Grace Communion International
and Their Universalism Views
Is Grace Communion International teaching a type of universalism? Read the following letters from John Miller, Jr., former member of Worldwide Church of God (GCI's previous name), who tried to tell them they were. Also includes his letter to Steve Brown of Key Life Ministries.
UPDATE: In April 2009 Worldwide Church of God changed their name in the United States to Grace Communion International. (Some local church areas and countries may still carry the former name or a different one.) When these letters were sent, WCG had not yet changed their name.
Letter to WCG headquarters: (now known as Grace Communion International)
December 4, 2001
This is in response to one of the letters printed in The Worldwide News, December 2001, entitled "God's Boundless Love" by Ron Hickman. As I feared, Mike Feazell's speculations about salvation given on the other side of the grave has now turned into church doctrine. I read the articles that Mr. Feazell has written about this issue and did not find one Scripture that he gave to prove there would be salvation given to anyone after death.
I would like Mr. Hickman to know that he is right when he says, "but [I] have not heard this message taught by Christian teachers." The reason he is right is because to my knowledge, NO-ONE in all the denominations, that are credible, believe in such a doctrine.
God does not have to depend upon Christian Missionaries to be successful in order for those that are called to be saved! A perfect example of that is found in Acts 10. When we read the account of Cornelius and his family, we can quickly see that no missionary was sent to Him, rather it was the other way around. What about the Apostle Paul? How did this man who murdered Christians, and considered it a good thing to do so, have Jesus introduced to him? Did the message come by way of a missionary? Of course not, he would have killed them. He got the message in spite of himself, didn't he? And what about the rest of the Apostles, what missionary did Christ depend on? The answer is very obvious, God gives to Jesus all those that are called.
Jesus told the Disciples in John 6:70, "Have not I chosen you twelve..." Anyone that God gives to Jesus shall come to Him [John 6:37]. Everyone that was given to Jesus by the Father, Jesus said He would lose none of them [John 6:39]. I don't know how the Father does all this, but I believe Him when He says that none would be cast out [John 6:37]. So, you see, we don't have to be concerned about who, or where, or when this will happen. We know that if God calls an individual, that individual will come to Christ and there will be none that slips through the cracks so to speak.
The truth is that there will be some that do go to hell. The book of Revelation 20:8 goes as far as to say what that number will be, "the number of whom is as the sand of the sea." Have you ever tried counting each grain of sand of the sea? Who all will be there? Rev.20:15 gives us that information, "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." The Bible tells us when Salvation occurs: "...behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" [2 Cor.6:2].
I can understand why someone would hope that no one would go to hell because that's how I feel. I wish that none would go, but that is not what the Bible teaches.
Finally, "The Parable of the Workers" seen in Matthew 20 gives us an insight to when salvation is given. Notice that the laborers were hired in a certain time frame, they labored from early in the morning to evening. The laborers that started their work at the first hour received the same pay as those that worked from the eleventh hour to the twelfth hour. Do you notice something here in this parable that is very obvious? Quite simply there was a cut off time. No one would have gotten paid who was not there doing the work. The Householder in the parable had a set time to complete the work in the vineyard. And all would receive the equal amount for their labor in the vineyard whether they worked one hour or all day. These workers picture all believers, past and present, who have been working here on earth doing the will of God. Every one will receive the very same reward, eternal life.
Verse 8 is a picture of God, The lord of the household, sending the steward, Jesus, to reward the laborers, the believers. The only ones that will be rewarded with eternal life when Jesus comes back are those that were doing the will of the Father. How can anyone miss this very important point?
So, will there be any that will receive eternal life after they die if they were not saved before they die? Not according to verse 16, "So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many are called and few are chosen." This verse is simply telling us that there is a beginning and an end to the time that one can be saved, while one is alive, working in the vineyards of this world, whether we have started our work many years ago or started it one second before we die or before Jesus returns. This is the plain truth of the Gospel.
In Christian Love
John E. Miller Jr. [Former WCG member]
COMMENT FROM ESN: WCG stated, "It is the belief of the Worldwide Church of God that the Lord has made righteous provision in the Judgment for the unevangelized dead, and that many will respond to their risen and glorified Savior in faith and be saved..." ("No Other Name" by J. Michael Feazell, 2000)
This teaching contradicts II Corinthians 6:2: "...behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation."
Letter to Steve Brown: (KeyLife Network)
[Note: Joseph W. Tkach, Jr. was interviewed on Steve Brown's radio program in 1997; Brown has written articles occasionally for The Plain Truth.]
Dear Steve Brown
Please find enclosed some more examples of the kind of unbiblical doctrine that is beginning to come out of this group [Worldwide Church of God]. My family that stayed there through the change is again being fed a lot of unbiblical truth. Do you agree with what this article is teaching? If not I wonder whether you would be allowed to write an article in their Plain Truth magazine about what the Bible teaches about salvation, and when a person receives it. I am willing to give new Christians a lot of room to grow in, but this article goes over the line.
I know that this Church has lead many people astray before, and I wonder if this doctrine is man made to cover up some of the questions that they must answer to those that follow them. Questions possibly that asked what happened to their loved ones that died before the change. Since you and I both know that God does the calling, he's the one that saves an elect people for himself, it is obvious they do not know that. They wrote the article I'm sending you with a lot of human reasoning. From what I see so far from this group, they have just exchanged one set of human reasoning with another. If this is the case how will you be able to not have your witness damaged by writing in any article that they produce? You need to spend time on their web sight to do a little more investigation on them. I'm sorry if I sound like an alarmist, but I do have family and friends that still attend there thinking everything is well. They have approached others in the Christian community and they were not given endorsement by them yet, these others simply said, "time will tell if you have really changed." This, I think, was the Biblical thing to do.
Would you please respond to me concerning this matter on what you think? Maybe I'm way off base here, but to me some thing is beginning to stink in Denmark. I wrote to them a number of times about other unbiblical doctrines that they are teaching, of course I got no reply, it's none of my business, you know. Sorry, I went down that road before with this group, been there, done that. I didn't speak up then, but this time I am going to be watching them very carefully, and hopefully someone will listen. I hope it's you.
In Christian Love
John Miller, Jr. [Former WCG member]
COMMENT FROM ESN: Steve Brown replied to John Miller, Jr. that he was "not happy," and was "surprised" that WCG wrote such things.
For further info:
Universalism (shows how it covers a wide range of beliefs; includes link at end to "1 Tim. 2:4, 2 Pet. 3:9, and Universalism") [offsite article]
Read other articles by John Miller, Jr.: