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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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  • « God Is Not a Buffet Line of Options by Pastor John Samson | Main | Visitor Questions on the Fall & Evil »

    Logic and John 6:44

    "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day." Jesus - John 6:44

    I have a good friend called Brian Bosse (who lives in Green Valley, Arizona) who is quite the intellectual. In recent years, I have been used somewhat to help this man come from Arminianism to the Reformed faith, at a time when in his words, the illogical nature of Arminianism almost caused him to reject the Christian faith altogether. He saw the futility of the Arminian position long before he knew there was an alternative, and almost threw Christianity and the Bible aside (in his mind). Now Brian is fully reformed in his thinking and a very able defender of the faith.

    He recently sent me an article he has worked on for some time regarding John 6:44. If Brian is right, then just this verse alone (John 6:44), properly interpreted, dismantles Arminianism.

    Be warned though - this article is certainly not something that everyone would follow - but for those who enjoy the rigors of logical analysis, I encourage you to read the following pdf file here.

    Posted by Pastor John Samson

    Posted by John Samson on January 26, 2006 09:21 PM

    Comments

    John,

    Your friend Brian, the author of the essay, hits the nail on the head. He indeed proves the text cannot mean what Arminians hope it to say.

    But for those who have difficulty following his logical analysis, the short succinct version, I believe could be stated as follows:

    Jesus said: "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day."

    In other words, no one will believe in Christ unless God draws him, and ALL these whom God draws, He will raise up at the last day.

    Consider this: either God's draws all people and all are raised with Christ on the last day, or he draws some people and they are all raised with Christ. The Arminian focuses on the first part of the text, but ignores the latter. He argrees that God draws men, but resists the plain meaning of the latter part of the text which affirms that ALL whom God draws will be raised up with Christ on the last day.

    Since the Arminian still believes hell exists he faces a quandry. He is either forced to admit his rendering of the text is flat wrong (and Calvinism true) or else he has to bow to universalism: that God draws all people and all people will be raised up in Christ on the last day. Of course he cannot do either, but prefers to maintain an incoherent unscriptural view because he must maintain "free will" at all costs, even at the cost of the text itself.

    And just to affirm Brian's observation look for a moment at the immediate context. John 6:37 says essentially the same thing, except this time uses a universal positive: "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and whoever comes to Me I will never cast out."

    So no one will come UNLESS GOD draws... AND All Whom God draws/give/grants will come. So again we have syllogism when we step back and look at the context. And as pointed out before, John 6:65 again affirms this syllogism: "no one can come to Me unless it is granted him by the Father."

    And why is this?...because
    "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no avail."
    John 6:63



    Wow! That is actually a really good paper. I don't know why I am surprised but I am definitely glad that it was well argued. I felt like I was back in Philosophy class, but it was definitely worth the read through.

    Thanks for providing the article.

    By way of introduction, my name is Dr. Ron Gleason. I am a PCA pastor in Yorba Linda, CA. I hold an M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell, a Drs. from the Free University, & a Ph.D. from Westminster--Philly. I am currently responding to George Bryson's "The Dark Side of Calvinism." Chuck Smith from Calvary Chapel, Santa Ana wrote the preface.
    May I invite you to visit my web site at www.rongleason.org for articles on Herman Bavinck & Jonathan Edward and my temporary blog site at http://rongleason.blogspot.com? I enjoyed the article thoroughly.
    Rattlesnake 6 (my call sign when I was a tank commander)

    That IS a good paper. I'd like to see the author do a similar analysis of Hebrew 6:4, since it has a similar if-then structure.

    Hello Molly,

    Thank you for your kind words. Hebrews 6:4-6 is very interesting. However, the grammatical structure of the sentence is not similar to what we find in John 6:44. If you remember from the article, it was determined that the grammatical (and logical) structure was of the form: (¬p → ¬q) ∧ r. In the Hebrew's passage the Greek does not contain a conditional, but it can be expressed logically in terms of a conditional. The NASB reads:

    For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance...

    If we define the following predicates as:

    E=has been enlightened
    G=has tasted the heavenly gift
    H=has partaken of the Holy Spirit
    W=has tasted the good word of God
    P=has tasted the powers of the age to come
    F=has fallen away
    R=is possible to be renewed again to repentance

    …, then we can symbolize this in first-order predicate logic as:

    ∀(x)((E(x) ∧ G(x) ∧ H(x) ∧ W(x) ∧ P(x) ∧ F(x)) → ¬R(x)).

