Yes! yes! I’m a Universalist!…there; I said it….are you happy?

3 01 2010

No…not me…well..not exactly…I AM a Universalist, but probably not in the way you think….I AM one, however, in the way that Jeff McCormack uses the term in the following excellent 4 part blog post…as he says:

I AM A UNIVERSALIST! There you go, I said it, go run and spread the news of my heretical views….or, stick around and let me explain.

I had another slight run in with a handful of people who would fall into a universalist understanding of salvation last week, and so it sparked the idea of laying down some of my thoughts here (since they never listen long enough to consider what is being said). Let me first make a brief, and probably too wide of a brush definition of what is the normal understanding of universalism.

Universalism is at the basic root, the belief that since God will not be thwarted by Satan, and Satan will win nothing, that God has a plan to take it all back. God desires that all mankind be saved (1 Tim 2:4). He therefore sent His Son Jesus to lay down his life and provide a blood covering for all, and since Jesus’ blood is effective, all will be saved.

So, how am I a universalist? I believe God wishes all to be saved, and sent his Son to die for all. The key difference lies in the understanding of the Greek word lying behind the English translation “all.” Sadly, I will not get deeper into this till part two…so don’t go spreading rumors about me yet.

You can read his post here; don’t forget to read all 4 posts!





Sometimes you just gotta shake your head…

9 11 2009

This is truly astounding…..grab some popcorn, your favorite beverage and let the belly laughs commence…





Free book download: “By Grace Alone” by Pastor Jim McClarty

8 11 2009

I’ve read this book several times, and given my last copy out.

I stumbled across the free PDF online and so I thought you’d like to check it out. If you like what you read here (and you can read the whole book if you wish) then buy one from Pastor McClarty; Pastor of Grace Christian Assembly…and thereby support a solid ministry. This is a time when any crackpot can spread whatever false doctrine they wish, but in this, you’ve found a gem; Pastor McClarty writes clearly and engagingly. He supports every point with clearly explained scripture.

Here is an excerpt:

As a Bible teacher, I am often asked, “What does your church believe?” It
hardly suffices to answer, “We believe the Bible.” Most Christian churches
would say the same. So, the purpose of this book is to clarify what we at
Grace Christian Assembly believe and why we believe it.
I am not the first writer to attempt presenting these doctrines in the
contemporary forum. But these are weighty subjects. So, far too often,
this material is presented in a manner so full of theological jargon that
the average layman is left as perplexed at the last page as he was at the
first. Therefore, it is my hope and intention that this presentation is clear
and concise and fully accessible to every reader “with eyes to see.”
The first rule of Bible interpretation has always been: The Bible says
what it means and means what it says. The second rule is like the first:
Scripture interprets Scripture.
It is not at all uncommon for preachers to “hunt and peck” through
Scripture, searching for out-of-context verses that appear to support the
particular theology, tradition, or “philosophical presupposition” the man
or his denomination holds dear. But, the Apostle Paul warned –
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain
deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the
world, and not after Christ (Colossians 2:8).
For this reason, we have supported each of these doctrines with a
variety of Scripture references. But, we are quick to point out that this is
far from an exhaustive study. When it comes to considering the work and
nature of Christ, even the apostle John had to conclude “…if they should
be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain
the books that should be written” (John 21:25).

 

Check it out HERE





Bible Study Reimagined…Logos V4 is here!

2 11 2009

Unless you’ve been living on another planet, you know that Logos Bible software is on the VERY short list of premier bible software packages that exist. Sure you can use the free stuff, or the cheaper stuff, and if all you want to do is to read a passage in a public domain bible, using a public domain commentary, then you’re probably good…BUT if you want to really study the word of God, to really get DEEP…then you have to see this…

v4

Yes…the wait is over…Logos V4 is here!

Bible Study for Everyone

You probably think that an ultra powerful bible study package like Logos is overkill for the layman, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Logos 4 is robust enough for seasoned pastors and scholars, but accessible to Bible students of all levels. With its powerful, intuitive tools, Logos 4 gets you into the Word. Whether you’re preparing for next Sunday’s sermon, working on your dissertation, or having your daily devotional time, Logos 4 is the tool for the task.

For example: When you launch Logos V4 you are greeted with the following Homepage:

homepage

As you can see; it’s laid out like a newspaper. Different articles, pictures, devotional readings, excerpts from your favorite reference volumes. Click on an article and instantly be taken to that article and it’s corresponding bible passage from your favorite bible!

Once you have Logos V4 opened; there are many avenues you can go down…one way is to have Logos do all of the heavy lifting for you in their “Passage Guide.” It’s like having a tireless research assistant at your beck and call…check this out:

passageGuide750px

The guide is set to: Matthew 8:5-13; the account of Jesus and the Centurion. In this particular screen shot you are seeing JUST the commentaries and Biblical Places section of the guide; there are many more. For example; while reading Ephesians 6 about the armor of God,  click on the “Biblical Things” section of the passage guide and get this:

6.3_biblicalThings750px

Amazing isn’t it?

How about if you’re more a “hands on” type of person? You like to  “do it yourself?” Well you can. For instance; you can open two different Greek / English translations and compare them side by side:

02_reverseInterlinears_james4.1_cropped_B750pxNotice that not only do you see how each version has translated the same Greek word, you have direct access to parsing information, and Strong’s numbers.

Is your Greek and Hebrew a little rusty? No problem…just right-click and choose Bible Word Study and this is what you get:

bibleWordStudy750px

Notice that now you have access to your favorite Lexicons, Grammars, and as you can see from the graphic, you can see at a glance how a word has been translated; the larger the color, the more common the rendering from the original language!

