Ethics in Educational Credentials: DISCUSSION ON CHURCH OF GOD GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Preamble: In most countries surveyed, renewalists have at least as much schooling as the general population; in fact, in Nigeria, pentecostals are much more likely than the public as a whole to have obtained at least some post-secondary education. In the U.S., however, renewalists, especially pentecostals, tend to be less educated than the population as a whole; though there is virtually no education gap when it comes to charismatics.

This item closely resembles Resolution 9 adopted by Assemblies of God in 2007 as it seeks to:

  • Encourage continuing education
  • Use adequately accredited institutions
  • Refraining from attributing any non-accredited degrees

Historical Presuppositions for making this item prominent are found in the rise of online Christian education and unsubstantial theological degrees. There are currently several ongoing investigations on Christian programs in the United Kingdom alone, which offered advanced theological degrees on graduate and post-graduate level without meeting the necessary accreditation and legal requirements (see BBC vs Edinburgh University, University of Wales and the Education Funding Council for England). Furthermore, there have been:

  • Growing proliferation of unaccredited independent organizations and fraudulent diploma mills
  • Independent Pentecostal/charismatic movements are increasingly permeated by dubious educational entities and deficient degrees
  • The highest standards in training and educational accreditation for ministers must provide a solid evangelical, Pentecostal education firmly embedded in orthodox Christianity
  • Graduate programs are acquiring accreditation by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) in order to ensure a smooth transition towards licensure or certification
  • Alteranative ministry training courses are now being offered near Chattanooga and Cleveland

1992 CHURCH of GOD RESOLUTION on MINISTERIAL DEVELOPMENT AND EDUCATION

WHEREAS a new light of freedom and opportunity for evangeliza- tion shines across the world today; and

WHEREAS a new cry for trained, spiritual leadership is being heard throughout the world because of church growth and evangelism in new fields of labor; and

WHEREAS God is raising up a mighty army of new warriors and champions who are entering ministry in record numbers;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Church of God support, promote, and encourage the accessibility of ministerial training and development throughout the world (64th A., 1992, p.78).

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203 thoughts on “Ethics in Educational Credentials: DISCUSSION ON CHURCH OF GOD GENERAL ASSEMBLY

  1. Jimmy Humphrey says:

    “C. Peter Wagner is a hypocrite anyway. His “”movement”” with John Wimber was conducted through their signs and wonders class at Fuller Theological Seminary.

    I don’t believe pastors have to have a bachelors degree in theology to pastor. But they should definitely have the equivalent in knowledge. After all, by appointing somebody as a pastor you are saying they are an older and matured Christian, and with that comes a body of knowledge that includes “”the faith”” once and all handed down to the saints, and that such a person in capable of communicating that faith to the next generation.

    If they don’t have a bachelors degree, one should definitely make sure they have a well lined bookshelf that includes that knowledge. They should have read books on hermeneutics, systematic and biblical theology (and know the differences), and academic level commentaries.

    At the end of the day, they should be scholarly in their disposition. If they aren’t, they don’t have what it takes to pastor.”

  2. June August says:

    I think the mention from C. Peter Wagner was from a discussion couple of weeks ago on a paper in the 1980s he did while still in Fuller with AG. Paper was pretty accurate on the outcome of the denomination. Unfortunately, Peter is not doing very well with his health. And as a given NAR rejects theologians and theological education as well as most ultra Charismatics out there like #iHOP and many of the Kansas/Tulsa following

  3. Tim Renneberg says:

    I agree with the AG’s position… my own fellowship (PAOC) has a similar, if not identical stance with ordination. One can apply for initial credentials in their last year of one of our Bible Colleges… (only activated when in a recognized ministry). After 2 years, and a rather rigorous interview process complete with references will one become ordained. If one’s schooling was from outside the PAOC, additional courses are required (Pentecostal Distinctives, Pentecostal History and 1 or 2 more)

  4. June August says:

    I’ve been wondering if other denominations have moved toward mandatory degreeing. Tim Renneberg do you have a link to an official PAOC document amending a mandatory degree in ministry prior to ordination?

  5. Tim Renneberg says:

    There is no mandatory degree requirement. I think, however, a three year diploma (or equivalent) is the minimum requirement for ministerial credentials. There is another credential one can apply for if they don’t have the educational requirements, but that credential does not lead to ordination.

  6. Terry Wiles says:

    “AoG Ordination recognition, for many decades, was based on evidence of “”divine calling”” and they heavily relied on a term “”congregational proclamational”” which declared their intention that ordination was primarily a recognition for those with a recognized pulpit ministry involving preaching the Word.

    This excluded non pulpit ministries from ordination. But that has changed.

    There is a booklet called “”Ordination”” that was commissioned by former General Supt. Thomas Zimmerman that is a classic dealing with the process and purpose of Ordination from their perspective which makes a clear contrast between liturgical and non liturgical ordinations.

    From a distance it does seem that today Ordination is more about Degree than calling and about Position than gifting. But that may not
    Be a fair observation.

    I thank God for their pursuit of Excellence in Education while at the same times cling strongly to the affirmation of “”calling”” as being an equal criteria for the certificate of Ordination.”

