“Christ Evangelical Church” (Hristova Jevandjeoska Crkva) is a Pentecostal church in Serbia, affiliated with the Assembles of God.
The Pentecostal movement in Serbia (Yugoslavia) originated in 1907 in the village of Beška in Vojvodina among believers of the Lutheran and Reformed churches who, under the influence of the Pietist movement, in addition to regular services in local churches also held additional Bible study and prayer meetings, usually in private homes. The believers met steadfastly and studied the Bible, prayed and worshipped the Lord. In 1907 two women experienced the baptism in the Holy Spirit. After the first baptisms in the Holy Spirit more and more believers received the Pentecostal experience. They expected that with new experiences and evangelistic fervour they would be accepted in their home congregations, and that they would convince other believers of the power of the Holy Spirit. However, neither the Lutheran nor the Reformed churches accepted these groups of believers renewed by the Holy Spirit but tried to isolate them and stop their activity accusing them of being “fanatics“ who spread “false teachings.“ The believers with the Pentecostal experience were forced to leave their churches and gather in their own premises. More people turned to the Lord and the community grew.
Beginning of the Pentecostal church in Subotica is 1936.
As independent Pentecostal congregations grew and strengthened after the Second World War, the need for a better coordination of work among the congregations increased. Depending upon the respective Pentecostal traditions from which they came, the existing Pentecostal congregations formed three groups of congregations in three denominations which comprised the Pentecostal movement in Serbia: the congregations which practised adult baptism constituted themselves as the Adult-Baptising Spiritual Church, the congregations which practised infant baptism constituted themselves as the Infant-Baptising Spiritual Church, and the congregations which practised footwashing at the Lord’s Supper constituted themselves as the Christ’s Footwashing Spiritual Church.
After loose conventions of Christ’s spiritual churhces in FNRJ [the Federation of the People’s Republic of Yugoslavia] from 1950 – 1964 which for a short period united all three groups of Pentecostal congregations, each denomination thereafter took an independent route of development.
Christ’s Infant-baptising spiritual church was formally registered in 1950, although it existed in Serbia (Yugoslavia) since 1907.
In 1964, it changed its name to Christ Spiritual Evangelical Church (because the church accepted the teaching about adult baptism)
During the 1970’s fruitful and close cooperation developed within Christ Pentecostal Church (formerly Adult-Baptising Spiritual Church) . In Zagreb, Osijek and later in the Biblical Theological Institute of Christ the Pentecostal churches were educated and staff of Christ’s Spiritual Evangelical Churches were developed.
In the mid eighties the two churches merged, each using its own name.
During the eighties cooperation develped between these churches and the independent church Christian Brothers from Pivnice (which was first registered in 1954 by the federal Religious Commission under the number 201/54). That church was first evangelical, but because of the influence of the charismatic renewal, became a Pentecostal/Charismatic church (the believers are ethnic Slovaks).
At the church synod of Christ Pentecostal Church and Christ Spiritual Evangelical Church in 1989 in Subotica, it was decided that the official name of the church should be Evangelical church. Shortly after the synod the breakup of Yugoslavia occured. This led to the impossibility of cooperation and the disintegration of the Evangelical Church. During the
nineties most Pentecostal churches in Serbia began using their original name which is suited to their surroundings, some used Christ’s Spiritual Evangelical church, Evangelical church and many used Protestant Evangelical Church.
In 1993, the old law on the legal status of religious communities was repealed which put the Pentecostal Church in a difficult position.Upon the adoption of a new law in 2006 the direction of the Pentecostal church in Serbia changed and began to be organized regionally (by district ) to comply with registration under the law.
Due to changes in the law on Churches and Religious Communities in 2006 in order to allign the name with the law the church was registered under the name of Christ Evangelical Church in 2011 (Department of Religion of the Republic of Serbia; number:080-00-24/2011-10).
In 2013 the Assemblies of God church in Belgrade merged with Christ Evangelical Church in 2013 and became her own local church (Department of Justice and Public Administration of the Republic of Serbia; 080-00-80/2013-36).
Christ Evangelical Church in Serbia is a participating member of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship. http://worldagfellowship.org/fellowship/countries/wagf-participating-member-s-z/serbia/
The ethnic backgrounds of the local churches are Serbian, Hungarian, Slovakian, and Roma-Gypsy.
Christ Evangelical Church is a presbytery which consists of a president, a secretary, and elders.
More about the Pentecostal movement: