ENDTIME ISSUES NEWSLETTER No. 197

“ONCE SAVED ALWAYS SAVED”

Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D.,

Retired Professor of Theology,  Andrews University

 

INDEX OF TOPICS OF THIS NEWSLETTER

 

           * AN UPDATE: Popular Beliefs: Are they Biblical?

 

           * William Richardson’s book Speaking in Tongues is out

            and is ready for shipping

 

         * “ONCE SAVED ALWAYS SAVED”

            This is the essay of this newsletter which is excerpted from

            the chapter 9 of the forthcoming book Popular Beliefs:

            Are they Biblical?

 

           * Cristina Picardi’ New DVD Recording done in Loma Linda

            on February 8-10, 2008.

 

           * Upcoming Seminars for the Month of April

 

           *  How to Contact the Center for Cancer Care that

            shut down 95% of my Liver Cancer

 

           * Prof. Jon Paulien’s DVD on Simply Revelation

 

           * SPECIAL OFFER on 12 DVD and CD albums for only

            $150.00,  instead of the regular price of $1150.00

 

           * Incredible Offer on the new Hitachi 3000 Lumens Projector

            Only $1395.00

 

           * The Smallest and most Powerful Remote Presenter

 

           * Does your church or School Need a Screen?

 

           * Bed and Breakfast in London, England.

 

           *Roy Gane's Altar Call DVD only $19.99 (Four 1 hour lectures)

             Purchase at http://www.preludefilms.com

 

 

AN UPDATE –  POPULAR BELIEFS: ARE THEY BIBLICAL? 

 

           The research and writing of the new book Popular Beliefs: Are They Biblical? is proceeding well. By God’s grace I completed chapter 9 “Once Saved Always Saved,” while Cristina Piccardi and myself were in England, presenting our seminars with Words and Songs, at six rallies. The reception and response warmed our hearts.

 

           Last Sabbath, in Wolverhapton, five churches closed down for the Sabbath and rallied together in a most beautiful old Methodist Church.  About 800 members attended the meeting. The previous Sabbath in London, we had a similar experience at the Croydon SDA Church, the second largest Adventist church in the city. To accommodate the overflow the service was transmitted via a closed circuit to two other locations, including a large fellowship hall.  A total of about 1000 people attended the meetings.

 

           I am posting in this newsletter excerpts from chapter 9 “Once Saved Always Saved.” The full version is found in the forthcoming book Popular Beliefs:  Are They Biblical?  This chapter, as you will note, offers a compelling refutation of the popular, but unbiblical and deceptive belief in the unconditional nature of our salvation. This belief is held today by most evangelical churches and is popularized by well-known preachers like Billy Graham (quoted in the chapter).

 

           Currently I am working on the last chapter dealing with “Infant Baptism.” The practice of baptizing new born babies is shared by Catholics, Orthodox, Lutherans, and a host of other churches influenced by Calvinistic, Reformed traditions.  Though the reasons for baptizing infants differ in various denominations, the practice is the same.

 

           You should find this chapter very informative, and even shocking in some places. Indeed you will be shocked to read about the tragedy of the Reformation when Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli ended up killing, often by drowning, the Anabaptists who promoted and practiced adult baptism. It is hard to believe that the leading Reformers would not only reject the self-evident biblical teachings of the “believers baptism,” but would also call for the intervention of local authorities to kill those who wanted to be true to the New Testament teachings regarding baptism.

 

Desperate Need for a Book Editor

 

           By God’s grace this final chapter on “Infant Baptism,” should be completed within the next 10 days, by March 27, 2008.  This means that the major challenge I still have to face is the final editing of all the chapters.  Several people have graciously edited the previous chapters. What  I desperately need at this time, is the service of a professional Book Editor, who has the time and skills to prepare the manuscript for printing.  I will supply to this person all the edited chapters, asking him/her to incorporate into the final version all the valid suggestions various readers have made.

 

           Surprisingly, competent book editors are hard to find.  At Andrews University we have only one excellent professional book editor, Debby Everhart,  who works for the Andrews University Press. She has helped me several times in the past, but at this time she is overloaded with urgent projects. If you know of a good professional Book Editor, who has the time and interest to help me, please  help me to contact such a person.  I will be glad to pay for the service.

 

Importance of this Book on Popular Beliefs: Are They Biblical?

 

           This research project has been very expensive in time and money. During this past year I have invested an average of 15 hours a day on this manuscript, because I believe it is desperately needed to call out of Babylon many sincere people who are sincerely seeking to know and to do the revealed will of God.

 

           There are million of sincere Christians who do not realize that most of their popular beliefs are biblically wrong, while our Adventist beliefs are biblically right.  This book Popular Beliefs: Are they Biblical? is designed to help these sincere Christians to re-examine their beliefs in the light of the normative authority of Scripture.

 

           At this time our Adventist Church has not no witnessing book written in a profound, yet popular style that can help sincerely people understand why their popular beliefs are biblically wrong, and our Adventist beliefs are biblically right.

 

           In 1988 our Adventist Church published the book Seventh-day Adventists Believe . . . which proved to be a most popular book.  Many of our members eagerly donated this books to their friends who wanted to know what Adventists really believe.  (I happen to be one of the contributors to this book).  But the problem with Seventh-day Adventists Believe . . . is that it is simply a confessional statement of our Adventist beliefs. No attempt is made to examine biblically the difference between our Adventist beliefs and the popular beliefs held by Catholic and Protestant churches. When I proposed Elder Bob Spangler, the co-ordinator of the project, to present our beliefs in the contexts of the popular beliefs of other churches, he felt that the time was not right for such a book.

 

           Personally I feel that today the time is right, even overdue. If we seriously accept God’s summon to call sincere people out of Babylon, then we urgently need various resources, including a timely book that can help people understand why their popular beliefs derive from ecclesiastical traditions, rather than from Biblical teachings.

          

 When Will the Book Be Out?

 

           By God’s grace, I plan to complete the writing of the book by March 27, 2008, and have the book printed and ready for distribution before the end of April 2008. Nine of the ten chapters are done and I am now working intensively to complete the last chapter on  “Infant Baptism” within the next 10 days.

 

           Your encouragement has meant a lot to me.  Four months ago I was ready shelf the project,  especially because of the new ministry we started with Cristina Piccardi–a powerful and passionate soprano who touches the hearts of people and greatly enriches my seminars.  In my view, she is by far the best Adventist soprano in the Adventist Church.  Three years ago she won the first price at an international opera singers competition.

 

           We present together with words and song our SABBATH,   ADVENT,  and  LIFESTYLE SEMINARS. Cristina sings several sacred songs before and after each of my lectures. Her powerful and passionate singing moves people to tears. The reception and response we have received during the past four months has truly been incredible. If your church wishes to invite us, feel free to contact us by phone (269) 471-2915 or even better by email: <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>  We still have several open weekends in the latter part of this year.

 

           Planning this new ministry has consumed a lot of my time, especially in processing  the invitations we are receiving from across the USA and overseas. We just came back from England where we were privileged to share our ministry at six rallies. This is why I was considering shelving the manuscript for the time being.

 

           But your letters caused me to reconsider my priorities. Some of you have reminded me that our Adventist Church desperately need Popular Beliefs: Are they Biblical?  to witness to people who are sincerely seeking to know and to do the will of God. The many pre-publication orders I have already received, have strengthen my determination to speedily complete this project without delay.

 

Thank You for Your Advanced Orders

 

           The book consists of about 400 pages with a nice four colors, laminated cover.  We are in the process of redesigning the cover,  after receiving many valuable suggestions.

 

           At this time we wish to offer our readers the opportunity to place an order at the special pre-publication prices listed below.  Your advanced orders will offer me, not only the encouragement needed to speedily complete this very demanding project, but also an approximate idea of how many copies we should print. Thank you for your encouragement and support.  Your order will be processed as soon as the book comes out by the end April.

 

Special Pre-publication Offer of Popular Beliefs: Are They Biblical?

 

           1 copy of Popular Beliefs: Are they Biblical? at $30.00 per copy. Mailing expenses are included for the USA.  Add $10.00 for  AIRMAIL postage to any overseas destination.

 

           10 copies of Popular Beliefs: Are they Biblical? at $10.00 per copy, postage paid, instead of the regular price of $30.00. ($100.00 for 10 copies). Mailing expenses are included for the USA. Add $40.00 for AIRMAIL postage to any overseas destination.

 

           30 copies (one case) of Popular Beliefs: Are they Biblical? at $5.00 per copy ($150.00 for 30 copies).  Mailing expenses are included for the USA. Add $80.00 for AIRMAIL postage to any overseas destination.

