Denominations

The Web’s most asked questions about Assemblies of God

Do Assemblies of God believe in Eternal security?

The answer is no. In the Assemblies of God Enrichment Journal, W.E. Nunnally wrote the following:

The Arminian/Wesleyan/Holiness tradition, and the Assemblies of God that grew out of it, have both historically rejected the belief in eternal security. The official AG Web site states, “The Assemblies of God has taken a stand against the teaching that God’s sovereign will completely overrides man’s free will to accept and serve Him. In view of this we believe it is possible for a person once saved to turn from God and be lost again.”[1]

In this, the AG is like other Pentecostal denominations, holding the Arminian position. Of course, this doesn’t mean there aren’t some within AG churches that believe differently. Nunnaly goes on to also say this in his article:

Do Assemblies of God speak in tongues?

The answer is yes. Assemblies of God is a Pentecostal denomination, which means that they accept the legitimacy of miraculous spiritual gifts to the present, including speaking in tongues. In Pentecostal theology, after salvation a person has a secondary experience called the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Assemblies of God teach that the initial physical evidence of this baptism in the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues. That is, if a person has never spoken in tongues, they may be saved, but they have not been baptized in the Holy Spirit.

This from the AG position paper on the Baptism in the Holy Spirit:

The Pentecostal doctrine of “the initial, physical evidence” of speaking in tongues is an attempt to encapsulate the thought that at the time of Spirit baptism the believer will speak in tongues. It conveys the idea that speaking in tongues is the initial, empirical accompaniment to Spirit baptism. Nowhere does the Scripture indicate that one may be baptized in the Spirit without speaking in tongues.[2]

Separate from the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is the gift of tongues. The AG statement of Fundamental truths clarifies this distinction:

The speaking in tongues in this instance is the same in essence as the gift of tongues, but is different in purpose and use.[3]

Although this isn’t true for all AG churches, as the denomination is large and has many different flavors, more than some other Pentecostal and Charismatic congregations, Assemblies of God often put more rules and order on speaking in tongues. Scott Wilson, Senior pastor at AG church The Oaks Fellowship in Dallas, Texas wrote the following, published in the Assemblies of God Enrichment Journal:

Everything should be done decently and in order (1 Corinthians 14:33). The public gifts of prophecy and tongues are active in the services at The Oaks, but they only occur when the lead pastor senses the leading of the Holy Spirit. I will say something like, “I sense that God is wanting to speak to us right now. If you have a word of prophecy or a gift of tongues, feel free to give it now.”

We should know those who labor among us (1 Thessalonians 5:12). We ask that people who give prophetic messages or who exercise the gift of tongues in one of our corporate gatherings be a member of the church in good standing. Otherwise, they should write it out and give it to the elders. […] People should be zealous to be used in the gifts so the body of Christ can be edified, and not because they want to be seen or heard. The public gifts are for the edification of the church, not for the messenger (1 Corinthians 14:5,12).

The public gift of tongues is given as a sign to unbelievers (1 Corinthians 14:22–25). The gift of tongues is a divine altar call for unbelievers. So at The Oaks, we always give a salvation opportunity after any public gift of tongues.

The instructions we have given at The Oaks have not hindered the moving of the Spirit in our services. In fact, they have given God’s people a safe place to practice the gifts. [4]

Assemblies of God do not teach that the language spoken in needs to be a known language, though they believe it often is. Jordan Daniel May, Assemblies of God correctional chaplain in Raleigh, North Carolina wrote the following in the Enrichment Journal:

Pentecostals acknowledge that speaking in tongues may be a “heavenly prayer language” known only to God.

First Corinthians 14:2 says: “For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit”

Yet there is evidence to suggest that tongues may also be, at times, known human languages. With nearly 7,000 languages in the world, not to mention the 100,000 languages that are now extinct, it is reasonable that the miracle of Pentecostal tongues is still expressed through known human languages today.[5]

 

Do Assemblies of God believe in Predestination?

The answer is no, or at least, not in the way that a Calvinist would define predestination, which is likely what most are thinking of when they ask this question. The Assemblies of God, or AG, along with all Christian denominations accept that there is a doctrine of predestination, since, after all, that term is in the Bible.

The Assemblies of God have a position paper on assurance of salvation where they make their view plain this way:

…it is important to understand the difference between predestination, which is a biblical concept, and predeterminism, which is not. Predestination secures an eternal destiny for God’s people (the corporate body of Christ) whom He foreknew from eternity would respond to the conviction of His Spirit and accept His redemptive provision in Christ (John 14:2). Predeterminism, by contrast, asserts that God has decided everyone’s individual actions and fate in advance without noting their personal decision to believe.[6]

In another position paper, the AG states some of the reasons they reject reformed views on this topic:

The primary differences lie in what may easily be construed as the removal of human responsibility (particularly with regard to irresistible grace and election), the logical inference that missions work is not needed or desirable, the hopelessness of reprobation, and the haughtiness of perseverance.[7]

Do Assemblies of God drink alcohol?