    This would read: For all x, if x has been enlightened and has tasted the heavenly gift and has partaken of the Holy Spirit and has tasted the good word of God and has tasted the powers of the age to come and has fallen away, then it is not the case that x is possible to be renewed again to repentance.

    What is more fascinating about this passage is that Paul tells us why this is the case when he says, "since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame." An interesting study would be to tease out Paul's assumed and unstated premise that makes his argument work.

    Sincerely,

    Brian Bosse

    Why are we surprised when the proper exposition of Sacred Scripture is proven to be completly logical?

    The Arminian, Semi-Palagian and Universalist arguments cannot stand up to the truth. However, the proper exposition of scripture defeats all humanistic comers.

    Molly

    Re: Hebrews 6:4

    Just as context should always drive our interpretation, so it is here. Previously we showed that John 6:44 is restated in John 6:37 & 65 and the surrounding context, validating the fact that its meaning in isolation is not changed by context, but rather affirmed.

    Likewise Heb 6:4 should be considered by stepping back and looking at the text around it.

    Much of Hebrews is written to encourage Jews to trust in Christ and Christ alone, who is better than the shadows of the law in the OT because they all point to Him as the fulfillment. The author of Hebrews is exhorting the listening Jews to never go back to instituting temple sacrifice, which was a shadow, because this would be tantamount to believing that Christ's once for all sacrifice is insufficient. So when the warnings go up about falling away, it is not saying that if you simply commit any sin you cannot find repentance, no, rather it says if you abandon Christ and go back to the old way, the law (i.e. fall away) then your hope is lost. So in context, only persons who go back by trading in Christ for the now-empty ritual of the temple (that itself was meant to point to the fulfillment in Christ), they are then re-crucifying the Son to their shame.

    Now take a look at verse 6:9 VERY CAREFULLY: It says, "Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things--things that belong to salvation.

    In other words, the things the author just described about falling away do NOT accompany salvation. Falling away is not a characteristic of salvation in other words. People can be enlighted and taste and yet fall away. They may be externally a part of the church yet if they abandon trust in Christ for ritual or something else, there is no hope for their salvation. They were never regenerate to begin with for falling away does not accompany true salvation.

    So again, the Arminian interpretation of this verse appears to be read in isolation without any regard to the surrounding context. And that is why there continues to be division in the church. Bad theology creates division.

    As my buddy in Australia says, "...because life is too short for bad theology."

    I think this level of PROPER bibliical exegesis is missing from most churches. I find way to many preachers and bible teachers take the easy superficial way out when interpreting scripture, but when this type of study that you did John is done there can be no argument. I have found though that when I have attempted to use this type of exposit while teaching in my class that there simply isn't the time to do it because it is usaully in response to some question or challenge. Unless I prepare way in advance it doesn't happen.

    Sometimes I feel we just don't do discipleship right.

    Mike

    hi just want to ask regarding john 6:44, "and i will raise him up in the last day." my question is if jesus only died for the elect and the basis of their resurrection for life is the death of Christ then what is the basis of the "resurrection" of the non-elect. doesn't it seem that Christ also died for the non-elect so as for the non-elect also to be resurrected? hope some people can answer.

    Moises, "

    Thanks for your question.

    No one here would deny that Jesus' death and resurrection may serve multiple purposes, but when we speak of Christ dying only for the elect what we mean is that Christ dies "redemptively" only for the elect. That is why this doctrine is often called "particular redemption".

    Obviously this redemptive aspect of the work of Christ is not something the wicked will participate in. Although the wicked non-elect will be resurrected in body, they are not united to Christ but are cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnasing of teeth... for they trusted in their own righteousness. While it is obviously the power of Christ which raises them in body, they are not receiving a spiritual blessing, but rather, judgement.

    And since only the elect receive a spiritual blessing (calling & regeneration) which leads to eternal life, then Christ died in a way for the elect that he did not for the non-elect.

    Mike Ratliff

    You said, "but when this type of study that you did John is done there can be no argument. I have found though that when I have attempted to use this type of exposit while teaching in my class that there simply isn't the time to do it because it is usaully in response to some question or challenge. Unless I prepare way in advance it doesn't happen."

    Thanks Mike but I did not write the essay, Brian did. But you're right that most teachers in the church are unprepared. I suppose that we need be vigilant to anticipate the questions that may arise from the parts of the Scriptures we teach. We have all of church history to see what questions have arisen before. There is little liklihood that the person in your class is coming up with something that hasn't been thought of before with regards to the texts that we discuss. The internet is also a good testing ground to see what kind of arguments people come up with against your assertions. We should be thankful to God for those who oppose us. It often seems to me that opposition helps us to sharpen our own thinking. Almost all of the major doctrines through history have been established due to some heresy or another.