 

           100 copies of Popular Beliefs: Are they Biblical? at $4.00 per copy, postage paid. ($400.00 for 100 copies). Mailing expenses are included for the USA. Add $160.00 for AIRMAIL postage to any overseas destination.

HOW TO ORDER POPULAR BELIEFS: ARE THEY BIBLICAL?

 

        You can order Popular Beliefs: Are they Biblical? at the pre-publication prices given above, in four different ways:

 

           (1)  ONLINE: By clicking here: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cart/catalog/index.php?cPath=26_35

 

           (2)  PHONE:  By calling us at (269) 471-2915 to give us your credit card number and postal address.

 

           (3)  EMAIL:  By emailing your order to <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>.  Be sure to provide your  postal address, credit card number, and expiration date. 

  

           (4) REGULAR MAIL: By mailing a check to  BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES, 4990 Appian Way, Berrien Springs, Michigan 49103, USA. We guarantee to process your order as soon as the book comes off the press.

 

SPEAKING IN TONGUES IS  OUT AND READY FOR SHIPPING

 

           In the latest newsletters I proposed the possibility of reprinting William Richardson’s book Speaking in Tongues: Is It Still the Gift of the Spirit? The book was originally printed in 1994 by the Review and Herald but it has been out of print for several years.

 

           The response surpassed my fondest expectations. I received pledges for orders from different parts of the world, including from some Division offices.  In the light of the overwhelming interest, I hastily delivered the book to my printer who reprinted it in a record time of two weeks. Now we are ready to process all your orders.

 

           As a rule I do not publish or reprint books of other authors, because my hands are full with promoting and distributing the 18 books that I have authored.  The only other book of another author that I have published, is More than a Prophet: How We Lost and Found Again the Real Ellen White,  by Prof. Graeme S. Bradford.

 

           I decided to publish More than a Prophet because I believe that this book is desperately needed to restore confidence in the validity of the gift of prophecy, manifested in the writings, preaching, and teachings of Ellen White.  The response has been most gratifying. About 20 conferences in the USA and a few oversea,  have donated the book to their workers. If you did not have a chance before to order this timely book before, we still have a small supply left of the second printing. We will be glad to mail you copies immediately.  To place an order call us at (269) 471-2915 or click at this link: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cart/catalog/index.php?cPath=26_28

 

           William Richardson, Ph. D., the author of Speaking in Tongues, has served with distinction our Adventist church for over 35 years as Professor of NT, Chairman of the Religion Department (my chairman for many years), and finally as the Dean of the School of Art and Sciences. He has written numerous articles and books.

 

           Let me explain why I decided to reprint Richardson’s Speaking in Tongues.  After reading a dozen of books and scores of articles in preparation for chapter 8 “Speaking in Tongues” of my book Popular Beliefs: Are They Biblical?, I came to appreciate Richardson’s book for his clarity and objectivity.

 

           Through a painstaking analysis of Acts 2 and  1 Corinthians 12-14, presented in his doctoral dissertation at Andrews University, Richardson shows that there is a difference between the speaking in tongues in Acts 2 and 1 Corinthians 12-14.  For one thing, the tongues in Acts 2 are known as languages (dialektos) clearly understood by the Jews from different countries present in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost. By contrast, the tongues in 1 Corinthians 12-14 are characterized as “sound—phonon” (1 Cor 14:10) that needed to be interpreted. No interpretation was needed for tongue-speakers in Acts 2.

       

           Ultimately Richardson shows that a careful study of the restrictions Paul places on tongues-speaking during the worship service, disqualifies much of the Pentecostal speaking in tongues today as an unbiblical, illicit activity. The confusion caused by several people speaking in tongues at the same time without any translation, is an illicit activity clearly condemned by Scripture.

 

           I believe that Richardson’s book Speaking in Tongues is a most timely, witnessing book, at a time when the Pentecostal/charismatic movements are growing 10 times faster than our Adventist church, that is, at the rate of over 20 millions a year, and thus becoming the second largest religious body in the world after the Catholic Church.  Their membership today is already over 550 million and within 10 years it is expected to reach 750 million.

 

Special Introductory Offer of Richardson’s Speaking in Tongues

 

           To facilitate a massive distribution of Speaking in Tongues, we offer the book until April 15, 2008 (the deadline for filing taxes in the USA) by the case of 30 copies for only $100.00, that is, $3.30 per copy, instead of the regular price of $25.00.

 

           These are the Introductory Price for Speaking in Tongues

 

           1 copy of Speaking in Tongues at $25.00 per copy. Mailing expenses are included for the USA.  Add $10.00 for  AIRMAIL postage to any overseas destination.

 

           10 copies of Speaking in Tongues at $7.00 per copy, postage paid, instead of the regular price of $25.00. ($70.00 for 10 copies). Mailing expenses are included for the USA.  Add $40.00 for AIRMAIL postage to any overseas destination.

 

           30 copies (one case) of  Speaking in Tongues at $3.33 per copy, postage paid.  ($100.00 for 30 copies).  Mailing expenses are included for the USA. Add $80.00 for AIRMAIL postage to any overseas destination.

 

You can order William Richardson’s book Speaking in Tongues  at the introductory prices given above, in four different ways:

 

           (1)  ONLINE: By clicking here: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cart/catalog/index.php?cPath=26_36

 

           (2)  PHONE:  By calling us at (269) 471-2915 to give us your credit card number and postal address.

 

           (3)  EMAIL:  By emailing your order to <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>.  Be sure to provide your  postal address, credit card number, and expiration date.

   

           (4) REGULAR MAIL: By mailing a check to  BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES, 4990 Appian Way, Berrien Springs, Michigan 49103, USA. We guarantee to process your order immediately.

 

“ONCE SAVED ALWAYS SAVED”

Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D.,

Retired Professor of Theology,  Andrews University

 

            The doctrine of “once saved, always saved” is taught by many Protestant churches today. The basic idea is that once a person becomes a child of God, there is no sin that he/she can commit to cause them to lose their salvation. Many people find this doctrine to be of great comfort, because in essence it relieves them of all personal responsibility in their relationship with God.

 

            Christians who believe that they are saved and that there is nothing that they can do to be lost, are not concerned about how they live, because their eternal salvation is secure.  This is why the doctrine is also known as the “preservation of the saints” or “eternal security.” Our study will show that this is a dangerous doctrine, because it deceives people into thinking that their relationship with God is secure when it reality it may not be.

 

            The question we intend to address in this chapter is: Can  Christians be saved at one point in their lives, and then loose their salvation and die in an unsaved condition? The answer of those Christians who have been influenced by Calvinistic teachings is “No!” Because for them salvation is the result, not of a human response, but of divine election.

 

            This teaching of the divine election and perseverance of the saints, is clearly defined in official documents of the Reformed confessions. For example,  the Westminster Confession of Faith,  which is largely influential within Presbyterian, Congregational, United Church of Christ, some Baptist churches, and others, states on Chapter 17 on “The Perseverance of the Saints:” “I. They whom God hath accepted in his Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace; but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.

 

            “II. This perseverance of the saints depends, not upon their own free-will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father; upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ; the abiding of the Spirit and of the seed of God within them; and the nature of the covenant of grace; from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof.”1

 

                  The point of this quotation is that people are saved, not by the free exercise of their will, but by “the immutability of the decree of election,” that is, by the decree of God who elects some people to be saved and some to be lost. If this teaching of unconditional predestination were true, then God would in effect cause some people to remain saved, even if they later choose to return to a life of sin.

 

                  Other documents try to moderate the harshness of Calvin’s view of divine election based on predestination, by teaching that believers are eternally secure of their salvation when they accept Christ as their personal Savior.   For example,  The Standard Manual for Baptist Churches affirms: “We believe that the scriptures teach that such as are truly regenerated, being born of the Spirit, will not utterly fall away and perish, but will endure unto the end; that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors; that a special Providence watches over their welfare; and that they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.”2

 

            This belief in the eternal security of salvation is popularized to day by evangelical preachers of different denominations. For example, when Billy Graham was asked: “How big a sin do you have to commit before you loose your salvation?” he  replied: “I am convinced that once a person sincerely and honestly trusts Christ for his or her salvation, they become a member of God’s family forever—and nothing can change that relationship.”3

 

                  This belief in the eternal security of one’s salvation plays a vital role in the lives of many Christians today, because it affects the way they view God, themselves, and their salvation. Ultimately it impacts their day-to-day Christian lifestyle, by determining the way they relate their behavior to their salvation. The popularity and far reaching consequences of this belief, calls for a close biblical examination of its validity.

