I was informed that George O. Wood, the Superintedent of the Assemblies of God, intended to respond to the controversy regarding his critique of Tony Jones being at the annual meeting for the Society for Pentecostal Studies. He addressed the issue live on MinistryDirect.com so I decided I would listen.
I found his response calm and respectful. He appealed to (1) his responsibility as an “overseer” and (2) the Society of Pentecostal Studies association with the World Pentecostal Fellowship (of which he is an executive board member) as reason for him expressing concern. He says he feels that he spoke as many other global Pentecostal leaders would have spoke.
Wood said the AOG did not threaten to boycott SPS but he did say that such a direction could lead to the AOG deciding not the fund their scholars for SPS (though free to go using their own funds). The problem was not the subject being discussed. The problem was giving Jones, an open advocate of same sex marriage, a platform. He felt that the Apostle Paul would not have given a platform like this to someone in the church of Corinth.
I was unaware of the partnership between the Society for Pentecostal Studies and the World Pentecostal Fellowship (WPF). This partnership makes me think Wood had all the right to question SPS’s decision. Apparently, SPS is not an independent academic society. If there is a relationship between SPS and WPF then the SPS, by default, has the primary purpose of serving the church. Likewise, Sanchez-Walsh and others have the right to form another fellowship free from any associations if they think it will allow them more academic freedom.
Wood did say that academic freedom must work with academic responsibility. He said that for Christian scholars this means Scriptural fidelity. Again, if SPS is for the embetterment of the church then the leadership of the church has a right to express their feelings on the matter. Jones has not labored for the health of the Pentecostal movement. He has less invested in it than Wood and others, nor does he care about their spiritual well-being like Wood. I am inclined to side with the AOG superintendent on this one.