What's Wrong With

Resolution 15 Of The 49th
General Council Of The Assemblies Of God

Why Those Divorced And Remarried With A 'Former' Spouse Still Living Should Not Hold Credentials

by Peter Macinta
When this article was first written, in most cases holding credentials with the Assemblies of God (AOG) meant that one could become a pastor of a church. In August of 2001 the General Council of the Assemblies of God voted in favor of granting credentials to those that are divorced and remarried if the remarriage occurred prior to their conversion. Had this vote came up in 1979 and had I been eligible and present to vote at that General Council of 1979 I, too, would have voted in favor of that resolution. However, since 1981, through independent study I came to the conclusion that the former position of the AOG to deny credentials in these cases was absolutely correct. The decision of the 49th General Council (2001) is contrary to ALL Scripture, attacks both the family and the pulpit, and places the members of the Assemblies of God in the position of corporate disobedience and duplicity.

This page lists the numerous reasons as to why the decision of the 49th General Council is a great error and is produced in the hopes that a future General Council will PERMANENTLY reverse the decision. By permanent I mean not only to reverse it on the books, but reverse it the hearts of my brothers. As far as I know, even if brothers that adhere to solid Biblical teaching prevail and place measures in our Constitution and not our By-Laws, these measures can still be overturned.

Resolution 15, Which Passed:

As already stated, this resolution permits the General Council and District Councils to credential those that are divorced and remarried, who have a "former" companion still living, providing the remarriage occurred prior to conversion. The resolution also brought the action of divorce prior to conversion into an equal level on which the Executive Presbytery has the "right to decide" on annulments and marriage dissolutions. Also, the resolution does NOT state "prior to initial conversion". For complete By-Law ramifications, the reader is encouraged to read Minutes of the 49th General Council of the Assemblies of God.

The Scriptures In Question

Timothy 3:2 - A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

1 Tim. 3:12 - Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

Titus 1:5-6 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:
If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.

The "Rationale" In Presenting The Resolution

For this, I will list the points of the preamble to the actual resolution (that is, the lines that begin "WHEREAS") and the Scriptural proper Scriptural or COMMON SENSE response to each. NOTE: In many cases, the Scripture to support my response can be found in the links provided within the response.
Click here and another window should pop-up with the actual resolution copied from the Minutes. It sure beats typing out the whole thing!

WHEREAS...#1: Our brothers point out that the former by-laws of the AOG make provision that anyone could be credentialed after conversion regardless of their past before conversion if they meet the basic requirements set forth in the By-Laws UNLESS such candidates were divorced and remarried. From the initial point of the resolution it is made to seem that man's law is being questioned or, at the least, man's interpretation of God's law.
HOWEVER, of all the actions of man, marriage is most unique and insoluble except by physical death. Their thoughts, as rational as they seem to be, are based upon man's logic at this point and not the Word of God. They soon bring in Scripture in the balance of the preamble but THAT is one of my main points: they have interpreted the Word based on the common logic of man and not upon the ENTIRE counsel of God. Proof that they do not consider the ENTIRE counsel of God is found in that they, in this opening statement, declare that divorce does "end a marriage." Never once in the Word of God is it indicated that divorce ends a marriage.

#2: This is a main part of the rationale of those who wanted resolution 15. The statement is correct of course, but denies the SCRIPTURAL FACT that grace does not remove historical fact nor does it negate our the responsibilities of our actions in the past.

#3, 4, 5, 6 - Please refer to the image of the By-Laws in the link provided above. Our brothers point out that Paul termed himself the chief of sinners yet was accounted by God to be worthy, after conversion, to serve as an apostle.
COMMON SENSE! (Hermeneutics) - Hermeneutics adjures us to make a distinction between how a person feels about themselves and the actual fact of God's commands and actions. Paul felt that he was the chief of sinners, but God never said He was. Paul, as any devout Christian should, had a very humble (but balanced) view of himself. Every Christian should declare themselves the chief of sinners. Again, even though we are forgiven by God at salvation and the "slate is wiped clean" grace does not remove historical fact nor does it negate our the responsibilities of our actions in the past. Those remarried with a "former companion" still living are still married to that "former companion" and may still have responsibilities in prior marriages.
Resolution 15, based upon poor hermeneutics, is an affront to portions of position papers constructed prior to that General Council by the Executive Presbytery on this whole matter. The poor hermeneutics of this resolution signals to many that liberal elements are arising to power within the AOG.

