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Assemblies of God and Calvinism
In the following e-mails, the e-mailer's comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My comments are in red.
>Subject: Pentecostal Calvinists
Lest my Subject Heading mislead you, I am not a Pentecostal Calvinist. I attend an Evangelical Free Free Church. All of our pastors, and a good number of the members (especially those in leadership positions) are five-point Calvinists. I became a Calvinist a couple of years ago, and would prefer to join a Presbyterian church, but there aren't any good ones in my area.
But I digress. One of the largest churches in our town is an Assembly of God, and a number of my friends go there. Since last August, I have been going to the Wednesday night services there, mostly to talk with some friends about election, perseverance, etc.
So, I've researched the AoG beliefs a little bit, and, contrary to the general sentiment of some of the correspondences on your site, the definite stance of the Assemblies of God is Arminian.
The following is taken from the AoG "Bylaws."
Article IX. Doctrines and Practices Disapproved
B. List of Doctrines and Practices Disapproved
Section 1. Unconditional Security. In view of the biblical teaching that the security of the believer depends on a living relationship with Christ (John 15:6); in view of the Bible's call to a life of holiness (1 Peter 1:16; Hebrews 12:14); in view of the clear teaching that a man may have his part taken out of the Book of Life (Revelation 22:19); and in view of the fact that one who believes for a while can fall away (Luke 8:13); The General Council of the Assemblies of God disapproves of the unconditional security position which holds that it is impossible for a person once saved to be lost.
The Assemblies of God Position Paper on "The Security of the Believer" is a much fuller declaration of their Arminian sentiments, and was adopted by the Assemblies of God General Presbytery, August 21, 1978. It is an attempt to explain the reason why the above position has been taken in their Bylaws. The Position Paper affirms free will, conditional election, unlimited atonement, and the possibility of falling from grace and salvation. You can read it on the Assemblies of God website at www.ag.org/top/beliefs/position_papers/4178_security.pdf
I wouldn't consider it advisable for a Calvinist to continue in a decidedly Arminian denomination, much less for a Calvinistic pastor.
Excellent website, by the way....
Thanks for the info. I had thought that the AoG was officially Arminian. But I didn't have the documentation to demonstrate that it was so. And with such as stance, it would seem to me that it would be inappropriate for someone with a strong Calvinist beliefs to be a member of the AoG. But as the emails on my site show, there appears to be many that don't think so.
Personally, I would rather either be a member of a church with a Calvinists stance or of a church like the E Free that doesn't have a position on on this subject. I could not in good conscience be a member of a church that specifically disagreed with a doctrine I consider to be important.
>I agree with you. I'm okay with attending our E Free Church for right now, since it doesn't take a specific stance on these issues, but I certainly couldn't be a member of an Arminian or anti-Calvinist denomination like the AoG. But several of the correspondences on your site seemed unaware of the AoG's specific Arminian stance. This information could certainly be of some import to them. If it's at all possible, you might want to forward some of that information to them. It couldn't hurt.
I still find Pentecostal Calvinists an odd combination. But then, since I'm trying to share the doctrines of grace with my own Pentecostal friends, I might one day actually see this rare mix of theologies firsthand.
God bless you and your work.
I am a member with AOG [Assemblies of God] and have been since 1983. I am a licensed minister as well. I have read some of your stuff. I find it very interesting as to what the AOG believes about Arminian and Calvanist. I am missing something here or someone is.
Here is what they teach and believe. . . . . In the matter of the security of the believer, The General Council of the Assemblies of God stands between the extreme positions of Calvinism and Arminianism. It accepts the Scriptural elements found in both teachings. The Calvinist stresses, rightly, God's sovereignty and divine prerogative, while the Arminian stresses, also rightly, man's free will and responsibility. The two positions, however, must be considered together if they are to be properly understood. The General Council of the Assemblies of God believes in the sovereignty and divine prerogative of God untainted by arbitrariness or caprice. It also believes in the free will and responsibility of man.
It appears here we believe both teachings to a degree. So I would think what they are saying is both can be believed. I know this has to do with eternal security however the belief to believe both teaching is the point I am making.
In Christís Service,
Thank you for the info. But I must say that it appears to me to be contradictory to say one believes both position. They are mutually exclusive.
>Yes "it appears to you" the truth of the matter is that it's your opinion. And the truth is, one does not have to exclude the other. Again here is what they teach. The General Council of the Assemblies of God stands between the extreme positions of Calvinism and Arminianism. It accepts the scriptural elements found in both teachings.
There is nothing wrong with you or anyone that doesn't believe what the Assembly belief's are. But what is wrong is when one tells half-truths about what one believes. On your site it is very misleading as to what you say the Assembly's believe.
Now before you get upset and think I am only defending the AOG cause I am licensed with them, the Fact is I am not licensed with the AOG. I do attend them and I might not agree with all their beliefs, but what I don't do is try to mislead someone as to why I don't believe some of the AOG belief's, just to try to prove I am right. If I might suggest ...It would serve better if you would on your site at least tell the truth about what the AOG or anyone else belief's. You could state that the AOG belief's that they can believe both teaching to some degree. And then let other's believe what is being said. I will close with this thought: you can re-read the e-mail I sent you the first time and see just how mis-leading statements can be. (I told you I go to the AOG. And that I am licensed, which by reading that could imply I am licensed with the AOG.
In Christís Service,
First off, in the first part of the discussion I believe you're referring to, I specifically stated that I was not sure of what the AoG's position was on Calvinism vs. Arminianism. Then someone emailed me a section from the AoG's Confession of Faith in which the AoG specifically denies belief in eternal security. I then commented that if a group did not agree with eternal security then they usually do not agree with the other five points of Calvinism.
Moreover, it *is* logically impossible to both believe in eternal security and not believe in it. And the same goes for the other five points of Calvinism. So you can say that the AoG agrees with both positions. And if you speak in generalities you can say this, but when it comes to the specific five points, you cannot say the AoG both believes and does not believe in them. And the section of the AoG's Confession that someone email me showed that the AoG did not, at least in regards to eternal security.
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