John 3:16 Conference Questions

As many of you know (or maybe not) I will be attending the John 3:16 Conference this week.  The very last item on the schedule is a 60 minute Q&A.


I’d love to hear from blogdom out there as to what questions you’d like answered.  Maybe, just maybe I could get to ask or submit some of them for you.  I don’t know the set-up for everything yet so we’ll see.

I may also get the chance to live blog the conference.

Hopefully, this conference will build rather than tear down.


p.s. I recently reviewed a sermon from a “John 3:16 Baptist” (self-proclaimed) entitled What is Calvinism? My review is in three parts: Part 1, part 2 & part 3.  No offense, but I hope the conference does a better job than this sermon.

Oh…BTW…I am a John 3:16 Calvinist!

Let's connect!

tagged as , , , , , , in Arminianism,Baptist,calvinism,Church Issues,Evangelism,Gospel,Southern Baptist,theology

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 ABClay November 4, 2008 at 11:34 pm

The good pastor vines goes around the south proclaiming that John 3:16 deals with all the “isms” that threaten orthodox Christianity. One of these “isms” is, no doubt, Calvinism. It is in the part of the verse “whosoever believes in Him” that the good pastor always says that Calvinism is defeated. I can get you a copy of this sermon if you want.

The question therefore would be, “Mr. Vines, you say that John 3:16 deals with Calvinism, therefore implying that Calvinists don’t believe what is stated in this verse. I am a Calvinist, and I affirm with every breath what is stated here in this verse, and furthermore I do not know any Calvinist who will not affirm what is stated in this verse. Why do you repeatedly insist on misrepresenting the Calvinist position because we do believe that “everyone who believes will have eternal life?”

Heck, you can have your pick of any number of straw men from his “baptist battles” sermon to use instead of the one I listed. I have a copy of this one too if you want it.

Have a ball Mark.

On a side note, any news from Savannah about this past weekend?

Talk to you later,


2 Ken Temple November 5, 2008 at 11:24 am

Hi Mark –
Interesting how they organized each session around the 5 points of Calvinism. I look forward to seeing how they handle all these issues.

Here are some questions I thought of:

1. Please explain the Greek phrase in John 3:16, “hina pas ho pisteuwn” = “in order that all the believing one” or “anyone who believes” or “any that believes”. If they believe, trust Christ, then they are promised eternal life. How do Calvinists explain the promise that “if you believe, you will inherit eternal life?” Do you have examples of how a Calvinist misapplies this verse in evangelism and says to some, “you may not be of the elect, so the promise is not for you.” ? Do you know of any Calvinist preacher who actually teaches that or practices that kind of evangelism?

2. Can a person cause himself to be born again by faith, or does the Holy Spirit have to create faith in the heart first, as they hear the gospel?
John 3:3, 3:5; 3:8; Acts 16:14 – “the Lord opened Lydia’s heart to respond to the things Paul was preaching.” John 6:44 – no one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him”

3. Does John 3:27 help us interpet this passage? _ “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven.”

4. In light of the fact that both sides of the argument believe that many people go to hell and all individuals are not saved ( Matthew 7:13; Revelation 20:11-15); please interpret “the world” of John 3:16 in light of Revelation 5:9, where “out from every tribe and tongue and people and nation” there are human beings who were redeemed by the blood of the lamb. (redeemed, purchased, past tense – Aorist tense) “you purchased”, “you redeemed”. How do you explain the “out from” (ek) all nations, and the Aorist (past) indicative tense of the verb, to purchase?

5. How does John 3:18 motivate us toward missions and evangelism and how does it affirm total depravity (already condemned) and why should we always include John 3:18 in our presentation of John 3:16?

6. Why should we include John 3:14-15 in our evangelism on John 3:16 also? (the Son of Man being lifted up)

7. Why does Jesus use the illustration of birth in John 3:3-8 to talk about spiritual truths? Did we decide to be born physically? Did we decide we were going to come into this world? Did we decide who our parents are; what country and culture we would be born into; and what time in history we would come into the world? How does this part of the passage relate to John 3:16?

8. Is Jesus referring to Ezekiel 36:25-27 in John 3:10 and context of 3:3-8? If so, who does the removing of the heart of stone, and who gives them a new heart and a new Spirit and how do you understand, “I will cause you to walk in My statutes” ?

9. In light of our inability to choose our first birth into this world, (John 3:3-8), please explain John 1:13 (who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of a man (male, husband; like Abraham’s will and choice to have a child with Hagar).

3 ABClay November 5, 2008 at 12:31 pm


I like the questions that Bro. Ken suggested better; much more thought out than mine.

I am afraid that you are wishfully thinking if you believe that they will accept random questions though. More likely, you will submit your questions in advance and they will choose which ones to answer from a pool of them. This prevents their teaching from being openly exposed as being contrary to what the scriptures teach in regards to Grace.

Maybe I am wrong…


4 johnMark November 6, 2008 at 12:42 pm

1. A recent Lifeway study that discovered only 10% of SBC pastors are “Calvinistic.” Also, baptist scholar and Arminian, Roger Olson in his recent book Arminian Theology claims that most of the churches in America are semi-pelagian or pelagian. Given these two positions why is there not more focus and uproar against these heresies Dr. Olson states in the SBC instead of Calvinism?

2. Why is there not more, or any, consultation with today’s prominent Calvinist pastors when those who oppose Calvinism seek to critique and interact with Calvinism?

3. Often, in critiques of Calvinism we hear of those particular baptists who were or went hyper-Calvinist, yet, we don’t hear of those general baptists, whom the critics often defend, who held to heresies such as Socianism and Arianism. In this vein, why do many critiques focus on the negative items that have come out of Calvinism rather than the positive when critiquing?


5 a helmet November 7, 2008 at 3:11 pm

Good morning Ken Temple!

There are some answers:

1) “…if you believe, you will inherit eternal life?”

Eternal life is the result of keeping the law perfectly. No one who transgresses the law shall inherit eternal life. How to fulfill the law and what does this have to do with belief? See here:

2. “Can a person cause himself to be born again …?”
You are refering to Jn. 3. What exactly is “born again” ? How does it feel? See

and here

but also this is revealing:

John 6:44 is related also. See

3) “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven.”

Without heavenly gifts, any man is just as blessed as the dust of the earth where he once was taken from.

4) Concerning “purchased”, “redeemed”.

The question is indeed one about the nature of the atonement of Christ. Understanding what it accomplished is crucial. For what exactly does purchased mean in this context? What exactly did Christ’s atonement mean and whom did Christ die for? See here:

5. John 3:18 and “already condemned”.

Note the article about “The fulfillment of the law by Jesus Christ” above. But especially the series “On the Knowledge of Good and Evil” here:

6. “the son of man lifted up”.

This is a comparison Jesus himself made.

7. John 3:3-8 and its relation to 3:16

See point 2).
The first passage is saying things in forensic unclarity. 3:16 is the truth in clarity.

8. Who does the works of God?

If you are a Christian then Christ is in you. But also, the Father is in Christ, hence the Father is in You. While not the Fullness of the Father is in you, you can do the works of the Father inasmuch as He is in you! So if you have already been given a new heart and a new spirit, you can now give others the same in like manner. Spirit is transferred through the logos and the logos is communicable. Whatever you have reaped from God you can share.

9. “will of a man”

No child of God is born as such by sexual intercourse. Note Jesus’ virgin birth. God is active in the world even without the potent powers the fleshly world depends on. No human being chose to be physically born, howeve their parents did!

Kehrhelm “a helmet” Kröger


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