Please carefully note the portions 3 to 6 of the preamble of resolution 15 (49th GC) deal with the forgiveness of God in regards to sin. We who disagree with resolution 15 fully recognize this forgiveness, but realize that forgiveness does not eradicate the effects of our actions.

#7 - Reading that paragraph the operative word to me is "appears." The author of res. 15 feels that the current AOG By-Laws conflict with mercy of God. The author, and our brothers that agree with him either fail or refuse to make a distinction between sin and the responsibility of our actions.

With the examination of the preamble now discussed, I will now list the numerous reasons as to why res. 15 of the 49th GC of the AOG is a grave error and needs to be reversed PERMANENTLY. The support for some of these reasons may be found on other pages of this site and when that is the case, I will list the link of which, when clicked, will open another window.

1. The Resolution Makes The Current AOG USA Stance One Of Blatant Duplicity

The AOG will now grant credentials to the divorced and remarried, but, if you fall from grace by child molestation, you'll never hold credentials again. Yet, the preamble to res. 15 49th GC states that all sin is the same and that Paul declared himself the chief of sinners!

(Grant it, the following news article, received by email from the AG news service, sounds like it deals with ministers who fell from grace. However, what is the difference? Is not sin and redemption the same for the backslider as it is for the one who first accepts Christ? Also, carefully note the wording in that, it can be assumed that the AOG will have the right to remove credentials even if it is found that the sexual offence occurred prior to salvation.)



Assemblies of God leaders have re-emphasized the church's long-standing policy of "zero tolerance" for ministers found guilty of any sexual contact with a minor.

The Office of Public Relations states that the church, one of the largest in the Pentecostal movement, has historically removed the credentials of any minister found guilty of pedophilia, homosexuality, or incest. While Assemblies of God disciplinary measures provide for a minister's rehabilitation and restoration to the ministry for other causes, the church has never restored credentials to those guilty of these offenses.

It should be pointed out, that rehabilitation and restoration to the ministry is vastly different than spiritual forgiveness and restoration of relationship with God. All Christianity knows that God's forgiveness is extended to any who sincerely repent of their sin and turn to Him. However, the Assemblies of God believes that a minister who is guilty of sexual abuse of a minor, homosexuality, or incest should never be restored to a place of leadership and ministry in the church. This is not a new position but one the church has always held.
A/G NEWS #693: May 6, 2002

Note well the words..." It should be pointed out, that rehabilitation and restoration to the ministry is vastly different than spiritual forgiveness and restoration of relationship with God." That is why time and time again I have asserted, yes, amen!, the person divorced and remarried IS forgiven, but it does not remove historical fact nor does it remove responsibilities and ramifications for sin!

There is no difference that I know of between initial forgiveness and subsequent forgiveness. The Prodigal son, upon returning home, was still considered the father's son. The fact that a ring was placed on his finger indicates his restoration of authority as a son.

Therefore, if the Assemblies of God feels that it is proper to grant credentials to the divorced and remarried who are forgiven, credentials must not be denied to ANYONE WHO HAS FALLEN FROM GRACE AND RETURNS TO GOD IN TRUE REPENTENCE!

Am I saying that both should be credentialed with the authority to pastor a church? NO! Divorce and remarriage has ramifications that will adversely effect the conduction of ministry from bishop to deacon. God knew very well that the effects of divorce would be more devastating in our day. Hence, the Holy Spirit through Paul limits the office of bishop / deacon to those that have had only one spouse. (Other supportive Scriptures clearly indicate the physical death of a spouse means the elimination of that spouse from the restrictions of this verse.)

2. Nowhere In The Scriptures Can We Find Where Grace Dissolves A Marriage

Some of the undercurrent within "Christendom" believes and would have us to think that being dead in Christ is the same as being physically dead, hence, dissolving a marriage. Being dead in Christ frees us to live a godly life, but it does not dissolve the results and responsibilities of our former actions.

3. Grace Does Not Dissolve Vows

Click Here.

And Click Here.

