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Assemblies of God Leader Bows Out of Civility Statement

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) The top leader of the Assemblies of God wants his name removed from a civility statement signed by religious leaders after learning that its signatories included non-

evangelicals.
George O. Wood, general superintendent of the prominent Pentecostal denomination, decided earlier this month that he no longer wanted his name on the statement issued in March, his denomination’s spokeswoman said.
“The problem is the tent that has grown so large on the signatures of this that are including people who are supportive of gay marriage and abortion rights,” spokeswoman Juleen Turnage said in an interview Tuesday (April 13).
“He just felt that he could not become a part of a large tent.”
Wood, an executive committee member of the National Association of Evangelicals, signed the document during an NAE board meeting in March that he hosted at Assemblies of God headquarters in Springfield, Mo.
The “Covenant for Civility” was signed by more than 100 Christian leaders — from Prison Fellowship founder Chuck Colson to United Church of Christ President and General Minister Geoffrey A. Black. It aimed to make the church an example of bridging cultural and political divides.
Turnage said Wood agreed with the focus on civility, but thought wording such as “unity we have in the body of Christ” was referring strictly to evangelical Christians.
“He says that he cannot be a part of signing a document that includes people who are taking a viewpoint in their own issues that are clearly contradictory to the moral teachings of Scripture,” she said.
The National Association of Evangelicals declined to comment.
The Rev. Jim Wallis, founder of the anti-poverty group Sojourners, which released the document on March 25, said Tuesday he has yet to receive a request to remove anyone’s name.
“The statement was about how we deal with differences and deal with them in a civil and moral way,” he said.
– Adelle M. Banks
Copyright 2010 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.



  • Henrietta22

    This is extremely sad.

  • Richard

    Does Mr Wood have any idea how silly he sounds? He wants his name removed from a document encouraging civility because non-evangelicals are on the list. How absurd! I guess he thinks he can’t work together with anyone who is a non-evangelical. (Kind of narrow minded don’t ya think Mr Woods?) This is why people think that Christians are petty and judgmental.

  • Mordred08

    “‘The problem is the tent that has grown so large on the signatures of this that are including people who are supportive of gay marriage and abortion rights,’ spokeswoman Juleen Turnage said in an interview Tuesday (April 13).
    ‘He just felt that he could not become a part of a large tent.'”
    I can’t really say this surprises me. I went to an A of G church until the pastor informed me I was being deceived by Satan and was going to hell for being attracted to someone of the same sex. I never went back. But from my experience, this response is typical of their teachings.

  • cknuck

    I can’t very well blame him it is not about civility but about an acceptance of a conduct that is not biblical. I’d be willing to bet that many signed without full knowledge of the underlying homosexual agenda.

  • Mordred08

    ck: “it is not about civility but about an acceptance of a conduct that is not biblical”
    Then don’t call it a “Covenant for Civility”. Call it a covenant for…conduct or what have you.

  • blah

    The problem was that the Right Reverend Georgie O couldn’t put his denomination’s imprimatur on something stating they were united (even via JC’s Awesomeness) with people who believe the dirty homos are just as good as they are.
    Whatev – it’s like the annoying d-bag who sits behind you in biology class talking about dinosaurs living with humans saying they’re not going to the prom because dancing is bad. I don’t care about his reasons – Good riddance. I don’t want him there in the first place.
    Besides, they need this kind of PR so they can keep up with their biblical mandate of being “hated by the world.”
    Happy to oblige, Georgie :)

  • My Name

    HAHAHAHAH!!! So basically he only agrees to be civil (another word for respectful, kind, gracious) with people that think just like him. Well if that isn’t following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ then I don’t know what is (/sarc). Oh he is going to be SO surprised when he stands before God on judgment day.

  • J Nelson

    The document calls for civility: that’s all. It does, as well, refer to the “unity that we have in Christ” — a unity that belongs entirely to Christ and not to any one of us, or our denominations, our our doctrine. So, Wood initially agreed to make a commitment to civility, but is so uncomfortable with people who interpret scripture differently, that he has removed himself from the unity that Christ desires, and reneged on the promise to treat all people with respect, including those whom he derides as amoral. Wood’s distortion of the gospel is horrendous. Jesus offered salvation to anyone who believed (trusted) in him: he showed no interest in whether people were in theological agreement.
    I wonder how Wood would preach on Luke 6:33-35?

  • Grumpy Old Person

    “The problem is the tent that has grown so large on the signatures of this that are including people who are supportive of gay marriage and abortion rights,” spokeswoman Juleen Turnage said in an interview Tuesday (April 13). “He just felt that he could not become a part of a large tent.”
    Which in reality simply means that he wants the ‘right’ to be UN-civil to God’s gay and lesbian chilren who merely want equality before the law, and to women who merely want to continue to make their own reproductive health decisions.
    Such a ‘Christian’ attitude – NOT!
    Seems he’s forgotten that “the greatest of these is love/charity”.
    Hate is so ugly when it comes out of the closet.

