Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
John 6 and the "Pristine Faith Restoration Society"
07/26/2006 - James WhiteLast week I received a note chiding me for not responding to a man named Tim Warner, a "progressive dispensationalist" who is likewise anti-Reformed. I had noted his attempts to deal with key texts quite a while back. He replied, and the writer was chiding me for noting Hunt's unwillingness to debate while I had not replied to Warner. Of course, I pointed out there is no parallel: I have commented on Warner's dispensationalism and the over-riding role it takes in his commentary resulting in eisegetical errors in John 6 and elsewhere. I do not have to commit myself to a never ending series of give and take articles with every unusual interpretive system that finds a voice on the Internet, and this is particularly true with the wide range of "dispensationalisms" that are developing as the movement shatters into a thousand different streams.
In any case, I looked at the articles, and have chosen to respond, not so that another endless series of articles can be produced, but because I see value in illustrating when tradition (in this case, some kind of "progressive dispensationalism") distorts exegesis resulting in error. This is surely the case here, especially, as we will see in time, when the writer completely robs the believer of his assurance of salvation by torturing the Greek subjunctive into something even the sources he cites admits it is not. But I do not have so much extra time as to be exhaustive in this response. I will have to focus upon the key issues.
First, it is not fairly dealing with the historical context of John 6 to force some kind of unique dispensational "spin" on the text. The historical context is that of Judaism in the first century in Capernaum, not an artificial construct produced by a particular interpretation of "progressive dispensationalism." Mr. Warner confuses the two in his first response, found here. It should be noted that this kind of dispensational hermeneutic would mean that nothing before the cross--no teaching, no example, no command--could be seen as having any enduring quality. It is this kind of application of an over-arching concept that has given rise to every form of dispensational abuse of the text, such as is seen in the "Paul Only" churches where nothing but the writings of Paul are allowed to speak with authority to the church.
The issues addressed by our Lord in the Synagogue at Capernaum were over-arching and remain valid to this day. He was addressing unbelief. He was addressing men who had listened to him teaching for hours on end the day before. And yet, despite hearing, they did not believe. Despite seeing (the miracle), they continued in unbelief. Despite "seeking" Jesus, He explains they are unbelievers. And it is in that context that He explains who comes to Him and who does not. There is not a hint that this has anything to do with a particular hardening of Israel so that the crucifixion could take place. There is not a hint that what Jesus says about the nature of unbelief, of the drawing of the Father, and of Himself as the very center of Christian experience, our life-blood, the giver of spiritual life, is only true for the brief period of time left before the crucifixion, at which time all of this was going to change anyway. And what a wonder that the Holy Spirit would record these words for us and preserve them when they would have little or no meaning for the church as a whole. So while Mr. Warner says I am committing the error of eisegesis "because he is assuming a universal application when the text does not warrant or demand such," the reality is that I am simply listening to the text in the context in which it was given without presupposing some kind of dispensational hermeneutic that inserts extraneous conclusions into the discussion. Unbelief, the drawing of the Father, Christ as the bread from heaven, and the strong demands of discipleship are all just as relevant today as they were in Capernaum, and it is Mr. Warner that has to demonstrate otherwise. He consistently fails to do so. ...
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