Delegates to the 50th biennial Assemblies of God general council assembled this month in Washington, D.C., and approved a resolution that gives AG ministers more flexibility to perform wedding ceremonies for divorced people. Previously, ministers in the 2.7 million-member denomination could marry only church members who were divorced because of adultery or abandonment.
More than 3,700 delegates attended the week-long event. They voted to give local congregations greater self-governance, using "models" approved by the 260-member general presbytery, the AG's governing body. They also voted to include women in all levels of leadership, including the general presbytery. (AG records list some 5,500 female pastors.) Some pastors argued that the Bible doesn't permit women to serve in positions of spiritual leadership. But proponents countered that the AG had thrashed out scriptural issues before and endorsed the role of women in ministry.
Among the guest speakers was U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, who comes from a long line of AG leaders. AG general superintendent Thomas Trask introduced him as the "Assemblies of God's favorite son."