  • jestrfyl

    It seems that Mr Wood does not appreciate the breadth of the document. It is about being civil in our discourse, not about agreeing philosophically, theologically, or politically, or sociologically with everyone. It simply means we can get along like mature adults; we can disagree without being mean, we can be assertive without being aggressive, we can be opponents without being enemies. This is about the manner of our conversations and that we can have opposing opinions and not model boorish, bullying behavior that would make denominational leaders and spokespeople the laughingstock of the world.

  • Grumpy Old Person

    “I’d be willing to bet that many signed without full knowledge of the underlying homosexual agenda. “
    ck, even YOU don’t have “full knowledge” of the “homosexual agenda”. Since neither you nor Woods has this knowledge, I encourage you both to get a clue. To make things easier for you, allow me to clue you in. The full, entire “agenda” is equality before the law. It is something that the Constitution supposedly guarantees to ALL citizens.
    Now neither of you can rest easy in your ignorance.

  • http://georgepwood.com George P. Wood

    To All:
    I am Dr. Wood’s son.
    I personally support the Covenant for Civility, although I also understand my father’s reasons for withdrawing his signature from it.
    In point of fact, my father is unfailingly courteous and civil to people with whom he disagrees, as everyone knows who has talked with him on a controversial issue.
    Also in point of fact, the above comments of My Name, J Nelson, and Grumpy Old Person are uncivil, in light of the third paragraph of the covenant, which says: “We pledge that when we disagree, we will do so respectfully, without impugning the other’s motives, attacking the other’s character, or questioning the other’s faith.”
    It is ironic that in castigating my father for removing his signature from the covenant, these commenters perpetrate the very incivility that the Covenant speaks against.
    When the Covenant for Civility was presented to the NAE Board in March, my father signed it because he believed it was a covenant among evangelicals regarding inter-evangelical discourse. When he later discovered that it was not written by the NAE and that it included signatories who are not evangelical or who hold positions on abortion and same-sex marriage contrary to NAE or AG statements, he politely asked his name to be removed.
    None of this entails that he supports incivility or that he doesn’t support talking to people who believe or behave differently. Just yesterday, SoulForce paid a visit to AG headquarters and their representatives spoke to our General Secretary, Jim Bradford, for 30-45 minutes. My father was not in town, but he encouraged Bradford to talk to the protesters in his absence.
    George P. Wood
    P.S. J Nelson, you can read my father’s sermon on Luke 6 here: http://georgeowood.com/SiteFiles/102297/Content/Luke/19%20LOVE,%20A%20CHOICE%20OF%20THE%20HEART.pdf

  • cknuck

    Thank you GPW for your truth, very enlightening.

  • Henrietta22

    If Jesus could speak right now he would say:”Father, they know not what they do”. That is why I said this is extremely sad.

  • cknuck

    H22, you have no idea what Jesus would say! You don’t believe He said I am the Way or no comes to the Father but through Me>

  • Henrietta22

    Of course I believe he said He was the Way. I know Jesus said no one comes to the Father but through Me. He is how God was made personal to our family Ck. Please I’ve asked you not to comment on my relationship to the Trinity. Is there something malfunctioning in your memory?

  • cknuck

    No malfunction, you open the door for me to remind you when you state untruths. And I happen to know that you think that all gods are valid and equal. so because that is not what Jesus said and you preach only part of what He said in His word, remember the bible which you don’t believe is the inerrant word of God? Or have you changed your position on that?

  • My Name

    So George, you’re upset because I’m just like your father? I judged him like he judged others. The difference is I didn’t sign the statement. I’m therefore not held to the “third paragraph”…just like your father isn’t anymore because he reneged on his commitment. And why did he renege? Well because he feels superior to others and doesn’t want to associate with those distasteful people. If this was not his position then why not just leave his signature on the statement? Why did he have to make a point of removing it? There’s a difference between tolerance and acceptance. The statement wasn’t a legal document requiring acceptance of other lifestyles or viewpoints, if was a guideline for tolerance. Do you avoid your father? After all he seems to be the definition of a “holier-than-thou” and “uppity” Christian. I extend no tolerance for the intolerant and feel well-justified in lambasting and castigating you and your father. He shouldn’t be in a position of prominence. He doesn’t speak for Christian ideals. You I know little about but you’re getting off to a bad start by protecting a man of the cloth when he has done wrong. It seems oddly familiar…and look how that’s turned out.
    Oh and you’re overweight. That’s gluttony, a sinful and willful lifestyle choice, which is exactly like your father’s definition of the homosexual “lifestyle choice”. This sin you live in means you cannot be a Christian too. You’re going to hell. I’m not trying to be rude here. I hate the sin, not the sinner and it’s my duty to tell you when your sinful nature is separating you from God. Self-control is one of the fruits of the Spirit after all, Galatians 5:22-23. These are the rules and I’m afraid you are culpable for your transgressions. Repent and put down the bacon son. I’m sure you’re aware that the bible commands a glutton put a knife to his own throat, Proverbs 23:2. (You’re also going to hell for the bacon)
    Ah I love the smell of hypocrisy…smells evangelical. See, I can be self-righteous too.