How about the history and culture surrounding your passage? Well with V4 you have access to a whole host of contextual resources like “Biblical People”

06.1_biblicalPeople750px

Each node is clickable to supply you with loads of information on the person being studied.

Also, you can study the geography relevant to  your passage:

06.2_biblicalPlaces750px

All maps are clickable with hyperlinked information pertaining to your passage.

Wow!

Here is a real life example. This is a screen shot of a recent study that I did on the phrase “The righteousness of God.” I set up Logos as follows:

Highlighters on the left, search results next, then an “Exegetical Guide,” and then my text on the right.

If you look close you can see that my search took less than half a second! it took much longer to type the word in than it did to return the results!

Notice also that the results are aligned and easy to understand and process. You can see all of the references to God that Logos returned.

Notice the Exegetical guide…it parses each word in your verse and gives you links to your favorite Lexicons, and resources. If you look close you can also see that it will pronounce the word also..very cool!

Lastly, notice the translation that I have open; the ESV; English Standard Version, it’s one of several “Greek-English Interlinear” bibles  that Logos offers, and this particular one retains the English word order. Notice the wealth of information that you get at the bottom of the ESV…the English gloss, the Greek Manuscript form, the Lemma, the Transliteration, and also the Louw-Nida information…

Man! Information overload!!

righteousness of god

And all of this information is displayed at lightening speed! Searches in Logos v4 are FAST with many taking less than ONE SECOND!

Amazing, truly amazing.

I could go on and on for pages but I’d just like to say that Logos has outdone themselves with Version 4…they’ve taken bible study to a whole new level…check it out, click the picture below to be taken to the Logos website for a tour!

end





The Myth of Free Will-Walter Chantry

30 10 2009

I stumbled across a very good article about our supposed libertarian free will. Here is an excerpt; you can read the whole thing at The Reformed Evangelist.

Most people say that they believe in “free will.” Do you have any idea what that means? I believe that you will find a great deal of superstition on this subject. The will is saluted as the grand power of the human soul which is completely free to direct our lives. But from what is it free? And what is its power?

For the rest of this article; go to: The Reformed Evangelist





The value of a CONSISTENT Systematic Theology…

25 10 2009

I’ve recently been engaged in discussions with several Christian brothers and sisters on theological matters. Of course everyone has their opinion…and while it’s true that nobody has perfectly formed beliefs, we all go on the assumption that we are essentially correct until we are persuaded otherwise.

One thing that I see in many a Christian position on any point of theology  is the lack of consistent systematization, that is: everyone has a “systematic theology” but not necessarily a consistent one.

For example: I’ve been speaking with a brother who will affirm that God is unchanging, yet at the same time affirm that “God repented that He had made man” in the same way that men are said to repent; that our minds were changed.

The two cannot logically co-exist; either God is unchanging, or he changes his course of action for a better one when He discovers it.

With that, I’d like to post a little thing by A.W. Pink on the Immutibilty of God. It’s well thought out and presented clearly…I think you will benefit from reading it.

The Immutability of God
Arthur W. Pink

IMMUTABILITY is one of the Divine perfections which is not sufficiently pondered. It is one of the excellencies of the Creator which distinguishes Him from all His creatures. God is perpetually the same: subject to no change in His being, attributes, or determinations. Therefore God is compared to a rock (Deut 32:4, etc.) which remains immovable, when the entire ocean surrounding it is continually in a fluctuating state; even so, though all creatures are subject to change, God is immutable. Because God has no beginning and no ending, He can know no change. He is everlastingly “the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (Jam 1:17).

First, GOD IS IMMUTABLE IN HIS ESSENCE. His nature and being are infinite, and so, subject to no mutations. There never was a time when He was not; there never will come a time when He shall cease to be. God has neither evolved, grown, nor improved. All that He is today, He has ever been, and ever will be. “I am the LORD, I change not” (Mal 3:6) is His own unqualified affirmation. He cannot change for the better, for He is already perfect; and being perfect, He cannot change for the worse. Altogether unaffected by anything out-side Himself, improvement or deterioration is impossible. He is perpetually the same. He only can say, “I AM THAT I AM” (Exo 3:14). He is altogether uninfluenced by the flight of time. There is no wrinkle upon the brow of eternity. Therefore His power can never diminish nor His glory ever fade.

Secondly, GOD IS IMMUTABLE IN HIS ATTRIBUTES. Whatever the attributes of God were before the universe was called into existence, they are precisely the same now, and will remain so for ever. Necessarily so; for they are the very perfections, the essential qualities of His being. Seniper ideni (always the same) is written across every one of them. His power is unabated, His wisdom undiminished, His holiness unsullied. The attributes of God can no more change than Deity can cease to be. His veracity is immutable, for His Word is “for ever.. settled in heaven” (Psa 119:89). His love is eternal: “I have loved thee with an everlasting love” (Jer 31:3) and “Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end” (John 13:1). His mercy ceases not, for it is “everlasting” (Psa 100:5).

