Question: "What is a Full Gospel church?"

Answer: The Full Gospel movement is associated with Pentecostalism. According to Pentecostals, the teaching of the “full gospel” is mentioned by the apostle Paul in Romans 15:19, “I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.”

A “Full Gospel Christian” believes that the Holy Spirit is still doing everything He was doing in the New Testament Gospels: He is still healing, giving the gift of tongues, performing miracles, etc. Since Jesus is “the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8), Pentecostals believe He is still operating in the world with the same methods.

The term “Full Gospel” was coined by A. B. Simpson, founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA). In the late 19th century, Simpson left his native Canada and pastored a number of Presbyterian churches in the central and northeastern states. In 1881, after claiming a miraculous healing, he requested baptism by immersion in a Baptist church, resigned from the Presbyterian pastorate, and ultimately founded a non-denominational congregation.

Over the next 30 years, Simpson’s passion for evangelism and overseas missions culminated in the formation of the C&MA, originally an association of various churches. Simpson developed a theology based on four simple truths concerning Christ: the Lord is the Savior, Sanctifier, Healer, and Soon Coming King. This is the “full gospel,” or the “four-fold gospel,” that influenced many early Pentecostals, including the Foursquare Church. Simpson was also interested in the gift of tongues and other miraculous works for the purpose of overseas evangelism.

A. B. Simpson never was a part of the Assemblies of God Church, but his work led the way to Pentecostal doctrine. Thus, his term “Full Gospel” has become commonplace in Pentecostal circles, even though he himself never fully embraced Pentecostal beliefs.