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Thread: John Calvin on John 3:16

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    John Calvin on John 3:16

    wondering what all of you think of this:

    Both points are distinctly stated to us: namely, that faith in Christ brings life to all, and that Christ brought life, because the Heavenly Father loves the human race, and wishes that they should not perish. And this order ought to be carefully observed; for such is the wicked ambition which belongs to our nature, that when the question relates to the origin of our salvation, we quickly form diabolical imaginations about our own merits...

    And he has employed the universal term whosoever, both to invite all indiscriminately to partake of life, and to cut off every excuse from unbelievers. Such is also the import of the term World, which he formerly used; for though nothing will be found in the world that is worthy of the favor of God, yet he shows himself to be reconciled to the whole world, when he invites all men without exception to the faith of Christ, which is nothing else than an entrance into life. Let us remember, on the other hand, that while life is promised universally to all who believe in Christ, still faith is not common to all. For Christ is made known and held out to the view of all, but the elect alone are they whose eyes God opens, that they may seek him by faith.
    [Calvin on John 3:16]
    When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.
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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    If Calvin wrote that, I'm shocked... ICK!
    This is my signature.

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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Gill
    If Calvin wrote that, I'm shocked... ICK!
    what do you mean if?
    When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.
    --Erasmus

    A room without books is a body without soul.
    --Cicero

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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    Quote Originally Posted by disciple
    what do you mean if?
    Well, I'm not sure he wrote it. That's what I mean. Do you have a source? Thanks...
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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    Calvin did write this. It is found in his commentary on John 3:16. I think there are a couple different ways of reading this passage that Calvin wrote however. Unfortunately I don't have the time to go into them right now. However, we should keep in mind that Calvin developed his doctrine over time. There is a gradual progression one can see if Calvin's writings are traced on issues such as a general love God has for all people which is denied in his later writings. The same is true of Luther and I would hope that all of us would develop in our theology.
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    Brandan. Here take a look at some quotes by Calvin on Justification. I put together this quote collection some week ago. Like I say in the introduction if a man has some discernment and knowledge of Paul's Gospel then he will see where Calvin strayed from Paul. Some of the quotes are more clearly heretical than others, but on the whole I trust you will see Calvin was not as orthodox a man as is being touted by some.

    http://uk.geocities.com/romans5_21/C...tion_quot.html



    harald

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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    harald ...

    I guess I am a real dummy but I fail to see how these quotes are complete heresy and that Calvin is therefore a heretic headed for hell. Is that your belief? Faith and righteousness are interwined and it is because we believe that we justified. We believe ONLY BECAUSE GOD HAS GRANTED TO US belief.

    I guess I just don't get it. I also am not smart enough to distinguish from small snipets the theology that was set forth as "reformed" and held up to fight the real heresy of the RCC is now considered by you heretical. Oh well ....... one learns with time as WB so stated .

    Thanks, Jan
    It is what it is

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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    Quote Originally Posted by doctr of grace
    harald ...

    I guess I am a real dummy but I fail to see how these quotes are complete heresy and that Calvin is therefore a heretic headed for hell. Is that your belief? Faith and righteousness are interwined and it is because we believe that we justified. We believe ONLY BECAUSE GOD HAS GRANTED TO US belief.

    I guess I just don't get it. I also am not smart enough to distinguish from small snipets the theology that was set forth as "reformed" and held up to fight the real heresy of the RCC is now considered by you heretical. Oh well ....... one learns with time as WB so stated .

    Thanks, Jan
    Jan:

    Perhaps as all of us Calvin had some issues with the "experiential" Gospel, (the one we experience) and the Eternal Plan God has designed for the elect.

    Let me explain:

    Calvin, after making this apology for "faith" as interwinded with rigtheousness (your words), states (in Disciple's quote):

    "...still faith is not common to all. For Christ is made known and held out to the view of all, but the elect alone are they whose eyes God opens, that they may seek him by faith."

    Thus, Calvin states that this can only happen to the Elect. This makes such a faith a "received" faith, meaning that someone else was its source and it had to be given in order to be received and it had to be given before it was received. This is still a whole lot different than the RCC and most current heresies about Salvation. If it would be a faith available to all, that somewhat was rejected by God, if the reprobate could receive this faith and then be rejected by God, or if the reprobate could receive such a faith and use it to "manipulate" God into changing His opinion and saving them, then it would be a great heresy what Calvin taught.

    The struggle with the notions Eternal Justification, God granting faith to the elect in order for Him to receive knowledge of his justification, the contrast of being "justified by faith" but such justifying faith is a gift, a received faith, something that we did not possess and that was freely given to us, and the day in our current lives that all this happens to us, or we are made aware of something done eternally to be used by God to accomplish His eternal purpose, the struggle with these notions, I repeat, is something that is not new.

