07 August 2007

Calvin on John 3:16

by Phil Johnson

     love this:

"Although there is nothing in the world deserving of God's favour, He nevertheless shows He is favourable to the whole world when he calls all without exception to the faith of Christ."

Phil's signature


32 comments:

Sewing said...

Amen and good job.

(Sorry for the deleted comments.)

northWord said...

Amen indeed....this is harder for me to fully grasp, specifically in the realm of becoming more Christ-like myself. (see: wide chasm)


Rom 5:8 - "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

Brad Leber said...

John Calvin, Universalist

David Ponter said...

Good spot. I checked out the Latin, he uses propitium, propitious, merciful, favourable.

David

DJP said...

Oooooooh.

donsands said...

"there is nothing in the world deserving of God's favour"

When one understands this, then He understands grace gave him this understanding.

I heard Alistair Begg say, "What would you say to God if you died and stood before Him, and He asked you why you should eneter heaven?"

He said our answer should be, "I don't deserve to enter".

SolaMeanie said...

Don,

Like I often quip to friends, this generation is so narcissistic that if you tell them God loves them, their response is, "Of course He does. What's not to love?"

As I remember, Narcissus was punished for his conceit by being turned into a flower, didn't he?

donsands said...

"What's not to love?"

That is the mind-set in our day for sure.

It's the whole I'm worth saving, and God needs me, and couldn't live without me theology.

I heard a song on Christian radio today with these words:
"You'd rather die, than live without me"
I think it's a big hit.
Makes me ill and sad.

Mike said...

Solameanie,

There's an Italian version of the Narcissus story written around the mid 13th century. (Sorry, I'm an Italian lit student.) In that version, Narcis (as he's called), saw his reflection in a fountain and fell so completely amorously infatuated with it. After a few minutes of struggling with himself, he couldn't bear it any longer, and threw himself into the fountain to try to take hold of his own reflection... and drowned.

Sounds about right, huh?

SJ Camp said...

I also love Calvin on John 3:16:.

I believe the entire quote in proper context is thus:

"And he has employed the universal term whosoever, both to invite all indiscriminately to partake of life, and to cut off every excuse from unbelievers. Such is also the import of the term World, which he formerly used; for though nothing will be found in the world that is worthy of the favor of God, yet he shows himself to be reconciled to the whole world, when he invites all men without exception to the faith of Christ, which is nothing else than an entrance into life."

A little different than what was initially posted on the front page...

Calvin also said this on 3:16:
Christ opens up the first cause, and, as it were, the source of our salvation, and he does so, that no doubt may remain; for our minds cannot find calm repose, until we arrive at the unmerited love of God. As the whole matter of our salvation must not be sought any where else than in Christ, so we must see whence Christ came to us, and why he was offered to be our Savior. Both points are distinctly stated to us: namely, that faith in Christ brings life to all, and that Christ brought life, because the Heavenly Father loves the human race, and wishes that they should not perish. And this order ought to be carefully observed; for such is the wicked ambition which belongs to our nature, that when the question relates to the origin of our salvation, we quickly form diabolical imaginations about our own merits. Accordingly, we imagine that God is reconciled to us, because he has reckoned us worthy that he should look upon us. But Scripture everywhere extols his pure and unmingled mercy, which sets aside all merits.

But we ought to remember — what I have already stated — that the secret love with which the Heavenly Father loved us in himself is higher than all other causes; but that the grace which he wishes to be made known to us, and by which we are excited to the hope of salvation, commences with the reconciliation which was procured through Christ. For since he necessarily hates sin, how shall we believe that we are loved by him, until atonement has been made for those sins on account of which he is justly offended at us? Thus, the love of Christ must intervene for the purpose of reconciling God to us, before we have any experience of his fatherly kindness.


(Even Phil Johnson gets this… :-).)

Let us remember, on the other hand, that while life is promised universally to all who believe in Christ, still faith is not common to all. For Christ is made known and held out to the view of all, but the elect alone are they whose eyes God opens, that they may seek him by faith. Here, too, is displayed a wonderful effect of faith; for by it we receive Christ such as he is given to us by the Father —

...that we live, because God loves us freely by not imputing to us our sins.

SolaMeanie said...

Mike,

I actually like that better. More appropriate and true than turning into a flower, unless the flower was some verdant form of stinkweed. By the way, I am ashamed of my "didn't he" instead of "wasn't he." I haven't been drinking. I promise.

Don,

I heard that song too and was taken aback, to put it mildly. It's a bad day in Christian radio when the Youngbloods' old song "Get Together" makes a more accurate theological statement than what's being played now, and that's not saying much.

Maybe Campi could get a "We Are The World" type recording going with some featured artists. The song could call for a return of biblical theology. I could even loan him my Mellotron software for an eerie, other-worldly effect that would musically match the lava lamp period. Parker Brothers could sponsor the tour, with giveaways of Theological Twister games to lucky winners on local station giveaways.

Antonio said...

Calvin on Mark 14:24

"The word 'many,' does not mean a part of the world only, but the whole human race."

Calvin on John 1:29

"And when he says the sin of the world he extends this kindness indiscriminately to the whole human race."

John Calvin, Sermon's on Isaiah's Prophecy

"For God commends to us the salvation of all men without exception, even as Christ suffered for the sins of the whole world"

John Calvin, Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God

"[it is] incontestable that Christ came for the expiation of the sins of the whole world"

John Calvin on Isaiah 53:12 "He bore the sin of many"

"It is evident from other passages, and especially from the fifth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, that 'many' sometimes denotes 'all.'"

John Calvin on Hebrews 9:28 "Christ once offered to bear the sins of many"

"To bear, or, take away sins, is to free from guilt by his satisfaction those who have sinned. He says the sins of many, that is, of all, as in Romans 5:15"

John Calvin Insititutes III.i.1

"He has suffered... for the salvation of the human race"

Phil Johnson said...

SJ Camp: "A little different than what was initially posted on the front page.."

How so? An additional point, perhaps, but certainly not a contradictory one.