 

Objectives of this Chapter

 

            This chapter examines from a biblical perspective the popular doctrine that a saved Christian is always saved. For the sake of clarity, this study is divided into five parts in accordance with the major aspects of this doctrine:

 

            1. Two Views of the Eternal Security in Salvation

            2. The Predestination and the Perseverance of the Saints

            3. The Case for Unconditional Salvation

            4. The Case for Conditional Salvation

            5. Salvation Is Assured but not Guaranteed

 

TWO VIEWS OF THE

ETERNAL SECURITY IN SALVATION

 

            The doctrine that those who are truly saved cannot fall from the faith and be lost, appears in two different forms.

 

            This important part of the chapter is intentionally omitted in this newsletter to encourage the purchase of the forthcoming book Popular Beliefs: are they Biblical?  The book contains the complete edited text of the 10 chapters, together with the Endnotes. The estimated length of the book is about 400 pages. The book is scheduled to be released in a few weeks by the end of April 2008.

 

THE PREDESTINATION

AND THE PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS

 

            To understand the popular belief that a saved person is eternally sure of salvation, it is important to consider first its source, namely, the traditional understanding of predestination as first formulated by John Calvin. Those who accept the latter, must of necessity conclude that saved persons persevere in the faith and are ultimately saved no matter what they do.

 

            In 1536 Calvin published The Institutes of the Christian Religion, which was the best systematic theology the world had ever known up to that time. His ideas have permeated the Protestant world and will continue to do so until our Lord returns. He developed an incredible theological system that knows few rivals. He took Augustine’s concept of predestination and developed to its logical end. If man is not free and God predestinates some to salvation and some to damnation, then salvation depends upon the sovereign will of God.

           

            This teaching ignores the fact that God created human beings to be free, and thus responsible for their own salvation or perdition.  God is indeed the sovereign ruler of the universe, but His sovereignty and predestination are not common partners.

 

            The popular belief in unconditional salvation, comes from the doctrines of Calvin summarized by the acronym “TULIP.” “TULIP” stands for the five main points of Calvinism:

 

            1. Total Depravity. Human beings are totally depraved because of the pervasive nature of sin, which makes it impossible for them to seek after God.

            2. Unconditional Election. Salvation is decreed by God. Human beings have no part in the process beyond receiving it.

            3. Limited Atonement. Jesus “paid” the price only for the elects whom He desires to save. The unsaved do not benefit from Christ’s sacrifice.

            4. Irresistible Grace. God irresistibly draws the elects to put their faith in Him for their salvation. Faith is entirely a gift of God.

            5. Perseverance of the Saints. Through the help of the Holy Spirit the elects persevere to the end.

 

            According to this doctrinal system, before God created anything He chose those who would be saved and those who would be damned for all eternity. Human beings have no choice in their salvation (no free will) because they have no ability to seek God (Total Depravity). Consequently, it is by God’s Unconditional Election that anyone is saved.

 

            In his Institutes of Christian Religion, Calvin states: “By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God, by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man. All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and, accordingly, as each has been created for one or other of these ends, we say that he has been predestinated to life or to death.”4  It is clear that for John Calvin unconditional election is the result of predestination, that is, “the eternal decree of God” by which “some are preordained to eternal life and other to eternal damnation.”

 

            This means that salvation is not the result of believers working together with God, but of God’s sovereign will. It is irresistible because human beings can do nothing but accept it. Overpowered by God, believers cannot chose to reject Him and consequently their eternal salvation is secured. Those who accept this understanding of predestination, can logically conclude that those who have been elected by God are forever saved. Eternal security logically requires absolute predestination.

 

            This teaching, as we shall see, is foreign to the Bible, which teaches that God offers to all the opportunity to choose whether they wish to be saved or not. No one is “locked in” an irresistible salvation scheme, because salvation is conditionally based upon faith and is available to all.

 

            If it were true that the eternal destiny of every human being has already been decreed beforehand by divine election, then we may ask, Why does God allow Christians to fall, to be tempted, and to sin, if  He Himself can keep them from falling? If God’s irresistible grace guarantees that a saved person is always saved, why doesn’t His grace also prevent such person from sinning in the first place? It is much more rational to believe that God initiates a love and faith response in the human heart, and then He gives us the power of choice to accept or reject His gift of salvation.

 

The Roots of Eternal Security Are Found in Gnosticism

 

            Some scholars trace the roots of eternal security back to the  Gnostic teachings that found their way into the early church, especially through Augustine. For example, Jeff Paton notes:  “Ultimately, the roots of eternal security are in the Gnosticism that preceded Augustine. But it was Augustine that has the unwelcomed honor of leavening the whole lump.”5

 

            Gnosticism was a religious movement that flourished during the second and third centuries A. D., and presented a major challenge to Christianity. Most Gnostic sects professed Christianity, but their beliefs differed sharply from those of the majority of the early Christians. The term Gnosticism is derived from the Greek word gnosis (“revealed knowledge”). The Gnostics  taught that sparks or seeds of the Divine Being were imprisoned into  certain human beings. Reawakened by knowledge, the divine element in humanity can return to its proper home in the transcendent spiritual realm.

 

            The gnostics divided mankind into three categories: the spiritual (pneumatic), the carnal (hylic), and the in-between (psychic). The spiritual Christians were a special or higher class than the ordinary Christians.  They were said to be saved regardless of what they did because they had received, as the elect of the good deity, a divine spark  into their beings that allowed them to be redeemed.  This teaching is strikingly similar to the Calvinistic doctrine that God elected some people to be saved and others to be lost.

 

            The second class, the carnal, were assumed to be beyond salvation, because their lives were governed by material wants and desires. The  in-betweens were believed to be capable of salvation if they followed the Gnostic teachings.

 

            It is not difficult to see the striking similarity between Gnostic and Calvinistic teachings. There are some differences, but the essence of their teachings is similar. Both Gnostics and Calvinists agree that Christians are saved not by means of their choice, but on account of their nature. Both taught that people are saved on account of their election. The Gnostic spirituals claimed to be the “elect seed,” because they had a divine spark in their being. Calvinists say that they are elected to salvation by the sovereign will of God. Both agree that their divine election is not affected in a negative way by their actions.

 

            Both Gnostic and Calvinists taught that any sinful action does not affect their eternal salvation. The dualistic Gnostic teaching was illustrated by comparing their spiritual nature to a pure golden ring and their material body to a pile manure. The ring can be placed into a pile of dung, but is not affected by the filthiness of the dung. Its purity remains unchanged.

 

            Both agree that there is nothing that can cause a saved persons to loose their salvation. The Gnostic took this teachings to its ultimate conclusion by pursuing their own lust and passions without restraints. Calvinists, however, believe that Christians who are saved grow in sanctification, though they would not lose their salvation, if they did not.

 

            The similarities outlined above between Gnosticism and the Calvinistic doctrine of “Once saved, always saved,” are too numerous to be ignored. They serve to remind us that the teaching of eternal security is pagan in its origin and stands in open opposition to the teaching of the Bible.

 

A Biblical Evaluation of the Predestination of the Elect

 

            The notion of God’s arbitrary predestination of some to salvation and other to perdition, is contrary to the overall teaching of the Bible. The message of the Bible is that God is both just and merciful. He not only created humankind perfectly, but after their rebellion, He implemented a plan that could redeem all those who would accept it.

 

            “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Note that the text does not say that God will save only those whom He has predestined, and condemn to ultimate extinction the rest. Rather, verse 18 explains: “He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:18).

 

            What determines our salvation is not an arbitrary divine election, but a personal acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf.  It is our continuing faith in Christ’s sacrifice that finally saves us.

 

Predestination in Romans 8:28-30

 

            None of the texts quoted so far suggest an arbitrary divine predestination to salvation. To support their position, predestinarians appeal to passages of Paul, especially Romans 8:28-30 and Ephesians 1:3-14.  In Romans 8:28-30, Paul declares: “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.  For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren.  And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.”

 

            It is evident from this and similar passages that the Bible teaches a form of predestination, but it is not the kind taught by Calvin. The key to interpret correctly this passage (and Ephesians 1:1-12), is to recognize that Paul speaks of calling, predestination, justification, and glorification, in a corporate, not individual way. It includes potentially all human beings, not individual persons.

 

            To interpret Romans 8:28-30 (and other similar passages) as teaching that God chose who should be saved and who should be lost before the foundation of the world, means to impose an interpretation upon them that is in violent conflict with the overall teaching of the Scriptures. The Calvinistic doctrines of election and predestination violate the truth of the Gospel.

 

Romans 8:28-30 from a Corporate Perspective

 

            When we examine Romans 8:28-30 from a corporate perspective, the meaning of Paul’s statements becomes clear. “Whom he foreknew” simply means that God foreknew every individual to whom He gave life. This passage does not speak of the specific time at which God foreknew certain specific individuals before they came into existence, but of every person to whom He gave life.

