In a thread on Facebook mention was made of an alternative to the Calvinistic view of monergistic salvation. What follows is a lengthy discourse on why Dan Proctor makes Jesus into a liar. The reason is simple. He makes Jesus contradict himself. Now Craig says he has studied this out for himself and is convinced Dan is right. However, Craig doesn defend anything said, he just leaves Dan dangling in his own noose. The following is rambling, I realize that. It attempts to weave into play many Scriptures outside the immediate text which bear upon the what is meant by the text. So, here we go, thanks ahead of time for the patience as I ramble on.
Is it true that all men in John 6 have the ability to understand and believe what Jesus said? That the drawing of vs 44 is merely exposure to the word? The entire context of Scripture proves otherwise and not only that, but that the drawing by the Father is exclusive is without doubt. The drawing is the very enablement by which anyone can hear and be saved.
Jesus said in Mark: “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables, so that, ‘Seeing they may see and not perceive, and hearing they may hear and not understand; lest they should turn, and their sins be forgiven them.’” In other words, Scripture declares the mystery of its meaning is hidden so that some will not be saved. Jesus says this in Matthew: “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given” The Gospel of the kingdom is inclusive of some, exclusive of others. He he repeats this similarly in Luke and in John. Here Jesus says that those outside cannot see what is being said. There is a parallel passage is John 3:3, “Except a man is born again he cannot see…” in Mark 4:11-12 it is made clear that to see is to perceive. In John 3:3 the word is eido, to see – to perceive with the mind, to know et cetera. In Mark blepo and eido are used and they are synonyms. What cannot be mistaken is that the ability to comprehend must be given, and that it is given to only some is also not mistakable.
In John 8 Jesus uses the same sense when speaking to those who were asking him who he was. He responded that he was just who he had been telling them all along but that they could not understand his words. He told them why they couldn’t: “He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God,” see John 1:12-13. The entire context of Scripture according to Jesus is why some cannot see, understand, or believe. John in Jesus’ words tells them it is because they are not of God. In fact the whole context of John is why some are not able to see and others are enabled to see. Jesus says in John 8: “Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” It cannot be any more plain.
As should be seen, to understand is to see and to see is to hear. But hearing doesn’t belong to everyone and Jesus gives the reasons as 1) they are of the Devil, 2) it is not because they are choosing not to believe though that is true, but they do not because there is no truth in them by which they can believe. He tells them what must be the case so that they hear 3) they must be of God. Hearing in this verse is clearly to understand. Like eido, akouo, to hear, can mean the comprehension, or understanding of what is heard. In this case it means that precisely. And, Jesus is saying what he has always been saying- that hearing, seeing and understanding are solely a property of those who have their origin in God. As he told Nicodemus, as he prays in Chapter 17, as he cuts the grumblers off elsewhere, the only ones who come to him are those who hear with the understanding and they are those only who have been given to him for they are born from above not from below, of heavenly origin and not of earth.
In Chapter 12, Jesus tells them again it is because of their origin, that is, it is because of who they are, that they unable to see him. John compares the seeing ones to Isaiah’s kind, as those who see him in the glory of his truth contrasted to those who see not and believe not. And in John 17 he will say that if one is not from above they are not his but of the world. It appears that as with Isaiah, being in the Spirit is all important in being enabled to see Jesus for who he is.
Origin is critical to understanding, then. The origin of the hearers is what enables them to see and believe, John 3 again- (except one is born from above), let it be repeated, except a man is born from above he cannot see – (understand) -he cannot know. If he cannot know, he cannot believe. As Jesus also says In John 6 & 8, some are not able. They hate the truth, they are of their father, the father of lies. He contrast them with others saying if they were of God they would hear and they would believe. Their origin is the determining factor and no one’s origin is of themselves, it is determined by God. In John 17: “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” Why the redundancy here and throughout John? As he was born of the Spirit from above, so are all those who he calls brothers. It bears repeating. In all this it is their origin, that is, unless one is born of the Spirit, born not of this world, unless he is from above, he cannot do anything pleasing to God. All of it comes from the Father and is what is meant by being drawn. The word draw conjures up the notion of the birth process, if we do not leave Jesus’ instruction to Nicodemus behind. The origin of the Lord’s children, which is so much the necessary beginning of one who the Father gives the Son, is because as it was written: “‘For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying,“I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.” And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again, “Behold, I and the children God has given me.”’ (Compare John 17) Again and again and again it is said, yet they will not believe the report. Jesus came to save his brethren, children of the Father born from above just as he. It is their source which determines their inheritance, and it is to that source which they are drawn and to which they are returned.
