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The Church of Pentecost is a church originating from Ghana. This Pentecostal church claims worldwide about 20,000 congregations with more than 3 million members.
The Church’s beginnings are linked to the ministry of Pastor James McKeown (1900-1989), an Irish missionary sent by the Apostolic Church, Bradford, UK to the then Gold Coast (now Ghana) in 1937 to help a group of believers of the Apostolic Faith in Asamankese.
In June 1937, Rev. James McKeown was seriously ill with malaria and was kept in his room at Asamankese for some days without medication in accordance with the rules, beliefs and practices of the Apostolic Faith. The District Commissioner took McKeown to the European Hospital – currently, Ridge Hospital – in Accra where he fully recovered after ten days of hospitalised. On his return to Asamankese, he was confronted by the leaders for having violated the rules and principles of the church by seeking for medical attention at a hospital instead of depending on faith healing.
In June 1938, a general meeting was held by all members from the country to discuss the situation but the leaders at Asamankese refused and condemned McKeown for lack of faith in prayers for divine healing. Due to doctrinal differences based on divine healing, the group split in 1939 into the Christ Apostolic Church and the Apostolic Church, Gold Coast.
The latter saw great expansion under McKeown. In 1953, a constitutional crisis led to the founding of the Gold Coast Apostolic Church led by McKeown.
After independence of Ghana in 1957 the Gold Coast Apostolic Church was renamed the Ghana Apostolic Church. The split in 1953 did not end the crisis. New conflicts compelled the then President of the Republic of Ghana, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, to advise the leadership of the Ghana Apostolic Church, to adopt a new name.
Therefore, on August 1, 1962, the new name, The Church of Pentecost, legally replaced the Ghana Apostolic Church by Apostle Alphonso Wood.
The highest decision-making body of the Church is the General Council, which heads a five-tier administrative mechanism. The General Council consists of all confirmed ministers of the Church, Regional/Area executive committee members, national deacons, trustees, chairmen of boards and Committees and Movement Directors.
The Executive Council, headed by the Chairman of the Church, sees to the day-to-day administration of the Church. While the General Council elects members of the International Executive Council, all other officers of the Church are appointed by The Executive Council with the approval of the General Council.
Below the General Council and the International Executive Council, we have the Area administrative structure. The Area is headed by the Area Head, who is either an apostle or an experienced senior pastor. He is assisted by a six-member Area Executive Committee in the day-to-day running of the Area with the Area Presbytery as the highest policy-making body in the Area.
The Area is further divided into districts, each of which is headed by a District Pastor who administers his district with the support of a six-member executive committee, which depends on the District Presbytery as the highest decision-making body.
Finally, the district has a number of local congregations headed by presiding elders who implement decisions of the District Presbytery with the assistance of their local presbyteries.
The two principal financial sources of the Church are tithes and offerings. As and when necessary, special funds are raised at all levels of the Church’s administrative structure to meet very crucial financial commitments.
Church doctrine and beliefs
The church of Pentecost’s doctrines and beliefs are based on the following tenets:
1. THE BIBLE
We believe in the divine inspiration and authority of the Holy Scriptures. We believe that the Bible is infallible in its declaration, final in its authority, all-sufficient in its provisions and comprehensive in its sufficiency (2Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21).
2. THE ONE TRUE GOD
We believe in the existence of the One True God, Elohim, Maker of the whole universe; indefinable, but revealed as Triune Godhead— Father, Son and Holy Spirit-One in nature, essence and attributes; Omniscient, Omnipotent and Omnipresent (Genesis 1:1; Mathew 3:16-17; 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14).
3. MAN’S DEPRAVED NATURE:
We believe that “all men have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” and are subject to eternal punishment; and need repentance and regeneration (Genesis 3:1-19); Isaiah 53:6).
4. THE SAVIOUR:
We believe that man’s need of a Saviour has been met in the person of Jesus Christ, because of His deity, virgin birth, sinless life, atoning death, resurrection and ascension; His abiding and Second Coming to judge the living and the dead (Mathew 1:2; John 4:42; Philippians 2:6-11).
5. REPENTANCE, REGENERATION, JUSTIFICATION AND SANCTIFICATION:
We believe that all men have to repent of and confess their sins before God, and believe in the vicarious death of Jesus Christ to be justified before God. We believe in the sanctification of the believer through the working of the Holy Spirit and in God’s gift of eternal life to the believer (Luke 15:7; Acts 2: 38; Romans 4:25; 5:16; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 1 Thessalonians 4: 3).
6. THE SACRAMENTS OF BAPTISM AND THE LORD’S SUPPER:
We believe in the Sacrament of Baptism by immersion as a testimony of a convert who has attained a responsible age of about 15 years. (Infants and children are not baptized but are dedicated to the Lord). We believe in the participation in the Sacrament by members who are in full fellowship (Mathew 28:19-20; Mark 16:16; Luke 22:19-20).
7. BAPTISM, GIFTS AND FRUIT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT:
We believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit for believers with signs following; also in the operation of the gifts and the fruit of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers (Mark 16:17; Acts 2:4;1 Corinthians 12:8-11; Galatians 5:22-23).
8. DIVINE HEALING:
We believe that the healing of sickness and disease is provided for God’s people in the atonement. The Church is, however, not opposed to soliciting the help of qualified medical practitioners (2 Kings 20:7; Mathew 9:12; Luke 10:34; Colossians 4:14).