 

            “He also did predestinate to be conformed in the image of his Son,” simply means that God predetermined and preplanned that every human being would be like Christ, by living a holy and righteous life.

 

            “Those whom he did predestinate, them he also called.” God predetermined what all human beings should be by calling them through the Gospel to be what He wants them to be.

 

            “And whom he called, them he also justified.” This statement refers to those who actually responded to the call and received from God the justification and finally the glorification.

 

            Robert Shank authored a monumental work entitled Elect in the Son. In chapter five, “The Called According to His Purpose,” he provides a thorough exegesis of Romans 8:28-30. First, he examines the phrase, “whom he called,” and shows conclusively that the call was issued to all, but only those who responded came to be designated as “the called.” Shank’s conclusion of this point is worth quoting.

 

            “Reference to believers as ‘the called’ and ‘the elect’ does not in any way imply the positive, unconditional reprobation of other men. The corporate election of Israel to temporal privilege did not constitute the reprobation of the rest of the world, for the way always was open for all men to become proselytes and to share in the heritage of Israel. Furthermore, Israel was called to be God’s channel of blessing for all mankind. In like manner, the corporate election of the Church does not constitute any reprobation of the rest of mankind. To the contrary, the Church is to be the vehicle of grace and salvation for the world. The Israel of God comprehends all men potentially, and the election of grace may be realized in any man. ‘Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth, for I am God, and there is none other” (Isaiah 45:22). The call is to all, and all who respond in faith to God’s universal call are ‘the called according to his purpose’ and those whom he justified.”6

 

            Next, Shank discussed the phrase, “whom he justified,” and shows that God has acted through Christ to justify all men who will meet the conditions for justification. He stresses that the ground of  this justification is the grace of God but the condition is a believing, obedient faith.  Paul makes this point clear in Romans 3:26, by stating that God “proved at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus.” It is evident that God’s justification is offered, not arbitrarily to selected individuals, but to al who have “faith in Jesus” and obey the Gospel.

 

            The function of predestination in Romans 8, is not to teach that God arbitrarily elects certain individuals to be justified and glorified while condemning others to destruction, but that believers have nothing to fear, because nothing can separate them from “the love of Christ” (Rom 8:85). This point is made in Romans 8:31-32, the very verses that follow immediately the passage about predestination. Paul draws this conclusion from what he said about predestination, justification, and glorification: “What shall we say to this? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him?” (Rom 8:31). God gave his Son “for us all,” not for a selected few. Calvin’s notion of a limited atonement for a selected few, is foreign to the teaching of the Scripture.

 

Predestination in Ephesians 1:3-14.

 

            This passage is a great hymn of praise for the spiritual blessings God has bestowed upon believers through Jesus Christ. Paul states that God “chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him” (Eph 1:4). Note that the “us” refers to the Ephesians as a whole. God had predestined all of them to salvation, without the exclusion of a single person.

 

            God’s criteria for choosing people before the foundation of the world is that they “should be holy and blameless before him.”  “Thus, God predetermined the kind of character upon which He would bestow all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ—namely, a character that would represent a holy and unblemished life. In this way, all have the opportunity to conform themselves to the characteristics that God requires. When Paul says, ‘having predestined us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself,’ he is stressing that God predetermined that those who would be holy and without blemish would be adopted as children.”7

 

                  An important thing to note when studying the verses about predestination, is that nowhere the Scripture indicates that predestined believers will never fear that they might fall away. “Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 1:18 about “those who are perishing” and those “who are being saved.” Both phrases employ present participles, indicating that the individual destinies are not yet ‘sealed.’ Predestination applies only to the present situation.  The Bible tells of God predestining people livingat that time to what they are at present, but not to what they shall or can only be.”8

 

                  In the next section we will see that warning against falling away, punctuate even those section that speak about predestination. If the ultimate destiny of believers is already predetermined, such warnings would be superfluous and unnecessary.

 

            Scripture always presents faith as the human response to God. If salvation was the result of divine election and irresistible grace, then faith would not be necessary, since God chooses whom He wills, regardless of the individual response. While God is sovereign, He leaves room for us to accept or reject Him. God predestines, not apart, but in harmony with our response of faith.

 

Conclusion

 

                  The Bible clearly teaches that God wants every human being to be saved. Christ’s atoning sacrifice is for all, not for a selected few. The invitation and call of salvation is extended to all.

 

            The predestination verses examined above, must be interpreted in harmony with the general teachings of the Bible. We have found that the proper interpretation of the predestination verses is that God predetermined and foreordained that every person who lives by faith holy and unblemished lives, are elected, justified, and glorified by God.

 

THE CASE FOR UNCONDITIONAL SALVATION

 

            Is it possible to know absolutely and confidently that one is saved? Is it possible for those who currently believe they are saved to have assurance that they will remain in a state of grace until the end of their lives? The answer of many Christians influences by Calvinistic teachings is “Yes!” Their certainty rest especially upon the doctrine of predestination.

 

            If God did indeed choose certain individuals for salvation beforehand, and they cannot refuse His election, then their salvation is unconditional. Christians who accepts this understanding of predestination, must logically adopt the belief that once they are saved, they are always saved.  For them the case is closed.  To support their belief, they appeal not only to the predestination texts examined above, but also to other Scriptural passages which they interpret as proof of the unconditional eternal security of their salvation. For the sake of brevity we shall examine only the major proof texts offered by the defenders of unconditional salvation.

 

            This important part of the chapter is intentionally omitted in this newsletter to encourage the purchase of the forthcoming book Popular Beliefs: are they Biblical?  The book contains the complete edited text of the 10 chapters, together with the Endnotes. The estimated length of the book is about 400 pages. The book is scheduled to be released in a few weeks by the end of April 2008.

 

THE CASE FOR

CONDITIONAL SALVATION

 

            Can a person who has accepted Christ as his personal Savior at one point in his life, later loose his salvation and die in an unsaved condition? In other words, can a saved Christian loose his salvation by “falling away” from the faith later in his life? In the previous section we noted that many Christians influenced by Calvinistic teachings reject the notion of conditional salvation. They believe that “once saved always saved.” To support their belief they appeal to texts which under closer examination were found to negate such a belief.

 

            At this point we wish to take a closer look at some of the biblical passages which clearly teach that salvation is conditional upon obedience and warn against the possibility of spiritual failure.

 

The Conditional Nature of God’s Promises

 

            In the Scripture both material and spiritual blessings depend upon the relationship of the people to God. To the Israelites, whom God had chosen as His special people, He says: “If you obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all commandments which I command you this day, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. . . . But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God  or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command you this day, then all the curses shall come upon you and overtake you” (Deut 28:1, 15).

 

            God’s chosen people were not constrained to obey by virtue of  their election. Instead, they were free to  obey or disobey. Their repeated apostasy eventually led God to replace them with the Gentiles. This shows that God can and does reject His chosen if they prove to be unfaithful.

 

            The Gentiles have no better guarantee than the Jews that God will continue to use them to fulfill His mission, irrespective of their response to God. Paul tells us that the Jews “were broken off because of their unbelief, but you [Gentiles] stand fast only through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you” (Rom 11:20, 21).

 

Warning Against Complacency

 

            No one can be complacent about his/her salvation, thinking that they will make it into God’s Kingdom, because they have been saved. The Bible contains constant warnings against complacency. The conditional “if” passage of Deuteronomy mentioned earlier, finds several parallels in the New Testament.

 

            If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love” (John 15:10). “If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers” (John 15:6). “You are my friends if  you do what I command you” (John 15;14). “We share in Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end” (Heb 3:14). “He has now reconciled, . . . provided that you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the Gospel which you heard” (Col 1:23). These sample of biblical passages suffice to show that our salvation is conditional to our continual faith response to our Savior.

 

Warnings Against Falling Away

 

            The Scripture clearly teaches that it is possible for believers to fall from saving grace and lose their salvation. This teaching is found in two sets of passages that speak about falling away. First, there are those texts which warn directly against the falling away of believers. Second there are those texts which say that only those who continue to believe to the end will be saved.

 

            One example of warning against falling away is found  in Galatians 5:4: ‘You are severed from Christ, you would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.”  The Galatians had joyfully received the Gospel, were justified by faith, and received the Holy Spirit (See Gal 3:1-5). Yet Paul says to these former Christians: “You are severed from Christ . . . you have fallen away from grace.” The meaning is clear. Those who had been true believers were now in danger of falling way and no longer being Christians. If once saved always saved were true, then Paul’s words have no meaning and his deep concern for the falling away of the Galatians was unnecessary.

