Seems the Assemblies of God, along with the majority of other Pentecostal denominations, began well and stood on sound biblical pacifist teaching until “the influx of many new members who did not share the older pacifist view.” I thougt that statment was very interesting. Does truth change because opinions change?
Our modern day pastors are leading many of the sheep under their care dangerously astray. Just because a certain teaching is very popular does not mean it is true. In fact many times just the opposite is true. Since this issue involves the taking of human life it would behoove every born again Christian to be a Berean, searching God’s Word for discernment.
Some interesting history that I found on wikipedia …
“… prior to 1967, the A/G, along with the majority of other Pentecostal denominations, officially opposed Christian participation in war and considered itself a peace church. The official position of the church until that time read as follows, …
“We, as a body of Christians, while purposing to fulfill all the obligations of loyal citizenship, are nevertheless constrained to declare we cannot conscientiously participate in war and armed resistance which involves the actual destruction of human life, since this is contrary to our view of the clear teachings of the inspired Word of God, which is the sole basis of our faith.”
Most of the founders and first generation members of the denomination held to this view and it was presented as official teaching throughout World Wars I and World War II. In 1940, The Pacifist Handbook listed the Assemblies of God as the third largest peace church in America.
The official position however, did not reflect the actual practice of the church. Although the original position of the denomination stated in 1917 and reaffirmed in 1927 General Council may have been pacifist, attitudes changed rapidly during the 1930s. This was caused in part by the influx of many new members who did not share the older pacifist view. Influential teachers such as Myer Pearlman, who had served in World War I and who now wrote the Adult Sunday School quarterly, also challenged the pacifist stand. The degree of this change is seen in that the October 17, 1942 Pentecostal Evangel carried a feature story on the first Assemblies of God Minister to serve as a military chaplain. Since the Pentecostal Evangel is the official organ of the Assemblies of God and denominational approval is required for a chaplaincy appointment there was obviously a disconnect between official statements and practice. Among the membership less than 35 Assemblies of God men had requested conscientious objector status during WW2. By Contrast in 1944 over 50,000 Assemblies of God men were serving in the Armed forces. This is a huge number for a denomination with a membership of less than 250,000 at the time. The official pacifist position however remained unchanged until the 1967 general council when the present neutral position was written into the General Council Constitution and By-Laws:
ARTICLE XXII. MILITARY SERVICE: As a Movement we affirm our loyalty to the government of the United States in war or peace. We shall continue to insist, as we have historically, on the right of each member to choose whether to declare their position as a combatant, a noncombatant, or a conscientious objector.”