...ordained to eternal life...

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by ScottEmerson, Jun 5, 2002.

  1. ScottEmerson

    ScottEmerson
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    I've heard several people in the last month say that Acts 13:48 was the verse that caused them to accept Calvinism. Calvinists know this verse well:

    "...as many as were appointed unto eternal life were saved"

    Here are some interesting things about the word used there to define "were appointed unto."

    The Greek word is tetagmenoi, which is the middle-passive voice form of tasso. Middle-passive is a somwhat rare construction where the subject receives the action, so it can best be translated "many as set themselves to eternal life believed."

    I heard from my old Greek professor from University, and he concurs.

    When asked this was translated as such, he basically said the English would be very convoluted in translating it as such. Such contruction occurs rarely in the NT - the middle-passive also occurs in Romans 9:22 talking about vessels that prepared themselves for destruction and I Corinthians 16:15 about people who devoted themselves to service.

    I have seen an argument that the middle-passive is a divine-passive. However this construction was used many years before koine (or common) Greek in ancient Greek, and looking at the other instances of the middle-passive, it's clear that the ones used in the writings of the Bible were using the normal tense of the middle-passive.

    I would like to encourage everyone to study Greek and see what things you can find! Granted, you won't get to middle-passive until much later, but there are still interesting thing's you'll find right off!
     
  2. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    I would encourage to review some of hte old threads. This issue was beat to death in many of them. If you have something new you would like to address about it, feel free. Perhaps some will respond. I will simply respond to agree with your last statement (that a study of Greek of a good thing). I will disagree with your understanding. It simply does not bear the weight that you are trying to put on it. No where in Scripture does anyone set themselves to eternal life. This seems clearly a passive -- people were ordained to eternal life -- with a result that they believed.
     
  3. ScottEmerson

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    The issue in previous threads was that tasso means to ordain. I've read where you all discussed the meaning of the word. It does mean ordain, or place, or appoint. However, I did not see anywhere where the tense was discussed.

    You said "This seems clearly a passive." Is this working from the Greek forward or from the English (or from your own interpretation) backwards. The word is a middle-passive, which, again, means that the subject is doing the action to himself (or themselves in this case). Therefore, the people ordained themselves to eternal life.

    This is something that hasn't been brought up to my knowledge, so it is worth visiting. Acts 13:48, due to the middle-passive use of tasso, does IN NO WAY mean that only a certain amount of people were appointed by God to believe, and others not to. Luke stresses, in fact, that the people appointed themselves to salvation - indeed, they "chose" to follow Christ. If this were not the case, he would have simply used the generic passive - which he specifically did not.
     
  4. Pastor Larry

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    It was discussed but I can't remember where.

    The challenge is to you to show that your "middle-passive" parsing is derived from the Greek and not from your need to disprove what the passage appears to be saying. In other words, on what grammatical basis do you distinguish between the middle-passive and the passive? Furthermore, I don't think the word is ever used of something someone does to themselves.

    You need to substantiate this grammatical usage in this passage from something other than your need to refute it. The lexical and grammatical sources do not seem to support you here.
     
  5. ScottEmerson

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    The term to look up is periphrastic pluperfect and is done by adding the perfect participle to the imperfect form of the verb. The -menoi is the dead giveaway.

    The reason that we should attribute this form of tasso to the middle is to examine other uses of tasso. In the aorist form of the word, the seems to be middle, such as Acts 28:23 and I Corinthians 16:15. Also in the previous verses, we read that the command given to them is also done in a reflexive middle, to "judge yourselves."

    What sources do you have to deny the reading of the word as a periphrastic pluperfect? Does the middle not fit perfectly into the context and in examine the uses of the aorist forms of tasso?
     
  6. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    That this is an pluperfect paraphrastic I am aware of. I do not see how that contributes to your point. Your point was that this verb tense means that the people “tassoed” themselves to eternal life. All that the pluperfect paraphrastic does is give a relation between the two verbs

    My challenge to you was to determine grammatically (not from theological presuppositions) that you have indeed arrived at a correct understanding regarding the force of the -menoi. All the -menoi shows is that it is a passive or middle, nominative plural. I do not believe that you have shown your point.

    Acts 28:23 “When they had set a day for Paul.” This is an aorist (not a perfect). It has an object (the day) that was acted on by the subject of the aorist verb (denoted by the dative autw). Thus this is a completely dissimilar construction and therefore, not of much use here.

    1 Cor 16:15: they have devoted themselves for ministry to the saints. Again, you have an aorist (not perfect), an active, indicative, 3 plural, as above, completely dissimilar. With this you again have an object (eautois).

    Assuming you are talking of v. 46, “Judge yourselves” is a present, active indicative 2nd plural. Thus you missed on all counts. It is not middle, and it is not a command. It is a statement of what they were doing.

    I didn’t question this. I questioned whether it helps you. I cannot find any evidence that it does.

    It does not fit the context since no where in Scripture is anyone said to choose or appoint themselves to eternal life. The other contexts of tasso do not help since they are dissimilar constructions all possessing their own objects.

    The point still stands that you are choosing your grammar based on what you desire to prove rather than what the text actually says. I think that is a inadequate way of doing exegesis.