In Calvin's words (I notice you didn't boldface this phrase): "Both points are distinctly stated to us: namely, that faith in Christ brings life to all, and that Christ brought life, because the Heavenly Father loves the human race, and wishes that they should not perish."

Notice that Calvin is emphatically affirming the very thing some of our commenters have attempted to deny.

Notice also that when Calvin speaks of "secret love" in the next paragraph, he is distinguishing between God's universal love for humanity and God's particular love for the elect. Exactly what we have been saying.

Thanks for the quote, Steve. I couldn't post all that, what with the 50-word limit and all, but I'm glad you did.

donsands said...

"It's a bad day in Christian radio when the Youngbloods' old song "Get Together""

Very funny my brother.

I'd much rather here Jesse Colin Young singing: "When He returns for us at last". Amen.

SJ Camp said...

Phil:
I spoke with a theologian today well-versed in Calvin's material. When I asked him about this commentary on John 3:16 and some of the phrases that we both have emphasized... was Calvin using "whole world/without exception" language to mean every single individual, or making a comparison between something else?

He stated that he thought Calvin was speaking as the Apostle John was in his epistle (i.e. 1 John 2:2); where the scope of the whole world is not every individual, but the universality of the message. IOW's, not just for us (the Apostles), or for the Jews, but for "all."

In fact, on the quotes that I posted here, he went on to say that the first phrase sets the context: And he has employed the universal term whosoever, both to invite all indiscriminately to partake of life, and to cut off every excuse from unbelievers.

"All" here meaning the elect to salvation AND the unbelievers to be cut off... But not all in regards to the equality of an offer unto salvation. If we read Calvin's words in that light, then the "without exception" is not referring to every person ever created, but to all kinds of people from the four corners of the world.

This would seem to jive with what we read in passages like John 17; John 6:35-44; John 10; Eph. 1:4-14, etc.

What are your thoughts on this? It seems to be legitimate and plausible interpretation of Calvin's words, but I do not possess a thorough knowledge on Calvin to be dogmatic either way.

I thought that possibly you might.

One thing is for sure, both of us being Chicago men, I am certain we agree there is no finer place to partake of America's favorite pass-time than at Wrigley Field (with or without the lights.)

VIVIT
Steve
2 Cor. 4:5-7

David Ponter said...

This is long, apologies to Phil.

I have been reading Calvin systematically now for 3 years. When I saw this I want to show how one ought to approach Calvin.

Calvin must read "exegeted" using standard hermeneutics, eg let Calvin interpret Calvin.

Camp says:

I spoke with a theologian today well-versed in Calvin's material.[edi]

He stated that he thought Calvin was speaking as the Apostle John was in his epistle (i.e. 1 John 2:2); where the scope of the whole world is not every individual, but the universality of the message. IOW's, not just for us (the Apostles), or for the Jews, but for "all."

David says:

Well the jump to 1 John 2:2 is tricky. There Calvin believes John is limited the world to the church, and those who should believe scattered throughout the world. However, he, himself is not using “world” uniformly in his discussion, nor should one think that everywhere else Calvin understood “world” in the same where. Here is one example, Calvin:

Whenever, therefore, we hear this designation applied to the devil, let us be ashamed of our miserable condition; for, whatever may be the pride of men, they are the slaves of the devil, till they are regenerated by the Spirit of Christ; for under the term world is here included the whole human race. Calvin, John 14:30

David: There are other instances where he speaks of the judgement of the world or Christ as judge of the world. Or even where he defines world as the world of the reprobate, as in John 17:21.

Then you speak you suggest that Calvin means to simply contrast others over and against the Jews. That surely is not allowable when he speaks of the whole human race, and wishing none to perish. I have yet to find a single instance where the phrase for Calvin “whole human race” means something like that. I have seen where he contrasts its against another class or set. Eg, the whole human race, except for Noah and his family, perished. But never where he uses that phrase to denote the elect, the church, or some indefinite expression of a “class” or group, apart from the totality of particulars within that class.

And then we have the other problem of other references. Take this one for example, Calvin:

So let us learn (following what I have already mentioned) to know in everything and by everything the inestimable goodness of our God. For as He declared His love toward mankind when He spared not His Only Son but delivered Him to death for sinners, also He declares a love which He bears especially toward us when by His Holy Spirit He touches us by the knowledge of our sins and He makes us wail and draws us to Himself with repentance. Calvin, Sermons on the Deity of Christ, Sermon 6, Matt 26:67-27:10, p, 108.

See again, Phil is right. The love in 3:16 is the general revealed love, which he opposes to the special electing love.

And this one, Calvin:

True it is, that this word, saviour, is oftentimes in holy writ given to the son of God: because it is he that hath fulfilled & brought to perfect end, whatsoever was requisite to our salvation... But yet notwithstanding, it is not also without cause, that in this place, S. Paul gives God the father this title:& wherefore? Let us see from whence Jesus Christ came unto us. He was sent us from God his father, for so the scripture witnesses, God so loved the world, that he spared not his own begotten son, but delivered him to death for us [John 3:16, 1 John 4:9]. Therefore, whenever we behold our salvation in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, we must come to the very head and fountain from whence he came to us, that is to say, from the love which God bare unto mankind. And this is the reason wherefore S. Paul calls God Our Saviour: giving us to wit, by this word, that so oft as we think upon the profit which Jesus Christ has brought us, & we have gotten by him, we should lift up our hearts more high, and know, that God having pity upon the lost state wherein all the stock of Adam was, meant to provide for it, & therefore, gave this remedy, to wit, our Saviour Jesus Christ, who came to draw us out of the bottomless pit of death were in we were. Calvin, Sermons on 1 Timothy, Sermon 1, 1:1-2, p., 5.

Note the references to “mankind” and “all the stock of Adam.”

