Calvinist heresy using John 3:3
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.
Calvinists have many times informed me that John 3:3 clearly teaches that one must be born again before one may have faith in Christ (or equivalent wording). So let’s put the calvinists to the test (according to 1 Thessalonians 5:21) to see if their teachings are biblical or not. After all, they claim sola scriptura (the Bible alone). If this is true, then they should be, of all people, outstandingly biblically correct. However, if they can be shown to be deceptive or non-scriptural, then they must be deemed to be opposed to sola scriptura (the Bible alone). On this test they will stand or fall today!
Here are some comments from calvinists defining how they interpret the order of being born again and believing in Christ. (Note that Boettner changes “born again” to “saved”. Biblical Christians recognise that being saved also describes being born again, that they are equivalent terms, while most calvinists tend to separate being born again from being saved, with the order as (a) being born again, then (b) believing in Christ, then (c) being saved. Some will therefore rewrite “being saved” as “being justified” but nonetheless calvinist doctrine requires that they teach that a man must be born again before he is able to believe in or have faith in Christ.)
John 3: 3. (man must be born again first before he can repent and believe.) In this super clear verse our Lord and saviour himself tells Nicodemus that he cannot even see the kingdom of God unless he is born again first, surely that puts to rest that regeneration must take place first and foremost. (email from calvinist 18/01/17)
Further, Christ places regeneration by the Spirit as a requirement before one can “see,” i.e., believe or have faith in the Kingdom of God. He states quite emphatically that a sinner who is born of the flesh cannot believe the good news of the Kingdom until he is born by the Spirit. Thus according to the teaching of Christ, we believe because we are “born again.” We are not “born again” because we believe! (Studies in the Atonement (Robert Morey) Chapter 8)
Boettner who is often quoted by calvinists says: A man is not saved because he believes in Christ; he believes in Christ because he is saved. …… And in accordance with this, Augustine says that “The elect of God are chosen by Him to be His children, in order that they might be made to believe, not because He foresaw that they would believe.”
(The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, Page 75)
So if these calvinists are biblically correct, then their teaching will be consistent throughout the Bible, not just in this isolated verse. Therefore, are there verses which clearly state their teaching without any rewording or explanations? I can think of none at all. In fact, it is clear to me that their interpretation of John 3:3 is faulty to begin with, for they have had to reword the verse before it may support their teachings. If this is so, then their interpretation will be inconsistent with the rest of biblical truth. And, with scriptural teachings, any inconsistency always shows a lie to be present somewhere. Only the truth is consistent across all verses and passages.
Let’s look at 2 Corinthians 5:7 – For we walk by faith, not by sight: While calvinists claim that in John 3:3 “believing or having faith in” is the equivalent of “seeing”, it does appear as if 2 Corinthians 5:7 states that they are opposing terms, that the one denies the other. If it can be shown that “faith” and “sight” in 2 Corinthians 5:7 are equivalent to “believe or have faith in” and “see”, then it would be impossible for “see” in John 3:3 to be reworded as “believe or have faith in”.
The real test is to look at the original wording in the Greek.
Except a man be born again, he cannot see (eido) the kingdom of God. (John 3:3)
For we walk by faith (pistis), not by sight (eidos): (2 Corinthians 5:7)
If “see” in John 3:3 is changed to “believe or have faith in”, then we get
Except a man be born again, he cannot believe or have faith in (pisteuo) the kingdom of God.
pisteuo (believe or have faith in) is the verb form (Strongs 4100) derived from the noun pistis (faith) (Strongs 4102).
eidos (sight) is the noun form (Strongs 1491) derived from the verb eido (see) (Strongs 1492)
It can be seen clearly that pisteuo (believe or have faith in) cannot replace eido (see) because 2 Corinthians 5:7 (which uses the same terms but merely changing each from verb to noun form) actually says that the two terms are opposed to each other. We may either walk by faith or by sight; we cannot do both at the same time. Therefore it is not permissible to exchange “see” (eido) with “believe or have faith in” (pisteuo) in John 3:3. No genuine scholar of Greek could teach such nonsense.
Therefore, anyone who claims that “see” must mean “believe or have faith in” in John 3:3 is either incompetent to the nth degree, or else deliberately lying in order to deceive the very elect of God. Thus calvinists who use John 3:3 to teach that one must be born again before one may believe or have faith in Christ are in great need of someone to teach them the truth. Unfortunately, most of the calvinists who teach their heresy of belief after regeneration (= being born again) will just continue to listen to the lies of their incompetent or lying teachers, and like blind leading the blind, all will fall into the ditch!