    My 1 1/4 cents worth...

    Milt
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    A pitiful servant of God; a pitbull guardian of the message of Grace

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    A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. Prov 15:1
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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    I love the quote it shows that if you look hard enough at anyone’s writings you will find stuff you would think is heresy. It’s just the nature of imperfect humans. Only the Bible is infallible. And only God is perfect.

    Besides that I actually admire what Calvin said here. As long as you take this quote together with his whole body of work you will see He is only trying to be faithful to the text itself no matter what his theology as a whole says.
    We can disagree with his conclusions but we must admit that at first glance at least this is what John 3:16 seems to say. I like someone who will just read the Bible and let the chips fall where they may. Sola Scriptura !!

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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    Harald:

    Scripture says that all the following things take place through the instrument of faith: God bestows righteousness upon us (Rom. 3:21-22, Phi. 3:9), Christ is a propitiation (Rom. 3:25), we are justified (Gal. 2:16), the uncircumcised are justified (Rom. 3:30), we receive the promise of the Spirit(Gal. 3:14), are the sons of God (Gal. 3:26), we are saved (Eph. 2:8), Christ dwells in our hearts (Eph. 3:17), we are made wise unto salvation (2 Tim. 3:15), we inherit the promises (Heb. 6:12), and are kept by the power of God unto salvation (1 Pet. 1:5).

    Also, when reading Calvin it should be kept in mind that he wrote in Latin. The word translated as offer in the passage is the Latin word offere. Our word offer has a much broader meaning than offere did. Offere primarily means "to present, to bring towards, to thrust forward, to show, to exhibit." Calvin explicitly denies the modern notion of the well-meant offer in his writings.

    Calvin writes:
    His sole design in thus promising, is to offer His mercy to all who desire and seek it, which none do but those whom he has enlightened, and He enlightens all whom He has predestined to salvation (III,24,17).
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar
    Also, when reading Calvin it should be kept in mind that he wrote in Latin. The word translated as offer in the passage is the Latin word offere. Our word offer has a much broader meaning than offere did. Offere primarily means "to present, to bring towards, to thrust forward, to show, to exhibit." Calvin explicitly denies the modern notion of the well-meant offer in his writings.
    and didn't he also write in french?

    also, is the word "invite" used here "offere"? because it does not seem like this meaning (to present, show, exhibit) would actually make sense in the context he's using the term (notice also the other things he says):
    • Christ brought life, because the Heavenly Father loves the human race, and wishes that they should not perish
    • And he has employed the universal term whosoever, both to invite (offer? how would that work here) all indiscriminately to partake of life,
    • yet he shows himself to be reconciled to the whole world, when he invites (offers?) all men without exception to the faith of Christ, which is nothing else than an entrance into life
    also the implication is that the invitation is made with the expectation that it may be accepted or rejected. otherwise calvin would not have added the qualifiers:

    both to invite all indiscriminately to partake of life, and to cut off every excuse from unbelievers.

    Let us remember, on the other hand, that while life is promised universally to all who believe in Christ, still faith is not common to all. For Christ is made known and held out to the view of all, but the elect alone are they whose eyes God opens, that they may seek him by faith.

    so it is a presentation of Christ, life, salvation, etc. for/to all, but with the understanding that only some will accept it, namely the elect. but this is left to the secret things of God.
    When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.
    --Erasmus

    A room without books is a body without soul.
    --Cicero

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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    Quote Originally Posted by disciple
    and didn't he also write in french?

    also, is the word "invite" used here "offere"? because it does not seem like this meaning (to present, show, exhibit) would actually make sense in the context he's using the term (notice also the other things he says):
    Yes, Calvin also would write in French. However, he normally wrote in Latin and then translated them into French so the Latin is considered by most to be the authoritative edition. I haven't heard mention of offere in Calvin's writings being translated as invite so I'm assuming for the moment that it's a different word. I don't own a copy of Calvin's writings in Latin. My comments about "offere" were made in regard to harald's link.

