What Does Foursquare Gospel Mean?

Foursquare Gospel defines the fourfold ministry of Jesus Christ

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Christ is Savior, Baptizer with the Holy Spirit, Healer, and Soon-Coming King. Copyright Foursquare Church

The term Foursquare Gospel, used in connection with the Foursquare Church, also known as the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, goes back to the church's founder, Aimee Semple McPherson. It defines the fourfold ministry of Jesus Christ as laid out by McPherson and the church.

Foursquare in the Bible

The term foursquare is found in the King James Version of the Bible:

  • And thou shalt make an altar of shittim wood, five cubits long, and five cubits broad; the altar shall be foursquare: and the height thereof shall be three cubits. (Exodus 27:1; see also 28:16, 30:2, 37:25, 38:1, 39:9)
  • And the mouth of it within the chapiter and above was a cubit: but the mouth thereof was round after the work of the base, a cubit and an half: and also upon the mouth of it were gravings with their borders, foursquare, not round. (1 Kings 7:31)
  • All the oblation shall be five and twenty thousand by five and twenty thousand: ye shall offer the holy oblation foursquare, with the possession of the city. (Ezekiel 48:20; see also 40:47)
  • And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. (Revelation 21:16)

The Foursquare Church says McPherson received the term Foursquare Gospel during a revival campaign in Oakland, California in 1922. She reported seeing in a vision the faces of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle as described in Ezekiel chapter 1. She interpreted these four faces as the fourfold gospel of salvation, baptism in the Holy Spirit, divine healing, and the Second Coming of Christ. Foursquare Missions International website elaborates:

In the face of the man, she saw Jesus our Savior. In the face of the lion, she saw Jesus the mighty Baptizer with the Holy Spirit and fire. In the face of the ox, she saw Jesus the Great Burden-Bearer, who took our infirmities and carried our sicknesses. In the face of the eagle, she saw Jesus the Coming King, who will return in power and victory for the church. It was a perfect, complete Gospel. It was a Gospel that faces squarely in every direction; it was the “Foursquare Gospel.”

These beliefs place the Foursquare Church in the mainstream of evangelical Pentecostal Christianity. 

The word foursquare is defined as equally balanced in length on all four sides, firm, solid, unyielding, unhesitating. According to the Foursquare Gospel Church, the term Foursquare Gospel represents the fourfold ministry of Jesus Christ as follows:

Christ Is Savior

According to the Foursquare Gospel, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died on the cross to bear the penalty for the sins of humanity. Belief in his atoning death brings forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life.

"But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him..." (Isaiah 53:5, KJV)

Christ Is Baptizer With the Holy Spirit

The Baptism with the Holy Spirit is the second of the four tenets on which the Foursquare Gospel is founded. When Jesus ascended, he gave the Holy Spirit to dwell in believers. This Spirit is the secret to the church's power and serves as counselor, guide, comforter, and Christ's real presence on earth.

"For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit ... you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:5,8)

Christ Is Healer

The Foursquare Gospel teaches that Christ's healing ministry continues today. While on earth, Jesus went about healing people of physical, emotional, and spiritual ills. By the power of the Lord Jesus, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, he continues to heal the sick and the afflicted in answer to believing prayer. Healing of the body, soul, and spirit is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

"He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses..." (Matthew 8:17)

Christ Is Soon Coming King

Foursquare Gospel theology acknowledges the biblical promise that Jesus Christ will come again. His Second Coming will be soon and will be a joyful time for believers. For this reason, the church places emphasis on sending out missionaries and diligently building up the church.

"For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout ... the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord." (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
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Zavada, Jack. "What Does Foursquare Gospel Mean?" Learn Religions, Aug. 25, 2020, learnreligions.com/foursquare-gospel-what-does-it-mean-700029. Zavada, Jack. (2020, August 25). What Does Foursquare Gospel Mean? Retrieved from https://www.learnreligions.com/foursquare-gospel-what-does-it-mean-700029 Zavada, Jack. "What Does Foursquare Gospel Mean?" Learn Religions. https://www.learnreligions.com/foursquare-gospel-what-does-it-mean-700029 (accessed June 9, 2023).