  7. Max Gooche May says:

    I agree with Terry Wiles Prof. Wadholm has done a great job exposing this. Ordination should be based on calling, not on merits lest we become Catholic again!

  8. Jimmy Humphrey says:

    There are a lot of people out there who have experience… but its’ bad experience. We need people who have both, education and experience.

  9. Ilya Okhotnikov says:

    An individual capacity to make sense of a bad experience and turn it into a good lesson is a skill acquired–humans are born with abilities, but skills come as we put ourselves into self-reflective process. There is much to say about education. in general: edu is good, if it serves the purpose.

  10. Jimmy Humphrey says:

    What’s sad is that many will simply use Bible college as nothing but a mere stepping stone in their career. When I was at Lee University, I sat alongside many pastors and would-be pastors who weren’t really interested in learning. They just wanted to get the piece of paper with their name on it, and put as little effort as possible into actually learning. Of course, this isn’t anything unique in college, it happens in godly and secular colleges. But it’s terrible to see just the same.

  11. Ilya Okhotnikov says:

    Jimmy, thanks for sharing. The individual’s view of life is inherited from his/her own family of origin. The mom-n-dad+sibbilins have influenced those views, and many other aspects have influenced also. Macro- & micro. here is one framework of Life Course Perspective that I like to use in explaining the complexity of someone’s attitude.

  12. Jimmy Humphrey says:

    I think if one does not have the luxury of earning a college degree (indeed, if your parents don’t have the means to pay for it, Bible college can be a very expensive thing, especially considering the salary of pastoral ministry), whoever one considers as a candidate for pastoral ministry should show a strong disposition towards actively learning and educating themselves. A. W. Tozer once said if you do not read, you should get out of ministry. Ministers aren’t those who simply pound the pulpit week in and week out, but they are students of life, theology, and culture. And if they are truly humble, they should seek out an education, and always be learning, wherever they can get that education, be it through formal academic training, or simply spending a lot of times and effort to study on their own.

  13. Jimmy Humphrey says:

    Even Jesus showed this aforementioned attitude. He wasn’t a classically trained rabbi. But he was one even as a kid that asked some pretty profound questions, and sought to learn. He ended up being a carpenter, but even when challenged by his toughest critics, he was able to hold his own and even occasionally knock their socks off by the knowledge he demonstrated. Even the scholars of his day liked some of the things Jesus had to say.

  14. Max Gooche May says:

    Actually CoG degree requirement is in the works. Not sure how familiar you are with the organization, but a 3 year experience or theology degree equivalent has been in the proposed requirements for licencing

  15. Derrick Harmon says:

    Honorary doctorates can be okay if the person has done their research and been in a particular field for years and years. If a preacher/minister is ordained by their organization, and they have been in ministry for 20 years or longer or significantly contributed to the denomination then an honorary doctorate is okay. The idea is that the individuals has the knowledge and expertise that someone would have if they were formally educated. But some of them are a joke.

  16. June August says:

    well maybe in modern day Pentecostalism, but there would have been no Reformation if there was not for men with degrees and we would have been all Catholics John Ruffle Let’s not propagate the Dark Ages in the name of some utopical spirituality without Christ alone as our Savior

  17. Ilya Okhotnikov says:

    A formal education degree is a combination of opportunities, personal efforts, and God’s blessing. It is always beneficial to one’s soul & spirit. God is the God of all. Including the fact that God is the God of Algebra and Trigonometry, Physics & Psychology. Is He not?

  18. Ilya Okhotnikov says:

    When a person masters the abilities to understand the science and does it so well that all recognize it (by formal education degree) and in achieving the degree a Christian recognizes Who has given the abilities and blessing to come to that point in life. To God be the Glory!

  19. John Ruffle says:

    “.
    Point 1:
    To discuss this we really need to dig deeper and find out what “”ordination”” actually is. How might it correlate with “”professional ministry””? What kind of schooling did the early Church develop? We end up further in a minefield, so it appears to me a whole lot of theological reflection needs to take place around this topic – discussion and dialogue – prior before to many inflexible viewpoints are expressed too forcefully. Let’s see if group members can step up to the plate and dialogue this in a mature and constructive manner. The outcome is very unlikely to be a single solution, but we do need to bare in mind Scripture and Tradition in the way we develop any given thesis, remaining open to change.”

  20. John Ruffle says:

    “.
    Point 2:
    The Catholic Church pioneered education and the monks were very learned: the Church educated Martin Luther. Unfortunately, the Reformation was schematic. Reform was needed – but not rebellion. That individualistic rebellious sense of entitlement has remained one of the less healthy fruits of the Reformation. At the very least, I’d like to see Protestants return to Rome if only that they might be sent out again, with the blessing of the Church this times. I don’t see any other approach to church unity as remotely working. This would be the Biblical thing to do.

    Point 3:
    My comment is almost certainly going to provoke and anger and wrath of many here, but when knee jerk pre-programned reactions subside, I would ask respectfully if you would meditate upon my words of reconciliation and seek what the Holy Spirit might be saying. Amen.”

  21. June August says:

    Terry Wiles you’ve got a good education – what’s your take on this move toward mandatory education as requirement for ordination?

  22. Terry Wiles says:

    “Get all the education you possibly can at the beginning and continue to learn until you die.

