A day or two ago, Shepherd’s Voice magazine (Spring 2012) arrived (historically it has a date that is well past by the time it is received). In it, I noticed the following in a letter to former WCG/GCG member Norman Edwards:
I am a committed Five Point Calvinist.
The letter writer brought up many points that Norman Edwards took the time to refute. Yet (probably because of space in a print publication) did not discuss that point “in any detail.” But I would like to now.
Interestingly, some have claimed that even John Calvin himself did not believe in what is now known as five-point Calvinism, often abbreviated as TULIP. And while what John Calvin personally believed on all five points is of little interest, what I do wish to do here is to analyze what has been reported as the five-point doctrine known as TULIP.
T for “total depravity”, U for “unconditional election”, L for “limited atonement”, I for “irresistible grace”, and P for “p perseverance of saints”.
I will try to address each point by point.
T: Total Depravity?
About two years ago, in its Bible Advocate magazine, CG7-Denver’s former president, Calvin Burrell had the following:
The fifteenth century Protestant theologian John Calvin stressed the divine side of this mysterious equation. The acrostic TULIP was later applied to his teachings:
T – Total depravity: All men fell in Adam, leaving them dead in sins and incapable of responding positively to God. (Burrell C. Questions and Answers. Bible Advocate. May-June 2010, p. 7)
(Note that John Calvin was 16th, not 15th, century Protestant theologian.)
The Bible teaches:
29 That God made man upright, But they have sought out many schemes. (Ecclesiastes 7:29)
So, “total depravity” could be considered to have minimized the above.
Now it is true that the Bible teaches that in Adam all die (1 Corinthians 15:22), but it also teaches that men are capable of responding positively to God’s calling (Acts 2:38-41; John 6:44; Revelation 17:14; Matthew 20:16).
There would be no point in fulfilling the following teachings of Jesus if humans could not respond:
14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20)
Although God must call, humans can respond.
U - Unconditional Election
Calvin Burrell continued with:
U - Unconditional election: From eternity past, God chose certain men to be saved by His grace, without regard to any merit foreseen in them.
Now, God did predestine that an elect would be saved (Ephesians 1:3-12). And this is by His grace (Ephesians 2:8), which is the gift of God.
But some faith has to be exercised (Ephesians 2:8) and it would appear that God, who wants none to perish (2 Peter 3:9), would be careful to call only those who could be saved in this age (see What is the Unpardonable Sin?).
Jesus made it clear that, “many are called, but few chosen” (Matthew 20:16; 22:14). This indicates that salvation in this age has some conditions or all called in this age would be chosen.
Since God is all knowing and just (Isaiah 45:21), there was logically some type of reason that the elect are selected; not that the elect are of themselves better, but there are probably several reasons (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:26-29).
L: Does the Bible Teach Limited Atonement?
Calvin Burrell continued with:
L - Limited atonement: God sent His Son to make full and effective payment only for the sins of the elect, those He had predestined for salvation.
The above is absolute blasphemy as it is in clear contradiction to scripture. God sent His Son for everyone:
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:16-17)
John Calvin clearly did not understand the above, nor the following, scriptures:
8…God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another…16 God is love… (1 John 4:8-11, 16)
There is not one verse in the entire Bible that teaches that the atonement was meant to be limited to the elect who are now being called. This was also not the view of even those originally associated with the Greco-Roman churches (see Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Living Church of God and Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Living Church of God?).
Luke 19:9-10 shows that Jesus came to save the lost:
9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Notice that Jesus came to save the lost, not just a small amount of elect people.
John 12:47, Jesus stated,
And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world…
The idea of Jesus coming to save more than a few is clearly being taught. Will He not succeed?
1 John 4:14, John states:
14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.
Again, can Jesus be Savior of all without offering salvation to all?
John 12:32, Jesus stated:
32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.
Is Jesus intending to draw all to Him in order to eternally punish most or to save them?
Hebrews 9:28 teaches:
28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
Notice that Christ will bear the sins of many (the word in Greek, polus, implies most). So while not all will accept His sacrifice, clearly many will.
Colossians 1:16, Paul states:
16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
Does Jesus intend for most of His creation to suffer eternally? Is God not intelligent enough to plan a creation that will result in nearly all being saved?
Romans 5:15-21, Paul states:
15 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. 16 And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. 17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. 18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Since Jesus’ free gift is for all men, will not all humankind have an opportunity to receive it? Since by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous certainly many does not mean a few. For grace to reign, does this not mean that most will accept it?
1 Corinthians 15:22, Paul states:
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.
