Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What to do when you sign a document you shouldn't

I would never expect a leader of the Assemblies of God to set the example. Yet one has.

Dr. George O. Wood is General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God. He signed a "Covenant for Civility," evidently sponsored by Sojourners. It's basically a promise to be "nice." Specifically, it includes a commitment only to disagree "respectfully, without falsely impugning the other’s motives, attacking the other’s character, or questioning the other’s faith." Some sloppy writing there, I note: is one to refrain from questioning others' character and motives, or only doing so falsely.

But then again, who is the judge? When has any emergent, liberal, or cultist ever said "Yes, you are absolutely correct in your criticism"?

Now personally, I can't imagine signing any document associated with Sojourners. But Wood did, Usual Suspect Charles Colson did... and so did Brian McLaren  When Wood found out that fellow-signatories included people supportive of abortion and homosexual "marriage" — that was a problem.

Why a problem? Well, the document identified all the signatories as "Christian pastors and leaders," and spoke of "the unity we have in the body of Christ." That was a problem. (It should be a problem, as I may have mentioned elsewhere.) I have not been able to find any full statement from Wood, except that he had found the tent to be "too big."

So what did Wood do? He asked that his name be removed.

Makes sense to me.

Hats off to Dr. Wood.


Stan McCullars said...

I had signed the Evangelical Manifesto when it first came out. Later, after learning about some of the initial signatories I asked that my name be removed. It took numerous requests and well over a year but it finally was removed a couple of weeks ago.

Initial signatories included Jim Wallis and Joel Hunter (1...2...3... pray to your own god!!!).

Lesson learned.

Susan said...

Wow. I have not heard of Dr. Wood before. I thought you were going to post something about the Manhattan Declaration!

threegirldad said...

"The National Association of Evangelicals declined to comment." [from the article at beliefnet]

<s>Shocking news, that...</s>

DJP said...

I think they should change their acronym to


Joshua said...

I'm not sure why people bother signing these declarations and documents in the first place. They just seem rather pointless to me.

JackW said...

Why do Christians feel the need to sign documents/covenants?

Andrew Faris said...

Alright, alright, so maybe I'm being nit-picky, but isn't this a little harsh: "I would never expect a leader of the Assemblies of God to set the example."

I mean, never? Really? I know you have major disagreements with them- I do too. I'm certainly no Pentecostal.

But there are a lot of really godly people in AG churches. I even hear they have the Holy Spirit, even if it's not always in the way they think they do.

Christians in Context

DJP said...

Jack, meet Joshua.

Joshua, meet Jack.

Both of you, meet Phil Johnson.

DJP said...

They still doggedly split up Christians into two distinct kinds: Spirit-baptized, non-Spirit-baptized. They have been the launchpad of scads of horrid "preachers." No, I don't really look to them for leadership.

threegirldad said...


Maybe Dan didn't expect it for the same reason I wouldn't: it's a glaring counter-example to past experience.

Then again, maybe he has different reasons.

4simpsons said...

Good for Dr. Wood.

The Sojourners group is a hypocritical joke, just like Wallis' "the Gospel is all about wealth redistribution" false theology. They only enforce their commenting guidelines on conservatives. The liberal / progressive commenters violate the guidelines with no repercussions.

DJP said...

You're very likely right. It's a two-step:

1. Agree to engage in mean criticism.
2. All criticism of us is mean.

Andrew Faris said...


Point taken. And seriously, I know you don't like charismaticism and all, but even as a charismatic I purposely distance myself from Pentecostals for the exact reason you mentioned.

I don't look to them for leadership normally either, but I also don't think they aren't Christians. So I figure that sometimes they're going to do some great stuff.

I guess I just thought that first line was needless.

Andrew Faris
Christians in Context

DJP said...

Never said they weren't Christians. Registered surprise that one of them shows such discernment. More (an astute reader might have supplied) than others whose doctrinal framework is generally vastly sounder may have done from time to time.

Brad Williams said...

To my knowledge, the only covenant/document I have signed is our Church Covenant. That was both meaningful and important.

Past that, I cannot imagince why people do it.

Solameanie said...

The A/G has taken some stances historically that we would applaud. For instance, they've historically rejected the Hagin/Copeland "JDS" doctrine. They rejected the "latter rain" stuff that preceded Hagin/Copeland. They also reject the more extreme views of divine healing pushed by some hyper-charismatics.

Sir Aaron said...

Could you imagine Luther, Zwingli, or Calvin signing a "Covenant for Civility?" Or how about any of the American founding fathers?

Is there anything Chuck Colson doesn't sign? The man has a wonderful prison ministry, but otherwise, he can't seem to keep his train on the track.