    Focus on calling when considering the ordination of a candidate giving it more weight or you end up with education without anointing.

    There should be a reasoned mandatory education requirement.”

  23. June August says:

    Most Pentecostal denominations already have “a reasoned mandatory education requirement” but a mandatory degree from a North American accredit institution is out of the financial reach of many small church pastors, not to mention the international community of Pentecostal ministers most of which have no clue of the meaning of accreditation Rick

  24. June August says:

    yeah, Terry Wiles I dont buy that. AG has about 36 000 ministers with median age standing strong at 54 years old. Make that 50 if you will – how many of them would start on education? Does anyone know how many AG ministers there are outside of North America after in 1953 the number of Assemblies of God believers outside the United States outnumbered the U.S. constituency for the first times? http://www.intrust.org/Magazine/Issues/Spring-2014/Ministers-without-masters-degrees

  25. Max Gooche May says:

    95% of Assemblies of God adherents lived outside the United States which will amount to about 75% of AG ministers being non-American

  26. Terry Wiles says:

    “I know about central and South America. I am not credentialed with the AoG. I use the faith and action material developed by one of their missionaries. I find it to be excellent.

    Over the last 5 years I have seen over 150 complete a three year course of study and have almost 300 enrolled working on completion. Our certified graduates are recognized by the Peruvian department of
    Education to be qualified to teach
    Bible in their
    Public schools.

    The object is education. The fight is over accredited. The academics want to limit or restrict the material to only their high standard and charge outrageous fees.

    That might work in the USA but it does nothing for other countries. One leader told me that only denomination leaders children were taking the high level courses with a
    Very low completion rate.

    At the same times the evangelical/Pentecostal church in central and South America is seeing explosive growth under the leadership of men who have simple undergraduate training or less yet have a definable call of God on their live to preach Gods word and lead
    Gods people.”

  27. Phil Scott says:

    All of the Godly Apostles of the Lord Jesus. were ignorant unlearned men, who Knew Jesus. Holy Ghost Filled and Sealed, was are Lords commanded in Acts 1st Chapter 4th verse through 12th.

  28. Jimmy Humphrey says:

    Our own insecurities about our lack of education should never be used as an excuse to further encourage ourselves or others in their lack of education.

  29. June August says:

    Terry Wiles I thin the question posted is about “accredited” – Paul and South America do not necessarily meet this requirement but I do see your point. Jimmy Humphrey with your interpretation there would have never been Pentecostalism to begin with :0

  30. Melody Cates Kinzer says:

    COGOP requires study of the Foundations Books with testing after each book. There are 7 books total. I was raised Pentecostal. Read the Bible many timess but I am learning so much more by taking these courses.

  31. Howard Gardner says:

    Mixed feelings. On the one hand I have heard sermons coming from pulpits that make me wonder if the minister even finished Elementary school (William Branham never did). On the other hand I spent a year at United Theological Seminary in Ohio and felt the majority of their faculty was Biblically incompetent.

  32. Curvin Self says:

    My grandfather had a saying, some are called and sent,. Some just pack up their bags and went.. There is no substitute for the anointing of GOD!! The greatest teaching Mentor too every ministers is the Holy Ghost. Ministry is not a job, it is the calling of God on ones life. It is an honor and a privilege to be chosen for kingdom work. Therefore the obligation of every Minister, and Pastor,or Bishop is to reach the highs pinnacle of learning and education. God has not called us to be second best at his work.. God gave his very best, let us be sure we give nothing less then ours.. This is my opinion on this matter,but know this everyman will give an account to God of himself.

  33. June August says:

    Howard Gardner first Pentecostal Baptist church gave him his first ordination – whatever that was 🙂 Curvin Self education helps us answer better the call of God in our lives (in most cases)

  34. Melody Cates Kinzer says:

    I believe any minister should be called and anointed of God. That, however, does not negate the fact that a minister should study to show himself approved. It is my opinion, that if someone is truly called of God, that person will hunger and thirst for more, thereby, wanting to study to become licensed. On the other hand, a license is not the do-all end-all of the studying that a minister should do. It is a process. No one, not even the highest ordained bishop or presbyter knows all there is to know about the scriptures and won’t until we reach heaven. Some things God meant to be a mystery.

  35. June August says:

    The OP however is IF accredited degree should be required as an ordination requirement. We all know we should study. But should it be required for ministerial ordination is what Rick Wadholm Jr is asking in the article

  36. Melody Cates Kinzer says:

    I believe it should be simply because there are many who claim to be called, wanting the title but not willing to do the work. As I said, any truly called minister will want to go further and get that license. It shows desire, determination, discipline etc. As my mom used to say, some are called and anointed, others just had a pinto bean dream.

  37. Rhonda Hartley Shumate says:

    I had an uncle who had a 7th grade education, but was one of the greatest preachers I have ever heard. Do you think just maybe that God can use and anoint whomever He chooses?

