Monergism in John's Gospel

17 posts / 0 new
Last post
JohnBrian's picture
Offline
Since
Tue, 6/2/09
Posts: 655
Monergism in John's Gospel

I have posted to my blog Part 2 of my Monergism vs Synergism series. It is subtitled http://canjamerican.blogspot.com/2011/07/monergism-vs-synergism-part-2.html Monergism in John's Gospel.

There is an http://sharperiron.org/forum/thread-monergism-vs-synergism-%E2%80%93-par...existing thread for Part 1 , which I subtitled Augustinianism, Pelagianism, and Semi-Pelagianism.

I wrote:

Quote:
The passages in John's Gospel that we will look at briefly can easily be divided into CAUSE and EFFECT. We will note that all of the passages that speak to the CAUSE of believing show that God is that cause, which is what Monergism affirms. All of the passages that show the EFFECT of believing neither affirm nor deny either view, as neither view disputes the notion that all who believe will be saved.

Offline
Since
Fri, 6/5/09
Posts: 190
My two cents

Adding my two cents:

Often people object to monergism with several assumptions in place, and here are a few in summary form. The most common is that of a libertarian like view of human freedom. Certainly, issues surrounding the will are a pet topic of mine, but it is exceedingly helpful to see how great a force this conception of human freedom in discussions.

The second has already been mentioned by JohnBrian, and it is that ought implies ability. This only makes sense because of the assumption mentioned above. If libertarianism is the case, then anything that determines the will one way or another completely eliminates responsibility. Therefore, if one is to be responsible, then he has to have a libertarian ability to do otherwise.

The third is the metaphysical conception of reality that goes right along with libertarian freedom. The default status is that God is sovereign; a crying out is made if someone says that the libertarian does not believe in God's sovereignty. However, this sovereignty is conformed to the will. God works around, against, and lets go the will to do its thing. He may set boundaries. He may offer grace. But never will God ever move the will one way or another. Such would be a violation of the metaphysical laws stipulated by the will and its freedom.

The fourth is a logical dependence of God's knowledge upon man's choice. This is essential for conditional election. The primacy of the will is key here. God's knowledge is not that of an architect; His knowledge is of secondary importance. He knows because man has willed; He does not know that therefore man may will. This is a "logical" sequence and not a "temporal" sequence. The nature of God has shifted from complete independence to dependence. And the nature of man--with respect to the will--has shifted from dependence to independence. The whole transcendence/imminence discussion becomes very interesting here.

The fifth is a flattening of the love of God. There are no nuances. He loves all equally; He gives grace to all equally, and it is man that operates the machinery of God's grace. This is a moral conforming of the love of God to the dictates of man's will, where the "opportunity for decision" is the ultimate moral determiner, with God's love being the determined.

With regard to the placement of regeneration in an ordo salutis, my personal take is that once libertarianism is evicted, then human independence of ability is evicted as well. God gives the gift of believing: the gift of an action. This means that regeneration could come before belief (logically) as the instrument that God uses to give belief, or it could mean that regeneration could come after (logically) as a result of God's gifting of believing.

Again, these points are my two cents. This what I often find as the underlying assumptions in many many discussions.

Offline
Since
Fri, 6/5/09
Posts: 190
Clarification

Those five assumptions, mentioned above, are not my view. I also do not believe them to be found in the Bible. Just trying to add clarity.

Offline
Since
Wed, 3/31/10
Posts: 361
Born of God

Earlier I posted the following verse which demonstrates that "life" comes as a RESULT of faith:

"Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" (Jn.20:30-31).

We can also see that being "born of God" or regenerated is a RESULT of faith:

"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the children of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (Jn.1:12-13).

When a person is "born of God" he becomes a "child of God" and that happens as a RESULT of faith:

"...to them gave he power to become the children of God, even to them that believe on his name."

JohnBrian's picture
Offline
Since
Tue, 6/2/09
Posts: 655
cause vs effect

from http://canjamerican.blogspot.com/2011/07/monergism-vs-synergism-part-2.html my blog article in reference to John 20:30-31:

CanJAmerican wrote:
In John's statement of his purpose for writing his Gospel, he affirms that the effect of believing in Christ is life, a theme that runs throughout the Gospel.

