Acts 13: 48 does not support Calvinism

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delirious

Junior Member
Mar 16, 2017
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#1
Acts 13: 48, "Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed."

This verse is one of the strongest verses the Calvinist has in support of their position. I believe in free-will and think the doctrine of Calvinism is not supported by the Scriptures.

The purpose of this post is to give my brothers and sisters a good defense against the Calvinist interpretation of Acts 13: 48. I have noticed in many debates that the Calvinist turns to this verse and uses it against the Arminian/Free-Willer and the Arminian usually does not have a good response. Here would be my response:

3 chapters before in Acts 10 & 11 we read about the story of Cornelius. In Acts 10: 2 we are told that Cornelius "was a devout man, who feared God always and gave to the poor". Later in the chapter we hear from Peter in Acts 10: 34-35, when talking about Cornelius, he says, "In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is ACCEPTED by Him."

That word "accepted" is the same as being appointed to eternal life. Because Cornelius chose of his own free will to fear God and serve Him, God appointed Him to eternal life. This is why it says that Cornelius' prayers had come up as a memorial before God in Acts 10: 4. And an angel was sent to him telling him to send for Peter so that he could hear words by which he and his household would be saved.

So in the same book, by the same author, just 3 chapters before, we are given a clear example from the Bible how "appointing to eternal life works". When the Calvinist reads Acts 13: 48 he inserts the words in parenthesis "appointed to eternal life (before the foundation of the world) believed". The words "before the foundation of the world" are obviously not in that verse but Calvinists are quite successful in getting people to think that they are.

God does not arbitrarily choose people before the foundation of the world. We see from the example of Cornelius that God chooses people based on their heart response to him.
 

ForestGreenCook

Well-known member
Jul 8, 2018
1,852
191
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#2
Acts 13: 48, "Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed."

This verse is one of the strongest verses the Calvinist has in support of their position. I believe in free-will and think the doctrine of Calvinism is not supported by the Scriptures.

The purpose of this post is to give my brothers and sisters a good defense against the Calvinist interpretation of Acts 13: 48. I have noticed in many debates that the Calvinist turns to this verse and uses it against the Arminian/Free-Willer and the Arminian usually does not have a good response. Here would be my response:

3 chapters before in Acts 10 & 11 we read about the story of Cornelius. In Acts 10: 2 we are told that Cornelius "was a devout man, who feared God always and gave to the poor". Later in the chapter we hear from Peter in Acts 10: 34-35, when talking about Cornelius, he says, "In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is ACCEPTED by Him."

That word "accepted" is the same as being appointed to eternal life. Because Cornelius chose of his own free will to fear God and serve Him, God appointed Him to eternal life. This is why it says that Cornelius' prayers had come up as a memorial before God in Acts 10: 4. And an angel was sent to him telling him to send for Peter so that he could hear words by which he and his household would be saved.

So in the same book, by the same author, just 3 chapters before, we are given a clear example from the Bible how "appointing to eternal life works". When the Calvinist reads Acts 13: 48 he inserts the words in parenthesis "appointed to eternal life (before the foundation of the world) believed". The words "before the foundation of the world" are obviously not in that verse but Calvinists are quite successful in getting people to think that they are.

God does not arbitrarily choose people before the foundation of the world. We see from the example of Cornelius that God chooses people based on their heart response to him.
Psalms 53:2-3 tells us what God, by his foreknowledge, saw in the "heart response" from the children of men. That is why he did choose an elect people in a covenant relationship before the foundation of the world. The natural man, as described in 1 Cor 2:14, is not a "devout" man and, cannot have a "heart response" toward anything of a spiritual nature, because he cannot discern spiritual things. until he is born of the Holy Spirit.
 

delirious

Junior Member
Mar 16, 2017
393
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#3
Psalms 53:2-3 tells us what God, by his foreknowledge, saw in the "heart response" from the children of men. That is why he did choose an elect people in a covenant relationship before the foundation of the world. The natural man, as described in 1 Cor 2:14, is not a "devout" man and, cannot have a "heart response" toward anything of a spiritual nature, because he cannot discern spiritual things. until he is born of the Holy Spirit.
So Cornelius was born of the Holy Spirit before Peter was sent to him? There are no verses in Scripture that say God chooses any human before the foundation of the world.

Calvinists will misinterpret Eph 1: 4 to try and support their position when the context of Eph 1 is referring to Christ. That is why "in Christ" is repeated about 9 times in Eph 1. When something is repeated that many times it is important to take notice.