  38. Curvin Self says:

    I have given a lot of thought to all of the comments I’ve read.. I think everyone has something good to say, but the real question is does the word of God command that we get a college degree? It does not. It does however say study to show yourself approved. Peter was a drunken fisherman, but God chose him as a pillar foundation of the church, upon this rock I will build my church. Paul was educated to the highest degree. Charles Spurgeon was a very educated theologian and the great thing for the kingdom of God, however Smith Wigglesworth was an alcoholic. The pattern here is formed not by man,but by the hand of God. His ways are higher than our ways and his thoughts higher than ours. Every day I think God could have chosen anyone greater than me. However God chooses whosoever he will, and that is God at his best. He chooses the simple things to confound the wise and the wisdom of man is foolishness in the eyes of God. I think the greatest proving ground of all ministers should be there willingness to serve one another, Jesus said let he who is greatest among you be the servant or slave to his brother. All know this is good food for thought and a challenge to our spiritual man, to not only be tried by the spirit but to strive to bring glory to God through the service of our life. My grandfather was ask once, brother Self how long does it take to become a great man of God? He answered a lifetimes, and that’s just how much times we have been given.

  39. Curvin Self says:

    I may be wrong but I have heard that after you publish so many books you can receive and honorary doctorate .. Maybe this is what it is I don’t know. I think we should all be careful how we speak about each other. I hold to the fruits of the spirit and speak on these things. The devil doesn’t need any help from us to hurt each other just remember that.

  40. June August says:

    Curvin Self the question was NOT about the way the degree was obtained BUT that the school it was obtained from was NOT accredited OR was self-accredited. The UPSET on Patheos followed by Peter A Vandever came after Rick Joyner prophecied that if the Carolina Panthers win the Super Bowl 2016 it will be a sign from God that America is about to experience a third “great awakening.” http://www.patheos.com/blogs/dispatches/2016/2/3/joyner-if-carolina-wins-super-bowl-well-have-third-great-awakening/

  41. Walter Polasik says:

    1) I never put much stock in Joyner. His book on the “coming spiritual war/divide” divided my college Bible-study group at an Assemblies of God church (because some undiscerning new college pastor decided to teach it rather than the Bible). In my view, he is simply a false prophet, end of discussion. 2) Though ministry should NOT be based on educational credentials alone (as it is almost in the entire non-Pentecostal church world, sadly) Pentecostals have, for a long times and in noticeably large measure, been almost ignoramuses when it comes to well-rounded, sound, healthy Biblical teaching and exposition. They shout and speak in (usually fake) tongues and cause commotion and drama claiming “the anointing” of the Spirit and lack His discernment and wisdom. How’s that? Will some REAL Pentecostals please stand up? When was the last times you were in a large Pentecostal church and heard a sermon on the End timess or Justification and our Standing before God? What about talk on Existentialism, Atheism or problems in Christian understanding? No? Only sermonettes about signs and wonders, the anointing, the end-times revival, “God’s army” etc.? Hmmmm. No wonder other Christians laugh at us. We give ourselves a black eye.

  42. Tim Renneberg says:

    66 books in the Bible… there’s more, much more to sound “Pentecostal” teaching/preaching than end timess, justification and right standing before God… as important as those topics are.

  43. Link Hudson says:

    “I think we have two huge problems– adding unbiblical requirements for ordination, and ignoring the Biblical qualifications.

    My wife is from Indonesia and her folks go to a Lutheran church. There, they have 5 year degrees instead of MDivs to be ordained. Some Pentecostals seem to think the same way, that a degree from a Bible college qualifies you to ministry. While we should appreciate knowledge and education, a 22-year-old could graduate with a Bible college degree without being Biblically qualified.

    Some qualifications for overseer require some life experience. ‘Elder’ implies a greater degree of maturity. The NIV even translates the Greek plural form of ‘presbuteros’ as ‘older men’ in one context, but as ‘elders’ in other contexts.

    Some qualifications are simple life-style qualifications that any new believer should meet, like not being given to much wine. But it takes some times to demonstrate the ability to manage one’s house well and to have ones children demonstrate faithfulness and respect.

    In a place like Indonesia, we should also consider the fact that parents may send a kind of naughty child away to Bible college to make him good, then he or she becomes a pastor by virtue of the degree.

    There is also a huge problem with the ‘vocational’ way ministry is viewed. If you want to become an engineer, you can go to school, maybe borrowing money to do so, and you expect that when you get out, you will be qualified as an engineer and get a job to earn a living and pay back the loans. If you want to become a pastor, should the system work the same? Should you borrow money, and by virtue of your degree, expect to have a nice-paying job?

    Paul did train Timothy, but I don’t think Paul said, “”Pay me ten drachmas a month and I will train you to be an apostle and evangelist. Borrow the money if you have to. If you don’t pay, I won’t train you.””

    We see in scripture they way these itinerant ministers were trained. One itinerant minister would disciple and train another. John had disciples. Jesus had disciples who traveled with Him and helped Him in His ministry. Paul took young men like Mark and Timothy with him.

    We don’t see the ‘Bible College system’ in scripture, or the seminary system. When Paul and Barnabas appointed elders at the end of their first missionary journey, they did not send for fresh grads from Jerusalem Bible college. Rather, they appointed elders from within their very congregations who were to pastor the flock.”

  44. June August says:

    Link Hudson there was a great dissertation back in the day from a Harvard graduate practicing Pentecostal about the disappearing of the Bible College model in America as an effective ministry training school. So a Bible College as you remember it is not in question here at all. It’s more of an alternative but accredited (with state or church) educational institution that seems to be pushed as a requirement to Pentecostals nationwide. And the big question here is WHY [for what specific reason or agenda]?

