The Universality of Jesus’ Drawing All to Him (John 12:32)

, posted by arminianbaptist

Regarding the Calvinist claims that the “all” of John 12:32 actually means “all kinds….”

Why would John the Evangelist craft his gospel to emphasise that God wants “all KINDS” of people to be saved–as if anyone would ever disagree with such an inane statement. In the context of the fourth Gospel, saying God wants to save “all KINDS” of people to be saved is a truism which should go without saying–unless there was a real Jew-Gentile conflict going on in John’s Gospel–which there isn’t. The only narrative in John’s Gospel where diversity in election (“all KINDS”) could be viewed as the emphasis is John 4 (the Samaritan woman), but this theme is not emphasised elsewhere.

The Calvinist who takes “all” to mean “all kinds” has to resort to saying, “There was a common misconception among the people known to the Evangelist who really wanted only one kind of people to be saved, and the Evangelist emphasises “all kinds” to fix this misconception.” Maybe such people thought that God only wanted men saved whose last name began with Π (pi). But you don’t find such stuff in John’s Gospel. There simply is no emphasis on the diversity of the Elect in John’s Gospel, or in John’s letters, either.

What you do find in John’s Gospel is the incredible news that Jesus even loves you! For Jesus loves everyone! The Calvinist inverse of this statement, “Jesus doesn’t love everyone! He might not love you!” is so shocking and contrary to expectation, that if it were true, you’d expect John to make explicit exclusive statements to this effect, including long, protracted argumentation.

But that notion is nowhere on the Johannine radar.

On the contrary, you find the evangelist also using words like “world” to emphasise the universality of God’s love. This is precisely what you find in the context of John 12:32’s comment that Jesus will draw “all” to him. In the prior verse, v 31, there is another reference to world which has an obvious reference to the world as it involves all people who are opposed to Jesus, yet this is the same world which God loved so much as to send his one and only Son (John 3:16). Thus, the “all” of v 31 must be seen by the universal word “world” of v 31. v 31 will not allow v 32 to be reduced to meaning “all kinds.”

The universality of the “all” in v 32 is also contexted by the universal gospel call in v 26: “If any man wants to serve me, let him follow me.”

All this is reinforced by the thunderous voice of heaven in v 28 which says, “I have both glorified [your name] and will glorify it again.” This was heard by “the multitudes” –a technical term for a mixed group, some of whom might eventually follow Jesus, but many of whom would not. The important thing is that Jesus then explicitly states that the voice thundered from heaven for the benefit of the multitudes, indicating again God’s desire that everyone believe in Jesus.