Post by Dr James Ach on Sept 9, 2013 2:14:13 GMT 3
“And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and AS MANY AS WERE ORDAINED TO ETERNAL LIFE BELIEVED” (Acts 13:48).
The context begins in verse 46 where the Jews had considered themselves unworthy of everlasting life, and thus Paul vowed to go to the Gentiles. The text shows that they already glorified the word of the Lord. The assumption made in this verse is that the term “ordained” ALWAYS means something predetermined ahead of time, and that’s not the usage of the word ordained in this passage.
For example, Acts 14:23, they ORDAINED them elders. Did that mean they were chosen ahead of time? No, it means they were appointed for a specific purpose AFTER they had already been saved and AFTER they had already consented to be an elder. See also Romans 13:1, Hebrews 9:6.
In Acts 1:22, “Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.” Notice the ordination was based on a condition: 1) the believer had to be present from the baptism of John 2) unto the same day Christ was ascended. The ordination was descriptive of the condition, not prescriptive of the condition.
So in Acts 13:48, the emphasis on what the Gentiles were appointed to as a result of the Jews rejection of the gospel. The passive particple throws the emphasis on the eternal life, not on the ordination. Thus this verse does not teach that the Gentiles were saved because they were ordained, but that ordination is describing what they were appointed to.
I have some other notes on this with a more technical analysis that I will post when I get home.
Post by asongofdegrees on Mar 18, 2014 23:43:14 GMT 3
As I see it those who were ordained are people like Cornelius and those Paul was writing of in Romans 2:7,10. Those who followed the law of God (writing in the law or on their heart) were ordained to eternal life and as a consequence received the gospel. God made sure the gospel got to them. This would also explain John 3:21.
vs. 21- But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
This was a man ordained to eternal life (i.e. ordained to hear the gospel) because of his goods works like in the case of Cornelius.
DOES ACTS 13:48 SUPPORT CALVINISM? WHAT IS LUKE’S INTENT? December 6, 2014 • soteriology101 Acts 13:48
Before unpacking this passage lets be reminded of a couple rules for proper hermeneutics (method of interpretation).
Didactic texts set doctrine and narratives help inform doctrine. Narratives are meant to tell a story, not teach foundational theological beliefs. Acts 13 is a narrative and though it can help us better understand our doctrinal beliefs it should not be foundational to develop our systematic.Montoya-300x298 Text without context is a pretext for proof-text. We have to look at what is happening in the text in order to better understand the possible intent of the author. With this in mind let’s look at the context of Acts 13. Imagine if the New Testament was written in North America during the civil rights movement. The “historical context” would involve the tensions between blacks and whites and therefore would affect the author’s choice of words within that social dynamic. Likewise, in the first century there is a dynamic that needs to be understood in order to capture the author’s intentions. Consider the fact that the “elect people” (Israelites) were not believing the gospel while the “non-elect people” (all kinds from other nations) were believing the gospel. The big debate of that day was whether God had included (grafted in) the non-elect people (the other nations). “Has God appointed those barbarian non-elect half-breeds and uncircumcised dogs for eternal life,” is the question of the Jewish leaders in that day. That is the point being debated in the first century world. The debate is not whether God has elected to save some individuals over others. Those who wish to prove their individualized perspective assume that meaning on the text.
Let’s consider some phrases in the context of Acts 13 that clearly indicates the intention of the author. Notice in this speech, Paul is speaking to both Israelites and Gentiles. He begins by explaining the national election of Israel and the purposes God fulfilled through the Jewish peoples.
16 Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said: “Fellow Israelites and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me! 17 The God of the people of Israel chose our ancestors (national election of Israel); he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt; with mighty power he led them out of that country; 18 for about forty years he endured their conduct in the wilderness; 19 and he overthrew seven nations in Canaan, giving their land to his people as their inheritance.20 All this took about 450 years.
“After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet. 21 Then the people asked for a king, and he gave them Saul son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled forty years. 22 After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’
23 “From this man’s descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as he promised. 24 Before the coming of Jesus, John preached repentance and baptism to all the people of Israel. 25 As John was completing his work, he said: ‘Who do you suppose I am? I am not the one you are looking for. But there is one coming after me whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.’
26 “Fellow children of Abraham and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to US that this message of salvation has been sent. (Acts 13:16-26 emphasis added)
Paul summarizes God’s purpose of electing Israel when he states, “God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus…it is to US that this message of salvation has been sent.” God has chosen to bring His Messiah and His Message through Israel. There is nothing said about God choosing to irresistibly save individuals of Israel, but only his purpose in blessing the world through Israel by bringing the LIGHT.
ANTICIPATED OBJECTION: But, someone may object arguing that in order for God to accomplish the purpose of bringing his truth to the world through Israel, doesn’t He have to save the individuals he chooses to bring that truth? Yes. Paul is a great example of this. God used powerfully persuasive means to convince Paul to change his will (blinding light). Like Jonah (big fish) before him this divinely appointed messenger was in rebellion and unwilling to go the “non-elect people” with the truth of God. So, what does God do? He stepped in to persuade (through outwardly persuasive means) these men to believe His message so as to ensure they go into the world to proclaim it with authority. In other words, He elects them and persuades them so that His purpose in electing Israel would stand.