    Solus Christus

    I agree with Mike Ratliff when he says that more teaching needs to be presented in ways that leave no room for poor interpretation, and that we all need to be better prepared to defend our beliefs. I wonder, though, how many in modern times are equipped to deal with this sort of logical argumentation at all? I think some pastors gloss over this "heavy stuff" for fear of losing the congregation, especially when any their members can easily walk across the street into a different church that will scratch their itching ears with whatever makes them feel good.

    How do you present such critical information to people who are unprepared to hear it...who are used to solving problems haphazardly by choosing whatever "feels right" to them?

    "has partaken of the Holy Spirit"

    Who but regenerated Christians have this?

    Gazelle:

    Actually, the text itself shows that this is not the case. Just after writing this list of experiences, the author of Hebrews says, "Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things--things that belong to salvation."

    This is a clear statement that the author was not describing saving faith because the kind of response that falls away, he says, does not "belong to salvation." If they belonged to salvation, then they would persevere. (see John 6:37) Can Christ lose a Christian who is "sealed for the day of redemption"? These so-called Christains in Hebrews were tempted to go back to the old sacrificial system thus abandoning Jesus alone.

    Regarding the New Covenant in Christ the Scriptures say:

    "I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me." Jeremiah 32:40

    "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out."
    John 6:37
    All that the Father gives the Son will believe the gospel, and all who believe will not be cast out (irresistible grace and perseverance in one text)

    "For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:40

    "So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish." Matt 18:14

    There are many in the visible church participate in the covenant who have had the Holy Spirit work in them, partaking of certain covenant benefits of the Spirit and yet have never been regenerate.

    Falling away does not belong to the "things that belong to salvation"

    "There are many in the visible church participate in the covenant who have had the Holy Spirit work in them...yet have never been regenerate."

    But doesn't that go against the doctrine of efficacious grace? Is it possible for the Spirit to work on someone only partly?

    Hebrews 10:26 backs up Hebrew 6:4 when it says those who were Sanctified (only Christians can be sanctified) lose their salvation.

    "29. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?"

    A scary prospect indeed.

    Gaz

    you said >>>>But doesn't that go against the doctrine of efficacious grace?

    The doctrine of efficacious grace does not mean, nor has it ever meant, that every influence of the Holy Spirit cannot be resisted. In Acts 7:51 Stephen says to the Jewish leaders, "You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit as your fathers did." And Paul speaks of grieving and quenching the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19). It means, rather, that the Holy Spirit can and does overcome all resistance and make his influence irresistible according to His good pleasure. The Spirit does not exercise efficacious grace every time we preach the gospel to someone. When God undertakes to fulfill his sovereign purpose, no one can successfully resist Him. Notice in the passage above it says they are "uncircumsised in heart and ears" >>> a phrase used for the unregenerate and yet in this passage the Spirit at work is being resisted. The gospel is being preached, the Spirit is at work but men are resisting. WHY? Because, the passage says, their hearts are "uncircumcised"!!!! They are natural men and cannot think spiritual thoughts. Water does not rise above its source. Their ears must first be circumcised by the Spirit or they will continue be hostile to the gospel for that is what they are by nature.

    This is what Paul taught in Romans 9:14-18, which caused his opponent to say, "Why then does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?" To which Paul answers: "Who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, 'Why have you made me thus?' Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for beauty and another for menial use?" (Romans 9:20f).

    Efficacious grace refers to the sovereign work of God to overcome the rebellion of our heart and bring us to faith in Christ so that we can and will be saved. That is why no one can enter the kindgom unless they are first born again.

    As for my previous statement you have not answered it --- Hebrews 6:9? This text clearly proves that whatever was described in the previous text was not equal to salvation. So this alone disqualifies this verse from meaning what you wish it to mean.

    next you asked >>> Is it possible for the Spirit to work on someone only partly?

    Yes, and He does so all the time. Many times when we preach the gospel to someone the Holy Spirit is working partly (through convicting etc.) as I showe dyou above where men with uncircumcised hearts resisted the Holy Spirit and the Spirit was not acting savingly toward people. In John 6:65 repentance/faith are called a gift of God. Notice, he is not saying merely that salvation is a gift of God. He is saying that the prerequisites of salvation are also a gift. When a person hears a preacher call for repentance he can resist that call. But if God gives him repentance he cannot resist because the gift is the removal of resistance. Not being willing to repent is the same as resisting the Holy Spirit. So if God gives repentance it is the same as taking away the resistance. This is why we call this work of God "irresistible grace".Also see 6:67-39

    Is this not the plain meaning of these texts? If you have a better explanation for them I am all ears?

