Every few months someone will ask, “Have you seen this site?” and will drop www.crisispub.com on me in e-mail or in our chat channel. And I always sigh and say, “Yes, years ago. Nothing new.” But, since the author of the material, “Malcolm Lavender, Litt.D.” fills his writings with repetitive, obscure references to Greek, few are able to critically analyze what he is saying, or why. Of course, the fact that he accuses just about everyone under the sun of misrepresenting the original language (including recognized, published Greek grammarians and widely recognized theologians and scholars) might tell you something is a bit amiss here. And most assuredly, there is.

Quite simply put, the claims made by Dr. Lavender are so often completely outside the recognized realm of Greek scholarship as to render his materials utterly without merit or value. Of course, such a broad statement requires documentation, and so I will gladly provide it while, at the same time, defending myself against false accusations from him regarding that key text, John 6. I refer to the section containing the allegation that the mood of John 6:44, 65 is ignored in my exegesis of the text. Lets find out who is ignoring what. Lets look at the entirety of his presentation and then take it apart piece by piece:

John 6:44, 65…except the Father…draw him; mood ignored
No Man Is Able to Come to Me
We note verse 44 as follows:
“No man is able to come to Me, except the Father–the One Who sent me–MAY draw him (helkuse auton): and I will raise him up at the last day.”[28]
[28 = I counted about 16 translations that hid the subjunctive aspect, may.] 
It should be noted that this passage is translated incorrectly by disregarding or hiding its conditional nature, which we have shown in our translation. The passage does not say, except the Father drawhim,” implying absolute certainty that the Father will so draw. The inspired text reads:
except the Father…may draw him, a third class condition construction.[29]
[29 = This is a probable future condition, expressed by eva.n (ean) with the subjunctive mood, e`lku,sh| (helkusç, may draw). See §12, Third Class Condition, page 159 of this book. (Reference not given here).]

The construction sets forth a condition that this is not really taking place but probably will take place…the subjunctive mood expresses a conditional circumstance. This same matter is expressed in verse 65. It is impossible that this linguistic construction may yield an act of complete divine sovereigntywith irresistible certainty decreed from eternity as claimed by Calvinists. Except the Father…may draw is far short of “complete divine sovereignty.”
We note a few points as follows:
No man is able to come to Me, except…The plan of salvation is an unconditional act of God, as is its method, how people are saved, etc. God thus initiates or makes the first move by conviction, etc.
may draw him: We note the following important facts about this particular construction:
1.) May draw is in the subjunctive mood as already noted.
2.) The direct object of may draw is him. So it is the individual that may be drawn by the Divine side, clearly showing that salvation is conditional; but there must be volitional response from the human side. The person must come (erchomai): his act, his volition, or a conscious deliberate act or choice must be exercised.
The term come (erchomai), in one form or another, is used in the verses of our immediate discussion 4 times, verses 37, 44, 45, and 65. In each instance the form is in the active sense, showing that coming involves human action in cooperation with Divine initiative.
3.) Dr. Whites statement: “All that are given by the Father to the Son come to the Son. Not some, not most, but all[30]
[30] = James R. White, The Potters Freedom, pages 155.]

is absolutely false in his Calvinistic context, but absolutely correct in the Scriptural context. Verse 37 deals with the church of God as a corporate unit as shown by the construction (pa/n o], pan ho) already noted above [my book from which copied]. Verse 44 deals with the individual (auvto,n (him). Accordingly, complete harmony exists between these verses: All of Hell could not keep God from having a Church (pa/n o,] pan ho); and the individual (auvto,n ( him) of that Church comes.
So the statement that the Father may draw does not pose a question as to the Fathers willingness to save, but the person that He may draw, the direct object…”him,” must come. God does not draw irresistibly as implied by the translation draw him in the indicative mood, rather than the subjunctive.

Now, as soon as you see someone promoting a totally new translation of a passage (like Dave Hunt has done with Acts 13:48, for example), you can guess the actual exegesis of the text is not supportive of their tradition, and that is the case here. Lets look closely:

John 6:44, 65…except the Father…draw him; mood ignored
No Man Is Able to Come to Me
We note verse 44 as follows:
“No man is able to come to Me, except the Father–the One Who sent me–MAY draw him (helkuse auton): and I will raise him up at the last day.”[28]
[28 = I counted about 16 translations that hid the subjunctive aspect, may.] 
It should be noted that this passage is translated incorrectly by disregarding or hiding its conditional nature, which we have shown in our translation. The passage does not say, except the Father drawhim,” implying absolute certainty that the Father will so draw. The inspired text reads:
except the Father…may draw him, a third class condition construction.[29]
[29 = This is a probable future condition, expressed by eva.n (ean) with the subjunctive mood, e`lku,sh| (helkusç, may draw). See §12, Third Class Condition, page 159 of this book. (Reference not given here).]

The construction sets forth a condition that this is not really taking place but probably will take place…the subjunctive mood expresses a conditional circumstance. This same matter is expressed in verse 65. It is impossible that this linguistic construction may yield an act of complete divine sovereigntywith irresistible certainty decreed from eternity as claimed by Calvinists. Except the Father…may draw is far short of “complete divine sovereignty.”

This mixture of theological argument and bad Greek exegesis utterly fails to substantiate the allegation being presented. In essence, Lavender is torturing the subjunctive simply to find a way around the plain meaning of the text without then bothering to offer us a coherent explanation of what the text is in fact saying. Like all tradition-bound Arminians, Lavenders best argument is to tell us what the text cannot say, but not what it does say. There is a reason why Lavender counted about 16 translations that hid the subjunctive aspect.It is because Lavenders understanding of the subjunctive is woefully lacking, and the understanding of those sixteen translation committees is significantly better than his own.
The reason the verb is in the subjunctive is simple: it follows eva.n mh., a phrase that is normally translated “unless” in third-class conditional sentences. It is a common error of beginning Greek students to think in rigid categories that do not allow for the fact that language is language. This is what Lavender is doing here. He takes the subjunctive, ignores the contextual usage of it, and as a result turns the entire language of the New Testament on its head. Jesus said that no man has the ability to come to Him (note the previous use of coming to Him in v. 37 is the result of being given by the Father to the Son) unlessa condition is fulfilled. This is a statement of fact, and factual statements can contain conditional elements (i.e., use the subjunctive) without this meaning the entire statement is up in the air or doubtful as to its application. Such a thought, which underlies Lavender’s thinking, would mean you could not ever say, “Repentance will never come to men unless God’s judgment comes.” Is there any question that God’s judgment will someday come? Surely not, but given Lavender’s artificial and superficial claims concerning the Greek, one would have to place the coming of God’s judgment in the realm of that which is conditional, or doubtful, or not firmly asserted by the text, and that is obviously not the case.

In John 6:44 Jesus is making a simple assertion (that goes against man’s traditions, resulting in all the incredible attempts to get around the text): unlessGod draws, no man can come. Period. To say that this makes the drawing of God subject to failureis simply absurd: the text is not addressing that through the use of the subjunctive. That is simply the way the language expresses the “unless” concept. The text doesaddress whether this drawing is subject to failure, however, but Lavender ignores this (at least in this article): it does so by asserting that the one who is drawn will be raised up on the last day. Since we know this refers to receiving eternal life, then we can see the consistency of the passage (a truth that flows onward into v. 45 where hearing and learning expands upon the meaning of draw in v. 44).
around to obscure the facts, they remain the facts all the same. [continued tomorrow]

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