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 AOG official statement on Lakeland

This is from Dr. Woods of the Assemblies of God:


http://ag.org/top/General_Superintendent/Statement_on_Revival.cfm

FROM THE GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT

From time to time, the General Council receives inquiries desiring comment on various revivals or ministries held in both Assemblies of God and non-Assemblies of God churches.

Rather than attempting to comment on any specific series of meetings, I feel it would be preferable to provide some Scriptural guidelines for assessment. I have great confidence in the maturity of Assemblies of God pastors and laity to make their own judgments and heed the admonition of the Apostle Paul: Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22).

The Assemblies of God is irrevocably committed to the inspiration of Scripture, that the Bible provides the assessment tools needed for evaluating doctrine and experience, and is deeply hungry for the continued filling and empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

Our former general superintendent, Thomas F. Zimmerman, once compared the Holy Spirit to a mighty river, and the Scriptures to the banks of that river. Brother Zimmerman said that great harm occurs when the river overruns the banks, but that the river does great good when it stays within the banks.

Thus, it is well for us to look at the safeguards the Bible provides in helping us “test everything.” Here are the questions we should always ask.

Is Jesus Christ exalted? The purpose of the Holy Spirit is to testify about Christ; and to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and the judgment to come (John 15:26, 16:. To the Corinthian church that had become overly enamored with charismatic manifestations, the Apostle Paul reminded them that “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).

Thus, the focus for any lasting revival always must be on Jesus. The Holy Spirit has not come to glorify Himself, or any human or angelic personality.

Is the Word of God proclaimed? Every revival with lasting effect has always been rooted in the preaching of God’s Word. This is in keeping with the spread of the Gospel in the early Church as recorded in Acts.
• Following the first persecution, they “spoke the word of God boldly” (4:31).
• Following the second persecution and flogging, “day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped preaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ” (5:42).
• After the selection of deacons, “the word of God spread” (6:7).
• Resulting from Saul’s persecution of the church, “those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went” (8:4).
• Samaria “accepted the word of God” (8:14).
• The Gentiles of Cornelius’ household “received the word of God” (11:1).
• Paul and Barnabas preached “the word of God” on their first missionary journey and “the word of God spread through the whole region” (13:46, 49).
• Before departing for their second missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas and many others “taught and preached the word of the Lord” at Antioch (14:35).
• The Holy Spirit kept Paul and Barnabas from “preaching the word in the province of Asia” (16:6).
• The Bereans “received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (17:11); Paul “was preaching the word of God at Berea” (17:13).
• At Corinth, “Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God” (18:11).
• Through Paul’s ministry at Ephesus, “all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord” (19:10).
• Paul’s farewell words to the Ephesians elders are: “For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God” (20:27).

It is clear from the above references that great focus was given in the early Church to the preaching of the Word, sometimes also identified as proclaiming the Gospel. This is consistent with the first commitment of the early Church following the day of Pentecost – “they devoted themselves to the apostles’ doctrine . . .” (Acts 2:42).

Thus, a doctrinal test for any revival is whether the content of the preaching is the same as Jesus and the apostles. The Word of God stands over personal viewpoints. Any Biblical revival must “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3). If so-called truth is being proclaimed that cannot be found in Scripture, then that proclamation violates the specific announcement of Scripture that the faith “was once for all entrusted” and such a proclamation also deviates from the apostles’ fidelity to preach the Word, and from the early Church’s devotion to the apostles’ doctrine.

The Azusa Revival (1906-1909) unabashedly proclaimed that the sure plumb line of truth was God's revealed and written Word. Elder Seymour and others were criticized sharply for their insistence on "checking everything out with the Word." But, they were unashamed. In fact, Seymour responded to these criticisms in the September, 1907, issue of The Apostolic Faith.

”We are measuring everything by the Word, every experience must measure up with the Bible. Some say that is going too far, but if we have lived too close to the Word, we will settle that with the Lord when we meet Him in the air.

Miraculous manifestations are never the test of a true revival – fidelity to God’s Word is the test. Jesus Himself said there would be many who would do miracles in His name and even cast out demons, but He does not know them (Matthew 7:15-23). Jesus warned that “many false prophets will appear and deceive many people” (Matthew 24:11). Paul warns, “If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing” (1 Timothy 6:3). To the Galatians, Paul writes: “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned (Galatians 1:. Paul also warns us: “Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. He has lost connections with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow” (Colossians 2:18-19). Peter warns us that “there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies . . . Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up.” (2 Peter 2:1-3).