    Gaz your belief that a Christian can lose their salvation is tantamount to saying that what Christ did for you on the cross was insufficient and you are trusting in yourself to maintain your own righteousness, not unlike the Roman Catholic theology. To say Christ can lose us is to believe what Christ did is not enough for you. That you MUST MAINTAIN YOUR OWN JUSTIFICATION.

    This is LEGALISTIC self-righteousness to believe that you can either attain or maintain your own righteousness before God and it is a denial of Christ, THE very error the Hebrews were tempted to make, that the author was speaking of. To believe in the ability to lose your salvation is trusting in something other than Jesus Christ to keep you righteous in Him. The Hebrews were tempted to go back to sacrifice and you are trusting in your works. Quite ironic. That passage is a warning passage for the very error you are making.

    Take heed to the warning and trust in Christ, not self, for salvation.

    ok, that was a good answer. But what about Hebrews 10:26, where it says sanctified Christians fell away. Paul's use of the word "sanctified" implies that those who fell away were indeed regenerated (unless the reprobate can also be sanctified). I'm confused.

    GAZ

    Thanks for responding....

    You said>>>> But what about Hebrews 10:26, where it says sanctified Christians fell away. Paul's use of the word "sanctified" implies that those who fell away were indeed regenerated (unless the reprobate can also be sanctified). I'm confused.

    Let's look at the passage together:

    26For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified has outraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, "Vengeance is mine; I will repay." And again, "The Lord will judge his people."

    Again "sinning" in this passage refers to "spuring the Son of God" i.e. trusting in something other than Him, like temple sacrifice. the Law etc..to attain or maintain their standing before God.

    Gaz it would be easy to see how someone might think this refers to a regenerate person but it does not and here's why... it says nothing about "sanctified Christians" ... rather it talks of a person and "the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified." If you look at the history of what it means to be set apart in covenant with God (which the passage itself speaks of), it is not always equivalent to salvation. The Scriptures never make this claim. In fact there is plenty of clear evidence to the contrary....

    For example, in the Old Testament, Abraham was called by God for he and his decendants to circumcise infants into the covenant. Circumcision was the covenant sign given by God to Abraham's decendants. Blood accompanied this sign, as do all covenants. Does this mean that all who are participants in the covenant by circumcision are automatically saved? No.

    Rom 9 says of this,
    "[these are]...my kinsmen according to the flesh. 4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. 5 To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. 6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, 7 and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named." 8 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring."

    So some of those who were circumcised into the covenant, in other words, were simply not children of the promise.

    Likewise, persons who are baptized into the church are "sanctified" (i.e. set apart) into the covenant as the people of God. Does this mean they are necessarily saved? They are influenced by the church, hear God's Word and participate in it's sacraments, but many are not children of promise. They are part of the visible church, but not the invisible church.

    Again Paul described unsaved Israelites as follows: 4They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises.

    "adoption, GLORY, covenants...promises" Those who were in covenant with God set apart (sanctified) for His purpose yet not saved? It may sound like salvific language but its not... for these very same people who described with such glorious language Paul also says,

    [it is]...not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. 9For this is what the promise said: "About this time next year I will return and Sarah shall have a son." 10And not only so, but also when Rebecca had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad--in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call-- 12she was told, "The older will serve the younger." 13As it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." Rom 9:9-13

    It isn't because of some outward covenant sanctifying us that we are saved but the inward call of God.

    Hope this helps...
    Solus Christus

    P.S.

    "Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant." (Heb 9:15) emphasis mine

    "Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith"

    He not only authors our faith but he perfects it...finishes it. If he simply gave us a salvation that depended on us maintaining our justification after "salvation" then who could stand?

    That article was great. Sometimes people scoff at Calvinism for being logical, but they must remember that God has made even logic. His word is always logical, although sometimes we may not see the logic.

    The response by Gaz is a bit lacking, for the blood that sanctifies in Hebrews 10:26-29 is the blood of Christ (as opposed to that of an OT sacrifice, which the author of Hebrews was contrasting his case with). There are of course various ways in which a person may be ceremonially sanctified spoken of throughout scripture, but a person who is sanctified by the blood of the covenant that was shed by Christ is surely redeemed, as by His blood is our justification (Romans 5:9), redemption (Colossians 1:14), as well as being the seal of the new covenant with God (Hebrews 12:24).



    Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.


    Hebrews 13:12



    This is not to be even compared to the old covenant, for one while one who despised that died without mercy, much greater punishment awaits him who despises the blood of the everlasting covenant (Hebrews 13:20) by which he was sanctified, as Hebrews 10:29 declares.

    John chapter 12

    "35Then Jesus told them, "You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. 36Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light." When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them."


    The same was true in John chapter 6:44

    When we resist the Light we are in danger of no longer being Drawn by the Father. We must keep believing whatever Jesus says for this is how we know we are being drawn by the Father.

    Will we be one of the called? You know, those who only believe for a season? Or will we be one of the chosen? Those who continually believe for eternity and will show up at the wedding with their wedding clothes on?

    Only the Father knows the answer to that question.

    Romans chapter 8
    29For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;


    It is our responsibility to watch our life and doctrine closely......and to hold on even to the end.


    1 Timothy 4:16
    Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

    1 Corinthians 15:2
    By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain."


    That's pretty much how I handled the text. Now thanks to you and Mr. Hamilton I have more ammo to add, but that's going to take a few months before I'm able to mold this new stuff with what I already have.

    Take care and stay blessed

    Page 14 gives us:
    Premise 1: [If he is able to come to Me, then the Father drew him], and I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:44)
    Premise 2: All the elect are able to come to Me. (Calvinist Position)
    Conclusion: The Father draws all the elect, and I (Jesus) will raise all the elect up on the last day.
    ********
    The way, for the Arminian, to escape the conclusion is by suggesting that the syllogism (that is compatible with Calvinism) IS compatible with Arminianism, too.
    The Arminian certainly agrees with P1.
    The Arminian also agrees with P2: Of course, all the elect are able to come to Christ; they ARE THE ELECT for crying out loud! But it may or may not be the case according to P2 that the non-elect are able to come; so, it does not follow, necessarily, that the non-elect are not able to come.
    The conclusion is not a problem for the Arminian either. Of course, the Father draws all the elect AND Jesus will resurrect the elect. Notice the significance of the conjunctive “and.” The elect are drawn AND will be resurrected (unto eternal life with God); not only are the elect drawn, they will ALSO be resurrected. However, from merely such a statement, we cannot tell whether or not the non-elect are “drawn AND will be resurrected.” The statement only makes a positive claim, namely, that the elect are drawn and will be resurrected; we don’t know if the non-elect, too, are “drawn and will be resurrected.” It may be that the non-elect, too, are “drawn and will be resurrected” (Universalism). We just don’t know from reading the conclusion.

    P.S. –

    ***On the significance of the conjunctive “and.”

    The conclusion does not say, “The Father draws all the elect.” It says, “The Father draws all the elect, AND I (Jesus) will raise all the elect up on the last day.”


    According to the conclusion, what shows that one is elect is not that he is merely drawn (since all men, elect and non-elect, according to Arminianism are drawn); it is that the elect is BOTH drawn AND will be resurrected. This is not incompatible with Arminianism, by no means.


    ***Another flaw seems to be that the writer, Bosse, begs the question in favor of Calvanism in two ways.


    1. P2 – “All the elect are able to come to Me” – does not follow from P1 (John 6:44). The antecedent of P1, namely, “If he is able to come to Me,” does not necessarily yield P2. It is because nothing is said in P1 that “he” (in the antecedent) represents the elect. Such is merely an assumption that is arbitrarily put on (without establishing it) by Bosse. In order to show that the “he” in the antecedent represents the elect, Bosse must inductively argue from other parts of Scripture. But can he?


    2. Being “elect” means that one is drawn by the Father AND does come (not just ABLE to come) to Christ – Arminians and Calvinists alike agree. But this, too, is not established in the argument – the very thing that Bosse accuses the Arminian to be guilty of. Remember: Bosse states that ‘he’ refers to either (1) the one drawn or (2) the one ABLE to come; there is no referent for the one who actually DOES come. Yet in P2 Bosse implicitly (perhaps unbeknownst to himself) inserts this idea, by adding the words “the elect” (the ones who are drawn and do NECESSARILY come to Christ, according to Calvinism).

    This is a response to Aaron Shelenberger’s comments dated 3/18/2008 concerning my article on John 6:44. (Here is where the article can be found: http://www.christianlogic.com/brianbosse/2007/a-logical-analysis-of-john-644/.)

