- Light of the World Church
- / Iglesia la Luz del MundoThe Light of the World Church (in Spanish, Igle-sia la Luz del Mundo) is a large Jesus Only Pentecostals church based in Mexico with an international following. It was founded in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, in 1926 by Eusebio Joaquin Gonzalez (d. 1964), later known as theApostle Aaron. The church's official name is the Church of God, Column and Pillar of Truth, Jesus the Light of the World (La Iglesia de Dios, Columna y Apoyo de la Verdad, Jesus la Luz del Mundo), though popularly referred to in Mexico as the aaronistas (followers of Aaron).Gonzalez, a former soldier, was converted in 1926 by two itinerant "Jesus Only" Pentecostal lay preachers, José Perales and Antonio Munoz, remembered today as saul and silas. saul baptized Gonzalez on April 6, 1926, and later prophesied, "Your new name will be Aaron and you will become known in all the world." By the end of the year, Aaron had founded a new church with headquarters in Guadalajara.For the next eight years, Aaron traveled on foot with a cadre of followers throughout the countryside, forming small congregations wherever he met a response. In 1934, he opened the first temple of the Light of the World Church in Guadalajara.The movement follows the non-Trinitarian "Jesus only" perspective, adding a belief that God has in the present age given the church a living apostle. Following Aaron's death in 1964, a new living apostle, Samuel Joaquin Flores, Aaron's son, assumed leadership of the church.Aaron introduced a number of unique practices. Members participate in a daily 5:00 a.m. prayer service. sunday worship is simple, but includes hymns that honor and praise Aaron as the church's First Apostle. At worship, women wear long white dresses and cover their heads, the sexes are separated, and no instrumental music is used. In 1952, Aaron founded the Colonia Hermosa Provincia, a self-supporting community outside Guadalajara. A large church was built along with a variety of commercial, medical, educational, and social services. Annually, the church's ordained pastors travel to the Mother Church in Colonia Hermosa Provincia (symbolic of Holy Jerusalem) on August 14, Aaron's birthday, for an annual celebration of the Lord's Supper. Many laypeople also participate; in 1992, some 150,000 people attended. Among the first actions ofAaron's successor was the destruction of the stone wall around the community, signaling a new openness to the outside world.By the 1990s, the church reported more than 4 million members in 22 countries.In 1942, the Light of the World Church suffered a division, amid accusation that Aaron had misused church finances. A group of former church leaders formed the Good Shepherd Church (Iglesia El Buen Pastor). While not enjoying the same success as its parent organization, El Buen Pastor has spread through Central America and the Caribbean.Further reading:■ Clayton Berg and Paul Pretiz, Spontaneous Combustion: Grass-Roots Christianity, Latin American Style (Pasadena, Calif.: William Carey Library, 1996)■ Renée de la Torre, "Pinceladas de una ilustraciön etnogrâfica: La Luz del Mundo en Guadalajara," in Gilberto Giménez, ed., Identidades Religiosas y Sociales en México (Mexico City: Institute de Investigaciones Sociales de la Universidad Nacional Autönoma de Mexico, 1996)■ Manuel J. Gaxiola, La Serpiente y la Paloma: Historia, Teologia y Andlisis de la Iglesia Apostôlica de la Fe en Cristo Jesus (1914-1994) (Nacaulpan, Mexico: Libros Pyros, 1994)■ La Luz del Mundo: Un Andlisis Multidiscipli-nario de la Controversia Religiosa Que Ha Impacto a Nuestro Pais (Bisques de Echegaray, Mexico: Revista Acadica para estudio de la Religiones, 1997).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.