A Sad Day for the Assemblies of God Denomination

The general presbytery of the Assemblies of God (AG) denomination, in session August 9–11, 2010, adopted a revised statement on “The Doctrine of Creation.”  Here is an excerpt from the official AG position paper, that opens the door to evolution and millions of years, and the various compromise positions on Genesis held by some in the church (such as gap theory, day age, progressive creation, theistic evolution, etc):

The advance of scientific research, particularly in the last few centuries, has raised many questions about the interpretation of the Genesis accounts of creation. In attempting to reconcile the Bible and the theories and conclusions of contemporary scientists, it should be remembered that the creation accounts do not give precise details as to how God went about His creative activity. Nor do these accounts provide us with complete chronologies that enable us to date with precision the time of the various stages of creation. Similarly, the findings of science are constantly expanding; the accepted theories of one generation are often revised in the next.

As a result, equally devout Christian believers have formed very different opinions about the age of the earth, the age of humankind, and the ways in which God went about the creative processes. Given the limited information available in Scripture, it does not seem wise to be overly dogmatic about any particular creation theory.

Whatever creation theory we individually may prefer, we must affirm that the entire creation has been brought into being by the design and activity of the Triune God. Moreover, we also affirm that the New Testament treats the creation and fall of Adam and Eve as historical events in which the Creator is especially involved. We urge all sincere and conscientious believers to adhere to what the Bible plainly teaches and to avoid divisiveness over debatable theories of creation. (“The Doctrine of Creation,” 2010, http://ag.org/top/beliefs/Position_Papers/pp_downloads/PP_The_Doctrine_of_Creation.pdf)

The following is an excerpt from AG’s 1977 position paper on “The Doctrine of Creation”:

This Bible record of creation thus rules out the evolutionary philosophy which states that all forms of life have come into being by gradual, progressive evolution carried on by resident forces. It also rules out
any evolutionary origin for the human race, since no theory of evolution, including theistic evolution, can explain the origin of the male before the female, nor can it explain how a man could evolve into a woman. (“The Doctrine of Creation,” 1977, http://ministers.ag.org/pdf/Creation.pdf, accessed 11/8/10)

What is sad to notice is this 2010 revision of such a strong statement about creation. The following is their statement on creation from the Assemblies of God website that was based on the 1977 position paper (that we presume will be modified to now fit their 2010 statement):

Why does the Assemblies of God hold a strong position on creationism? Could the evolution theory or portions of it fit into the Bible’s account of creation? Also, why is our origin so important?

The Assemblies of God has a deep commitment to creationism-that God is the Author and Creator of all life (Genesis 1:1; Psalms 121:2; 124:8; 146:5,6; Isaiah 40:26,28; 1 Peter 4:19). By the power of His Word, He created everything out of nothing (Hebrews 11:3). The visible was created out of the invisible, the material out of the nonmaterial, and the tangible out of the intangible.

However, by what means was His creative work accomplished? More specifically, did God employ a gradual process by which the world came into being? Did higher forms of life progress from lower forms of life? The advocates of gradual process are called theistic evolutionists. For them, God’s creative days recorded in Genesis may well have been eons of time.

Assemblies of God believers hold that the Genesis account should be taken literally. Admittedly, there is progression in God’s creative work. But each step was concluded: “And there was evening, and there was morning.” This points to a specific measurement of time. The most natural reading of the creation account therefore is to place it in parallel with a 7-day week. By doing so, the burden of determining time frames and development for various components of creation is avoided. Furthermore such a literal view of God’s creation process requires no more faith than theories of science-that our world evolved to its current state by the accidental collision of molecules.

For Christians, the question of origin is most critical. If mankind has merely evolved from lower forms of life, one cannot possess the special imprint of God’s likeness (Genesis 1:27; 2:7). If all of life is but the result of natural forces as told through various strains of evolution, it then becomes impossible to understand and know God through His creation.

Ultimately for most Christians it comes to this: if God is not Author and Creator of all that is, life offers little meaning or purpose for mankind. In evolution there is no judgment, and therefore no punishment or reward for the way we live. Through the view of evolution, lifestyle choices don’t matter. Instead life and creation simply evolve. But from the view of creationism, recognizing God’s handiwork and order, life takes on great meaning and renders significant eternal reward. (http://ag.org/top/beliefs/gendoct_15_creationism.cfm)

Actually, the difference between the 1977 AG statement on creation and the revised 2010 statement reflects the battle that has been raging ever since events from Genesis 3 took place. In Genesis 3, Satan tempted Eve by getting her to doubt God’s Word.  Eve was asked, “Did God Really Say?”  The apostle Paul warns us in 2 Corinthians 11:3 that Satan will use the same method on us as he did on Eve—to get us to a position of unbelief regarding God’s Word.  What Satan was doing was getting Adam and Eve to question God’s Word, and to act as “gods.”  In essence, Adam and Eve decided to make fallible man the authority over God’s Word, instead of judging everything against the absolute authority of God’s Word.

In the statement based on the 1977 paper, the Assemblies of God state, “The most natural reading of the creation account . . . ”  And when a person reads this account, it is taken as the Word of God in Genesis as written, and we let God speak through his Word—and do not compromise the days of creation or the creation account with evolution.  Obviously back in the 1970s, the AG was stating that we cannot take man’s ideas and reinterpret God’s Word.  Amen!