The issue, and the entire point of my article, is that synergists insist that man has the natural ability to CAUSE his own salvation. Monergism insists that God is the sole CAUSE and that belief is the EFFECT.

In reference to John 1:12-13, I wrote:

CanJAmerican wrote:
John affirms that those who received Christ, whom he also describes as those who believe on the name of Christ, are given the right to become children of God, and that their spiritual birth precedes the receiving and believing. Not only does John affirm that God is the sole cause of spiritual birth, he also denies that the wills of both flesh and man cause that birth.

The question to be asked is, what causes unregenerate enemies of God to "receive Him," and the answer in John's Gospel is that God and God alone is that CAUSE.

Jack wrote:
We can also see that being "born of God" or regenerated is a RESULT of faith:

This is how I would rephrase your statement:

We can also see that being "born of God" or regenerated is THE CAUSE of faith:

CanJAmerican - my blog
CanJAmerican - my twitter
whitejumaycan - my youtube

Offline
Since
Wed, 3/31/10
Posts: 361
Born of God by Believing the Gospel

JohnBrian wrote:
The issue, and the entire point of my article, is that synergists insist that man has the natural ability to CAUSE his own salvation.

That is wrong. The synergists teach that a man cannot CAUSE his own salvation because a man's salvation is completely DEPNDENT on hearing the gospel:

"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?" (Ro.10:13-15).

It is believing the gospel which comes in the power of the Holy Spirit which brings life to those who are dead in sin.

Quote:
In reference to John 1:12-13, I wrote:

John affirms that those who received Christ, whom he also describes as those who believe on the name of Christ, are given the right to become children of God, and that their spiritual birth precedes the receiving and believing. Not only does John affirm that God is the sole cause of spiritual birth, he also denies that the wills of both flesh and man cause that birth.

You miss the point that those who received the Lord Jesus were given the right to become the children of God because they believed. So a person is not "born of God" and thus become a child of God until he believes.

According to your mistaken view one becomes a child of God BEFORE he believes despite the fact that a person does not becomes a child of God until he believes:

"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the children of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (Jn.1:12-13).

JohnBrian's picture
Offline
Since
Tue, 6/2/09
Posts: 655
believe and receive

Quote:
The synergists teach that a man cannot CAUSE his own salvation because a man's salvation is completely DEPNDENT on hearing the gospel:

"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?" (Ro.10:13-15).

Monergism affirms that the Holy Spirit by means of the proclaimed Gospel brings the elect to life, granting repentance to them and gifting them with faith, so that they may believe. Synergism insists that unregenerate man has the ability, upon hearing the Gospel, to make a decision in favor of Christ.

The "whosoever" that calls does so solely because the Holy Spirit has raised them to spiritual life.

Quote:
It is believing the gospel which comes in the power of the Holy Spirit which brings life to those who are dead in sin.

Agreed! The Holy Spirit brings spiritual life and that life is evidenced by believing. All who are given life by the Spirit through the proclamation of the Gospel, do believe and receive. Your statement is perfectly compatible with monergism!

Quote:
You miss the point that those who received the Lord Jesus were given the right to become the children of God because they believed. So a person is not "born of God" and thus become a child of God until he believes.

According to your mistaken view one becomes a child of God BEFORE he believes despite the fact that a person does not becomes a child of God until he believes:

No, you are still not understanding that the process of salvation is not complete at regeneration. The receiving and believing always follows regeneration.

The issue (and I think I'm repeating myself here) is that unregenerate man CANNOT "receive Him," without the Holy Spirit bringing them from a spiritually dead state to a spiritually alive state first. Those who are spiritually dead cannot raise themselves to spiritual life, they cannot believe, they cannot receive, because they are spiritually dead. They must first be given life.

Lazarus could not walk out of his grave until his physically dead body had been restored to life. In the same manner, those who are spiritually dead cannot believe and receive until they are first brought to spiritual life.

CanJAmerican - my blog
CanJAmerican - my twitter
whitejumaycan - my youtube

Offline
Since
Wed, 3/31/10
Posts: 361
Power to Become the Children of God

JohnBrian wrote:
The "whosoever" that calls does so solely because the Holy Spirit has raised them to spiritual life.

You keep repeating the ideas of Calvinism but you have yet to provide a single verse that supports your assertions.

Quote:
The Holy Spirit brings spiritual life and that life is evidenced by believing.