 

            Similar warnings about the possibility of falling away abound in the Scripture. “Therefore let any one who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor 10:12). “Therefore we must pay the closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.  For if the message declared by angels was valid and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? (Heb 2:1-3).

 

            “Take care, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another  every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we share in Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end” (Heb 3:12-14).

 

            These passages are so forceful and so evident that the belief once saved always saved is hopelessly doomed.  The many Scriptural admonitions to persevere in the faith, presuppose the continual exercise of the freedom of choice.  On this basis it is illogical to conclude that a decision of faith taken today, will affect irreversibly the rest of one’s life.

 

            Howard Marshall keenly notes “We have to reckon with the warnings addressed to believers against falling away. . . . These warning exhort believers not to lose the salvation which they have already received or to surrender the faith which they already possess; they cannot be regarded as commands to believers to test themselves to see if they were truly converted at the beginning. . . . The positive command is not to begin to be a genuine believer, but to continue and persevere in the faith which one already has. . . . The New Testament takes for granted a present experience of salvation of which the believer is conscious. Here and now he may know the experience of Christian joy and certainty. He is not called to question the reality of this experience on the ground that it may be illusory he was never truly converted; rather, he is urged to continue to enjoy salvation through abiding in Christ and persevering in the faith.”10

 

Only Those Who Endure to the End Will Be Saved

 

            A second set of Bible passages that warn about the possibility of falling away are those which teach that only the believers who continue to believe until the end will be saved. Examples of these passages abound.

 

            Jesus said to His disciples: “But he who endures to the end will be saved” (Matt 10:22). Christ repeated the same teaching at the end of His prophetic discourse: “You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But he who endures too the end will be saved” (Mark 13:130). These statements clearly admit the possibility of falling away permanently. Christ’s warning utterly discredit the popular belief that a believer that is once saved is always saved. Salvation presupposes a constant commitment of faith and obedience to the end.

 

            We noted earlier that Paul expresses the same teaching in Colossians 1:21-23: “And you, who once were estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh through his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him, provided that you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel which you heard.”

 

            In Hebrews also we find a clear admonition to hold fast to the end: “Take care, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhorts one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we share in Christ, if we hold our first confidence firm to the end” (Heb 3:12-14).

 

            Each of the above passages teach essentially the same thing. You are a believer now, but be careful because there is a real possibility that you may fall away. Remember, only those who continue to believe and obey the Gospel until the end will receive eternal life. If the popular belief once saved always saved were true, then all the warning about the possibility of falling away from the faith, are misleading and misguided. But the fact is that the Scriptures make it plain that there is a constant possibility for believers to fall away from the faith – a reality called “apostasy” (2 Thess 2:3).

 

There is No Room for Self-complacency in the Christian Life

 

            There is no room for self-complacency in the Chistian life. Paul himself entertained the possibility that he might be lost: “Well, I do not run aimlessly, I do not box as one beating the air; but I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Cor 9:26-27). If Paul could feel insecure about his eternal salvation, it would be presumption for anyone else to think differently.

 

            We have nothing to fear as long as we live in constant dependency upon he enabling power of God’s Spirit, but we need to be aware of the temptation to become self-sufficient, independent from God. The problem is not God capriciously abandoning us, but we deliberately choosing to turn away from Him.

 

            Hebrews highlights the problem of turning away from God saying: “It is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they then commit apostasy, since they crucify the Son of God on their own account and hold him up to contempt’ (Heb 6:4-6).

 

            The passage clearly speaks of believers who have experienced the blessings of salvation, the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s goodness. It is because of the privilege they had to partake “of the Holy Spirit,” and to taste “the goodness of the word of God,” that it is impossible to restore them to a saving relationship with God, if they commit apostasy.

 

            A similar teaching is found in Hebrews 10:26-29: “For if we sin deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sin, but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire which will consume the adversaries. A man who has violated the law of Moses dies without mercy at the testimony of two or three witnesses.  How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by the man who has spurned the Son of God, and profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and outraged the Spirit of grace?”

 

            In this passage we are told that believers who received the knowledge of the truth, accepted Christ, and were sanctified by His atoning sacrifice, will face a greater judgment than those who were never converted in the first place. The believer with greater knowledge deserves greater punishment.  This means that when one becomes a Christian he is not guaranteed to be always saved to the end of his life, because no one knows who will persevere to the end. “Therefore let any one who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor 10:12).

 

            The warnings, admonitions, and the “if” conditional statements we have examined, all teach the same truth, namely, that Christians do not have an absolute guarantee that they will automatically persevere in their faithfulness to God until the end. Christians know that they must renew  their commitment to Christ daily. There is no room for self-complacency. Our eternal security of salvation does not rest on an arbitrary divine election of the saved and unsaved,  but on our daily choice to renew our faith-commitment to God.

 

SALVATION IS ASSURED

BUT NOT GUARANTEED

 

            The most agonizing problem in the assurance of salvation,  is not whether a person has accepted all the basic Bible truths, but weather the acceptance of those truths give the assurance of being saved. What makes this agonizing is that there are many people today, as in the past, who think that they are saved, when they are not.

 

            For example, in Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus says, “Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do so many mighty words in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you, depart from me, you evildoers.’”

           

            The agonizing question for many is: Do I really have the assurance of salvation? Is my eternal destiny secure? Is my faith real? We have seen that some well-intentioned people influenced by Calvinistic teachings try to lessen the problem by making salvation an irreversible act of God who elected beforehand some to salvation and some to perdition. Some try to generate assurance by denying that any kind of life-change is really necessary to demonstrate the reality of salvation. Such teaching is clearly contradicted by James’ statement: “So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead” (James 2:17).

 

            Ultimately the strategies used to generate assurance of salvation by teaching once saved always saved, can backfire, because they do not bring peace to tormented souls. Worst of all, they give the false assurance of salvation to people who should not have it, because they have never experienced the life-changes that show the reality of faith.

 

            So far we have seen that the doctrine of unconditional salvation attempts to offer the eternal security of our salvation, by making the latter a divine decision, rather than a human choice. We have seen that from beginning to the end the Bible teaches that believers do not have an absolute guarantee that they will automatically persevere in their faithfulness to God until the end. Instead it teaches that believers by their free choice must accept the provision of salvation and daily renew their faith-commitment to God.

 

The Assurance of Salvation

 

            While there is no guarantee that Christians can never fall, the Scriptures do offer the assurance that nothing can separate trusting believers from God. Although we have no guarantee that we will be ultimately saved no matter how we live, this does not mean that we cannot have the assurance that God has saved us.

 

            Although as believers we can never become boastful or presumptuous, we can rest in the assurance that as long as we follow Jesus in our beliefs and practices, our salvation is secure. “I am sure that neither death, not life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things future, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord” (Rom 8:38, 39).

 

            Paul could confidently say: “If God is for us, who is against us? He who did spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, will he not give up all things with him?” (Rom 8:31-32). The fact that God did not spare anything for our salvation, not even His own Son, gives us reason to trust and believe Him all the more.  We can rest in the assurance that “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6).

 

The Tension Between Uncertainty and Confidence

 

            In many ways our Christian life must be lived in a tension between uncertainty and confidence. We are uncertain about our final destiny because we cannot be absolutely sure that we will continue to maintain a faith relationship with Christ. Yet, we can be confident that God will sustain us, protect us, and preserve us to the end. This tension is a vital component of our Christian life. It challenges us daily not to become self-confident and presumptuous, but to depend upon God, by trusting Him and obeying him.

 

            Howard Marshall reaches the same conclusion, when he states: “The conclusion to which we find ourselves being led is that the New Testament knows the possibility of failure to persevere and warns against it, but it emphasizes the greater possibility of a confidence in God and a continuing faith which, as it is sustained by God, is preserved from fear and from falling.”11  “But we can say firmly that, while it is possible for a Christian to fail to persevere after a genuine experience of salvation, yet, with all the promises of a faithful God to sustain those who trust in Him, the main emphasis of the New Testament is on confidence and assurance of final salvation.”12

 

                  Let us therefore not “throw away our confidence, which has great reward” (Heb 10:35), but live in the reassurance that God “is able to keep you from falling and to present you without blemish before the presence of his glory with rejoicing” (Jude 24).

 

Conclusion

 

            The doctrine of “once saved, always saved” is widely accepted by many Christians today, because it relieves them of their personal responsibility for their eternal salvation.  Christians are taught to believe that their eternal salvation is secure because it largely depends upon God’s election, rather than their human choice. We have found this doctrine to be dangerous, because it deceived people into thinking that they are saved, when in reality it may not be true.

 

            The Bible clearly teaches that God wants every human being to be saved. Christ’s atoning sacrifice is for all, not for a selected few. The invitation and call of salvation is extended to all.