Is God obligated to do this for everyone?
Is God obligated to physically show his scars to the doubters, as he did for Thomas?
Of course not!
KEY POINT: Proof that God uses external miraculous means to convince the wills of his elect messengers from Israel to take the message to the non-elect nations of the world does NOT prove that God elects to make certain individuals believe their message by inwardly irresistible means. This is a foundational error leading to the Calvinistic misunderstanding of scripture.
The text continues in verse 38 to show this historical context:
38 “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39 Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses. (Acts 13:38-39 emphasis added)
Notice that righteousness is said to be unattainable through the law, but does that prove it is equally unattainable through faith? Calvinists presume that believing in the One who fulfilled the law for us is as equally unattainable as fulfilling the demands of the law ourselves. This is nowhere supported in the pages of scripture. If you ask a Calvinist to find a text that teaches the premise that lost men are unable to willingly respond to the powerful Holy Spirit wrought gospel appeal they will have a list of proof texts, but notice that not one of them actually mentions the gospel.
Could it be that the gospel, and the mysteries contained therein, were being fulfilled at the time the scriptures were recorded? Is it possible, therefore, that the gospel, having not been completed and sent into the world was not drawing or enabling faith prior to Christ being lifted up? (John 12:32) Maybe the enabling, drawing, spiritual, gracious NEED of the natural, lost, unregenerate man is not met until the soul piercing sword of truth is sent to all peoples (Matt. 28:16-20) and the Holy Spirit is poured out like fire (Acts 2)?
The gospel is certainly stronger in accomplishing its purpose to make an appeal for reconciliation than the fallen nature of the one needing that appeal. If not, every unbeliever who perishes burns eternally with the excuse, “The gospel was not sufficient for me.”
Paul continues in verse 40 saying,
“Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you.”
41 “‘Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish, for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, even if someone told you.’”
Israel’s unbelief is predicted, as their hearts had grown calloused after continual rebellion. If there is any doctrine of “total inability” this is it. It is the judicial hardening of Israel, which is NOT a condition of the heart from birth as the Calvinist presumes. In Acts 28 Paul lays out this clear distinction:
For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’
28 “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!”
peanutstheologyThe apostle explicitly spells out the ability of those who have NOT yet grown calloused. “Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts…they will listen.” Anyone who has been involved with mission work can testify to the fact that taking the gospel to areas where it has not been preached before is typically meet with much more reception than the gospel-saturated regions. Why is this? People who reject God’s revelation grow calloused to it over time. They are not born in this condition, mind you, but may grow into this hardened and disabled state through continual rebellion.
This is most likely why Jesus uses a child as an example of what we must become like if we are to enter His kingdom (Matt. 18:3). If all are all equally born under God’s wrath and without the ability to respond then why would Jesus use a random child as any example? Isn’t he just as depraved and hardened from birth as the 80-year-old Israelite according to the Calvinistic system? The difference is that the child has not yet grown calloused. He is born sinful but not hardened.
The text continues:
42 As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people invited them to speak further about these things on the next Sabbath. 43 When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God.
44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.45 When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy. They began to contradict what Paul was saying and heaped abuse on him.
46 Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.
Sound familiar? This is exactly what he speaks of in Acts 28 in reflection of Israel’s becoming calloused to the revelation of God. The elect people were hardened because they were saturated with revelation, so the revelation is sent to the non-elect ones. God “cuts off” Israel and “grafts in” all nations of the world (ref to Rom. 11). This is what “the election” is referencing throughout scripture: God’s election to bring his special revelation (through elect messengers), first to the Jew and then to the rest of the nations.
Notice in verse 46 that Luke regards the Jews rejection of the gospel as THEIR own consideration of being unworthy for eternal life, which is the antithesis to verse 48 where the Gentiles belief in the gospel is proof of THEIR being prepared or “appointed” to eternal life (i.e. grafted in).
Now, knowing this context where Israel is hardened and thus unable to see the truth, and the gospel is being taken to all the nations of the world (referred to generally as “Gentiles”), we read:
47 For this is what the Lord has commanded us:
“‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”
48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed. (Acts 13:47-48)
The word “all” has been hotly contested in the debate over Calvinistic interpretations of many texts and it is no different here. Ironically, however, the roles shift on this passage. Does all mean every individual or does it mean “all types?” How would that fit in this passage? Keep in mind that “gentile” is not referring to a single nation, like Israel. “Gentiles” simply means “all non-Jewish nations.”
Well, which of the many nations has God appointed to eternal life? “Surely, the Samaritan half-breeds have not been appointed to eternal life,” may have been an argument of one of those jealous Israelites referenced earlier in the passage. They may have accepted that some of the “lessor evil” nations are elected to receive this new gospel, but they would have certainly objected to the ideas that all nations were equally granted entrance into eternal life along with God’s chosen people.