And one more, where again he speaks of the love of 3:16 as a general love, to be distinguished from his special electing love:

It is true that Saint John says generally, that he loved the world. And why? For Jesus Christ offers himself generally to all men without exception to be their redeemer. It is said afterward in the covenant, that God loved the world when he sent his only son: but he loved us, us (I say) which have been taught by his Gospel, because he gathered us to him. And the faithful that are enlightened by the holy Ghost, have yet a third use of God's love, in that he reveals himself more familiarly to them, and seals up his fatherly adoption by his holy Spirit, and engraves it upon their hearts. Now then, let us in all cases learn to know this love of God, & when we be once come to it, let us go no further.

Thus we see three degrees of the love of God as shown us in our Lord Jesus Christ. The first is in respect of the redemption that was purchased in the person of him that gave himself to death for us, and became accursed to reconcile us to God his father. That is the first degree of love, which extends to all men, inasmuch as Jesus Christ reaches out his arms to call and allure all men both great and small, and to win them to him. But there is a special love for those to whom the gospel is preached: which is that God testifies unto them that he will make them partakers of that benefit that was purchased for them by the death and passion of his son.

And for as much as we be of that number, therefore are we are double bound already to our God: here are two bonds which hold us as it were straightened unto him. Now let us come to the third bond, which depends upon the third love that God shows us: which is, that he not only causes the gospel to be preached unto us, but also makes us to feel the power thereof, not doubting but that our sins are forgiven us for our Lord Jesus Christ's sake... Calvin, Sermons on Deuteronomy, Sermon, 28, 4:36-27, p., 167.

David: Clearly the love of 3:16 for Calvin was a general love for all, for the whole human race. And theologically, this how he reads this verse lines up well with his reading of Matt 23:37, 2 Pet 3:9 and Ps 81:13,

Camp: In fact, on the quotes that I posted here, he went on to say that the first phrase sets the context: And he has employed the universal term whosoever, both to invite all indiscriminately to partake of life, and to cut off every excuse from unbelievers.

"All" here meaning the elect to salvation AND the unbelievers to be cut off... But not all in regards to the equality of an offer unto salvation. If we read Calvin's words in that light, then the "without exception" is not referring to every person ever created, but to all kinds of people from the four corners of the world.

David: Normally folk try and say that “all without distinction” means some of all without distinction. We know, too, that “all” here does not mean all who have ever lived and who are now dead. The Gospel is not offered to the residents of hades. But his language is clear, Calvin does not simply mean all kinds of people are invited, in some indefinite sense, that _all_ to whom the gospel comes, all are invited.

Camp: This would seem to jive with what we read in passages like John 17; John 6:35-44; John 10; Eph. 1:4-14, etc.

David: Well I don’t know about Jiving. On Jn 17 he says that John in that chapter is using world to denote the world of reprobate. So I am not sure how that helps you. What in John 10 and Eph 1:4-14 do you think helps your interpretation of Calvin? Are you saying that Calvin’s language in 3:16 commentary fits your theology, or your assumptions regarding Calvin? I am asking, what actually are you saying your interpretation of Calvin on 3:16 fits with? what you understand or believe about something or what Calvin actually says in or on those verse ranges? If the former, that is not a good way to read Calvin, and can tend to circularity and question begging.

Calvin on Jn 6:36: But I have told you. He now reproves them for wickedly rejecting the gift of God, which is offered to them. Now, that man is chargeable with wicked contempt of God, who rejects what he knows that God has given
him.

We can go to a parallel statement in John, which images John 3:17. Here Calvin says:

If any man hear my words. After having spoken concerning his grace, and exhorted his disciples to steady faith, he now begins to strike the rebellious, though even here he mitigates the severity due to the wickedness of those who deliberately--as it were--reject God; for he delays to pronounce judgment on them, because, on the contrary, he has come for the salvation of all. In the first place, we ought to understand that he does not speak here of all unbelievers without distinction, but of those who, knowingly and willingly, reject the doctrine of the Gospel which has been exhibited to them. Why then does Christ not choose to condemn them? It is because he lays aside for a time the office of a judge, and offers salvation to all without reserve, and stretches out his arms to embrace all, that all may be the more encouraged to repent. And yet there is a circumstance of no small moment, by which he points out the aggravation of the crime, if they reject an invitation so kind and gracious, for it is as if he had said, “Lo, I am here to invite all, and, forgetting the character of a judge, I have this as my single object, to persuade all, and to rescue from destruction those who are already twice ruined.” No man, therefore, is condemned on account of having despised the Gospel, except he who, disdaining the lovely message of salvation, has chosen of his own accord to draw down destruction on himself. The word judge, as is evident from the word save, which is contrasted with it, here signifies to condemn. Now this ought to be understood as referring to the office which properly and naturally belongs to Christ; for that unbelievers are not more severely condemned on account of the Gospel is accidental, and does not arise from its nature, as we have said on former occasions. Calvin, John 12:47

Here is another example:

To the lost sheep of the house of Israel. He bestows the designation of sheep of the house of Israel not on the elect only, but on all who were descended from the holy fathers; for the Lord had included all in the covenant, and was promised indiscriminately to all as a Redeemer, as he also revealed and offered himself to all without exception. It is worthy of observation, that he declares himself to have been sent to LOST sheep, as he assures us in another passage that he came to save that which was lost, (Matthew 18:11.) Now as we enjoy this favor, at the present day, in common with the Jews, we learn what our condition is till he appear as our Savior. Calvin Matt 15:24.

This jives well with Calvin’s point on Jn 3:16 that Christ was sent to deliver and save the world.

David

David Ponter said...

Dang, I goofed.

How does one delete a post on blogger?

Oh well, here:

1) Then you suggest that Calvin means to simply contrast others over and against the Jews.

2)But his language is clear, Calvin does not simply mean all kinds of people are invited, in some indefinite sense, but that _all_ to whom the gospel comes, all are invited.

David

Sewing said...

David:

If you're logged into Blogger and viewing these comments in the pop-up comment window (not the full page version of the post with both post and comments), then there should be a little trash/garbage/rubbish bin icon immediately below the timestamp on your comment. Click on it and follow the prompts to delete the comment.

SJ Camp said...

David P.
It's nice you've discovered the cut and paste feature on your computer, but a little brevity would probably be more helpful. You tend to be needlessly exhausting.

