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General Council Business Ends with Eschatological Error Resolutions

A series of eschatological errors were taken before the general council for clarity and updated language on Friday.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – On the final day of business at General Council 2023, votes took place on a series of eschatological errors that had resulted from changes in culture or outdated language in current bylaws. There were healthy discussions held on each of the resolutions and each resolution was adopted by the assembly.

Resolution 13 replaced outdated language from 1925 which had been used to highlight disagreement with a popular false teaching of the time. By renaming the false doctrine in question “Universalism” instead of “The restitution of all things”, it made clear the error is the belief held by universalists when many no longer understand the ideology meant by the phrase, the restitution of all things.

Resolutions 14 and 15 renamed other false doctrine categories which were presented in an effort to clarify and strengthen the positions of the Assemblies of God on these beliefs. Resolution 14 replaced the title "Post-tribulation rapture” with “The imminent return of Jesus”, pinpointing that issue would be taken with any doctrinal ideology that denied the imminent return of Christ. Resolution 15 added the words “and Denial of the bodily reign of Christ” to the title previously stated as simply “Amillenialism”. Again, the adding of this language broadened the category to include any false doctrine that denies the future bodily reign of Christ.

Resolution 16 gave further insight into the issue of disciplinary action for ministers who teach or preach views not held by the Assemblies of God on such eschatological issues. The language added to this bylaw stated that ministers could teach or discuss other doctrinal views but the issue would come with the intent to lead others astray.  The intent behind the teaching now gives ministers the freedom to have conversations about other points of view but they are not permitted to have those discussions with the intent to lead others to adopting beliefs that are outside those outlined by the Assemblies of God bylaws.

Finally, resolution 21 revoked the 26th resolution of the 1995 General Council which prohibited the discontinuing of the King James version of biblical text printed in Sunday school curriculum. The resolution was adopted and the former resolution was rescinded.

The remaining honorary general presbyters were presented, via adopted resolutions, in the final votes of the day.  The honorary general presbyters were as follows:

·         Beth Grant, appointed missionary for 46 years by the Assemblies of God World Missions (AGWM) department. Grant was also the first woman to serve on the executive presbytery and served faithfully for 14 years. She is the first female minister to receive the honorary general presbyter designation.

·         M. Wayne Blackburn, founder of the League of Christian Schools and former general presbyter of 28 years.

·         Donald G. Gifford, former youth and children’s pastor as well as former district superintendent of the Indiana District

·         William Kirk, lead pastor at several New York churches, totaling 24 years in lead pastoral ministry, and New York Ministry Network assistant superintendent from 2005-2023.

·         Marcus M. McClain, general presbyter since 2003 and former leader in the New Mexico Ministry Network.

·         Gregory M. Mundis, former executive director of the Assemblies of God World Missions and longtime ordained minister with the Assemblies of God.

·         Sergio Navarrete, former 20-year general presbyter, current vice president of the Hispanic World Fraternity of the Assemblies of God, and former district superintendent of the Southern Pacific District.

Additional business included a report from U.S. Missions Executive Director Malcolm Burleigh, who stated that finances were up 8% in the current year, and a legal report from appointed legal counsel, Kristen Waggoner. In her report, addressed what she called one of the most pressing issues facing the church, the issue of gender ideology. Waggoner gave an informative and inspiring speech challenging the Assemblies of God ministers and leaders to respond to this issue with grace, but not at the cost of truth.

“If we help perpetuate the confusion that is keeping people lost,” she warned, “it is not loving.” She stated that churches and religious organizations need to be armed with tools to safeguard themselves against accusations of discrimination and incidents of liability. She gave several practical steps pastors and ministry leaders could take to be preventative in this rising issue. These steps included clearly communicating the church/organization’s stance on the issue of gender identity to the congregation and the community, creating core documents so that the aforementioned beliefs and practices are memorialized in writing, and consistently applying those documents.

“The courts see consistency as evidence of sincerity,” she stated as she urged, again, proactive precautions be established.

Ashley B. Grant

Ashley B. Grant has a master's degree in Human Services Marriage and Family Counseling from Liberty University and is a credentialed Christian counselor through the American Association of Christian Counselors. Grant also holds certifications in crisis pregnancy counseling and advanced life coaching. Ashley is a fourth generation Assemblies of God preacher’s kid and has one daughter and three sons.