    Allow me to give a very brief abstract of the paper to establish context. Essentially, I did a grammatical/syntaxical analysis of John 6:44. Based on the analysis, I concluded that the logical structure of John 6:44 was as follows:

    John 6:44 – [If the Father does not draw him, then he is not able to come to Me], and I will raise him up on the last day.

    The brackets indicate that the consequent of the conditional only includes “he is not able to come to Me.” As such, “and I will raise him up on the last day” is not part of the conditional statement. I then applied this to the following two assumptions:

    Arminian: God draws all people, and as a result all people are able to come but all do not come.

    Calvinist: God draws only the elect, and as a result the elect are able to come and necessarily do come.

    The conclusion reached is that given the traditional Arminian position stated above Universalism is the result – contradicting the position that “all do not come”; whereas, given the Calvinist assumptions, Calvinism remains intact.

    Aaron Shelenberger argues “The statement (‘The Father draws all the elect, and I (Jesus) will raise all the elect up on the last day’) only makes a positive claim, namely, that the elect are drawn and will be resurrected; we don’t know if the non-elect, too, are ‘drawn and will be resurrected.’ It may be that the non-elect, too, are ‘drawn and will be resurrected’ (Universalism). We just don’t know from reading the conclusion.”

    I agree, but this is what my paper concluded. Here is the last paragraph of my paper…

    “Based on the aforementioned analysis, one cannot definitively declare that Calvinism is correct. Rather, one can only say that Calvinism is consistent with John 6:44. The traditional Arminian position, however, has been demonstrated to be inconsistent with the teaching of John 6:44. When the traditional Arminian position is applied to the verse Universalism is the result. The debate is no longer between the Arminian and the Calvinist, but rather between the Calvinist and the Universalist.”

    As such, I am not sure what Aaron’s point is. In the end, my paper refutes the majority position found in Arminianism, namely, that all men are drawn and are able to come, but not all men will come.

    Now, I will move onto Aaron’s post script. He states, “Another flaw seems to be that the writer, Bosse, begs the question in favor of Calvanism in two ways.”

    He refers to “another flaw.” It does not seem that he has yet pointed out a first flaw in the paper. Well, let’s see how Aaron thinks I have “begged the question.” He goes on to say, “1. P2 – ‘All the elect are able to come to Me’ – does not follow from P1 (John 6:44). The antecedent of P1, namely, ‘If he is able to come to Me,’ does not necessarily yield P2.”

    I agree with him that P1 does not necessarily imply P2. I made this very point in the last paragraph on page 12. P2 is simply the Calvinist assumption. I think Aaron missed this completely. I am not sure if he even realizes that there was another syllogism with its own P2 based on Arminian assumptions. It is found on page 13.

    We press on. Aaron next states, “Being “elect” means that one is drawn by the Father AND does come (not just ABLE to come) to Christ – Arminians and Calvinists alike agree. But this, too, is not established in the argument – the very thing that Bosse accuses the Arminian to be guilty of.”

    I did not accuse the Arminians of anything. All I proved was that given certain main stream Arminian assumptions, Universalism is the result. I suggest Aaron go back and re-read section 3 of my paper (or the complete paper for that matter). He seems to have missed the whole point of the argument.

    Sincerely,

    Brian

    Please find the continuation of the exchange between Brian Bosse and Aaron Shelenberger here:

    http://hereiblog.com/2008/02/16/calvinism-arminianism-and-john-644/#comment-886

    Blessings!

    Considering what this verse says, is it fair to also consider that God will at some point draw everyone to Him? Why would He not if He wants all men to come to repentance? I also do not understand how us having a choice invalidates God's omnipotence and subverts His atoning work on the cross. That does not make any sense. Following this logic, God made Adam to sin. Adam did not sin on his own.

    W Forbes

    Thank you for your post. But if you look at the context of the verse it is clear that God does not draw everyone, but only a particular people to himself. Just prior to verse 44, verse 37 says that all that the father gives the Son will believe in Him and later in verse 65 Jesus say no one can believe in him unless God grants it. This syllogism singles out the possibility of the will of unregenerate man playing a role in regeneration. No one can believe unless God grants it (v. 65) and all to whom God grants it will believe (v. 37).

    W. Forbes you said God wants all men to come to repentance. Well God wants all men to perfectly obey the commandements as well. Do they? no of course not because this is not his will of decree but his preceptive will. His commands. He deisres everyone obey his commands, especially the command to believe the gospel. But, as John 3:19, 20 says, men love darkness and hate the light and will not come into the light. Their heart must be changed by the Holy Spirit if any are to come.

    Can a person left to himself believe the gospel apart from any work of the Holy Spirit?

    You said "I also do not understand how us having a choice invalidates God's omnipotence and subverts His atoning work on the cross."

    Did Jesus die for all sins including the sin of unbelief? If not then are you saying that your belief makes up for your previous sin? No! Jesus died for all the sins of those he came to save, including the sin of unbelief.

    You said, "Following this logic, God made Adam to sin. Adam did not sin on his own."

    Are you then saying that God was taken by surprise by Adam's choice? That before God created the world he did not know with certainty how the Adam He created would respond? If God already knows the certain outcome then it was his will. Otherwise he could have created a world with a different senario.

    I cannot believe the logic here. You're saying it was God's will that Adam sinned. It absolutely was not. Just because it did happen doesn't mean God wanted it to happen. When it did, God already had a plan, the "revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began" to RECTIFY mankind's mistake. It's a different thing to say it was in God's permissive will. Different scenario? God gave man freewill. How is that not obvious? In the OT, God laments at our great propensity for sin and thus flooded the world.

    Mark 13:10
    And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations.

    Luke 2:10
    Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.

    Luke 2:38
    And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

    Luke 24:47
    and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

    Romans 5:18
    Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.

    Romans 10:12
    For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.

    Romans 16:26
    but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith—

    Hebrews 5:9
    And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,

    It's very clear in the scriptures that the gospel is to be preached to ends of the Earth and that it is open to all. The unregenerate man cannot reconcile himself to God and does not know how. When someone is receptive to the gospel and responds to God through the Holy Spirit's conviction of sin, the Father draws them to Christ. Why? That is the only way to the Father. But, of course, many will gird themselves further in their sin and not repent. To say that God only draws a few people to Christ to the exclusion of many many others is incongruous with the Word of God. You must let Scripture interpret Scripture. The existence of the gift of salvation and the facilitation is entirely God's work. But, we must simply respond to it and believe in the gospel through faith in Jesus Christ.

    First I wanted to thank the people posting here for all the interesting insights.

    My wife (a new believer) is in a real faith crisis due to John 6:44. I know scripture does not contradict itself so I must be understanding this wrong and so I'm unable to help her.

    If John 6:44 means that a person is unable to come to Christ unless the Father "wakes" them up, doesn't that logically mean that we have no choice or free will to accept or reject the gospel? Isn't that contradicting the Scripture which clearly teaches that we DO have free will.

    How can a perfectly just God hold a person accountable if the person does not get too choose?

    Didn't evil enter the world BECAUSE of human free will which lead to Adam's rebellion?

    If God did not really intend to give humans free will, why then allow evil? If we don't have a choice than why not create a perfect world that will stay perfect and avoid the fall in the first place?

    If we don't have free will (and are organic robots) than our love is not genuine, right? I always understood that God took the pain in allowing evil (the cost for our free will) and than overcoming evil at a great price to Him, specifically so a genuine relationship could exist between Creator and creation. A relationship that is not forced or involuntary.

    I'm not a Calvinist or Arminian, I'm simply confused and really need help from my learned brothers in Christ. Please help. God Bless You.

    P.S. while doing research on this subject I found this page that I think makes some valid points, maybe it might be of help to some in their research:

    http://www.bible.ca/ef/expository-john-6-44.htm

    Though I am Calvinistic, there is a flaw in Brian's paper.

    His summarizes John 6:44 as follows (I renamed the terms for simplicity):
    A = Able to come.
    D = Drawn by the Father.
    R = Risen on the last day by Christ.

    (~G -> ~A) ^ R

    Yet, assuming this is a universal proposition (which it is), this would be written as such (forgive my lack of inverted 'A' for the universal symbol):

    Ax((~Dx -> ~Ax) ^ Rx)

    Yet this would indicate the following:

    For everyone, ([if they are not drawn by the father then they will not come] and they will be raised on the last day).

    In other words, written like that, everyone will be raised regardless of being drawn or being able to come to Jesus. This is universalism, but is moreso just a misrepresentation of the verse. It should be written like this (at least assuming his interpretation of the 'him' in the second part):

    Ax(~Dx->(~Ax^~Rx))

    In other words, everyone is (not able to come AND not risen on the last day) if they have not been drawn. This better shows what he was trying to say.

