CG7 Confused About Calvinism and Pentecost

John Calvin, 16th Century Portrait


In the December 2007 edition of its Bible Advocate magazine, CG7-Denver’s former president, Calvin Burrell has the following:

The general resurrection of the dead after Christ’s one thousand-year reign, foretold in Revelation 20:7-15, leads to the final Judgment at the great white throne. At this time, all those who reject the gospel of life are cast into the lake of fire, along with death and the grave. This passage harmonizes with 1 Corinthians 15:24ff: “Then comes the end . . . For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.”  (Burrell C.  Questions and Answers.  Bible Advocate. December 2007, p. 8 )

The above hints that perhaps CG7 believed what has been called “the age to come” doctrine as it does seem to condemn all at the above resurrection.  However, when I called CG7-Denver and spoke to another of its former presidents, Robert Coulter, on September 2, 2008 he said that although CG7 once held to “the age to come” doctrine, it no longer did.  (I hope to try to call Calvin Burrell on this.)

Now in the latest edition of its Bible Advocate magazine, CG7-Denver’s former president, Calvin Burrell has the following:

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)

This is another area that CG7 is confused.  It gets worse as 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 Living 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.

The day of Pentecost, for one example, does not only picture 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 who never really had that opportunity in the “age to come” (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 Living Church of God are observing today.

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.
Hope of Salvation: How the Living 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.
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. Whaid Rose 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 Living Church of God.
There are Many COGs: Why Support the Living Church of God? This is an article for those who wish to more easily sort out the different COGs. It really should be a MUST READ for current and former WCG/GCI members or any interested in supporting the faithful church. It also explains a lot of what the COGs are all about.

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