I have already provided a verse which demonstrates that "life" comes as a RESULT of believing. You have provided nothing from the Scriptures which demonstrates that spiritual life is evidenced by believing.

If this verse is not speaking of "spiritual" life then what kind of "life" is being spoken of?:

"Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" (Jn.20:30-31).

Quote:
The issue (and I think I'm repeating myself here) is that unregenerate man CANNOT "receive Him," without the Holy Spirit bringing them from a spiritually dead state to a spiritually alive state first.

You keep repreating yourself but again you provide absolutely no evidence from the Scriptures that your assertion is correct.

You cannot seem to understand that one cannot become a child of God until he believes so therefore it is impossible that anyone can be born of God until he believes.

According to your view a person can be born of God and therefore become a child of God BEFORE he believes despite the fact that John says that it is by "believing" that a person is given the power to become a child of God:

"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the childen of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (Jn.1:12-13).

You still have not explained how a person can become a child of God before he believes despite the fact that John states in no uncertain terms that it is only those who "believe" who are given the power to become the children of God.

JohnBrian's picture
Offline
Since
Tue, 6/2/09
Posts: 655
not a single verse!

Quote:
You keep repeating the ideas of Calvinism but you have yet to provide a single verse that supports your assertions.

Have you read my blog article that was the reason I started this thread? I covered every passage in John (more than a single verse) that speaks to the issue of the CAUSE and the EFFECT of salvation.

Quote:
You cannot seem to understand that one cannot become a child of God until he believes so therefore it is impossible that anyone can be born of God until he believes.

You are the one that is insisting that the phrase becoming a child of God is synonymous with the monergistic usage of the term regeneration. In my article (the one that uses more than a single verse), I establish that belief is the EFFECT of that which God CAUSES. The difference is that synergism insists that man himself CAUSES belief.

In post 5 you agree with monergism, by stating that the Holy Spirit brings life to those who are dead in sin, by means of the Gospel (I've reworded your statement).

Jack wrote:
It is believing the gospel which comes in the power of the Holy Spirit which brings life to those who are dead in sin.

Clearly there is no life without the power of the Holy Spirit.

CanJAmerican - my blog
CanJAmerican - my twitter
whitejumaycan - my youtube

Offline
Since
Wed, 3/31/10
Posts: 361
I Am Responding to You and Not to Your Blog

JohnBrian wrote:
Have you read my blog article that was the reason I started this thread? I covered every passage in John (more than a single verse) that speaks to the issue of the CAUSE and the EFFECT of salvation.

I am responding to a person on this thread and not to a blog. If you have any Scriptual evidence to support your assertions then please provide them on this thread. So far you have provided nothing but your assertions.

Quote:
You are the one that is insisting that the phrase becoming a child of God is synonymous with the monergistic usage of the term regeneration. In my article (the one that uses more than a single verse), I establish that belief is the EFFECT of that which God CAUSES. The difference is that synergism insists that man himself CAUSES belief.

You still have not answered my question as to how it is possible that a person can be born of God and therefore as a result become a child of God BEFORE he believes despite the fact that John says that it is only those who "believe" who are given the right to become a child of God:

"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the children of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (Jn.1:12-13).

JohnBrian's picture
Offline
Since
Tue, 6/2/09
Posts: 655
answer

Quote:
I am responding to a person on this thread and not to a blog. If you have any Scriptual evidence to support your assertions then please provide them on this thread. So far you have provided nothing but your assertions.

discounting my answer is not equivalent to my not providing an answer!

CanJAmerican - my blog
CanJAmerican - my twitter
whitejumaycan - my youtube

Offline
Since
Wed, 3/31/10
Posts: 361
Even to Them That Believe

JohnBrian wrote:
discounting my answer is not equivalent to my not providing an answer!

I was expecting a "specific" answer to my specific question and I do not believe that I ever got that answer.

How it is possible that a person can be born of God and therefore as a result become a child of God BEFORE he believes despite the fact that John says that it is only those who "believe" who are given the right to become a child of God:

"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the children of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (Jn.1:12-13).

Please address Paul's specific words when he said: "to them gave he power to become the children of God, even to them that believe on his name."

Thanks!

edingess's picture
Offline
Since
Sat, 8/13/11
Posts: 155
Dead Men Believing (Like the Pun)

Jack Hampton wrote:
JohnBrian wrote:
discounting my answer is not equivalent to my not providing an answer!

