From Enrichment Executive Editor George Paul Wood
by George P. Wood
Statement on the Summer 2012 Cover
On behalf of the editors of Enrichment, I would like to apologize for any offense or confusion caused by the cover art of our summer 2012 issue, “21st-century Challenges to the Gospel.” By grouping “Calvinism,” “Annihilationism,” and “Eternal Security” together with various non-Christian ideologies and religions, the cover implied that we believe certain forms of Christianity are as equally challenging to the gospel as outright denials of it. This offended fellow believers who advocate these doctrines, and confused members of our own Fellowship regarding our stance toward those with whom we have principled theological disagreements.
Moreover, the cover miscommunicated both our personal beliefs and the actual content of the issue. My editorial on pages 20,21 clearly states that “not all challenges … are created equal.” It distinguishes those challenges in terms of their respective origins (“nonbelievers” or “Christians”) and effects (“block [the gospel] at its source” or “muddy the clarity and purity of the [gospel].” It also described Christian advocates of these positions as “well-intentioned but theologically misguided.”
We stand by the content of the articles themselves, however. Though fellow believers advocate limited atonement, nonviolent theories of the Atonement, eternal security, annihilationism, and universalism, such doctrines are not part of the Assemblies of God’s theological witness. For example:
- Regarding nonviolent theories of the Atonement, Article 5 of our Statement of Fundamental Truths declares: “Man’s only hope of redemption is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ the Son of God” (emphasis added).
- Regarding eternal security, Article IX. Section B, Section 1 of our Bylaws states: “The General Council of the Assemblies of God disapproves of the unconditional security position which holds that it is impossible for a person once saved to be lost.”
- Regarding universalism, Article IX. Section B, Section 3, Paragraph a. of our Bylaws states: “We are opposed to all forms of universalism.”
- Regarding annihilationism, Article 15 of our Statement of Fundamental Truths declares: “Whosoever is not found written in the Book of Life … will be consigned to the everlasting punishment in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (emphasis added).
The Assemblies of God does not have a formal statement on limited atonement. However, what might be referred to as “unlimited atonement” has biblical support (e.g., John 3:16,17; Romans 14:15; 2 Corinthians 5:18,19; Colossians 1:19,20; 1 Timothy 2:5,6; 1 John 2:2) and is testified to in the various systematic theologies and doctrinal primers that have been published by the Assemblies of God over the years. It is the common teaching of our Fellowship.
Nonetheless, the cover art caused offense and confusion, and we regret the error.
For questions regarding this statement, please contact George Paul Wood, executive editor of Enrichment, at email@example.com or at (417) 862-2781, ext. 3024.