All died in Adam, all will be made alive in Christ. All will have an opportunity for salvation, not just a few.
Notice what Abraham declared in Genesis 18:25:
25 Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
Certainly properly offering salvation to everyone is the right thing a loving God would do. Does your church believe that God will do right by all?
Colossians 1:20, Paul states:
20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
Notice that Jesus will reconcile all to Himself having made peace through His sacrifice. A sacrifice that will be made available to all.
Revelation 15:3-4, states:
“Great and marvelous are Your works,
Lord God Almighty!
Just and true are Your ways,
O King of the saints!
4 Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name?
For You alone are holy.
For all nations shall come and worship before You,
For Your judgments have been manifested.”
Notice that all the nations shall come and worship God. Notice that the implication of verse 5 is that only very few will not glorify God’s name.
John 5:21-22, Jesus taught:
21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. 22 For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son,
Has your church judged those that even God the Father has not judged? Does Jesus will to give life to the many or to the few?
What does your church teach?
My church teaches that my God is a loving God who has a plan that will offer salvation to all and that nearly all (probably over 99.9%) will accept Jesus’ offer of salvation.
1 Timothy 4:9-11, is Paul teaching that is Jesus the Savior of all men or only a few?
9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. 10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. 11 These things command and teach.
Hebrews 7:24-27 teaches:
25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. 26 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.
Notice that Jesus is able to save the uttermost–they are those that are not now near to Him. Also, notice that Jesus died for all and not just a small amount of elect.
Isaiah 25:6-8 teaches:
6 And in this mountain
The LORD of hosts will make for all people
A feast of choice pieces,
A feast of wines on the lees,
Of fat things full of marrow,
Of well-refined wines on the lees.
7 And He will destroy on this mountain
The surface of the covering cast over all people,
And the veil that is spread over all nations.
8 He will swallow up death forever,
And the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces;
The rebuke of His people
He will take away from all the earth;
For the LORD has spoken.
Notice that this feast is for all people, that the veil over people will be destroyed, and death will no longer occur.
Revelation 21:6 shows:
6 And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts…”
Does this sound like Jesus intends that salvation will be available to all or only a relative few?
2 Corinthians 5:14-15, Paul teaches:
14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.
Notice that Paul clearly teaches that Jesus has died for all. Not a few elect (like the Calvinists teach), not the relative few that accept Christ in this age (as most Protestant/Baptist/Evangelicals teach), not a minority of humankind (as most Roman Catholics teach).
For Jesus to die for all, ALL must have an opportunity for salvation. And since God is all knowing, certainly He knows how to have a plan of salvation where the most possible will be saved.
2 Peter 3:9, Peter explains:
9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
In Luke 3:6, the New Testament is very clear that :
…all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
Salvation will be offered to all who ever lived, with a few understanding the offer in this age, and everyone else in the age to come. The Bible simply does not teach that there is a limited atonement only for the elect.
I: Is Grace Irresistible?
Calvin Burrell continued with:
I - Irresistible grace: Those God elected to salvation and for whom Christ died He effectively calls by regeneration from spiritual death, thus rendering them capable of expressing saving faith.
The Bible is clear that only those God calls can be saved:
44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:44)
26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.(1 Corinthians 1:26-29)
But people like John Calvin failed to realize that while some (the predestined elect) are to be called now, all who were not called into this life will have an opportunity for such calling later, in the age to come.
Notice Paul wrote:
20 But Isaiah is very bold and says:
“I was found by those who did not seek Me;
I was made manifest to those who did not ask for Me.” (Romans 10:20)
While Calvinists may wish to imply that this means unconditional election, it actually means that those that did not seek God in this age will find him in the age to come. And one of the problems with “Calvinism” is that it ignores that there is an age to come.
Even though Jesus came so that all could be saved, He was not originally sent to call everyone in this age as He taught in Matthew 15:24:
24 “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Similarly, notice what He taught in John 4:22:
22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.
And notice that this would CHANGE in John 4:23-24:
23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.
Acts 3:19-21, Peter states:
19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, 20 and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, 21 whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.
Notice that the Bible makes clear that the idea of the times of restoration of all things, the apocatastasis, is not just a term limited to Acts 3:21 (where the Greek term apokatastasis is actually used), but that Peter is teaching that it is what God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began–essentially this is the theme of the Bible–how the God of love will offer salvation to all.
Notice that this time of restoration IS NOT YET here for all. But that it will come to pass.