Jesus is explicit, those of the world hate the word and they hate those who believe it because believers are not of the world. Those of the world are not drawn to the word, they are repelled by it, because they are not of its kind, they are not its kin, not of its fold as Jesus would say. They are repelled by it because they do not understand it and do not understand it because the ability to do so has not been given them because the are not children of the king. Those who believe it do come into the kingdom, do come into the light, they do hear the Shephard’s voice, as John finishes Chapter three, because God has it seen to it in himself that they are remade in such a way that they are drawn and do not reject the food offered them from heaven because it is a food of their liking, the right kind for the right kind. They come to the light because they love it, because they are children of the light, so that it will be made known that God has done it, John 3:21. He is the source of drawing because he is the originator of those who can be drawn. No one loves God unless God first loves them. That love which is in Jesus is shed abroad in our hearts so that love of the Father for His Son and the Son for the Father is what draws. The word does not draw those of the world it repels them because the love of the Father is not in them, and they hate those it draws. This is what we see when he commands that his flesh be eaten. It repels those who do not love what the Father has given precisely because they were not given it nor were they given the desire for it because the are not of the kind because they are not from the source who sent his Son in the kind (likeness) of his brethren. The world hates those to whom Jesus is given. Those who are given the food in kind are drawn to it, they are not repulsed by it, because they find it desirable food, tasty and thoroughly satisfying of their hunger and thirst.
Further Jesus says: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” We have discovered that first one must be born again to hear and understand, perceive and believe so as to repent and be saved (eido encompasses all the senses, indeed, it is the word from which we get the word idea, we often say “do you see what I am saying or do you hear what I am saying,” and mean do you understand or have any idea what is meant). Jesus says that in the hearing of his word with understanding is evidence one has passed from death to eternal life. Indeed, the hearing with understanding is found in the response of belief, and that only in those who are from above, or are of God, and believe the report. That is, only those who have been born again have ears which hear, and a responsive appetite of desire for the food offered. Hearing is believing since it is one with being born again, and is the evidence as they are equated in John 5:38, “You do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent.” The reason they do not believe is because the word is not in them, it is not in them because they do not hear, they do not hear because they are not His sheep, they are not lambs, born such as he by the Spirit of God. John 3 tells us how the word comes to be in someone, and in John 5 (just as he cut off Nicodemus) Jesus is saying that searching the Scripture won’t do it. To hear his words one must be one of his sheep, John 10:26.
1 Cor 2 tells us the same thing. It is not the preaching of the word though it is a wisdom to the perfected man. It is not the words of the mouth or of the page, but spiritual words which are food for the hungry soul fed by the Spirit to the spiritual. The man of flesh does not understand them, because he cannot. They are not of his kind. It is because two things have been given, the mind of Christ and the Spirit who interprets the word of Scripture so that one might know what has been freely given, that there is an abiding word. We do not eat the word to get to be who we are, we eat it to maintain and to grow in who we are. Without the Spirit we cannot understand in a salvific way what we are to eat. We neither have a beginning in, nor do we have growth into the fulness of the Son, except that we are so from without ourselves made to be inwardly spiritual men. Without the understanding we do not have the Son who is eternal life in us because it is the Spirit who is the life in us which reveals, one might say digests, the words of life fed to us. Except Christ by the Spirit is in us from the beginning we will not understand his words. That both the Son and the Spirit are in us prior to our understanding with our mind is again what John in all he wrote is saying. It is especially clear when the rest of Scripture is brought to bear.
Except that we are from above, reborn of the Spirit from above, recreated in the image of the Son, having been given the mind of Christ, the words of Scripture even as presented in the Teacher’s words cannot be interpreted as something which is good food. The carnal man, is a man of the flesh, John 1:12-13, not born of the will of God. The one not born again cannot understand Paul says, but the one who is spiritual does, because the words are spiritually discerned with a spiritual mind, by the mind of the Spirit who searches the deep things of God. It is the hearing ones who have received as Paul say, whatever has been received. John is clear, it is by the will of God not by man in any way. One cannot and will not hear and obey if they are not born again, precisely because they have not be given a spiritual mind. The mind of the Spirit will do the will of him who sent him, just as in the Son, so that he always returns to the Father. So all things in John look to the Father as the origin, through Jesus, who has declared to his own the Father’s words. The Spirit is also known as the Spirit of love, that very love of God which casts itself upon the mercy of God as Christ did on the cross.
So back to the drawing and the enablement, Jesus says in John 6: “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” Let me reverse this so that it might be seen it a little clearer.