The issue here ultimately is not Calvin--but what does Scripture clearly teach. Direct our thoughts there--make your case there. I think it's interesting that you rarely quote the Word of God in presenting your views. You and your boy Friday seem content to simply find agreeable phrases by word searching confessions and commentaries.

Case in point--you conclude after your massive Calvin quotations: This jives well with Calvin’s point on Jn 3:16 that Christ was sent to deliver and save the world.

Your words not only wrongly sum up Calvin, but nowhere in Scripture did Jesus come to deliver and save the entire world. Once again, you sound more Arminian with every comment you try to interject into this discussion.

Think biblically David... it will serve you well.

YnottonY said...

Mr. Camp said:

"The issue here ultimately is not Calvin--but what does Scripture clearly teach."

No one disagrees with the view that scripture is what ULTIMATELY matters. However, you made the historical claim that you agree with Calvin ("I also love Calvin on John 3:16"), when in fact you do not. You also claimed that David's "words...wrongly sum up Calvin..." You also said that David sounds "more Arminian with every comment you try to interject into this discussion." That's another historical claim. Honesty requires us to not only treat the scriptures carefully and accurately, but also the statements by men and teachers throughout history. If you want to make historical claims or accusations, then don't abandon that subject and bring up another one once you're rightly challenged on the historical accuracy of your views/accusations.

Mr. Camp also said this:

"nowhere in Scripture did Jesus come to deliver and save the entire world."

David already asked you this, but you deliberately chose not to respond. One wonders why. Do you deny that God wills the salvation of all mankind, including the non-elect? Your above statement seems to say that. If you answer in the negative, i.e. that God in no sense wills the salvation of any of the non-elect, then that just goes to show that our differences (the differenes between you, Phil, John MacArthur, Frank and Dan) over common grace and the love of God are not merely semantic, as you have claimed.

As another has already pointed out, Calvin says this in 3:16:

"the Heavenly Father loves the human race, and wishes that they should not perish."

"For as men are not easily convinced that God loves them, in order to remove all doubt, he has expressly stated that we are so very dear to God that, on our account, he did not even spare his only-begotten Son. Since, therefore, God has most abundantly testified his love towards us, whoever is not satisfied with this testimony, and still remains in doubt, offers a high insult to Christ, as if he had been an ordinary man given up at random to death."

You don't agree with Calvin. At least be honest about that, and then go on in your historical indifference to talk about what the bible says.

YnottonY said...

p.s. Think biblically and historically, Mr Camp... it will serve you well.

YnottonY said...

Mr. Camp made this historical claim as well:

"You and your boy Friday seem content to simply find agreeable phrases by word searching confessions and commentaries."

You're suggesting above that we're just taking phrases and confessional statements out of their original context just to back up our system preferences. You're making quite a few historical claims, Mr. Camp. One just wishes that you would study primary sources and the history of theology before making these claims. However, once you are challenged in the field of historical theology, you seem to want to abandon that subject quickly, and move to another.

Ad Fontes! To the sources! This was a cry of the Reformation. It not only involved going back to the original sources of the bible, but also to various teachers throughout history to see what they said in context.

With respect to Sola Scriptura, Dr. Richard Muller said:

"Finally, it ought to be noted that sola Scriptura was never meant as a denial of the usefulness of the Christian tradition as a subordinate norm in theology. The views of the Reformers developed out of a debate in the late medieval theology over the relation of Scripture and tradition, one party viewing the two as coequal norms, the other party viewing Scripture as the absolute and therefore prior norm, but allowing tradition a derivative but important secondary role in doctrinal statement. The Reformers and the Protestant orthodox held the latter view, on the assumption that tradition was a useful guide, that the trinitarian and christological statements of Nicaea, Constantinople, and Chalcedon were expressions of biblical truth, and that the great teachers of the church provided valuable instruction in theology that always needed to be evaluated in the light of Scripture. We encounter, particularly in the scholastic era of Protestantism, a profound interest in the patristic period and a critical, but often substantive, use of ideas and patterns enunciated by the medieval doctors."

Richard Muller, Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms: Drawn Principally from Protestant Scholastic Theology (Baker, 1985), page 284.

History mattered to the Reformers and Calvinistic thinkers after them, and it should matter to us as well. It matters to Phil, and that's one of the reasons why Phil posted the Calvin quote(s) above.

David Ponter said...

Hey Camp,

Camp says:

It's nice you've discovered the cut and paste feature on your computer, but a little brevity would probably be more helpful. You tend to be needlessly exhausting.

David: Who has not discovered cut and paste? Once when I was speaking to Richard Muller about doing a Ph.D at Calvin Seminary, he said to me that the cool thing now is that a lot of Calvin is online so one can perform word and term searches and then use that. So I figure if Muller can think that, so can I.

But apart from that, this remark misses the mark. Not only is it unkind its not helpful. Not everything from Calvin is online and so requires reading: which is what I have been doing. Anyway, I don’t need to defend myself do I.

I will take the brevity comment. My problem is that I don’t want to be a superficial researcher. Nor do I want to just shoot off superficial and widely and wildly inaccurate responses. I try to be judicious and thoughtful. If the post is too long for you, I would encourage you to cut and paste them into a word processor, print and read them at your leisure. I never expect a person to read, comprehend and reply to what I say in a few hours.

Btw, who was your Calvin scholar?

Camp:
The issue here ultimately is not Calvin--but what does Scripture clearly teach.

David: Well I am not sure what to say to this. You made a specific claim regarding Calvin. It was vague, but it was specific. I addressed that historical claim. It is true that ultimately it is what Scripture teaches. Is it okay for your Calvin scholar to make historical claims regarding Calvin, but not me?

Camp: Direct our thoughts there--make your case there.

David: okay, I will try to take from you with in the best light I can.

Camp: I think it's interesting that you rarely quote the Word of God in presenting your views.

David: Why would you say that? On what basis? What discussions of mine have you seen that you could then make that extrapolation? But all that side, how does that help you? You consulted your Calvin scholar, made a claim, and then I countered with documentation from Calvin. I am sorry that you thought it too long–I really am–but I really did think that it would be helpful and informative to both you and your Calvin scholar.

