Indian Pentecostal Church

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Introduction

The India Pentecostal Church of God is the largest indigenous Pentecostal denomination in India. The formation of the IPC had been a process over years. The leaders of this movement were given freedom to the local churches and ministers. The churches in its origin, administration, practices etc. are truly indigenous. At present, Rev. Jacob John serves as General President, Rev. Dr. Baby Varghese serves as General Vice-President and Rev. Dr. K.C. John serves as General Secretary.

Formation of The India Pentecostal Church of God


The history of IPC is more or less related mainly to the person Pastor. K E Abraham who was a separatist during the period of native revival movement in Travancore. K E Abraham and K V Simon were the two leaders of separatist movement. Under their guidance there were churches formed. The missionaries from the west also came at the same time to South India for the propagation of the Pentecostal doctrine. Many native people accepted it. In June 22, 1923, Abraham also received the gift of the Spirit (speaking in tongue) and became a Pentecostal believer at the house of C. Manasseh at Paraniyam at Neyyattinkara. Once he accepted the Pentecostal faith, the separatists did not accept him. Since he was rejected from his own people, he was praying to God for a way to continue in ministry and worship.
During the time of rejection and separation from his own people, he wrote a book, Baptism of the Holy Spirit[1] which made a way for him to be known; it opened many ways to preach and to propagate the Pentecostal message. The first Pentecostal church was formed by his ministry in Mulakuzha, followed by churches in Pandalam, Elanthoor and Vettiyar. Following that, more churches were established and subsequently in April 13, 1924 a monthly gathering was started with all these churches, which is still continuing among all the IPC churches in different places. These independent movement churches were given a name in July 1924 ‘Thennindia Pentecosthu Daivasabha’ (The South India Pentecostal Church of God). Even when Abraham and colleagues formed these independent churches, they were in cooperation with Rev. Robert F. Cook who headed “Thennindia Poorna Suvishesha Daivasabha” and Mary Chapman the assemblies of God missionary.

There was a dispute on a ‘land registration’ with Assemblies of God, which caused Abraham to disconnect his relationship with the AG church for a while, at least until the return of Rev. Robert F. Cook from America. When Cook returned Pastor K.E Abraham along with Rev. Cook formed a new organization called Malankara Pentecost Daivasabha by merging the “Thennindia Pentecosthu Daivasabha” (K E Abraham) and “Thennindia Poorna Suvishesha Daivasabha” (Robert F. Cook). These churches had affiliation from Assemblies God as an independent denomination. However, Malankara Pentecosthu Daivasabha was a native movement under the leadership of Cook and K E Abraham. The joint venture helped the church grow faster and many accepted the new faith.

Even though Thennindia Pentecosthu Daivasabha and Thennindia Poorna Suvishesha Daivasabha merged, the churches that were under the jurisdiction of Abraham kept an independent nature; it is evident as one goes through Pastor Abraham’s biography. Even though the two organizations merged there was a separate meeting of the Thennindia Pentecosthu Daivasabha held at the house of Abraham in April 9, 1927.

In 1929, the Malankara Pentecost Daivasabha completely separated from the fellowship of AG due to their restriction concerning the ministerial areas for the work of the missionaries. It was not acceptable to Abraham and other native ministers; therefore, they encouraged Cook to detach Malankara Pentecost Daivasabha from AG fellowship. Cook, who was also aware of the future of Pentecostal movement, decided to detach from AG mission and thought of giving more opening to the native ministers for ministry and administration.

The unity between Cook and Abraham did not last longer because Abraham decided to separate from Cook in January 1930. There are two reasons Abraham indicted for the decision behind separation, first, the freedom of local churches and second, the assumption that an apostolic faith life will not be possible by being with Cook. The diplomatic thought of apostolic life was the influence of Pastor Paul who came and preached in South India. Pastor Paul is the founder of Cylon Pentecostal Mission, which is today know as ‘The Pentecostal Mission’. Some of the believers from Kumbanad tried to unite Rev. Cook and Abraham, but it did not work out.

Abraham accepted the same name that was given to the independent churches in 1924 as ‘Thennindia Pentecosthu Daivasabha’. After the separation from Cook, Pastor P M Samuel joined Thennindia Pentecosthu Daivasabha with the seventeen churches that he had established. The churches also grew in number in the ministry of native ministers. Since Abraham and his colleagues were challenged by the life and faith of Pastor Paul, they also decided to follow “the Apostolic Faith life”.

The Thennindia Pentecosthu Daivasabha came in cooperation with the “Ceylon Pentecostal Mission” in 1930 and the fellowship and ministry together existed until 1933, but Abraham had to leave the fellowship due to some doctrinal issues as well as baptism issues. When Abraham, Alwin and Paul failed to settle the issue after may written discussions, Abraham took a decision to separate from Ceylon Pentecostal Mission in 1933. It was the Ceylon Pentecostal Mission chief Pastor Paul who ordained K E Abraham in 1933 as Pastor.

By 1933 the ministry of Thennindia Pentecosthu Daivasabha expanded outside Kerala state, therefore, the ministers requested the leaders of the church to establish a council. The first minister’s council was formed in June 5, 1933. There were 14 members selected in the council and Pastor P M Samuel was selected as the first president of this independent church and the council was registered in Aranmula. The head office of the church was in Kumbanad, Kerala. Since the work of the Thennindia Pentecosthu Daivasabha reached far beyond South India they have changed the name as India Pentecosthu Daivasabha (Indian Pentecostal Church of God). The church registered in Eluru, Andhra Pradesh under the Societies Act XXI of 1860 on 9 December 1935. K E Abraham started a bible school at his house, which was unnamed until 1932 and then given the name Hebron Bible College. It produced many eloquent leaders for the Pentecostal world time to time.

Thereafter, the IPC made a remarkable progress in founding churches and taking the gospel in different parts of Kerala as well as other states of India. By 1950, IPC was the leading denomination in South Kerala. However, the period from 1953-1966 was when the split in IPC occurred. It is understood as ‘the Dark Age’ of IPC. The split among IPC leaders caused many to leave the denomination as well as Christian faith. The division affected the entire growth of the church. It is written by Abraham that he even thought of leaving the organization, however, God enabled him to stay and lead the church for many successful years. After the 1970s the church formed a national council for the smooth expansion of the church. Today, with more than a 7500 congregation, IPC leads the organizations. The native leaders’ vision and hard work caused the growth of the IPC.

There are auxiliary ministries for IPC too, such as Bible Colleges & schools, Pentecostal Young People Association, Fellowship of Women, and publication. All these auxiliary ministries contributed to the growth of Pentecost entirely. PYPA is one of the leading auxiliary ministries from where the church could groom leaders and preachers for the church. There were many talented ministers and believers emerged by the work of PYPA. The Sunday school also carries a systematic way since years. The people who faithfully complete 14th class will be awarded diploma.

Pastor P. M. Samuel from Andhra Pradesh was chosen as the first president, K. C. Cherian as the vice president, and P. T. Chacko as the secretary. Pastors P M Samuel was followed by Pastor K E Abraham, Pastor T. G Oommen, Pastor P L Paramjyothi, Pastor V. T Joseph, Pastor K.M Joseph, Pastor T S Abraham and Rev. Dr. K C John . At present, Rev. Jacob John /articles/File:Pastor_Jacob_John.JPG as General President, Rev. Dr. Baby Varghese serves as General Vice-President and Rev. Dr. K C John serves as General Secretary.

External links

  • IPC General Council
  • Indian Pentecostal Church of God Website

References

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