Thirdly, GOD IS IMMUTABLE IN HIS COUNSEL. His will never varies. Perhaps some are ready to object that we ought to read the following: “And it repented the LORD that He had made man” (Gen 6:6). Our first reply is, Then do the Scriptures contradict themselves? No, that cannot be. Numbers 23:19 is plain enough: “God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent.” So also in 1 Samuel 15:29, “The Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for He is not a man, that He should repent.” The explanation is very simple. When speaking of Himself, God frequently accommodates His language to our limited capacities. He describes Himself as clothed with bodily members, as eyes, ears, hands, etc. He speaks of Himself as “waking” (Psa 78:65), as “rising up early” (Jer 7:13); yet He neither slumbers nor sleeps. When He institutes a change in His dealings with men, He describes His course of conduct as “repenting.” Yes, God is immutable in His counsel. “The gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Rom 11:29). It must be so, for “He is in one mind, and who can turn from Him? and what His soul desireth, even that He doeth” (Job 23:13).

Change and decay in all around we see, may He who changeth not abide with thee.

God’s purpose never alters. One of two things causes a man to change his mind and reverse his plans: want of foresight to anticipate everything, or lack of power to execute them. But as God is both omniscient and omnipotent there is never any need for Him to revise His decrees. No, “The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations” (Psa 33:11). Therefore do we read of “the immutability of His counsel” (Heb 6:17).

Herein we may perceive the infinite distance which separates the highest creature from the Creator. Creaturehood and mutability are correlative terms. If the creature was not mutable by nature, it would not be a creature; it would be God. By nature we tend toward nothingness, since we came from nothing. Nothing stays our annihilation but the will and sustaining power of God. None can sustain himself a single moment. We are entirely dependent on the Creator for every breath we draw. We gladly own with the Psalmist, Thou “holdeth our soul in life” (Psa 66:9). The realization of this ought to make us lie down under a sense of our own nothingness in the presence of Him in Whom “we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

As fallen creatures we are not only mutable, but everything in us is opposed to God. As such we are “wandering stars” (Jude 13), out of our proper orbit. “The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest” (Isa 57:20). Fallen man is inconstant. The words of Jacob concerning Reuben apply with full force to all of Adam’s descendants: “unstable as water” (Gen 49:4). Thus it is not only a mark of piety, but also the part of wisdom to heed that injunction, “cease ye from man” (Isa 2:22). No human being is to be depended on. “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help” (Psa 146:3). If I disobey God, then I deserve to be deceived and disappointed by my fellows. People who like you today may hate you tomorrow. The multitude who cried, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” speedily changed to “Away with Him, crucify Him.”

Herein is SOLID COMFORT. Human nature cannot be relied upon; but God can! However unstable I may be, however fickle my friends may prove, God changes not. If He varied as we do, if He willed one thing today and another tomorrow, if He were controlled by caprice, who could confide in Him?

But, all praise to His glorious name, He is ever the same. His purpose is fixed, His will is stable, His word is sure. Here then is a rock on which we may fix our feet, while the mighty torrent is sweeping away everything around us. The permanence of God’s character guarantees the fulfillment of His promises: “For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee” (Isa 54:10).

Herein is ENCOURAGEMENT TO PRAYER. “What comfort would it be to pray to a god that, like the chameleon, changed color every moment? Who would put up a petition to an earthly prince that was so mutable as to grant a petition one day, and deny it another?” (Stephen Charnock, 1670). Should someone ask, But what is the use of praying to One whose will is already fixed? We answer, Because He so requires it. What blessings has God promised without our seeking them? “If we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us” (1 John 5:14), and He has willed everything that is for His child’s good. To ask for anything contrary to His will is not prayer, but rank rebellion.

Herein is TERROR FOR THE WICKED. Those who defy Him, who break His laws, who have no concern for His glory, but who live their lives as though He existed not, must not suppose that, when at the last they shall cry to Him for mercy, He will alter His will, revoke His word, and rescind His awful threatenings. No, He has declared, “Therefore will I also deal in fury: Mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in Mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them” (Eze 8:18). God will not deny Himself to gratify their lusts. God is holy, unchangingly so. Therefore God hates sin, eternally hates it. Hence the eternality of the punishment of all who die in their sins.

“The Divine immutability, like the cloud which interposed between the Israelites and the Egyptian army, has a dark as well as a light side. It insures the execution of His threatenings, as well as the performance of His promises; and destroys the hope which the guilty fondly cherish, that He will be all lenity to His frail and erring creatures, and that they will be much more lightly dealt with than the declarations of His own Word would lead us to expect. We oppose to these deceitful and presumptuous speculations the solemn truth, that God is unchanging in veracity and purpose, in faithfulness and justice (John Dick, 1850).”

The Immutability of God
Arthur W. Pink

IMMUTABILITY is one of the Divine perfections which is not sufficiently pondered. It is one of the excellencies of the Creator which distinguishes Him from all His creatures. God is perpetually the same: subject to no change in His being, attributes, or determinations. Therefore God is compared to a rock (Deut 32:4, etc.) which remains immovable, when the entire ocean surrounding it is continually in a fluctuating state; even so, though all creatures are subject to change, God is immutable. Because God has no beginning and no ending, He can know no change. He is everlastingly “the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (Jam 1:17).

First, GOD IS IMMUTABLE IN HIS ESSENCE. His nature and being are infinite, and so, subject to no mutations. There never was a time when He was not; there never will come a time when He shall cease to be. God has neither evolved, grown, nor improved. All that He is today, He has ever been, and ever will be. “I am the LORD, I change not” (Mal 3:6) is His own unqualified affirmation. He cannot change for the better, for He is already perfect; and being perfect, He cannot change for the worse. Altogether unaffected by anything out-side Himself, improvement or deterioration is impossible. He is perpetually the same. He only can say, “I AM THAT I AM” (Exo 3:14). He is altogether uninfluenced by the flight of time. There is no wrinkle upon the brow of eternity. Therefore His power can never diminish nor His glory ever fade.

