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Friday, 01 August 2008 00:12

USA Assemblies of God (AG) Pastor Dismissed for Encouraging His Church to Leave the Movement Due to Its Departure from Biblical Standards

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The AG in the USA died a self-inflicted spiritual, moral, and ethical death during the Pensacola fiasco under Thomas Trask, their former czar in Springfield, Mo.

The heir to his throne, Dr. George Wood, who actually  authored a booklet attacking the Toronto Experience, predecessor of Pensacola, compromised  when the same unbiblical phenomena he himself rightly condemned transpired within the  AG. We find this hypocritical. Since that time Dr. Wood, a man we believe to know better, has ignored the unbiblical agenda  of  Rick Warren's marketing psychology oriented "Purpose Driven Lie".  A position he persists in defending despite  Warren's interfaith pronouncements at Davos,  his contra-scriptural definition of evangelism,   his ecumenism, his involvement with Yoga and apostate Brian McLaren at the 2004 National Pastor's Conference, and his forwarding with McLaren of Dan Kimbell's book The Emergent Church.

We applaud Jeffrey Whittaker acting as a shepherd instead of a hireling and helping lead his flock away from the wolves as Jesus commanded by leaving the AG, a move we believe any decent pastor would make in protection of the Lord's flock.   The fact that the AG refused to allow him to resign but dismissed him from ministry despite their written admission that he followed due protocols,  underscores what many discerning Christians will see as the ethical bankruptcy and  abject  pseudo spirituality of a backslidden movement.

The Assemblies of God in the USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere is not the movement it once was but a very different movement with different doctrines that has hijacked the AG name.

From the folly of Pensacola and Thomas Trask, to the televised scandals of Hillsong and the Houstons, to the hideous hype-artistry and biblical ignorance of Andrew Shearman in Britain, it is difficult for some people  to view the AG leadership as anything more than a phony pack of theocratic hooligans who could give lessons in religious hypocrisy to the biblical Sanhedrin.

As a minister of the Gospel of Jesus (not to be confused with the Gospel of George Wood's friend Rick Warren) in a movement consisting of Pentecostal and Charismatic moderates who left declining movements like the AG and Elim, I extend my empathy to Jeffrey Whittacker. We would be honored to welcome him into credentialed fellowship with us at the Christian Ministerial Fellowship International (CMFI) should he wish to apply and recognition of  his former AG ordination would be fairly automatic.

Meanwhile, Jeffrey L. Whittaker should wear his dismissal by the AG as a badge of honor. It will count to his credit as a pastor on the Day of Judgment.

Below is the correspondence. Here is rough draft of letter sent by Jeffrey L Whittaker

Dear Brethren of the General Presbytery,

It is with a very weary hand and mind that I pen this final appeal.  Ã‚  Having received Brother Palmer's letter of June 11th  notifying me of the Executive Presbytery's decision, I am compelled to exhaust the last avenue afforded me by our Bylaws.  Ã‚  It is ironic that my question relates directly to those same Bylaws with reference to seeking a clear definition of my charges.  Ã‚  It has been made abundantly clear to me that my leadership role in the departure of Michiana Christian Embassy from the General Council of the Assemblies of God has met with your disapproval; that is to be expected by anyone of reasonable mind.  Ã‚  However, I simply desire to reiterate my basic question that has never been adequately answered by any level of leadership in our beloved movement.

WHERE, WITHIN THE BODY OF OUR DISTRICT OR GENERAL COUNCIL BYLAWS, IS IT DEFINED AS IMMORAL OR UNETHICAL FOR A LOCAL PASTOR WHO FOLLOWS BYLAW ARTICLE VI, Section 4, paragraph "d" , TO LEAD, COUNSEL, OR ADVISE A LOCAL, AUTONOMOUS ASSEMBLY IN THE ACT OF DISAFFILIATION?

I am not asking for a  subjective statement of how this action makes the District and General Council Officials FEEL, but rather which  AG Bylaw makes it  illegal, immoral, and unethical.  Ã‚  Brother Palmer, you wrote in your letter:

While you followed proper protocol in how you led the church to disaffiliate, the ethical failure, in the view of the General Council Credentials Committee was that you had a part in the process.

"(I)n the view of the General Council Credentials Committee"  is NOT equal in authority to "the view of the  AG Constitution and Bylaws" .  Ã‚  By stating in Bylaw Article VI that the proper procedure for disaffiliation is that a church's "pastor or board shall invite the district officers to participate in a specially called business meeting" , to then subsequently dismiss that  same pastor as "immoral and unethical"  for obeying the same Bylaws is beyond imagination.  Ã‚  Your present ruling is seen by all who read it as baseless and completely subjective, and perceive your reasoning as an absolute  non sequitur. In addition, using Article X to support your decision for my dismissal is a classic example of circular reasoning.  Ã‚  Article X does not provide a legal explanation of my "alleged"  moral and ethical failure, but merely labels a broad category which demands legal definition by a law explicitly describing an act as prohibited; something which the General Council Bylaws do not do in this case.

If you should choose to sponsor legislation at a future General Council to amend Articles VI or X to include  explicit language forbidding credential holders from leading their local and autonomous churches in a legally defined action, very well; but as of today  there is not one statement within our rules of order that supports this arbitrary, punitive, and libelous ruling!

Please answer this question using  only accepted and approved  AG Bylaws, or grant to me the resignation that true ethics, morals, and logic demand.  Ã‚  I know you do not agree with our decision, but you must recognize the fundamental right of our local church and I to make it.

Most earnestly and sincerely,

Jeffrey L. Whittaker

Their response was as follows:

June 11, 2008
Dear Jeffrey:

Greetings in the name of our living and loving Lord!

At the most recent meeting  of the Executive presbytery, the following action was taken:

A Motion prevailed to deny the appeal of Jeffrey L. Whittaker that he be allowed to resign rather than be dismissed, based upon his ethical failure in leading an  Assemblies of God church  into a decision to pull out of the fellowship.

This decision was made after a great deal of prayerful discussion.   In making this decision it was duly noted that you and your church followed the proper procedures in terminating affiliation with the General Council of the AG (Article VI, Section 4, d).

While you followed proper protocol in how you led the church to disaffiliate, the ethical failure, in the view of the General Council Credentials Committee was that you had a part in the process.

According to Article X, Section 3, c, -- "Any moral or ethical failure other than  sexual misconduct" is a cause for disciplinary action.   It is the thoughtful opinion of the Executive Presbytery that you acted unethically by helping to disaffiliate a local church from the AG while you were an AG minister.

Thank you for your years of ministry with the AG.   I wish you well as you continue the ministry to which the Lord has called you.

The General Council bylaws do afford you the right of appeal to the General Presbytery (Article X, Section 10, c).

Sincerely,

John M. Palmer
General Secretary

cc: William F. Leach, District Superintendent, Michigan District
cc: Norman Muhling, District Secretary Treasurer,   Michigan  District

Read 3961 times Last modified on Saturday, 06 December 2008 00:42

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