Re: Contradictions in 1 John?

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Tue Sep 16 1997 - 18:14:06 EDT

At 01:36 PM 9/16/97 -0700, Glen Riddle wrote:
>this so-called conflict is created by trying to fit I Jn. 3.9 into an
>assumed overall message giving evidences of salvation. If one can back
>up to chapter one and take John's first statement about what he writes
>about: fellowship and full joy, and then not try to force the continual
>and habitual present on 3.6 and 3.6 the problems no longer exist.

Precisely - John is not trying to construct a theology of sin or a litmus
test to help us decide which of our brethren are really saved. This is a
pastoral letter, and one that invites each of ourselves to continually test
ourselves, and to keep bringing to Jesus that which is not perfect. This
letter writes about the real experiences of real believers, and these
experiences are not logically consistent!

>John writes about the absolute diffences of the old man and the new man. The
>old man (I Cor. 2,14) is born of the devil and can do no righteousness
>as he notes in I Jn. 3.6. However, the new man (the reconciled creation
>of II Cor 5.21 is born of an incorruptible seed and can do not wrong--it
>is created in the righteousness of Jesus Christ and can only do
>righteousness. When John says that the one born from God cannot sin, he
>simply means what he says. Only the new man created in righteousness can
>abide in Christ and when doing so, he is not sinning (3.6).

This puts it into a Pauline theological framework, which makes sense since
in some ways Romans 7 and 1 John are describing very similar experiences,
but I'm sure that we all realize that John did not use this theological
framework in his own letter.

>I don't know why we try to make John so difficult. We do the same with
Hebrews and
>James by preconceived notions that they use salvation and justification
>in a purely soteriological sense. Pity.

Procrustean arguments are usually intricate!


Jonathan Robie
POET Software, 3207 Gibson Road, Durham, N.C., 27703

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