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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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  • « Old Testament Theology - 2008 ECPA Award Winner, Bible Reference Category | Main | Dr. Norman Geisler's "Parable of the Farmer" - Refuted »

    Contending with the Puritan John Goodwin on John 3:16

    Contending with the Puritan John Goodwin on John 3:16 (Not to be confused with Thomas Goodwin)
    B. K. Campbell

    "For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life." (HCSB)

    John Goodwin John 3:16: "...Suppose a great king having many sons, should express himself thus: 'I so love my children, that whosoever of them shall be dutiful unto me; I will bestow principalities, dukedoms, or other great matters upon them.' Should he not plainly imply a possibility, at least, that some of them might not prove dutiful unto him? In like manner, if the word world, in the Scripture in hand, should signify the elect, the distributive, whosoever, must needs imply that some of these elect might possibly not believe, and so perish; because believing, and not believing, and not perishing thereupon, occasions the distribution here made." (Redemption Redeemed: A Puritan Defense of Unlimited Atonement, Expanded Edition by John Goodwin p.24)

    Goodwin's ideology is true only if the passage in question speaks of those who do believe (Elect), as well as those who do not believe, as both containing the same essential nature (Election). Goodwin embarrasses himself with this analogy- why? Because he is citing the evident meaning of the text, "some of them might not prove dutiful unto him." That is, some will not believe. However, it remains to be proven that the entities loved in the "world" are the same as the "whosoevers" that will not believe. The true implication is that God so loved the Elect (of the world) that He gave his only son so that "everyone who believes" will not perish! Goodwin confuses the issue by trying to equate the entities that will believe (world) with the entities that will not believe (whosoever). He says, "Whosoever, must needs imply that some of these elect might possibly not believe, and so perish…" No so! Why "must it imply" that the Elect will "not believe"? Does "whosoever" rather not refer to the totality of mankind that will believe? Indeed, who are those who do not believe? Are they the Elect? Certainly not (Acts 13:48)! Simply put: the text speaks of those who believe not those who do not believe- Goodwin attempts to draw out a negative conclusion from the text that is not even contained in the text (at least not directly in verse 16). His thinking is thus, "because the text refers to those who actually believe (positive sense), it must also imply that those who do not believe (negative sense) are of the same nature as those who do believe- i.e. the Elect." Ok, so let's get this straight, because all those who believe are Elect all those who do not believe must also be Elect? Huh? And by what logic does Goodwin arrive at this conclusion? Not logic my friends, but the fatal assumption that all men - those who believe as well as those who do not believe- are Elect. Do the syllogism and you will see what I mean: All those who (B) are (E) and all those who do not (B) are (E). Ultimately this means that all men must be (E) regardless of (B) or non- (B) there is no distinction.

    This is just another irrational attempt by a desperate Arminian to defend the freedom of man against the Word of God.

    Posted by John on July 30, 2008 12:46 PM

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