CG7 on Calvinism Again: Can You Lose Salvation?

John Calvin, 16th Century Portrait


In the May-June 2010edition of its Bible Advocate magazine, CG7-Denver’s former president, Calvin Burrell had some information on Calvinism that I addressed (see CG7 Confused About Calvinism and Pentecost).

The July-August edition states the following, also from Calvin Burrell:

The Church of God (Seventh Day) does not promote the doctrine of eternal security. This teaching affirms that those who enjoy true forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternal life  through faith in Jesus Christ can never lose this favored status before God.

In its classical form, this doctrine equates with the last of the five points of Calvinism, a system emphasizing God’s choice (before the world began) of certain persons to be saved through Christ  (see p. 7 of the May-June BA). For Calvinists, the divine selection is confirmed by Christ’s limited atonement on the cross, by the Spirit’s irresistible call to the elect, and finally, by the perseverance of those elect saints in their faith to the end…

CoG7, however, has never embraced the model of predestination attributed to John Calvin. Rather than atonement being limited to the elect, we understand that Christ died for every man (1 Tim. 2:6; Heb. 2:9b; 1 John 2:2), that salvation is had by anyone who trusts Him and follows on via repentance to obedience. All gospel hearers are free to choose their response, as the “whosoever” verses of the New Testament suggest (Luke 12:8; John 4:14; Acts 10:43; 1 John 5:1; Rev. 22:17). We also understand that those who once freely chose Christ remain free to choose whether they will, or will not, continue to trust and obey Him, and that God honors their choice…

Each of the following texts states or strongly implies the possibility of persons dropping out somewhere along the way from initial saving faith to final redemption:

• Matthew 24:13; Luke 9:62: Final salvation involves endurance unto the end.
• John 15:2, 6: Some who are “in the Vine” will be removed, burned.
• 1 Corinthians 9:27: Even Paul might have become a castaway.
• 2 Corinthians 6:1: God’s grace may be received in vain.
• Galatians 5:1-4: Entanglement with legalism (the attempt to become or remain justified by the law) separates from Christ and grace.
• Colossians 1:22, 23: Final salvation comes to those who keep the faith by not being moved away from the gospel.
• James 5:19, 20; 1 John 5:16: Even a brother can wander from truth and sin unto death.
• 2 Peter 2:20-22; 3:17: Knowing Christ, then returning to the world, is worse than never knowing Him at all.

These warnings are unnecessary and would be misleading if a fall from grace were impossible.

The strongest New Testament alarms against departure from the faith are in the epistle to the Hebrews.

That writer’s main purpose is to plead with Jewish Christians not to turn back from following the Savior in whom they had come to trust — even Jesus. Note the ways that the writer urgently expresses this caution so these Christians might avoid the disaster of unbelief:

• Give . . . earnest heed . . . lest we drift away (2:1-3).
• Beware . . . an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God (3:7-19).
• Be diligent . . . lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience (4:11).
• Falling away and willful sin mean no sin sacrifice remains (6:4-6; 10:26).
• Don’t cast away your confidence or draw back to perdition (10:35-39).
• Look carefully . . . lest anyone fall short of the grace of God (12:15-17).

These warnings are addressed to those whose walk with the Lord Jesus has been deep enough to arouse bitter opposition from their foes (10:32, 34; 12:1-13). The writer of Hebrews assumes that His readers are genuine believers, that they are in danger of retreating from their faith in Christ and from the eternal salvation that such faith affirms. If the readers were not true believers or if there was no bona fide possibility of their departure from Christian faith, then the message of Hebrews makes little sense…

If salvation can be gained only by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, then it can be lost only by a denial of what we once believed: God’s grace in Christ. The true test of being God’s elect is not a onetime profession of faith but perseverance and patient continuance in that faith.

I am glad that CG7 has come out against several of the flawed points of Calvinism. The Bible is clear that salvation can be lost.  Once saved, always saved is not from the Bible.

Although it is not its official position, there are some in CG7 who understand the doctrine of apocatastasis and that God will call everyone to salvation, in this age, or the age to come.  Not that everyone will be saved, but everyone can be saved.  And that is the departure from Calvinism that I wish CG7 would officially embrace.

But it is good that CG7 realizes that salvation is something not to be taken for granted and that it can be lost.

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.
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?
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.
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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