I said I'd write more about the Assemblies of God today, and I shall — but it won't be the post I intended. That one, I'll bump to Thursday, Lord willing.
Here's why: part of being willing to give out criticism where needed also involves giving credit where credit is due. Believe me, I'd love to do nothing-but. And so, I'm happy to have a case for doing that here and now, and I think it is (or should be) instructive to leaders within "our" doctrinal camp.
In case you're unaware of the recent kerfuffle regarding the Assemblies of God's summer issue of Enrichment magazine, it began here. I noted that the Assemblies of God produced this cover warning of these "challenges" to the Gospel:
Then I wrote more here, and here, focusing on the AOG using Roger Olson to attempt to show what a specific threat to the Gospel it is to affirm the Biblical teaching of God's sovereignty in salvation. Do that, and you lose the whole "God-as-a-big-well-meaning-Jimmy-Carter" motif that Olson finds much more congenial, all of which I discussed here.
The whole development has been remarkable in a number of ways, and I still plan (Thursday!) to focus on a couple that I don't think redound to the glory of the AoG. But before that, one that really does.
Look, in setting the stage for my remarks, I could do the whole chronology thing here. We could go all the way back to this post from 2006, which features a "what-if?" scenario about T. D. Jakes that makes for almost eerie reading in these post-Elephant-Room-2 days. We could talk about rightly-beloved and trusted leaders within our own doctrinal ballpark, and how responsive they have (or have not) been to Biblical, high-profile, responsible, substantial expressions of concern over issues as weighty as the Trinity, the Gospel, Gospel ministry, and other matters.
And we could ask: How accessible and responsive have our standard-bearers been? How transparent? How responsive? How real?
So, here's me, happily sitting in a corner doctrinally miles away from the corner of Christendom where the AOG sits. I publish a post on my lower-traffic blog — and out of the blue George P. Wood, who is a Name in the AOG and the executive editor of Enrichment, drops by. He appears in my meta and engages in real, actual dialogue with people to whom he has no accountability, except insofar as he counts us as brothers and sisters in Christ. Wood has no dog in our specific doctrinal hunt, and zero chance of winning any of us to his booth in the fair.
Wood doesn't enjoy prominence because of us and our brotherly support. He doesn't get instant-publication and instant-promotion thanks to us, doesn't fill conferences and enjoy prominence thanks to us. He hasn't earned his position in the marketplace of Christian ideas because he claims to champion convictions we hold dear. Whatever he enjoys in the AOG, we've had nothing to do with it.
Yet not only did Wood weigh in over there, but he has here at Pyro as well, and at some length, and very feistily, and yet fraternally and respectfully.
Top Men working on it, so they should just shush and go back to buying books and conference tickets.
Instead of all that, Wood engaged.
But wait, there's more.
Wood took the push-back seriously enough to conduct an in-house meeting and deliberation, and now has issued a clarification and an apology. Owning their actions, Wood writes, "the cover art caused offense and confusion, and we regret the error." On the road, Wood also notes that the AOG affirms some central Gospel truths that we also affirm and defend.
Could good brothers in our doctrinal camp learn something from how George P. Wood of the Assemblies of God has handled this misstep? I think so.
And I'll say, better late than never. Because on a great many issues, we're all still waiting.
So as to the AOG, do I think any better of it? Doctrinally, at present, no, for some reasons I plan to explain on Thursday.*
But I do think well of George P. Wood.
* I expect that Wood may offer responses Thursday which, one way or another, will educate us on where the AOG stands today.