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Posts Tagged ‘Assemblies of God’

(revised 01/11/15)

Note – since I started blogging in Fall 2010, I have rarely mentioned specific churches. I feel I can no longer hold back. Various northeast Ohio churches, schools and bookstores are getting more and more into Spiritual Formation, and becoming more and more Emergent. Some of them I have warned for several years now – yet they either ignore or put down my “warning” blogs (saying things like “he doesn’t know what he’s talking about”).

I’m fed up with Emerging/Emergent heresies. And like many other discernment ministries (see my Blogroll at the right of this post) I will not back down!!

There are many traits of a church, which can identify it as Emerging/Emergent. I think of an Emerging church as “emerging” from fundamentalist or New Evangelical into an Emergent (mainline/liberal) church). The lines are blurred here. There is no specific point where a church becomes totally mainline/ liberal. Thus the term “Emerging/ Emergent”. (Also, Emerging/Emergent churches tend to be large, perhaps  300 or more attenders, and of course have fewer and fewer members from the “old fashioned” older generations.)

[Proof that the Spiritual Formation/Emerging/Emergent situation is getting worse – since at least November 2011, every accredited seminary has been required to include a Spiritual Formation program. See this article from Lighthouse Trails. I hope to discuss this in a future blog.]
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I found it rather ironic that, today, a Facebook Friend wrote this:

When did we lose our reverence in the House of God? When did the pew we sit in each Sunday just become an extension of our living room sofa? I believe that it is due to this comfortable state that we display in churches that we have lost our relevance to the world around us. Our children have grown up in churches where they have never seen reverence modeled before them. We have casual conversation, we tell jokes and share antidotes and entertain each other as we would in our kitchens or living rooms and then we expect the preacher to get behind the pulpit and present God’s Word as reverent, as holy, as worthy of all honor and praise and then we ask ourselves why so many young people are leaving the church or have been in the church all their lives and still don’t understand what it means to sit before a holy God. We wonder why they are being drawn to the Catholic faith or to rituals. When there is more world in the church then their is church in the world we have lost sight of Christ and the reason He was crucified.

Speaking of lack of reverence in the house of God, we attended an Assemblies of God church today (my wife likes the music). But after today, my wife finally saw my point (I think) that we should not go there any more. Turns out the pastor loves Tony Campolo. After his sermon he posted a photo of him with Campolo on the two big screens of the sanctuary. Below is the sanctuary (my actual cell phone photo of the screens showing him with Campolo turned out fuzzy):

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Here’s the kicker – he then showed a video of Campolo (I hesitate to mention this) talking about prostitutes WHILE THE USHERS WERE PASSING OUT THE ELEMENTS FOR COMMUNION.

The video we saw: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWlMV-UmueM

And here’s the text of Campolo’s prostitute “sermon”: http://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2008/june/15742.html

My question: would this be considered sacrilegious? Or blasphemous? I was amazed that my wife and I were the only ones that walked out. I guess the church members are like frogs who stay in the water as it gets closer and closer to boiling – they haven’t realized their church is becoming increasingly Emerging/Emergent. Not to mention, the church is right next to Malone University. The current President of Malone (Dr. David King) was previously the provost at Eastern University, where Campolo taught full time. See the following link:

To other discerning Christians in northeast Ohio – thought you might want to know this, to warn others about the church, Bethel Temple.

And, the very Emerging/Emergent Canton First Nazarene is on the other side of Malone University. Check out this blog discussing Emerging/ Emergent teachings in the Nazarene denomination.

Then of course there’s Canton First Friends nearby – which I dropped in on for a minute today. I’m not surprised that Canton First Friends had an Emerging/Emergent sermon, about “loving your neighbor”. Dear Pastor, I’m sure you’re aware that Emergent “social gospel” messages akin to this are preached often in the Evangelical Friends denomination’s Northwest Yearly Meeting, where contemplative heretic RIchard Foster got his start.

Another Emerging/Emergent northeast Ohio church to watch out for is Newpointe Community Church. They posted prominent billboards along roadways which stated, “God isn’t boring – church shouldn’t have to be either.” (I took this as a slam against “old fashioned” i.e. “fundamentalist” churches which I believe are biblically sound.) And one Sunday recently, they had no services – they just went out and did “community service projects”. They cancel Sunday services for this reason once a year.

