CG7’s Calvin Burrell on Sabbath, Paul, and the Law


In the Jan-Feb 2011 issues of CG7- Denver’s Bible Advocate, its former president Calvin Burrell wrote the following about the Sabbath:

It is true that our Lord rejected the typical Jewish rules of
His day for keeping Sabbath and made no effort to substitute
His own. It is also true that Scripture offers general guidelines
for Sabbath observance, including the example and teaching of
Jesus. They are . . .
Rest and Remember. As we cease the routine labor and commerce
of six workdays, our attention turns to celebrating God’s
glory in the created order and His image in the human family,
of which each seventh day is a memorial (Genesis 2:1-3; Exodus
20:8-11; Nehemiah 13:15-22; Mark 2:27, 28).
Adore and Aid. Sabbath is standard Bible time for assembly
with God’s people to gladly worship Him and rehearse His Word.
Christ’s works of mercy present Sabbath also as prime time for
good works toward hurting humanity (Leviticus 23:3a; Isaiah
58:13, 14; Luke 4:16; 6:1-10; Acts 13:14, 42-44; Matthew

CG7 had some problems (CG7 Gets Complaints About Sabbath Position) because of an article published in 2010 on the Sabbath (CG7 Allows Working on the Sabbath!).  Some verses that perhaps Calvin Burrell should have referred to in the this month’s article from the New Testament include the following:

Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, “So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.'” And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.” And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.” It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience…There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience (Hebrews 4:3-6,9-11, NIV).

To address Paul and the law, Calvin Burrell wrote:

It is true that Paul can speak of law negatively,
stating what it cannot do. Many texts support the
gospel truth that law cannot justify (i.e., forgive,
acquit) folks from sinful states or actions (see Rom.
3:20a, 28; 4:15a; 5:20; 6:14, 15; 7:1-6, 8-11; 10:4;
2 Cor. 3:1-16; Gal. 2:15-21; 3:1-14; 4:22-31; 5:3, 4,
18; Eph. 2:4-9, 15; Phil. 3:3-14).
Paul’s theme in these texts is that law can never
be the ground for sinners to stand right before a holy
God. Indeed, it never had that purpose — not even
for Israel. From the need to find salvation by deeds of
the law, these verses say, we have been delivered by
the death and resurrection of Christ!
It is also true that Paul’s epistles contain positive
statements about God’s law with its righteous
commands for Christian life (see Rom. 2:13; 3:1,
20b; 7:7, 12; 8:4; 13:9; 1 Cor. 7:19; Eph. 2:10; 6:2; 1
Tim. 1:8-11; Titus 2:7, 14; 3:1, 8, 14).
These two lists of texts illustrate why Paul’s
teaching can be seen as contradictory. How can we
reconcile the apostle’s contrasting attitudes to the
deeds of the law?…

How can the law be both valid and invalid at the
same time? Simply because law may be conceived
as having more than one function. As a way to earn
God’s eternal favor, it is never valid! As a definition
for sin and standard for righteousness, it is always
Treating Paul’s competing statements in this
manner, we avoid “contradiction” and allow both
sets of texts to convey important truths. Those truths
both release us from the law’s penalty (our jail, or
death) and provide much incentive to avoid repeat

Many, especially those who claim a certain type of Protestantism, misunderstand most of the truth about the law.  The truth is that while obeying it does not bring salvation (which only comes through Jesus Christ), intentionally disobeying can demonstrate lack of conversion.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

Is Revelation 1:10 talking about Sunday or the Day of the Lord? Most Protestant scholars say Sunday is the Lord’s Day, but is that what the Bible teaches?
The Sabbath in the Early Church and Abroad Was the seventh-day (Saturday) Sabbath observed by the apostolic and post-apostolic Church?
The Dramatic Story of Chinese Sabbathkeepers This reformatted Good News article from 1955 discusses Sabbath-keeping in China in the 1800s.
Is God Unreasonable? Some have suggested that if God requires Sabbath-keeping He is unreasonable. Is that true?
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by the Tkach WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
Hebrew Calendar and “Postponements” This John Ogywn writing explains why we in the Living Church of God use the calendar that we do and answers such questions as “Did Jesus Observe the Postponements?”
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?
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.
The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert W. Armstrong This article clearly shows some of the doctrinal differences between in the two. At this time of doctrinal variety and a tendency by many to accept certain aspects of Protestantism, the article should help clarify why the Living Church of God is NOT Protestant. Do you really know what the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther taught and should you follow his doctrinal example?

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