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Question Concerning John 3:16 #17071
Thu Aug 19, 2004 11:56 PM
Thu Aug 19, 2004 11:56 PM
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Tom Offline OP
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As many of you may be aware there are many 5 point Calvinists who have no problem with the Arminian understanding of John 3:16. In fact they say that it is both compatible with Calvinism and in keeping with the original languages and context. (I believe even CH Spurgeon agreed with this)

In my way of thinking, I don't see how the Arminian understanding of John 3:16 can be compatible with Calvinism.
However, when I try to put my thoughts on the matter into words on why I don't think the Arminian understanding of John 3:16 is compatible with Calvinism. I can't seem to put it in a way that is well thought out and understandable.

I am hoping that some of you might be able to help me in this regard.
Is the Arminian understanding of John 3:16 compatible with TULIP? Why or why not?

Tom

Re: Question Concerning John 3:16 [Re: Tom] #17072
Fri Aug 20, 2004 12:45 AM
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I just finished reading John Piper's excellent paper, "Are There Two Wills in God?", and it tackles thw whole issue: how can God's desire for all to be saved be reconciled with personal unconditional election? You can read it here: http://www.desiringgod.org/library/topics/doctrines_grace/2wills.html

By the way, what woudld you define as the Arminian understanding of John 3:16?


(Latin phrase goes here.)
Re: Question Concerning John 3:16 [Re: Henry] #17073
Fri Aug 20, 2004 7:54 AM
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Thanks for posting that!

Although I'd be quick to add to it that God has a love for His elect that He does not, or could not, have for the non-elect. I think that needs to be said in a world that thinks God loves everyone equally.


True godliness is a sincere feeling which loves God as Father as much as it fears and reverences Him as Lord, embraces His righteousness, and dreads offending Him worse than death~ Calvin
Re: Question Concerning John 3:16 [Re: Tom] #17074
Fri Aug 20, 2004 9:03 AM
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The articles here at the Highway on Atonement cover this very well.


Reformed and Always Reforming,
Re: Question Concerning John 3:16 [Re: Tom] #17075
Fri Aug 20, 2004 3:46 PM
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Quote
Tom asks:

Is the Arminian understanding of John 3:16 compatible with TULIP? Why or why not?


Well... as you know the T in TULIP stands for total depravity. The Arminian doesn't believe he's totally depraved. He believes he can still make choices and decisions regarding his salvation. Thus for him "believing" is a decision he makes.

However, a Calvinist believes because of his total depravity he is unable to make that decision until after he is born again from above. After the Holy Spirit regenerates this individual he believes and is saved.

Don't isolate this verse like so many Baptists do but take it in context with all of John 3.


Wes


When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died, my richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride. - Isaac Watts
Re: Question Concerning John 3:16 [Re: Wes] #17076
Fri Aug 20, 2004 10:38 PM
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Wes

As you are probably aware, Calvinists who believe that the Arminian understanding of John 3:16 is correct, also believe in all five points of Calvinism and that includes total depravity.
How they can do so, I have no idea. Perhaps I need to find out why they believe they are compatible.
If you have any idea, please don't hesitate to let me know.
Do you have any idea where I might find Spurgeon's take on John 3:16, perhaps the answer is there?

I do know someone who said once that he can't see how the traditional Calvinist interpretation of John 3:16 is correct, if you stay with both word meanings as well as the context of John 3. However he also says that he remains a Calvinist, not because of John 3:16, but because he believes Scripture teaches it.
To me if he was correct, it would make the Bible conflict with itself. Am I missing something?

By the way, in case you didn't notice it from my first post, I am not isolating this verse. I also am not aware of any Reformed Baptists that would.

Tom

Last edited by Tom; Fri Aug 20, 2004 10:43 PM.
Re: Question Concerning John 3:16 [Re: Tom] #17077
Sat Aug 21, 2004 9:17 AM
Sat Aug 21, 2004 9:17 AM

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Could you quote one of these "calvinists that support arminian understandings"? Doing that might help us to understand their perspectives.

I took Soteriology at an arminian Bible college, so let me offer my .02 cents.

Quote

Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
(KJV)


My understanding, and I've heard this preached on several times, is that arminians take the "whosoever believes" to mean "anybody can". Whether they approach this via pelagianism free-will or wesleyan common-grace really doesn't matter. This is purely eisegesis and in direct conflict with Total Depravity.

This idea makes man, and his choice, as the purpose for salvation. I have seen this understanding put forth concerning Romans chapter 8. This denies Unconditional Election. And as long as the efficacy of salvation is upon mans will, it also denies Irresistible Grace, as man can withstand the will of God in matters of soteriology.

