It is written in the prophets, “And they shall all be taught of God.” Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.
Calvinism: The giving and drawing results in a person having “heard and learned from the Father.” Elect unbelievers are drawn by God through the gift of faith.
Arminianism: Those who had “heard and learned from the Father” were the ones that the Father was giving and drawing to His Son. (I see the purpose of Jesus’ statement being in light of the fact that the unbelieving Jews felt no need to believe in Jesus, and thus Jesus’ statement indicates that such thinking is symptomatic of a greater problem: They were not right with God. But those who were right with God were coming to Jesus as a natural and consistent consequence of belonging to the Father in covenant relationship. As for the universal drawing, Jesus touches upon that at John 12:32.)
This was the summary of John 6:37 and John 6:44, and it elaborates on the who, and the why, of the Father’s drawing. God’s people, that is, the faithful remnant, heard and learned from God, but not these people, Jesus says: “And the Father who sent Me, He has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form. You do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent.” (John 5:37-38) So Jesus was highlighting the disconnect with the Father, not laughing an alleged non-election, as Calvinists must otherwise suppose.
Dave Hunt: “The entire teaching of the Bible indicates that the Father’s drawing and giving of the redeemed to Christ is the result of their hearing and learning from the Father through the gospel of God....” (Debating Calvinism, p.132, emphasis mine)
I would tweak this comment slightly to clarify the identity of the subject from being “the redeemed” to “the faithful remnant of Israel,” because that is the thrust of Jesus’ argument. Though these unbelieving Jews rejected Him, those who truly are God’s people, are in fact coming to Him and believing in Him, and who He will raise up on Judgment Day. And though they do not believe in Him, Jesus encourages them anyway, to believe in Him: “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.” (John 10:37-38) This is the whole point of the passage. Jesus identifies the precise reason for their rejection of Him: they are not right with God. Given the fact that they are not right with God, they are not coming to His Son either, but in spite of that, Jesus points them to the evidence of the miracles so that they would reconsider. So the whole purpose of Jesus’ words were evangelical in nature and purpose.
Calvinist, James White: “He misses the fact that the hearing and learning of verse 45 is ‘from the Father’ and parallel with the drawing of verse 44.” (Debating Calvinism, p.138, emphasis mine)
No one disputes this. White instead fails to distinguish the subtle difference. In other words, Arminians readily acknowledge that the faithful remnant of believing Israel indeed are drawn by the Father to His Son, consistent with Jesus’ persuasive argument with the unbelieving Jews, but what White implies is that those who have heard and learned from the Father is the result of the Father’s drawing. In other words, what White meant to say that is the Father draws a certain people, resulting in their hearing and learning of Him, and thus coming to Him. However, the text says nothing of the kind, and which runs against Jesus’ point. Jesus is not saying that salvation is closed to only a certain group. Jesus says that those who are not His sheep, and not the Father’s sheep, can be, if they would reconsider the evidence of the miracles and go from unbelieving to believing. Further, Jesus never introduces in the passage, any kind of closed, eternal secret group. All of these things the Calvinist must infer, simply because their pre-commitment to TULIP directs them there, so as to have a so-called “proof-text.” The better way to understand the text is the way that Hunt understands it, which is that those who really are God’s people, and those who really have heard and learned from the Father, are the ones coming to Him, and if these unbelieving Jews really did know God, then they would too. So the fact that they reject the Son, is the Son’s evidence against them, and for the purpose that they, too, might be saved, as per John 10:37-38.
Walls and Dongell: “But the Calvinist reading likewise fails to account fully for the context. Jesus is locked in strenuous debate with religious leaders who claim special knowledge of and standing with God. From this privileged position, they seek to discredit Jesus completely. Their implied charge essentially involves an attempt to sever Jesus from God, affirming the latter while rejecting the former. In doing this, they wish to establish the right to claim, ‘We know God intimately, but you are utterly alien to us! We stand in right relationship to God, but we completely reject you.’ Jesus’ countercharge strikes directly at the root of their authority: the presumption that they knew God in the first place! ‘You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwelling in you’ (Jn 5:37-38). Far from knowing God, then, Jesus’ opponents had already rejected not only the testimony of John the Baptist but also of Moses: ‘If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?’ (Jn 5:46). In this question posed by Jesus we discover the key principle: rejecting God’s first offerings of truth will utterly block further illumination. God will not offer more truth or manifest his full glory (the eternal Son) while light at hand is being spurned. In other words, we can’t actively reject the Father and at the same time have any chance of accepting the Son.” (Why I am Not a Calvinist, pp.74-75, emphasis mine)
Steven Hitchcock: “As God had chosen to enlighten those Jews who had not rejected the baptism of John, as they did not concern themselves with the glory of men, but were poor in spirit, so that many became saved, so God chose that those who particularly sinned against Scriptural Light were to be excluded from the final enlightenment that led to salvation.” (Recanting Calvinism, p.119, emphasis mine)
This also explains Isaiah 6:9-10 as well. The drawing of John 6:44 was not the drawing of everyone, and certainly not the drawing of a Calvinistically elect group, but God’s drawing of the faithful remnant of Israel. Recall that the people that Jesus was challenging, were those who rejected John’s baptism, and didn’t think that they needed to be saved, because after all, they were son’s of Abraham, and John the Baptist had to deal with this too: “And do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father’; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham.” (Matthew 3:9) Paul dealt with this same problem at Romans chapter 9, as well.