You will know them by their fruit. You will know those nations that are appointed to eternal life by the faith of those from that nation. I believe that is the point Luke is making here in this context. Why? Because in this context the conflict is over the elect Israelites who believe THEY and THEY ALONE are appointed to eternal life, but the faith of those individuals from all the other nations prove otherwise. Thus, the passage may be understood in this manner:
When peoples of all nations heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and persons of all nationalities who were elected for eternal life believed.
If this were Luke’s actual intent it would perfectly fit the historical context of this passage. He would be arguing that God’s ELECTION or APPOINTING of all nations is proven by the fact that all sorts of individuals from various nations are coming to faith. Now, if a Calvinist would like to object to this interpretation, keep in mind, texts that speak of “God’s desire for all persons to be saved” are taken by Calvinistic scholars to mean that God “desires that all sorts of persons are saved.” Why would it be such a far-fetched idea that Luke could be referring to “all sorts of persons” that were believing in this context? The national conflict imposed by the Jews is made even more obvious in the final words of this chapter:IsraelGentilewords
49 The word of the Lord spread through the whole region. 50 But the Jewish leaders incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. 51 So they shook the dust off their feet as a warning to them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 13:49-52 emphasis added)
The overwhelming point of contention among the people of the first century is the mystery that is just then being revealed for the very first time in history. That mystery is explained by Paul in Ephesians 3:1-6. It is the mystery that has become very common to us now and we refer to as the “good news” or the “gospel.”
It is this gospel truth “…that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus…”(Eph. 3:6). But imagine living in a world where the most notable spiritual and political leaders strongly believe and enforce through beatings and imprisonment their view that only the Jews are appointed to eternal life. Just imagine the conflict and type of words that would be used by the “apostle to the Gentiles” as he attempted to rebut this contentious war against the mystery of God’s eternal plan for the redemption of all nations. In that historical context a statement like we see in Acts 13:48 most likely carries the intent to address the Israelite’s objections to God’s in-grafting of many nations rather than the Calvinistic conflict we see today created by Western individualism.
"...and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed."
I think this doesn't actually state the order of events super precisily. Did they believe because they were ordained to eternal life or were they ordained to eternal life because they believed? It matters where you mmentally place "because" in how you interpret the passage. It is not as absolute as calvinists would have you believe. God may have ordained them to eternal life based off His foreknowledge of their belief rather than foreordained their belief via irresistible grace.
betterhalfofhos: I probably won't post much - I don't really bring a lot to the table in these types of debates, but I will definitely be watching, reading and learning.... in the shadows..... like a ninja
Jul 29, 2013 17:07:14 GMT 3
Winman: I like the Recent Threads/Posts links under Threads and Posts, shows you where everyone has posted recently
Jul 30, 2013 23:45:11 GMT 3
Dr James Ach: Im playing around with the graphics. Don't panic if the screen changes color
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lindar: I like the new banner design....of the dead TULIP
Jul 31, 2013 4:12:12 GMT 3
Dr James Ach: I got banned from Baptist Board LOL GOOD RIDDANCE
Sept 11, 2013 6:39:27 GMT 3
heirofsalvation: Outstanding!!!!! Just witnessed your banishment Dr. J! Ah, how my heart SWELLS with pride at your successful banishment!
Sept 16, 2013 19:55:38 GMT 3
genuinefaith: Love ya Dr. J and can't stand the management of BB, but...man...I read what happened in this incident...ah, bad day? Eh?
Sept 18, 2013 6:23:56 GMT 3
Dr James Ach: Gee, thanks I think, HOS LOL
Sept 18, 2013 23:18:02 GMT 3
Dr James Ach: Nah, it wasn't a bad day, it was a good day:) That's when I say the stuff that is normally bold enough to get me banned anywhere LOL
Sept 18, 2013 23:18:59 GMT 3
heirofsalvation: Agreed....Baptist symposium should be a good one! It's brand new. A former member of B.B. started it. He plans to have MUCH better moderation and no tom-foolery.
Oct 8, 2013 0:34:53 GMT 3
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Jan 20, 2014 11:09:43 GMT 3
Dr James Ach: Elisha, if you are going to approve new members, you have to check your inbox old man!
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gregrfl: hello,looking forward to chatting with you all.site looks pretty cool thnx
Feb 11, 2014 4:28:28 GMT 3
leastofthese: Hello, I will post my testimony 03/06/14 Blessings.
Mar 6, 2014 12:31:47 GMT 3
Dr James Ach: I have added a new section at the bottom of the categories for IFB discussions that are not related to Calvinism
Jun 29, 2014 5:12:27 GMT 3
Dr.Weismann: Thinking about banning that Ach youngster
Jun 30, 2014 16:11:35 GMT 3
craig: HEY, ya'll got a new post here (grammar is a 'second' blessing LOL)
Jul 1, 2014 20:45:18 GMT 3
standingfirminChrist: Dr. Weismann, when is lambing season in Israel? goole returns conflicting answers. Thanks in advance!
Dec 15, 2015 11:15:48 GMT 3