Friday, November 23, 2012

John 6:37-44

John 6:37-44 is just one of many passages that teach limited atonement, unconditional election, and irresistible grace. Read the passage aloud and pay close attention to what it is saying. Here is a dialogue on this passage between two well-known evangelicals:
DAVE: “Unconditional election and irresistible grace are found in this passage? The words “unconditional” and “irresistible” aren’t even there, nor can they be found elsewhere in the Bible!”

JAMES: “And Jehovah’s Witnesses dismiss the Trinity because the term does not appear in the Bible. So what, Dave? The concept does, and this is the case with John 6 as well. “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me.” Those are Jesus’ words. It is the Father’s giving that results in the coming of those so given. The giving precedes and therefore determines the coming. Giving is a divine act, and since it precedes the very existence of those so given, it must be unconditional (hence, as I noted, unconditional election). But, beyond this, Jesus says that all that the Father gives Him will come to Him. Not some. Not most. All. Such cannot be said in your synergistic system where grace tries, but fails, to save at least some. What do you call the belief that God never fails to bring His elect people unto salvation, but that they infallibly come in faith to Christ? It’s called ‘irresistible grace,’ Dave: when God raises the dead sinner to life, that newly regenerated believer clings in faith to Christ. So, as you can see, you do not need to use the terms ‘unconditional’ or ‘ irresistible’ to have those divine truths right there in the text. And no matter how much you dislike them, Dave, they are still there. As long as John 6:37 remains in the Bible, people will embrace the doctrines of grace.”

DAVE: “Surely the words in (John 6:40, 44, 54) that state ‘I will raise him up at the last day’ must refer to those who actually come to Christ, but not to all who are ‘drawn’. It would certainly not include those who are drawn, and then ‘draw back into perdition’ (Hebrews 10:39). The Calvinist is reading into Christ’s words more than he actually says.”

JAMES: “I do not argue as you do, Dave. When I say those who are drawn are the same ones who are raised up, I provide exegetical basis. Here’s a summary:
1. In John 6:44, (which is the key passage regarding “drawing”), we read: “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.” This is a single sentence. In Greek we have, “helkuse auton, kagw anastesw auton en te eschate hemera”. The direct object of the action of the Father’s drawing is the first auton, “him”. A grand total of two words separate the first “him” from the appearance of the same term, “and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Now, you are telling us that this is a different “him”, a different group of people. That in fact there are many, many who are drawn who will not be raised up. You are telling us that the Father draws millions to Christ, but that they do not experience the last phrase of this single sentence. And upon what basis? You don’t tell us. “Surely” you can do so! What is the basis, Dave?
The fact is: there is no reason to insert a disjunction between the direct object of helkuse and the direct object of anastesw. In fact, when we consider the syntax of the passage, we note that while helkuse is found in a subjunctive clause, the main tense comes from oudeis dunatai elthein, “no one is able to come”. Note that the verb in the last clause is a future, “and I will raise him up.” The progression naturally flows into the last clause without interruption. That is, there is nothing indicated in the verbal structure to make kai disjunctive in any way! (Something you would need to find to be able to substantiate your assertion). But.. instead… the Greek grammar makes it beyond dispute: The natural reading is to see auton (“him”) in both clauses as synonymous … (in extent and meaning)!”
That little dialogue goes to illustrate a point. Arminianist-based faiths never argue with an exegetical basis; they argue based upon their pre-suppositions, feelings, and opinions. Calvinist-based faiths often argue with nothing but exegetical basis, as you can see James doing in the above dialogue. An appeal to the Greek words and grammar will always decide the case between two opposing beliefs/interpretations definitively and conclusively. Both can be wrong, but both cannot be right. The only course of action to take when this is done is to either accept what it says or reject it stubbornly, which is pride at its best.

The fact is, John 6:37-44, among other passages, teaches the truths about limited atonement, unconditional election, and irresistible grace. In fact, total depravity is also taught in this passage. The words do not have to be there for the principle to be there. The question is, what are you going to do about it? Will you conform your beliefs to what is revealed in Scripture? Or will you stubbornly reject what has been revealed in Scripture in favour of your beliefs? One is obedience while the other is disobedience.