Luke 1:68-75, notice what Zacharias was inspired to say after the birth of John the Baptist:
68 “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel,
For He has visited and redeemed His people,
69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us
In the house of His servant David,
70 As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets,
Who have been since the world began,
71 That we should be saved from our enemies
And from the hand of all who hate us,
72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers
And to remember His holy covenant,
73 The oath which He swore to our father Abraham:
74 To grant us that we,
Being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
Might serve Him without fear,
75 In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.
Please stop, think, and consider that Satan (a word that means enemy or adversary) and other enemies have always been around, but that a time for all is coming where there will not be any enemies of the true faith. This simply has not yet been fulfilled, but will come to pass.
After a section in Isaiah (30:8-17) that Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition calls “Doom of incorrigible sinners”, notice what God has recorded in Isaiah 30:18:
18 Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you;
And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you.
So, no, this section in Isaiah is NOT about the ultimate doom of sinners, but instead shows that God will have that He may have mercy on them (to learn what happens to those who actually are incorrigibly wicked, please see the article Are The Wicked Tormented Forever or Burned Up?).
Furthermore, notice this passage in Isaiah 49:13-15:
13 Sing, O heavens!
Be joyful, O earth!
And break out in singing, O mountains!
For the LORD has comforted His people,
And will have mercy on His afflicted.
14 But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me,
And my Lord has forgotten me.”
15 “Can a woman forget her nursing child,
And not have compassion on the son of her womb?
Surely they may forget,
Yet I will not forget you…”
God will not forget, though many act like He does.
James 1:18, James wrote about firstfruits:
18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.
Romans 8:23, Paul wrote the following:
23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit.
Recall that it was the Holy Spirit that was first given on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). And that was a type of the firstfruits of the Spirit.
Who are the firstfruits according to Revelation 14:4-5?
4 These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.
But what about Jesus? Wasn’t He a type of firstfruits?
Yes, He certainly was. Paul notes in 1 Corinthians 15:20-23:
20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.
Christ is the fulfillment of the wave sheaf offering in Leviticus 23:10. He is the sheaf of firstfruits. He also fulfilled that role when He ascended into heaven on the Sunday (the wave sheaf offering was on a Sunday) after He was resurrected (John 20:1,17). But neither He nor His true followers observed what is now called Easter.
Does not the concept of a firstfruits specifically imply that there will be later fruits? Also, the Day of Pentecost is also called, “the feast of firstfruits” in the Bible (Exodus 34:32). And even today, it pictures that God is only calling some now, but will call all others later (more information is in the article Pentecost: Is It More Than Acts 2?).
1 Timothy 2:1-6, Paul wrote:
1 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time…
Notice that God desires that all are to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. Can not God make His desire, His will, come to pass? Also notice that Jesus gave Himself as a ransom for all–not just the relatively few elect–and His testimony will come to pass in due time. Are some improperly judging before due time?
Ephesians 1:10, Paul states:
10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth–in Him.
Notice when He will gather all: in the dispensation of the fullness of the times. Does your church teach this? If not, does it really understand what the Bible teaches.
Psalm 77:7-9 asks:
7 Will the Lord cast off forever?
And will He be favorable no more?
8 Has His mercy ceased forever?
Has His promise failed forevermore?
9 Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies?
Since the intended answer to all those questions is “no”, then it should be obvious that a time for God to be favorable and pour out His mercies will still come.
Isaiah 25:9 teaches:
9 And it will be said in that day: “Behold, this is our God; We have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the LORD; We have waited for Him; We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.”
Notice that these people are not yet saved. This is a time in the future. When is the time? Actually it is the time the veil over then nations will be destroyed (Isaiah 25:7).
Psalm 65:1-2 shows that there is a time in the future that all flesh will come to God:
1 Praise is awaiting You, O God, in Zion; And to You the vow shall be performed. 2 O You who hear prayer, To You all flesh will come.
Does your church really understand that ALL FLESH will come to God?
Psalm 22:27-28 teaches :
27 All the ends of the world
Shall remember and turn to the LORD,
And all the families of the nations
Shall worship before You.
28 For the kingdom is the LORD’s,
And He rules over the nations.
Has this happened? Are not many of the original families of the earth dead as nearly all perished in the great flood? Thus, this is something other than the millennium. This is a prophecy for the future when all will truly have an opportunity for salvation.
Psalm 72:4-5 teaches:
4 He will bring justice to the poor of the people;
He will save the children of the needy,
And will break in pieces the oppressor.
5 They shall fear You
As long as the sun and moon endure,
Throughout all generations.