Secondly, GOD IS IMMUTABLE IN HIS ATTRIBUTES. Whatever the attributes of God were before the universe was called into existence, they are precisely the same now, and will remain so for ever. Necessarily so; for they are the very perfections, the essential qualities of His being. Seniper ideni (always the same) is written across every one of them. His power is unabated, His wisdom undiminished, His holiness unsullied. The attributes of God can no more change than Deity can cease to be. His veracity is immutable, for His Word is “for ever.. settled in heaven” (Psa 119:89). His love is eternal: “I have loved thee with an everlasting love” (Jer 31:3) and “Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end” (John 13:1). His mercy ceases not, for it is “everlasting” (Psa 100:5).

Thirdly, GOD IS IMMUTABLE IN HIS COUNSEL. His will never varies. Perhaps some are ready to object that we ought to read the following: “And it repented the LORD that He had made man” (Gen 6:6). Our first reply is, Then do the Scriptures contradict themselves? No, that cannot be. Numbers 23:19 is plain enough: “God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent.” So also in 1 Samuel 15:29, “The Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for He is not a man, that He should repent.” The explanation is very simple. When speaking of Himself, God frequently accommodates His language to our limited capacities. He describes Himself as clothed with bodily members, as eyes, ears, hands, etc. He speaks of Himself as “waking” (Psa 78:65), as “rising up early” (Jer 7:13); yet He neither slumbers nor sleeps. When He institutes a change in His dealings with men, He describes His course of conduct as “repenting.” Yes, God is immutable in His counsel. “The gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Rom 11:29). It must be so, for “He is in one mind, and who can turn from Him? and what His soul desireth, even that He doeth” (Job 23:13).

Change and decay in all around we see, may He who changeth not abide with thee.

God’s purpose never alters. One of two things causes a man to change his mind and reverse his plans: want of foresight to anticipate everything, or lack of power to execute them. But as God is both omniscient and omnipotent there is never any need for Him to revise His decrees. No, “The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations” (Psa 33:11). Therefore do we read of “the immutability of His counsel” (Heb 6:17).

Herein we may perceive the infinite distance which separates the highest creature from the Creator. Creaturehood and mutability are correlative terms. If the creature was not mutable by nature, it would not be a creature; it would be God. By nature we tend toward nothingness, since we came from nothing. Nothing stays our annihilation but the will and sustaining power of God. None can sustain himself a single moment. We are entirely dependent on the Creator for every breath we draw. We gladly own with the Psalmist, Thou “holdeth our soul in life” (Psa 66:9). The realization of this ought to make us lie down under a sense of our own nothingness in the presence of Him in Whom “we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

As fallen creatures we are not only mutable, but everything in us is opposed to God. As such we are “wandering stars” (Jude 13), out of our proper orbit. “The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest” (Isa 57:20). Fallen man is inconstant. The words of Jacob concerning Reuben apply with full force to all of Adam’s descendants: “unstable as water” (Gen 49:4). Thus it is not only a mark of piety, but also the part of wisdom to heed that injunction, “cease ye from man” (Isa 2:22). No human being is to be depended on. “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help” (Psa 146:3). If I disobey God, then I deserve to be deceived and disappointed by my fellows. People who like you today may hate you tomorrow. The multitude who cried, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” speedily changed to “Away with Him, crucify Him.”

Herein is SOLID COMFORT. Human nature cannot be relied upon; but God can! However unstable I may be, however fickle my friends may prove, God changes not. If He varied as we do, if He willed one thing today and another tomorrow, if He were controlled by caprice, who could confide in Him?

But, all praise to His glorious name, He is ever the same. His purpose is fixed, His will is stable, His word is sure. Here then is a rock on which we may fix our feet, while the mighty torrent is sweeping away everything around us. The permanence of God’s character guarantees the fulfillment of His promises: “For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee” (Isa 54:10).

Herein is ENCOURAGEMENT TO PRAYER. “What comfort would it be to pray to a god that, like the chameleon, changed color every moment? Who would put up a petition to an earthly prince that was so mutable as to grant a petition one day, and deny it another?” (Stephen Charnock, 1670). Should someone ask, But what is the use of praying to One whose will is already fixed? We answer, Because He so requires it. What blessings has God promised without our seeking them? “If we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us” (1 John 5:14), and He has willed everything that is for His child’s good. To ask for anything contrary to His will is not prayer, but rank rebellion.

Herein is TERROR FOR THE WICKED. Those who defy Him, who break His laws, who have no concern for His glory, but who live their lives as though He existed not, must not suppose that, when at the last they shall cry to Him for mercy, He will alter His will, revoke His word, and rescind His awful threatenings. No, He has declared, “Therefore will I also deal in fury: Mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in Mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them” (Eze 8:18). God will not deny Himself to gratify their lusts. God is holy, unchangingly so. Therefore God hates sin, eternally hates it. Hence the eternality of the punishment of all who die in their sins.

“The Divine immutability, like the cloud which interposed between the Israelites and the Egyptian army, has a dark as well as a light side. It insures the execution of His threatenings, as well as the performance of His promises; and destroys the hope which the guilty fondly cherish, that He will be all lenity to His frail and erring creatures, and that they will be much more lightly dealt with than the declarations of His own Word would lead us to expect. We oppose to these deceitful and presumptuous speculations the solemn truth, that God is unchanging in veracity and purpose, in faithfulness and justice (John Dick, 1850).”





A discussion with a brother about John 6:44.

19 10 2009

I had a conversation on Facebook with a brother in Christ named Wayne.