There are those who see and believe and they have eternal life and will be raised up on the final day. Of all the Father gives, Jesus loses not one, but will raise him up. All who the Father gives the Son see the son (we have discovered that not all can see him except they are born again), and all who truly see who he is believe for they are his. As Paul described, they are not carnal but spiritual. As John says, they are not of man but of God. As Jesus says, only the disciples are given to know the mysteries. As Jesus says in John, they who hear are those who are his from above. Only those who see Jesus with eyes of flesh do not see him for who he is. Nor do they hear what he is saying and so cannot believe, and so will not be raised up. The ones who Jesus will not cast out are those have been given to him by the Father because it is the Father’s will that they be saved and not will of man, John 1:12-13. They only, who have been born of God receive. And only secondarily is it the will of Christ as the obedient Son. He does only what the he sees the Father doing, giving eternal life to whom he chooses, for it was Jesus work not to testify of himself, but to direct all glory to the Father. For they who are drawn were the Father’s by origination, and he gave them to the Son for that very work John 17 tells us that Jesus said he was sent to do. And in John 17, Jesus tell us that he has made the Father known to only the ones who were given to him for they are not of this world. Those given have their origin in eternity.
This is quite contrary to Dan’s assertion that there is no mention of election in Chapter six.
Why are there those who do not see and do not believe? Because they have not been given by the Father to the Son. They are those who will not eat of the bread nor drink of the spiritual drink for they find that offensive. It is food contrary to their nature and has no natural drawing appeal. Unbelievers see him but do not by the nature of their unbelief believe he is the bread of life which the Father gives. As the bread which came down out of heaven, Jesus is rejected by those who have no taste for what he is saying. Just as it is the nature of some creatures to desire and eat one kind of food and others another, it is the nature of unbeliever to disbelieve, and it is the nature of believers to believe. But believers must first be enabled to be such. Like a leopard their spots must be changed. Contrary to the caricature Dan paints, God does not force them, he changes their nature. That is, he recreates them so that they willingly desire what previous to God’s work, they could not. As John 3 states, they must be, anothen gennao, born from above, or born again, made new creatures with an appetite for spiritual food.
So, to the word drawn: No one is able, not one without exception who is not drawn by the Father is able. The means he uses is the change of nature which makes Jesus a desired food, and a desired drink. The drawingness is from within. The drawing is a natural affection, that is, by nature do those who are enabled come. The bread is desirable but draws only according to the desire of those drawn. God the Father draws by changing the desires and thus those drawn are enabled. In Jesus own words, it was not his words which drew men to him, it was as he said to Peter, the Father who reveals. It is not the words of Jesus as we see in the passage, but the origin of the hearers which draws, that is, causes one to come. Jesus is telling everyone the same thing, over and over again. The Father does this, he draws, i.e., except one is born again he cannot, nor will he desire to, for his appetite is not for the bread and drink given. Jesus says everyone who is drawn will come and all who come are raised up. For everyone who eats and drinks of Jesus has eternal life. We know that only those who are born again will be raised up at the last day to eternal life. We also know that only those who have His word in them listen to him and come to him to feed on him and have eternal life. As it is “…written in the prophets: And they shall be all taught of God. Every one who having heard from the Father and having learned, comes to me.” Jesus told Peter it was not men who told him, rather it was the Father. Paul conclusively says we have the Spirit first so that we can understand what is given to us. Who understands? Those who have the Spirit. Who has the Spirit? Those who are spiritual. Who is spiritual, the one who has been born again.
So we have come full circle: To be from God is to be able to hear, to hear is to be taught, and to be taught is to understand, to understand is to believe and to believe one has to be born from above. That is, by the Father’s work through the Spirit we are enabled to hear, to see, to learn of God, to hunger for salvation and come to Christ believing because we are of God’s work and he works in us to be of the kind which is drawn by nature to the food given. It is not the words spoken by men, even the words of Christ as Jesus said, but the Father’s work via the Spirit who brings His Word to life in the heart which is given in the new birth so that we are taught of God our Father to come to his Son. This so that we will, as Jesus said, eat of the bread and be saved. It is not the bread which draws according to any attribute of itself except that first the senses be given which find the food desirable. For that is his will, the will of the Father, that all who he has been given (John 17, just as John 6 uses the past tense, so says they were given before the foundation of the world) he will not lose any. Why, because by nature, those who are born again seek out the only food which is desirable. That is the very work Jesus was given to do, to be food, and he has done it. Namely, that he has given his own the Father’s word, Himself, to eat. They eat it because they are from above, spiritual, not from below. Their desire is for the food fitting to the nature of their origin. To say that he draws but does not raise up is to say he has failed. To say that he draws by food that is repulsive is a contradiction. The two, what God the Father has done in us and what he is doing through Christ, work together in the drawing so that it is said that the Father draws and the Son draws. Just as a sumptuous meal draws by the natural sense of smell and excites the appetite, one wills to eat that which he knows will satisfy and nourish. So it is written, Jesus’ Gospel is a sweet smelling savor to those being saved but to those who are perishing it is the stench of rotting flesh.
