I just had the greatest epiphany on Acts 13:46-48 that has strengthened my faith more than anything ever could, and out of one of the verses that Calvinists always use to demolish our faith has unsuspectingly sprung one of the greatest arguments against Calvinism ever.

Everything that follows is from the comment box of a blog post about a Calvinist wife spanking scandal with RC Sproul.

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“DavidBrainerd2– How do you interpret the most popular passages used to support predestination — like Romans 9 or Ephesians 1?”

In Romans 9 Paul is trying to explain why so many Gentiles accept the gospel but not many Jews do, and his explanation is that God has replaced the Jews with the Gentiles as the chosen people. His argument on election has nothing to do with individuals but national groups. As in olden times God chose the Jews but not the Gentiles, he has reversed and now the Gentiles not the Jews are chosen. But just as in olden times some Gentiles nonetheless did come to God (Rahab, Naaman the leper, Ruth, etc.) so also some Jews still come to Christ despite the Gentiles now being the elect people.

As for Ephesians 1, its not the particular individuals that were chosen before the foundation of the world, but the choice made before the foundation of the world was that whoever would become Christians are to be made holy and without blame before him in love. Its the things God has in store for Christians that are ordained beforehand, not what individuals will become Christians. To assert otherwise is to make the whole creation of the world into a pointless puppet show.

“Or Acts 4:38?”

There is no Acts 4:38. I suppose you mean Acts 13:48. To base a whole doctrine one tiny clause seems silly and absurd to me, especially when this doctrine is at odds with the overall message of scripture and demonstrably leads people into arrogance and immorality and turns all of creation into nothing but a sadistic puppet show. Nowhere in scripture is the Calvinist system ever set out in a reasoned or systematic way. You piece it together from a few clauses, which quite frankly probably began as scribal glosses in the margin and then somehow were moved into the text. This is a phenomena well attested to. Howbeit, no Protestants scholar would dare even pursue a lead on this in this verse, because he knows who butters his bread.

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(Gary points out to me the word “ordained” in Acts 13:48 could be middle voice rather than passive, and that it should be translated “devoted” rather than “ordained.”)

Gary, its a good point that tetagmenoi could be middle voice. The reason I suspect scribal gloss is because of word order.

I don’t know if unicode will work here or not:

ἀκούοντα δὲ τὰ ἔθνη ἔχαιρον καὶ ἐδέξαντο τὸν λόγον τοῦ Κυρίου, καὶ ἐπίστευσαν ὅσοι ἦσαν τεταγμένοι εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον·

The final clause: kai (and) episteusan (believed) osoi (as many) hsan (were) tetagmenoi (devoted) eis (to) zwhn (eternal) aiwnion (life).

In other words, “as many as were devoted to eternal life” seems to just be tacked on to a sentence that is perfectly complete without it. You can’t tell that in the KJV because they move the word “believed” to the end of the sentence. But in the Greek, the word believed (the last word necessary for it to be a complete sentence) precedes this clause “as many as were devoted to eternal life.”

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In other words:

ἀκούοντα δὲ τὰ ἔθνη ἔχαιρον καὶ ἐδέξαντο τὸν λόγον τοῦ Κυρίου, καὶ ἐπίστευσαν (And hearing this the Gentiles were glad and glorified the word of the Lord and believed)

The thought is perfectly complete.

Then:

ὅσοι ἦσαν τεταγμένοι εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον· (as many as were devoted to eternal life)

Surely Luke isn’t just throwing a deep and controversial point without any explanation, letting it rest on one tiny clause. Obviously a scribal gloss, and one that mars the whole point of the verse and destroys the word of God.

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“Obviously a scribal gloss, and one that mars the whole point of the verse and destroys the word of God.” (quoting myself)

That is, if it is taken as meaning anything other than that they were devoted to the pursuit of eternal life, which it could mean. Compare it with Paul’s accusation against the Jews just two verses earlier:

Acts 13:46 “Because you judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, lo, we go to the Gentiles!”

WHERE IS THE PREDESTINATION HERE? OH CALVINISTS.

Paul could have said to the Jews (if predestination is true) “Because you were not foreordained to eternal life, lo we go to the Gentiles.”

But instead he says “Because you judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, lo, we go to the Gentiles!”

This would seem to indicate that in Verse 48, the word mistranslated “foreordained” which ought to be translated “devoted” (as Gary points out) means that the Gentiles consider themselves worthy of eternal life.

The Jews are rejected — not because they were not foreordained to eternal life but because they judged themselves unworthy of eternal life.

The Gentiles then are accepted, not because they were foreordained to eternal life, but because they judged themselves worthy of it and “devoted themselves” (middle voice translation) “to eternal life.”

Thank you Gary! You’ve helped me solve the puzzle, and with 2 lifelines to go. This is my final answer.

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Acts 13:46 “Because you judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, lo, we go to the Gentiles!”

WOW!!!! SUPER WOW!!! Glad I noticed this one!

And Calvinists tell us it is good to always c[h]ant “We’re unworthy! We’re unworthy!” Yet ultimately, through a comparison of Acts 13:46 and Acts 13:48, it turns out the difference between the Jews who rejected the gospel and the Gentiles who accepted it was not predestination but was that the Jews considered themselves unworthy of eternal life and the Gentiles considered themselves worthy of it and therefore devoted themselves to eternal life by believing the gospel.

The never ending “I’m not worthy” mantra of Calvinism is precisely (according to Acts 13:46) what keeps people from accepting the gospel. No wonder the Calvinists have to preach the gospel to themselves every day — they don’t consider themselves worthy of eternal life and thus find it hard to accept the gospel, so they have to try and force-feed it to themselves.

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My faith is exceedingly strengthened by this great revelation I’ve discovered in Acts 13:46. I’m about to get up and dance like King David before the Ark of the Covenant.

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