CWM- MONTHLY MAILER AOG Special
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AoG-Australia will be holding their National Conference April 23 to 25, when this matter will come up for vote. Sadly the hierarchy has become so dictatorial and controlling that it has been announced there will be no debate - only a vote. This is very much in line with Rick Warren's Purpose Driven control, which Assemblies of God in USA as well as in Australia appear to have adopted.
Irrespective of the outcome of the vote the die is cast. The line in the sand has been crossed. If they will not hear the Scriptures - and they won't - their rules will achieve nothing but more of what has already happened.
[Please note - Philip Powell initiated a correspondence with Andrew Evans on April 11th, 07, which continued until April 16, 07 regarding this issue. On April 14 Andrew Evans told Philip he would not answer further. Prior to receiving the following email from Salt Shakers Philip received an email from Catch the Fire on the same issue.]
Whenever a Church or movement becomes backslidden it will endeavour to remedy the situation by man made rules. It never works, simply because there is ALWAYS a deeper underlying cause. Moral and social issues are adequately addressed by biblical mandate. If there has been a departure it calls for repentance so that the conviction of the Holy Spirit will return to the pulpit. That will always arrest the drift and redress the sinful status quo in a Church, movement or denomination.
When a homosexual activist claims to represent 40 Pentecostal gay members of Hillsong and in fact leads a gay mardis-gras in the city of Sydney, as did Anthony Venn-Brown some time ago, surely everyone of Christian persuasion both within and outside of the Pentecostal camp must be alarmed, no matter whether it's a publicity stunt or not on his part. When he claims to have met with the AoG Executive prior to his action and both parties fail to state publicly what happened at the meeting, one is forced to draw his own conclusion.
Assemblies of God in Australia needs to honestly examine the procedure and policy carried out over the years. Both regimes, that under Andrew Evans ( 20 years ) and the current regime under Brian Houston (10 + years) are implicated. This is a time for soul searching not for debate about rules and regulations. There should be a call for repentance and prayer within the entire Assemblies of God movement. Through the modus operandi of the so called mega Churches within AoG-Australia the focus has been on entertainment not on Holy Ghost conviction. This has to be challenged and changed. Numbers are not a gauge of blessing in spite of what the Church Growth Movement claims. Sometimes it is simply a sign of a lowering standard in holiness.
The Bible clearly states that if a leader sins he should be rebuked
publicly so that all may fear. I have correspondence from Andrew Evans which clearly shows that this was NOT done in notably high profile cases when ministers failed morally, both heterosexually and homosexually, during his regime. This and other laxities opened the door to the evil that has produced the present state. Divorce and remarriage is endemic already within AoG-Australia. It will continue to be an irresolvable process of increasing incidents whether or not the new rules are adopted. In terms of spirituality the changing or restating of rules is totally irrelevant. At best the attempts to counter rules with rules will end up as a ploy or a smoke screen. What is required is holiness in the pulpit and Holy Ghost anointing on the preaching and exposition of God's Word. There is no other remedy, as is attested by the Bible and confirmed throughout Church history.
I am a second generation Pentecostal and was a second generation Assemblies of God member and minister until during my general secretariat of AoG-Australia (1989 to 1992) I discovered matters that concerned me greatly and I decided to challenge the system and the direction in which AoG was moving. I eventually voluntarily resigned my position as it appeared to me that I was simply knocking my head against a brick wall as a member of the National Executive. I am sure that all my colleagues were relieved to see me go.
This is not the first time the issue of the consumption of alcohol has arisen within AoG-Australia. Even those who claim total abstinence, which cannot be supported by Scripture, will occasionally indulge even if it's with a "lemon, lime and bitters". These people end up in hypocrisy. Biblically many of us voluntarily abstain for the sake of public example so as to avoid offence. The point is rules will never resolve the matter. I was at the Brisbane AoG Conference when this matter was debated fairly contentiously. Ethnic groups who do drink wine and who were members of the movement at the time faced a dilemma. Those who were there may remember that a closure motion moved from the floor rescued the situation.
Again I make the point on the Drink issue just as on the Divorce and Remarriage issue - if we refuse the guidance of the Bible, humanly devised and adopted rules most certainly will NOT help. They will simply aid and abet the proliferation of the cronyism and nepotism which is already rife within the leadership ranks of Assemblies of God in Australia.
It's time to REPENT and to CONFESS the failures of the past, including the attempted "cover ups" associated with the late Frank Houston and other notable high profile AoG ministers, and to pray the Lord's forgiveness for allowing the TRUTH of the Bible to fall in the streets of Assemblies of God in Australia and New Zealand.
Signed Philip L. Powell - Brisbane, Australia - April 18, 07.
Please read what follows and the PDF found at;
Please forward this widely
especially to AoG members world-wide.
From: Peter Stokes
To: Salt E-News
Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 07 11:34 AM
Subject: Salt Shakers E-News - forwarding concerns at changes proposed by the AOG Executive
To AOG Pastors and Members
We feel it is appropriate to forward the attached documents to our many AOG readers.
They relate to proposed changes to AOG Church policy on alcohol and divorce that will be decided at a national conference to be held on the Gold Coast from 23 to 25 April. Pastors and church delegates will be asked to vote on the motions and need to be aware there are concerns about them.
Whilst we try not to become involved in 'church' or 'denominational' politics, these are issues that are directly associated with the Biblical 'ethics/moral' issues we believe we have a mandate to speak about.
In order to help broaden the discussion process on these important issues we attach two papers, one by Ps Andrew Evans and one by Ps Danny Nalliah. Both men have been long time AOG accredited pastors (Ps Evans was National President for years). They are both as concerned as we are about the proposed changes so it is appropriate that we let them speak.
We are concerned about any lowering of moral standards that seems to be more about 'conforming' to modern society, than being related to a true change in Biblical thinking.
In this case, a number of AOG pastors have expressed their concern to us about these changes - having looked at them, we firmly believe that concern is justified and that the existing policies are still correct according to Scripture.
To make such changes is to suggest that the 'traditional' Biblical understanding about these important issues has been in error for two thousand years. If that were indeed the case, any changes should only be made following very widespread theological debate, open and lengthy deliberations coming to a strong consensus of opinion.
These 'social' changes, like so many we have seen from so many 'denominations' on so many issues over recent years, appear to have more to do with being 'relevant' than being theological.
Peter P Stokes
Co Founder & Executive Officer
Salt Shakers Inc
Ph: 03 9800 2855
Mb: 0413 084 145
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