The answer is no. The Assemblies of God position paper on the topic of “Abstinence from Alcohol” says the following:

From its inception, the Assemblies of God has been unequivocally committed to abstinence from alcoholic beverages, a conviction firmly rooted in what the Bible teaches about the abuse of wine, the consumption of strong drink, and also in its cardinal ethical principle of love for God and others.[8]

A former assemblies of God pastor who runs the website ArminianToday states that he believes one of the top three issues facing the Assemblies of God denomination is their position on Alcohol. Here’s a quote from the article:

The AG has preached abstinence for many years and requires all their ministers to abstain from all alcohol.  With alcohol now being a normal part of American life, the AG pastors are beginning to question whether the abstinence doctrine is a cultural doctrine and not found in the Bible.  Personally, I have long preached against drunkenness (Ephesians 5:18) and I do believe that alcohol is dangerous but I also don’t believe that an air-tight case can be made for abstinence.[9]

Finally, Ken Draughton, the superintendent of the Alabama District Council of the AG has written the following as he begins an article on the topic of Alcohol:

I have felt the pastoral responsibility for some time to address a subject that will undoubtedly be controversial even though it should not be. There are those in our fellowship who feel we should loosen our stance on alcohol and allow moderate drinking. They say, “We are mature, and we can handle it, besides who will it hurt?” The glaring problem with this logic is that no one would ever become an alcoholic or get drunk, lose control of the car and kill someone, or beat their wife or children in a drunken rage if they would have never taken that first drink. There is a lot of hermeneutical debate over the words used in the Bible for wine. We may not be able to satisfy everyone because of their particular lenses of interpretation, but the proof of the absolute need for complete abstinence of drinking alcohol is seen from the consequences of its use.[10]

Do Assemblies of God believe in the trinity?

The answer is yes. Nearly everyone who claims to be a Christian denomination is Trinitarian. But the reason that this would be asked about the Assemblies of God is because they are a Pentecostal Denomination, and the most well-known non-Trinitarian groups that call themselves Christian are the Oneness Pentecostals who reject the orthodox view of the trinity. Most Pentecostals are not so-called Oneness, but Oneness Pentecostals are large in number. The United Pentecostal Church International and the Pentecostal Assemblies of the world are two Oneness Pentecostal denominations.

Assemblies of God were right in the middle of the controversy of Trinitarian views versus Oneness ones, which reached a peak in the early 1900s. In 1916 the leadership adopted a very firm Trinitarian position as part of their statement of Fundamental Truths, and this led about one third of their ministers to leave the AG and form other denominations. Since this time, most Oneness Pentecostals and Trinitarian Pentecostals have ceased fellowship and work with each other, and Oneness groups are also often excluded by otherwise ecumenical Evangelicals.

Oneness Pentecostals typically believe that the name “Jesus” can be applied to God the Father, and that the description of the Godhead as three persons is incorrect.

The Assemblies of God has addressed the differences. For Example, in the Assemblies of God Heritage Magazine, in Spring 1991, they stated,

While the Assemblies of God has continued to view the Oneness teaching on the Godhead as erroneous (and heretical)…the label of ‘cult’…is sociologically and theologically undeserved.[11]

The following is the very thorough and clear position of the Assemblies of God on the Trinity, as found in their statement of Fundamental Truths:

  1. THE ONE TRUE GOD

The one true God has revealed Himself as the eternally self-existent “I AM,” the Creator of heaven and earth and the Redeemer of mankind. He has further revealed Himself as embodying the principles of relationship and association as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

THE ADORABLE GODHEAD

  1. Terms Defined

The terms “Trinity” and “persons” as related to the Godhead, while not found in the Scriptures, are words in harmony with Scripture, whereby we may convey to others our immediate understanding of the doctrine of Christ respecting the Being of God, as distinguished from “gods many and lords many.” We therefore may speak with propriety of the Lord our God who is One Lord, as a trinity or as one Being of three persons, and still be absolutely scriptural.

  1. Distinction and Relationship in the Godhead

Christ taught a distinction of Persons in the Godhead which He expressed in specific terms of relationship, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but that this distinction and relationship, as to its mode is inscrutable and incomprehensible, because unexplained.

  1. Unity of the One Being of Father, Son and Holy Spirit

Accordingly, therefore, there is that in the Father which constitutes him the Father and not the Son; there is that in the Son which constitutes Him the Son and not the Father; and there is that in the Holy Spirit which constitutes Him the Holy Spirit and not either the Father or the Son. Wherefore the Father is the Begetter, the Son is the Begotten, and the Holy Spirit is the one proceeding from the Father and the Son. Therefore, because these three persons in the Godhead are in a state of unity, there is but one Lord God Almighty and His name one.