I was expecting a "specific" answer to my specific question and I do not believe that I ever got that answer.

How it is possible that a person can be born of God and therefore as a result become a child of God BEFORE he believes despite the fact that John says that it is only those who "believe" who are given the right to become a child of God:

"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the children of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (Jn.1:12-13).

Please address Paul's specific words when he said: "to them gave he power to become the children of God, even to them that believe on his name."

Thanks!

Adoption always follows conversion. Conversion always follows regeneration. But life must come prior to men being able to receive Him. Jesus Himself said that the reason men don't believe in Him is because it has not been granted to them by His Father. (John 6:44, 64-65) So men are regenerated, they recieve Christ by faith, they are then given power to become sons of God (adoption), etc, etc. John 20:31 hardly establishes an ordo salutis. This text, variant aside, demonstrates the evangelistic thrust of the literature before us.

I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth. III John 4

Offline
Since
Wed, 3/31/10
Posts: 361
Life is the RESULT of Faith

edingess wrote:
Adoption always follows conversion. Conversion always follows regeneration. But life must come prior to men being able to receive Him.

The following words of the Apostle John make it plain that "life" comes as a result of believing and not before believing:

"Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" (Jn.20:30-31).

Since this "life" comes as a RESULT of believing then common sense dictates that the same "life" does not precede faith, as the Calvinists teach.

Quote:
Jesus Himself said that the reason men don't believe in Him is because it has not been granted to them by His Father. (John 6:44, 64-65) So men are regenerated, they recieve Christ by faith, they are then given power to become sons of God (adoption), etc, etc. John 20:31 hardly establishes an ordo salutis. This text, variant aside, demonstrates the evangelistic thrust of the literature before us.

There is absolutely nothing at John 6:44, 64-65 which says "the reason men don't believe in Him is because it has not been granted to them by His Father."

Besides that you offered nothing from the Scriptures which answered my points about John 1:12-13:

"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (Jn.1:12-13).

How it is possible that a person can be born of God and therefore as a result become a child of God BEFORE he believes despite the fact that John says that it is only those who "believe" who are given the right to become a child of God?

edingess's picture
Offline
Since
Sat, 8/13/11
Posts: 155
How to say this succinctly

John is not concerned with the ordo salutis and to argue that this is his point is eisigesis. John's purpose for writing the gospel is that men might place their faith in Christ and live rather than reject Christ and face eternal death. To argue that John wrote the text with our argument in mind misses John's point. This is akin to saying that every who says Jesus has come in the flesh is born of God, literally. Yet John says this very thing in 1 John. However, when you place those words within the context of the error John is dealing with, they carry a very diferent meaning. John wrote his gospel with the hope that men would believe in Christ and find eternal life. The statement is far more general than you are wanting to take it.

Rather than saying there is nothing at John 6:44, 64-65, why not give your explanation of what John is saying here? Either Jesus is explaining why some men don't believe the gospel or He isn't. In your system, the answer is that they simply choose not to believe. But Jesus has a very different answer for why men don't believe: it is because the Father has not chosen them to believe. And because the Father has not chosen them to believe, they cannot. Dead men don't have the ability to believe the gospel. They are dead.

I do not believe that a person becomes adopted prior to faith. I believe regeneration precedes faith, is unseen by the human eye, is followed by conversion, which is actual placing of faith in Christ and repentance, and then adoption follows. John 1:12 says nothing about faith preceeding regeneration.

Jesus says that the Jews have seen Him and yet do not believe. Why? He then says all the Father gives Me will come to me. If God has not chosen you for salvation, you will not come. Those that God chooses, He gives life to and they believe, resulting in life eternal. Everyone who hears and learns from God, comes to Christ. (6:45) The idea that men get it, understand it, and reject it is unbiblical. 1. All unregenerate men are dead in their sins. (Eph. 2:1) dead men are not able to "make a decision for Christ." They are spiritually dead to Christ. 2. All unregnerate men love their sin too much to decide to give it up. (Rom. 3:10-18) If they are the kind of person who possesses faith and will "made a decision" to believe once they hear the gospel, I would say that would make them a pretty good person. But there are no good people. Paul says that all unregnerate men pervert the truth of God that they have and exchange it for a lie. How can they do that AND "make a positive decision" for Christ at the same time. Romans 1 describes the unregnerate's condition as it is. That condition is not amenable to "deciding" for Jesus. That condition is a God-hating, God-perverting, sin-loving, self-worhsipping condition. 3. If the person's mind is blinded by Satan, how could they possibly see the light or truth of the gospel enough to place any faith in it? (2 Cor. 4:4) What do you think Paul was thinking about when he made that statement to the Corinthians? He was thinking about men who do not believe! The reason they do not believe our gospel is because their minds, unregenerate minds are all universally blinded by Satan so that they cannot see the truth of the gospel and believe. This is why they are what they are.