Occasionally, you will also get the Calvinist who will use the corrupt translation in the ESV of Rev 13: 8 where it says "before the foundation of the world" but the proper translation is "from the foundation of the world" which all other translations correctly render.
 

Deuteronomy

Well-known member
Jun 11, 2018
657
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#4
Acts 13: 48, "Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been APPOINTED to eternal life believed." ... in the chapter we hear from Peter in Acts 10: 34-35, when talking about Cornelius, he says, "In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is ACCEPTED by Him."

That word "accepted" is the same as being appointed to eternal life.
Hi Delirious, I don't believe that can actually be true, because 1. "appointed" and "accepted" are translations from two different Greek words, and 2. whether in Greek or in English, those two words mean very different things!

Acts 10:35's "accepted" or "welcome" is translated from δεκτός [dektos]
Acts 13:48's "ordained" or "appointed" is translated from τάσσω [tasso]

The former, δεκτός, means to accept or await, to welcome, to receive, to regard favorably, etc.

The latter, τάσσω, means to appoint, to ordain, to determine, to order, to set, to assign, etc.

I hope that is helpful.

~Deut
 

delirious

Junior Member
Mar 16, 2017
393
75
28
#5
Hi Delirious, I don't believe that can actually be true, because 1. "appointed" and "accepted" are translations from two different Greek words, and 2. whether in Greek or in English, those two words mean very different things!
I understand that they are two different words. The point I am trying to make is that the idea behind them is the same.

Calvinists love Acts 13: 48 because they think it proves their doctrine of unconditional election. One very prominent Calvinist and theologian, Dr. James White (who I have argued with on Twitter before lol), signs his books with Acts 13: 48 and his name.

I have seen many Arminians/Free-willers fail when confronted with this verse by Calvinists and I wanted to present an argument that I believe shows how the "appointing" actually works in Scripture.
 

AxeElf

Active member
Mar 5, 2019
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#6
First of all, let me say how much I hate the label "Calvinism." I don't believe that scripture supports the notion of free will; I think free will is a remnant of our original sin of selfishness, of wanting to be our own gods, wanting to be in control rather than acknowledging God's sovereignty--and free will is also logically inconsistent with God's omniscience (if God is omniscient, we cannot have free will to do anything other than that which God knows we will do--otherwise, we could make a fool out of God).

But that said, I'm not a Calvinist; I'm a Christian. I don't follow Calvin, I follow Christ.

The purpose of this post is to give my brothers and sisters a good defense against the Calvinist interpretation of Acts 13: 48.
In that respect, the post has failed.

In Acts 10: 2 we are told that Cornelius "was a devout man, who feared God always and gave to the poor"... Because Cornelius chose of his own free will to fear God and serve Him, God appointed Him to eternal life.
Who said Cornelius chose of his own free will to fear God and serve Him? I say that God appointed Cornelius to fear God and serve Him when He appointed Cornelius to eternal life at the foundation of the world.

But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is ACCEPTED by Him."
That's how we know who has been accepted by God; because those same people have been appointed to fear God and work righteousness.

The words "before the foundation of the world" are obviously not in that verse but Calvinists are quite successful in getting people to think that they are.
The fact that God wrote His chosen people's names into the Book of Life at the foundation of the world is also in Revelation 17:8...

"And the inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been recorded in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world will be astonished when they look at the beast..."

Want a few more verses to substantiate the notion that God is in control and that we do not have free will? Fasten your seat belt and see the next post...
 

AxeElf

Active member
Mar 5, 2019
246
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#7
Since a man's days are already determined, and the number of his months is wholly in Your control, and he cannot pass the bounds of his allotted time --Job 14:5

Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man whom You choose and cause to come near, that he may dwell in Your courts! --Psalm 65:4a

Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days [of my life] were written before ever they took shape, when as yet there was none of them. --Psalm 139:16

The Lord has made everything [to accommodate itself and contribute] to its own end and His own purpose--even the wicked [are fitted for their role] for the day of calamity and evil. --Proverbs 16:4

A man's mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure. --Proverbs 16:9

The lot is cast into the lap, but the decision is wholly of the Lord [even the events that seem accidental are really ordered by Him]. --Proverbs 16:33

Many plans are in a man's mind, but it is the Lord's purpose for him that will stand. --Proverbs 19:21

Man's steps are ordered by the Lord. How then can a man understand his way? --Proverbs 20:24

The King’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as are the watercourses; He turns it whichever way He wills. --Proverbs 21:1

Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you; [and] I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. --Jeremiah 1:5