Various individuals have stated that Ohio is a hotbed for Emergent churches, but the preponderance of these in northeast Ohio is ridiculous.

Several additional institutions are:

High Mill Church of the Resurrection – They have strayed in recent years, taking on a woman with Catholic connections as co-pastor, and getting members involved in spiritual retreats (with contemplative spirituality ala Richard Foster’s occultish, Eastern-influenced Spiritual Formation). As of Jan. 2015, High Mill advertised itself as a “Spirit-filled, Word-based” church. Yet they continue to retain this woman as co-pastor. In addition to her Catholic background, she is a Spiritual Director (teaching Spiritual Formation).

Lifeway (which bought out Berean Christian Stores) – They are carrying many heretical titles (although not as many as Berean did). They do not have heretics Richard Foster, Robe Bell, etc. listed on their website.  Yet their bookstore carries heretical books by Beth Moore, the heretical book “The Circle Maker”, etc.

I’m sure many other discerning Christians can tell similar horror stories about Emerging/Emergent churches in their areas. I just couldn’t hold back – this Bethel Temple thing about Tony Campolo today really ticked me off.

I’m seriously looking around, hoping to find a good Conservative Holiness church that my wife and I will both enjoy attending.

This blog has been difficult to write. I have been closely associated with a number of the above churches, schools, etc., and still have close friends at a number of these. It is precisely because I care about these institutions so deeply, that I am mentioning how far they have fallen doctrinally. I am praying they return to being biblically sound.

Regarding further research, I’m thinking of listing the most Emerging/Emergent churches in Ohio (and perhaps some other states). But it would be easier to find lists of Emerging/Emergent evangelical colleges and seminaries and list them by state then city. I would say every accredited evangelical college and seminary is Emerging/Emergent to some degree. Sad.

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(revised 01/26/12)

Although the Assemblies of God (AG) has put out statements (summarized below) opposing various heresies, these heresies are still growing in the AG.
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The Assemblies of God (AG) has historically taken a stand against false teachers within Pentecostalism. I would have to say that, of all the Pentecostal denominations, the AG has traditionally been one of the most biblically sound.

Unfortunately, the AG and other denominations (both Pentecostal and non-Pentecostal) are getting more involved in Spiritual Formation (SF) (with its occult core of Contemplative Prayer/Contemplative Spirituality) and the Emerging Church (EC). The AG leadership needs to put forth written stands against both SF and the EC.

I praise the Lord that the AG has put out statements against the bizarre,  New-Ageish teachings and practices of the Third Wave (also called the New Apostolic Reformation or NAR). Following are a few of the AG’s stands currently, on issues related to the Third Wave/NAR. However, there seems to be a disconnect between the AG’s following statements and some ventures it is still involved in.

ASSEMBLIES OF GOD POSITION PAPERS REGARDING HERESIES

1) Angels: “… We must never confuse Christ, the Head, with the angels He instructs. Sadly today, some Christians feel more comfortable talking about angels than they do in sharing the salvation they enjoy through the Savior, the One who died and rose again for their conversion. Angels, of course, should never be worshipped. And neither should they hold more of our attention, fascination, or love than we bestow on our blessed Savior Jesus Christ…”

Source: http://ag.org/top/Beliefs/topics/gendoct_23_angels.cfm

2) Apostles and Prophets – “… What is the implication for the local church in the current emphasis on apostles and prophets? The Pentecostal and charismatic movements have witnessed various excessive or misplaced theological emphases over the years. We look with grave concern on those who do not believe in congregational church government, who do not trust the maturity of local church bodies to govern themselves under Scripture and the Spirit. Such leaders prefer more authoritarian structures where their own word or decrees are unchallenged…”

Source: http://ag.org/top/Beliefs/Position_Papers/pp_downloads/pp_4195_apostles_prophets.pdf