He was pretty adamant that Calvinism was bunk and the subject of John 6:44 was being discussed. I invited brother Wayne to come and to exegete John 6:44 and to talk and ask questions about it.

So here is installment #1 by Wayne:

Wayne #1

Hi Robert, to continue our conversation earlier…you asked me for my interpretation of John 6 44. No man can come to me accept the father draw him. This presents no problems, I totally agree with the text-In all honesty how could I love our Lord and disagree with it. Without God drawing us by his Spirit there is no way we could come to faith in Jesus Christ. I understand, I agree, I concur.
So while our relationship with Jesus Christ depends upon God’s action, it is equally true that it depends upon our response.
When we talk about God drawing Men, Who are those that God wants to draw.
An examination of John 12v2 shows that Christ wants to draw all men. If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me. So if God would draw all to Salvation and all are not saved is it God’s fault? no. He wishes for none to perish but that all may come to repentance.
What is your view on these Scriptures?
Why would you hold that the will of God is for some to be saved and some to perish, or that Christ only shed his blood for some of Mankind, when the Bible explicitly says he died for the sins of the world?
Would love to here your interpretation of these scriptures, God Bless, Bro Wayne.

******************************************************

Brother Wayne, I said that I’d offer an exegesis of John 6:44 and I’m going to. I’ll be out of town for a day or two so the posting might be a little slow for a day or two.

I’d like to get to your questions after this post if you don’t mind:

Bob #1

Wayne, thanks for coming to discuss this…much appreciated. I don’t think that this kind of thing is just a “side issue” or that it lacks importance. It’s part and parcel of the gospel itself. The fact is; it answers the question: “What were Jesus’ intentions when He died on the cross?” Did he die to “make salvation possible” for everyone who ever lived and it’s up to us to “turn the key” and actualize that “potential salvation” that he gave? Or did he die “for his sheep” and for those whom were “chosen in Him before the foundation of the world” and thereby completing exactly what He set out to do?

I think that John 6 answers that question.

So I’ll begin; here is my assessment of John 6:44 with a short bit of context also. Let’s try and keep this part of it to about 500-600 words or less.

John 6:44 doesn’t appear in a vacuum. It’s part of a larger discourse to a group that have been following Jesus. They’ve witness the feeding of the 5000 and now want “what he’s got” so to speak.

In verse 35 Jesus calls himself the bread of life. He says:

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. The one who comes to me will never go hungry, and the one who believes in me will never be thirsty.

It’s important to keep in mind that “the one who comes” ho erchomai” is referring to a group of people as is “the one who believes.”
This is commonly taken to mean “everyone has the ability to come” or something similar but in reality; it’s a common phrase in John’s writings. “The one who does this” or “the one who does that.”
It’s simply stating the truth; when a person comes; they will not be turned away. They will not go hungry.
But what Jesus adds is interesting; he says:

Verse 36

“But I told you that you have seen me and still do not believe.”

Notice that he uses a strong adversative “alla” which is to draw a hard distinction between what he just said, and what He’s now going to say…He’s going to explain why they won’t believe even though they’ve been in the presence of the Son of God, and they’ve seen the same miracles as everyone else. He tells them:

“Everyone whom the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never send away.”

The same phrase is used here: “pas ho didomai moi ho pater” which is speaking of a certain group “those that the Father gives to Jesus. It’s not an offer of anything, it’s a statement of who will believe; this group that the Father gives to the Son.

Jesus is juxtaposing them; with the group “the ones who believe”

So the question becomes WHY do they not believe? That’s the context of our verse from Facebook: He’s still explaining the unbelief of these people, and the Jews were grumbling over it.

He says:

43 Jesus replied, “Do not complain about me to one another. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.

So their unbelief; that’s the subject matter. He says that no one is ABLE to come to Jesus…unless the Father draws him. This is a continuation of the previously spoken context…he’s still addressing the inability of them to come.
The word He uses for “able” is “dunamai” which speaks to ability, not permission. They do not have the power to come, they cannot come except something happen…and what is it? That the Father draws them. The word for “draws” is commonly thought of as a “wooing” but it’s actually used of “dragging” or “to move an object by your power.” Cross ref Luke 12:58 where this same form is used to denote “dragging someone into court” and John 21:11 where Peter drags the fish net up on shore”

So all through this discourse; the inability of some to come and believe is the subject matter, and Jesus gives the reason; they have not the ability and the Father has not given them…because the ones that the Father gives to Jesus; they will come. And notice that when they come; Jesus will raise them up on the last day. I mention that because you jumped over to another verse that mentions drawing; John 12:2. If the “all men” means “every one who ever lived and will ever live” then you must affirm universalism because Jesus said he will raise all those who are drawn.

So…please email me with your thoughts about what I wrote; and then we can ask a few questions and maybe look at some other passages.

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Response #1 by Wayne:

I’m back. sorry if these responses are slow but schedule is all over the place.
John 6 44.
Okay brother Bob, have read your response about ten times now, just so I can be sure what your saying. I find it hard to see why you would struggle so much with a simple text like this and why you constantly deny that the word all means everyone; In the Greek it is “Pas” meaning-everyone-Whosoever-all- inclusive-“not exclusive”.  So when Christ says “I will draw all men unto me” it is that same Greek word “pas” meaning all, whosoever, everyone.

