Saturday, November 15, 2008

BPNews John 3:16 Conference Part 1

Non-Calvinists/Arminians/Biblicists never seem to get tired of repeating their same old worn out false understandings of Calvinism. Baptist Press News (BPNews) has an article on the John 3:16 Conference sponsored by Jerry Vines. The Conference was supposedly done as an informational tool for non-Calvinists. I think it might be educational to see what these non-Calvinists have to say and interact with the statements made.

If you read the article and you're a Calvinists, don't pull your hair out in frustration. These guys will simply never get it unless they go to God's Word first. Since they won't, Calvinists must call for real dialogue. Allow me to offer a few examples.

The article explains,
He emphasized the importance of starting with an exegesis of scripture, working forward to find a biblical theology and then attempting to develop a systematic theology.
Please notice the paragraph right before this quote. Vines said,
Vines said that the Greek word for "whosoever," which occurs more than a thousand times in the New Testament, carries the idea of "anyone, anywhere, anytime. Whosoever believes in Him is John's normal way of describing saving faith."
I have to chuckle here. There is no Greek word for "whosoever" in John 3:16! (This was the verse being referenced.) Why men like Vines refuse to deal with the arguments of Calvinists, or at least deal with the text I may not ever understand. Nevertheless, please notice two things about this idea of "whosoever".

a) Notice the assumption being made here. Whosoever is being equivocated with ability. Everyone has the ability to choose Christ of their own freewill. How is this definition "exegeted" from the text? It is not. Therefore, we have a terrific example of a human tradition being substituted as God's Word itself.

b) Could "whosoever" mean something else? Does the text give us a different view? The text actually gives us the information needed. "Whosoever" could have the connotation that anyone that is believing will be saved. This does not refer to "ability" but is rather descriptive of the intention of God's saving power. God will save all who are believing, whether they be Jew or Gentile or anything else.

Vines goes on to assert,
"In Scripture God commands men to believe," Vines said, asserting that God would not command people to do what they cannot do.
This is asserted all the time. I have yet to hear a Biblical argument for this. So again, both statements are given with the foundational position of "exegesis". Yet none is offered? Where in the Bible does the Bible teach that God can not command men to do things that he currently does not have the ability to do?

I agree that man had the ability to keep God's laws in the garden prior to the fall. Yet man is now enslaved to sin. Are God's Laws not binding upon him simply because man has fallen into sin and death? Are God's Laws not binding upon him because his nature has been enslaved to sin? What evidence is there for this? If we are going to follow Vines' logic, would he not also deny Original Sin? How is God able to hold me accountable for a sin Adam committed?

I am not certain Vines and his contemporaries are even able to grasp Calvinism, much less Biblical exegesis.

1 comment:

John Lofton, Recovering Republican said...

Calvin-admiring site; please visit/comment.

John Lofton, Editor

Recovering Republican