Assembly of God controversies: Formally the world assemblies of God fellowship, the assembly of God is a collection of over 140 independent but generally associated national churches united by the Pentecostal denomination. Currently, it’s the biggest Pentecostal denomination and fourth biggest international Christian church with over 384,000 pastors, congregations in over 212 nations, and serving about 67.9 million Christians worldwide.
However, despite the large following, not everyone who attends the church remains committed to it. What’s wrong with the assembly of God? Why are people leaving the denomination? Read on to learn more.
What Is Wrong With Assembly Of God
There are various beliefs and traditions that people find wrong with the assembly of God. They include:
Emphasis On Supernatural Experience
Regarding supernatural experiences, this comes in two ways, where some people believe there’s too much emphasis on supernatural experiences and others think the opposite. Here’s to more on that:
- Too much emphasis on supernatural experiences – not everyone attending the assembly of God likes or is interested in speaking in tongues. Some people attend this denomination because they are attracted by the children’s ministry or have their friends or family attending the church. But once there, they find the over-emphasis on seeking supernatural experiences like charismatic expressions, they find it wrong as it makes them uncomfortable.
- Insufficient emphasis on supernatural experiences – the assembly of God put lots of emphasis on charismatic expressions and baptism of the holy spirit. However, not all churches in the assembly of God umbrella adhere to it. Some churches don’t stress much on these core convictions, and others like words of knowledge, wisdom, and healing.
Structure Of Local Church Ministry
The structure of some local church ministries may have issues. Note that this doesn’t apply to all churches in the assembly of God denomination, but the majority of them.
Some churches in this denomination lack service opportunities, while others don’t have sufficient worship service options. Then some don’t feature men’s, women’s, or small group ministries, Sunday school classes, or have poor youth ministries.
Beliefs That Dancing Is Wrong
Dancing has been a part of human culture from ancient times to the modern day. People dance to express themselves or as a form of exercise where they move in rhythmic movements.
However, the assembly of God forbids dancing and considers it a sin. Their official website states, “God gave man dominion over the earth and everything in it. He made him master of creation. But he did not give him authority over his soul; rather, he gave him responsibility for his life and conduct.”
The assembly of God views dancing as a form of idolatry and practice of the pagan religion. They base this on Exodus 20:4 and Deuteronomy 5:16 :
“You shall have no other gods before me.
“You shall not bow down to them or serve them.”
However, in 1 Corinthians 10:31, dancing is acceptable if done in a spirit of reverence.
Although divorce is largely looked down upon and considered the last option, sometimes it’s inevitable. For instance, when a partner cheats on their spouse, neglects, or abuses them.
According to the Bible (Deuteronomy 24:1 and Matthew 19:3), a husband can divorce his wife if he finds her guilty of unfaithfulness. But before doing that, he needs to take the matter to the priests, who will decide whether the couple should reconcile or be allowed to part ways. However, a wife doesn’t have such rights (Exodus 34:6).
In the new testament, Jesus said that if a man wants to divorce his wife, he needs to give a written statement on why he wants to do so. There should also be no chance of reconciliation for the divorce to be valid. If a man fails to submit these, he can’t divorce his wife without being held responsible for her death (Matthew 5:31-32).
However, in the assembly of God, marriage is considered a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman, and under no circumstances is a man/woman allowed to divorce the other. The assembly of God also teaches that marriage is only valid between two people who love one another, and they should express their love through sexual intimacy.
The Assembly of God controversies of God requires its pastors and churches to submit to the denominations’ regulations, some of which don’t allow growth. This makes it difficult for pastors desiring growth or those who want to customize their plans and ordain their ministries. Here are examples of famous pastors and Christian leaders leaving the assembly of God because of denomination operations:
- David Wilkerson – the author of The Cross and the Switchblade and founder of the Teen Challenge program, opened a church near Times Square with a crucial Wilkerson ministry that focused on training former drug dealers and gang members to do ministry.
However, the denominations’ regulations made him split from the church. David felt that some of the policies and procedures limited his ministry’s growth as he wanted his church to ordain people instead of the Assemblies of God doing it.
- Brian Houston – who started Hillsong church in 1980 under the assembly of God and later split from the denomination in 2018 for the same reasons as David. Houston believed in the assembly of God theology, but the regulations saw him split from the union.
The assembly of God’s pastoral ordainment policy contradicted Brian’s views. This did the two to split, although Houston still supports the denomination.
Assembly of God controversies Various beliefs and traditions are unique to the assembly of God denomination that some people may consider wrong. The emphasis on supernatural experience, the structure of local church ministry, beliefs on dancing and divorce, and the denomination regulations.