The Assemblies of God is perhaps the most well known, and earliest to become more institutionalized and move from a sect to a denomination, of the pentecostal groups. The following statement of belief about pacifism and military service was written with special attention to new testament passages, especially the teachings of Jesus, but couched like a sandwich between two loyalty oaths, which surely in retrospect did much to undercut the radical nature of the statement. Still, it was used by quite a large number of religious objectors to war who were members of the Assemblies of God, right up until its complete rewrite and and revocation in 1967 during the Vietnam War, where it still might have done some good.
“Resolution Concerning the Attitude of the General Council of the Assemblies of God Toward any Military Service which Involves the Actual Participation in the Destruction of Human Life.
¨While recognizing Human Government as of Divine ordination and affirming our unswerving loyalty to the Government of the United States, nevertheless we are constrained to define our position with reference to the taking of human life.¨WHEREAS, in the Constitutional Resolution adopted at the Hot Springs General Council, April 1-10, 1914, we plainly declare the Holy Inspired Scriptures to be the all-sufficient rule of faith and practice, and¨WHEREAS the Scriptures deal plainly with the obligations and relations of humanity, setting forth the principles of “Peace on earth, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14); and¨WHEREAS we, as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, believe in implicit obedience to the Divine commands and precepts which instruct us to “Follow peace with all men,” (Heb. 12:14); “Thou shall not kill,” (Exod. 20:13); “Resist not evil,” (Matt. 5:39); “Love your enemies,” (Matt.5:44): etc. and¨WHEREAS these and other Scriptures have always been accepted and interpreted by our churches as prohibiting Christians from shedding blood or taking human life;¨THEREFORE we, as a body of Christians, while purposing to fulfill all the obligations of loyal citizenship, are nevertheless constrained to declare we cannot conscientiously participate in war and armed resistance which involves the actual destruction of human life, since this is contrary to our view of the clear teachings of the inspired Word of God, which is the sole basis of our faith.Weekly Evangel, August 4, 1917, p. 6.
The following are examples of WWI Draft cards of Assemblies of God men who requested conscientious objector status as members of a religious group on record against members going to war.The following are examples of WWI Draft cards of Assemblies of God men who requested conscientious objector status as members of a religious group on record against members going to war.
Note that even though we have other evidence that James Griffin was a member of the Assemblies of God, on line 12 of his draft card (the exemption request line) he uses the more traditional Pentecostal naming convention of “Apostolic Faith who object to war.” Jose Garza, lists his group and reason for exemption as a religious objector simply as “Church of God.” He is one of a very small number of U.S. Latino men who were officially on record with the U.S. government as religious objectors to warfare. John Gary lists his occupation as farmer and minister, yet still he gives his reason for exemption in the same way as other religious objectors to war by listing his religious group which is officially against members going to war, “The General Council of the Assemblies of God.” Charlie Dobson, lists his occupation as “Evangelist — holding meetings,” and in fact the Assemblies of God ordained him about three years later than his draft card, he asked for religious exemption to military service as a member of the “Assemblies of God in Christ.”