June 30, 2003 Q & A

Assemblies of God and the OPC


What are the differences between the beliefs of the OPC and the Assemblies of God?


The main difference between the OPC and the Assemblies of God is that the OPC is Calvinistic (Reformed), whereas the Assemblies of God are Arminian. The Reformed view is that man is utterly dead in trespasses and sins and is totally unable to exercise faith in Jesus Christ unless renewed (born again " John 3:3) by the Holy Spirit of God. Further, that regeneration precedes faith (cf. Eph. 2:1-5, 8-10). The Arminian view is that self-generated faith precedes regeneration. The Bible teaches that God the Holy Spirit regenerates the undeserving sinner, enabling him to believe in Jesus Christ; on the basis of this faith the guilty sinner is declared righteous or right with God. The Arminian view held by the Assemblies of God holds that the new birth is the result of the sinner's placing his faith in Jesus Christ. "In response to placing faith in God's love and freely given salvation, one experiences the washing of regeneration (or spiritual rebirth), the renewing work of the Holy Spirit, and is declared righteous" (The Assemblies of God: Our 16 Doctrines, p. 7). In the Bible, regeneration precedes faith (cf. Eph. 2:1-5, 8-10). The Arminian view is that self-generated faith precedes regeneration.

The Reformation view of "sola Scriptura" (the "Bible alone" is the rule of faith and practice) insists that God has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Christ, revealed in Scripture (2 Pet. 1:3). The OPC rejects both new revelations of the Spirit (sought in the modern charismatic movement) and traditions of men (held to in Roman Catholicism); see Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) 1:6. We do not seek to speak in tongues, believing that the gift of tongues as described in the book of Acts was unique to the apostolic age before the completion of the canon of Scripture. To require anyone to believe something because man said it (whether an ancient tradition or a supposed new revelation received five minutes ago) is to lord it over the consciences of God's people and grieve the Holy Spirit of God. A realization that God alone is Lord of the conscience gives Christians true freedom, for liberty is making choices in accordance with the word of God (Jas. 1:25).

Another aspect of "sola Scriptura" is that we believe that God alone has the right to order how we may worship Him. We may do only those things in worship that God has appointed in His word, whether by express teaching or approved example. The biblical elements of worship are enumerated in WCF 21. Aiming to do all things decently and in order, we do not allow women to preach or speak in church meetings or to rule the church, as do the Assemblies of God (1 Cor. 14:33-40; 1 Tim. 2:12).



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