9. TITHES AND OFFERING:
We believe in tithing and in the giving of free-will offerings towards the cause of carrying forward the Kingdom of God. We believe that God blesses a cheerful giver (Genesis 14:18-20; 28:20-22; Malachi 3:6-10; Mathew 23:23; Acts 20:35; 1 Corinthians 16:1-3; 2 Corinthians 9:1-9).
10. THE SECOND COMING AND THE NEXT LIFE:
We believe in the Second Coming of Christ and the Resurrection of the dead, both the saved and the unsaved – they that are saved, to the resurrection of life; and the unsaved, to the resurrection of damnation (Mark 13: 26; Daniel 12:2; John 5: 28-29; Acts 1:11; 10:42; Romans 2:7-11; 6:23).
It is the presentation of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit with the view that people will come and trust Jesus as Saviour and Lord and serve him in the fellowship of the Church. Evangelism is the responsibility of every Church member. It is the prime duty of every believer to share his/her faith after conversion.
The scope of evangelism was initially Ghana, extending to Africa and to the whole world. Evangelism is missions-oriented; farmers, women, artisans, fishermen, intellectuals, etc. go out into other countries, preach Christ, open churches and call in ministers to pastor same. Besides, as was the practice of the founder, Pastor James McKeown, we respond to calls to missions as led by the Spirit of the Lord.
Discipleship is training believers to be like Christ. The emphasis is on holiness, righteousness, faithfulness, honesty, sincerity, humility, prayerfulness and the leading of disciplined and responsible lives.
This is done at the level of individuals, where every member takes responsibility to discipline their new coverts, as well as through church/corporate based systematic teaching, and on-the-job training.
Teaching emphasizes the four-square gospel, which is Christ-centered: i.e. Jesus the Saviour, Healer, Baptizer and Soon Coming King; the Tenets of the Church; Bible reading/study and scripture memorization and application of the word to life situations.
3. MINISTRY EXCELLENCE
We seek to honour God who gave His best (the Saviour) by maintaining a high standard of excellence in all our ministries and activities (Col. 3:23-24).
4. CORE PRACTICES
Some of the normal practices are regular prayer for the Holy Spirit baptism with initial evidence of speaking in tongues. Emphasis is placed on the fruit and gifts of the Spirit in the life of the believer.
Prayers are said for healing and deliverance for the afflicted as part of the initial exercises for salvation.
Services are marked as truly Pentecostal with praise and worship, teaching, exercise of gifts, prayer, testimony, etc.
5. THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe in the presence of the person of the Holy Spirit and that the Christian life can be led only with His grace. The new birth is the work of the Holy Spirit, and then the baptism of the Holy Spirit for power to serve and the gifts of the Spirit for building the body of Christ.
The Holy Spirit helps the individual to develop a Christ-like character, manifest through bearing the fruit of the Spirit.
The leading of the Holy Spirit in all spheres of activity in the Church is paramount. Administrative structures and all other church distinctiveness have been by the leading of the Holy Spirit. The Church, through her leadership at all levels, co-operates in obedience.
Leadership development is based on the apostolic foundation. Appointments and callings into leadership positions are based on character and charisma, and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Leadership development is from the shop floor, grass root level with members maturing to lead sub-groups, movements, assemblies, districts and areas. Team spirit with talent development shapes team work. Ministry is by both clergy and laity.
7. CHURCH CULTURE
The following distinctive attributes help identify The Church of Pentecost:
Faithfulness and integrity
Distinctiveness in prayer
Church discipline without fear or favour irrespective of position, race or colour of members.
Place of worship based on Spirit and Truth and not necessarily on the Temple.
Fellowship and liberality.
Respect for authority.
Mutual respect and sense of belonging for all members without discrimination based on tribalism, racism or nationality.
Sacrificial service to the Church without expecting pecuniary reward.
Total abstinence from alcohol, tobacco and other hard drugs.
Encourage church planting.
Monogamous marriage is enforced as well as chastity before marriage.
Faithfulness in giving offerings and paying tithes to enhance ministry of the Church is emphasized. Periodic teaching on this subject is regarded as very important.
The Church and members depend solely on God as the source of financial supply. Borrowing is not encouraged. Usury amongst members is also not encouraged.
9. SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
The Church believes in communal living with members supporting one another, and participating in communal work. The Church may also help the entire community by providing social needs such as health services, schools, agriculture as well as donating to the needy in society.
10. HOLINESS OF MEMBERS AND OFFICERS
The church upholds holiness of members Unto the Lord in all their endeavours (Rom. 12:1; Heb. 12:14).
11. CONSISTENT BIBLE TEACHING – (Acts 2:42a).
12. PRAYER OF ALL TYPES e.g. Worship (Adoration); Supplication; Intercession (Eph. 6:18-19; 1 Tim. 2:1-2).
13. CHURCH DISCIPLINE: – (2Tim. 3:16-17; Heb. 12:7-11)
Respect for and obedience to authority.
Submission to corrective measures/policies of the Church.
Regular fellowship of saints – (Acts 2:42-47; Heb. 10:25)
The Church of Pentecost
Governance : Presbytory
Leader: Dr. Opoku Onyinah
Founder: James McKeown
Origin: 1 August 1962 (renamed)
Separated from: Apostolic Church Gold Coast
Official website : thecophq.org