'Ethical Misconduct' Forces Pentecostal Group to Appoint New General Secretary

The world's largest Pentecostal denomination has appointed a new general secretary less than one week after the man who previously held the post resigned over "ethical misconduct and an inappropriate interaction."

The appointment of Dr. James Bradford, pastor of Central Assembly of God in Springfield, Mo., was announced Thursday morning by Assemblies of God General Superintendent George O. Wood during a meeting at the denomination's headquarters, also in Springfield.

According to an announcement by the Assemblies of God, Bradford, 56, was unanimously appointed by the Executive Presbytery and will assume the duties of the general secretary's office effective immediately.

"I have known Jim for many years," Wood said, "and find him a stellar Christian leader in every way."

"We pray God's wisdom and presence on Jim and the family," he added.

Last Friday, Wood had the unfortunate duty of announcing the resignation of the denomination's previous general secretary, John M. Palmer, who confessed to a one-time incident that involved ethical misconduct and an inappropriate interaction with a woman that did not involve any physical intimacy.

"We are deeply saddened by this failure," said Wood, according to the denomination's announcement last week. "John has had a sterling record in the Assemblies of God as a church planter, pastor, and national leader. This failure on his part is an aberration from a lifetime of faithful service to the Lord, his family, and our Fellowship."

While Palmer's ministry as general secretary concluded immediately, Wood said he trusts that at a future time, "following a period of rehabilitation yet to be determined, his ministry within our Fellowship will continue with great effectiveness."

He also encouraged members of his denomination to keep in mind Paul's letter to the Galatians, to whom the apostle exhorted to restore gently anyone who is caught in sin and to "carry each other's burdens," thus fulfilling the law of Christ.

"We ask for prayer for John and Debbie and their family," Wood stated.

Palmer had served as the general secretary of the General Council of the Assemblies of God since November 2007, the same time Wood was elected to lead the Pentecostal fellowship of some 20 million believers worldwide.

Though Palmer's successor, Bradford, has immediately taken up his duties as the denomination's new general secretary, he will also continue to pastor his Springfield church through Easter.

As of Thursday afternoon, there were no updates on the website of Central Assembly,, nor on Bradford's blog regarding the new appointment.

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