  • http://georgepwood.com George P. Wood

    My Name:
    Thank you for reminding me of my need to exercise self-control when it comes to eating!
    If you’d kindly provide your real name and a link to your website, I’d be happy to peruse your material and return the favor.
    George

  • cknuck

    MN you have been foul before you have no honor as an anonymous name caller you feel as though you can slander and insult anyone with impunity. Your lack of respect and character does not do your cause any favors. What was your daddy like to produce such a small person?

  • My Name

    What George? You want my name so you can seek retribution for the pangs I caused you with my hyperbole? Tsk Tsk. Well that’s not very Christian. Vengeance isn’t yours.
    George, I’m gay. Your kind “return the favor” every day. With every glare I get for holding my partner’s hand, with every sneer I am greeted with when they see us sitting together at dinner, and each time a parent clutches their child as we pass, you “return the favor”. I’m gay by design, not choice. I think your ilk is dead wrong. I was raised baptist and for a great deal of my life I thought I was a disgusting soulless thing because of people like your father. When I went to my pastor with my ‘problem’ he told me I was a demon. He told me I was to have no relationships, male or female, and to tell no one my dirty secret. He was telling me to separate myself from society and basically just die off. Do you understand how devastating that can be to a young mind? I begged God to change me, to cure me. I was depressed beyond reason but I came to realize with careful study, critical thinking (the two things most Christians chastise), and thoughtful dialogue with REAL Christians that for all those years and through all the tears and prayers God didn’t change me because there isn’t anything wrong with me. I’m not a stereotype. I’m not a pedophile. I’m not promiscuous. I’ve never had an STD. Yet that’s what your ‘moral’ majority has relegated who they think I am to, a stereotype.
    Let’s get real about this George. Has a gay man ever put you in the hospital for being Christian? I’m guessing not. Well a ‘christian’ has put me in the hospital for being gay. The prejudiced, ignorant and UNCIVIL masses incensed with the very ‘christian’ anti-gay vitriol (ck this is you) has made me and formed my opinions. You reap what you have sown.

  • Henrietta22

    Cknuck, I was brought up in a Holy Evangelical Lutheran Church, and believe as they do. I vary about Homosexuality verses. Do not say one more thing about what I believe as you comprehend my words on this Beliefnet. You speak with no respect to nnmns, MN, Mordred, myself and many others. You aren’t on here to analyze what we believe, it’s a discussion place.

  • cknuck

    H22 I’m also not here to live by your rules, get over it.
    MN quote, “Let’s get real about this George. Has a gay man ever put you in the hospital for being Christian?”
    Your question would only be legitimate if you asked if George has ever put a gay man in the hospital. And if that answer as I suspect is no then cut your guilt tripping assertions out.

  • My Name

    Henrietta, I would like to thank you for including me in your refutation of the troll and the best advice I can give you is don’t feed it. His words teach nothing, carry no value, are less significant than the buzzing of a fly and are just as annoying. Henrietta, follow Proverbs 23:9. It applies to the troll in abundance.

  • cknuck

    If you cannot refute the truth then name-call nice one MN you have reached your level. It’s one way for you for if I were to call you the obvious insults you would cry like a baby yet you indulge in adolescent name calling when you have no argument for the truth.

  • Confessoressa

    cknuck,
    The arguments placed to you fall on deaf ears. You either have a personality disorder or very poor comprehension skills. It seems like you have tried to make a little more sense with your posts over time but you are still very bad at understanding anyone elses.
    Maybe you should pray over your posts and ask for help before pushing that Post button. Then wait a day and go back to it.
    It really is annoying how incapable you are of having a rational discussion with someone.

