Posted tagged ‘John 3:16’

Together for Glory 1: Father in Relation to the Son

June 3, 2008

For the past couple of months, I have been slowly working through and meditating on a Trinitarian study that was spawned off three things: first, a post I wrote regarding intentional evangelism; second, reflections on the covenant of redemption as understood by the Puritans; and third, the upcoming John 3:16 conference which will attempt to address the doctrines of grace (TULIP). One of the major difficulties I find from soteriological convictions/frameworks that do not subscribe to the doctrines of grace is that they do not account for the trinitarian nature of our salvation. The beauty of John 3:16 is that it is nestled a book which provides for the context–context which, as I have found, makes at least 110 Trinitarian propositions.

In this post, I would simply like to list eleven of these propositions with their texts that specifically relate to the Father’s relationship to the Son in a completed (past) work. In my next post in this series, I will provide eleven more propositions of the Father’s relationship to the Son in an ongoing manner.

11 Trinitarian Propositions from the Gospel of John Regarding the Father’s Relationship to the Son, Past Tense

1. The Father has sent the Son into the world [3:16; 5:36; 6:57; 10:36]

John 3:16
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 5:36
36 But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me.

John 6:57
57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me.

John 10:36
36 do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?

2. The Father has given the Son all things into his hands [3:35; 13:3]

John 3:35
35 The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand.

John 13:3
3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God,

3. The Father has given the Son the works to accomplish [5:36]

John 5:36
36 But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me.

4. The Father has given the Son the commandment, of what to say and speak [12:49]

John 12:49
49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak.

5. The Father has given to the Son all that would come to him [6:37; 6:40; 10:29; 17:11; 17:24]

John 6:37
37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

John 6:40
40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

John 10:29
29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

John 17:11
11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.

John 17:24
24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

6. The Father has given the charge of the Son laying down his life and taking it up again [10:18]

John 10:18
18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

7. The Father has given the Son the bitter cup of his death on the cross [18:11]

John 18:11
11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

8. The Father has borne witness about the Son [5:37; 8:18]

John 5:37
37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen,

John 8:18
18 I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.”

9. The Father has set his seal upon the Son [6:27]

John 6:27
27 Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.”

10. The Father has willed that everyone who looks on the Son and believes should have eternal life [6:40]

John 6:40
40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

11. The Father has glorified his name and will glorify it again [12:28]

John 12:28
28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”

John 3:16 for Everyone

March 5, 2008

A couple of days ago Tom Ascol shared the news of a conference hosted by Jerry Vines Ministries called a “John 3:16 Conference” which is going to be held at First Baptist Woodstock on November 6-7, 2008. Here are the guest speakers and what they will be addressing:

* John 3:16 – Dr. Jerry Vines
* John 3:16 to the entire world – Dr. Charles Stanley
* Total Depravity – Dr. Paige Patterson
* Unconditional Election – Dr. Richard Land
* Limited Atonement – Dr. David Allen
* Irresistible Grace – Dr. Steve Lemke
* Perseverance of the Saints – Dr. Ken Keathley

As Tom noted, “no explanation or elaboration is given about the rationale for the conference,” so before those of us who have been on the receiving end of caricatures and gross misrepresentation, I think would be prudent to give this conference a chance of being a profitable and perhaps constructive venue to address the doctrines of grace and where we would agree or disagree.

One of the things I have been considering is not only attending this conference but also live-blogging it as well (that is, if they have wi-fi available). If indeed more caricatures and straw men are on the agenda, it is much harder to do so look face to face with those whom you are misrepresenting. After all, a John 3:16 conference is for whosoever wants to come, right? 🙂

That leads me to my second point. I have attended numerous anti-Calvinist conferences in the past (several at FBC Woodstock) where it was presumed that only Arminians bibliclists can really believe and preach that verse (John 3:16). Of course, this could not be farther from the truth. The weeks and months leading up to this conference could provide a good opportunity for dialogue and discussion regarding God’s love and its relation to God’s sovereignty, justice, wrath, and other attributes. Allow me to lay out some reasons why this conference could turn out to be worth attending:

1. This conference could be a turning point where anti-Reformed Southern Baptists approach the issues with substance and exegesis rather than rhetoric and emotional appeals.

2. This conference could be the place where we finally understand the soteriological framework and positions of “biblicists” and non-Calvinists.

3. This conference could be the place where other verses in the gospel of John, such as John 1:12; 3:8; 5:21; 6:37, 44, 66; 8:47; 10:26-27; 11:52; 13:18; 15:16; 17:2, 9, 24 are also considered. Surely they would want to place John 3:16 in context.

4. This conference could be the place where non-Calvinists decide whether they are either semi-Pelagian or Arminian. In recent years, it certainly has sounded more semi-Pelagian than anything else, and that is not a good thing.

5. This conference could be the place where Molinism, prevenient grace, and libertarian free will are considered in light of, and attempted to be reconciled with, Scripture.

6. This conference could be the place where the love of God is handled in a more exegetically faithful and biblically responsible manner, in contrast with Ergun Caner, Dave Hunt, and Fisher Humphreys in the past.

7. This conference could be the place where Southern Baptists handle difficult issues with gracious spirits and truthful lips, honoring Christ in the way we approach issues and love those with whom we have disagreements.

Now I know that is a bunch of could‘s, but a conference like this affords non-Calvinists to clear up a lot of the confusion that has arisen by defining themselves as either a non-___________ or a “biblicist” (or Baptist) which has no referent. In any case, as a Southern Baptist who wholeheartedly believes in John 3:16 (as I do the rest of the Bible), I am encouraged to see a conference like this take place and look forward to making plans to attend. If you are a Southern Baptist and a Calvinist, one who does not care for theological one-upmanship but wants to learn and understand the doctrinal differences of other Southern Baptists, and desires to exhibit the humble Calvinism of a gospel-centered, grace-based life, then I would encourage you to attend as well.

After all, John 3:16 is for everyone.

Carson on Intra-Trinitarian Love, Part I

November 28, 2007

Transitioning from the excellent scholarship of John Frame, I want to post two excerpts from another leading scholar, D.A. Carson, from his book The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God. If you have not read this short but significantly important book, I highly recommend it. Here’s part one (emphasis mine):

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Certainly there is endless ground for wonder in the Father’s love for us, in Jesus’ love for us. But undergirding them, more basic than they are, is the Father’s love for the Son. Because of the love of the Father for the Son, the Father has determined that all should honor the Son even as they honor the Father (John 5:23). Indeed, this love of the Father for the Son is what makes sense of John 3:16. True. ‘God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son’—there the object of God’s love is the world. But the standard that tells us just how great that love is has already been set. What is its measure? God so loved the world that he gave his Son. Paul’s reasoning is similar: If God did not spare his Son, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things (Rom. 8:32)? The argument is cogent only because the relationship between the Father and the Son is the standard for all other relationships.

– D.A. Carson, The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2000), 35.

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Catch the flow of Carson’s reasoning:

1. The Father loves the Son
2. In light of this love, the Father has determined that all should honor the Son
3. The world knows God’s love through the sending of His Son
4. The goal is that the world honor the Son because of the Father’s love

Again we see an intrinsic relationship between intra-trinitarian love and God’s purpose in honoring (glorifying) Himself. This speaks directly to Witherington’s charge regarding John 3:16. “Why does John 3:16 make sense?” Carson asks. Because God has love us through giving us His Son which find its telos not in us, but the Father’s love for, and determination to honor, the Son.