Has this happened? Is this not for the future? Since this discusses “all generations” is it only for a millennium?
Psalm 86:8-9 teaches:
8 Among the gods there is none like You, O Lord;
Nor are there any works like Your works.
9 All nations whom You have made
Shall come and worship before You, O Lord,
And shall glorify Your name.
Since there are nations that died out during the flood and afterwards, how can this be unless God has a time in the future for this to occur?
Notice that while God currently lets the nations weary themselves in vain, Habakkuk 2:13-14 shows that eventually all will have knowledge of God:
13 Behold, is it not of the LORD of hosts
That the peoples labor to feed the fire,
And nations weary themselves in vain?
14 For the earth will be filled
With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD,
As the waters cover the sea.
The fact that it is of God that they now do not, clearly supports that God will offer salvation when He decides.
Philippians 2:9-11, Paul states:
9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Notice that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. How can they do that if they did not even hear the name of Jesus Christ in this life? Now it is important to distinguish just acknowledging Jesus is the Christ does not grant salvation–even the demons know (James 2:19). But certainly acknowledging that Jesus is the Christ is an important step and one that is necessary for salvation (Acts 2:38-39;4:10-12).
Lamentations 3:31-33, Jeremiah teaches that God has a plan of compassion for those He has cast off:
31 For the Lord will not cast off forever. 32 Though He causes grief, Yet He will show compassion
According to the multitude of His mercies. 33 For He does not afflict willingly, Nor grieve the children of men.
He does not afflict willingly, but according to His mercies for the plan which will allow Him to show the most possible compassion.
Jeremiah 16:19-21 shows that Jeremiah asks and then God answers that once God will cause those Gentiles who inherited lies to to come to Him:
19 The Gentiles shall come to You
From the ends of the earth and say,
“Surely our fathers have inherited lies,
Worthlessness and unprofitable things.”
20 Will a man make gods for himself,
Which are not gods?
21 “Therefore behold, I will this once cause them to know,
I will cause them to know
My hand and My might;
And they shall know that My name is the LORD.
God will at that time cause them to know Him. This simply has not yet happened, but will. And notice that this will be a time that people will realize that they have relied on false religious ideas of others (often called traditions). An article of related interest may be Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings.
Ephesians 2:4-7, Paul states:
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Notice that His grace is shown in the ages to come. Has your church judged Him before the time?
Titus 2:11, Paul states:
11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men (NKJV)
Has the grace of God yet appeared to all men? Of course not. Thus, there is certainly a prophetic implication of this passage by Paul.
What about the expression “has appeared”? Does that mean that God’s grace has been seen already by every one? No. There is a mistranslation of word order.
Here is the literal word order:
2014…………. 1063…3588..5485. 3588. 2316. <9999 >……… 4992….3956.. 444
hath appeared… For.. the… grace… of…. God…that bringeth…..salvation to all..men (Interlinear Transliterated Bible. Copyright (c) 1994 by Biblesoft).
Thus a more literal translation is that:
It has appeared that the grace of God brings salvation to all men.
Paul goes on to state that for those who now know, they need to living Godly lives in this present age (Titus 2:12).
1 Corinthians 4:5, Paul states:
5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.
Notice that God will be praised and that judgment is not be before the time when the Lord comes. Why then do most professing Christians have a judgment that condemns most who have ever lived?
1 Corinthians 15:28, Paul states:
28 Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.
Notice that this prophesy specifically states that a time is coming when all things will be subject to Him. This will be the time that all who have not had an opportunity will have an opportunity for salvation.
Revelation 21:3 teaches:
3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.
Notice that there is a future time when they shall be His people.
As the following verses show, the truth of God will be hidden until a certain time:
26 For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.
22 For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.
17 For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light. 18 Therefore take heed how you hear.
2 For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known.
It should be clear to all that God has His time table for when He will have the truth known in order to call all. And that that time has not yet come. It happens in the “age to come”:
32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.
29 So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, 30 who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time — houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions — and in the age to come, eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
29 So He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.”
4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
The fact that almost all sin, including blasphemy against Jesus can be forgiven in the “age to come” shows that even current sinners can still be forgiven after the resurrection (see also What Did Early Christians Understand About the Resurrection?). The fact that many of the first shall be last and the last first shows that there will be some called later in the age to come. The fact that the time all who blasphemed the Holy Spirit will realize that they are the only ones NOT forgiven in the “age to come” shows that all others can be (see also What is the Unpardonable Sin?).