In summary, the message must always be examined. If the message and the messenger line up with God’s Word, then the revival is on safe Biblical ground and it should and must be embraced. If not, then even though miracles and manifestations occur, it should be avoided.

This raises the question of how can healings and miracles occur if the message and/or messenger are not consistent with Scripture. The attribution for the healings and miracles is the grace of God and his mercy for hurting people.

3. Are persons repenting of sin, and being baptized in water and the Holy Spirit? Repentance has been called the first word of the Gospel because it is the initial response called for by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:2), Jesus (Matthew 4:17), the Twelve (Mark 6:12), Jesus after His resurrection (Luke 24:47), Peter (Acts 2:36), and Paul (Acts 26:20). With repentance comes baptism in water and the overwhelming or baptism in the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38-39).

Unless these initiatory events of the Christian life occur, along with the sanctifying work of the Spirit that leads to a holy life – then the miracles, crowds, and enthusiasm will quickly wane.

Of course, there are additional questions that can be raised, but my purpose is to give some starter reflections for those who have honest hearts to “test all things” as Paul admonished. If the above three questions cannot be answered with a resounding yes, then perhaps other questions are unnecessary.

The modern Pentecostal revival is now over 100 years old. Within that revival, there have been some significant centers of activity. For example, the Azusa Street Revival generated a missionary movement whose effects we still see today. The Charismatic Renewal brought refreshing both to Pentecostal and non-Pentecostal believers. However, there have also been some tornadoes that have brought destruction. In other words – there have been good winds and ill winds.

It is our responsibility to maintain a deep hunger for God and to keep our focus on the mission He has given us: to bring glory to God, to evangelize the lost, and to make disciples. We cannot do this on our own. We need the empowerment of the Holy Spirit along with the signs that follow those who believe.

Someone has said that revivals are like child birth. They are messy, but you like the final result. Certainly, every revival has been marked by some elements that would be regarded as extreme. Dr. J. Edwin Orr, who studied and wrote more on the history of revivals than anyone else in Christian history, told me once that revivals are like a cabin on the Maine coast that has been shuttered up for the winter. When the winds begin to blow, the first thing that begins to make noise is all the loose hinges and shutters. And, that may well be the case – so we must be cautious at the initial onset of a revival to let some “loose hinges and shutters” have their freedom – but, ultimately, if the revival is to have enduring fruitfulness, it must be pastored carefully with doctrinal soundness, moral and financial accountability, and care to give publicity to Christ rather than to the revival.

The Azusa Street revival had such enduring fruitfulness precisely because the three questions raised above can be well answered – both then and now: Christ was exalted, the Word of God was the plumb line, and people responded to the Gospel with repentance, and baptism in water and in the Spirit. And, like the early Church, they were full of the Holy Spirit and went everywhere to share the Good News!

Let us keep the prayer of Habakkuk (3:2) in our hearts and on our lips:

LORD, I have heard of your fame;
I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD.
Renew them in our day,
In our time make them known.

Your brother in Christ,
George O. Wood
with the concurrence of the Executive Presbytery of
The General Council of the Assemblies of God


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2008/6/7 14:42Profile
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 Re: AOG official statement on Lakeland

Quote:
The Azusa Revival (1906-1909) unabashedly proclaimed that the sure plumb line of truth was God's revealed and written Word. Elder Seymour and others were criticized sharply for their insistence on "checking everything out with the Word." But, they were unashamed. In fact, Seymour responded to these criticisms in the September, 1907, issue of The Apostolic Faith.


Excellent article in light of these troubling occurrences in Christendom.


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2008/6/7 19:37Profile
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 Re: AOG official statement on Lakeland

Quote:
Paul also warns us: “Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. He has lost connections with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow” (Colossians 2:18-19).



Quote:
and care to give publicity to Christ rather than to the revival.


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Mike Balog

 2008/6/7 19:45Profile
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Posts: 640
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 Re:

While brother Wood has made some encouraging statements on the need to examine all things by the Word of God, I would hesitate to call this a statement on Lakeland rather a general statement on revival. Unfortunately this unwillingness to deal directly with issues negatively affecting the AG's was part of the reason I eventually left that organization. This is not the same AG that went head on with the "latter rain" movement or earlier in its history struggled and, through the writings of J. Roswell Flower, rejected the oneness heresy. His statement "trusting" the maturity of the AG pastors to judge rightly shows a lack of leadership on their part.

Let an AG pastor forget or not be able to afford to pay his tithes to the district and I guarantee there will be quick action. Let an AG pastor teach heresy and they trust their maturity.

I guess this is a little personal for me coming from the AG's, and I've also recently lost a best friend to the junk going on in Lakeland.


