Wednesday, June 6, 2007

What about these verses?

Since the theme of this blog over the last few days has been Calvinism (the Doctrines of Grace), I would like to ask myself, and I hope you, two difficult questions. First, what verses, passages, or chapters of the bible are most difficult for a Calvinist to deal with? Second, how should those verses be properly interpreted to be most fair to the whole counsel of God's word?

It would be easy for me to focus my attention on passages that most clearly support the Calvinist position. These include John chapter 6, John chapter 10, Romans chapters 8-11, Ephesians chapters 1-2, and I Peter chapter 1.

However, there are some verses and passages that Calvinists have more difficulty with. The following are often used to support the Arminian position: John 3:16, Romans 10:9-10, I Timothy 2:3-4, Hebrews 6:4-6, Hebrews 10:26-29, II Peter 3:9, and I John 4:14.

I believe that the entire bible is true, and therefore does not contradict itself. It must be, then, that all of the above passages teach truths which mesh together nicely. I want to better understand this.

I need your help. I want to deal, one by one, with the passages that cause Calvinists the most difficulty (see above). The list I have is by no means complete. Would you please add to this list by simply leaving the scripture reference as a comment?

After I get a completed list, I will be posting about each passage, starting with John 3:16.

Thanks a lot. I hope we all learn from this process.


Les Puryear said...


A lot of Arminians use 1 John 2:2. You might want to address that one.


Eric said...


Thanks a lot for the help. I knew there was at least one other verse in I John, but I could not think of it.

In reality, I do not think any of these verses are a real problem for those who hold to God's sovereignty, but they certainly take a bit more explaining because they have been poorly interpreted for so long.

Thanks again.


Alan Knox said...


There's always the episode of Hezekiah in 2 Kings 20:1-6.

Do you think that those who disagree with you about "reformed theology" would appreciate that some of these verses have been "poorly interpreted"? Do you think you would appreciate it if another brother said that "reformed theology" was based on poor interpretations? I agree that the interpretations are different. "Poor"... well, that seems to be in the eye of the interpreter.


Malachi_Abaddon said...

Eric, you're probably right about the verses having been poorly interpreted.

2 Peter 2:1 is another verse Arminians tend to use, and is accompanied with the usual weak argumentation.

Eric said...


Thank you for the reminder of II Kings 20:1-6. That is an interesting episode for sure. I'll enjoy looking into it, and struggling through it.

In this entire process, my intent is to try to understand what these verses and passages mean in context, apart from any type of theological system. I realize that this will be a challenge.

However, I do believe that there is, within most of our Southern Baptist churches in particular, poor interpretation of many of the verses in scripture that deal specifically with God's sovereignty.

I believe that it is more than simply having a different interpretation. Rather, I think the fair reading of the bible emphasizes God's sovereignty in salvation.

There are certainly many faithful followers of Christ who focus more on free will than on God's sovereignty. They are certainly my brothers and sisters in Christ. That is not the issue. I would never suggest separating from them over this issue.

The issue at hand is proper interpretation of scripture. Some people may not like the term "poor interpretation," but sometimes I believe it has to be called what it is.

Eric said...


Thank you for II Peter 2:1. That is quite an interesting verse. That verse in particular keeps one of my former theology professors from holding to limited atonement.

Thanks for reminding me. I'll have to work through that one, too.