Is Dispensationalism a Cult?

In a book entitled Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth Calvinst author John H. Gerstner accuses dispensationalism of departing from the truth in its doctrine of salvation. He then says, "To depart from the essential salvation pattern is inevitably to depart from Christianity. We define a cult as a religion which claims to be Christian while emptying Christianity of that which is essential to it" (John H. Gerstner, Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth [Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, Second Edition, 2000], 169).

This book is endorsed by many of the leading Calvinists of our day so they too must believe that Dispensationalism is a cult. One of the major disagreements is on the subject of "regeneration."

Does Regeneration Precede Faith?

Here Gesrstner states the difference between Calvinists and Dispensationalists in regard to regeneration:

"The question is whether faith is 'based' on regeneration or regeneration is 'based' on faith. That is, is it 'because' a person is regenerated that he believes, or is it 'because' he believes that he is regenerated? There can be no question that the dispensationalists are saying that it is because a person believes that he is regenerated simultaneously" (Ibid., 159).

Of course the word "regeneration" means passing from spiritual death to spiritual life. Let us look at the following words of the Lord Jesus to see if it can be helpful in answering the question as what comes first, regeneration or faith?:

"He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life" (Jn.5:24).

Here the Lord Jesus speaks of passing "from death unto life." From the following words of the Apostle John we can understand that what he wrote in his gospel was written so that those who believed would receive life as a result of believing:

"Jesus did many other miraculous 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 Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" (Jn.20:30-31).

It is a result of believing that the sinner is "passed from death unto life." The Calvinist teach that a person is regenerated prior to believing. That idea is directly contradicted by the words of John which I quoted.

Since it is "believing" that results in passing from death unto life it is obvious that one must be dead spiritually before believing. Despite this the Calvinists say that one is "alive" spiritually before believing.

The Dispensationalist view on this subject is the correct view because it is based on what the Scriptures actually say. The Calvinist view is based on a denial of what John wrote. Dispensationalism is not a cult.

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Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Hmm - interestingly, I am one of the growing number of young fundamentalists who are dispensational and Calvinistic. I wonder which half of my brain is the cultic one? :O

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Marty H's picture

@Jack,

The trouble with something like this is it fails to take in all points.

John 5:24 that you have in your post is a fine example. Its Bible, Its true, But was it ever offered to you ?

Maybe you would do well to take a deeper look at what was said in that verse.

Jhn 5:24 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

Jam 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

The same Bible shows you that when a gentile woman came to Jesus asking for mercy.

Mat 15:22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, [thou ] Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.

And the first part of the next verse

Mat 15:23 But he answered her not a word.

A month of sermons could be preached from here. But I have yet to ever sit under anyone preaching it. Jesus Christ, God in the flesh answered her not a word.

Mat 15:23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.

Mat 15:24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Mat 15:25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.

Mat 15:26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast [it ] to dogs.

The reason is there made very clear. This woman asked for something meant only for the Jews. And this is far far from being the only place that points this way.

Rom 15:8 Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers,

Eph 2:11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands—

Eph 2:12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

I have had even some here try and tell me that this verse don't mean what it clearly says.

That the Gentiles were at one time no part of the promise and did not have access to God......

God told Peter in Acts

Act 10:15 And the voice [spake ] unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, [that ] call not thou common.

Peter clarifies this later

Act 10:28 And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

Before this time, We gentiles were ALL unclean.

Rom 10:19 But I say, did Israel not know? First Moses says: "I will provoke you to jealousy by those who are not a nation, I will move you to anger by a foolish nation."

Rom 11:11 I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles.

I can't speak for all dispensationalists, nor would I try. But of all those I have ever heard, All preach salvation through the finished work of the cross as preached by Paul.

Would you believe there is salvation for YOU outside of Jesus Christ taking your place and paying your sin debt?

http://www.lesfeldick.org/

Check out the link, Listen to his teaching, Read the doctrinal statement, or follow the link to the "Plan for Heaven". (You will find nothing but Bible there.) But Les is only one Disp teacher. He and E.C. Moore are the only 2 I know. ( And I haven't heard a great deal of E.C., The material just isn't out there like it is from Les)

So I can not say that they do or do not teach like other dispensationalists.
But now you have the chance to see for yourself and THEN say what you think.

Jack Hampton's picture

Marty H wrote:
The trouble with something like this is it fails to take in all points.

The words of John are true whether or not you think that they apply to Gentiles. And the verses teach that regeneration does not precede faith, as the Calvinists maintain:

"Jesus did many other miraculous 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 Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" (Jn.20:30-31).