Then  note the major change in the 2010 revision.  Now the Assemblies of God statement reads, “The advance of scientific research, particularly in the last few centuries, has raised many questions about the interpretation of the Genesis accounts of creation. In attempting to reconcile the Bible and the theories and conclusions of contemporary scientists . . . ”

In other words, they have now succumbed to the view—prevalent in the church todaythat is undermining the authority of God’s Word, and ultimately is significantly contributing to the collapse of Christianity in our Western world.  The AG with its August statement is now saying we have to take the fallible ideas of fallible humans and use these in authority over the Word of God.

In our best-selling book Already Gone, we publicized the results of the statistically powerful research conducted by America’s Research Group on why two-thirds of young people are leaving the church when they reach college age. The bottom line is that the research showed that the children, at a young age, were already succumbing to doubts about God’s Word; the main reasons for this is because of what they are being taught at school (most went to public schools), the church is not teaching apologetics (i.e., teaching a defense of the faith, and teaching them how to answer skeptical questions), and many church leaders tell them they can believe in millions of years (and also evolution), thus compromising God’s Word.  The young people see this as “hypocrisy” (church leaders telling them to believe the Bible, but then telling them they don’t have to take it as written in Genesis for instance), and thus, most of them end up walking away from their church.

The Hillsong Connection

One of the most influential pastors in the Assemblies of God denomination is Pastor Brian Houston of Hillsong in Australia. (He is a leader of the Assemblies of God denomination in Australia.)  Many churches around the world use the worship music that comes out of Hillsong; thus, Brian Houston is extremely influential in the Assemblies of God denomination worldwide.  After I happened to see a video on television where he was teaching that one certainly didn’t have to take the six days of creation as ordinary days, I decided to research any printed statements of his on the topic of Genesis/creation.  Here is a statement, which sadly, exhibits the same compromise wording consistent with the Assemblies of God’s 2010 revised statement on creation.

Pastor Brian Houston, Hillsong Church Australia, stated the following in an interview:

I believe in creation. The Bible starts in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. If I waver on the first 10 words of the Bible I think I’m going to have problems properly representing the rest of the Bible. However, timeframes, over what period of time that was, whether there was room for any evolving in some areas of life as well, I’m more than open to that. I’m happy to leave that to the experts. (http://www.religionnewsblog.com/13665/hillsong-church-interview-with-brian-houston)

There is a transcript of interview at this link:  http://www.abc.net.au/austory/content/2005/s1427560.htm

This statement certainly allows for fallible man’s beliefs (the millions of years/evolutionary ideas of the secularists) to be in authority over God’s Word.  His declaration opens the door to reinterpret the clear reading of Genesis, as long as one just believes God is Creator.  I find so often the statement in the church that as long as one believes God is Creator, how God created or how one takes the rest of the creation account in Genesis doesn’t matter.  However, this is a major problem within the church that must be recognized in this era of history.  Many church leaders are prepared to take Genesis 1:1 as it is written, but much of the rest of Genesis chapters 1–11 are reinterpret based upon what is called “science,” which means in reality that one takes man’s fallible beliefs about the past concerning millions of years and evolution and reinterprets God’s Word to fit with these beliefs.

The Assemblies of God denomination needs to be challenged. For all the mega-churches in the world, and for all the praise and worship that goes on in churches, our Western world is collapsing from a Christian worldview perspective.  Whether it is England, all of Europe, Canada, or Australia (and it is happening in the USA), the Christian worldview is collapsing and church attendance declining.  Increasing number of of the next generation are walking away from the church.

What is happening is that church leaders are succumbing to the pagan religion of the age!  Yes, millions of years and evolution are part of the pagan religion of this age to explain life without God. As they succumb to this pagan religion and compromise God’s Word, wittingly or unwittingly, Christian leaders are undermining the authority of the Word.

But it’s even more than this!

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.  In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. (John 1:1-4)

Who is the Word? The Word is Jesus Christ.  When one puts fallible man’s ideas over the Word of God, then one is not just undermining the Word of God, but actually attacking the Son of God.  We can only know the Father through the Son, and we know the Son through the Word.

To compromise the Word of God is a very serious matter indeed.

I trust the Assemblies of God will repent of their revised statement on creation that has now opened the door to compromise with man’s ideas—with the pagan religion of this age.  If the denomination continues to go down this path, generations will continue to leave the church and the culture will continue to destruct as the Christian worldview is undermined. It’s not numbers at churches or praise songs around the world that count, but whether one is faithful to the Word of God.

Now having said that, I do know there are pastors in this AG denomination who are horrified at the revised statement and take the stand they should on the historicity of Genesis.  We pray they will be able to challenge the leaders in this denomination to shut the door to such compromise.

However, movements like Hillsong (that now have churches in a number of large cities), and any denomination that does not stand on biblical authority from the first book of the Bible as they should (and has opened the door to compromise biblical authority as we see in the above item), we will continue to see massive changes in a generation or two as the culture continues to decline from a Christian perspective—and sadly, as young people continue to leave the church.

Devotion

It shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days

(Deuteronomy 17:19)  And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them

We read the Bible everyday so that we relearn to fear the Lord Jesus Christ and to obey Him—the Bible defuses worldly terror and displaces worldly thoughts.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

Ken