The Calvinist interpretation represents a complete disregard for the context.
Jesus was dealing with the fact that the people had rejected Him, even after performing so many miracles, and essentially, Jesus’ explanation was because they were so far removed from God. Of course, they didn’t think so, but it was true, and that is what was behind their resistance to receive the witness of Christ. If they had been right with the Father, whom they claimed as their God, then they would have recognized Jesus as the Messiah, since the Father and Son’s value system is so readily apparent to be in perfect alignment. The problem is that the people’s set of values didn’t correspond with God’s set of values, and hence, they wanted no part of God, in terms of who God is, and God sent His Messiah, His Son, in the exact representation of His own values, and therefore, quite naturally, the people weren’t interested. But if the people loved God for who He is, and wanted to do His will, then they would see clear as day, exactly who Jesus is. Jesus states: “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me. ‘If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself.’” (John 7:16-17) The bottom line is that they weren’t right with God. If they would get right with God, they would come to the Son. This is further reinforced by the following: “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” (John 3:19-21)
Those who had heard and learned from the Father had recognized Jesus as the Messiah. Additionally, those who had heard and learned from Moses, also recognized Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus states: “Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (John 5:45-47) So the reason why they didn’t believe in Jesus is because they were completely out of sync with God. Jesus is challenging their foundations, in terms of what they had trusted in, but what they had also erred in.
They weren’t willing to do God’s will and they did not practice the truth. As a result, they hadn’t heard and learned and been taught of the Father. The simple remedy was to turn to the God that they claimed to follow, and desire His will, and then they would immediately recognize the Father in Jesus.
The problem is that the people were searching for God like a thief searching for a cop. They weren’t interested in what God thought or what God had to say. If they did, they’d have come to Jesus, just as He said.
Question: What does this verse tell us?
Answer: It answers the question of who is being drawn. The Father’s drawing is of those who had heard and learned from Him, namely, the faithful remnant of Israel. Throughout John chapters 5 through 12, you’ll see Jesus invoke the name of His Father numerously to the unbelieving Jews in order to diagnose the root of their problem, namely, their disconnect with the God, whom they erroneously claimed as their own. The truth is that by doing this, Jesus was trying to help them. (Compare with John 10:37-38.) Jesus was not saying haha to them, as the Calvinist interpretation might otherwise imply. Moreover, besides all of the other ways in which the Calvinist interpretation is severely challenged, another problem is that Calvinists are forced to conclude that the drawing of John 6:44-45 must stretch all the way back from Genesis, and which I argue, really misses the entire point of the dialogue, which is also why you see Calvinists so often merely make acontextual references to it. The Father wasn’t drawing everyone, but only the faithful remnant of Israel, and that was precisely the point that Jesus was getting across to them. You’ll also notice that they never understood Jesus’ words in the way that Calvinists interpret it.
Question: What does it mean that “they shall all be taught of God”?
Answer: This has to be talking about those who were in covenant relationship with God, since the Scriptures promised that the faithful shall be taught of God, while in contrast, Jesus points out that the unbelievers have never been taught of God, having never heard His voice at any time.
John 5:37: “And the Father who sent Me, He has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form.”
John 8:47: “He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.”
John 6:45: “It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.”
Calvinists believe that John 6:44 is how anyone is saved, Genesis to Revelation. Instead, as I see it, Jesus was merely pointing out the simple fact of their disconnect with God, insomuch that real Jews, true Jews, like Nathanael (John 1:45-51), were embracing what these had otherwise rejected. True Jews are indeed taught by God, all of them, and they do hear God’s voice, though Jesus pointed out that these others (the unbelieving Jews) had never, at any time, heard the voice of God. (See the aforementioned verses.) So Jesus was basically telling them that they were not saved, and thus I disagree with John Piper that people were “grumbling” over the idea of Calvinistic Election, which no one in that context had even remotely hinted at.
Now as for whether or not Arminians teach that the point of John 6:44 is that the Father draws everyone (rather than a faithful remnant of that context), the problem with many Calvinists is that they don’t trust Arminians, and scarcely read from Arminians, in order to know what Arminians (like Walls & Dongell, authors of “Why I Am Not A Calvinist”) believe and teach, and thus they, the Calvinists, erroneously believe that the Arminian position is that John 6:44 is a principle statement that God draws all (which would also make Jesus’ post-Calvary drawing, described at John 12:32, superfluous). This explains Piper’s erroneous assessment of the Arminian position, articulated at 33:39- 33:44 in the video.
What’s also interesting is the staggering level of cognitive dissonance at the 31:50 - 32:23 point of Piper’s sermon. He says: “I pray that none of you will resist the Lord until you are dead.” But if everyone will assuredly resist (due to Total Depravity), until they are dead, without an efficacious draw (i.e. Irresistible Grace, preemptive regeneration, ect.), then why does he imply that the choice is up to us whether or not to resist? That is a fine example of cognitive dissonance in Calvinism.
In conclusion, just as Calvinists botch John 6:44, for having ignored John 6:45, so too Calvinist botch Ephesians 1:4, because they ignore Ephesians 1:3.