So God would draw all men unto himself, that is his action, but to every action there must be a reaction.
So yes no man can come unto Christ except the Father draws him.
But the heart of God is shown to us all through out the scriptures and echoed by John that “God is Love” that is his nature that is who he is. “so God sent his son into the world to be the saviour of the world.
To say that John 6 44 proofs Calvinism is to impose Calvinism upon the Bible.
If this was an explicit text on Calvinism it would read something like this=No man can come unto me except for those who my father has predestined to be saved. that is an explicit text-but it is not in the scripture and certainly not in this text.
This does not mean that I believe in universalism. Not all will be saved.
Jesus tells of a man who throws a feast and invites his friends, they are those called by the host to be at the feast, but when the time comes that they are all bidden they begin to make excuses, this angers the host and he throws the invitation far and wide to all-that his house may be filled,and then says that those that were bidden to the feast (the called ones) will not taste of the supper. Such will be the kingdom of God. not all called will be chosen.
If I am pulling other scriptures into this discussion it is because I believe we have to take scripture as a whole to keep it in context.
Thanks again Bob, speak soon.
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Bobs response to  #1 response by Wayne

Wayne,

I’m going to deal with your response a point at a time to keep things simple and understandable.

I’ll start off with your statement:
John 6 44.
Okay brother Bob, have read your response about ten times now, just so I can be sure what your saying. I find it hard to see why you would struggle so much with a simple text like this and why you constantly deny that the word all means everyone; In the Greek it is “Pas” meaning-everyone-Whosoever-all- inclusive-“not exclusive”.

To be perfectly frank and honest; this is a naive and false statement.  You have a presupposed assumption that “pas” means “everyone who ever lived and will ever live” but the problem is is that you have no grounds for doing so. Have you looked up “pas” in the standard lexicons and seen the semantic range that “pas” has? It’s PAGES long.

The fact is that all words have “semantic ranges” and they derive their meaning from their context and “pas is no different. Here is an illustration consider the word “dog.”

What does it mean? Give me your definition. You might have just thought of a furry 4-footed animal…if you did, you’ve “assumed it’s meaning” but did you have any grounds for doing so?

No.
The fact is; I was thinking about the word dog as used in the following way:

“my car is a real dog”

in other words; my car is “less than reliable in its performance.”

Without context; words don’t have meaning…context gives them their meaning.

The word “pas” is the same; it derives its meaning from its immediate context. You assume a universal meaning…but that’s all it is; an unfounded assumption.

Here is the semantic range of the word “pas” as shown in BDAG:

1.) Pertaining to a totality with focus on it’s individual components

2.) Any entity out of a totality

3.) Marker of the highest degree of something

4.) Completeness

5.) Pertaining to a certain class of something; some of all kinds.

Notice that last one; referring to a class of something; some of all kinds.

For example:

In Mat 24:9

Then they will be cruel to you, and will put you to death: and you will be hated by all nations because of my name.

So am I to believe that Jesus was telling the disciples that they would be hated by the people currently living in China at that time? South America? Or was he making the point that they would be hated by people in every place they went? He was describing the magnitude of hat that would be directed at them.

But wait! The word “pas” was used there! The word which you said “always means everyone”

I could bring a hundred examples just like this…but I’ll move on.

The phrase “pas-ho-+-word” is a common construction used many times to refer to a certain group. It’s used 31 times in John’s gospel.

Example:

John 3:8
The wind goes where its pleasure takes it, and the sound of it comes to your ears, but you are unable to say where it comes from and where it goes: so it is with everyone whose birth is from the Spirit.

What is this saying? It’s identifying those whose birth is from the spirit; nothing beyond that.

How about 1st John 4:7
He who has no love has no knowledge of God, because God is love.

This is the exact construction from John 3:16; it’s referring to a specific group; “those who have no knowledge of God.

It’s no different grammatically or syntactically from John 3:16.

Now, I’ve shown you by Greek grammar and syntax; not my “philosophical conviction” why I believe the way I do about “whosoever” in John 3:16. Not only is my interpretation consistent with the surrounding context of John 3:16 and Jesus’ limiting statements about the need to be born again before one can see the kingdom of God. It’s also consistent with the rest of John’s gospel; as I mentioned; John 6:35-45.

Now, my question is: can you bring a solid refutation of my argument for “pas” that is taken from the text itself?

If you cannot; I submit that you’re traditions are so thick that you are having a hard time reading the text for what it actually says; and not what you want it to say.

I’d like to stop here and get your thoughts before we proceed with the rest.

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Waynes response to my response (partly)

Bob, let me Just put a few things right before starting, so that people dont get the wrong idea. I never said that the word “Pas” always meant everybody in the whole world-I said that it was meant in reference to our text about Christ drawing all men unto himself. I am quite aware of the Greek-Lexicon and know that there are various meanings of the same word.

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This was the end of the exchange…I had sent this to Wayne and he answered me and said that he’d rather not continue.

My response to Wayne

Wayne…
I’d like to continue this via email; It’s a lot of work cutting and pasting into my blog so it’s readable and somewhat organized. Possibly I could post the whole exchange when we are done, but for now….let’s do it this way ok?

A big problem is that my original challenge; exegete John 6:44 went out the window; at least on your side.

Your response to me was more along the lines of a “speech” about how you don’t like Calvinism much, and that all means all in John 12:2 and John 3:16 puts the nail in the coffin of Calvinism.

Let me back track and ask; Do you have an exegesis of John 6;44?
When you read mine; did you see an error in grammar or syntax analysis that you could point out? Context error?

You may not like it; but John 6:44 has it’s own context and John 12:2 has it’s own context. Reading later passages’ assumed meaning of words BACK INTO earlier passages to get meanings is a very poor interpretative method.

so let me start by asking: Specifically anything wrong with my exegesis of John 6:44 and surrounding passages?