  45. Terry Wiles says:

    Once accreditation is obtained there is a natural move toward issuing diplomas for secular education degrees which weakens the ministerial training focus. Probably it has something to do with needing the money to operate the schools.

  46. June August says:

    This would be my 2nd guess as Bible School strategy for the 1980s. But today, seems like a higher education requirement would do a good work for screening ordination candidates and make sure they dont get ordained and then come out of the closet with an agenda to change a given movement toward 21c ordination practices Ed Brewer Of course this is just in the range of world conspiracy and not that it has ever happened in other denominations William DeArteaga But a good preventive measure over all

  47. Jimmy Humphrey says:

    When looking at a man for a pastor, we should consider the entire person in their character and history with God and the church. They should have a certain disposition and mindset. Ideally, they’ve gone to Bible college or seminary to help obtain a basic foundational knowledge base about God’s word, and that they show a mindset that they are one who continues to study to the best of their ability. We should also look at their moral history, and the type of person they are. How did they get where they are today as a person?

  48. Ed Brewer says:

    Education is a wonderful tool, and if done properly the formation that occurs in it’s pursuit is very valuable. Therein is the difficulty – people conflate value with identity. Said another way, many see education as the end to the means rather than a means to an end. When a person confuses using a tool with becoming a tool, there is a disconnect. God doesnt call tools- he calls men (and women too). There is an intoxicating pull to the unexamined adulation of post nominal letters on one’s name, and that vanity can creep into the psyche. At the pinnacle of their purpose, seminaries and formal education in general are intended to equip for service, not for position. When the institution or the title becomes a tacit refuge from personal participation in the work of the ministry, it has lost it’s validity.

  49. Ricky Grimsley says:

    I think education is like anything. Obviously we should study to show ourselves approved. Sometimess people wont even listen to you if you arent educated just like some people wont listen to you if you havent gone through what they have. Its just another tool.

  50. Daniel J Hesse says:

    In recent studies, we found that folks with seminary training do not have as much success in ministry as those without. Educators is not the predominant factor. Good training, solid working beside a pastor, and the ability to learn the administration of the church and discipline is key.

  51. Link Hudson says:

    The Bible College model is still alive in Indonesia, but a lot of them are 4-year schools on a similar model with other types of colleges there– 4 years of major-related subject matter rather than 2 years of liberal arts, and some Bible colleges are seminaries with a 4-year program. Much of what I said applies to the seminary system.

  52. Link Hudson says:

    “The Bible does not require a 4-year degree and neither should our churches. The sad thing is that many churches and denominations ignore the Biblical requirements and require a degree or a ‘calling.’ The Bible never mentions calling in connection with the pastoral/eldership role.

    For centuries the ministry was called ‘elder.’ The Reformed folks renamed it as ‘pastor’ in the times of John Calvin and created a new ‘elder’ role. That creates a lot of confusion. A lot of people don’t realize there are Biblical requirements for the role. Maybe they think those requirements are for some administrative position.”

  53. June August says:

    Link Hudson not sure if you noticed the discussion is on accredited degree as a prerequisite of Pentecostal ministers in the United States. So far Ag, Cog and IPHC are talking about it. So its a local thing

  54. Link Hudson says:

    “Here’s a question: in the world and in history, have more Pentecostals with degrees won more souls to Christ and impacted people to a greater degree than those without degrees. Just think of all the treasures we’d have missed out on if we’d required degrees for ministry.

    The ‘professional ministry’ system is already bad enough, and adding requirements like this would make it worse.”

  55. June August says:

    Link Hudson What you are asking is of course completely irrelevant to the OP. The question is WHY such push for degreeing right now? Will it be a national requirement OR just a preventative measure?

  56. Corey Forsyth says:

    To each their own, but I don’t see any benefit for me in climbing to high denominational ranks. Of course my passion is to pastor. I have never been one compelled to pursue ministry as a career path as some do.

  57. Alan Smith says:

    “you are right and I feel the same. However, their are some in the rank and file that feel their ‘calling’ is to be on top. Sad part is those that achieve that lose touch with the local pastor and local churches. They fight to be career overseers and never return to Pastoring unless they have no other choice. (Of course, there are exceptions to every rule.)
    I don’t see how a Phd or any other degree, whether earned, bestowed upon or honorary will help in ministry vs not having one.”

  58. Link Hudson says:

    I don’t see the emphasis on why the push in the OP. I don’t think the little independant church I got to is pushing for degrees for ordination. My feelings are against it.

  59. Max Gooche May says:

    You seem to have misunderstood the discussion. Both AofG and CofG are pushing or are being pushed to require accredited degree for ordain ministers. It’s not a financial issue as Charles Page suggested. It is more of a national campaign on Pentecostal denominations not on small charismatic independents. Anyone got the word on IPHC?

  60. Daniel J Hesse says:

    Most districts provide Schools of ministry which streamline the credential process and afford all three levels. This is good for those actively involved in service and no degree.

  61. Ricky Grimsley says:

    “What about this. Mark 5:18-20 KJVS
    [18] And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. [19] Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. [20] And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.”