This teaches that regeneration comes as a result of faith and regeneration does not precede faith, as the Calvinists teach.

Quote:
I can't speak for all dispensationalists, nor would I try. But of all those I have ever heard, All preach salvation through the finished work of the cross as preached by Paul.

I myself am a Mid Acts Dispensationalist but the two Mid Acts dispensationalists that you mentioned--Les Feldick and E.C. Moore--both teach that in past dispensations faith alone was not enough for salvation. They teach that in order to demonstrate one's faith one had to do works of one kind or another.

I have watched all of the tapes of Les Feldick and he has many good things to say and he is an excellent Bible teacher but he is wrong about that.

Quote:
Would you believe there is salvation for YOU outside of Jesus Christ taking your place and paying your sin debt?

No, and I do not know why you would even ask me that. Nothing I have said even hints that I believe that salvation can be obtained outside of the Lord Jesus.

Jack Hampton's picture

JohnBrian wrote:
This thread provides links to older SI articles on the subject of Regeneration Preceding Faith, as well as to my blog article and discussion on the topic.

http://sharperiron.org/forum/thread-regeneration-precedes-faith ]Regeneration Precedes Faith


Here is your chance to actually address a verse which demonstrates that regeneration does not precede faith:

"Jesus did many other miraculous 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 Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" (Jn.20:30-31).

You say that the giving of life precedes faith but John says that this life comes as a result of faith. And that is exactly what the Lord Jesus is saying in the following verses:

"He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life" (Jn.5:24).

John Calvin cetainly understood that the Lord Jesus' words at John 5:24 are in regard to passing from death unto life as a result of believing, saying, "For it would not be sufficient to understand what he formerly taught, that he came 'to raise the dead,' unless we also knew the manner in which he restores us to life. Now he affirms that life is obtained by 'hearing' his word, and by the word 'hearing' he means 'faith,' as he immediately afterwards declares" [emphasis mine ] (John Calvin, Commentary on the Gospel According to John, Volume Second, ed. William Pringle [Grand Rapids: Christian Classics Ethereal Library).

JohnBrian's picture

An anonymous commenter on my "Regeneration" blog article asked the same question. As a result of that question I am working on a 4 part series titled Monergism vs Synergism. The first part is subtitled Augustinianism, Pelagianism, and Semi-Pelagianism. I hope to post that article to my blog by the end of the month. In Part 2, I will be looking at all of the verses in John's Gospel that address salvation, including 20:30-31.

p.s. This thread is about Dispensationalism, not Regeneration, so feel free to engage that discussion on the http://sharperiron.org/forum/thread-regeneration-precedes-faith ]Regeneration thread.

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Jack Hampton's picture

JohnBrian wrote:
An anonymous commenter on my "Regeneration" blog article asked the same question. As a result of that question I am working on a 4 part series titled Monergism vs Synergism. The first part is subtitled Augustinianism, Pelagianism, and Semi-Pelagianism. I hope to post that article to my blog by the end of the month. In Part 2, I will be looking at all of the verses in John's Gospel that address salvation, including 20:30-31.

I am curious, John.

Why did you even post on this thread since you have no interest in actually discussing verses which indicate that your ideas are in error?

Why do you still refuse to even attempt to address John 20:30-31?

Even though this post is about dispensationalism the Calvinist attempted to prove that dispensationalism is a cult based on the dispensationalist's denial of the idea that regeneration precedes faith.

So in order to defend against this false charge it is necessary to discuss this very issue.

Larry's picture

Moderator

Quote:
Even though this post is about dispensationalism the Calvinist attempted to prove that dispensationalism is a cult based on the dispensationalist's denial of the idea that regeneration precedes faith.
Dispensationalism does not deny that regeneration precedes faith because dispensationalism has no position on that matter.

http://dbts.edu/journals/2002/Snoeberger.pdf ]Here is an article that addresses the issue that you are asking about. It is written by a dispensationalist who affirms the regeneration precedes faith and who interacts substantively with the issues you are asking about including verses such as John 20:31 (see p. 14, but read the whole article). This article may not be convincing to you (which is fine), but it will demonstrate that the questions you are asking have not been ignored either by Calvinists or dispensationalists.

JohnBrian's picture

Quote:
Why did you even post on this thread since you have no interest in actually discussing verses which indicate that your ideas are in error?
Well, because you raised the issue of regeneration and that discussion already exists on SI. I provided a link to it.