    More to the point, though, look at John 6:36. It says clearly that "all that the Father gives me will come to me . . .". Assuming that "given" is the same as "drawn," this shows:

    Ax(Dx->Cx)(Everyone who is drawn will also come).

    And since we can clearly see that not everyone has come to faith throughout history, we can also say this:

    ~AxCx (it is not the case that everyone comes).

    Put these two propositions together:

    Everyone who is drawn will come.
    Not everyone has come.

    And conclude:
    Therefore, not everyone has been drawn.

    The entire foundation of election can be shown simply in John 6:37 (though of course confirmed elsewhere).

    Dear Mr. Samson,

    Calvinists very frequently quote the verse John 6:44 but never deal with the following verse 45. It says, everyone who has heard and learned from the father comes to Christ in faith.

    Now, all who come to Christ have learned from God and all who have learned come to Christ. This is a necessary conclusion of the text.

    So why do you guys never explain what the teaching/learning in verse 45 actually is? Note, this is important: it is the drawing!

    Therefore it should be clear what the content of the teaching in v. 45 is, right? Now, the pdf file you provide does not even mention verse 45, much less the content of the teaching mentioned in that verse.

    Why? What exactly is the drawing? How is it done?

    What is do people, who are drawn (v.44) learn (v.45) ? What do they learn here?

    That would be interesting to discuss!

    Sincerely,

    Kehrhelm "a helmet" Kröger

    Dear Kehrhelm "a helmet" Kröger,

    Thank you for your comment. Mr Bosse was limiting his logical analysis to the verse 44 statement on purpose. Of course, he and I are aware of verse 45. To say that we "never" explain 45 or the context is quite a charge. I am not aware of any Calvinist commentary on John's Gospel that fails to deal with verse 45 or the surrounding context. Indeed, it is the strength of the interpretation and its context being explained here, and in other passages that was pivotal in bringing me from confusion into the reformed understanding.

    There are many commentaries that would go into detail on John 6, but for a brief overview, I recommend the following from Dr. James White: http://vintage.aomin.org/johnchapter6.html

    Thanks again,
    John

    Dear Gary,

    You said, “Though I am Calvinistic, there is a flaw in Brian's paper.” Thank you for taking the time to read my paper and for giving me feedback. Letting…

    A = “He is able to come to Me.”
    D = “The father does draw him.”
    R = “I will raise him up on the last day.”

    I argue that John 6:44 can be symbolized in the sentential calculus as follows…

    (¬D → ¬A) ∧ R.

    Regarding this you say, “Yet, assuming this is a universal proposition (which it is), this would be written as such (forgive my lack of inverted 'A' for the universal symbol): Ax((~Dx -> ~Ax) ^ Rx).”

    The predicate calculus captures the logic of quantitative terms like “All” and “Some.” John 6:44 can be expressed in these terms; however, doing so requires one to consider how each part of the sentence is quantified. I agree with you that the first half of the conjunction is universal and the domain is all men; however, you cannot assume from my sentential calculus symbolization that the second half of the conjunction has the very same universal domain as the first half! John 6:44 is expressed in the predicate calculus as either:

    ∀(x)((¬D → ¬A) ∧ (D(x) → R(x)))

    or

    ∀(x)((¬D → ¬A) ∧ (A(x) → R(x))).

    This was reflected in my paper when I said, “This verse only mentions those who are drawn, and those who are able to come. Therefore, the ‘him’ in section C either refers to the one drawn, or it refers to the one able to come.”

    Sincerely,

    Brian

    "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him..." John 6:44

    "No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6

    Just thought I'd throw that out there since I flunked math.

    if God has already determand who is going to be saved and who will be lost before the foundation of the world, then what is the use of spreading the gospel, after all all of mankind will be lost or saved without a chose. I personally believe this is lutercrest if am going to heaven no matter how i live my life down here then why should i refram from pleaseable sins. the fact remains we have a limited free will given to us by God to accept His Son Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior or rejecting Him, but be advivced we will reap what we sow whether good or bad. See 1 Corinthians 5:10.

    Rev. Bill J. Ansorge

    if God has already determand who is going to be saved and who will be lost before the foundation of the world, then what is the use of spreading the gospel, after all all of mankind will be lost or saved without a chose. I personally believe this is lutercrest if am going to heaven no matter how i live my life down here then why should i refram from pleaseable sins. the fact remains we have a limited free will given to us by God to accept His Son Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior or rejecting Him, but be advivced we will reap what we sow whether good or bad. See 1 Corinthians 5:10.

    Rev. Bill J. Ansorge

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