  62. Corey Forsyth says:

    So if God’s servants need to be formally trained, would this be for the 5 fold ministry only or do we ALL need to start taking ownership in this?

  63. John Ruffle says:

    This is really interesting topic. First, perhaps we need to investigate what “ordination” means and what it implies. I think we risk loosing something very precious if we insist on some accreditation route – most particularly if it involves state ir secular approval. On the other hand, many Church leaders have almost zero understanding of anything beyond their 4 walls. So i would say a lot of current training is woefully inadequate. Let’s see what others say …

  64. Ricky Grimsley says:

    From what i hear most seminaries are brainwashing factories. What i think churches need is a good wed. Night bible study where people who are faithful will come and learn about the core matters of the faith mixed with everyday life. Get people to discuss the Godhead, grace, faith, justification, regeneration, etc. Get people used to explaining their faith in a safe environment while guiding them to deeper truths. Most christians these days are paralyzed past “come to church with me” or ” jesus wants you to get saved”.

  65. Max Gooche May says:

    This one is a mystery to me Ricky Grimsley Perhaps someone in academia can shed more light institutionalizing of denominational education

  66. Corey Forsyth says:

    Maybe the core problem was just answered by Mbabazi Hamala. If those who were called relied more on the anointing and got the training to enhance their ministry rather than trusting the training IN PLACE of the anointing to fulfill their calling, then we may see a dramatic shift in how ministry is done and how effective it is.

  67. Ricky Grimsley says:

    “Paul was also educated by jesus. Galatians 1:11-12 KJVS
    [11] But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. [12] For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it , but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

  68. Jeffry Woolston says:

    I think they should be a part of the General Council
    and be able to speak and debate, etc. but I too believe they should not be Bishops.

  69. Ricky Grimsley says:

    Im ok with the idea of it but i have never met a lady pastor so i am unfamiliar with the application of it. I don see why we should stand in the way unless we impose the whole scripture (i feel out of context) for women to keep silent in the church. It isnt something i have studied really though.

  70. Brody Pope says:

    I do not agree with making women Ordained Bishops. Ordained Licenced Ministers, fine. But not Bishops. I also do not agree with women pastoring a church. I have no problem with women preaching or evangelizing. But I do not agree with a woman pastoring a church. I suppose I should get ready for my thrashing now.

  71. Robert Borders says:

    Are we talking about women who are heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or transgender? This could be future discussion in the COG.

  72. Kerry Collins says:

    I think the GA floor should be opened upped to ordained and Bishop’s, I am a Bishop myself, we need to include in my opinion the ordained and woman can get to that level. Doing this would solve multiple problems at once.

  73. Mary Ellen Nissley says:

    God created women equally in His image. There were women used by God to prophesy in the OT and in the NT. There is even SCRIPTURE inspired through women.

    And we are quibbling over who gets to be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?

    Jesus said, It shall not be so among you. What part of it shall not be so do we not understand?

  74. Corey Forsyth says:

    Okay so to be devil’s advocate here, since Paul gave specific instruction for women NOT to override a man’s authority, where does that line get drawn? Or do we ignore this verse because it’s an outdated school of thought?

  75. Kerry Collins says:

    The Bible says Bishop’s should be the Husband of one Wife. It’s the word, the order is set. My option includes those who are not in the conversation now, if the women in the COG that are minister’s want to push the Bishop status thing, then to me they are going down the wrong path to get involved and have the chance to be in the big conversation.

  76. Ricky Grimsley says:

    There is no line. If you take that text from timothy and apply it to the whole church……women cant even speak can they? To me you have to pick.

  77. Charles Page says:

    Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. I Cor 14:34

  78. Ricky Grimsley says:

    1 Timothy 2:12 KJVS
    [12] But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
    Where do you rightly divide this? If you believe the rest that women cant teach preach dont they have to be completely silent?

  79. Corey Forsyth says:

    I had always heard (haven’t dove into historical research personally) that the sanctuary was divided with men on one side and women on the other, thus requiring women to remain silent until service was dismissed.
    I see this as being a topic that causes division in many ways because there are arguments on either side of the fence that appear great but I just have to read Scripture and see that an order was placed for the offices of the church and go with that.

  80. Charles Page says:

    Ricky Grimsley, you will be hard pressed to find support that women have to remain completely silent in church. If you exegete enough you’ll find the scripture.

  81. Corey Forsyth says:

    Voddie Baucham has an interesting commentary. He was asked What if a woman feels she is gifted to preach or teach? His answer was that not everyone gets to do everything they feel gifted in. We have abilities that will not be used, at least in the context we may think.

  82. Robert Borders says:

    If one really wants to play devil’s advocate we could ask where in scripture can we find evidence to support a denominational structure built upon the foundation of the transgressions of Tomlinson,

  83. Link Hudson says:

    It’s confusing. The whole COG (Cleveland) clergy system is so removed in a lot of ways from what we see in scripture, how can one know what to be in favor of and what to be against? In the Bible, the apostles appointed elders from within the congregation. Paul told the elders of Ephesus to pastor the church of God over whom the Holy Ghost had made them bishops.

    So apparently the elders of the local church are bishops and they are supposed to pastor. But in the COG (Cleveland) there are pastors of local churches who aren’t recognized as bishops. A ‘bishop’ is someone who has been in the denomination a long time and jumped through the proper hoops. Where is the denomination in scripture? Where is the idea of having papers or ordination with a denomination in scripture?