4. Only Physical Death, And Not The Laws Of Man, Can Dissolve A Marriage

Please Click Here

5. Nowhere Supported in the Bible

Nowhere do we find in the Word of God where someone is placed as a Bishop or Deacon who is divorced and remarried.

6. Nowhere Supported By Church Action Prior To 200AD

There is no precedent in early church history to support this action.

7. Denies The Simplicity Of The Word

Click here.

8. Denies The Unity Of The Word

1 Corinthians 7:39 - The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.

9. Encourages Lying On Credentials

People have lied to gain or maintain credentials with the AOG. Case in point was an ordained minister of the Ohio District who told me at lunch one day back in 1980 or 81 that he did not believe in the rapture! Yet, he filled out the same renewal form year after year stating that he believed in our Fundamental Truths. What resolution 15 will encourage in a few cases is to have applicants report for their date of conversion a later date than what is the actual case.

The above paragraph was written around 2002. Around seven years later the AOG the way was made by them to permit divorce and remarriage among the already saved, including their ministers! What will they allow a decade or so from now? They have gone from being a church body to a social club.

10. Illogical Theology

Is there any distinction between initial grace and subsequent grace?

11. Multiple Prior Marriages

What if the person has been divorced and remarried more than once prior to conversion? Does it make a difference? We now can credential and send to our pulpits folks that have been involved in NUMEROUS marriage entanglements!

12. Backslide and Remarry

Resolution 15, trumpeting only the forgiveness of God and not His Holy Wisdom has opened the door further to use the excuse in the future of "backsliding" to permit remarriage - again and again. After all, sin is sin and all sin is forgivable! And, Paul, the apostle, states that he was the chief of sinners.

13. Opens Doors To Further Sin

The General Councils of 1973 and 2001 prove this point. In 1973, ministers were granted permission to perform weddings, under certain conditions, for those that were divorced with the "former" companion still living. There were a few "alarmists" back then that foresaw the erroneous action of the Council of 2001. They were right.

The majority of spiritual movements degrade overtime. Unless the AOG has a heart change, she walks the same path and even now is becoming like most of "Christendom", being influenced by the world and not by His Word!

After this page was published in 2002, things have gotten worse in the AOG.

14. Encourages Poor Hermeneutics

One of he main problems of res. 15 49th GC AOG is that it ignores certain hermeneutical principles such as the unity of Scripture and Scripture Interprets Scripture. The truth of Luke 16:18 and 1 Cor 7:39 is trodden under by the passage of the resolution. Grace has now become a magic wand that overrides our Lord's precepts for marriage.

15. Invites Poor Homiletics And Incorrect Teaching

The Church of God, TN, permits some to hold credentials (at least on certain levels) who are divorced and remarried. I listened to a female COG evangelist one time back in the mid 90's who boldly declared "God delivered me from my first marriage." This is what the AOG is now to expect from time to time in their pulpits! Poor hermeneutics leads to poor homiletics and dangerous teachings. There is no way that God "delivers" someone from a marriage by a writ of divorce. See Mal. 2:6 and many more Scriptures.

16. Is Against The Clear Command Of Scripture

God clearly says . . .

1 Timothy 3:2 -" A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach;"

1 Timothy 3:12 - "Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well."

Titus 1:6 - "If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly."

Since the 1970's volumes of books have been written to "explain," really twist, these passages and others like Luke 16:18 to cater to today's society who, for the most part, cannot maintain their promises nor their morality. It takes volumes of books to overturn simple truth at times. From time to time some ask me if I have read such and such a book in regards to marriage. The Word of God is all that we need for doctrine and everyday living: that is what we are SUPPOSED to believe.

When it comes to interpreting Scriptures on marriage, "Christendom" today has indeed matched the crooked scholarship of the Watchtower Society!

Until the 1970's, the verses above were understood by the majority of Christians that "husband" of one wife meant exactly that, the restriction pertaining to both polygamy and divorce with remarriage.

17. Passage Of Res. 15 Was, In Part, The Fellowship's Response To Society

Compare today's society with the society of the early 1900's, in the early days of the contemporary Pentecostal movement. As sin increased in society, the mindset of the General Council of the AOG began to change, especially after the mid 1960's.