Jesus asked the Jews, "Why can't you understand the words I am saying to you? It is because you are not able to understand them. Why? Because you are of your father the devil." (John 8) Again in John 10 He says that the reason they do not believe is because they are not His sheep. But how do you become a sheep? By being selected by God before the foundation of the world. Salvation is of the Lord my friend.

I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth. III John 4

Offline
Since
Wed, 3/31/10
Posts: 361
Lest They Believe

edingess wrote:
John is not concerned with the ordo salutis and to argue that this is his point is eisigesis. John's purpose for writing the gospel is that men might place their faith in Christ and live rather than reject Christ and face eternal death. To argue that John wrote the text with our argument in mind misses John's point. This is akin to saying that every who says Jesus has come in the flesh is born of God, literally. Yet John says this very thing in 1 John.

Where in 1 John does it say that "every who says Jesus has come in the flesh is born of God"?
Quote:
However, when you place those words within the context of the error John is dealing with, they carry a very diferent meaning. John wrote his gospel with the hope that men would believe in Christ and find eternal life. The statement is far more general than you are wanting to take it.

Of course when those who are dead in sin are regenerated they are made alive TOGETHER with Christ (Eph.2:5) and become joined with Christ. Here is a description of the "life" that is found in Christ and it is the same life that no one receives until they believe:

"And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son" (1 Jn.5:11).

When a person who is dead in sin is regenerated by being made alive TOGETHR with Christ it is obvious that he receives eternal life at that time because that is the kind of life that is IN THE SON.

No one receives this eternal life until he believes:

"Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" (Jn.20:30-31).

Quote:
Rather than saying there is nothing at John 6:44, 64-65, why not give your explanation of what John is saying here? Either Jesus is explaining why some men don't believe the gospel or He isn't.

If the Lord Jesus is saying that only some men can believe the gospel because only some people are drawn then how do you explain the following words from the lips of the Lord Jesus?:

"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me" (Jn.12:32).

Quote:
Dead men don't have the ability to believe the gospel. They are dead.

Those who are spiritually dead have the ability to believe the gospel and they have the ability to resist the Holy Spirit. So there is no reason to suppose that they have no ability to believe the gospel. Especially since it comes not in word only but in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Quote:
I believe regeneration precedes faith, is unseen by the human eye, is followed by conversion, which is actual placing of faith in Christ and repentance, and then adoption follows. John 1:12 says nothing about faith preceeding regeneration.

You still cannot understand what John wrote here:

"But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become the children of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (Jn.1:12-13).

It is only those who "believe" who are given a right to become the children of God. And a person becomes a child of God when he is born of God. But you have people being born of God BEFORE they believe despite the fact that John says that it is only those who "believe" who are given the right to become the children of God.

Quote:
If God has not chosen you for salvation, you will not come. Those that God chooses, He gives life to and they believe, resulting in life eternal.

Here we can see that even those who are lost and do not believe the gospel have the ability to believe it and many of them would believe it except for the fact that the "god of this age" has blinded their minds to its truth:

"But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this age hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them" (2 Cor.4:3-4).

edingess's picture
Offline
Since
Sat, 8/13/11
Posts: 155
Inertia

Every conversation reaches a point where it is clear that further advancement will not be made and the discussion begins producing no fruit. I think we have arrived at that point of inertia in our discussion. God bless you as you continue to search the Scripture for the truth God has revealed therein.

The only reason I say this is that I have had this same old discussion hundreds of times and witnessed the same type of eisegesis ad nausaem. Do not mean to offend at all. I choose not to engage in discussions beyond a certain point. Take care.

I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth. III John 4