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Peace to War: Shifting Allegiances in the Assemblies of God (The C. Henry Smith Series) [Paperback]

By Paul Alexander (Author)
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Item Number 413057  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   432
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9" Width: 6" Height: 0.88"
Weight:   1.27 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 15, 2009
Publisher   Cascadia Publishing House
ISBN  1931038589  
EAN  9781931038584  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Once the Pentecostal peace witness extended throughout the movement and around the world - but was eventually muted and almost completely lost in the American Assemblies of God. This book tells the story of that shift. As Paul Alexander documents, "The war church is a harlot church!" so said an early 20th century fiery Pentecostal preacher - reflecting the conscientious objection and nonviolence that was the official position of the Assemblies of God, 1917-1967. Pentecostals spoke in tongues, prayed for healing, and refused to kill for America, stating that "the clear teachings of the inspired Word of God" showed that "as followers of the Prince of Peace" they could not "conscientiously participate in the actual destruction of human life." But by the end of the 20th century, the majority of AOG pastors in America believed that Jesus himself would support war and that they should kill for their country if necessary.

Publishers Description
Once the Pentecostal peace witness extended throughout the movement and around the world-but was eventually muted and almost completely lost in the American Assemblies of God. This book, which is "gripping, powerful, and prophetic," says Amos Yong, tells the story of that shift. "The antiwar, Christian, pacifist sentiments of the Assemblies of God that Alexander describes . . . juxtaposed in close proximity to their pro-war and anti-pacifist passion and identification with America . . . is simply striking," comments J. Denny Weaver, in the C. Henry Smith Series Editor's Foreword. The implications, observes Cheryl Bridges Johns, Professor of Christian Formation and Discipleship, Church of God, "are worth examining by all traditions asking, 'Will our children have faith?' At the same time, mentions Harvey Cox, Hollis Professor of Religion, Harvard Divinity School, Alexander's narrative "suggests that Pentecostals may yet reclaim this invaluable element of their heritage."

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
This book made me want to cry, and then pray for change  Jun 26, 2009
Paul Alexander's book "Peace to War" is a devastating indictment on the growing militarism in the Assemblies of God denomination. In the book, Alexander meticulously details the pacifism of the early pentecostals and how the first few decades of the Assemblies of God's existence was marked by a belief in conscientious objection to war as the ideal.

Perhaps the most soul-stirring section of the book is when Alexander describes the suffering that many of the early pentecostal conscientious objectors faced under Woodrow Wilson's repressive tactics that are absolutely incompatible with modern notions of democratic ideals. The length that Wilson went to silence pacifist voices is truly shocking by today's standards.

Perhaps the greatest lesson in the book that I took away is how easy it is for an officially pacifist denomination to do an entire 180 over such a short period of time. For this reason, I think that "Peace to War" should be read by every single Mennonite, Quaker, or Church of the Brethren member. Alexander lays out exactly how the original peace witness was lost. Without giving too much away, I'd like to point out two culprits that eventually became the death knell of pacifism in the Assemblies of God, "conscience clause" and "army chaplaincy program."

Aaron D. Taylor, author of Alone with A Jihadist: A Biblical Response To Holy War
A Must Read for All Assemblies of God Leaders  Dec 9, 2008
I would venture to say that if John Wesley were to preach in most Methodist churches today, he would be thrown out. If John Calvin were to preach in most Presbyterian churches, the same would happen. Ditto with Roger Williams in most Southern Baptist churches.

Would the same true to early pentecostal leaders? Absolutely, particularly on this issue.

Give any religious movement enough time (often no more than 100 years), and it often becomes the opposite of what it was founded to be. One can attribute this to what C.S. Lewis called "chronological arrogance," or other sociological phenomena (I grew up in the Assemblies of God being taught how to mock the 'C.A. Chorus').

It is my belief that the Assemblies of God has sold its birthright (Zech 4:6), and Paul Alexander chronicles exactly how that happened. I believe we traded our prayer/spiritual warfare weapons in for weapons of physical warfare and nationalistic idolatry. We traded our understanding of the spiritual dimensions of the New Covenant for 'Old Testament Christianity' (which is really an oxymoron).

If Donald Gee, Frank Bartleman and others were alive today, they would be shocked and ashamed at what the Azusa Street revival has produced in America. Bartleman would probably be quite blunt and might even charge us with apostasy.

I know Paul Alexander and count him as a dear brother, though I may not agree on what he believes is the remedy to the status quo (that is not included in this book--the book is almost purely history, including some very interesting contemporary history). I believe the answer is a reunderstanding of what 'our weapons' truly are (2 Cor. 10:4).

Please read this book to understand what has happened to us in the past 100 years. You may need to be prepared to repent. We don't hold a candle to the moral courage and spiritual commitment of those early pentecostals, including being willing to be imprisoned for their commitment to fight God's way, not man's. God help us.

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