Drawn by the Father – John 6 (Part 6 – Father’s Testimony)

(This post is part of a series on John chapter 6. To read the first post in the series click here.)

John 6:37, 44 and 65

All that the Father gives me will come to me…

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him….

And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

How Did God Give People to Christ?

We have discussed the context of Jesus’ conflict with the Jewish authorities and the transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant in the Gospel of John. Now all that is left is to finish un-wrapping the other two so-called “Calvinist verses” in John chapter 6.

We have seen that the Father was placing his faithful followers under the Lordship of Messiah. And since they are obedient to the Father, Christ is able to confidently say, “They will come to me.” When we consult the context of John 6:37 we discover that there is not the slightest hint of Calvinism found in it. Reformed theology has read its doctrines into the verse and then tried to validate its error by appealing to it.

Now we need to turn our attention to John 6:44 and 65. We started off by asking who God gave to Christ, now we must ask how he gave them. These two verses are closely related to John 6:37. John 6:37 tells us that the Father is giving his followers to the Son. John 6:44 tells us how he gives them, namely by “drawing” them to Jesus. And John 6:65 reiterates John 6:44 using different words.
Continue reading “Drawn by the Father – John 6 (Part 6 – Father’s Testimony)”

Acts 13:48 – A Calvinist Verse? (Part 1)

Acts 13:42-52 (English Standard Version)

42 As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. 43 And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God. 44 The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. 46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” 48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. 49 And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. 50 But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. 51 But they shook the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

The Issues with the Verse

Continue reading “Acts 13:48 – A Calvinist Verse? (Part 1)”

Ground Rules of Biblical Interpretation – Part 2

(This is the second post in a 2 part series,click here to read part 1.)

Scripture Interprets Scripture (in context)

The second principle we want to look at is that “scripture interprets scripture.” This principle is just what it sounds like. When we face a passage or verse that is hard to understand, we can look elsewhere in God’s word to gain clarity. Since the entire Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit, its teachings do not contradict one another but complement one another. Something in the Gospels might be clarified by a passage from the letters of Paul, and vice versa. Whenever Calvinism is discussed this principle is often abused. Not just by Calvinists but also by those on the other side of the issue. 

That scripture interprets scripture is a very basic rule of how to find out what the Bible is trying to say. Some passages have a clearer context than others. The more complete the context, the more confident we can be that our understanding of a particular verse or passage is correct. But it is often abused by those seeking to defend Calvinism from scripture. We must make it very clear that scripture interprets scripture, but scripture does not overrule scripture. Often the verses that speak of God’s sovereign rights are used to explain away the genuine responsibility (i.e. “ability to respond”) and choices of men.
Continue reading “Ground Rules of Biblical Interpretation – Part 2”

Unpacking the Golden Chain of Salvation (Romans 8:28-30)

Romans 8:28-30:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Continue reading “Unpacking the Golden Chain of Salvation (Romans 8:28-30)”

Romans Chapter 9 – What’s It About?

Who in the Body of Christ is not familiar with the debate over Romans 9? What disciple has not asked themselves, “Could I have rejected God’s offer of salvation, or did God predestine my salvation and make sure I accepted it?” Since the doctrines of Calvinism are hotly debated up until the present day, and the disciple is familiar with some of its arguments, it is hard not to read this modern debate into the Bible’s teaching in Romans chapter 9. The disciple sees his own reflection in the text. If Paul is not defending Calvinism, what is he talking about? That is what we will survey in this post.


Continue reading “Romans Chapter 9 – What’s It About?”

Five Questions About Predistination – # 4 What

What?

Question: What did God predestine for his chosen people?

Answer: To adopt Christians as his children

We have discussed that through Christ God predestined a specific group of people to belong to him. He also predestined the way in which one would become a member of that special people (i.e. through faith). Now we must ask if the Bible teaches what God predestined for the Body of Christ. We know God determined beforehand to grant the Promised Land as Israel’s special inheritance; did he also have an inheritance in mind for the Church of Jesus Christ? If so, what was it?

The Bible uses the word, predestined, 6 times (Acts 4:38, 1 Cor. 2:7, Romans 8:29-30, and Ephesians 1:5 and 11). Acts 4:38 says that God predestined how he would bring about the crucifixion of Christ; and 1 Corinthians 2:7 says that God predestined the wisdom for the Church. But the passages in Romans and Ephesians tell us exactly what God predestined he would do for the Body of Christ. Continue reading “Five Questions About Predistination – # 4 What”