Sunday, April 09, 2006

what about the "I"

Much to my surprise, I was accused of not accepting the "I" in TULIP ... I think RC Sproul in Before the Face of God (vol 4) summarizes the point well.

“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.” [John 6:44]
... the Reformed or Augustinian doctrine of predestination is grounded in the fact that humanity is so depraved in fallenness that, apart from the irresistible grace of God, no one could ever turn to Christ. Jesus made this clear.

First, we notice that Jesus said “no one.” This is a universal negative statement. It does not mean that some cannot come unless the Father draws them. Rather, it means absolutely no one can come unless God does something first.

Second, we notice that Jesus said “can.” Remember the difference between can and may. Can means “is able,” while may means “has permission.” Jesus did not say that no one has permission to come to him. Rather, he said that no one is able to come to him. This is the doctrine of total human inability.

Third, we notice the word unless. This introduces an exception. Apart from this exception, no one could ever turn to Christ.

Finally, we come to the word draw. Some have said that draw only means “woo” or “entice.” They agree that human beings are so sinful that no one is able to come to Christ apart from God’s grace, but they say that God gives grace to everyone. God’s grace has a limited effect, however. It does not force people to come; it only woos them. The final decision rests with the sinner.

This interpretation of John 6:44 is impossible, however. In James 2:6, we read, “Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?” in Acts 16:19 we find, “They…dragged them into the marketplace.” The same Greek word is used in all three verses. Obviously, mere enticement is not in view here.

Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, a standard scholarly work on New Testament Greek, tells us that the word translated draw in John 6:44 means “to compel by irresistible authority.” It was used in classical Greek for drawing water from a well. We do not entice or persuade water to leave the well; we force it against gravity to come up by drawing it. So it is with us. We are so depraved that God must drag us to himself.
I'm not sure why my earlier statements appeared to have contradicted this but just in case, I'm saying it now, I'm ok with the above. Now judge me how you want regarding right or wrong but please don't say I'm on both sides.

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