Friday, February 03, 2006

At the End of Their Rope

From James White’s comment concerning Bob Wilkin’s response to my last post on John 6:


I took note, with some humor, at the e-mail posting from Bob Wilkin. It seems fairly obvious to me he did not even read your article. You did not identify any part of speech as a “disjunction,” you stated the simple fact, fully supported by the text, that there is no disjunction (i.e., separation) in Jesus’ teaching regarding who comes, who is drawn, and who is raised up, etc. In fact, that is the very power of this text: anyone who will reign in their traditions long enough to listen to the Lord and allow Him to speak will see what He is saying.

This text, as you know, causes all of those who have embraced man-made traditions at the expense of Scripture to founder. Bob Wilkin, holding to a completely unorthodox view of the gospel, faith, assurance, repentance, etc., is surely in no position to approach it from any sound exegetical position, and his comments make this clear. Let’s look at it:

Evidently he thinks John 6:44 reads this way:

No one is able to come to come unless the Father who sent Me draws him—and the Father only draws a select group of people (the elect)–and I will raise him up on the last day.

Actually, your point was that John 6:44 does not exist in and of itself; it is a part of a context, a context that already clearly introduced the idea of the elect, chosen by the Father in eternity past, who will be saved perfectly by the Son, and as a result of their being given, they come to Christ (6:37-39). You are simply allowing that context to continue uninterrupted, and showing that it is an eisegetical notion to introduce a disjunction into v. 44 by positing a difference between the one drawn and the one raised up. Arminian/Roman Catholic/Cheap Grace/ Mormon/etc. interpreters need to realize they must *prove* their point here, not simply assert it. I have yet to see any make much of a case from the text itself in defense of their position.

Jesus doesn’t comment on whether the Father draws some or all. That isn’t His point here.

Actually, it is exactly His point here! Did Wilkin not read the context? Did he miss v. 36? “”But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe.” If Wilkin cannot see that Jesus is explaining how those who have seen Him, seen His miracles, heard His teaching, will still walk away at the end of the day in unbelief, then he has missed the entire text. Tradition is a cruel taskmaster, and the lenses of the glasses it affixes to you are very, very thick.

The fact that there is a verbal parallel with v 40 in no way says anything about what percentage of people are being drawn, or whether there are people who are drawn who will not believe.

Once again, this is what happens when you respond to e-mail summaries rather than reading the actual article itself, for you made no such statement anyway. You pointed out what is plain and obvious to any reader of the text: there is a consistent theme in Jesus’ teaching, and if you allow Him to define His own meanings and follow in logical order His own teaching you will see that. It amazes me that people will ignore these basic things only when the freedom of God in salvation is in view. Is it really that difficult to understand that you start with what Jesus says in, say, v. 37, before you get to 40, or 44? Isn’t it obvious that if you have to start at, say, v. 45, and read backwards, that you are missing something? I am truly amazed at this kind of thing.

Wilkin seems to show no familiarity at all with the issues surrounding John 12:32 and simplistically concludes it teaches a universal drawing that includes every single individual, and that in a context where Jesus hides himself from the Greeks who were seeking Him! That this drawing is of kinds of peoples (Jews/Gentiles, Rev. 5:9-10) does not even seem to suggest itself to Wilkin. He then writes

Compare that with John 16:7-11. While the verb elkuw is not used there, the idea of drawing is certainly there. We find that the Holy Spirit convicts the world, that is everyone (compare 3:16), of sin, righteousness, and judgment.

Is Wilkin suggesting that conviction and drawing are identical? I guess this would make sense in his system, since he has no sovereign decree, has no salvific work of the Spirit, etc., and hence no saving faith versus the false faith that we see around us all the time today. Once again, his man-made tradition determines his interpretation. The Holy Spirit does not draw every person to Christ, for, as we see in 6:44, this would mean they are all raised up as well, and nothing in chapter 16 gives us a basis for making such an a-contextual leap. Further, we see the constant and common Arminian error in reading John 3:16 a-contextually as well, ignoring its inherent particularity (”all the believing ones”). Eisegesis at its height, which makes his accusation that you are the one using “dogmatic interpretation, not careful exegesis” all the more humorous.

Keep up the good work. When the Cheap Gracers leading lights falter in attempting to respond, you know they are at the end of their rope.

James White

No comments:

Post a Comment