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Crabtree Wood and Bueno Re elected All of Thursday s Resolutions Pass

Crabtree, Wood and Bueno Re-elected; All of Thursday's Resolutions Pass

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Voters re-elected three top executives to new four-year terms Thursday, during the opening day of business at the 50th General Council of the Assemblies of God.

"We don’t deserve this, but receive it as God’s mandate to us, and I pledge to you that I’ll do everything in my power to live above reproach, to preach the gospel and to prosecute my duties to the best of my ability, with the Lord’s help," Assistant General Superintendent Charles T. Crabtree told ministers and delegates.

Crabtree and General Secretary George O. Wood were each elected on the nominating ballots for their respective offices. By the end of the afternoon business session, they were joined by L. John Bueno, who was confirmed for another term as executive director of Assemblies of God World Missions.

Crabtree was elected assistant general superintendent 10 years ago, during the 45th General Council, held in Minneapolis. He previously served as director of the Decade of Harvest — the Fellowship’s evangelism effort during the 1990s — and pastored churches in Iowa and California.

Wood, who also was elected to his current post in 1993, used his brief remarks Thursday to praise the strong bond among the Assemblies of God’s executive officers.

"Ministry can sometimes, in church settings, feel more like a company than a church, but the Church is all about relationships, and the Lord has given us wonderful friendships and camaraderie on the Board of Administration," he said.

Before being elected to his current position, Wood served as assistant superintendent of the Southern California District for five years and pastored Newport-Mesa Christian Center in Costa Mesa, California, for 17 years.

Following his election, Bueno thanked the General Council for its continued support and prayers.

"I sincerely believe that we are living in our world in a great hour of visitation, of a great and wonderful move of God’s Spirit around the world," he said.

A veteran missionary, Bueno served for 25 years in El Salvador, where his congregation became the largest Evangelical church in Central America. In 1978, he founded Latin America ChildCare, a ministry that provides schooling, clothing, meals and medical care for needy children in Latin America.

In other action, the General Council approved all resolutions presented Thursday — more than a dozen. Most won passage with little or no discussion, but three passed only after debate.

Resolution 5 proposed a stronger role for the Commission on Doctrinal Purity, with that body offering a brief assessment of scriptural interpretation for all resolutions brought before the General Council.

Such action would help the Assemblies of God avoid approving resolutions based on scriptural interpretation that is faulty or too influenced by cultural changes, said Charles Crank, superintendent of the Indiana District Council, which sponsored the resolution.

But opponents argued that the most hotly debated issues at General Council already feature scholarly debate over the proper interpretation of Scriptures — allowing individuals to reach their own conclusions.

Ironically, the interpretation of Scripture came into play during another debate Thursday, over Resolution 7, which sought to affirm the Assemblies of God’s support for women in ministry and in church leadership positions.

The resolution removed wording from the bylaws that implied women could serve in ministry only after proving their qualifications — wording that is not used to discuss the overall eligibility of men to become credentialed ministers. The proposal also added a phrase noting that women "are eligible to serve in all levels of church ministry, and/or district and General Council leadership."

That added language attracted much of the opposition Thursday from pastors who argued that the Bible does not permit women to serve in positions of spiritual leadership. The interpretation and modern application of 1 Timothy 2 — in which Paul wrote that he did not allow women to teach or have spiritual authority over a man — became a focal point of debate.

But supporters of the resolution countered that the Assemblies of God already has established its stance on 1 Timothy 2 and other Scriptures — and the Fellowship endorses the role of women in ministry.

The third "hot" resolution Thursday was an echo of the most controversial issue from the 2001 General Council in Kansas City, Missouri.

Resolution 8 revised the ministerial guidelines for performing weddings. Ministers who conducted a wedding ceremony for a divorced person have faced dismissal from the Assemblies of God, but this resolution sought to remove that penalty and simply "discourage" pastors from performing ceremonies involving divorced individuals.

Michael D. Jackson, who introduced the measure, said the resolution was not a "statement in favor of divorce." Instead, it was his attempt to remove the threat of dismissal for those pastors who minister in congregations where many people have been divorced.

"This simply lets me as a pastor decide whether to perform a ceremony for someone without having to send that person down the street to a Baptist pastor and then try to get them to come back to my church," he said.

Two years ago, the General Council adopted a resolution that permitted consideration of ministerial applicants who were divorced prior to conversion. The North Texas District attempted to introduce a resolution reversing the 2001 vote, but the General Presbytery has recommended that the resolution be tabled until 2005. That issue could come before the General Council today.

These other resolutions were approved by the General Council:

  • Resolution 1, stating that executive officers and members of the Executive Presbytery will begin serving their terms 60 days after election
  • Resolution 4, formally adding the Brazilian District Council to the list of language-area districts
  • Resolution 6, modifying the minimal membership guidelines for General Council-affiliated churches
  • Resolution 9, revising the bylaw description of the Committee on Finance
  • Resolution 10, changing the name of the partnership program for churches to financially support the Assemblies of God administrative offices. The adopted name — Fellowship Partners — was an amended name because the originally proposed name — Partners in Ministry — is already used by another organization.
  • Resolution 11, establishing a procedure for nominating the director for any new regions within the Assemblies of God World Missions, after minor editing amendments were made
  • Resolution 12, modifying the appointment process for home missionaries
  • Resolution 13, slightly revising the policy for home missionaries’ financial support of the Assemblies of God Home Missions office
  • Resolution 14, endorsing the creation of evangelist representatives within each district
  • Resolution 15, offering a prayer of support for President Bush, the nation’s leadership and the spiritual well-being of the United States

Also Thursday, the General Council granted Honorary General Presbyter status to seven men: Philip Bongiorno from the Pennsylvania-Delaware District; Don R. Logan from the Louisiana District; Robert Dee Crabtree from the Ohio District; Tommy G. Crider from the New Mexico District; Gene Jackson from the Tennessee District; J. Donald McManness from the Ohio District; and Larry M. Savage from the Wyoming District.

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