  1. Identity and Cooperation in the Godhead

The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are never identical as to Person; nor confused as to relation; nor divided in respect to the Godhead; nor opposed as to cooperation. The Son is in the Father and the Father is in the Son as to relationship. The Son is with the Father and the Father is with the Son, as to fellowship. The Father is not from the Son, but the Son is from the Father, as to authority. The Holy Spirit is from the Father and the Son proceeding, as to nature, relationship, cooperation and authority. Hence, neither Person in the Godhead either exists or works separately or independently of the others.

  1. The Title, Lord Jesus Christ

The appellation, “Lord Jesus Christ,” is a proper name. It is never applied in the New Testament, either to the Father or to the Holy Spirit. It therefore belongs exclusively to the Son of God.

  1. The Lord Jesus Christ, God with Us

The Lord Jesus Christ, as to His divine and eternal nature, is the proper and only Begotten of the Father, but as to His human nature, He is the proper Son of Man. He is therefore, acknowledged to be both God and man; who because He is God and man is “Immanuel,” God with us.

  1. The Title, Son of God

Since the name “Immanuel” embraces both God and man in the one Person, our Lord Jesus Christ, it follows that the title, Son of God, describes His proper deity, and the title, Son of Man, His proper humanity. Therefore, the title Son of God, belongs to the order of eternity, and the title, Son of Man, to the order of time.

  1. Transgression of the Doctrine of Christ

Wherefore, it is a transgression of the Doctrine of Christ to say that Jesus Christ derived the title, Son of God, solely from the fact of the incarnation, or because of His relation to the economy of redemption. Therefore, to deny that the Father is a real and eternal Father, and that the Son is a real and eternal Son, is a denial of the distinction and relationship in the Being of God; a denial of the Father, and the Son; and a displacement of the truth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.

  1. Exaltation of Jesus Christ as Lord

The Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, having by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; angels and principalities and powers having been made subject unto Him. And having been made both Lord and Christ, He sent the Holy Spirit that we, in the name of Jesus, might bow our knees and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father until the end, when the Son shall become subject to the Father that God may be all in all.

  1. Equal Honor to the Father and to the Son

Wherefore, since the Father has delivered all judgment unto the Son, it is not only the express duty of all in heaven and on earth to bow the knee, but it is an unspeakable joy in the Holy Spirit to ascribe unto the Son all the attributes of Deity, and to give Him all honor and the glory contained in all the names and titles of the Godhead except those which express relationship (see Distinction and Relationship in the Godhead, Unity of the One Being of Father, Son and Holy Spirit , and Identity and Cooperation in the Godhead) and thus honor the Son even as we honor the Father.[12]

How do Assemblies of God baptize?

Assemblies of God baptize by immersion, and only for believers, not infants.

The following is stated in the AG Statement of Fundamental Truths:

The ordinance of baptism by immersion is commanded by the Scriptures. All who repent and believe on Christ as Saviour and Lord are to be baptized. Thus they declare to the world that they have died with Christ and that they also have been raised with Him to walk in newness of life.[13]

Ken Horn, former editor of the AG magazine the Pentecostal Evangel, wrote the following in that magazine:

Water baptism is by immersion. The Greek baptizo always means to dip or immerse. Immersion also best portrays death and resurrection. The element, water, portrays spiritual washing.[14]

The following is a quote from an article formerly posted on the AG website, annotated to say that it “reflects commonly held beliefs based on scripture which have been endorsed by the church’s Commission on Doctrinal Purity and the Executive Presbytery.”

According to the Bible, everyone (adult or child) who recognizes his or her need of a Savior and then repents and believes in Christ should be baptized (Acts 2:38,41; 8:36-38). But in the Scripture there is no record of infants or very young children being baptized. This is because they are not yet able to understand the need of a Savior.[15]

Additionally, the AG position is that “Water baptism does not save in itself. It is a symbol or figure.”[16]

What do Assemblies of God believe about Salvation?

Assemblies of God views on salvation are very similar to Evangelical Christian beliefs. The main notable distinction is the Evangelical position typically views the indwelling of the holy spirit, which takes place at salvation, to be synonymous with the baptism of the holy spirit, whereas the Assemblies of God, as a Pentecostal denomination, believe in a second separate baptism of the holy spirit, above and beyond the holy spirit’s indwelling at salvation.