 

            Our study of the predestination verses of Romans 8:28-30 and Ephesians 1:3-14, has shown that the proper interpretation of these verses is that God predetermined and foreordained that every person who lives by faith holy and unblemished lives, are elected, justified, and ultimately glorified by God.

 

            Our examination of the texts commonly used to support the belief that once individuals are saved, they are always saved, has shown that none of them support such a belief. When attention is given to the context of each passage, their teaching is consistent with the rest of the Scriptures that our eternal security of salvation depend upon our continuous faith and trust in God who can prevent Satan from snatching us out of His hands. But if we cease to exercise faith and reject God’s protection, God cannot force us into heaven.  Our salvation is based, not on an unconditional divine election, but on a conditional human acceptance of the gift of eternal life.

 

            Support for this conclusion is provided by the warnings, admonitions, and the “if” conditional statements that we have examined. We have found that all of them teach the same truth, namely, that our eternal security of salvation does not rest on an arbitrary divine election of the saved and unsaved,  but on our daily choice to renew our faith-commitment to God. It is only those “who endure to the end [that] will be saved” (Matt 10:22).

 

            Finally we have seen that our Christian life must be lived in a tension between uncertainty and confidence. We are uncertain about our final destiny because we cannot be absolutely sure that we will continue to maintain a faith relationship with Christ. Yet, we can be confident that God will sustain us, protect us, and preserve us to the end. This tension challenges us daily not to become self-confident and presumptuous, but to depend upon God, by trusting Him and obeying him.

 

            Summing up, the popular belief that once an individual is saved, he is always saved, is an unbiblical, deceptive belief that is causing untold damage to the spiritual life of countless millions of Christians. Instead of guaranteeing the eternal security of salvation, it ultimately undermines the assurance of salvation, which depends not on an unconditional divine election, but on a conditional human acceptance of the gift of eternal life.

 

            The Endnoes of this chapter is intentionally omitted in this newsletter to encourage the purchase of the forthcoming book Popular Beliefs: are they Biblical?  The book contains the complete edited text of the 10 chapters, together with the Endnotes. The estimated length of the book is about 400 pages. The book is scheduled to be released in a few weeks by the end of April 2008.

 

 

ANNOUNCEMENT OF SERVICES AND PRODUCTS

 

CRISTINA PICCARDI’S NEW DVD RECORDINGS

 

A brand new recording of Cristina Piccardi’s sacred concert and of our SABBATH SEMINAR with WORDS AND SONGS was made in Loma Linda on February 8, 9, 10. The recording was done with four state-of-the-art high definition cameras that provide an exceptional clear and crispy video images.

 

We felt the need to make a high quality recording to share our new ministry with fellow believers in different parts of the world. We are happy that at this time we can offer a professional recording both of Cristina’s Sacred Concert  and of our SABBATH SEMINAR with WORDS AND SONGS.

 

The SACRED CONCERT consists of 16 sacred familiar songs that cover the major themes of God’s creative and redemptive love. Her marvellous singing will touch your heart and inspire you to devote your life more fully to the Savior. You can see the picture of this new album by clicking at this link: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/pic.htm

 

The SABBATH SEMINAR consists of 3 DVD disks containing a total of 6 hours of recording, that is, the Cristina singing and my preaching done on Friday evening, Sabbath morning, and Sabbath afternoon.  Cristina sings a few songs before and after each of my lectures. You  can enjoy this informative and inspiring 6 hours seminar in the privacy of your home or church, without having to travel long distances or investing money to fly us in.  You can see the picture of this new album by clicking at this link:http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/sabbathandsong/index.htm

 

Who is Cristina Piccardi?

 

In my view Cristina is by far the best Adventist soprano I have heard in my life. Surprisingly she is a slim, only 118 pounds, 5.6 feet high—not the typical heavy-set soprano. When my wife asked her: “How can you project such a powerful voice when you are so slim?”  She replied: “It is God’s gift.”

 

Cristina was born in Brazil 26 years ago and came to Andrews University two years ago to accompany her husband who is studying at the seminary. She has earned degrees in voice performance both in Brazil and at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA, where she received full scholarship during the two years of her studies, graduating in December of 2005. 

 

She has performed in a leading role with symphonic orchestras in the USA and overseas. In the year 2005 she won the first price at an International Competition for Opera Singers.

         

I officially met Cristina on October 6, 2007 at Andrews University Pioneer Memorial Church. I was spellbound by the three sacred songs  she sung during the communion service led by Pastor Dwight Nelson. When we met after the communion service, we both immediately felt that the Lord was bringing us together in a providential way to proclaim with words and songs our timely Adventist Message. She told me that after singing for five years in a leading role with various symphonic orchestras, she felt the call of God to leave glitzy opera stage, in order to dedicate the gift of her voice to sing sacred music. This means that now we are presenting together with words and songs my powerpoint seminars on the SABBATH,  SECOND  ADVENT, and CHRISTIAN LIFE STYLE.

 

You can enjoy a preview of Cristina’s outstanding singing by clicking at this link:  http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cristina/   She sings the first stanza of THE HOLY CITY.

 

Special Package Offer of Cristina’s Recordings.

 

           At this time we wish to offer the complete package of Cristina’s three albums, together with the newly recorded SABBATH SEMINAR with WORDS AND SONGS for only $80.00, instead of the regular price of $230.00. The package included the following four albums:

 

           1) THE CD ALBUM REJOICE IN THE LORD which consists of 11 sacred songs recorded with Marcelo Caceres, Professor of piano at Andrews University. The regular price of the album is $30.00.

 

           2) THE DVD ALBUM SING UNTO THE LORD which consists of 10 sacred songs recorded at the Andrews University Pioneer Memorial SDA Church.  The regular price of the DVD album is $50.00.

 

           3) THE DVD ALBUM BY HIS GRACE which consists of 16 sacred songs recorded in Loma Linda with four high-definition cameras.  The regular price of the DVD is $50.00.

 

           4) THE DVD ALBUM OF THE SABBATH WITH WORDS AND SONGS which consists of three DVD disks with 6 hours of recordings of Cristina singing and my preaching done on Friday evening, Sabbath morning, and Sabbath afternoon. The regular price is $100.00.

 

           The special offer on the above package of 4 albums is only $80.00, mailing expenses included even overseas, instead of the regular price of $230.00.

 

How to Order Cristina’s Package of Four Albums

 

        You can order the package of the four albums containing Cristina’s Sacred Concerts and the SABBATH SEMINAR in WORDS AND SONGS in four different ways:

 

           (1)  ONLINE: By clicking here: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cart/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=26&products_id=122

 

           (2)  PHONE:  By calling us at (269) 471-2915 to give us your credit card number and postal address.

 

           (3)  EMAIL:  By emailing your order to <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>.  Be sure to provide your  postal address, credit card number, and expiration date.

   

           (4) REGULAR MAIL: By mailing a check to  BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES, 4990 Appian Way, Berrien Springs, Michigan 49103, USA. We guarantee to process your order immediately.

 

UPCOMING SEMINARS FOR THE MONTH OF APRIL

 

           As a service to our subscribers, I am listing the seminars scheduled for the month of April 2008.  We wish to extend a warm welcome to those of you who live close to the location of our seminars. Our new seminars with Words and Songs will touch your heart and expand your mind.

 

MARCH 28-29: SAN DIEGO FIL-AMERICAN SDA CHURCH

Location: 3602 Bonita Road, Chula Vista, California 91910

For directions and information call Pastor Demetrio Roblems at (619) 475-7934

 

APRIL 4-5: CHINO CA: PORTUGHESE SDA CHURCH

Location: 4730 Park Street, Chino, CA 91710

For directions and information call Pastor Paulo Bechara at (951) 509-0651

 

APRIL 11-12: SAN DIEGO: EL CAJON SDA CHURCH

Location:  1630 E. Madison Avenue, El Cajon, CA 92019

For directions and information call Pstor Gary Ford at (619) 466-2009

 

APRIL 18-19: LOMA LINDA FILIPINO SDA CHURCH

Location: 11180 New Jersey Street, Redlands, CA 92373

For directions and information call Pastor Jose Manalo, (909) 799-3733

 

HOW TO CONTACT THE CENTER FOR CANCER CARE IN GOSHEN, INDIANA THAT TREATED MY CANCER

 

Two days following my 69th birthday, I learned that I had advanced-stage colon cancer requiring immediate surgery. Later I was told that the cancer had spread to the liver, infesting 90% of the organ and making its prognosis bleak. Several oncologists that I consulted, confirmed that I had Stage 4 terminal liver cancer, with only a few months to live. All what they could do was to prolong my life with chemotherapy for a few months or a year at best. No Cancer Center, including Loma Linda Cancer Center, had a clinical trial program for liver cancer. The impression I received is that nothing could be done to heal my cancer: I was doomed to die in a few months, at most a year.