3) Astrology, Psychics & Transcendental Meditation – “… Involvement in the many forms of mysticism grows out of a single motivation—a desire to move beyond the revelation of God’s Word to sources of “enlightenment” that are contrary to the Bible’s revealed truth. Inordinate curiosity begins the downward path. However, God’s Word is totally adequate to provide both direction and inspiration for life. What supernatural guidance we cannot derive from the Bible and its Spirit-initiated revelation is out of bounds. It is blasphemy against God to turn away from His Word to seek forbidden knowledge and understanding through divination, magic, palm reading, astrology, tarot cards, crystal balls, Ouija boards, psychic knowledge, or any other practice that seeks to unravel divinely hidden mysteries…”

Source: http://ag.org/top/Beliefs/topics/charctr_18_astrology.cfm

4) Demon Possession – “… It seems important, then, that we do not permit Satan to sidetrack God’s people into an attention on demons or evil spirits that goes beyond the clear teaching of the Bible, thus producing a reaction that would turn people away from all that is supernatural and hinder the work of God…”

Source: http://ag.org/top/Beliefs/Position_Papers/pp_downloads/pp_4176_possessed.pdf

5) Modern Day Manifestations of the Spirit – “… How can we recognize a Spirit prompted and controlled manifestation? Does it bring glory to Jesus and edify the Body? The confirmation that a spiritual experience is real and biblical lies in the spiritual growth of the believer. Is there a humility that lifts up Jesus? Is the believer becoming more and more like Jesus? Are the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control—increased after a personal experience in the presence of our Lord? These fruit will have a direct effect on one’s testimony and will ultimately draw others to Christ….”

Source: http://ag.org/top/Beliefs/topics/sptlissues_manifestations.cfm

6) Miracles – “… The other danger is the abuse of wanting to help God win the skeptics and impress the saints by describing as miracles certain events which are not divine interventions of God, or by humanly trying to replicate supernatural manifestations of God. God does not need Christians pretending to be miracle workers when God is not the author and the miracle is not genuine. Members of the Assemblies of God must desire always to let God move as He chooses, and never substitute human manifestation for true supernatural miracles…”

Source: http://ag.org/top/Beliefs/topics/gendoct_20_miracles.cfm

7) Positive Confession – “… In considering any doctrine it is always necessary to ask whether it is in harmony with the total teaching of Scripture. Doctrine based on less than a holistic view of Biblical truth can only do harm to the cause of Christ. It can often be more detrimental than views which reject Scripture altogether. Some people will more likely accept something as truth if it is referred to in the Word of God, even if the teaching is an extreme emphasis or contradicts other principles of Scripture … God’s Word does teach great truths such as healing, provision for need, faith, and the authority of believers. The Bible does teach that a disciplined mind is an important factor in victorious living. But these truths must always be considered in the framework of the total teaching of Scripture… “

Source: http://ag.org/top/Beliefs/Position_Papers/pp_downloads/pp_4183_confession.pdf

8 ) – Prophets and Personal Prophecies – “… The experience of the Corinthian church gives evidence that abuse and misuse can creep into the operation of the gifts of the Spirit if the vessel is not wholly submissive to the guidance and control of the Holy Spirit. That is why Paul said the message of the prophet spoken in the New Testament church should be judged by all who were hearing the message. The judging most likely was to ask how the prophecy conformed to the whole of Scripture…”

Source: http://ag.org/top/Beliefs/topics/sptlissues_prophets_prophecies.cfm

9) Non-Christian Religions – “… In our day, there is a steady drumbeat of support for toleration, as a humane and generous way to live. The earnest Christian will distinguish between respect and toleration of other human beings as individuals made in the image of God, whether or not they accept the Christian mandate, as opposed to toleration of destructive ideas that are hostile to Christian revelation and society at large. To confuse the issue of toleration for persons and the toleration of alien ideas is at the root of the issue…

Yes, the Assemblies of God aligns readily with evangelical Christianity in declaring that only in Christ is there salvation. No apology need be made for this exclusive claim for Christ. For this reason the Assemblies of God disavows universalism and the toleration of worldviews that do not require entering the kingdom of God through the narrow gate of the God-man, Jesus Christ.”

