Question: "What is a Foursquare Church?"
Answer: The Foursquare Church, officially known as International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, is a Protestant denomination founded by Aimee Semple McPherson in the 1920s. Foursquare derives its name from what McPherson called the “Foursquare Gospel: Jesus is the Savior, Jesus is the Healer, Jesus is the Baptizer with the Holy Spirit, and Jesus is the Soon-Coming King.”
Foursquare’s Declaration of Faith begins with “We believe that the Holy Bible is the Word of the living God; true, immutable, steadfast, unchangeable, as its author, the Lord Jehovah; that it was written by holy men of old as they were moved upon and inspired by the Holy Spirit.” This Declaration, penned by Aimee Semple McPherson, contains twenty-two sections including, to mention just a few, “The Eternal Godhead,” “Salvation Through Grace,” “Baptism of the Holy Spirit,” “Divine Healing,” and “Tithing and Offerings.” Virtually every belief and statement on the church’s web site contains a scriptural reference supporting it.
However, there are concerns with some of the beliefs of the Foursquare Church that do not line up with Scripture. According to their Creedal Statements and Declaration of Faith, they believe in “the free moral will power of man, who can backslide, apostatize, and be lost,” which is a rejection of the biblical doctrine of eternal security. The Bible clearly teaches that a true believer cannot lose his/her salvation or apostatize (John 10:28–29; Romans 8:30; 1 John 2:19).
They also believe in “Divine Healing through the atonement,” which would disagree with the understanding that, while spiritual healing is in the atonement, physical healing does not necessarily occur until the glorified state. Isaiah 53:5, which is then quoted in 1 Peter 2:24, is a key verse on healing, but it is often misunderstood and misapplied. The context of 1 Peter 2 makes it clear that Peter is speaking of spiritual healing. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24). The verse is talking about sin and righteousness, not sickness and disease. Therefore, being “healed” in both these verses is speaking of being forgiven and saved, not physically healed.
Further, the Foursquare Church believes “in the personal Baptism of the Holy Ghost as received by the apostles,” which, as explained elsewhere on their website, means that they believe the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a “second blessing” subsequent to salvation. Along with this, they believe that all of the miraculous gifts of the Spirit are active in the church today. The majority of biblical evidence supports the indwelling of the Holy Spirit upon salvation, and while there are subsequent “fillings” of the Spirit throughout a believer’s life, there is only one baptism of the Holy Spirit, and that occurs at salvation.
As for the miraculous gifts of the Spirit, the gifts of prophecy, knowledge, wisdom, healing, etc., verified those who were sent from God and were necessary for the early Christians to know God’s plan and purpose for them. The gift of prophecy, for instance, enabled believers to communicate new truth and revelation from God. Now that God’s revelation is complete in the Bible, the “revelatory” gifts are no longer needed, at least not in the same capacity as they were in the New Testament.
While the Foursquare Church definitely has some biblical stances on many doctrines, there are enough questionable beliefs to warrant caution and prayerfully seeking God’s will and discernment.