Recently I received a lengthy survey from a minister in Missouri seeking a PHD. It was a survey for classical Pentecostal ministers. Here is one of the questions:
Can you usually let go of your inhibitions and have a good time at a party?
- We have come a long, long, way downhill since the out pouring of the Holy Spirit in the early 1900s! No one would think of asking these questions to an AOG minister prior to 1960!

Unless each Christian bathes in the blood of Christ and in the water of His Word each day, society's uncleanliness will cling to us. Yes, I am afraid there are some Pentecostal ministers that go to parties and "lose their inhibitions." The person who sent that survey could ask that today, but he probably would have no reason to think that way the first half of the 1900's. Today's "church," gives people plenty reason to ask to questions such as that!

18. Defines The Word Of God by Experience

In the mid1960's, and 1970's the Holy Spirit was supposedly poured out upon many denominations, even the ones that practiced works righteousness and / or watered down the salvation message. Many Christians, ignoring the entirety of the Bible, figured "If they speak in tongues, they have to be saved." That was sheer stupidity! No one worshipping idols like Mary, Joseph, etc, or trusting in works righteousness can be truly born again. Tongues can be imitated.

IN THE SAME MANNER, more and more converts arose, that were divorced and remarried, claiming to have the call to the Gospel ministry and seeking credentials that would lead them into pastorship. Instead of directing these precious people into the proper ministries that God allows for them, some, not making a difference between the forgiveness of sins and the ramification of sins, figured the original stance of the AOG was incorrect. Six decades of a firm Biblical stance came under scrutiny, not because of any apparent hermeneutical mistake, but because new converts "felt" that they were called.

Question for those in favor of res. 15: How many times have District brethren and General Council brethren told some home / foreign missions candidates "you can't go here" or "there" because you are "not the right one," "too old," have "too many children," etc? Why then can the AOG deny ministry to some, but we question God when He says the pastor / deacon is to be the husband of one wife? The fact is people question what God says on the matter of marriage because there is a spirit of inability amongst some to keep their pants up and their dresses (if the ladies wear them as they should) down.

19. Additional Burden for the brethren

Bro. Crabtree expressed this at the 49 GC. Divorce and remarriage is a definite entanglement and our brothers now have the added burden of discerning between fact and fiction on credential applications.

20. Passage Of Resolution 15 Violates The Conscience Of Many

I respectfully cannot understand why those, who issue credentials and are opposed to res. 15 would continue to issue credentials in these cases. As a pastor, I now am very concerned as to what will be said behind the pulpit in the hearing of the flock God has entrusted to me. If I remain under the authority of the AOG and bring the home missions church under me into the AOG am I not doing a disservice to them? If the AOG has violated the clear command of God in 1973 and 2001 (and now I have heard 2007 with more Holy Bible defying by-laws), what shall come to pass if the Lord does not return until half a century from now or more?

Grant it, the proponents of res. 15 might say that former stance of the AOG violated their conscience. I would ask them then, why did you ever join when there were other groups that believed the way you did at that time?

21. Causes The AOG To Walk In Disobedience To God

The AOG USA has now taken succesive steps in disobeying God. Bit by bit the AOG USA has accepted the poison of satan in questioning the clear, simple, Word of God. I am afraid and very sadded that more steps are to follow.

22. The AOG Loses Its Much Of Its Distinctiveness And May As Well Merge

Prior to the 49th Council there were at least 3 groups in the USA quite similar in doctrine to the AOG USA, but would grant credentials to the divorced and remarried. The people in favor of res. 15, instead of associating with some other group, decided to stay in the AOG and rewrite the by-laws. However, some in favor of res. 15 have been hypocritical enough to tell me that I or anyone else should NOT try to overturn res. 15. It so much like US politics where one side can do something but the other side is not supposed to do it.

In August 2001 many members of the AOG USA were let down by the action of the 49th General Council. Many, including myself, have cried because we have now opened up the AOG USA to continued poor hermeneutics and the creation of policies based on the whims of society.

Someone will try to say to me "many have cried because they have been denied credentials." No, they cried because they we not Biblically and lovingly, redirected to other means of service that the Word of God permits. No one that is against res. 15 49GC has ever called these people second class Christians. That title was cast about outside our camp, but has been placed to our "credit."

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