  • cknuck

    Let’s simply recap instead of name calling: George P. Wood visited the board to civilly explain his father’s position. He in fact said, “In point of fact, my father is unfailingly courteous and civil to people with whom he disagrees” Throughout his attempt to explain his father’s position he himself was civil and courteous. MN immediately replied “Oh and you’re overweight. That’s gluttony, a sinful and willful lifestyle choice,” “You’re going to hell.” “Repent and put down the bacon son” “(You’re also going to hell for the bacon)”
    Here’s the irony of MN’s insults. Fact; gluttony is a sin but science tells us there are gland disorders that contribute to weigh issues. I don’t know if Mr. Wood has a gland disorder or not but neither does MN yet the insults. Homosexuality on the other hand can not be explained there is no identifiable gene, hormone, chemical or DNA markers to explain the phenomenon. No way to refute the assertion that is is a sin as instructed by the bible. So when GPW’s dad says “We pledge that when we disagree, we will do so respectfully, without impugning the other’s motives, attacking the other’s character, or questioning the other’s faith.” then he has expressed (regardless of his belief) civility. But H22 who blindly supports all things homosexual and you confess blinded by your agenda in support this crude behavior of MN show lack of judgment and character. My most civil disagreement.

  • cknuck

    George P Wood I apologize for the not so civil welcome you received here your are obviously a gentleman and I am confident that the host wishes to welcome all opinions and segments of faith communities. Please come again there are some genuinely kind people of all opinions here. God bless you and your family.

  • My Name

    Uhm wow ck that was an impressive lack of understanding on your part. First, EVERYTHING I said is scripturally sound. They aren’t insults, they’re the truth. They’re the same things you’re saying about homosexuality. Just because you don’t like it and gluttony is more societally-acceptable doesn’t make it okay with God. Also, GPW himself said he needs to practice better self-control, doesn’t sound glandular to me. Nowhere did I insult him or call him names. I fed him the same lines you feed me and his dad would feed me about homosexuality. If you guys are so scripturally bound you would be just as vehement about the elimination of our divorce and food-addicted society, but you’re not. You’re just hypocrites and I delight in pointing it out.
    Second, you quoted a line from the civility statement then said GPW’s dad was pledging it when in fact he DOESN’T want to be bound by the statement or the line you quoted. He wants his signature removed. If he isn’t willing to be civil, why should I be?
    Third, you invoke science to try and refute my argument about gluttony but EVERY time someone cites a study or quotes the AMA’s scientifically-concluded position that homosexuality IS NOT a conscious choice you dismiss it as the gay agenda, voodoo or some other ridiculous thing. Either you like science or you don’t. You can’t pick and choose…though I can understand why you would; you’re so used to doing it with scripture.
    Fourth, you’re always railing against the “gay agenda”. I honestly think it’s the most patriotic and American thing possible to strive for equality, which is the exact opposite goal of your Christian agenda to turn this country into a theocracy. You and your kind are a dangerous breed that will be the undoing of this great nation and history is on my side about this. Has anyone in their studies ever come across a gay crusade? No? What about a gay inquisition? No? What about genocide against a differing religion by the gays? No? What about witch trials carried out by the gays? No? Interesting, interesting. It’s painfully hard to see from your warped perspective how the meek and tiny minority of homosexuals are a bigger threat to the world than a religion that is responsible for the deaths, oppression and torture of hundreds of millions.
    And finally ck, you’re just laughable. You say you just speak truth and I can’t deal with it. Well I haven’t seen you actually SAY anything. You simply attack me and others with no evidence to back up your claims whatsoever. What really makes your point weak though is that it is merely an ad hominem argument where you are reprimanding me for anonymous name-calling by calling me names anonymously. This will be my last post to you. You won’t comprehend it and you’re not worth the 3 calories I burned typing it. Best of luck with your ignorance, I’m sure it’s bliss.

  • Wannabe Theo

    cknuck wrote: “So when GPW’s dad says “We pledge that when we disagree, we will do so respectfully, without impugning the other’s motives, attacking the other’s character, or questioning the other’s faith.” then he has expressed (regardless of his belief) civility”
    Cknuck, the quote you attribute to GPW’s father is from the pledge from which he wants his signature *removed*. That’s the whole point of this entire article, that he is *removing* his signature from the pledge.
    While GPW defends his father’s civility, he nowhere explains his actions. If his father was only pleding to be civil to those he already agrees with, that’s not much of a pledge. And when he insists his signature be removed so that it not appear next to the signatures of those with whom he disagrees, that’s not very civil.

  • cknuck

    Wannabe that is an opinion not fact, one can disagree and distance themselves while being civil. You may want him locked in to something he misunderstood and now realizes he does not support and that is in fact not civil or freedom. He has the freedom in this country to bow out gracefully as he has done.

  • cknuck

    MN you have used up half of the board to say nothing that directly addresses or scientifically refutes my position.

  • Your Name

    “Fact; gluttony is a sin”
    Now yer just makin’ stuff up. It sure isn’t one of the Ten Commandments nor one of the two that Jesus left us with.

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