The basic principles of this fellowship probably are best expressed in the functioning of its autonomous churches. It is accepted among us that biblical teaching concerning the character and functions of churches is fundamental to their spiritual well-being, as is scriptural teaching concerning the doctrines of salvation. In matters such as the new birth, the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the entire fellowship of Pentecostal people believe that the New Testament is our pattern guide, Familiarizing ourselves with every passage in the New Testament that describes the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, we seek to pattern our experiences and practices accordingly. This scriptural reference has been our stronghold as Pentecostal people in the storms that have swept around us. The power and authority of Pentecostal preaching always has been in its appeal to the Scriptures.
Because the Church is God's instrument for evangelizing the world, it follows that we should find a scriptural pattern for the founding of and functioning of local churches. This is of prime importance in sending out the Commission.
In our day it is generally recognized that one of the weaknesses of modern missions has been the failure to follow the New testament pattern in the establishing of healthy, autonomous local churches. this weakness in the foreign field probably reflects a parallel condition in the homeland. The indigenous principle must be practiced here in order to establish it over there.
We hold that scriptural church government is essential to maintaining the strength of any revival movement. The histories of some of the largest Protestant organizations testify to this fact: That a movement of spiritual power is weakened and distorted as unscriptural church organization and government increases. What appears, at its inception, in God's work, eventually proves to be a deterrent to spiritual power.
A factor in the development of unscriptural church organization is the tendency to regard such matters as merely non-scriptural, and a matter of expediency. This theory holds that there is no clear pattern in the Bible regarding the subject, leaving man free to choose forms as he deems best. We believe that God, who has given us a divine pattern for our experience of salvation, has also given us a scriptural pattern in the work of the church. But we must seek for it where it can be found in the New Testament, on the local church level.
Because the Scriptures hold no pattern for denominational organization, the forming of local churches into an organic union with centralized government and authority, some assume that no definite pattern for church organization exist in the Bible. Others indeed presume further that all church organization is unscriptural and to be avoided. Both assumptions are in-correct.
It is impossible to view New Testament Christianity as something that could function normally without proper organization. And, certainly the Bible speaks of church organization. It speaks of a very distinct pattern, but in one area only - the local church. Believers gathered together for Christian fellowship and service always in local churches and homes. It was to local churches and homes. It was to local assemblies that New Testament believers were added. In local churches only was discipline exercised. The selection and appointment of officers was always and only to serve in local churches. Workers for the gospel fields were prayerfully ordained and dispatched by the Holy Ghost in local assemblies. These churches were nurtured in the truth that they were directly related to and under the headship authority of Christ, their Lord.