Ok then…let me move onto your present comments; I’ll put my comments in red bold to keep them separate visually.

Bob, let me Just put a few things right before starting, so that people dont get the wrong idea. I never said that the word “Pas” always meant everybody in the whole world-I said that it was meant in reference to our text about Christ drawing all men unto himself. I am quite aware of the Greek-Lexicon and know that there are various meanings of the same word.(So you did ascribe a universal meaning to “pas” in John 12:2. On what grounds did you do that? What in the context of John’s gospel led you to do that, especially considering that it’s the ones that God draws that get raised to eternal life in John 6. As I mentioned; that would make you a universalist. Are you a universalist?)

The Problem is we both have different interpretations about the Context. you are approaching this text with a calvinistic view-point, I am approaching it without one.(Actually, I did a nice careful job on John 6:44 and it’s context and you just gave me your opinion of John 12; abandoning John 6 with no exegesis whatsoever.)

Also let me say that you have no basis also for excluding that it could mean everyone in the whole world. (Actually, this is my basis for “concluding” that it’s “men from every tribe tongue and nation” rather than “everyone who ever lived or will ever live”

1.) John has already said prior to that that God draws. When God draws, men come; no question. Not all men come. When they come; Christ will raise them up to eternal life. Not all are raised to eternal life. So, I’m forced to exclude the “universal meaning” of “pas” from it’s semantic range in John 12.

As I mentioned that’s how exegesis is done. Context and flow of thought; front to back. John wrote this letter. He wrote it in order.

If we applied your thinking to every text of this kind we could end up with a problem.
For instance, Romans 3,23 For we have ALL sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
(Now your being silly. I never said that pas NEVER has the sense of “all men” only that it’s not ASSUMED to be universal except for a good reason; like context. The only meaning of pas that is supported by context is the “some of all kinds” or “class” meaning)

Now what should we say about this verse. I mean if we were to stick strictly to the context we would be forced to admit that Paul was here addressing the Church in Rome, so is he just saying that they all have sinned? or could it be that indeed he means everyone in the world from all ages?
(I’m assuming that you are still referencing John 6. Isn’t the subject matter of John 6 Jesus’ discourse about the bread of life? Isn’t he speaking about their lack of belief, and why they don’t believe? That’s the context that the word “pas” is found in.
Are you just grasping at straws or something?)

Or Mark 16 and Matt 28- go ye into all of the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Jesus was speaking at that time to his disciples that were with him-so obviously not applicable to you and me right?
(Again, why are you being silly?)

Having said all of that I come back to my first point that we are seeing texts from different viewpoints. So lets deal with yours.

Calvinism, or should it be called Augustinian ism. I have chosen not to start by attacking its doctrines but by determining what Spirit it is of.
(And why would you just not go right to the word, exegete it in it’s context and make your case. You seemed pretty confident on Face book that John 3:16 put the nail in the coffin of Calvinism. You seemed to think that John 12:2 was pretty clear. Why go on a rant about why you don’t like Calvin? Is that relevant to these verses and their exegesis?)

Almost all Calvinists recognize that Calvin got his teaching from Augustine-A father of the Catholic Church-some have even called him the founder of Catholicism as we know it today. Even Charles Spurgeon said that this is where Calvin got his ideas. Calvin said that he felt so at one with Augustine. A slightly worrying statement, but this probably explains why Calvin still believed in the sacraments and Infant baptism, and not only believed in them but said that they were essential to salvation. Bob this does not sound like Salvation by faith alone, but rather salvation by works, the very thing that Calvinists accuse non-Calvinists of.
On top of this in Geneva over 60 people were put to death under the leadership of John Calvin. Some were put to death for not believing in the doctrine of Infant baptism and the Sacraments. In spite of all his efforts to defy the pope, Calvin was some what of a Catholic himself.
The very spirit of Calvinism is False and therefore its teachings are also false. Why would you follow a man like this. Calvinism appeals to the proud mind and enters the realm of human philosophy. Let every man be a liar but let God be true. I will end here for now Brother Bob and speak soon.

And again I ask; do you have a direct refutation of John 6:44?
Even if Calvin was worse than Adolph Hitler and believed these doctrines, can you see that it’s fallacious reasoning to judge the truth or falsehood of these doctrines on the basis of good or bad human behavior?

Brother, you seem to be getting pretty worked up and your dislike of Calvinism is visible. I’m more interested if you’ve got a good exegetical reason for seeing John 6 differently than I’ve shown.

After that if you’d like to move on and keep in John and see the other passages up to 12:2 thats fine…but I’m interesting in the text itself, that’s where I get my authority.
Grammar
Syntax
Historical Context, Political Context, Writer’s context.
etc.

bob

Waynes response to me

Ouch! out comes that aggressive Calvinistic trademark.

In all seriousness Bob I do not think it a great idea for us to continue playing ping-pong like this.

You ask me for an exegesis on John 6 44, here it is. What Christ means is what he says; No man can come unto me unless the Father draw him. It is a very plain statement and it is true, Not a person in the world can come to Christ without the drawing power of God. I hope you agree as I do.

Another plain scripture is – The soul that sins will die! we have to agree with that statement, but where does it leave us if we just walk away with that one text in our heads? We are then forever lost for we have all sinned and therefore shall all die.

What I am saying is that it is complete folly to take a scripture and isolate it from the whole of scripture, before John chapter 6 we have John chapter 1. that is the begining of the book Bob! and John declares that Christ is the light that lighteth every man that comes into the world. So when you read John 6; 44 it should be with this former statement in mind, Yes no man comes unto me without the father’s drawing but I am the light which lights EVERY man that comes into the world. I believe this fits in with your earlier reasoning?

