s identification in scripture of speaking in tongues as the “Bible evidence” (later called the “initial evidence”) of Spirit baptism became a defining mark of the emerging Pentecostal movement. After students at his Bethel Bible School in Topeka, Kansas, began speaking in tongues at a prayer meeting on January 1, 1901, Parham, through his Apostolic Faith Movement, had some success in promoting the restoration of the gift of tongues. While the Apostolic Faith Movement was largely confined to the south central United States, the revival at Azusa Street catapulted Pentecostalism before a worldwide audience.
Formation of the Assemblies of God
As the revival rapidly spread, many Pentecostals recognized the need for greater organization and accountability. The founding fathers and mothers of the Assemblies of God met in Hot Springs, Arkansas on April 2-12, 1914 to promote unity and doctrinal stability, establish legal standing, coordinate the mission enterprise, and establish a ministerial training school. These founders constituted the first General Council and elected two officers: Eudorus N. Bell as chairman (title later changed to general superintendent) and J. Roswell Flower as secretary, as well as the first executive presbytery.
The approximately 300 delegates to the first General Council represented a variety of independent churches and networks of churches, including the “Association of Christian Assemblies” in Indiana and the “Church of God in Christ and in Unity with the Apostolic Faith Movement” from Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas.
Almost immediately, leaders were faced with a doctrinal dispute – whether to abandon traditional Trinitarian theology in favor of a modal monarchian view of the godhead (also called the “New Issue” or Oneness theology). In 1916 the General Council approved a Statement of Fundamental Truths, which affirmed Trinitarian orthodoxy.
From the beginning, evangelism and missions have been central to the identity of the Assemblies of God and have resulted in a continuing growth at home and abroad. In 2007, the Assemblies of God claimed a constituency in the United States of 2,836,174 adherents; 12,311 churches; and 33,622 ministers. The General Council supported 2,691 foreign missionaries and associates working with the broader World Assemblies of God Fellowship, whose adherents numbered more than 57 million.
The aggressive missions programs of the church are designed to establish self-supporting and self-propagating national church bodies in every country. Ministers and leaders are trained in 1,891 foreign Bible schools. The Assemblies of God has 19 endorsed Bible colleges, universities, and a seminary in the United States.
The national headquarters of the Assemblies of God is located in Springfield, Missouri. The headquarters includes an administration building, the Gospel Publishing House, and the International Distribution Center. The Gospel Publishing House, the printing arm of the church, turns out more than 12 tons of gospel literature each day.
Christianity has been a musical religion throughout its history. In every corner of the globe and in every era, music has been an integral part of the Christian faith. This is not to say, though, that there have not been varying opinions about music. For centuries considerable controversy in the church has centered on music. Complaints about music were often based on concerns that nonchurch musical styles and idioms were infiltrating the church and corrupting godly worship. At other times, dissension had its roots in simple resistance to change—a reluctance to accept new instruments, new musical styles, or anything not already thoroughly rooted in tradition.
Disagreements, tensions, and divided opinions about church music continue.1 Although a certain amount of diversity of viewpoint is advantageous, it is desirable to reach at least a general consensus concerning the basic purposes of music in our churches. But how are we to know what music pleases God? Why does music for the church differ from country to country—even from congregation to congregation within the same country? Should there be more uniformity of music among our Christian brothers and sisters around the world? Are there guidelines or principles that will enhance our music and therefore our worship? If so, what principles are universal and which are based in culture? What is the theological basis for our philosophy of music?
The Bible has a great deal to say about music. It is mentioned in at least 44 of its 66 books. Musical terms such as music, sing, and musical instruments (many specifically identified) are mentioned hundreds of times. One entire book, the Psalms, is given over to music. In its original form, the Psalms was a book of songs. We do not know how many passages in the prophetic books were originally sung, but many prophecies are written in poetic style, and some were sung.
Luke contains the best-known hymns of the New Testament: The Magnificat (1:46–55), The Benedictus (1:68–79), Gloria in Excelsis Deo (2:14), and Nunc Dimittis (2:29–32). All of these are related to the birth of Christ and may have been used by the Early Church in worship.
The Bible begins with what is sometimes called the hymn of creation in the poetry of Genesis 1 and climaxes in the great songs of worship in Revelation 5:9; 14:3; 15:3; and possibly 19:4–8.
The Word of God makes it clear that those who follow the Lord are a singing people; Christians naturally sing. Scripture explains why Christians should sing, how they should sing, and even what they should sing.
Should Christians sing?
Someone said that God created music; the composer only arranges it. God is a great music lover. Job 38:7 refers to the time “when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (KJV).* Isaiah 55:12 speaks of the hills singing and trees clapping their hands. Jesus himself sang a hymn at the Last Supper (Matthew 26:30; Mark 14:26).
God desires our song. His Word urges us to worship with music. Psalm 100:2 says, “Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing” (KJV). Psalm 107:21,22 challenges the people of God: “Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men. Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy.” Psalm 149:5 admonishes, “Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud” (KJV).
Why should Christians sing?
James 5:13 challenges us: “Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.” Music is the natural expression of joy. An old song has this testimony: “I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free.” Yet we also sing to lament—express grief, woe, or concern. Or we may sing to testify or encourage others. What is the purpose of our song? Not to draw attention to ourselves, but to deliver a message.
Effective messages can be given without music, yet music adds a new dimension to the spoken word. Supplement a poem with a melody or harmony and the words take on added emotion, meaning, and power.
