The Evangelical Era

AboutHistory › The Evangelical Era

1947-1974

Following World War II, many people began moving to the cities, bringing about many demographic changes, and the C&MA began to change with it. Instead of meeting in rough tabernacles or in storefront buildings, the C&MA began to erect more “respectable” church buildings. Instead of ministering in the changing inner city, many C&MA churches began to move to the suburbs.

A.W. Tozer’s ChurchAlong with this, the C&MA gradually moved from being a missionary society to becoming a denomination. In 1974 the C&MA officially declared itself to be a denomination, along with a sweeping restructuring of the organization.

During this era, two people greatly influenced The Alliance: Dr. A.W. Tozer and Dr. Louis L. King. Dr. Tozer was pastor of a C&MA church in Chicago as well as a prolific writer and mystic thinker. His books had wide acceptance within C&MA and outside the denomination as well. He also served as editor of The Alliance Weekly.

Tozer conducted a weekly radio program heard over the network of stations affiliated with WMBI, the radio voice of Moody Bible Institute. Though he had little formal education, Dr. Tozer had an unusual gift of words.

Dr. L.L. KingDr. Louis L. King became head of the missionary effort of the C&MA in the 1950s. He had served as a C&MA missionary in India. Upon becoming the Foreign Secretary of the C&MA he began to implement the indigenous church policy, which the Board of Managers had approved several years before. The indigenous church principle envisioned that each national church of the C&MA should become self-supporting, self-propagating, and self-governing. In some areas there was strong opposition by the missionary staff. They said it would never work. In other cases there was opposition from the national church, which had become dependent on the mission subsidy. Nevertheless, Dr. King kept pushing this policy until it was implemented, making each national C&MA church autonomous. This proved extremely important when missionaries had to leave their work in the hands of the national church because of political changes. These churches have been able to stand on their own, and even thrive, despite government repression. Dr. King later served as president of The Alliance.

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