 

Driven by my faith in God and optimistic attitude, I sought another opinion at the Center for Cancer Care in Goshen, Indiana, which is located only one hour away from Andrews University, where I live. Following a two-hour consultation with Dr. Seza Gulec (see the picture at my website by clicking http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/goshen), a pioneer in the field of nuclear oncology, I learned that my cancer was terminal but treatable with a combined strategy of chemotherapy and microsphere embolization - a treatment unavailable at most cancer centers. Within one month, the innovative treatment reduced the presence of liver cancer by almost 80% and decreased total tumor volume from 2435cc to 680cc. Within two months, two more treatments reduced my cancer by 95%.

 

Today I feel like a new man with a new lease on life. I feel like an old car with a decent looking body and a brand new motor. I have more energy than I have had earlier in my life. I can only thank God for His providential leading to the right place and for using the latest research to restore my health.

 

Click here to see the pictures of the various stages of my cancer: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/goshen

 

The Goshen Center for Cancer Care is one of the few treatment facilities in the world to offer this breakthrough technology primarily due to the commitment of Dr. Gulec. A world-renowned physician, Dr. Gulec has dedicated years to research and develop the combination therapy, which greatly increases survival rates in those with advanced types of cancer. He has also authored landmark publications in lymphatic mapping, sentinel node biopsy, radioguided surgery and radionuclide therapy. Dr. Gulec currently leads the endocrine surgery, hepatic oncology, molecular imaging and positron emission tomography programs at the Goshen Center for Cancer Care.  To learn more about Dr. Seza Gulec click:  http://www.cancermidwest.com/main.asp?id=217

 

Truly I can say that I believe that the Lord providentially placed me in contact with Dr. Gulec, who has done for me what appeared to be impossible.  The Lord has used Dr. Gulec to give me a new lease on life. He is so proud of my recovery that he uses me as a show case at international nuclear oncological conferences. Now I feel like a new man energized to serve the Lord in a greater way in the sunset years of my life.  Somehow I feel that I have more energy now than I had at 25 years of age.

 

You can contact the CENTER FOR CANCER CARE in Goshen, Indiana in the following ways:

 

           1) PHONE: (888) 491-4673

 

           2) EMAIL: sgulec@goshenhealth.com

 

           3) WEBSITES: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/goshen  or  http://www.cancermidwest.com/

 

PROF. JON PAULIEN’S VIDEO SEMINAR ON SIMPLY REVELATION

 

The  2008 Daily Devotional Book The Gospel from Patmos, is authored by Prof. Jon Paulien. He has done a masterful job in expanding each verse of the Revelation into a daily devotional thought.    

                                   

To help you appreciate more fully  Paulien’s Daily Devotional, we offer you his DVD album on Simply Revelation that was released few months ago.  We have been airmailing the DVD album to church leaders, pastors, and lay Adventists in different part of the world. Several pastors have already shown the lectures to their congregations.  They wrote to me saying that viewing the lectures were truly an enlightening experience for their members.

 

My wife and I viewed Simply Revelation on our TV on a Sabbath afternoon. Though I had already watched Prof. Paulien’s lectures during the taping session which I paid for, I was spellbound to hear him again offering so many refreshing insights into the most difficult book of the Bible. For me it is a thrilling experience listening to a scholar like Prof. Paulien, who knows what he is talking about.

 

Prof. Paulien is rightly regarded as a leading Adventist authority on the book of Revelation which he has taught at the Seminary for the past 25 years. His doctoral dissertation as well as several of his books deal specifically with the Book of Revelation.

 

The constant demand for Prof. Paulien’s CD album with his publications and articles, led me to discuss with him the possibility of producing a live video recording of a mini Revelation Seminar, which he chose to call Simply Revelation. As suggested by its title,  Simply Revelation aims to present simply the message of Revelation–not to read into Revelation sensational, but senseless views.

 

      The preparation of this video recording took several months. The Simply Revelation seminar consists of four one-hour live video lectures, which have just been recorded in the studio of Andrews University. An impressive virtual studio provides the background of the lectures. Each lecture is delivered with about 50 powerpoint slides. This mini Revelation seminar will offer you and your congregation fresh insights into the Book of Revelation. Be sure to inform your pastor about the newly released Simply Revelation, if he is not aware of it.

 

The file with the powerpoint slides is placed on Prof. Paulien’s CD album containing all his publications and articles.  The reason is that there was no memory left on the DVD disks.  In spite of my pleas, Prof. Paulien was so full of the subject that he used the full 60 minutes of each lecture, leaving no space for the slides’ file.

 

This has been a very expensive project, both in time and money. I sponsored it financially because I believe that many will be blessed by Paulien’s fresh insights into Revelation.  The regular price of the DVD album is $100.00, but you can order it now at the SPECIAL PRICE for only $50.00.  The price includes the airmailing expenses to any overseas destination.

 

If you have not ordered before the CD Album with Prof. Paulien’s publications, we will be glad to add it to your DVD order for only $20.00, instead of the regular price of $60.00. This means that you can order both the DVD album with Prof. Paulien’s four live video lectures on Simply Revelation and his CD album with all his publications and the powerpoint slides of Simply Revelation, for only $50.00, instead of the regular price of $160.00.

 

As an additional incentive, I am offering you together with Prof. Paulien’s DVD/CD albums, also my own popular DVD album on The Mark and Number of the Beast, for an additional $10.00, instead of the regular price of $100.00. This means that you can order the DVD and CD albums by Prof, Paulien, together with my DVD album on The Mark and Number of the Beast, for only $70.00, instead of the regular price of $260.00.

 

This research on The Mark and Number of the Beast, was commissioned by Prof. Paulien himself. He asked me to trace historically the origin and use of the Pope’s title Vicarius Filii Dei and of the number 666. I spent five months conducting this investigation which was professionally taped at the Andrews University Towers Auditorium. I use 195 powerpoint slides to deliver this informative two hours lecture which has been warmly received by Adventist church leaders and pastors in many parts of the world. For a detailed description of this DVD album click: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/Beast/BeastPromo

 

Special Offer on Prof. Paulien and Prof. Bacchiocchi’s Albums:

 

           * ONE DVD Album of Prof. Paulien’s four video lectures on Simply Revelation at the introductory price of $50.00, instead of $100.00. The price includes the airmailing  expenses to any overseas destination.

 

           * ONE DVD Album of Simply Revelation and ONE CD Album with Prof. Paulien’s publications for only $70.00, instead of the regular price of $160.00. The price includes the airmailing  expenses to any overseas destination.

 

           * ONE DVD Album of Simply Revelation,  ONE CD Album with Prof. Paulien’s publications, and ONE DVD Album with Bacchiocchi’s two hours video lecture on The Mark and Number of the Beast for only $80.00, instead of the regular price of $260.00. The price includes the airmailing  expenses to any overseas destination.

 

Four Ways to Order Prof. Paulien and Prof. Bacchiocchi’s Albums:

 

           (1)  ONLINE: By clicking here: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/revelation/

 

           (2)  PHONE:  By calling us at (269) 471-2915 to give us your credit card number and postal address.

     

           (3)  EMAIL:  By emailing your order to <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>.  Be sure to provide your  postal address, credit card number, and expiration date.

 

           (4) REGULAR MAIL: By mailing a check to  BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES, 4990 Appian Way, Berrien Springs, Michigan 49103, USA. We guarantee to process your order immediately.

 

SPECIAL OFFER ON 12 DVD/CD ALBUMS FOR ONLY $150.00, INSTEAD OF THE REGULAR PRICE OF $1150.00

 

        This offer may sound too good to be true. at this time we are offering together as a package all the 12 DVD/CD albums we have recorded, for only $150.00, instead of $1150.00. Until now these recordings were sold separately, costing considerably more.  To make it possible for many to benefit from all these timely messages, I have decided to offer them together as a package for only $150.00, instead of the regular price of $1150.00. 

 

The Package Includes the Following 12 Albums:

 

           1) DVD Album with Sabbath Seminar with Words and Songs recorded at the Avon Park SDA Church on November 16-17, 2007. The album contains three DVD disks with 6 hours of recordings.

 

           2) DVD and CD Albums containing Cristina Piccardi’s sacred songs. The CD Album “Rejoice in the Lord” contains 11 songs. The DVD Album “Sing Unto the Lord” contains 10 songs.

 

           3) Prof. Jon Paulien’s newly released DVD ALBUM video seminar on Simply Revelation.