O Lord [pleads Jeremiah in the name of the people], I know that [the determination of] the way of a man is not in himself; it is not in man [even in a strong man or in a man at his best] to direct his [own] steps. --Jeremiah 10:23

All whom My Father gives (entrusts) to Me will come to Me; and the one who comes to Me I will most certainly not cast out [I will never, no never, reject one of them who comes to Me]. --John 6:37

No one is able to come to Me unless the Father Who sent Me attracts and draws him and gives him the desire to come to Me, and [then] I will raise him up [from the dead] at the last day. --John 6:44

And He said, This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless it is granted him [unless he is enabled to do so] by the Father. --John 6:65

This Jesus, when delivered up according to the definite and fixed purpose and settled plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and put out of the way [killing Him] by the hands of lawless and wicked men. --Acts 2:23

For in this city there actually met and plotted together against Your holy Child and Servant Jesus, Whom You consecrated by anointing, both Herod and Pontius Pilate with the Gentiles and peoples of Israel, to carry out all that Your hand and Your will and purpose had predestined (predetermined) should occur. --Acts 4:27-28

And when the Gentiles heard this, they rejoiced and glorified (praised and gave thanks for) the Word of God; and as many as were destined (appointed and ordained) to eternal life believed (adhered to, trusted in, and relied on Jesus as the Christ and their Savior). --Acts 13:48

And He made from one [common origin, one source, one blood] all nations of men to settle on the face of the earth, having definitely determined [their] allotted periods of time and the fixed boundaries of their habitation (their settlements, lands, and abodes), --Acts 17:26

For I do not understand my own actions [I am baffled, bewildered]. I do not practice or accomplish what I wish, but I do the very thing that I loathe [which my moral instinct condemns]. Now if I do [habitually] what is contrary to my desire, [that means that] I acknowledge and agree that the Law is good (morally excellent) and that I take sides with it. However, it is no longer I who do the deed, but the sin [principle] which is at home in me and has possession of me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot perform it. [I have the intention and urge to do what is right, but no power to carry it out.] For I fail to practice the good deeds I desire to do, but the evil deeds that I do not desire to do are what I am [ever] doing. Now if I do what I do not desire to do, it is no longer I doing it [it is not myself that acts], but the sin [principle] which dwells within me [fixed and operating in my soul]. So I find it to be a law (rule of action of my being) that when I want to do what is right and good, evil is ever present with me and I am subject to its insistent demands. For I endorse and delight in the Law of God in my inmost self [with my new nature]. But I discern in my bodily members [in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh] a different law (rule of action) at war against the law of my mind (my reason) and making me a prisoner to the law of sin that dwells in my bodily organs [in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh]. O unhappy and pitiable and wretched man that I am! Who will release and deliver me from [the shackles of] this body of death? O thank God! [He will!] through Jesus Christ (the Anointed One) our Lord! So then indeed I, of myself with the mind and heart, serve the Law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. --Romans 7:15-25

We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose. For those whom He foreknew [of whom He was aware and loved beforehand], He also destined from the beginning [foreordaining them] to be molded into the image of His Son [and share inwardly His likeness], that He might become the firstborn among many brethren. And those whom He thus foreordained, He also called; and those whom He called, He also justified (acquitted, made righteous, putting them into right standing with Himself). And those whom He justified, He also glorified [raising them to a heavenly dignity and condition or state of being]. --Romans 8:28-30
 

AxeElf

Active member
Mar 5, 2019
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#8
And not only that, but this too: Rebecca conceived [two sons under exactly the same circumstances] by our forefather Isaac, and the children were yet unborn and had so far done nothing either good or evil. Even so, in order further to carry out God's purpose of selection (election, choice), which depends not on works or what men can do, but on Him Who calls [them], it was said to her that the elder [son] should serve the younger [son]. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated (held in relative disregard in comparison with My feeling for Jacob). What shall we conclude then? Is there injustice upon God's part? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy and I will have compassion (pity) on whom I will have compassion. So then [God's gift] is not a question of human will and human effort, but of God's mercy. [It depends not on one's own willingness nor on his strenuous exertion as in running a race, but on God's having mercy on him.] For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, I have raised you up for this very purpose of displaying My power in [dealing with] you, so that My name may be proclaimed the whole world over. So then He has mercy on whomever He wills (chooses) and He hardens (makes stubborn and unyielding the heart of) whomever He wills. You will say to me, Why then does He still find fault and blame us [for sinning]? For who can resist and withstand His will? But who are you, a mere man, to criticize and contradict and answer back to God? Will what is formed say to him that formed it, Why have you made me thus? Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same mass (lump) one vessel for beauty and distinction and honorable use, and another for menial or ignoble and dishonorable use? --Romans 9:10-21

