Advocates of Protestant evangelical theology resign positions in Denver conference of CG7
The writer, who attended Ambassador College, Pasadena, Calif., in the 1960s, is a member of the Church of God (Seventh Day), Denver conference. The Journal published a five-part series based on Mr. Knight's book Primitive Christianity in Crisis in a monthly series from Feb. 29 through June 30, 2000. In that series Mr. Knight expressed his concern that top leadership in the Denver conference of the Church of God (Seventh Day) is moving away from a belief in God's law.
By Alan Knight
DENVER, Colo.--Two leading advocates for the introduction of evangelical Protestant theology into the Denver conference of the Church of God (Seventh Day) have resigned their positions in the national leadership of the church. Steve Kurtright and Jerry Griffin, associated with the Summit School of Theology, the CG7's seminary here, announced recently their resignation effective at the end of the current school term in June 2001.
The leadership of the CG7 in recent years has become involved in a theological tug-of-war between conservative ministers and liberals who have promoted radical evangelical Protestantism as a model for the church to follow.
Some of the national leadership, including the quasi-independent Christian Renewal Ministries (CRM), founded by church president Whaid Rose of Denver, have distributed articles and books within the church promoting evangelical doctrine. These include the typical Protestant doctrine of salvation by grace alone, eternal security (salvation regardless of disobedience), the abolition of law and the Ten Commandments under the New Covenant, and the principle that looking to the law to learn what pleases God is legalistic and wrong.
Significance of the Sabbath
Some who espouse these ideas have come to the conclusion that the Sabbath and its observance have no significance under the New Covenant. This has been a focus of conflict within the leadership of the church. Others who espouse and teach the same evangelical ideas nevertheless stoutly profess continued allegiance to Sabbath observance.
In June, at the CG7 headquarters congregation in Denver, copastor Michael Vlad, who is the current head of the CRM, announced that the Sabbath would no longer be preached from the pulpit of that congregation. The reason, he stated, is that CG7 pastors should avoid fire-and-brimstone preaching that may harm or disillusion visitors and new members of the church.
Mr. Vlad is active in "street ministry," which seeks to serve and bring into the church emotionally fragile persons whose lives often are profoundly broken. For such people, he argues, the CG7 must preach only the love and sacrifice of Jesus.
At the same time he professes strong support of the Sabbath and argues that it will continue to be taught, but only in doctrinal classes outside of regular church services.
The covenants and the role of law within the covenants was a special topic discussed at the CG7's biennial ministerial conference in October. Four hour-long studies were presented by Steve Kurtright and Jerry Griffin and two other CG7 ministers, Roy Marrs and Calvin Burrell.
Council reaffirms position
After the presentations the ministerial council voted to reaffirm its traditional position of support for observing the Ten Commandments and the seventh-day Sabbath within the New Covenant.
The council also commended the spirit of harmony in which the differences on this subject were discussed.
Recent years have seen a strong effort made to avoid a split in the church at the same time the theological division between conservative and liberal factions has become deeper and more open.
One of the themes promoted in the church is that the CG7 should be a "diverse" association of Christians who welcome both conservative Sabbatarians and those who espouse evangelical Protestant theology.
© The Journal: News of the Churches of God