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Matthew 23:37

Caravaggio Betrayal of Christ 150x147 Matthew 23:37Mat 23:37     “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.”

James White makes a very interesting observation in how this verse is misquoted by some who hold Calvinism to be false. White then gives us the correct interpretation of the verse, but fails to realize his correct exegesis of the text serves the original purpose in showing Calvinism to be false.

On a call-in show with Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel we hear a misquoting of the text of Mat 23:37, replacing ‘your children together’ with simply ‘you’. (I’m not sure if it’s Chuck who I really like. Doesn’t matter who’s speaking for this context.) Then this is used to say that Jesus wanted to gather ‘you’, but ‘you were unwilling’. Through this changing of the words, it can then be said that the will of man can reject God, a counter to Calvinism if this verse can rightly be applied to a rejection God’s Grace, salvation.

White correctly shows in Mat 23:37 God wanted to gather the people of Jerusalem (‘your children together’, not ‘you’), but the leaders of Jerusalem stood in the way.

But White defeats his own purpose. Putting aside the discussion of whether or not free will exists, for Sovereign Grace as taught by Calvinism to be defeated by the actions of the Jewish leaders is impossible. White’s correct interpretation of this text also tells us that the Jewish leadership has prevented salvation from reaching the general population. How has Jesus been prevented? White goes further into detail. The leaders kept the others held back. By binding upon them law after law, they prevent them from truly following God.

Under T.U.L.I.P, nothing can prevent God from saving those who have been predestined to be part of the Elect. The essence of the Doctrines of Grace is to say that man is incapable of even reaching out to God and it is necessary for God to do everything. God alone can overcome all obstacles to bring the Elect to reconciliation with himself. Yet in Matthew 23:37 James White unintentionally proves the Jewish leadership stood in the way of Sovereign Grace, preventing salvation from reaching the common Jew;  and in so doing, White proves Calvinism to be in error.

Check the videos for yourself. I’m directing you to the snippets. Just click the video screen again to be redirected to the videos to check them uninterrupted in their entirety.

Misquotation
“How often I wanted to gather you…”
Correct Quotation
“How often I wanted to gather your children together…”

Correct Interpretation by James White

Now apply James White’s correct interpretation of Mat 23:37 back to T.U.L.I.P. and Calvinism.

5 Comments

  1. Good thought s here.

    I’ve also caught Charles Stanley, John Mcaurther, John Piper and others give an argument and unknown to them, defeat Calvinism. Yeap…they do it often if you know what to listen for.

    • I’m reading something from Spurgeon this morning. Here’s a quote towards the end of All-Around Ministry. “I might have succeeded on a far larger scale had I been a better man. Want of faith on my part may have hampered and hindered my Lord.”

      While I’m convinced God uses us to bring other men to Him, I’m not convinced my tardiness at coming to Him caused any inconvenience to His plans. Is it possible I caused others to be lost by my actions? It’s a concern, but I’m not convinced of it.

      But greater still, I don’t understand a Calvinist such as Spurgeon speaking this way. How can a man’s actions hamper God’s plan which has been decided from (or prior to if that phrase is appropriate) Creation in a Calvinist universe? Doesn’t this quote itself contradict Calvinism?

      • Yes it does….its call speaking out of both sides of ones neck.

        • After I got through trying to figure out why a Calvinist would say any of this, my own personal bias, I have to say the guy was an amazing speaker and leader I would imagine. I still don’t how Calvinism aligns with a call for preachers to be ‘soul winners’, his words, but I like it. The thoughts were what can only be described as teaching substance over flash with a seeker or baby Christian focused vision. “Baby is king: the weakest rule our hearts.” “The warmest welcome is for that little stranger, and the movements of the household are guided by his needs.” The servant heart grows as the Christian grows, the newest requiring the most attention.

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