Quote:
Why do you still refuse to even attempt to address John 20:30-31?
You then asked me about a passage and I responded informing you that I will be discussing that passage in a future blog article. When I post a link on SI to that article on my blog then you can decide if I actually am avoiding discussing verses,

Maybe you should interact with the comments I have posted about John 5:24 before you indicate that I "have no interest in actually discussing verses."

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Jack Hampton's picture

Larry wrote:
Quote:
Even though this post is about dispensationalism the Calvinist attempted to prove that dispensationalism is a cult based on the dispensationalist's denial of the idea that regeneration precedes faith.
Dispensationalism does not deny that regeneration precedes faith because dispensationalism has no position on that matter.

No? In The Scofield Study Bible, which is edited by prominent dispensationalists, we read the following in regard to "regeneration":

"The word 'regeneration'...occurs only one other time in the N.T., at Ti. 3:5. There it refers to the Christian's new birth" (The Scofield Study Bible; note at Matthew 19:28).

Then we read: "The condition of the new birth is faith in Christ crucified" (Ibid., note at John 3:3).

Quote:
It is written by a dispensationalist who affirms the regeneration precedes faith and who interacts substantively with the issues you are asking about including verses such as John 20:31

Why don't you quote the answer given for John 20:31?

Jack Hampton's picture

JohnBrian ][quote wrote:
Maybe you should interact with the comments I have posted about John 5:24 before you indicate that I "have no interest in actually discussing verses."

You have shown no interest in discussing John 20:30-31. Now you want to talk about John 5:24. Why don't you tell me why John Calvin was wrong when he said that the passing from "death unto life" is dependent on faith. Or perhaps you will say that the passing from "death unto life" has nothing to do with regeneration, that a person can be regenerated before believing but that even after being regenerated he can once again pass from "death unto life" when he believes the gospel?

That idea ignores the fact that before one can pass from "death unto life" one must first be dead.

Larry's picture

Moderator

Quote:
No? In The Scofield Study Bible, which is edited by prominent dispensationalists, we read the following in regard to "regeneration":
Dispensationalism does not necessarily affect soteriology. Dispensationalism affects ecclesiology and eschatology. Dispensationalists have always held varying view of soteriology because no essential part of dispensationalism affects soteriology.

I am a dispensationalist Calvinist who believes that faith precedes regeneration. My friend Mark (whom I linked to) is a dispensationalist Calvinist who believes that regeneration precedes faith. Yet our views on dispensationalism are virtually identical.

Quote:
Why don't you quote the answer given for John 20:31?
Because it is an argument, not a simple sentence, and because if you actually want answers rather than sound bytes, it is much more profitable to go and read it, study and interact with the arguments in their context rather than reacting to a sentence or two.

It's a fairly short article, just 45 pages, and it deals with the whole matter of regeneration and faith.

Larry's picture

Moderator

Quote:
You have shown no interest in discussing John 20:30-31.
Actually, Jack, JohnBrian has shown interest and in fact said he will deal with it. He also pointed to a place where this discussion has already taken place so you can see what has already been said and perhaps interact there.

I wonder if perhaps a less combative approach might engender a more profitable exchange. I don't think anyone here is afraid of you giving your positions on these matters and arguing for them. There is certainly room here at SI for your position on these matters. But some might not wish to participate in a combative and hostile exchange. They might be more inclined to interact with you if the conversation is more genteel.

JohnBrian's picture

Since you are new here, we will try to be patient with you, but there is a limit to our (my) patience.

I am not going to expend time and energy (which I have in short supply) to repeat arguments that I have already made or plan to make in future articles for my blog.

You must first interact with what is already written, and wait (or not) for more to be written.

Larry is correct when he states that "a less combative approach might engender a more profitable exchange."

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Jim's picture

To Jack H,

Regeneration and faith both take place in the same moment of time. There are some extreme Calvinists who might say that infants can be regenerated and then years later have faith.

When I say that regeneration precedes faith, I am speaking logically! The quickening of God the Spirit produces faith.

In my view the debate is somewhat esoteric because the gospel message is the same (whether one believes R before F or F before R).

