A self-appointed bible scholar came over yesterday afternoon to the booth I had set-up to proclaim the gospel. He couldn't stay on the subject as I directed him to explain what Jn 3:16 said. He was not happy to simply let our Lord's words rest on his heart.

At first he argued about who will go to heaven and who will go to the earthly kingdom - a subject not specifically in view in Jn 3:16. I made numerous attempts to explain that such a discussion was outside of what was in view in Jn 3:16 and would take hours to resolve so, 'Let's stay on Jn 3:16 and finish that first and we can go later on to other topics.' He persisted by attempting to interject his thoughts about the 144,000 from the 12 tribes of Israel. I continued to point to the verse on my 3' x 2' sign:

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life"

Whereupon he began to denounce the Trinity by attempting to go elsewhere in Scripture where he said that since it showed that Jesus addressed God the Father as God, so that He [Jesus] Himself could not be God.

Although I had a good answer to his question, I wisely decided to stay on Jn 3:16 concluding if the man could not stay on one simple verse and explain to me what it said, then a discussion of the Trinity would produce similarly futile results. And which was most important, that he see that Jn 3:16 requires only a moment of faith alone in Christ alone to have eternal life; or that I present my case to him that God exists as a Triune God or that I go into a dissertation about the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God and the millennial rule on earth? First things first.

If he wouldn't approach a simple verse like Jn 3:16 and look at what the words say: that believing in the Son of God to be given for him would immediately result in him receiving eternal life; then what would be the point of going all over the bible to explain the Trinity, the 144,000, heaven vs. the kingdom, etc., etc.?

Besides, no man can understand what Scripture says on such matters until he becomes born again through faith alone in Christ alone. Then the Holy Spirit, the Teacher, indwells him and can now instruct him, (Eph 1:13-14, Jn 14:26).

This reminds me of what Jesus said to Nicodemus in Jn 3:12.

Do you recall?

As it became clear that he could not break me into departing from John 3:16 until he admitted what it clearly said, he relented for the moment and agreed but then corrected himself by saying that in addition to believing in the Son of God being given for you, you also had to lead a moral life to go to heaven.

After a brief pause, with my mouth open wide, I composed myself as I looked at him in astonishment and said, 'Where do you see that explained in Jn 3:16??? All I see is believe and you immediately have eternal life forever!!! You must not add to Scripture!!!'

He had no answer except to try to change the subject back to the 144,000.

So then I said, 'Are you perfectly moral?'

I answered my own question as he remained silent: 'No'.

He then admitted that no one was perfectly moral.

So then I said, 'Then how can you demand that one must be moral to have eternal life, doesn't that condemn you too?'

He again attempted to change the subject to the 144,000 and The 'false' doctrine of the Trinity. He just could not stand a close and careful look at Jn 3:16. His answer was that I should read the whole bible??????

I said that that was a bit insulting and foolish to demand that I read the whole bible after demonstrating some knowledge of it already.

'Do you know anyone who has mastered the whole bible?

No [I answered my own question in the wake of his silence]...

'So no one will be saved then?????', I said, 'Would another passage change what Jn 3:16 says??? And if it contradicted it, what kind of bible would we have then??'

There was a long moment of silence.

'Which passage should I read?', I said several times as he then attempted to dominate the conversation by constantly cutting me off with one passage after another that had nothing to do with what a man must do to have eternal life.

'And what's wrong with Jn 3:16?, I said, 'Was Jesus lying when he never mentioned all the other things you think one must do to have eternal life???'

He finally gave me a passage he said was relevant:

[Jn 17:1-3]:

(v. 1) " 'Father, the time has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son may glorify You.

(v. 2) For You granted Him authority over all people that He might give eternal life to all those You have given Him.

(v. 3) Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom you have sent."

He pointed to "Now this is eternal life: that they may know you" and demanded that this signified that one must master the whole of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation so as to know Jesus completely in order to have eternal life.

'Know anyone who fully knows the Lord Jesus Christ through a complete mastery of Scripture???', I said, 'And why was this not mentioned in Jn 3:16 or any of the hundreds of other salvation passages, which stipulate faith alone in Christ alone unto eternal life?? And hadn't millions of individuals died before the Scriptures were completed, especially in Old Testament times - thus making it impossible for them to be saved???? Would anyone make it to heaven with such a requirement??? Poor 'ol Nicodemus would have had to wait for years for Paul to write his epistles and John to write Revelation. And what about the Old Testament people? Will they all perish because they did not live long enough to read Romans? Could not one simply come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior at the moment one trusted alone in Him alone unto eternal life like it stipulates in Jn 3:16?'

Sly as a fox, he again tried to change the subject by pointing to our Lord praying to the Father to prove out his belief that there was no such thing as a Triune God - desperately trying to get off what our Lord said in Jn 3:16.

Again I explained that this would take us off the subject at hand and involve us in a lengthy discussion beyond the time frame at hand. I invited him to discuss that subject further, later on and elsewhere; but first, 'Can we finish with what Jesus said in Jn 3:16?'

He denied that he had changed the subject several times and it took considerable patience and time to point him back to what Jn 3:16 had to say.

I moved back to my 3' x 2' sign which taught what Jn 3:16 had to say and pointed to the verse which was quoted at the top. 'Whether or not Jesus Christ is God nor what the destination is of those who will receive eternal life is not the issue for the moment', I said. 'What Jesus Christ said a man must do to have eternal life is'. One point at a time. I admonished him to stop changing the subject and interrupting me and begin behaving like the Christian he professes to be. I told him that one must not add to what a passage says, 'Even if the bible teaches something contradictory elsewhere. (And it does not - upon careful examination)'. He apologized and put his fingers to his lips as if to close a zipper indicating that he indeed would let me at last have my say without rude interruption.

By this time an audience had gathered around the table and was intensely interested in our conversation. As I reiterated what Jn 3:16 said: faith alone in Christ alone, intending to go on to immediately receiving eternal life forever = eternal security, I only saw the back of his head as he retreated into the depths of the parking lot to make a quick escape out of the clutches of the gospel on his way to the Great White Throne Judgment.

Later on came a man with his son. The boy was a bright eyed young man of about 9 years old - fair complexion, short dark black hair, and penetrating blue eyes. He was very attentive to what I was saying to his father. As his father began discussing the bible and who I was, I asked the father and son what a man must do to have eternal life - paraphrasing Acts 16:30. I looked at the boy and he was 'brimming' with the answer. So I asked the father if it would be all right to have his son answer the question.

The boy looked up to me and paused a second or two - so I began, 'For God so loved...' He jumped right in and finished the verse and told me without prompting that all you had to do was to believe in Jesus Christ being given for your sins and you would have eternal life.

'Anything else?', I asked.

'No', the young man quickly answered as the father beamed at him as the wisdom of the ages came forth from the mouth of a child.

'But when do you get this eternal life?', I asked.

'As soon as you believe', the boy immediately responded, nearly jumping on the last word of my question. He could not wait for me to finish the question.

'Can you lose it? For how long will you have it?', I asked.

'It's forever, you can't lose it - because it's eternal life'

'Wow', I said, and beamed with great pleasure at him and the father, whom I congratulated for teaching his young son such an astounding truth.

So which will it be for you - the faith of a scholar or the trust of a bright eyed little boy?