I had already responded and refuted this soundly on Soteriology101 but it seems Eric Kemp just cannot seem to understand and get it.
Flowers quoted this same verse in an article he wrote entitled: “1 John: 1 Does Not Teach Pre-Faith Regeneration or he least alludes to it.
But I would like for you to see John 20:31 in more of its immediate context that Professor Flowers did not give to us. Look at verse John 20:30.
John 20:30 – Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.
“These” (miracles) were written to satisfy the disciples that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” “it is abundantly sufficient for confirming the faith” Calvin Commentary On John.
Calvin goes on to say, “That miracles and signs are to be “aids and supports” to faith, that “that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. They prepare the minds of men, that they may cherish with greater reverence the word of God, and we know how cold and sluggish our attention can be if we are not excited by something else.
19 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen
As you probably know, miracles were not always effective in the gospel, with Jesus being the one performing them.
See in Matthew 11:23 Jesus, the Son of the Living God the Father, did mighty works, (signs and miracles) but the people remained hard-hearted and did not repent.
But Jesus, who we know is “truth personified” spoke with integrity and honesty and told the “people of Capernaum who remained disbelieving after seeing Jesus’ mighty works) said Sodom (with Gomorrah) which was destroyed with fire and hail” would have repented and
remained to this day” if they saw the “mighty works of Jesus, the Son of God’
But not Capernaum, who remained disbelieving after seeing the mighty works of God. Read the entire passage below in its immediate context.
21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
22 But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.
23 And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.”
To show the proof of what I just said, let us read one more passage of scripture in Matthew 11.
Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father,,, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes.
26 Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.
27 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.
You see Kemp, right here Jesus in connection and in context with the miracles he did in Capernaum prays to His Father saying,
Also, notice Jesus says in Matthew 11:26, praying to the Father, “it seemed good in the Father’s sight” God’s will to blind and not open the hearts of the people to Capernaum through his these “things” Christ’s mighty works. Jesus goes on to say in verse 27. that no
one knows the Father except the Son and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. So mighty works will not work for everyone and not reveal Jesus is the Christ Son of God the Father, and only Jesus through His will chooses who he will reveal the Father too.
4 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.
See God has to open the heart before one can by faith see and understand and believe in Christ. This is done by the Holy Spirit in connection with preaching the law and Gospel Is this not what Jesus said in the Gospel of John Chapter 6
John 6:63 -63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
Remember Christ Professor Flowers references in John 20:30 in connection with verse 28 & 29 in connection with what has been said above. In Flowers Article mentioned above.
28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
That You May Believe
30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book;
31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
The disciples were crushed in spirit and doubting about Christ, because of Him being on the Cross, but he reminds them that he is the Christ, Son of God and as Professor Flowers said, “that believing you may have eternal life.”
So the meaning of the verse Professor Flowers quoted above in connection with verses 29 through the rest of the chapter means this and only this I believe.
And only when God the Holy Spirit opens the heart first, (regeneration preceding faith.)
John Calvin continues by saying, “Here John repeats the most important point of His doctrine, that we obtain eternal life by faith because while we are out of Christ, we are dead until restored by GRACE THROUGH FAITH. NOTICE GRACE, THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT GRACE PRECEDES FAITH.
Notice again grace necessarily precedes faith which is the work of the Spirit of Grace. Our entire salvation is of the working power of the Holy Spirit and the disclosing of the law that we are wicked sinners in need of a Savior, it is the gift of God.
2 Timothy 2:10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
10 but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,
This passage of scripture says God has saved us and called us with a holy calling, (that internal calling, effectual call of the Holy Spirit in connection with the preached word, the Spirit gives understanding and faith in Christ who is the gospel)
It goes on to say in verse 9, “grace was given to “us” (the beloved, the elect, the given ones, the coming/believing ones. John 6:37-39, John 17:2, John 10, the sheep Jesus died for whom the Father has given to Him and gives them eternal life, not all people without exception)
But something very interesting is said in verse 10 of 2 Timothy. Paul says, “by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ (who is a perfect savior and will save His people from their sins and his soul will be satisfied (Matthew, Isaiah 53.
Verse 10 goes on to say this, and I emphasize not shouting, (life and immortality were brought to light through the gospel.
The life quickening power of the Holy Spirit that enables us to believe and come to Christ through the instrumentality of the preaching of the Gospel brings to “light” the “life” that has been given us by the Holy Spirit by believing the gospel.
John Newton, a Calvinist, who wrote the probably the most famous Christian hymn of all time, wrote in that song, “how precious did, that grace appear (saving grace) the hour I first believed. (in the Gospel) Amazing Grace
See there is life-giving regenerating power within us before we believe and embrace Christ as our Saviour through the preaching of the Gospel.
But the “life, grace” did not appear or be brought to life (2 Timothy 1:10) until we believed. The spiritual life regenerating of the Holy Spirit was there but the sinner is not conscience until he believes in Christ his Savior. That happens when he believes and life is brought to life and made apparent to the sinner that he is now in Christ.