So I do not need to argue about John 6 44 I know what it means and glory to God it is true.

But I also rejoice in the whole of scripture that tells me that God is just, God is true, God is love and his overwhelming desire is that none should perish.

Am I a universalist? No! No! No!

People will perish, but not because God willed it or desired it.

The blood of Christ was spilt for all mankind and the there is enough in the sacrifice of Christ to save every Man, Woman, Boy and Girl, but alas not all will be saved, for some love darkness rather than light.

Brother Bob I dont see our discussion causing any fruit, therefore I will respectfully withdraw from it.

Thanks for your time and patience and may God bless you in his service, Bro Wayne.

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My last response to Wayne. My responses to Wayne’s last email is in red, and his email is in italics.

Quote:
Ouch! out comes that aggressive Calvinistic trademark.

In all seriousness Bob I do not think it a great idea for us to continue playing ping-pong like this.

Wayne,
sorry if I came across as harsh…it wasn’t my intention.
We can stop if you want…I just thought you’d like to discuss it…you seemed very sure of yourself in the Facebook and didn’t make qualified statements, but pretty solid sounding pronouncements….right?

You had done a lot of “proof texting” but no actual “exegesis of the text” which is what I was getting at.

I’ll give some comments about your current email I do agree on a lot of what you said.

Quote:

You ask me for an exegesis on John 6 44, here it is. What Christ means is what he says; No man can come unto me unless the Father draw him. It is a very plain statement and it is true, Not a person in the world can come to Christ without the drawing power of God. I hope you agree as I do.

I do agree. But that’s not the end of his statement is it? This is one sentence in Greek…not disjointed thoughts.
No man has the ability to come unless God draws them.
When God draws them, they will come
When they come; Jesus will raise them to eternal life.

Can you see the conundrum for you? If you say that God is drawing all men…then all men are saved. In Jesus’ mind, there is no drawing without raising to eternal life.

Quote:
Another plain scripture is – The soul that sins will die! we have to agree with that statement, but where does it leave us if we just walk away with that one text in our heads? We are then forever lost for we have all sinned and therefore shall all die.

I also agree with that…but I’m left with…what does that have to do with Jesus’ explaining the unbelief of these Jews? Jesus goes on to say that they don’t believe BECAUSE they are not his sheep….that’s the reason.

Quote:
What I am saying is that it is complete folly to take a scripture and isolate it from the whole of scripture, before John chapter 6 we have John chapter 1. that is the begining of the book Bob! and John declares that Christ is the light that lighteth every man that comes into the world.

I have no problem with that either…it’s in my bible 🙂
But you have to explain what it means to “light every man” and not
assume that it’s equivalent with “drawing” men for salvation.

Quote:
So when you read John 6; 44 it should be with this former statement in mind, Yes no man comes unto me without the father’s drawing but I am the light which lights EVERY man that comes into the world. I believe this fits in with your earlier reasoning?

Again…you’ve assumed the meaning of “lights every man” and applied that to Jesus’ discourse in John 6 where he was actually explaining this unbelief. He said they are not of his sheep. He said that one was “destined for destruction.”
Can you see how that doesn’t comport with “lights all men” as in “same as draws all men”?
Judas was drawn, but destined for destruction at the same time?

Quote:
So I do not need to argue about John 6 44 I know what it means and glory to God it is true.

Without exegeting one bit of it.

I did exegete it however and it’s water tight; the ones who God gives to the son, they come, and the ones who come, are raised to eternal life. No question. Grammatically, syntactically, contextually, all interpreted carefully.
That’s not a “hasty opinion” or “dueling scriptures” that’s careful exegesis.

And if that’s true, and Jesus goes on to talk about not one getting lost EXCEPT the one who was “destined for destruction” then the only interpretation that actually fits is the one I’ve given.
Jesus goes on to pray in John 17; only for those given; not the world, but those given to him OUT OF THE WORLD.
Again, fitting perfectly with my exegesis of John 6.

Quote:
But I also rejoice in the whole of scripture that tells me that God is just, God is true, God is love and his overwhelming desire is that none should perish.

So on what basis do you understand God to have an “overwhelming desire” that none should perish? 2nd Peter 3:9?

if you’d like to exegete that one…I’m fine with that.

Quote:
Am I a universalist? No! No! No!

But if you want to be honest with the actual text, you must do one of two things.

1.) Be a universalist
2.) Show how I was incorrect in my exegesis of the Greek in John 6.

Quote:
People will perish, but not because God willed it or desired it.


So God is trying to do something that He fails at?

The blood of Christ was spilt for all mankind and the there is enough in the sacrifice of Christ to save every Man, Woman, Boy and Girl, but alas not all will be saved, for some love darkness rather than light.

I agree to a degree. I was sufficient for all mankind, but if it was spilt for all mankind, then all man kind is justified…and we know that’s not true.

Quote:
Brother Bob I dont see our discussion causing any fruit, therefore I will respectfully withdraw from it.

Thanks for your time and patience and may God bless you in his service, Bro Wayne.

You too Wayne, I’m sorry that we couldn’t get past the “proof text” opinion stage.
God bless,
bob

So there you have it. Not once did Wayne offer anything by way of actual exegesis though in the Facebook comments section he was sure that Calvinism was wrong, and that “all means all” and that John 3:16 means that God is trying to save all men!

Opinion is not exegesis.