  • Repent therefore and be converted (Acts 3:19)
  • [God ] now commands all men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30)

In support of regeneration preceding faith (logically - not chronologically)

  • Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life. (Acts 11:18)
  • And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. (Acts 13:48)
Jim's picture

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:
Hmm - interestingly, I am one of the growing number of young fundamentalists who are dispensational and Calvinistic. I wonder which half of my brain is the cultic one? :O

My left brain is dispensational ... my right brain is Calvinistic

Or is it ... my right brain is dispensational ... my left brain is Calvinistic

Ed Vasicek's picture

Jim Peet wrote:
Chip Van Emmerik wrote:
Hmm - interestingly, I am one of the growing number of young fundamentalists who are dispensational and Calvinistic. I wonder which half of my brain is the cultic one? :O

My left brain is dispensational ... my right brain is Calvinistic

Or is it ... my right brain is dispensational ... my left brain is Calvinistic

I like your explanation, Jim! Some of us are all middle-brain: confused!

Seriously, to join in with the discussion above, I think one of the most inadequately explored area of hermeneutics is the Biblical use of correlation. Although the Bible has much cause and effect reasoning, we also see a lot of correlation: events that go together without one necessarily (but possibly) causing the other.

With regeneration, I believe that cause is God's sovereign act, as unpredictable as the wind blowing (John 3:8). But the Scriptural authors are often not concerned about clarifying the cause/effect relationship and distinguishing it from the CORRELATION of events. This is true with works (or commandment keeping) in instances good works are correlated with salvation and could be misunderstood to teach that good works cause salvation (example: Matthew 19:17-19) or that baptism is necessary for salvation (Acts 2:38) as two obvious examples.

In my book, "The Midrash Key," (a book I highly recommend!) I demonstrate that the Old Testament term for new birth/regeneration is "circumcision of the heart." Man is held responsible but God is ultimately the one who is in control:

Quote:
These Deuteronomy passages underscore the paradox between man's responsibility and God's sovereignty, a paradox prominent in the New Testament. We can note two seemingly contradictory assertions: God is the one who must perform spiritual heart surgery because the human heart needs a supernatural touch (Deuteronomy 30:6); yet, in Deuteronomy 10:12-16, personal responsibility to circumcise one's own heart stares us in the face. So which is it? The answer is "both of the above."
In theory, we can make the choice to awaken ourselves from spiritual hibernation and arise to spiritual life. The sovereign hand of God stealthily moves beyond our choices. We can honestly demand that the lost be born-again, but we are also free to announce John 6:44, “No one can come to me [Yeshua ] unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day...” (NASB).

Regeneration and faith are correlated. Verses that tie them together do not necessarily imply cause and effect.

I consider myself a dispensationalist (although a progressive one), and I have sometimes found a certain arrogance and rudeness as well among those who are intolerant of a viewpoint that allows for God's faithfulness to Israel, the heart of dispensationalism. These sorts of sacrcastic, cynical comments do not make for persuasion by reason, but intimidation. Setting up a straw-man (the more extreme dispensationalists) as the norm is an old trick. If your case is strong, you do not need to resort to tricks or manipulations, IMO. Fortunately, not all non-dispensationalists fall into this category. Yet, they are are often sadly quiet in condemning it.

"The Midrash Detective"

Jack Hampton's picture

Larry ][quote wrote:
Dispensationalism does not necessarily affect soteriology.

I agree with you about that but nonetheless dispensationalism has been attacked and called a "cult" based on what many leaders in thde dispensationalist camp teaches. So therefore I do not see that there is anything wrong with defending the position held by many of those leaders as well as what is written in The Scofield Study Bible.

Jack Hampton's picture

Jim Peet wrote:
When I say that regeneration precedes faith, I am speaking logically! The quickening of God the Spirit produces faith.

The Lord Jesus certainly does n ot separate 'faith" from the "spirit" in any way when it comes to receiving life:

"The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life" (Jn.6:63).

If the "words" of which He spoke could possibly be separated even logically then He would not have said that His words are spirit and they are life.

And John is speakiing specifically about how one receives life, and he says that it is by "believing":

"Jesus did many other miraculous 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 Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" (Jn.20:31-32).

Jack Hampton's picture

Ed Vasicek wrote:
Regeneration and faith are correlated. Verses that tie them together do not necessarily imply cause and effect.

In this verse we see a cause and effect relationship:

"Jesus did many other miraculous 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 Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" (Jn.20:30-31).

In both cases the Greek word hina is translated "that." And in both cases the word can only denote "purpose and end: to the intent that, to the end that, in order that" (Thayer's Greek English Lexicon).

Surely that is the case in the first usage of the word in verse 31 and it follows logically that the same meaning is being expressed the second time the same word is used.

Jack Hampton's picture

JohnBrian wrote:
Larry is correct when he states that "a less combative approach might engender a more profitable exchange."

I have a feeling that nothing could lead to a profitable exchange when it comes to the words at John 20:30-31.