    As far as the Biblical role of bishop goes, the role that Titus and Timothy were to appoint people to be in, one of the qualifications was to be a man… a one woman man. Titus 1 and I Timothy 3 use two different words for ‘man’ when they say this.

  84. Charles Page says:

    The Servicemen’s representative, Edwin King, while visiting us in Turkey in 75 told me that the Church was too big now for the Holy Spirit to administer and that now in contrast to Acts of the Apostles he had to let men operate the church.

    I believe he was giving me a personal view directed toward me!

    Today that is true and the Holy Ghost has not approved that view.

    We need to operate by the Bible model instead of looking for a working model. A modern social church must fit in with multi-cultures and seek a role that works.

  85. Mary Ellen Nissley says:

    Charles Page, you asked about I Corinthians 14: 34, 35.
    If you were to apply these two verses precisely as they are written, you would forbid all singing by women. Silence means silence.

    Yet, both the OT and the NT have women leading the congregation in singing, prophesying, and speaking inspired Scriptures, besides telling men how to view Scripture! (Deborah, Huldah, Mary, Elizabeth, Priscilla, Phillip’s daughters…)

    Obviously, something about this Scripture in 1 Cor 14 is out of sync with the rest of Scripture!

    Paul had just given instructions for women prophesying in chapter 11, and now, does he turn right around and tell them they can’t after all??!

    Fact is, I Cor 14:34 and 35 are part of the discussion of operation in the gifts… Paul had just finished telling them that they ALL may prophesy, one by one.
    And then, verse 36 again speaks of the word of God coming to them…

    Look carefully at verse 36. SOMEONE was trying to shut someone up. SOMEONE who thought the word of God was coming ONLY to them, or only through them.

    Verse 36 begins with a Greek disjunctive conjunction. Translated literally into our vernacular, Paul was saying No way! or NOT!

    So, what was going on here?

    We have to remember why the book of 1 Corinthians was written.
    It was Paul’s response to a letter full of questions, written from Corinth. Throughout this letter, there are questions, and Paul is responding to these questions. It can be a bit tricky to interpret this book, if you aren’t looking for the signs that indicate which parts are questions Paul is quoting from their letters, and which parts are his answers.

    For instance, in chapter 6:
    1Co 6:18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
    1Co 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

    Paul seems to say every sin a man does, is outside of his body. But is that true? No. There are many sins committed in (and against) our bodies. (Gluttony, drunkeness, etc.)

    The clue is that little word but.
    (it’s the same word found at the beginning of I Cor. 14:36.)
    Paul commands, flee fornication.
    then Paul quotes from their letter, every sin … is without the body.
    And then Paul objects to that quote:
    BUT, he that committeth fornication…!)
    And then, Paul uses that little word again, What?
    …and (just like in chapter 14:36) he then gives the REASON he is protesting their heretical idea.

    Now, back to chapter14. verses 34&35 are quotes from that lost letter.
    Paul did not command those verses.
    Instead, he objects to those ideas, in verse 36.

    … In fact, the words, as also saith the law prove it.
    These ideas are NOWHERE found in the OT.
    Instead, they are found in the MISHNAH–which was at the time of Paul only in oral form, as the traditions of the elders–the rabbis whose teachings the Pharisees followed… who Jesus worked so hard against!

    The law referred to here, is not God’s law, but the extra laws of the Pharisees… the folks who invented the women’s court of the Temple. That was never prescribed by God, either.

    In 1 Cor 14, 34,35, it was the men, who were trying to shut the women up. But Paul said, What? did the word of God come to you only? or did it come through you only?

    No. the word of God has come to women also. And through women, too.

  86. Link Hudson says:

    Mary Ellen Nissley Can you show me an example of anyone in the New Testament, male or female, who ever led singing in church?

    I heard a man argue that the instructions to women in I Corinthians 14 that are so contraversial were actually supposed to be in quotes. That sounded like a very convenient explanation. I felt like saying, What if someone said, ‘Thou shalt nto commit adultery’ should be in quotes

  87. Brody Pope says:

    Ok, so here’s a question: what made Paul say that women should remain silent? What was the reasoning behind it? Did a woman make him mad while he was preaching because she wouldn’t stop interrupting him?

  88. Charlotte Morehead says:

    If God can fill a woman with the Holy Spirit and give her the gifts of the Spirit, I cannot see why she cannot be ordained. I will guarantee you a woman can be submissive to her husband and still fulfill the role of an ordained minister. I can also assure you the women ministers would get things done in a timely manner which seems to be a problem with groups of men whether they are elders or ministers.

  89. Jackson Vaughn Plant says:

    Bishops is the highest level of ordination for Church of God. Bishops can be overseers for national and state offices, ministers everything but that

  90. Jackson Vaughn Plant says:

    Also if it hurts someone so much they can’t achieve being promoted to Bishop then instead of destroying harmony then just leave? Every body who goes for credentials in COG knows limitations and agrees to them. Took me 8 years before I was able to promote did I scream and complain how the church was crushing me? NO! I did what God called me to do and if you can’t then PLEASE leave.