Camp: You and your boy Friday

David: Do you see how rude this is? You should be embarrassed here Camp. If you said this to me I could pass it off, but you say this to someone else.

Camp:[...] seem content to simply find agreeable phrases by word searching confessions and commentaries.

David: What to say to that? It speaks an allegation to my method. Should I explain it? Its like any scientific claim. One side makes a claim regarding a set of data. Another side may seek to test, confirm and/or falsify the claim from the data. So that contrary side examines the data, looking for evidence for that. The scientific method forms a theory and then tests it. It looks not only for confirming evidence but also disconfirming evidence. And it seeks to explain any gliches (disconfirming evidence or even just plain gaps) or the tenets from either side. One side provides a counter, the other tests that and offers an alternative explanation of the data, while seeking to show that the opponent’s view is not doing justice to that data.

You have alleged that I am just basically ransacking Calvin to find quotations that match up with what I want him to say. Is that a fair assessment of what you think about my motives and method? If so I disagree.

Camp: Case in point--you conclude after your massive Calvin quotations: This jives well with Calvin’s point on Jn 3:16 that Christ was sent to deliver and save the world.

David: But Camp, I don’t see any counter-factual evidence by you to disprove anything I have said regarding Calvin. Would not we all be better edified if you simply addressed the historical argument?

Camp: Your words not only wrongly sum up Calvin, but nowhere in Scripture did Jesus come to deliver and save the entire world.

David: Again counter-factural evidence direct from Calvin would be much better.

But that aside, if I understand you correctly, you are saying, my reading of Calvin is wrong, because Scripture–as you allege–says otherwise. Is that fair of me? I form that conclusion because of the presence of the “but” as if that somehow follows the clause regarding wrongly summing up Calvin.

Could it not be that Calvin didn’t understand Scripture in the same way you do? But now the dilemma, if I cite Calvin to refute you, you will re-allege all the claims you make about my “method” and “motives” again. :-( All I can say is perhaps take a read of John 12:46-48, with Calvin. The man who rejects, is presented as the exemplification of the world which rejects. This world which rejects, Christ did not come to condemn, but to save. I address some of this here: Robert, John, and John, and the Two Johns on John 3:16

You can browse the subject and versal categories I have created. I don’t want to come across trite, but I have you read Calvin on 2 Pet 3:9, Mt 23:37, Ps 81:13? And again, I am not trying to demean you, but did you read the quotations from Calvin on 3: 16 I posted last night?

Camp: Once again, you sound more Arminian with every comment you try to interject into this discussion.

David: well if that means lumping me with Calvin, then I take that as a badge of honour. ;-)

Camp: Think biblically David... it will serve you well.

David: With due respect, I would encourage you to expand your thinking.

And take a look at our previous interaction on grace. I did post verses and did argue from them directly. You never replied, you blew me off. I say that in my defence.

Take care,
David

David Ponter said...

Re: deleting posts.

Thanks so much Sewing.

I learnt something good.

David

SJ Camp said...

David P.
Hopefully this will clarify my views a bit more for you. I wasn't trying to be rude to you before... But let's be honest, you and Tony are known for blitzing blogs and trolling things up with those you may disagree and it does get a bit overwhelming trying to dialogue with you. I meant no personal offense.

Let me know your thoughts on the following AND briefly if possible :-).

You said, "The love in 3:16 is the general revealed love, which he opposes to the special electing love."

I disagree.

The context of John 3:16 is one of redemption: God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son..." This is the language of sacrifice; substitution; and salvation. God is seen here as pursuing the lost. God's love in redemption is not used in a general sense. It is specific. As you know, when the Word of God speaks of God's love in relation to Christ's redeeming work, it is used for those whom He came to redeem and not in a general sense.

Consider:
Rom. 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Eph. 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

1 John 4:9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Also, Jesus came my brother, not with the language of romanticism, as you have used, to "reach out his arms to allure all men both great and small, and to win them to him."

Allure all men..." - an interesting choice of words. Allure means "to entice by charm or attraction; the power of fascination" (Merriam/Webster). Certainly this nomenclature does not represent the biblical reality of the Father drawing in John 6:35-44; or of His sovereign election in Eph. 1:4-6; nor does it represent redemption in Christ Jesus our Lord in Eph. 1:7-12.

This is Arminian-toned verbiage that I would expect from the Emergent Village; but not from reformed brethren as you.

You said, "Are you saying that Calvin’s language in 3:16 commentary fits your theology...?" Taken in context with the whole of his theology --yes.

I'm not sure why the need to be "general" about the love of God in the broad brush concerning John 3:16; when the analogy of Scripture I believe says something differently than just taking one verse in isolation.

I.e. - like the Romanists taking James 2:24 to validate justification by works...

Note the phrase, "God has sent His only begotten Son into the world" in 1 John 4:9 and then parallel it with the same language of John 3:16.

Next the question surfaces why did He send His Son? "...so that we might live through Him." This again, is not general love given, but, the language of redemption.

Enough said - I'm done on this thread for now.

After reading your posts again, I honestly think that we agree on more than we disagree. But, IMHO, how you communicate what you believe is more than nuanced and leads to confusion.

In the sovereign electing love of God and of Jesus Christ our Lord and in His Holy Spirit who has shed God's love abroad in our hearts...

Steve
1 John 3:1

YnottonY said...

Mr. Camp said:

"Allure all men..." - an interesting choice of words."

"This is Arminian-toned verbiage that I would expect from the Emergent Village; but not from reformed brethren as you."

Once again, notice the historical claim, i.e. such "verbiage" is "Arminian-toned." When challenged on the use of that terminology by Reformed men historically to reference God's revealed will that all men be saved, you will probably want to change the subject quickly and say, "Why can't we just discuss the bible?"

So many more quotes by Reformed men could be posted, but here's some material by the Puritan and Westminster man, Thomas Manton, an apparently Arminian fellow:

"...but he is a profane man indeed that despiseth the gospel, because it offereth such an excellent salvation; that is profaneness, to slight God's best provision, to scorn his bowels, and, when the Lord hath made the bait an allurement so strong to gain man's heart, yet to turn his back upon it."

Thomas Manton, SEVERAL SERMONS UPON TITUS 2: 11-14 (Works, vol. 16, Sermon 1).

"So how angry will the Lord be against those that despise his grace, and all the renewed offers and messages of love, and prefer the profits and pleasures of the world before him. It may be you do not return a rough and churlish answer, and are not scorners and opposers of the word, but you slight God's sweetest message, when he comes in the sweetest and mildest way. The complaint in the gospel was, Matt. 11:17, ' We have piped unto you, and you have not danced.' It is not, We have thundered unto you, and you were not startled; but, We have piped, and ye have not danced. Not to take notice of these sweet allurements and blandishments of grace, that is very sad: Heb. 2: 3, ' How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?' The greatness of the benefit aggravates the sin. It is great salvation that is offered; there is an offer of pardon and eternal life, but it worketh not if you neglect it."

Thomas Manton, SEVERAL SERMONS UPON TITUS 2: 11-14 (Works, vol. 16, Sermon 1).

And, rather than post piles more from Calvin the great Arminian, the reader can just click HERE to find Calvin's use of allurement terminology to refer to God's will that all be saved.

YnottonY said...

You said this as well, Mr. Camp:

"...you and Tony are known for blitzing blogs and trolling things up with those you may disagree..."

I could understand why you would say this about me, but to say that about David is slanderous, and another example of your historical inaccuracies. He's really just active on his own blog and discussion board, and rarely comments elsewhere, which is why Phil said to him recently, "Long time, no see. Welcome to our blog." David very rarely comments here at TeamPyro, and almost as rarely at other blogs.

Furthermore, if I was "trolling" on Arminian blogs and challenging them, I would probably be applauded. But, since I am so commonly challenging uber-Calvininsts on their theological and historical errors, you and your ilk don't like that. Your own toes are being stepped on. You would rather that I just drink hemlock (i.e. go away) and cease from corrupting the youth :-)

The truth of the following shall not be gagged:

"The general love of God toward mankind is so clearly testified in Holy Scripture, and so demonstrated by the manifold effects of God's goodness and mercy extended to every particular man in this world, that to doubt thereof were infidelity, and to deny it plain blasphemy." - John Davenant's Answer to Hoard, p. 1.

SJ Camp said...

Tony:
Unfortunately, words and their meaning do change. The context culturally, in some cases, may alter their meaning as well. One of the most vivid examples, in our time, would be the word "gay."

Not too many generations ago it meant brightly colored, cheerfulness, light-hearted, happy, showy, carefree, etc. If you look up the word today the first meanings given are referring to being homosexual; the state of ones sexual orientation having an attraction of the same sex, etc.

"Allurement" in Manton's day might have had a more congenial and acceptable meaning--even when expressing aspects of the faith. BUT today, when someone refers to "being allured", it usually carries with it the idea of seduction, charmed, tempted, excited, etc.

You know this already.

So once again, doing a word search of past Puritan works on the word "allure" isn't significant and doesn't make your case. When any of us employ non-biblical language to describe aspects of the faith we need to be careful, teachable, and not defensive.

Jesus Christ did not "reach out his arms to call and allure all men " (I think I hear Barry Manilow singing in the background.)

As a Christian songwriter, one of the great challenges is to say things in a fresh way without going against the truth of Scripture. The worship craze in CCM has been very good in some cases; and other times, the Lord is represented by what I call, "God is my girlfriend songs."

When speaking of the nature or character of our Lord, I would think we would use the most reverent of terms, not the most convenient or emotionally charged ones.

Lastly, I was not slandering David by saying the two of you storm the blogosphere as a tag team on certain issues.

Common grace to you,
Steve
2 Cor. 4:5-7

David Ponter said...

Hey Mr Camp,

I will try and keep this brief. I don’t want this to spiral down in more than it has. It’s never wise to take theological discussion this personal as you have started to do as it only ends in messiness. I will take the time tho to clarify things here. I am also more than willing to invite you to further discuss these issues.

You can do that in a number of places:

1) The Calvin and Calvinism yahoo list.

2) Theology Online

3) The Theology List

4) Paltalk. I have a room called John Calvin’s Calvinism.

Edited comment coming up:
Camp says:
Hopefully this will clarify my views a bit more for you. I wasn't trying to be rude to you before...I meant no personal offense.

David says: well it was rude nonetheless. It only demeans Tony. This sort of personal attack needs to stop. If we cant agree theologically, we need to learn to still be able to polite as best as we can. I really would encourage you to respond to Tony and apologise. For example, it would be just totally wrong of me to make some sort of association between you and someone else and allege you were just his lackey or something. It would demean you, even if I said it to that other person. Right?

Camp says: But let's be honest, you and Tony are known for blitzing blogs and trolling things up with those you may disagree and it does get a bit overwhelming trying to dialogue with you

David says: Let me be clear here, your claim is that I am 1) known, for 2) “blitzing blogs, and 3) trolling.

I would like to know by whom I am “known” to do these things? I would like to face my accusers.

To the blitzing, if I refute that, I refute 3). This accusation has been propagated on the net before, and it is just a straightforward falsehood.

Google my name and see how many blogs I actually have posted at and the nature of the material. Here are all the ones I can recall.

Tony Byrne’s blog. I don’t consider that evidence of blitzing and trolling. Tony is a friend.

Steve Costly’s blog, ditto. Steve is a friend.

Marty Ford’s blog, just recently, and he is another long time friend.

Per caritem: I posted there because she was interacting with the Muller thesis. I had a short discussion with her, a year ago and have not posted since.

Keith Plummer’s, another friend, and only a few thank you comments and joking around.

Mark Horne’s blog. A long time friend, based on our mutual work on the free offer topic. No trolling, no blitzing, never raised any of these issues there that I can recall: definitely not to “trolling”.

Green Baggins, not a friend as such, but made 1 or 2 question comment posts. He is associated with my blog. Ditto for Contend Earnestly blog. And these are very recent.

Founders Blog: I posted there asking this fellow Bristopoly to source his claims regarding malista, and some other incidental matters;eg the meaning of Isa 65:2 etc. I think there were 3 exegetical/lexical claims he made had a brief prickly interaction with him over these. There was no blitzing or trolling.

Triablogue: many years ago, nothing about these issues as I recall, only non-related incidental comments.

Steve Camp’s blog: that was to point out to you that you were using an Amyraldian, JC Ryle to refute or in the context of the complaints against the Chan video, as you had implied that Chan may indeed, truly be a Calminian: I think we all might be assuming something in this discussion.. Is Pastor Chan a true five point Calvinist? Does he claim to be reformed in his soteriology? This video might not be a blip on the radar screen, but his true beliefs on film. Could he be a four point Calminian? :-). (I have emailed him but as of yet have not heard back from him).

Then on your blog, you posted, Ryle, a 4 pointer, on penal substitution, which I thought was very funny and ironic. I wanted to let you know that you were citing a 4 pointer, against, and in the context of a complaint against another 4 pointer.

Strange baptist fire: Yes, I did post here, in response to the Bruce Ware material, and time and time again I sought their permission to post. At no time did the ask me to stop or go away.

So please, this falsehood about me has to stop. And it has to stop being expanded and reproduced.

I will grant that it can be overwhelming. I have never thought it was easy stuff and could be "hammered out" in just a few rounds of debate. However, I believe I have always extended a willingness to discuss and offered contexts for anyone willing to discuss. What happens is, only a few take me up. What I will not allow in these other contexts is flame-fests and attacks.

to be continued

David Ponter said...

I should added Pyro, and even here the content as been minimal and more related to the free offer as I recall.

David

David Ponter said...

Camp: Let me know your thoughts on the following AND briefly if possible :-).

David: Do you really want to hear from me? :-)

Camp: You said, "The love in 3:16 is the general revealed love, which he opposes to the special electing love."
I disagree.

David: That’s fine. Both interpretations of this verse have had strong historical backers. For the general side, we’ve got God, Calvin, Musculus, Bullinger, and others, up to the famous John Ball of the 1640s, to Manton, the leader of the English Presbyterians in the 17thC. We have some WCF divines like Arrowsmith, another English Presbyterian. In later time we had such folk like Thomas Boston, and in the 19thC, folk Thomas Chalmers, C Hodge, Shedd, Dabney etc. And Bavinck if I recall correctly. Many of these men had their own take on the verse in terms of some implications, but they held that the world here is apostate mankind, non-elect inclusive, and that the love was not electing. And many more.

I am starting to document these comments here: John 3:16

Camp:
The context of John 3:16 is one of redemption: God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son..." This is the language of sacrifice; substitution; and salvation. God is seen here as pursuing the lost. God's love in redemption is not used in a general sense. It is specific. As you know, when the Word of God speaks of God's love in relation to Christ's redeeming work, it is used for those whom He came to redeem and not in a general sense.

David: I agree and yet I disagree. I agree that the context indicates Christ’s provision for the world, I disagree if you insist that the giving has to be only decretal and electingly efficacious. I believe Tony has already cited Ryle on the John 6 passage of Christ being _given_ to the world, in some non-decretal and efficacious sense. The Marronmen on this verse are another case in point. They held it was a giving of Christ to all, but not effectively.

What is happening, it seems to me, is that you are filtering the language in any given verse through a theological grid. That then determines meaning for you at the theological level, which I think you then equate with meaning at the semantic level: which would be wrong to do. But that last aside, as that’s not really the point I want to make now, my point is: I filter the words through a different theological grid. I don’t get the impression you are sensitive to this.

To explain that, I mean, you cite other verses, which in themselves, at the text level, do not prove your theological grid, but act as if they should, to me. I read some or all those verses differently. What is not happening is our working through our presuppositions and assumptions. But that cannot be done if one has to post only short blurbs. It takes more than mutual potshots etc.

So before I get into the verses, let’s go back to Calvin. Recall that your Calvin scholar made a claim regarding Calvin. I challenged that claim. I posted material from the man.

Let me repost 2 again, and I want you to look at carefully:

So let us learn (following what I have already mentioned) to know in everything and by everything the inestimable goodness of our God. For as He declared His _love_ toward _mankind_ when He spared not His Only Son but delivered Him to death for sinners, also He declares a _love_ which He bears _especially_ toward us when by His Holy Spirit He touches us by the knowledge of our sins and He makes us wail and draws us to Himself with repentance. Calvin, Sermons on the Deity of Christ, Sermon 6, Matt 26:67-27:10, p, 108.

David: See there, the allusion to 3:16 conflated with Rom 8:32.

Calvin again:

1. It is true that Saint John says generally, that he loved the world. And why? For Jesus Christ offers himself generally to all men without exception to be their redeemer. It is said afterward in the covenant, that God loved the world when he sent his only son: but he loved us, us (I say) which have been taught by his Gospel, because he gathered us to him. And the faithful that are enlightened by the holy Ghost, have yet a third use of God's love, in that he reveals himself more familiarly to them, and seals up his fatherly adoption by his holy Spirit, and engraves it upon their hearts. Now then, let us in all cases learn to know this love of God, & when we be once come to it, let us go no further.

Thus we see three degrees of the love of God as shown us in our Lord Jesus Christ. The first is in respect of the redemption that was purchased in the person of him that gave himself to death for us, and became accursed to reconcile us to God his father. That is the first degree of love, which extends to all men, inasmuch as Jesus Christ reaches out his arms to call and allure all men both great and small, and to win them to him. But there is a special love for those to whom the gospel is preached: which is that God testifies unto them that he will make them partakers of that benefit that was purchased for them by the death and passion of his son.

And for as much as we be of that number, therefore are we are double bound already to our God: here are two bonds which hold us as it were straightened unto him. Now let us come to the third bond, which depends upon the third love that God shows us: which is, that he not only causes the gospel to be preached unto us, but also makes us to feel the power thereof, not doubting but that our sins are forgiven us for our Lord Jesus Christ's sake... Calvin, Sermons on Deuteronomy, Sermon, 28, 4:36-27, p., 167.