    Calvin's commentary on certain passages are certainly in error. I'm not denying that.
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    Jan. To say e.g. "we are justified because we believe" or something closely synonymous betrays a belief in justification conditioned on subjective Christ-ward faith. This is pure heresy. Essentially it does not differ from the RCC heresy of Justification by works, or, by faith + works. Romanists are quick to say the faith and works by which they are justified are the fruit of Christ's Spirit in them. Calvinists so-called are quick to say the "faith" by or through which they are justified is "a gift of God". Both make God's Spirit and themselves the determining factor in their claimed justification, just that Catholics add one more thing (works), whereas Reformed/Calvinist people in their subtle piety condition justification only on "faith" (God-inwrought such). Both the RCC and their seeming opponent, the Reformed/Calvinist, do away with Christ and His Righteousness as the only thing which can recommend a man to God and gain for him entrance into Heaven. They rob the Christ they claim to know of His preeminence in the matter of Justification before God and shift it to the Holy Spirit and subjective Christ-ward faith. This is "THE LIE", about the subtlest falsehood and heresy ever perpetrated in the name of Christianity.

    Paul the apostle did not teach this lie, but Luther and Calvin apparently did. In that case Calvin is not "headed for hell", but IS in hell already, because no liars ever enter God's heaven. So says John in Revelation under Divine inspiration. If this ain't solemn then nothing is.

    By a man's verbal statements about soteriological, christological etc. things his understanding in spiritual things is seen to a high degree. Calvin's soteriological statements about Justification do not match Paul's description about how God justifies the ungodly. The purported truths about justification which Calvin describes have no counterpart in the realm and operational sphere of the one true God. God has never conditioned justification before His countenance on Spirit-wrought faith in Christ, and His holy word, the Scripture, in fact nowhere teaches such satanic falsehood. Think about it.


    harald

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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    Ok guys .... sorry but I did a knee jerk reaction this morning. Calvin is indeed a human being who would and does have error in his theology ... no question about that. The purpose of this forum is to learn, expand our thinking and to first and foremost delve into the Word. This is what it does for me. I certainly take everything stated in here with a "grain of salt" because it is mostly opinion. I have changed my mind on a few issues and held fast on a few others .

    No one including Calvin has perfect theology or perfect knowledge. But at least we are able to look at the work he has done and it will hopefully cause us to question what is really meant in this or that passage.

    I have seen the word "offer" even in the WCF. I personally believe the standards had in mind the term "offere", yet we have Presbyterian churches claiming that the WCF teaches "well meant offer" of the gospel. I fail to see that in the confessional if you take the entire document and what it says about election etc etc etc.

    I must agree somewhat with tomas1 - "Besides that I actually admire what Calvin said here. As long as you take this quote together with his whole body of work you will see He is only trying to be faithful to the text itself no matter what his theology as a whole says."

    I agree with what GA had to say to me and I appreciate that .

    I have heard and seen Calvin get so ripped apart. It is expected to happen when someone writes the amount that this man wrote... but sheesh ... to pull stuff out of context or without looking at what he consistently states throughout all of his writing is just not being fair to man.

    Harald .... I appreciate that you put those quotes together but again I fail to see the heresy in them. If we want to continue this discussion I really need you to show me where Calvin went wrong on his teaching of righteousness, justification, faith and the like.

    Thanks Jan
    It is what it is

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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    Quote Originally Posted by harald
    Jan. To say e.g. "we are justified because we believe" or something closely synonymous betrays a belief in justification conditioned on subjective Christ-ward faith. This is pure heresy. Essentially it does not differ from the RCC heresy of Justification by works, or, by faith + works. Romanists are quick to say the faith and works by which they are justified are the fruit of Christ's Spirit in them. Calvinists so-called are quick to say the "faith" by or through which they are justified is "a gift of God". Both make God's Spirit and themselves the determining factor in their claimed justification, just that Catholics add one more thing (works), whereas Reformed/Calvinist people in their subtle piety condition justification only on "faith" (God-inwrought such). Both the RCC and their seeming opponent, the Reformed/Calvinist, do away with Christ and His Righteousness as the only thing which can recommend a man to God and gain for him entrance into Heaven. They rob the Christ they claim to know of His preeminence in the matter of Justification before God and shift it to the Holy Spirit and subjective Christ-ward faith. This is "THE LIE", about the subtlest falsehood and heresy ever perpetrated in the name of Christianity.

    Paul the apostle did not teach this lie, but Luther and Calvin apparently did. In that case Calvin is not "headed for hell", but IS in hell already, because no liars ever enter God's heaven. So says John in Revelation under Divine inspiration. If this ain't solemn then nothing is.