What then [shall we conclude]? Israel failed to obtain what it sought [God's favor by obedience to the Law]. Only the elect (those chosen few) obtained it, while the rest of them became callously indifferent (blinded, hardened, and made insensible to it). As it is written, God gave them a spirit (an attitude) of stupor, eyes that should not see and ears that should not hear, [that has continued] down to this very day. --Romans 11:7-8

But when He, Who had chosen and set me apart [even] before I was born and had called me by His grace (His undeserved favor and blessing), saw fit and was pleased --Galations 1:15

Even as [in His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love. For He foreordained us (destined us, planned in love for us) to be adopted (revealed) as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will [because it pleased Him and was His kind intent] --Ephesians 1:4-5

[He planned] for the maturity of the times and the climax of the ages to unify all things and head them up and consummate them in Christ, [both] things in heaven and things on the earth. In Him we also were made [God's] heritage (portion) and we obtained an inheritance; for we had been foreordained (chosen and appointed beforehand) in accordance with His purpose, Who works out everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His [own] will, --Ephesians 1:10-11

For we are God's [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live]. --Ephesians 2:10

[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight. --Phillippians 2:13

Therefore God sends upon them a misleading influence, a working of error and a strong delusion to make them believe what is false, in order that all may be judged and condemned who did not believe in [who refused to adhere to, trust in, and rely on] the Truth, but [instead] took pleasure in unrighteousness. But we, brethren beloved by the Lord, ought and are obligated [as those who are in debt] to give thanks always to God for you, because God chose you from the beginning as His firstfruits (first converts) for salvation through the sanctifying work of the [Holy] Spirit and [your] belief in (adherence to, trust in, and reliance on) the Truth. --2 Thessalonians 2:11-13

For [of course] every house is built and furnished by someone, but the Builder of all things and the Furnisher [of the entire equipment of all things] is God. --Hebrews 3:4

It is true that He was chosen and foreordained (destined and foreknown for it) before the foundation of the world, but He was brought out to public view (made manifest) in these last days (at the end of the times) for the sake of you. --1 Peter 1:20

And all the inhabitants of the earth will fall down in adoration and pay him homage, everyone whose name has not been recorded in the Book of Life of the Lamb that was slain [in sacrifice] from the foundation of the world. --Revelation 13:8

The beast that you saw [once] was, but [now] is no more, and he is going to come up out of the Abyss (the bottomless pit) and proceed to go to perdition. And the inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been recorded in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world will be astonished when they look at the beast, because he [once] was, but [now] is no more, and he is [yet] to come. --Revelation 17:8

(All citations from the Amplified Bible.)
 

Locutus

Senior Member
Feb 10, 2017
5,813
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#9
Neither do I.
 

delirious

Junior Member
Mar 16, 2017
393
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#10
First of all, let me say how much I hate the label "Calvinism."
I didn't make this post to argue with Calvinists. I just wanted to provide an argument that is Scripturally based and supports the free will position. I don't doubt that many Calvinists love the Lord.

In that respect, the post has failed.
You said this in response to my argument being valid. Your opinion.

I know you listed a lot of things and I appreciate your response and taking the time to do that. Once again, the point of my post was not to start an argument. I've spent way too many hours in the past arguing with Calvinists and have no desire to do so.
 

AxeElf

Active member
Mar 5, 2019
246
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#11
I didn't make this post to argue... I just wanted to provide an argument...
So which is it?

You said this in response to my argument being valid.
A valid argument is not a sound argument unless its premises are true--and your premises are not true. Having a valid argument alone won't get you very far.

If men are mortal, then I am a kangaroo.
Men are mortal.
Therefore, I am a kangaroo.

That is also a valid argument. It is not a sound argument, though, because its premises are not true. The fact that men are mortal does not entail me being a kangaroo; that is false.

Once again, the point of my post was not to start an argument. I've spent way too many hours in the past arguing with Calvinists and have no desire to do so.
Well, despite the fact that you just said that the point of your post was to provide an argument--I never argue; I only educate.

Consider yourself educated.
 

JaumeJ

Senior Member
Jul 2, 2011
15,051
2,151
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#14
There truly is no need to come into the Bible dicussion in order to approve or disaaprove any denomination.

We have the Bible.