This Baptism is not viewed as requirement for salvation, as was stated in in article in the Pentecostal Evangel:

Receiving eternal life does not depend on being baptized in the Holy Spirit, for salvation is by grace through faith. It is a gift purchased for us by Christ when He was crucified. All we have to do is accept the gift. Just as the repentant thief on the cross next to Jesus was assured of entering paradise that very day, we too are assured a place in heaven with the Father if we believe in Jesus Christ. It is most unfortunate that some have said, “Unless you have spoken in tongues you will not go to heaven.” This is contrary to the Scriptures.[17]

Otherwise, they believe that salvation is necessary,[18] that salvation only comes through Christ[19], that it takes place by faith and calling on the name of the Lord,[20] and that any person can be saved.[21]

They are Arminian, which means they reject Limited Atonement, so they don’t view a person’s ability to believe as having been predetermined by God. Additionally, they believe that Salvation can be lost.

An article by Thomas Trask published on the AG website says the following:

People need to understand they are sinners. Some churches today are uncomfortable with saying to the unsaved, “You are a sinner.” But Scripture says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). People cannot know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior until they first realize they are sinners and that their sin separates them from God. Pastors do unsaved people a disservice when they allow them to become comfortable in church, continue to live in their sin, and never confront them with the claims of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ death at Calvary purchased our salvation and atoned for everyone’s sin. […]When people are saved, they become a new creation in Christ Jesus. “Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Salvation is a life transforming experience. The things we once loved, we now hate; and, the things we once hated, we now love. Every person must have the life transforming experience called salvation. Salvation is not found in church membership; it is found in a relationship. Scripture says “all we like sheep have gone astray…”[22]

What do Assemblies of God believe about the Rapture?

The Assemblies of God official position is in a Pre-Tribulation imminent rapture. In the AG statement of Fundamental Truths, the following is stated:

The resurrection of those who have fallen asleep in Christ and their translation together with those who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord is the imminent and blessed hope of the Church[23]

In a position paper adopted by the AG general presbytery in 1979, this is stated:

Since Scripture does not contradict itself, it seems reasonable to conclude that the passages describing Christ’s coming for the saints and with the saints indicate two phases of His coming. We believe it is scripturally correct to assume that the intervening period between the two is the time when the world will experience the Great Tribulation, involving the reign of Antichrist and the outpouring of God’s wrath on the wicked.

Although God’s people may endure severe trials before the Lord comes, the Church will be raptured before the period called the Great Tribulation.[24]

Later in the same position paper, it is reiterated:

The weight of Scripture supports a pre-Tribulation Rapture. Wherever teaching about the Second Coming occurs in the New Testament, imminence is underscored. To interpose other events before the Rapture does violence to such teaching.[25]

[1] http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org/200804/200804_122_eternal_security.cfm (Accessed 4/15/2019)

[2] https://ag.org/Beliefs/Position-Papers/Baptism-in-the-Holy-Spirit (Accessed 4/15/2019)

[3] https://ag.org/Beliefs/Statement-of-Fundamental-Truths (Accessed 4/15/2019)

[4] http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org/201402/201402_076_Worship.cfm (Accessed 4/15/2019)

[5] http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org/201501/201501_010_Tongues.cfm (Accessed 4/15/2019)

[6] https://ag.org/Beliefs/Position-Papers/Assurance-Of-Salvation (Accessed 4/15/2019)

[7] https://ag.org/Beliefs/Position-Papers/Reformed-Theology-Response-of-the-AG-Position-Paper (Accessed 4/15/2019)

[8] https://ag.org/Beliefs/Position-Papers/Abstinence-from-Alcohol (Accessed 4/15/2019)

[9] https://arminiantoday.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/three-issues-facing-the-assemblies-of-god-and-others-as-well/ (Accessed 4/15/2019)

[10] http://adcag.org/articles/under-the-influence (Accessed 4/15/2019)

[11] http://www.altupc.com/altupc/articles/agclarif.htm (Accessed 4/15/2019)

[12] https://ag.org/Beliefs/Statement-of-Fundamental-Truths (Accessed 4/15/2019)

[13] https://ag.org/Beliefs/Statement-of-Fundamental-Truths (Accessed 4/15/2019)

[14] http://www.pe.ag.org/Articles2007/4841_Church.cfm#author (Accessed 4/15/2019)

[15] https://web.archive.org/web/20150910055507/http://www.ag.org/top/Beliefs/gendoct_11_accountability.cfm (Accessed 4/15/2019)

[16] http://www.pe.ag.org/Articles2007/4841_Church.cfm#author (Accessed 4/15/2019)

[17] http://www.pentecostalevangel.com/Articles2001/4542_qanda.cfm (Accessed 4/15/2019)

[18] https://ag.org/-/media/AGORG/Beliefs/Salvation/HowCanIBeSaved.pdf?la=en p.1 (accessed 4/15/2019)

[19] ibid

[20] Ibid, p.2

[21] ibid

[22] https://ag.org/-/media/AGORG/Beliefs/Resources/Defining_Salvation.pdf?la=en (Accessed 4/15/2019)

[23] https://ag.org/Beliefs/Position-Papers/The-Rapture-of-the-Church (Accessed 4/15/2019)

[24] Ibid

[25] Ibid

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