John 6 and Related Passages

Just wanted to take a minute to recommend this excellent treatment of John 6 by Richard Coords at Examining Calvinism.

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9 Responses

  1. hi there,

    has anyone of you already blogged about “not saved in the first place” teaching of the Cs?

    Sorry don’t know where to ask this. Hope this is still ontopic etc.

    thanks

  2. Rex,

    Click on “perseverance” in the “labels” section. I am doing a series on the most relevant passages regarding apostasy (which is still in progress). I address the “not saved in the first place” teaching” in every post with regards to the particular passage being discussed.

    Hope that helps.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  3. BTW, when you click on the perseverance label scroll down to the bottom and work your way up.

  4. In an unrelated note, what do you make of what John Piper said about Arminianism in the Resurgence Conference, that it distorts the gospel and that Christians should separate from denominations whose elders teach an Arminian viewpoint?

    http://www.desiringgod.org/Blog/1097_distinguishing_the_true_gospel/

  5. Hello Tom,

    You wrote: “In an unrelated note, what do you make of what John Piper said about Arminianism in the Resurgence Conference, that it distorts the gospel and that Christians should separate from denominations whose elders teach an Arminian viewpoint?”

    I took a quick glance at the notes of Piper’s talk. Piper is completely off base if he really wants to separate from denominations whose elders teach Arminianism. Couple reasons for this come immediately to mind. First, **the** gospel is neither calvinism nor Arminianism (and in fact genuine Christians who are both calvinist and Arminian who are preaching the one true gospel **are** preaching the gospel). I cringe whenever I hear someone try to equate their preferred theological system, (in Piper’s case calvinism) or whatever, with the gospel, they are not the same. So Piper is misguided and mistaken in this respect.

    Second, from a practical perspective, if Piper actually and seriously suggests this kind of separation among bible believing Christians he is being unnecessarily divisive. And God will not be pleased with this kind of unnecessary divisiveness. Take one example, in the Southern Baptist denomination there is a bit of a struggle going on between calvinists and Arminians. If the calvinists in the Southern Baptist denomination were to follow Piper’s suggestion and separate, it would be utter disaster for that denomination. This would be true in other places as well.

    So Piper is off base both theologically (if you want a better presentation of the nature of the gospel, which is neither calvinist nor Arminian, check out D. A. Carson’s comments on the gospel, available on the web titled: “What is the Gospel?; it was excellent, exegetically and theologically superior to Piper, and correct; all genuine christians whose hearts are right will agree with Carson as opposed to Piper) and practically. I pity Piper if he really holds this sentiment. It isn’t from God and its fruit will bear out its falsity.

    Robert

  6. Hey Robert – I agree. Piper (and MacArthur) put their deterministic teachings ahead of the gospel. They push C to the point where it’s difficult to enjoy their work (of which much is good). Compare that to Francis Schaeffer who also is a C, but I actually enjoy reading his stuff.

  7. A REPLY TO: “Everyone Who Hears and Learns From the Father Comes to Me” found in http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2008/03/everyone-who-hears-and-learns-from.html

    IS JOHN 6:44 A PARALLEL OF 6:45?

    The post in the main thread reads in part:
    “Nobody (universal negative) can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him
    Everyone (universal positive) who hears and learns from the Father (is drawn) comes to me”

    John 6:44 sections a and b: No one can come to Christ, unless the Father draws him.

    P1 – If the Father draws X, then X can come to Christ.
    P2 – The Father draws X.
    C1 – Therefore, X can come to Christ.
    C2 – Therefore, X does come to Christ.

    From P1 and P2, C1 follows, not C2 (as well). That is to say, the only conclusion that can be deduced from the premises is that X can come to Christ, not that X does come. Thus, based on available data, X, who can come, does not necessarily come.

    What of verse 44 section c: And Christ will resurrect him on the last day? Let us add it to the syllogism above:

    P1 – [If the Father draws X, then X can come to Christ], and Christ will resurrect X on the last day.
    P2 – The Father draws X.
    C1 – Therefore, X can come to Christ, and Christ will resurrect X on the last day.

    If all people are drawn and are able to come to Christ, then Christ will resurrect all people on the last day. This is universalism, and it is false. Does the falsehood of universalism necessitate that the Father draws some people AND that they necessarily come to Christ?

    First, from a logical standpoint, if it is false that all people will be saved, then the only conclusion that can legitimately be made is that some people may or may not be saved, much less whether Calvinistic irresistible grace is true or false. So, to conclude (merely from the falsehood of universalism) that the Father draws some and that they necessarily come is a non-sequitur. The Calvinist still carries the burden of proof to show this. (But this is not to say that the Arminian is excused from providing support for the position that the Father draws all people and that drawing does not necessitate coming to Christ.)