Two dimensions of church music illustrate its unique capacity in comparison with all forms of ministry. Music can affect the mind. Music can also add meaning to its message by affecting the hearer through the emotions. The result is that people can be challenged, inspired, and moved to action. This is one reason invitation hymns have been used in evangelism and during altar calls. 2 Music compels, enhances, and strengthens verbal appeals.
Why should we sing? Here are five basic reasons:
1. Christians should sing to express prayer and praise to God.
This is a vertical orientation—upward to the Lord, directed to God.
2. Christians should sing to teach Scripture, church doctrine, and theological truth.
A large share of our understanding of Jesus, the nature of God, Scripture, and other important matters come from songs. Colossians 3:16 is frequently quoted by Christian musicians: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” The unveiled emphasis that we can use music in teaching is often overlooked.
Experience shows that when learning occurs in association with music, we retain what we have learned much longer. Music is an efficient tool in the teaching-learning process.
3. Christians should sing to testify of God’s greatness.
This is a horizontal consideration—not upward to God, but outward to people.
4. Christians should sing to engage in corporate worship.
Singing is among the few ways the entire church can worship together. Hebrews 2:12 declares that “in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises.” All the people joining together can mutually express praise, petition, or testimony as a unified body. How beautiful and strengthening it is when we as Christians can worship the Lord together and sing:
The central object of our worship is Christ, our Lord and Savior. There is, however, great value in personal expressions of worship—an individual, distinct, and unique expression of our love and praise to God.
5. Christians should sing to motivate the Body to commitment.
Music sometimes is intended to inspire Christian singers and listeners, motivating them to action or commitment.
Music has an important function for Christians. Who can measure what is being accomplished through Christian music played in homes and on the radio? And how much shaping of character is being done while songs play themselves over and over through people’s minds as they drive to and from their jobs or go about their work? How many times does the Spirit of God encourage and strengthen Christians by bringing the words of a song to them during a crisis? The songs we sing and the music we listen to have a deep influence on our character.
How should Christians sing?
Christians should sing with all their heart, a heart filled with a thankful spirit.
Christians should sing skillfully. This point seems most applicable to soloists or musicians with special responsibilities. Expertise comes only through planning and consistent practice.
Does this mean that those who are not musically skilled should not worship? Not at all. We all have varying degrees of musical talent. The Lord is pleased with an attitude that desires to plan, prepare, and present the best to Him whether ministering the Word or in praise and worship. The Bible makes it clear that everyone should be an active participant in worship (Psalm 100:1; 150:6). The Lord is more interested in the heart attitude than the art attitude.
What should Christians sing?
The texts and tunes of some songs are better than others. A common mistake people make in reference to church music is to judge it good if they find it enjoyable. If the tune is pleasant, it is easy to accept a superficial message without making a thoughtful evaluation. The best in church music is characterized not only by beauty, emotion, and originality, but by much more. It is a work of art and craftsmanship with an inspiring Christian message.
The text should be one of the major considerations in evaluating a Christian song. Evaluation is appropriately based on three criteria:
1. The message must be Christian and biblical. Fables or legends having no foundation in Scripture should be avoided.3 Christmas and Easter songs of a popular nature are often objectionable. The birth of Christ, and His death and resurrection are tremendous biblical events. Nothing is gained by associating them with fanciful tales of people, animals, or toys that proclaim religious messages or perform supernatural acts.
2. The thought must be expressed clearly and directly. The spiritual message should be obvious enough to be understood at first hearing and yet sufficiently profound for profitable reflection and meditation.
3. The language should be fresh, expressive, and eloquent. The ideal text makes a kind of music of its own. It is timeless without being archaic; it is relevant to the present generation; and it speaks for people at any level of society. A good text avoids excessive repetition, trivialities, and clichés.
I do not suggest that good church music must be written by famous composers in recent times (or in ancient times), or in slow tempos. It is a mistake to stereotype music into such narrow categories. Inspiring, lasting church music can come from any country; it may be new or old, fast or slow. The important consideration is the song’s message and how that message is communicated by the music and understood by the listeners. We enjoy singing songs that have a clear Christian message—those that are Jesus-centered, salvation-centered, and Holy Spirit-centered.
The sacrifice of praise
The “sacrifice of praise” mentioned in Hebrews 13:15 is a phrase found in some contemporary songs such as “We Bring the Sacrifice of Praise.” Throughout the Bible we see that sacrifice, worship, and praise go together. These terms are often misunderstood or too narrowly defined.
A sacrifice is a personal offering to God that results in some cost, sometimes considerable cost. King David understood the importance of personal cost. Our sacrifice is not a sacrifice unless it costs us something. Our sacrifice of praise must be backed up by a sacrifice of Christ like living. A sacrifice of praise is a living sacrifice, a life lived for Christ and it pleases the Lord when we surrender all to Him.
Empty words or insincere rituals are repulsive are repulsive in the eyes of God. We must present a convincing case for righteous living over rituals, ceremonies, or meaningless offerings. The Lord hates hypocrisy, shallowness, and disobedience. David understood that “the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart” (Psalm 51:17). The sacrifice of praise passage in Hebrews 13 is immediately followed with “and do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (verse 16).
Singing and making music are indeed valid practices for all Christians everywhere. Certainly we should sing. There are reasons why we should sing, and the Bible provides direction as to why, how, and what we should sing. It is easy for us to offer God cheap worship—sacrifices that cost us nothing. Yet God wants our all. If we live in love and obedience to the Lord, our songs—the fruit of our lips—will be a pleasing sacrifice of praise.