 

           4) Prof. Jon Paulien’s CD ALBUM with a dozen of his books, and all his articles.

 

           5) Prof. Graeme Bradford’s DVD ALBUM with a two hours video lecture on Ellen White. He shares the highlights of his book More than a Prophet. The album contains also Prof. Bradford’s the publications and articles.

 

           6) Prof. Bacchiocchi’s newly recorded DVD ALBUM called ABUNDANT LIFE SEMINAR.  The album contains 2 video powerpoint lectures: The Christian and Alcoholic Beverages and How to Build a Happy and Lasting Marriage. These two lectures summarize the highlights of Bacchiocchi’s two books Wine in the Bible and The Marriage Covenant. Two separate files with 225 powerpoint slides are included.

 

           7) Prof. Bacchiocchi’s DVD ALBUM containing 10 video powerpoint lectures on the Sabbath and Second Advent.  Some of the lectures show the documents Prof. Bacchiocchi found in Vatican libraries on the role of the papacy in changing the Sabbath to Sunday. This album contains the popular powerpoint SABBATH/ADVENT seminars Prof. Bacchiocchi presents in many countries.

 

           8) Prof. Bacchiocchi’s DVD ALBUM on Cracking the Da Vinci Code. The album contains a two hours video lecture, professionally taped with a virtual studio as a background. A separate file with 200 powerpoint slides is included.

 

           9) Prof. Bacchiocchi’s DVD ALBUM on The Mark and the Number of the Beast. The album contains the two hours video lecture and a separate powerpoint file with the 200 slides used for the lecture.

 

           10) Prof. Bacchiocchi’s  CD ALBUM with all his books and powerpoint lectures. The album consists of two disks. The first disk has all his 18 books and over 200 articles. The second disk has the slides and script of 25 of Prof. Bacchiocchi’s popular PowerPoint presentations.

 

           11) Prof. Bacchiocchi’s  DVD ALBUM on The Passion of Christ.  The album contains the 2 hours live interview conducted by 3ABN on Prof. Bacchiocchi’s book The Passion of Christ in Scripture and History.

 

           12) Prof. Bacchiocchi’s MP3 AUDIO ALBUM which contains 2 disks with 22 AUDIO lectures on vital biblical beliefs and practices. Ideal for listening in your car while driving.

 

        You can see the picture of all the 12 ALBUMS and read a detailed description of them, just by clicking at this link:http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/albumoffer.htm

 

How to Order the Package of the 12 Albums:

 

        You can order the complete package of 12 DVD/CD Albums for only $150.00,  instead of the regular price of $1150.00, in four different ways:

 

           1)  ONLINE: By clicking here: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/albumoffer.htm

 

           (2)  PHONE:  By calling us at (269) 471-2915 to give us your credit card number and postal address.

 

           (3)  EMAIL:  By emailing your order to <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>.  Be sure to provide your  postal address, credit card number, and expiration date. For security reasons, you can email your credit card number in two separate messages.  In the first message you email me the first 8 digits and in the second message the last 8 digits, plus the expiration date.   Be sure to include your postal address.      

 

           (4) REGULAR MAIL: By mailing a check for $150.00 to  BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES, 4990  Appian Way, Berrien Springs, Michigan 4990, USA. We guarantee to process your order immediately.

INCREDIBLE NEW OFFERS ON HITACHI PROJECTORS

 

HITACHI has released the new CP-X400 3000 lumens projector, which replaces the CP-X444.  The new projector has an impressive high resolution, low fan noise, and a wealth of connectivity options. The most impressive feature of this projector is the incredible price of only $1395.00 to help especially our churches and schools in developing countries. The price includes a three years replacement warranty.

 

This is the special offer on the following two models:

 

CP-X400 HIGH RESOLUTION 3000 LUMENS - Only $1395.00

          This is the lowest price for an HITACHI 3000 lumens projector.

 

CP-X1250 HIGH RESOLUTION 4500 LUMENS Only $3795.00

          Previous SDA price for the 4500 lumens was $4900.00

 

WARRANTY: The above prices include a 3 years 24/7 replacement warranty worth about $285.00.

 

 You can order the HITACHI projectors online by clicking at this link: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cart/catalog/index.php?cPath=24  If you have a problem ordering online, call us at (269) 471-2915.  We will take your order by phone and process it immediately.

 

THE SMALLEST & MOST POWERFUL REMOTE PRESENTER

 

If you are looking for an outstanding REMOTE for your PowerPoint presentations, you will be pleased to know HONEYWELL has come out with the smallest and most powerful remote in the market.

 

The size of the transmitter is smaller than a credit card. You can stick it inside the palm of your hand and nobody can see it. I tested the remote in an open environment, and the radio signal can go up to 400 feet of distance. IT IS INCREDIBLE! The transmitter has three button: forward, backward, and laser.

 

You can order online the new POWERPOINT  PRESENTER simply by clicking here: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cart/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=27&products_id=67

 

If you have a problem ordering online, simply call us at (269) 471-2915.  We will take your order by phone. You can also email us your order at <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>, giving us your address, credit card number, and expiration date.

 

DOES YOUR CHURCH OR SCHOOL NEED A SCREEN?

 

If your church/school is looking for a screen, the DA-LITE SCREEN COMPANY, the largest manufacture of screens in the world, has agreed to offer their line of screens to our Adventist churches and schools at about 30% discount.

 

The procedure is very simple. Visit the DA-LITE SCREEN COMPANY website at http://www.da-lite.com. You will see hundreds of models of screens with their respective prices. Once you find the screen that best suits your church, give us the model number by phone (269) 471-2915 or email your request <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com> We will forward your order immediately to DA-LITE that will ship the screen directly to your address. You will receive the screen at about 30% discount.

 

BED & BREAKFAST FACILITIES IN LONDON, ENGLAND

 

If your travel plans call for a stop in London, you will be pleased to learn about a most gracious Adventist couple that offer the best accommodation and breakfast I have ever enjoyed. Their home has become my home away from home when I am in London.  See details at: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/Promotions/BED&BREAKFAST.htm   Their new home phone numbers are: 020 8429-3140 or 020 8819-5708

NEW VIDEO RECORDING ON THE SANCTUARY BY PROF. ROY GANE

Few days ago Roy Gane, Ph. D., Prof. of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Languages at Andrews University Theological Seminary, made a video recording of four of his popular lectures on the sanctuary. You can see a preview of the recording on line by clicking at this link: http://www.preludefilms.com/preview.html

The DVD is distributed through a personal website that Roy Gane has set up. I was unable to sponsor the recording and distribution of this informative and timely DVD, simply because I do not have the time to take on additional responsibilities. But I promised that I would do my best to promote this timely recording. The title of the DVD album is Altar Call: Sacrifice, Sanctuary, and Salvation.

Altar Call: Sacrifice, Sanctuary, and Salvation


Altar Call is about God’s plan to rescue us, as revealed in the services of His sanctuary. These fascinating services demonstrate His character of love, which includes both justice and mercy. They give us hope by revealing that God wants to dwell with us. They teach us how to interact with Him in order to receive the benefits of Christ’s sacrifice. They show us how to get in touch with Jesus where He is working for us right now during the final phase of His ministry in the heavenly sanctuary.

To many Christians, Christ’s prolonged absence since He ascended to heaven is a mystery. But the Bible reveals that He is continuing to save us, and it invites us to get in touch with Him where He is now - in His sanctuary in heaven. By becoming acquainted with what He is doing in the control center of the universe, we can enjoy closer interaction with Him, more fully experience His transforming grace, and have confidence that we are at peace with God.

The DVD contains four 1 hour lectures by Roy E. Gane, Professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Director of the Ph.D./Th.D. and M.Th. programs at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University. Born in Sydney, Australia, he graduated from Pacific Union College in 1977 with a B.A. in theology and a B.Mus. in piano performance. He completed his M.A. (1983) and Ph.D. (1992) in Hebrew language and literature at the University of California and taught in the Religion Department of Pacific Union College from 1992-94 before moving to Andrews University.

How to Order Altar Call: Sacrifice, Sanctuary, and Salvation


Simply click: http://preludefilms.com

At a time when the sanctuary doctrine is being challenged within and without the Adventist Church, it is refreshing to see an outstanding Adventist scholar showing the biblical validity and relevance of this doctrine. I strongly encourage you to order this DVD album, simply by clicking at this link: http://www.preludefilms.com/store.html

In the next newsletter you will read Part 2 of Prof. Roy Gane article on “Legalism and Righteousness by Faith.” The two parts article just appeared in the January and March issue of MINISTRY, An International Journal for Clergy. Many of you have asked for the footnotes of the articles. You can find both the two-parts article and footnotes at this link: http://www.ministrymagazine.org/