    Second, notice carefully that the Father’s drawing of all people, according to John 6:44, is a problem for the Arminian – ONLY if it leads to universalism. But what if it doesn’t? We do not determine if universalism is true based solely on one verse. The immediate context of the text tells us who is going to be resurrected: “everyone who looks to the Son and believes” (40); “whoever comes” (37-38); “whoever eats” Jesus’ flesh and “drinks” his blood (54). (At this point, I’m not arguing for Unlimited Atonement, although that is my position.) Thus, it seems to make sense to revise the conclusion as follows:

    C1 (revised) – Therefore, X can come, and Christ will resurrect X on the last day, if X does come to Christ.

    Thus, when verse 44 is interpreted in light of its context, the problem of possible universal salvation disappears. So again, it is not the case that the Father draws some people and that they necessarily come to Christ. Rather, as the context demands, the ones who will be resurrected do necessarily come to Christ by faith first; that is to say, only if people do come to Christ that they are guaranteed resurrection.

    Verse 45: Having been taught by the Father, everyone, who had listened and had learned from him, does come to Christ.

    P1 – If the Father taught X and X had listened and had learned from him, then X does come to Christ.
    P2 – The Father taught X and X had listened and had learned from him.
    C1 – X does come to Christ.
    C2 – X can come to Christ.

    From P1 and P2, C1 follows; of course, C2 follows as well. That is, the conclusion that X does come to Christ is necessarily true from the established premises. And, of course, “does” implies “can,” in that if X does come to Christ, then X can come to Christ.

    So: Is John 6:44 a parallel of 6:45? Perhaps, but not the way Calvinists interpret them. The Father teaches people, and people respond by listening and learning. People who had listened (aorist) and had learned (aorist) do come to Christ. Question: Does the “drawing” of the Father:
    (1) amount merely to “teaching” people? Or, does it
    (2) entail BOTH the Father’s teaching people AND people, in turn, listen/learn?

    If (1), then it would align with what is logically established in verse 44, namely – X, who can come, does not necessarily come. It may be inferred, it seems, that people who are taught of the Father DO NOT necessarily (at least logically speaking) listen and learn from him: “All shall be taught of God. Everyone who had listened and had learned from the Father, comes to me” (verse 45). Now, if you assume Calvinistic Total Depravity, Unconditional Election and Irresistible Grace, then of course, the people whom God teaches do necessarily listen and learn, because in and of themselves, people are totally incapable to even respond and thus in need to be unconditionally elected and irresistibly drawn to Christ. But rather than assuming Calvinism, the only thing that is necessitated here is that X who listened and learned, does (necessarily) come to Christ.

    If (2), then verse 45 would still align with what is established in verse 44, that is, X, who can come, does not necessarily come. Granted that “drawing” entails BOTH the Father’s teaching people AND people, in turn, listen/learn. This does not follow that the Father’s teaching necessarily makes people listen/learn.

    a. Notice the conjunctive “and” – the Father’s teaching AND people’s listening/learning, equals DRAWING. There is a human response in such drawing. Nowhere are we told that such human response is operatively induced by the Father, that is, without man’s cooperation; in fact, such drawing is WITH man’s cooperation, namely, that he so listens and learns.

    b. As mentioned, there is no logical necessity to suppose that the Father’s teaching necessarily makes people listen and learn. Only a Calvinistic assumption would make this necessary. (But this begs the question in favor of the doctrine.)

    c. At best, verse 45 says that there are people that when taught of the Father, they happen to choose to listen and learn, and in turn do necessarily come to Christ. Nowhere is it ever mentioned that the Father makes an unwilling unto willing in order for (the now regenerated) willing to choose to listen and learn and then come to Christ. Such interpretation is contrary to verse 53, which says that unless a person “eats” Jesus’ flesh and “drinks” his blood, that person has no life in him; a person comes to Christ in order to become alive, not become alive in order to come. The Calvinistic position is NEITHER in the text NOR in the context of John 6:44 and 45.

    In summary, John 6:44 must be interpreted in light of the context in the chapter, yielding: A person who is drawn by the Father can come, but does not necessarily come, to Christ; and if he does come, Christ will resurrect him on the last day. Given the established logical structure of verse 44, verse 45 parallels with it, since verse 45 yields: A person, who is taught of the Father AND who chooses to listen/learn, does come to Christ. The idea that the Father somehow arbitrarily makes the unwilling, willing is merely read into the text as an attempt to legitimize Calvinism.

    Thanks.
    Aaron

  8. Aaron,

    Thanks for stopping by.

    You wrote:

    Such interpretation is contrary to verse 53, which says that unless a person “eats” Jesus’ flesh and “drinks” his blood, that person has no life in him; a person comes to Christ in order to become alive, not become alive in order to come.

    I made this point in:
    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2007/07/30/does-john-644-teach-irresistible-grace/

    Great minds think alike 🙂

  9. John 6:45: …everyone who has heard and learned from the father comes to Me”.

    This hearing and learning is the “drawing” is it not? What exactly do Calvinists learn from the father here? We are told the father teaches, reveals. But what? How do calvinists experience the drawing, what is “technically speaking” going on there? How is the drawing performed? How does the calvinists experience it and know it in the first place? Do they hear a voice in the ear, or have a dream, or see a vision or read a certain bible passage? WHAT EXACTLY do they “learn” from the father?

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