Friday, September 19, 2008

John the Calvinist: Part 2

Since we had an overwhelming response to the first post in this series and I do not know how to get to all the passages that our readers brought up (read that statement as sarcasm), the best approach to see John the Apostles "Calvinism" seems to be by working our way through John's Gospel chapter by chapter hitting all the high lights.

With this approach, the first passage to consider is John 1:11-13.
11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

The first thing to note about this passage is that some people do not receive Christ (that is the "him" in the passage) while others do receive Christ. Calvinism holds this to be true. People have to receive Christ to be saved and all who are not saved do, in fact, reject (i.e. do not receive) Christ. Because of mankind's fall into sin all people, by nature, will not receive Christ. This is something they do freely and willingly. It is not forced. While at the same time, all who receive Christ do it freely and willingly. But why is it that some receive Christ and others do not? Is it something within the person? It is their will? Their free will?

John answers these questions for us. All who receive Christ are made children of God. As it states in John 3, they are born again. But who is the agent in this "being born process"? John first tells us how this did not happen. Those who receive Christ were not born again of blood or by the will of the flesh or by the will of man. In other words, it is not because of anything the person who receives Christ did. The individual who is born as a child of God did nothing to be born of God. If the person does nothing to be born of God, how are they born of God?

John is clear on this point, all who are born again are brought to new life by God and God alone. In other word, the act of regeneration (being born again) is an act done solely by God. Just as a baby who is born into this world does nothing to cause this birth. So to, a Christian is born again without doing anything to cause their birth. Just as a new born baby freely breathes and eats once it is born. So to, a new born Christian freely receives Christ and feeds on him once they are born again by the act of God.

1 comment:

  1. If you want to be consistent and actually, correct, you would title this, "Calvin the Johannine" since Calvin derived his views (most of them) from John (i.e the Word), not the other way around. Really, Calvinism should be called, "Augustinianism"


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