Ephesians 3:8-11, Paul mentions that he was going to be able to preach things hidden to some of the Gentiles:
8 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; 10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Colossians 1:26-28, Paul says about the same thing:
26 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. 27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.
The mystery has to do with God’s plan to offer salvation. It was HIDDEN from generations, hence there was no way that most could have had salvation prior to Christ. And it is still a mystery that most do not know even today.
Isaiah 65:17-20, teaches when the hundred year period will occur:
17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create;
For behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing,
And her people a joy.
19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
And joy in My people;
The voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her,
Nor the voice of crying.
20 “No more shall an infant from there live but a few days,
Nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days;
For the child shall die one hundred years old,
But the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed.
Notice that the above shows that there will be some who after everything is restored will be accursed. Thus while most will accept the offer of salvation, some few sadly will wish to remain in their sins (“sin is the transgression of the law”, 1 John 3:4, KJV).
Perhaps it should be pointed out here, that it has been documented as far back as the second and fourteenth centuries, that some who professed Christ did understand that there was a one hundred year time period where those that had not been called would have an opportunity for salvation (please see article Hope of Salvation: How the Church of God Differs from Protestantism).
1 Corinthians 4:5, Paul tells Christians:
5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.
Notice that the time of final judgment has not yet come.
John Calvin apparently never understood the “age to come” that Jesus and others in the New Testament taught about (or the Old Testament for that matter).
P - Perseverance of Saints, But Can One’s Election Be Lost?
Calvin Burrell continued with:
P - Perseverance of saints: Those God elected in Christ, called in regeneration, and justified by faith He continually quickens so they will never fall from His grace but only enter eternal glory.
The above simply falls flat as a clear contradiction to scripture.
The whole idea of the unpardonable sin is to blaspheme the Holy Spirit:
Two portions of scripture basically explain what the unpardonable sin is:
31 Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come (Matthew 12:31-32)
4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame (Hebrews 6:4-6).
Thus, salvation can be lost.
The Apostle Peter taught:
10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:10-11)
Peter would have no reason to encourage people to make their elections sure if they could not stumble and lose it.
5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you are disqualified. (2 Corinthians 13:5)
The fact that one can be “disqualified” is proof that salvation is not guaranteed under any and all circumstances.
Jesus was clear that people many people would not respond to the message and some would not make it for various reasons. Notice what two different parables teach:
14 The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. 16 These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17 and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble. 18 Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, 19 and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. (Mark 4:14-19)
16 Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, 17 and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ 18 But they all with one accord began to make excuses…24 For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper. (Luke 14:16-18,24; cf. Revelation 9:9)
Also notice Jesus admonished the necessity of enduring to the end to be saved:
22 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. (Matthew 10:22)
13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. (Matthew 24:13)
13 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. (Mark 13:13)
The grammatical implications of the above are that they that do NOT endure to the end will NOT be saved. Furthermore, the Book of Revelation records 7 statements that it will be those who overcome who will make it (Revelation 2:7,11,17,26;3:5,21;21:7).
Additionally, it is only those who do His commandments who have the right to the tree of life:
14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie. (Revelation 22:14-15)
Notice that those that violate them do not make it. The saints have patience and keep His commandments (Revelation 14:12) (see also Were the Pharisees Condemned for Keeping the Law or Reasoning Around it?).
11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. (Revelation 3:11)
Again, there would be no point in Jesus making such a statement if there was no freewill. The elect can make decisions that will affect them eternally.
In case the above verses are not clear enough, the Apostle Paul indicates that even he could have lost his election and salvation:
12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14)
While saints do have to persevere (Revelation), they still can lose their election and salvation or Paul would not have written what he did.
Anyway, T.U.L.P, Five Point Calvinism, is not a biblical position. But it has influenced Protestantism. Yet Protestants, and everyone else, needs to base their beliefs closer to those actually taught in the Bible and not by people such as John Calvin.
Those interested in learning more should consider studying the following articles:
John Calvin, Calvinism, TULIP, and What is Predestination? Who was John Calvin? Did he believe in sola Scriptura or did he hold to unbiblical doctines? TULIP analyzed.
Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis Do you believe what the Bible actually teaches on this? Will all good things be restored? Does God’s plan of salvation take rebellion and spiritual blindness into account?
Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible? Though he is known for his public sola Scriptura teaching, did Martin Luther’s writings about the Bible suggest he felt that prima Luther was his ultimate authority? Statements from him changing and/or discounting 18 books of the Bible are included. Do you really want to know the truth?
Hope of Salvation: How the Genuine Church of God differ from most Protestants How the Living Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background.