Man’s Dismantling Of John 3:16
I think it is safe to say that John 3:16 is one of the most loved verses in the Bible. Those of the Faith cherish the verse for the wonderful truth it portrays while those who are unbelievers can’t help but be familiar with it from the many bumper stickers, signs, and other ways it is displayed by those who love it. The verse is a testimony of the love of God for mankind and His desire that they be saved by believing in His only begotten Son. Someone thought it would be interesting to see what would be left of the verse if we took out those parts that offended different groups of religious and non-religious people. This is basically what the unknown writer came up with. The verse states, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, That whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Let’s consider what he said would have to be removed and why.
1. First, we would have to remove the word “God” because the atheists of the world are highly offended that we believe in any higher power that man is accountable to.
2. The word “loved” would need to be removed because the deist would not accept the idea of God continually loving mankind. They have the idea that God wound up the universe like a watch and then walked away to let it wind down on it’s own.
3. The word “world” would need to be removed in order to not offend those who hold to the doctrine of John Calvin. Calvin taught the doctrine of limited atonement which means that Jesus only died for the predestined elect. According to Calvin, God chose the elect before the beginning of time as the only ones who would be saved. So, according to his teaching, the word “world” could not fit into this beloved verse.
4. The words “He gave His only begotten Son” must be removed because they would deeply offend those who do not believe in the deity of Christ. The apostle John warned of those who would deny that Christ was the Son of God and that He came in the flesh. Of course the apostle John clearly states the deity of Christ in his gospel account when he wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).
5. We would have to remove the word “whoever” for the same reason we would have to remove the word “world” as stated in point number three above. The teaching of limited atonement will not allow for such a word in their doctrine of predestination. Calvinism takes the choice for salvation out of the hands of the sinner and puts it completely on God.
6. We must remove the words “believes in Him” because the phrase simply makes the verse too narrow-minded for many people. The Universalists believe that all men will be saved without meeting any conditions, including belief. There are also many who believe that “in Him” would mean salvation could only come through Jesus which some are just not willing to accept even though Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
7. The words “should not perish” would be considered too offensive to those who reject the Biblical teaching and concept of hell. Plus, the Universalists would also object to these words because of their belief that everyone will be saved.
8. Finally, we would have to remove the words “have everlasting life” because it would offend the atheists, Darwinists, and humanist who completely reject the concept of any type of afterlife.
So let’s see what John 3:16 would now look like if we dared to remove the words from it that would offend many of the different religious and nonreligious groups.
“For _____ so __________ the __________ that ____ _________ _______ ________ __________ _______ that _____________ _____________ __ ____ ________ ____ ________ but ______ ______________ _______” (John 3:16, The “non-offensive” version).