In any case you Calvinists will not have to comment on anything I say because I will no longer post on this forum.

Larry's picture

Moderator

Quote:
I have a feeling that nothing could lead to a profitable exchange when it comes to the words at John 20:30-31.
Why is that? Why not address the arguments in the article?

Quote:
In any case you Calvinists will not have to comment on anything I say because I will no longer post on this forum.
That will admittedly make it different to have a profitable exchange. But no one here is asking you to do this. You are doing it of your own free will Biggrin

JohnBrian's picture

...on Monergism vs Synergism in the Gospel of John, will attempt to show that if the bulk of John's writing affirms the monergistic view, the single verse that purports to affirm the synergistic view, cannot actually do that. The only other option is that John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is affirming 2 opposite and contradictory views.

p.s. hope to post the first article by the end of this month, and then work hard on Part 2 - the John's Gospel part.

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Jack Hampton's picture

Larry wrote:
Why not address the arguments in the article?

I will not be on this forum much longer but I will say that it is not me who needs to advance my argument. Please notice that no one has been able to answer the words at John 20:30-31.

Or do you believe that that verse has been answered because someone said that he would answer it later at another place?

Since no one has been able to answer the previous verses that I quoted let us lok at others that say exactly how those dead in sin receive life:

"And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins...Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ...And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus"
(Eph.2:1,5-6).

Here we see that those who are dead in sin are made alice "together with Christ."

This certainly speaks of one's union with Christ. Are we supposed to believe that a person can be made alive "together with Christ" and has been raised up together with Him and is sitting in heavenly places in Christ but at the same has not yet been saved by believing?

According the the Calvinists idea one is made alive (regenerated) "together with Christ" at a time before he has even believed the gospel and therefore been saved. That is ridiculous. Even Calvinist author John Gerstner, who calls dispensationalism a cult, recognizes that this being made alive in these verses is a result of "faith":

"Eternal life is union with Jesus Christ. And the word for that union with Jesus Christ is faith" [emphasis mine ] (Gerstner, Justification by Faith Alone: Affirming the Doctrine By Which the Church and the Individual Stands of Falls [Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 1995 ], Chapter 4).

Are the Calvinists so ill informed that they do not even understand that regeneration occurs when the sinner is baptized into the death of the Lord Jesus and is baptized into the Body of Christ?

Anyway, here are other verses which the Calvinist can ignore.

Larry's picture

Moderator

Jack, If I might briefly respond here ...

Quote:
I will not be on this forum much longer but I will say that it is not me who needs to advance my argument. Please notice that no one has been able to answer the words at John 20:30-31.
Actually, this is not true. A number of people have suggested various answers to the problem. I posted one above, and you have yet to interact with it. I would encourage you to. There are also numerous other answers to it.

Now, bottom line is that I agree with you. I think the "regeneration before faith" crowd has a hard time with John 20:30-31. I am of that rare breed of Calvinist who believes that faith precedes regeneration.

I think it would be unfortunate if you left before addressing the arguments that have been offered against your position.

Quote:
According the the Calvinists idea one is made alive (regenerated) "together with Christ" at a time before he has even believed the gospel and therefore been saved. That is ridiculous. Even Calvinist author John Gerstner, who calls dispensationalism a cult, recognizes that this being made alive in these verses is a result of "faith"
So you say that the Calvinist idea is "ridiculous" and then cite a Calvinist author who doesn't believe the Calvinists idea? I am a bit confused by that.

Most Calvinists that I know affirm that regeneration and faith occur at the same time temporally. So no one is regenerated "before" they have faith. The issue of regeneration before faith is one of logical priority and causation, not time. There are some Calvinists who do see a temporal progression (i.e., time oriented).

Quote:
Are the Calvinists so ill informed that they do not even understand that regeneration occurs when the sinner is baptized into the death of the Lord Jesus and is baptized into the Body of Christ?
Are you sure that they are "ill-informed?" Perhaps they simply have a different explanation than you do that has nothing to do with being informed but rather with the priority of premises and the logical and theological connections drawn between things.

It is easy to claim that those who disagree are "ill-informed." But I know many people who disagree with me, especially scholars, are actually more informed than I am. Simply put, I am not sure the "ill-informed" card plays well in this case. For instance, I have cited an article by someone who is very well-informed on the topic.

Quote:
Anyway, here are other verses which the Calvinist can ignore.
I imagine that just about every verse in the Bible has been dealt with by Calvinists somewhere. I doubt that there are any that are ignored. I wonder if you are not just ignoring their explanations like you are doing with the explanation offered on John 20:30-31.