Source: http://ag.org/top/Beliefs/topics/gendoct_16_religions.cfm

10) Endtime Revival–Spirit-Led and Spirit-Controlled – “… along with the genuine move of the Spirit often come teachings and practices which, if not discerned and corrected, will turn the genuine move of God into shallow and misguided emotional displays. Within teachings that add to or depart from biblical truth, there is usually a kernel of truth that gets buried under the chaff of human additions and unusual interpretations of Scripture. Though we dare not inadvertently quench the Spirit’s work in changing lives and calling the church back to its first love and passion, we must speak out with words of caution when departure from Scripture threatens the ongoing life and stability of local churches…”

Source: http://ag.org/top/Beliefs/Position_Papers/pp_downloads/pp_endtime_revival.pdf

Note – The pdf file listed for item #10 here is an excellent article – it specifically addresses many of the heretical Pentecostal movements today, particularly the New Apostolic Reformation.

There are additional issues the AOG addresses, but you get the idea…

For the complete alphabetical index of AOG positions on doctrines and issues, see:

http://ag.org/top/Beliefs/topic_index.cfm

RECENT INVOLVEMENT OF THE ASSEMBLIES OF GOD IN HERESIES, PARTICULARLY THE NAR

All of the following news items seem to contradict the biblically sound guidelines the AG issued in 2000 (as summarized above).

These posts are arranged chronologically:

1) The AG belongs to the Wesleyan Holiness Consortium (formed in 2006), and assisted in preparing the “Holiness Manifesto“, an Emergent/NAR postmillenial document.

2) Apostles, Prophets, and Aberrant Doctrine: Book review of Understanding the Five Fold Ministry (edited by Matthew D. Green), by Holly Pivec, from the Christian Research Journal, Issue 30-01 (2007):

A central teaching of the movement, called “fivefold ministry”—based on Ephesians 4:11–13—is that God has given the church five ongoing governmental offices: those of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. Two of those offices, apostles and prophets, have been ignored since the first century, according to the movement’s advocates.

This oversight is the subject of Understanding the Fivefold Ministry, edited by Matthew D. Green (an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God denomination and the managing editor of Ministries Today magazine), with a foreword written by Jack W. Hayford (president of the Foursquare Church International and senior editorial adviser to Ministries Today). More than twenty Pentecostal and charismatic leaders contributed chapters to the book, including C. Peter Wagner (former professor of church growth at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, and a leader of NAR, Ted Haggard (former pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and former president of the National Association of Evangelicals), and J. Lee Grady (editor of Charisma magazine).

3) The NAR Apostles and Manifest Sons of God Theology: Training the Army of the Lord, by Rachel Tabachnick,  Apr 05, 2011:

Apostle Bobby Torres heads Elijah Generation International which offers the Spiritual Boot Camp featured in the graphic at right.  Like quite a few apostles, Torres has come from the ranks of the Assemblies of God, despite the denomination’s previous rejection of the theology behind the movement.  The Assemblies of God Master’s Commission program for youth teaches prophecy and spiritual warfare of the type found in the New Apostolic Reformation.  In June 2008, Gov. Sarah Palin returned to her home church of over two decades, Wasilla Assembly of God, to deliver the keynote speech at the graduation ceremony of their Master’s Commission program.  The two-hour ceremony ended with the presentation of swords to the graduates. Wasilla AOG has been a revolving door for top apostles and prophets of the movement for many years, including helping to finance Kenyan Thomas Muthee, a star of the first “Transformations” movie.

4) Samuel Rodriguez, the New Apostolic Reformation, and Apostolic Government of the Church, by Rachel Tabachnick, Sep 24, 2011:

Rodriguez is an ordained Assemblies of God minister and spoke at the 2000 World Triennial of the AOG, coincidentally the same year that the AOG’s guidelines against the “deviant teachings” of Latter Rain and the Shepherding movements were restated [I’ve provided summaries of these guidelines previously in this blog].  C. Peter Wagner summarizes these statements in his book Apostles Today: Biblical Government for Biblical Power.

“During the post-World War II phase, their General Council [Assemblies of God] in 1949 decreed that ‘The teaching that the Church is built on the foundation of present-day apostles and prophets’ is ‘erroneous.’ This was reiterated in their General Council of 2000 when the denomination declared that the `teaching that present-day offices of apostles and prophets should govern church ministry’ is a ‘departure from Scripture’ and a ‘deviant teaching.'”

The apostles and prophets disagree with the Assemblies of God statement, including many now inside the AOG and other Pentecostal denominations, and have rapidly advanced their apostolic networks into the churches of these and other denominations.


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