It’s a John 3:16 Mud Fight!

I made a feeble attempt in my previous post to incorporate some simple algebraic logic to help understand the wording of John 3:16 and whether or not Jesus is directing his words to “whoever” i.e. everybody or only those chosen by God for salvation (the elect). It seems more plausible (at least in my own understanding) that Jesus is inferring everybody and to that end I readily admit I’m biased against the Calvinist doctrine of unconditional election. 

Trying to dig up some additional information, I looked through my copy of, Debating Calvinism {five points, two views} by Dave Hunt & James White and was surprised to not find any references to John 3:16. Unfortunately, there are no scriptural references listed at the back of the book. So, if the verse is somewhere in the book, I missed it. Anyway, I did a Google search using [John 3:16 “Dave Hunt” “James White”]. Lo and behold, the first two links provide piles of ammunition for both sides of the argument which in some way only seems to add to the confusion rather than sort out, as it were, the wheat from the chaff. It’s also apparent that Hunt and White have been arguing back and forth for quite some time and there appears to be no love lost between them. In any event, it’ll take me some time to work through each of their letters – particularly James White’s as his delves deep into the Greek. If others are so inclined, below are URLs and a “teaser” paragraph.

From Dave Hunt: You go to great lengths to explain John 3:16 as no child could ever understand it. By your standard, not until they become “scholars” expert in Greek (or take some Calvinist’s word for it) will they recognize that Christ didn’t die for the whole world, but that salvation is offered only to an exclusive elect to which, by overwhelming odds, they most likely do not belong, being part of the vast multitude of the damned on the “broad road to destruction.” Eternal doom awaits them simply because the God who “is love,” from eternity past before they were born was “pleased” to predestine them to everlasting suffering with no hope of escape even though the merit of Christ’s shed blood is infinite.

From James White: It is your tradition to interpret John 3:16 in a particular fashion. That tradition includes two very important elements: 1) the idea that “world” means every single individual person, so that God loves each person equally (resulting in a denial of any particularity in God’s love, even in His redemptive love), and 2) that the term “whosoever” includes within its meaning a denial of particularity or election.


Author: Bob

I’m an upper Midwestern guy who has recently entered the "Buick stage" of life and decided to migrate to Florida. This blog is an attempt to rectify discordant aspects within my Christian faith ... or what often feels like my lack of Christian faith. Things which make life more enjoyable include strong black coffee, charcoal grilling anytime of the year, putz'ing at a table saw, playing chess, a good orthopedic surgeon and an occasional IPA. Please feel free to poke around and comment as you wish. I welcome discussion and the insights of others.

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