By Jack Weaver
Lauren sent to me several partial Bible verses for explanation. She felt her selections, “make some of the strongest arguments for Calvinism.” In a later note she commented, “I would say I am not sure what I believe right now. I used to hold strongly to the reformed or Calvinist view and still think there is a lot in scripture to support it.”
I pray we will be able to present God’s Word convincingly and understandably to Lauren so she can rest in the Security and Peace of Salvation by her personal decision to put her faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone as her Savior and not depend upon the amorphous “promises” of Reformed/Calvinist teaching.
Because of my vision difficulties, I have elicited the help of our dear friend and my former Assistant Pastor, Dr. Tom Cucuzza, Pastor, Teacher, Lecturer and Author of Secure Forever! – on Amazon << Click
We must be aware that Bible verses may be chopped up and taken out of context to prove just about any “religious” point.
Here are the partial, non-contextual verses Lauren submitted for explanation. Thank you Lauren:
Heb 12:2 in part, “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,”
Romans 9:16, “So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.”
Romans 9:18, “Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.”
John 5:21 in part “No one can come to Me unless the Father draws (drags) him.”, “even so the Son gives life to whom He will.”
John 15:16 in part, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you…”
John 3:3 “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again (from above) he cannot see the kingdom of God”
The complete verses with detailed contextual explanations from Dr. Cucuzza are:
John 6:44 “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
The word “draw” is never translated as drag in the KJV. It can mean that, but she is insinuating that God does it and accomplishes salvation regardless of man’s will. That is nowhere in the text.
a. How is a person drawn? V.45 gives the clear answer: We are drawn through the ministry of the Word of God. And this is available for all mankind, not just a select few.
John 6:45 “It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.”
Romans 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
b. We are also drawn by the Holy Spirit, but He draws everyone.
John 16:8 “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;
10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.”
c. Also, through the death of Christ we are drawn.
John 12:32 “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”
John 5:21 “For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.”
This verse is answered in v.24. He gives life to all those who believe.
John 5:24 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.“
Romans 9:14 “What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.”
Romans 9-11 is talking about the national election of the Jews for God’s purpose in the world, not personal election to salvation.
In Romans 9:14-16 The Lord didn’t have to show mercy to anyone. But He will accomplish His plan for the ages by showing grace to mankind. Israel is still in existence today because the Lord did not wipe them out in the days of Moses.
Romans 9:17 “For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?”
vs. 17-21 Pharaoh, the leader of Egypt, already had a wicked attitude toward the children of Israel in the early chapters of Exodus. He did not want to let them go, for he wanted them as slaves for his own glory. The Lord knew (foreknowledge) in eternity past that Pharaoh would be the way he was and therefore used him to show the world the power of Jehovah God, the LORD. It had nothing to do with God making it impossible for Pharaoh to be saved and go to Heaven.
The Bible does say in Exodus that the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, but it also says that Pharaoh hardened his own heart. Which is true? Both! The Lord’s will and plan for Israel was the factor that hardened Pharaoh’s heart. God hardened Pharaoh’s heart by continually testing him. The Lord knew (foreknowledge) that Pharaoh would not change his mind about the Israelites, and therefore used him to accomplish the Divine purpose. Not one verse in the Bible says that Pharaoh couldn’t believe in the Messiah. He chose to reject the God of Moses.
John 15:16 “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”
He was speaking to His disciples (already saved people) about their discipleship and service, not salvation. That you should go and bring forth fruit. It was their choice on whether they would obey Him in this regard or not. This verse has nothing to do with salvation, but with the purpose of the Christian life.
John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
This refers of course to the new birth. If we simply read further down to v. 14-18 we see HOW a person is born again- by trusting Christ alone as Savior. And this is open to the world, v.16-17.
John 3:14 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Again, v.2 cannot be divorced from v.1
Hebrews 12:1 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,”
I cannot see anywhere the Calvinistic bent or interpretation in v.2. What is the point? Yes, He is the captain and prince, and author if you will, of our faith. But it means He is the head, the leader. We are looking unto Him to lead us through the entire Christian life.
“Author”: Originator, founder, leader, chief, first, prince, as distinguished from simply being the cause. AMG’s Complete Word Study Dictionaries.
Dr. Tom Cucuzza Northland Bible Baptist Church
We appreciate the questions from Lauren and especially for Dr. Cucuzza taking his time to answer. We also pray Lauren and others will decide to believe the Truth that salvation is free and only available through an individual’s choice to believe by Grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.
We must never depend upon the false Calvinist teaching that some are “elect” by God to be saved and consequently ALL others, (me, you, our friends and relatives) have no choice or chance to make that decision to believe in Jesus Christ for salvation.