The origins of Pentecostalism, understood as the ecclesial search for the manifestations and gifts of the Holy Spirit, date back to Pentecost, when, at the command of Jesus himself, the one hundred and twenty disciples waited in prayer and unanimity for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Since the emergence of the Church, Pentecostalism has been a necessary condition for its existence and it is also understood as the power of supernatural manifestations that support its evangelizing action.
Pentecostalism in itself surpasses any historical ecclesial concreteness of the Pentecostal type that pretends to be its unique expression. Therefore, Pentecostalism is essentially catholic (universal) and has as a distinctive element the inclusiveness of any congregational or ecclesial Christian group that invokes the supernatural manifestation of the Holy Spirit, manifested in the charismata or spiritual gifts, which includes the gifts of power (faith, miracles and healings), gifts of expression (prophecy, tongues and kinds of tongues) and the gifts of revelation (wisdom, knowledge and discernment of the spirit).
Therefore, although the different expressions of Pentecostalism found in the History of the Church have the marked pretension of being historical updates of that primitive Pentecostalism, by its own condition of universal experience, Pentecostalism transcends the borders of any charismatic movement that pretends to constitute itself as its absolute owner, to constitute itself as an attribute proper to all believers who invoke the genuine manifestation of the Holy Spirit in their lives and congregations.
Of course, this Pentecostalism has had different degrees of historical expression. Thus, during the Ancient Ages, the persecutions and the prohibition of Christianity, made the church live in an intense spiritual fervor, which then became dormant during the Middle Ages due to the state institutionalization of the Church itself, which often diverted it from its phenomenological essence; these supernatural manifestations being relegated to certain men and women who lived lives of extraordinary holiness and spiritual devotion. With the Modern Age, Protestantism returned to the study and universal teaching of the Bible in the vernacular languages and this return to the essence of the life of the Primitive Church fertilized different charismatic revivals in Europe and North America, which would generate movements such as Puritanism or the Holiness Movement and with them many pro-Pentecostal denominations or congregational groups would appear. In the Contemporary Age, during the 19th century, Pentecostal revivals grew in Europe, Russia and North America.
In the second half of the 19th century in the United States, Protestants from diverse backgrounds began to wonder why their churches did not show the vitality and faith that characterized the New Testament churches. Many of these believers joined evangelical or holiness churches, and devoted themselves to prayer and self-sacrifice, and earnestly sought God. It was in this context that people began to experience biblical spiritual gifts. These believers sought inspiration and instruction from earlier spiritual outpourings, such as the so-called First Great Awakening (1730-40) and the Second Great Awakening (1800-30), and identified with the tradition of the Reformers and those who experienced revival, such as Martin Luther, John Wesley, and Dwight L. Moody.
At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century there was a great revival in the United States of America, which generated that believers from different historical evangelical denominations (Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Anglicans, Methodists and Baptists) became involved in the intensive search for the supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit. As a result, from April 2 to 12, 1914, in Hot Springs, Arkansas, a Convention was held with 300 delegates from congregations from different North American states and the Assemblies of God was officially organized with the purpose of promoting unity and doctrinal stability, establishing a legal personality, coordinating the missionary enterprise and establishing a training school for the ministry. Today, affiliated churches in the United States number about 13,000, and the Assemblies of God gathers more than three million members in the United States.
Worldwide, the Assemblies of God has 85.3 million members in 190 countries, gathered in 445,000 churches and led by 434,000 ministers of worship; it is currently the largest Pentecostal denomination in the world. The Assemblies of God world headquarters are located in Springfield, Missouri. The General Council of the Assemblies of God (U.S.A.) has developed a strong global missionary emphasis, and the Assemblies of God has spread rapidly to other countries where indigenous national churches have been formed and now form the World Assemblies of God Fellowship (WAGF), one of the largest Pentecostal fellowships in the world.
The World Assemblies of God Fellowship celebrates in Madrid its IX Congress (WAGC- World Assemblies of God Congress), the last one held in 2017 in Singapore. This event is quite an event because in reality, Spain is a country with recent consolidation of the Pentecostal Church. Although since the 1930s there was already a presence of Pentecostal missionaries in Spain, the difficult socio-political situation that our country experienced during the Civil War made its establishment very difficult. The post-war period in the 1940s brought to light a difficult reality, the victory of intolerance and closed-mindedness that, in the end, would keep Spain for forty years in a slow development and at the margin of the impulse of the majority of the nations known as the first world. It was not until the 1950s when the first congregations were founded and finally in 1963 the Assemblies of God in Spain was officially constituted.
During its first years, the national Catholicism of the Franco dictatorship generated repression against the Spanish Evangelical Church in general, there was a marked social discrimination against our parishioners and ministers of worship. An example of this, it is worth remembering, is that one could not get a job or go to school if one did not have a baptismal certificate from the official church, which ruthlessly marginalized many of our evangelical ancestors. Some were imprisoned or brutally repressed for sharing with others their Christian faith.
Despite the adversities, since its founding, the Assemblies of God of Spain has been expanding to open more than 600 preaching sites throughout Spain, with more than 700 ministers of worship. It is remarkable its commitment to missionary work in various parts of the world and the social work promoted by dozens of NGOs and humanitarian programs aimed at the needy, which has generated a testimony that glorifies God in Spain and other parts of the world. We are a very blessed church family, made up of churches and ministries united and committed, not only to fulfill the Great Commission in making the Gospel known here in Spain, but also in the whole world, just as Jesus entrusted us to do. We believe that each individual can and should have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, be His disciple and, in addition, have the opportunity to be part of a local and dynamic church.
Proud of our evangelical and Spanish traditions, the Assemblies of God of Spain warmly welcomes all delegates and world leaders who visit us from October 12-14, aware of the challenges we face in a globalized world in crisis where the Church of Jesus Christ is called to shine today more than ever.