David: There are three degrees of love, says Calvin. The first is the one which he connects with the love of 3:16. Look at the logic, he loved the world BUT he loved us who have been taught by the Gospel, which he then explains as a more special love.

The doctrine of three degrees of love is standard in Reformed theology. I am also cataloguing this too here General Love

I really do think you should be interacting with these and the others I have cited from Calvin, before you make general statements about his theology, and with no documentation at that.

David: now to the verses

Camp: Consider: Rom. 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

David: There are a few things here. Citing Rom 5:8, even if we all assume that the “us” there references the elect, does not prove that every other divine statement regarding God’s love and “giving” is electing. We know from John 6, as Tony posted, citing Ryle as well, that Christ was also “given” to the pharisees, in some sense.

Camp: Eph. 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

David: Fine. But you see, I don’t work on the assumption that God only loves the elect. So I don’t see this as compelling proof that the love of 3:16 has to electing love. See my point? It strikes me that this line of reasoning could only compel if it were the case that there was only one expression of divine love which gives of itself seeking the salvation of men.

Why I say that, is because your assumptions are being tabled as if they should be mine.

Camp:
1 John 4:9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

David: Again, even if we agreed that the love here is electing, it does not preclude that the love of 3:16 is not non-electing. Recall Calvin on Jn 3:16, the commentary, he spoke of a ‘secret’ love, which he distinguished from the love of 3:16 for the whole human race. See: Calvin on John 3:16-17. and here: Calvin on the extent of world in John 3:16

And above, Calvin identifies the love of 3:16 with the first degree of love which is general, and to all without exception.

Camp:
Also, Jesus came my brother, not with the language of romanticism, as you have used, to "reach out his arms to allure all men both great and small, and to win them to him."

David: I only “used” that word insofar as I quoted Calvin using that word. That was Calvin, I simply copied his own language.

Camp: Allure all men..." - an interesting choice of words. Allure means "to entice by charm or attraction; the power of fascination" (Merriam/Webster). Certainly this nomenclature does not represent the biblical reality of the Father drawing in John 6:35-44; or of His sovereign election in Eph. 1:4-6; nor does it represent redemption in Christ Jesus our Lord in Eph. 1:7-12.

David: But go back up and re-read what Calvin said on Jn 3:16 in the very quotation you have pulled “allure” from and read where he says it is redemptive. Your problem is not with me, it is with Calvin. You want to say, “no David, you are wrong on Calvin...” but instead of showing me why I am wrong on Calvin, you argue that I am wrong on Scripture. But that formally begs the question. Perhaps Calvin was wrong on Scripture too. Its to his statements you need to look if you want to say I am wrong on Calvin. Shifting the terms of the discussion to Scripture is not going to solve the historical question. Secondly, I really don’t think we have to stop using “allure” now because some nowadays read it one way.

Camp: This is Arminian-toned verbiage that I would expect from the Emergent Village; but not from reformed brethren as you.

David: Then Calvin, and all the other men likewise spoke with an Arminian tone. Please check out these speakers then here, and tell me if their tone is Arminian too: 1 John 2:2 I am sorry but I have to do this, because you want to associate me with Arminianism. I can defend myself by pointing out to you that 1) your argument proves too much as these men would also be subject to the same claim, and 2, to show you, to help expand your historical categories here, that other Reformed men have said what I am saying.

Camp: You said, "Are you saying that Calvin’s language in 3:16 commentary fits your theology...?" Taken in context with the whole of his theology --yes.

David: I would like to see some documentation on this. For sure, I don’t expect it now, but you are invited to reply to me any time via those forums I have listed.

Camp: I'm not sure why the need to be "general" about the love of God in the broad brush concerning John 3:16; when the analogy of Scripture I believe says something differently than just taking one verse in isolation.

David: Your analogy of Scripture is not mine, nor Calvin’s. And I don’t operate on the assumption that 1) either God only loves the elect, or 2) the NT only speaks of an electing love (while the OT may speak of a non-electing love).

David: Cut romanist comment

Camp: Note the phrase, "God has sent His only begotten Son into the world" in 1 John 4:9 and then parallel it with the same language of John 3:16.

David: Sure. But the answer to this is a little complex. Simply to say that with Calvin, the electing love can be expressed through and in the general love of God. So in the general giving of his Son to the world, there is also a special giving of the Son to the elect. And/or, like the Marrowmen, Boston et al, 1 John 4:9-10 could simply be understood as God’s gift or deed of Christ to mankind, all mankind.

Camp: Next the question surfaces why did He send His Son? "...so that we might live through Him." This again, is not general love given, but, the language of redemption.

David; ah these are questions, why wont you answer any of mine? :-)

The idea is that Christ is sent into the world so that men should be saved, that they should believe in him. Jn 12:46-49 is clear here. Christ did not come to judge the “rejector,” because he did not come to condemn the world, but he came to save the world. Only the level of blatant equivocation could assert that world here is not being used univocally.

Camp: Enough said - I'm done on this thread for now.

David: well you need to think about talking to Tony, and you need to think about why you brought up the blog thing, and the falsity of its charge. And then I would encourage you to speak to the person or persons who told you that it is untrue and they should stop spreading it around.

Camp: After reading your posts again, I honestly think that we agree on more than we disagree.

David: even tho I have an Arminian tone. ;-)

Camp: But, IMHO, how you communicate what you believe is more than nuanced and leads to confusion.

David: Sure, it can confuse, thats why I always try to invite, and be patient in the process as much as possible. I just don’t want let untruths published on the net to stand tho.

David.

David Ponter said...

clarification:
I said this about your comments on Chan:
"against, and in the context of a complaint against another 4 pointer."

I should say against your implication or question that he may indeed actually be a 4 pointer.

I say now: I have no idea where Chan so, so I dont want give the impression that I too think he is one or that he actually is.

Sorry for that.
David