As the Scripture says, his work was finished from the foundations of the world and is now by the Son revealed. That God has a chosen people who in time he recreates after the image after of the Son so that they may be one just as He and the Father are One, he is also revealing in those who by the Spirit have been made alive. The response of the individual reveals what God has done, and not only that, but what he alone can do. That is the Gospel. Jesus comes, explains that he has come to set his people free, a people given to him from before time began and that though they are dead the time is coming (in the present tense in the Greek), when the dead will hear and they will live, John 5:25. They are changed from being dead to being alive, from having no appetite for the things of God to having an appetite, which is why they can understand. Which is exactly what Paul said in Ephesians 1. The very same thing John says at the end of John 3. It is God who has done it all and no creature plays any part in it except to be recreated to do God’s will. We are active only after God has worked in us the ability to be what he recreated us to be. It is God who has made those in darkness to be able to come into the light, and they do, because their deeds, ergon, were made past tense, ergazomai, by God. Dan Proctor doesn’t explain John 3:21.
We who were formerly in darkness who had our conversation among the dead were by grace made alive and in that enabled to come to the Son, a work perfected by God in the past, made manifest in the present condition of those, who according to John 3:16, are the believing ones. It is in Jesus, Paul declares, where all the blessing of salvation are, and in him we were created to do these things which accompany salvation as a blessing, Ephesians 2:10. The good deeds of John 3:21 are not something that might happen, they are those things which will without question happen because it is done by God a work perfected before the foundations of the world. It is not just any blessing, but a delicious one, the highest blessing which includes every spiritual gift- the hearing ear, the seeing eye, desire for God, knowledge, faith, love, eternal life, in short the precious knowing of the Son as in us the desired hope of salvation. In fact, Paul tells us that in Christ are all the spiritual blessings which are the inheritance of the saints and are given to them while they are yet dead. And, that in being made alive by God with Christ in his resurrection, he seated us with Christ, in his throne, having, past tense, blessed us with every spiritual blessing, by making us alive with him, so that in him there’s nothing lacking. Blessed with everything is exactly what the word mature means in 1 Cor 2:6. Teleios means fully equipped, wanting nothing necessary to completeness, perfected. We understand because we have been fully equipped to do so. Paul’s desire is for the understanding of the meaning of Christ’s death and resurrection, this is the wisdom he imparts.
So the ears to hear, the heart to believe, everything, is in Christ’s resurrection, 1 Peter: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” As Jesus said that outside of him we can do nothing, even our believing in him is something that if were were not raised up with him to new life, incorruptible, would be impossible to have. For what dead man believes? And believing, if it is not a blessing, what is it? If it is the common lot of all men and can fail, it is not incorruptible. And if it did not come from the Father of lights a perfect gift so as to perform perfectly, from where did it come? That which corrupts and that which is corrupted, or can be corrupted, Jesus has proclaimed as from below, from the Devil, who is the father of lies, the father of unbelief, of death and not of life. Those who are from below, who have only the natural affections by their nature corrupt the word of God so as to be something undesireable. So as Jesus said, they sought to kill him and they seek to kill all those who are of him.
So, finally, except that the Father recreates us in Jesus, we cannot come to him. Except that he recreates us like his Son who believes in his Father’s mercy, we will not come to him. This is what is meant by the drawing. We are drawn because we believe and love him who the Father has sent for we see him as our kinsman, our kind, as our brother of the same Father, and we want to be with the one who has been made like the brethren, like the one who gives life to those who were given to him a spirit which commends itself to the Father. The drawing with the enablement is as necessary as the enablement is with the drawing. For in these things, Jesus said, is eternal life. The work of God is that we believe and God does not fail in that work. The whole thing is what is meant by eternal life. The whole work is that which was originated and completed by God. For those who are drawn are the same who are raised up in him and have eternal life. Meaning, those who are drawn are believers, and they alone are those to whom the mysteries of the kingdom belong, who are not from below, but are like their brother, Jesus, who is from above, drawn to what is their native habitat.
We find this in passages such as Philippians 2:13, which says nothing other than what John said in 3:21. It is God who works all good things in us so that we work all those things which he desires of us, just as it was God the Father who worked all things in Christ so that all things desired of him he did. Those good deeds we do, such as the ability to come to him and believe, are good works which were prepared from the foundations of the world that we would, without exception, walk in them. If it were possible for men to believe apart from Christ he would not have said that it was impossible for us to do anything apart from him. The Scripture would not have said so many times and in so many ways that it is God’s Spirit who works all things in all for the good of those who love God and are the called according to his purpose. That includes drawing them. Of course, it was God who shed abroad in our hearts the love of God in the first place, and that while were were dead. It is that love that draws from within. Not only without. It is that love, the love of God for his son, the very power which raised Christ from the dead, that gives us life that we might believe. That life in us which is also in Christ is the love of God which draws us.
As you can see I have drawn this out long enough. Dan’s PDF contains so many errors that it would take a book to untangle the mess he made out of John 6. For further treatment here is exegetical piece by James White. Enjoy!