We are not here to say "I belong to this denomination" while others say " I belong to that." We all should belong to Jesus, Yeshua.
 

posthuman

Senior Member
Jul 31, 2013
21,705
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#15
I understand that they are two different words. The point I am trying to make is that the idea behind them is the same.
would this be an accurate translation:

you understand that they are two different words, but you are trying to make them the same words
 

delirious

Junior Member
Mar 16, 2017
393
75
28
#16
would this be an accurate translation:
you understand that they are two different words, but you are trying to make them the same words
No. In English we have words that are synonyms. Different words. Same idea. If I say I was really hungry/starving/famished, then I have used different words or phrases to convey the same idea.

Cornelius was "accepted" by God. Why does Peter say he was accepted? Now apply that to Acts 13: 48. The Calvinist will claim that the "appointing" had nothing to do with the persons merit. But the story of Cornelius rejects that idea. Same can be said of Lydia, David, Job and a countless number of other saints in the Bible. Hebrews 11 is a good place to start for more examples.

John Calvin was a fallible man who came up with a philosophy. It is not Scripture. It is Scripture taken out of context and eisegeted.
 

KnowMe

Active member
Feb 4, 2019
518
141
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#17
I didn't make this post to argue with Calvinists. I just wanted to provide an argument that is Scripturally based and supports the free will position. I don't doubt that many Calvinists love the Lord.



You said this in response to my argument being valid. Your opinion.

I know you listed a lot of things and I appreciate your response and taking the time to do that. Once again, the point of my post was not to start an argument. I've spent way too many hours in the past arguing with Calvinists and have no desire to do so.
though making one sure does stir the pot, you know it will lol
 

posthuman

Senior Member
Jul 31, 2013
21,705
3,853
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#18
Cornelius was "accepted" by God. Why does Peter say he was accepted?
I now truly understand that God does not show favoritism,
but welcomes those from every nation who fear Him and do what is right.
(Acts 10:34-35)
perhaps we ought to pause in John on our way to Acts 13

The Samaritan woman said to Him,
“You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can You ask me for a drink?”
(For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
(John 4:9)
 

ForestGreenCook

Well-known member
Jul 8, 2018
1,852
191
63
#19
So Cornelius was born of the Holy Spirit before Peter was sent to him? There are no verses in Scripture that say God chooses any human before the foundation of the world.

Calvinists will misinterpret Eph 1: 4 to try and support their position when the context of Eph 1 is referring to Christ. That is why "in Christ" is repeated about 9 times in Eph 1. When something is repeated that many times it is important to take notice.

Occasionally, you will also get the Calvinist who will use the corrupt translation in the ESV of Rev 13: 8 where it says "before the foundation of the world" but the proper translation is "from the foundation of the world" which all other translations correctly render.
I do not know what version of the bible you study from, but, I study from the KJV. Paul wrote Eph. and he says that God hath (past tense) chosen US (a group of people, including himself) BEFORE (before he formed the world) the foundation of the world. Paul says that God also predestinated this same group to be adopted as children by Jesus Christ. Yes Cornelius was already born of the Holy Spirit before he met Paul.
 

delirious

Junior Member
Mar 16, 2017
393
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#20
I do not know what version of the bible you study from, but, I study from the KJV. Paul wrote Eph. and he says that God hath (past tense) chosen US (a group of people, including himself) BEFORE (before he formed the world) the foundation of the world. Paul says that God also predestinated this same group to be adopted as children by Jesus Christ. Yes Cornelius was already born of the Holy Spirit before he met Paul.
I notice that whenever Calvinists quote Eph 1: 4 they like to leave out the two most important words of the verse: "in Him". We are chosen in Him and He is the One chosen before the foundation of the world.

1 Peter 1: 19-20, "but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you."

How many times is "in Him" or a variant used in Ephesians 1: 3-13? 10 times. That's one time for almost every single verse. That means it is very important to understanding the passage properly.

Eph 1: 3, "in Christ"
Eph 1: 4, "in Him"
Eph 1: 5, "by Jesus Christ"
Eph 1: 6, "in the Beloved"
Eph 1: 7, "in Him"
Eph 1: 10, "in Christ"
Eph 1: 10, "in Him"
Eph 1: 11, "in Him"
Eph 1: 12, "in Christ"
Eph 1: 13, "in Him"

The only idea Paul has of salvation is a corporate salvation. You are either part of His body or you are not saved.

When does the "us" of Eph 1: 4 get chosen? During our lives. Based on a heart response to God. Cornelius is a good example of this along with Lydia, David and many others throughout the Bible who were already worshipers of God when they were chosen.

Yes Cornelius was already born of the Holy Spirit before he met Paul.
Can you tell me how Cornelius was born of the Spirit before he was saved?