Bethel Ministerial Association

The Bethel Ministerial Association is an organization of Christian ministers.[1] It was founded in 1934 by Reverend Albert Franklin Varnell as a way to allow Christian ministers of similar doctrine to come together. Membership in the association is open to ministers only. The specific doctrine of the Association is nontrinitarian. They believe that there is only one God, who manifests himself as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The association accepts the Bible as the Word of God, and practices baptism by immersion in the name of Jesus.[1]

The churches with which the individual members of the association are associated are all independent of the Association and self-governing. The Association maintains a publishing arm in Evansville, Indiana, whose publications include the periodical Bethel Link, the Doctrinal Manual, "It Does Make a Difference What You Believe", the association's website bmaministries.com and other works.

The Association also maintains a missionary program supporting over 50 missions worldwide. It also maintains a youth camp in southern Indiana called the Circle J Ranch and the Bethel Ministerial Academy.[1]

Churches with which the individual members of the association are attached are all independent of the Association and self-governing. The Association maintains a publishing arm, Bethel Publishing House, whose publications include and other works. The Association also supports a missionary program supporting over 50 missions worldwide. It also maintains a youth camp in southern Indiana called the Bethel Youth Camp which ministers to over 300 young people for two weeks in the summer each year.

The BMA is registered in Indiana although its member churches come from Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida and other mostly midwest churches. BMA is organized with a Board of Directors. The current chairman is Rev Don Horath from Decatur, IL.

References

  1. ^ a b c Lewis, James R. (1998). The Encyclopedia of Cults, Sects, and New Religions. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books. ISBN 1-57392-222-6.

External links

List of new religious movements

A new religious movement (NRM) is a religious, ethical, or spiritual group or community with practices of relatively modern origins. NRMs may be novel in origin or they may exist on the fringes of a wider religion, in which case they will be distinct from pre-existing denominations. Academics identify a variety of characteristics which they employ in categorizing groups as new religious movements. The term is broad and inclusive, rather than sharply defined. New religious movements are generally seen as syncretic, employing human and material assets to disseminate their ideas and worldviews, deviating in some degree from a society's traditional forms or doctrines, focused especially upon the self, and having a peripheral relationship that exists in a state of tension with established societal conventions.An NRM may be one of a wide range of movements ranging from those with loose affiliations based on novel approaches to spirituality or religion to communitarian enterprises that demand a considerable amount of group conformity and a social identity that separates their adherents from mainstream society. Use of the term NRM is not universally accepted among the groups to which it is applied. Scholars have estimated that NRMs now number in the tens of thousands worldwide, with most in Asia and Africa. Most have only a few members, some have thousands, and very few have more than a million. Academics occasionally propose amendments to technical definitions and continue to add new groups.

Nontrinitarianism

Nontrinitarianism is a form of Christianity that rejects the mainstream Christian doctrine of the Trinity—the teaching that God is three distinct hypostases or persons who are coeternal, coequal, and indivisibly united in one being, or essence (from the Greek ousia). Certain religious groups that emerged during the Protestant Reformation have historically been known as antitrinitarian, but are not considered Protestant in popular discourse due to their nontrinitarian nature.

According to churches that consider the decisions of ecumenical councils final, Trinitarianism was definitively declared to be Christian doctrine at the 4th-century ecumenical councils, that of the First Council of Nicaea (325), which declared the full divinity of the Son, and the First Council of Constantinople (381), which declared the divinity of the Holy Spirit.In terms of number of adherents, nontrinitarian denominations comprise a minority of modern Christianity. The largest nontrinitarian Christian denominations are The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Oneness Pentecostals, Jehovah's Witnesses, La Luz del Mundo and the Iglesia ni Cristo, though there are a number of other smaller groups, including Christadelphians, Christian Scientists, Dawn Bible Students, Living Church of God, Assemblies of Yahweh, Israelite Church of God in Jesus Christ, Members Church of God International, Unitarian Universalist Christians, The Way International, The Church of God International, and the United Church of God.Nontrinitarian views differ widely on the nature of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Various nontrinitarian philosophies, such as adoptionism, monarchianism, and subordinationism existed prior to the establishment of the Trinity doctrine in AD 325, 381, and 431, at the Councils of Nicaea, Constantinople, and Ephesus. Nontrinitarianism was later renewed by Cathars in the 11th through 13th centuries, in the Unitarian movement during the Protestant Reformation, in the Age of Enlightenment of the 18th century, and in some groups arising during the Second Great Awakening of the 19th century.

The doctrine of the Trinity, as held in mainstream Christianity, is not present in the other major Abrahamic religions.

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