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SI Moderator - Jeremy Hulsey

 2008/6/7 22:14Profile
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 Re:

While this statement has much to commend it, I agree with Hulsey that it's really a non-statement. It's as much as a non-statement as Gamaliel's counsel was in Acts 5:38-39 towards the apostles' preaching.

A pastor I once knew said that a lot of this junk pops up when people grow bored with their Christianity. Indeed, they find the faith once and for all handed down to the saints to be boring. They need something more exciting and easy, thus, flock in mass numbers to partake in this.


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Jimmy H

 2008/6/7 22:24Profile
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 Re:

Yes, I felt the same after listening to Wood. It is not a direct indictment against the deception at Lakeland per se; it's a general statement on revival. Note, I am also a former AG minister, having relinquished my credentials just this year. What you say about tithes is very true - it was almost to the degree of militancy and I just couldn't deal with it anymore. Thankfully, the issue over tithes wasn't the ultimate reason I broke from them, but it certainly was a contributing factor.

The avoidance of naming names in light of what is going on down in Florida is pretty alarming. I would venture to say there are quite a few AG pastors of relative prominence subscribing to this thing in Lakeland, and to call a spade a spade might well cause a lightening bolt of dissention in the camp.

It's the only reason I can think of for not naming the obvious.


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Paul Frederick West

 2008/6/7 22:45Profile
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 Re: AOG official statement on Lakeland

Mr. Wood's article is a step in the right direction.
I sence that his article is a gentle and suttle rebuke for pastors who are sign and wonder happy right now, to come back to earth and smell the sound doctrine flower before they ultimately will be brough out to the wood shed.
Our AG demonation has an official position paper concerning these kinds of teachings and practices.
we will hopefully see if the new leadership is willing to follow through with its policies and official statements.
I have made official complaints about a church in my area and am waiting a reply from the Local General council.
Im praying for positive results, and repentance from teachers who teach herasy.


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howard

 2008/6/8 0:37Profile
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 Re:

I think a good sermon to listen to that touches on a subject such as this is Dave Wilkerson's "A Call To Anguish"


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SI Moderator - Jeremy Hulsey

 2008/6/8 1:09Profile









 Re: AOG official statement on Lakeland



I spoke to some relatives of ours the other day that attended the Lakeland conference. This woman was prayed for because she has lung problems and nearly died at one time. She was told that God was going to fully heal her of her lung problems but she is still very sick.

Her husband has been seeing angels.I am concerned about this. He says that he has seen stadiums of angels sitting down, some standing, very ancient and wise looking. This next part is what really concerns me. He says there is this angel that sits in a chair in the corner of his bedroom 24/7. I know this is not of God because even the angels themselves told the disciples , ” ….. Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1:11.

No doubt if you have a spiritual being sitting in the corner of your bedroom 24/7 your mind is going to be preoccupied with that. What do you think? How do you get these unwanted guests out of your home? Right now they do believe they are angles but I am trying to show them this is not of God. Once they come to the reality of the truth they will have to deal with this problem in their home.


 2008/6/8 8:02
crsschk
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Posts: 9192
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 Re: No ...

Quote:
She was told that God was going to fully heal her of her lung problems but she is still very sick.




This pompous, arrogant, puffed up mindset ... It is not faith but presumption and what ultimately is the byproduct of it all ... The shipwreck created by these people and what do they really care while they are off staggering about in their signs and wonders, having a grand old time in their quasi-spiritual euphoria..

Once again these are the ramifications that will not be looked at and dealt with. How many more?
There is no weightiness of understanding to these flippantly uttered words, no grasp that they are telling this woman a falsehood straight faced and when it doesn't come to pass it is cast behind their back and forgotten, if it hasn't been forgotten already. It is incredulous and damnable. Might the Lord heal her in spite of them and might He never let them hear of it ...

What's worse is even how this husband seemingly is caught up unaware and sees no dichotomy between what is being told to his wife yet still very sick and an audience of angels ... ministering spirits?

This verse again;


[i]Paul also warns us: “Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. He has lost connections with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow”[/i] (Colossians 2:18-19).

This is precisely what this Bentely fellow has done and is spreading about. He has [i]gone into great detail about what he has seen[/i] and [i] his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions[/i]. [i]He has lost connections with the Head, from whom the whole body[/i] ...

Sister if the Lord enables you to guide them into all truth and the reality of that truth I would think the unwanted guests would also be dislodged from their moorings, they have never been able to tolerate the Spirit of truth when it is present and will flee from it ...

[i]Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.[/i] 1Jn 4:1-3


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Mike Balog

 2008/6/8 10:12Profile





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