  91. Jackson Vaughn Plant says:

    I assume your talking about husband of ONE wife? No do NOT have to be married, Paul wasn’t Jesus wasn’t most apostles were not.

  92. Charles Page says:

    This issue suffers from the lack of reasoned feedback of the Church of God media.

    This is an agenda item up for discussion by the general council and passed on to the general assembly for vote.

    Yet the church is seemingly told how to vote rather than be informed about the voting process. Thus three elements are being resisted: the mind of the people, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and the instruction of scripture.

  93. Charles Page says:

    if you have a dog in this fight.. is a law they should acknowledge.

    The administrative people need to lead the church not drive the church.

  94. Melvin Harter says:

    I have been told by several Ordained Bishops that if it is passed at the GA that women can be Ordained Bishops, they are resigning from the CoG and turning in their ministerial credentials.

  95. Link Hudson says:

    Does any of this have anything to do with what ‘bishop’ refers to in the Bible? Isn’t a pastor of a local church a ‘bishop’ in the Biblical sense? Why all the hubub over the title and not the substance?

  96. Gregory Aslan Chopoorian says:

    It has been said that a nation is a group of people united by a common misconception about their racial/ethnic/historic origins….the same could be said about those insisting God has imbued the male gender with the latent mantle of leadership in the church, and calling that biblical…it’s biblical in that the Bible is being misused in the endeavor, but it’s still a misconception; still a fundamental misunderstanding of why Christ came, lived, died, was raised from the dead, ascended, and gave us all gifts..and it wasn’t for the sake of men and women being ensconced in the patriarchy you envision, Charles! There is therefore now no male or female in Christ! We haven’t even begun in any meaningful way to explore what that means, but I cringe at the thought of what awaits those that have thwarted the ministry gifts of God over a person’s genitalia!

  97. Jackson Vaughn Plant says:

    Gregory Aslan Chopoorian I have heard this ad nausium , we did not write the bible but Paul did. Take it up with him. I am tired of the threats from their side about holding women down! But I cringe at the thought of what awaits those that have thwarted the ministry gifts.. Really!?! The ONLY thing women are restricted from is Senior Church Leadership. They are Pastors,Evangilist, Prophets, praise leaders, teachers! Anything, they Sit on state boards which by the was most men who are not Bishops don’t get to do. In NO WAY AT ALL are women restricted from ministry gifts and it’s a lie and disingenuous to claim otherwise. Why are women wanting what GOD said they should not do? Unless it’s that reason because God said don’t do it? Sounds familiar a little bit. The sanctimonious derision that the so called egalitarian side has for anyone who would DARE disagree is wrong on so many levels. I have read same chapters in the Greek and Hebrew and I know what it says. 62% shot it down and still keeps being brought up again and again! Do you really think that will persuade me to go against what God said? In that case you all have the misconceptions.

  98. Robert Borders says:

    The entire political systems of denominational hierarchy tends to thwart ministries of both male and female who try to please those over them in man-made structures. I find little biblical support for the way the American Church (including the COG) has evolved. This is a problem with essentially all denominations over time.

  99. Wade T. Foster says:

    Women being Ordained Bishops is not on the agenda for GA 2016. I read through the agenda many times and it is not there. Where are you getting this faulty information.

    There is on the agenda voting for Ordained ministers (used to be called Licensed ministers and definitely not Ordained Bishops) to be part of the General Council at GA.

  100. David Lewayne Porter says:

    It is not that the men are threatened.

    I just want a lady to explain how they can discount the verses on male headship and bishops yet still hold firm to other scriptures by the same author.

    Seems double minded to me.

  101. Melvin Harter says:

    Wade T. Foster, the CoG has many women preachers who are ordained (used to be known as Licensed Minister). The GA agenda, as it has been presented in the past several times, but always voted down, will then permit women to be part of the General Council at the G.A. since they are presently Ordained ministers although not classified as an Ordained Bishop. That is why this forum addresses the issue of women possibly being a part of the General Council, again as I have stated, was voted down in past Assemblies.

  102. Mike Times says:

    I am sorry but this tread has been virtually hijacked by another motion namely item 40 on contemporary ministerial development. Could you please start another discussion on item 40 so we can focus on the baby-bishops discussion? Thank you!

  103. Brandon Bohannon says:

    I would approach this proposed by-law change as I would any other. I would pray and then listen to the collective opinion and wisdom of the General Assembly. With that being said:

    Today, I would vote FOR the proposed change.

    1) This would still mean that every PERSON (regardless of age*, gender, race, nationality, ethnicity, etc) would have been screened by their state/regional credentialing committee, state bishop, and state council to be on the General Council floor.

    2) Every PERSON would have either passed through CAMS&MIP or the Lead Institute and have successfully passed TWO Examinations and an oral interview on Doctrine, Polity and Scripture.

    3) Every PERSON would have been current on their Ministerial Reporting.

    4) Every PERSON would still have the collective benefit of the Ordained Bishops in the room and discussion with them.

    This doesn’t change the Leadership structure in any way but it does change the Leadership paradigm by including the voices of another generation and of course the ordained women serving among and with us.

    Consider me in. What are your thoughts brothers?

    Edit: We are hemorrhaging young ministers and church planters. What solutions can we come up with?

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