Does John 6:44 literally prove the doctrine of “irresistible grace”?

Calvinists put much of their theological system on a few major verses or “proof texts”.  I intend to deal with many of their erroneous interpretations on this blog.

One of the major passages that I’ve seen Calvinist use for proof of “irresistible grace” is John 6 and especially, verse 44:

“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

It’s fascinating to listen to James White because it seems that he must insert John 6:44 whenever he has an audience.  Many Calvinists believe this verse is a deal breaker.  I have participated in debates via my YouTube videos or on random blogs and some Calvinist will post this verse, John 6:44, with no support for this claim.  They do this as if it is some kind of “checkmate” and therefore, I must concede Calvinism is truth.  That’s funny.  To question their stance, I often ask them to explain John 6:54 in light of their literal interpretation of John 6:44.

Below, I will show that the Calvinist who uses John 6:44 to prove “irresistible grace”, has actually overplayed their hand!

There are four times in John 6 that the scriptures use the phrase “raise it/him up at the last day”:

39 “This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.

40 “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

44 “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

54 “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

In the Greek, it is “Antistemi autos Antistemi” (raise him up).  I must point out that this phrase is in the same tense, mood and participle each time it is used here.

Below, I have provided from the “Strong’s” concordance, the exact rendering for “raise it/him up” in each of the verses.  Take note that each verse is exactly same in the “The Complete Word Study Series” by Zodhiates.

John 6:39 NKJV

39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.

“Antistemi autos Antistemi”

“should raise it up” Greek word “Antistemi” Strongs G450 No tense given

“Up” is future, active, indicative Greek word “Antistemi” Strongs G450

 

John 6:40 NKJV

40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

“Antistemi autos Antistemi”

“Should raise”  the Greek word “Antistemi” Strongs G450 No tense given

Up” is future, active, indicative the Greek word “Antistemi” Strongs G450

ALSO: “everyone who”  and   “believes on Him”  present, active, participle

“sees the Son” present active participle

 

John 6:44 NKJV

44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.

“Antistemi autos Antistemi”

“I will raise up”  the Greek word “Antistemi” Strongs G450 No tense given

Up” is future, active, indicative the Greek word “Antistemi” Strongs G450

 

John 6:54 NKJV

54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

“Antistemi autos Antistemi”

“I will raise” the Greek word “Antistemi” Strongs G450 No tense given

“Up” is future, active, indicative the Greek word “Antistemi” Strongs G450

ALSO: “whoever eats” present, active, participle

So, the phrase is grammatically and exactly the same each time it is used in John 6.  We must then, give it the same rendering for each subject that is presented in these verses.  I want to emphasize: we must give it the same rendering for each subject that is presented in these verses.

If John 6:44 is a Calvinist’s proof text for “irresistible grace”, then John 6:54 must also be a proof text for the doctrine of “transubstantiation”.  Notice:

  1. In verse 39 the subject being, “the father has given Jesus”
  2. In verse 40 the subject being, “sees the Son and believes in Him”: literally SEEING. Has every Christian literally seen the Son?
  3. In verse 44 the subject being, “draws him”: literally drags
  4. In verse 54 the subject being, “eats My flesh and drinks My blood”: literally eats My flesh and drinks My blood

John MacArthur writes that John 6:54 is a metaphor and an analogy (John MacArthur’s Study Bible, page 1559).  This is eisegesis.  I have demonstrated, exegetically, that there is no difference between how these verses are interpreted.  Yet, MacArthur, James White, and other Calvinists use a literal interpretation in John 6:44 and then switch to a metaphor in John 6:54. The Calvinist and I have the same chapter, the same context, the same audience, the same platform and should be using the exact same Biblical exegesis; but the Calvinist feel that they can move from literal to allegory interpretation at their pleasure when the text does not fit their view.

Please Calvinists demonstrate to me, through the text, that John 6:44 proves Calvinist election in it’s literal interpretation but in John 6:54 “eat My flesh and drink My blood” is an allegory exegetically.  It is not there.

We see that the Calvinist has overplayed their hand, so to speak. In being so dogmatic concerning God’s “drawing”  as a literal interpretation for the doctrine of “irresistible grace” they must now literally “eat the body and blood” of Jesus, or at least embrace some sort of transubstantiation doctrine or cannibalism as stated in John 6:54 to do the surrounding text justice.

Steve Tassi


All articles are property of “Reasons to Defend”, Grace Bible Fellowship Norwalk and Steve Tassi.

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