Albert B. Simpson was born on December 15, 1843. Motivated out of personal desire, he pleaded to enter the ministry. A.B. Simpson served as Presbyterian pastor for 8 years in Hamilton, Ontario, before taking a similar position as pastor in Louisville, KY, for the following 6 years. This is where a series of evangelistic campaigns began to pull at Simpson's heart as he developed a passion for the lost. These campaigns were born out of a sanctification experience in which Simpson had a spiritual crisis which he defined, next to his salvation, as the most significant spiritual event of his life.
He next went to New York to the 13th Avenue Presbyterian Church in which he was determined to start reaching out to the poor masses who did not know Christ. He was rebuffed, however, by his own church. The stress of his workload and in dealing with his church caused a health breakdown in which his body began to physically deteriorate. Little could be done, and doctors gave him little time. At a retreat center, he prayed, believing through his study of Scripture that the Lord offered healing to his children. He was restored to full health and began to proclaim God's power to heal.
As he returned to the church in New York, he found himself frustrated with his limitations of outreach and also with the doctrine of baptizing children. He soon resigned and instead started an independent church in 1881 following a series of evangelistic meetings, beginning with seven people committed to reaching New York and the world.
In two years the congregation grew to over 217, most of whom still attended other churches. The church was able to open its own missionary training college with 4 students in 1883. The work continued to expand and the church found a permanent home as the New York Gospel Tabernacle.
Later, in 1889, the Christian Alliance formed as Simpson began to mobilize believers into supporting branches that would serve to reach out to New York and support overseas missionary efforts. These branches would eventually become the churches of today.
One year later, the Evangelical Missionary Alliance was formed which had for its sole purpose, the training of and consequent sending of others to foreign lands to preach the gospel. In 1897 it was recognized that these two agencies could work much more efficiently as one, so in that year the Christian and Missionary Alliance was formed. Robert L. Niklaus says, "An amalgamation of the two alliances took place in 1897 under an unwieldy name that represented a triumph of zeal over reason."
Following those simple beginnings, the Alliance has grown in the U.S. and especially overseas with almost 10,746 churches and over 3,002,432 members worldwide, with 815 C&MA international missionaries serving all over the world including the U.S. A.B. Simpson's commitment to worldwide evangelism is as strong as ever.
C&MA Doctrinal Statement