    By a man's verbal statements about soteriological, christological etc. things his understanding in spiritual things is seen to a high degree. Calvin's soteriological statements about Justification do not match Paul's description about how God justifies the ungodly. The purported truths about justification which Calvin describes have no counterpart in the realm and operational sphere of the one true God. God has never conditioned justification before His countenance on Spirit-wrought faith in Christ, and His holy word, the Scripture, in fact nowhere teaches such satanic falsehood. Think about it.


    harald
    Sorry harald but I just don't see what you are accusing Calvin of teaching is in fact what he is stating. He in NO WAY NO TIME HAS EVER made justfication a work of man. PLEASEEEEEEEEEEE GIVE ME A BREAK!!!! If you see it in his writing you sir are going at reading him with a presupposition. He stood up against the heresy of the RCC and to say he is just like them really causes me another knee jerk reaction hahahaha.

    I am wondering if there is something I am missing if you guys want to show me please do so.

    Harald I do have a couple of questions for you though ...

    What is the object of our faith?

    What is the instrument of justification?

    Thanks, Jan
    It is what it is

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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    Thanks Jan! Wise words!

    The flipside of this "coin" would be totally to eliminate "faith" from soteriological teaching. One must be very cunning in explaining away all the instances where the Bible says "by faith" and "through faith", or words to that effect.
    I am very comfortable in saying this because I believe that our Salvation, as a complete work, is not conditioned upon our faith. However, can we write any notions of "faith" as an "instrument" (using W.B. words) off of the Bible? I propose NOT!

    The issue here is what Calvin taught and not what I think. What I think here could not be of a lesser importance. However, consider this analogy and perhaps we can be a little more understanding of the "role" of faith in Salvation:

    The prodigal son returns home after eating pig's feed.
    He returns dirty, disheveld and most likely odorific
    The Father received him as a Son still on the way, before he arrived home. He was a son then, as he had been a son before he left and during his time out
    However, the father takes him in the house, cleans him up, puts some new robes on him and a ring on his finger.

    Neither the robes nor the family ring made that young man the son of the Father. The Father had already decided that he was a son unconditionally. Not his odor, nor his appearance, nor the terrible thing he did abandoning the home and eating with pigs, such a filthy and religiously foul animal could ever change the fact that he was a son of the father.
    But after asking for forgiveness and receiving it and also receiving the family ring and the robes, this young man knew for a fact, beyond any shadow of doubt that he was indeed a son. Interestingly enough, even the older son knew then, by those "symbols", clothes and ring, that his brother had been a son all the way.

    So is faith. God unconditionally loves His elect. He does not condition His paternity on the "faith" of His elect. He simply made Himself, rather, is a Father to them by His own decree. But when the elect comes to Him (the experiential Gospel) God give him faith, and faith, just as the robes, the family clothes and the ring, become to us, the elect, the wonderful mark of sonship.

    Many here will read my analogy and find it simplistic and non-theological. That is okay. But I believe that the richness of the parable of the prodigal son is somewhat imporivished if we lose sight that the young man was a son before he left, during his leave and after he came back home unconditionally. Fellowship was broken but not relationship. The family ring, the cleaning, the clothes were the tangible proof of his sonship. So is faith!

    Faith is the substance of things hoped for... the evidence of things not seen.

    My 1 1/8 cents worth.

    Milt
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    A pitiful servant of God; a pitbull guardian of the message of Grace

    My pledge to other members:
    A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. Prov 15:1
    A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver - Prov. 25:11

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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    Quote Originally Posted by harald
    Paul the apostle did not teach this lie, but Luther and Calvin apparently did. In that case Calvin is not "headed for hell", but IS in hell already, because no liars ever enter God's heaven. So says John in Revelation under Divine inspiration. If this ain't solemn then nothing is.harald
    Hmmm I don't know you at all harald but if you really think that Luther and Calvin are in hell there isn't much hope for any of us. I guess this is the TRUE MEANING OF DOCTRINIAL REGENERATION!!!!
    It is what it is

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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    Milt,

    I definately give you a full two cents worth!!! You are selling yourself short .

    I too believe that our faith is what gives us our assurance that we are in fact children of God. I appreciate what you wrote and I believe that is what Calvin taught.

    Thanks again ... Jan
    It is what it is

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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    harald:

    Could you please give an explanation of the passages in Scripture which say that we are justifed by faith?
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Re: John Calvin on John 3:16

    No one including Calvin has perfect theology or perfect knowledge. (Jan)


    This is not what the New Testament says. Paul has perfect theology, he was no teacher of error or heresy. So also John. And these are the men to imitate if one has been Divinely summoned into fellowship with God. Statements like the above are often made as an excuse for clinging to or entertaining error or heresy. Erroneous and heretical men have no call or authority from God to be "teachers". They run unsent. The Scripture warns about not too many seeking to be teachers, they shall have the greater judgment.

    If you do not now understand where Calvin wandered from the truth then hopefully soon you will, God willing.

    harald

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