History of the Christian and Missionary Alliance

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Christian and Missionary Alliance
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.

As of 2006, there are 2,010 C&MA churches and approximately 417,000 members in the United States.[1] 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), and Rev. Sami Dagher is the president of the C&MA in Lebanon.


Distinguishing features of C&MA

The C&MA has much in common with other evangelical Protestant denominations. Three things distinguish it: (1) a greater emphasis on missions and missionaries (especially foreign missionaries), (2) a greater emphasis on Jesus' role as a physical healer, and (3) an emphasis on the doctrine of sanctification, influenced by, but distinct from, that of the Holiness movement. This is sometimes described as "the deeper Christian life".


History of the denomination

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 beginning 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.[4]

After Simpson's death in 1919, the C&MA distanced itself from Pentecostalism, rejecting the premise that speaking in tongues necessarily indicates being filled with the Holy Spirit, and instead focused on the deeper Christian life.[5] 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.



Simpson's teaching stresses four roles of Christ which are represented as emblems in the church's logo. It can be summed up as "Christ Our Savior, Christ Our Sanctifier, Christ Our Healer, and Christ Our Coming King." (1) The Cross stands for salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God's Son. (2) The Laver represents sanctification, a daily cleansing from sin and power for service through the indwelling Christ. (3) The Pitcher speaks of oil, a symbol of the Holy Spirit and the divine life and physical healing that comes from Jesus. (4) The Crown symbolizes the imminent return to earth of the Lord Jesus Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. As mentioned above, this formulation has an affinity with the teachings of John Wesley and the Holiness movement.

In addition to the four traditional emblems, the American C&MA logo has been updated in recent years to include a globe in the backdrop. The globe reflects the denomination's longstanding and continuing commitment to bring the Gospel message to all parts of the world.



Associated with the denomination is CAMA Services. “CAMA” stands for “Compassion and Mercy Associates” in addition to being the initials of the Christian And Missionary Alliance.

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. CAMA also maintains a strong evangelistic thrust.

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. CAMA Services worked together with local C&MA churches in 2005 to provide Hurricane Katrina relief in the USA

Prominent members


Prominent former members


AYMission youth program

AYMission is the youth section of 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.

AYMission was started in 2003 by Matt Peace as a way of facilitating youth short-term mission trips. Today AYMission sends out over 1000 people every year to 40 different countries. However, their main focus of work is in 6 locations:

Taipei, Taiwan- In 2005 work was started in Taipei in the Ximen area and continues to grow. The next endeavor is to building a restaurant that will be used as an outreach center.

Phnom Penh, Cambodia- Each Summer trips are formed from the US 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 four churches in Ensenada. The work there is focused on helping the migrant farming community.

San Salvador, El Salvador- With the help of Pastor Mario Gonzalez, the work of AYMission 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- This effort will begin in 2008 with a work to help AIDS patients in this tiny Central African country.

United States- Inner-city ministries in both New York City and Chicago help at risk children.

AYMission continues to work in conjunction with The Christian and Missionary Alliance to reach its goals.


C&MA 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.

In Australia

  • Alliance College of Australia (formerly the Canberra College of Theology), in Canberra

In Canada:

In the Democratic Republic of Congo:

In the United States:

In Hong Kong


See also



  1. ^  Benedict, Gary M., "Report to General Council 2007", https://my.cmalliance.org/resources/books/minutes/report/reports2007.pdf, p. 52.
  2. ^  ibid., p. 7.
  3. ^  The C&MA 2004 report to General Council & Minutes of General Council 2005, p.19
  4. ^  Burgess, Stanley, et al. 1993. "Dictionary of Pentecostal Charismatic Movements." Grand Rapids: Zondervan. p.166
  5. ^  ibid. p.166
  6. ^  General councils: 1965, 1966, 1974, 1994. Taken verbatim from "What is the Christian and Missionary Alliance?" - a brochure put out by the C&MA office, and distributed through congregations. (2005)


External links

Faith (for Content):