Jack, this type of interaction that you are offering isn't helpful to advancing a discussion. I have offered a free and easy-to-access resource where explanations are given and citations and footnotes abound so you can see other places where the arguments are found, and you won't interact with it. It contains exactly what you say you are looking for, an explanation as to how Calvinists explain certain verses. So why not give us some reasons why this author is wrong?

Jack Hampton's picture

Larry wrote:
Actually, this is not true. A number of people have suggested various answers to the problem.

Give me even one instance where anyone has specifically dealt with John 20:30-31 by giving a meaning that differs from the meaning which I gave. In fact, there is not even one instance where anyone actually gave any other interpreation of the verses than the one I gave.
Quote:
I posted one above, and you have yet to interact with it. I would encourage you to.

Here is what you said:
Quote:
Here is an article that addresses the issue that you are asking about. It is written by a dispensationalist who affirms the regeneration precedes faith and who interacts substantively with the issues you are asking about including verses such as John 20:31 (see p. 14, but read the whole article).

There is no Page 14 in the article. The pages run from 50-93.

I previously asked you to quote what he said about these verses but you refused.

Larry's picture

Moderator

Quote:
Give me even one instance where anyone has specifically dealt with John 20:30-31 by giving a meaning that differs from the meaning which I gave. In fact, there is not even one instance where anyone actually gave any other interpreation of the verses than the one I gave.
I linked one above. There are many others in various places.

Quote:
There is no Page 14 in the article.
When it pulls up as a PDF, type "14" in the page box in the top bar. It is page 14 in the PDF. It is pp. 50-93 in the print edition.

Quote:
I previously asked you to quote what he said about these verses but you refused.
Yes, and I explained why. It's not a sentence or two that you can cite here. It is a lengthy argument. I count six pages just dealing with that argument.

Even the idea of skipping straight to p. 14 is problematic in that you miss part of the entire argument and end up reading only a small part of it. That type of approach won't lead to profitable interaction. I don't think you can understand the point and the support for it by the sentence or two I would cite here.

I guess I don't understand the hesitance to think about what is being said and say why it is wrong. (BTW, I have expressed my reasons for disagreement. Mark and I have talked about it many times personally.)

Jack Hampton's picture

Larry ][quote wrote:
I linked one above. There are many others in various places.

I found the place where Mark A. Snoeberger addresses the verses but he does not specifically deal with it. Here is what he says:
Quote:

With this in view, the “life” described in these passages cannot mean regeneration. What
is in view is the enjoyment of life in which the believer finally realizes
what it truly means to live as God intended, whether presently or in
the eschaton.

According to him the word "life" at John 20:30-31 cannot be referring to "regeneration." According to his pre-conceived ideas it cannot but the Scriptures tell another story. Let us look at the verses again:

"Jesus did many other miraculous 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 Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" (Jn.20:30-31).

John is saying that these things were written for the purpose that men will believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.
This is clearly speaking abnout regeneration or being born of God:

"Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1 Jn.5:1-5).

According to Snoeberger the word "life" at John 20:31 cannot be referring to regeneration but John, who wrote the verses under discussion, states that those who belioeve these facts are "born of God."

JohnBrian's picture

Jack Hampton wrote:
Give me even one instance where anyone has specifically dealt with John 20:30-31 by giving a meaning that differs from the meaning which I gave. In fact, there is not even one instance where anyone actually gave any other interpreation of the verses than the one I gave.
Since you will be leaving us in a few days, I will, for your benefit, attempt to deal specifically with John 20:30-31.

My first article explains and illustrates the difference between monergism and synergism. In doing so I even explain the pelagian view that you hold so dearly; the view that, according to one writer, "has been condemned by more church councils than any other heresy in history." In Part 2, I will show that each view has presuppositions that cause different approaches to scripture passages. BUT, the views are not compatible - only 1 of them faithfully represents the text of scripture.

In John's Gospel the writer cannot advocate for both positions. My argument will show that John affirms the monergistic view. So when I as a monergist come to 20:30-31, my monergistic presupposition requires me to understand it differently than your pelagian synergistic presupposition. Simply put, I do not believe that this passage presents an ordo salutis (which is what Snoeberger's article shows). Your presupposition requires you to see an ordo salutis, because your pelagianism insists that man is born neutral, and is therefore capable of choosing God. I as a monergist deny that capability.

If you decide to stay with us (and are not banned for advocating pelagianism) you may interact with my articles as I post them.

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

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