They also interpret "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son," to be a universal atonement. As I properly argued in class, a universal atonement requires that all men are saved, OR, that the death of Christ had no vicarious properties. Their understanding necessitates the latter and the death of Christ only brings about a "possibility" for all men. This denies Limited Atonement.

I'd say that denying four points of calvinism is enough. If I misunderstand the arminian position, please correct me. I could probably think of how it contradicted Perseverance as well, but I think four is enough.

I also believe the original languages do not bear this out. I also claimed, though no Greek scholars were present in the class, that the clause "that he gave his only begotten Son," alludes to "whosoever believeth", and not KOSMOS as they put forth. Now, somebody will have to check on this because I am no Greek linguist of any order. This interpretation actually upholds reformed theology in that God loved the world so much, He gave His Son for those who would believe. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/BigThumbUp.gif" alt="" /> That's my take.


God bless,

william

Last edited by averagefellar; Sat Aug 21, 2004 2:39 PM.
Re: Question Concerning John 3:16 [Re: Tom] #17078
Sat Aug 21, 2004 11:04 AM
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Quote
Tom writes:

Calvinists who believe that the Arminian understanding of John 3:16 is correct, also believe in all five points of Calvinism and that includes total depravity.
How they can do so, I have no idea.


Since I thought I already answered your question in a simplistic way and you are not satisfied with the answer maybe you could make it clear what you're talking about.

  • 1. What in your opinion is an Arminian understanding of John 3:16?

    2. What in your opinion is a Calvinist view of John 3:16?

Since the two views seem incompatible it would be good for you to be more specific. [Linked Image]

Wes


When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died, my richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride. - Isaac Watts
Re: Question Concerning John 3:16 [Re: Wes] #17079
Sat Aug 21, 2004 12:23 PM
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Sorry, I thought I was clear that I don't think the Arminian understanding of John 3:16 is compatible with Calvinism. Here is a quote from my first post:
"In my way of thinking, I don't see how the Arminian understanding of John 3:16 can be compatible with Calvinism.
However, when I try to put my thoughts on the matter into words on why I don't think the Arminian understanding of John 3:16 is compatible with Calvinism. I can't seem to put it in a way that is well thought out and understandable."

In your first response it seemed like you thought that Calvinists (such as CH Spurgeon) who believed that the Arminian understanding of John 3:16 is compatible with Calvinism, were not really Calvinists.
Did I misunderstand you?

Tom

Re: Question Concerning John 3:16 [Re: Tom] #17080
Sat Aug 21, 2004 12:33 PM
Sat Aug 21, 2004 12:33 PM

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Quote

Calvinists (such as CH Spurgeon) who believed that the Arminian understanding of John 3:16 is compatible with Calvinism, were not really Calvinists.


I just would like to see some quotes from these calvinists that support the arminian interpretation.


God bless,

william

Re: Question Concerning John 3:16 #17081
Sat Aug 21, 2004 4:04 PM
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William

I did answer your other post about this matter, but for some reason the post is gone. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/shrug.gif" alt="" />
I do not have a quote at this time and so far I have not been able to find one either.
About Spurgeon agreeing with the Arminian understanding of John 3:16. I haven't seen a direct quote from Spurgeon himself, it was from a Calvinist (perhaps even here on the Highway?).
I am going to check with one person I know, that has access to a lot of Spurgeon's material, perhaps he can provide a quote.

Tom

Re: Question Concerning John 3:16 [Re: Tom] #17082
Sat Aug 21, 2004 4:17 PM
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Tom,

I have all of Spurgeon's material (MTP and others). Which sermon are you alluding to? His on John 3:16 is on-line. It is entitled Immeasurable Love.


Reformed and Always Reforming,
Re: Question Concerning John 3:16 [Re: J_Edwards] #17083
Sat Aug 21, 2004 5:12 PM
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If I could offer a shamless plug, I wrote up a study on John 3:16 sometime ago and worked it into an article I posted on my website. Folks can access it here:

God's Love for His People

Tell me what you think.

Fred


"Ah, sitting - the great leveler of men. From the mightest of pharaohs to the lowest of peasants, who doesn't enjoy a good sit?" M. Burns
Re: Question Concerning John 3:16 [Re: fredman] #17084
Sat Aug 21, 2004 6:04 PM
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Good read Fredman. Thanks for helping to clear up the issues and why the arminian interpretation is eisegesis.


God bless,

william

Re: Question Concerning John 3:16 [Re: Tom] #17085
Sat Aug 21, 2004 7:42 PM
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Quote
Tom said:

Sorry, I thought I was clear


Clear as mud. [Linked Image]

I hope others have answered your question sufficiently.


Wes <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/BigThumbUp.gif" alt="" />


When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died, my richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride. - Isaac Watts
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