Some CG7 confusion on Calvinism

John Calvin, 16th Century Portrait


John Calvin died on May 27, 1564. He was an influential French pastor during the Reformation and his views still affect Protestants until this day. His followers are known for something called the TULIP theory of salvation. It is a theory with many flaws.

In an edition of its Bible Advocate magazine, CG7-Denver’s former president, Calvin Burrell had the following about it:

Q What does the Bible teach about God’s sovereignty (predestination) and human freewill? Can you shed any light on the TULIP theory?

A The Bible teaches both the sovereignty of God and the freewill of persons, even if harmonizing the two is beyond our grasp. (Burrell C. Questions and Answers. Bible Advocate. May-June 2010, p. 7)

Calvin Burrell includes the following in his answer:

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.

U – Unconditional election: From eternity past, God chose certain men to be saved by His grace, without regard to any merit foreseen in them.

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.

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.

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.

This emphasis on God’s sovereignty, predestination, and election of some to salvation (thus, others are predestined to damnation) is commonly called Calvinism. It is heard most often in churches of the Reformed persuasion, along with some Presbyterian and Baptist groups. Calvinists do not deny that man has a modicum of free will; they see it as some of the means by which God carries out His eternal decrees.

Those of us who resist one or more of the TULIP points above do not deny the control of God over human history. But we believe that, in matters of trusting Jesus and persevering in faith, God enables the free will of man and yields to it.

Like other disputes, several Bible texts may be listed in support of either side of this classic discussion. Each position champions truths that should help to shape and inform the other. As one wise man remarked when asked how he would resolve the debate between God’s sovereignty and human freedom, “I never try to reconcile friends.” Elder Calvin Burrell

The reality is that although CG7 once taught what has been called “the age to come” doctrine (and we in the Continuing Church of God still do), it no longer does. Because it no longer does, CG7 is confused about Calvinism, predestination, and many aspects of God’s plan of salvation. (Calvin Burrell also confused centuries as John Calvin is from the 16th, not 15th, century–but minor typos happen.) Humans certainly can resist the will of God regarding their own salvation (see also John Calvin, Calvinism, TULIP, and What is Predestination?), and all need to realize this.

Now, I have spoken to Calvin Burrell about this a couple of times. And I would suggest that all in CG7 consider reading the article: Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis, as well as the booklet: Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?

The day of Pentecost, for one example, not only pictures the granting of the Holy Spirit and the start of the New Testament church, it also shows that there are some predestined in this age to be firstfruits (cf. Romans 8:23). And the idea of firstfruits, includes the idea of a later, and larger harvest. A time when salvation will be offered to all, in the “age to come”, who never really had that opportunity in this present age. (Matthew 12:32; Mark 10:30; Luke 10:11-12).

Jesus warned the Sardis Church to be careful not to lose doctrine (Revelation 3:1-2), but sadly this is another one that seems to have been lost by most among them. And the idea of firstfruits in this age with others being called in “the age to come” is part of the message of Pentecost, that groups like the Continuing Church of God still understand to this day.

For more information about CG7 and other subjects in this post, please prayerfully study the following:

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.
Predestination: Did God really call You? Why? Predestination? Is your ultimate fate decided for you in advance? Here is a link to a related video sermon: Predestination: What it is and what it is not. Another related video is Predestination and Pentecost.
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays. A related sermon is Which Spring Days should Christians observe?
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? Will God call everyone? Will everyone have an opportunity for salvation? Does God’s plan of salvation take rebellion and spiritual blindness into account? Related sermon videos include Universal Offer of Salvation I: God is love and Universal Offer of Salvation II: The Age to Come and the ‘Little Flock’ and Universal Offer of Salvation III: All Are to Know Jesus, But When? and Universal Offer of Salvation IV: Will the Guilty be Pardoned? and Universal Offer of Salvation V: All Israel Will be Saved? A version of the main article was also translated in the Spanish language: Oferta universal de salvación: Hay cientos de versículos en la Biblia que apoyan la verdadera doctrina de la Apocatastasis.
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware! [Português: Esperança do salvação: Como a igreja do deus difere da maioria de protestantes]. A sermon is also available: How Does the Church of God Differ from Protestantism?
Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! What is going on in the Protestant world? Are Protestants turning back to their ‘mother church’ in Rome? Does the Bible warn about this? What are Catholic plans and prophecies related to this? Is Protestantism doomed?
God’s Grace is For All Is being Jewish a hindrance to salvation? What about not being a descendant of Israel? What does the Bible really teach? Here is a link to a related sermon titled Race and Grace; Do you view race as God does?
Pentecost: Is it more than Acts 2? Many “Christians” somewhat observe Pentecost. Do they know what it means? It is also called the Feast of Harvest, the Feast of Weeks, and the day of firstfruits. What about “speaking in tongues”?
Church of God, Seventh Day: History and Teachings Nearly all COG’s I am aware of trace their history through this group. Loren Stacy is the president of the largest CG7 group (Denver). Do you know much about them?
The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 from 31 A.D. to present: information on all of the seven churches of Revelation 2 & 3. CG7 is one of them.
The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D. Discusses early history of the Seventh Day Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and COG-7th Day.
The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.

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