    [ June 05, 2002, 05:34 PM: Message edited by: Pastor Larry ]
     
  7. ScottEmerson

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    That this is an pluperfect paraphrastic I am aware of. I do not see how that contributes to your point. Your point was that this verb tense means that the people “tassoed” themselves to eternal life. All that the pluperfect paraphrastic does is give a relation between the two verbs.</font>[/QUOTE]But the pluperfect paraphrastic does much more than show a relation. My point is that pluperfect paraphrastics denote a middle-passive connotation. The subjects ______ themselves.

    So you agree that the word CAN be middle. Now we're getting somewhere. So let's examine the CONTEXT to see whether it is a middle or a passive construct.

    Acts 28:23 “When they had set a day for Paul.” This is an aorist (not a perfect). It has an object (the day) that was acted on by the subject of the aorist verb (denoted by the dative autw). Thus this is a completely dissimilar construction and therefore, not of much use here.[/quote]

    Um... Taxamenoi is a first aorist middle participle. Still a participle. Still middle. That it's aorist doesn't matter as far as who's doing what. It has an object, true - but according to the tense, the subject is ordaining himself the day.

    According to Robertson, an active verb plus a reflexive pronoun - giving the word etaxan a middle meaning.

    Assuming you are talking of v. 46, “Judge yourselves” is a present, active indicative 2nd plural. Thus you missed on all counts. It is not middle, and it is not a command. It is a statement of what they were doing.[/quote]

    Again, according to Robertson, an active verb plus a reflexive pronoun = the middle voice. In essence, the subject is doing an action to the subject.

    [/quote]I didn’t question this. I questioned whether it helps you. I cannot find any evidence that it does.[/quote]

    Well, you've admitted that the periphastic participle MAY be in the middle tense. Hopefully, you see that the context points toward the middle tense and that "tasso" itself is used to have a middle meaning.

    Matthew 10:15 states that some people chose to reject Christ.

    Acts 17:30-31 states that God wants every man to repent - not all do.

    John 5:40 "But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life."

    Matt. 23:37 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling."

    Luke 7:29,30 And when all the people and the tax-gatherers heard this, they acknowledged God's justice, having been baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God's purpose for themselves, not having been baptized by John.

    We can see throughout the Old Testament that God chose the Israelites, but they did not choose him.

    Again, if it is God's will that all are saved, then why is it that not everyone is saved. We can either admit that all doesn't mean what it says it does and seriously read WAY into the text, which you admonish me not to do, or we can logically conclude man has a choice in the matter.

    And if you admit that periphrastic pluperfects can equal middle, are you not as guilty of that as I? How would you suggest we determine which it is?

    [ June 06, 2002, 10:26 AM: Message edited by: ScottEmerson ]
     
  8. Primitive Baptist

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    “Every artiface of human ingenuity has been employed to blunt the sharp edge of this scripture and to explain away the obvious meaning of these words, but it has been employed in vain, though nothing will ever be able to reconcile this and similar passages to the mind of the natural man . . . Here we learn four things: First, that believing is the consequence and not the cause of God’s decree. Second, that a limited number only are ‘ordained to eternal life,’ for if all men without exception were thus ordained by God, then the words ‘as many as’ are a meaningless qualification. Third, that this ‘ordination’ of God is not to service but to salvation itself. Fourth, that all---’as many as,’ not one less---who are thus ordained by God to eternal life will most certainly believe.” --A. W. Pink
     
  9. connieman

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    ScottEmerson...check with your old Greek professor about "those who had believed through grace." And also, "Blessed is the man whom Thou choosest, and causest to approach unto Thee." And, "Thy people shall be willing (volunteers) in the day of Thy power."

    That last always reminds me of "volunteers" in the Navy..."you, you, and you."

    And then there is the old, "For many be called, but few chosen." Can we use, or misuse, Greek to turn this up on its head?

    And then this, "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,..."

    And how does your old Greek professor read this, "Of His own will begat He us with the word of truth."?

    Oh, Yes! Can he turn this around? "But it is of Him(God) that ye are in Christ Jesus..."

    connieman :rolleyes:

    [ June 06, 2002, 01:04 AM: Message edited by: connieman ]
     
  10. ScottEmerson

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    No need. I agree that it is only through grace any man is saved.

    "is the man" is nowhere to be found in the Hebrew. Look at it for yourself, if you'd like. It is very clear that God chooses nations, just as he chose the church. You'll have no argument from me there!

    As for the other verse - I completely agree. Those who choose Christ are willing volunteers! Of course, this is also talking about the end times, when man is no longer around and the final judgement occurs! No argument here, either.

    So not everyone who is called is chosen? I thought Calvinists believed in Irresistable Grace! Anyway, in the context of Matthew 21 and 22, it seems that Christ is talking about the selection of the Gentiles over the selection of the Jews... http://www.rtrc.net/debate/election/conopening.htm

    You're misjudging me! I believe complete - God saved us, he called us, he saves us because He wants to, and his grace was already in store from the beginning of time. But is it possible to thwart the purpose of God?

    From Luke 7:

    All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus' words, acknowledged that God's way was right, because they had been baptized by John. But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God's purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.

    Hmmm... Seems that someone can reject God's purpose for their lives, huh?

    He would agree that God's will is for all to be saved. He gives us the word of truth. We can either choose to believe or not.

    We agree again. If it were not for God, we would not be in Christ Jesus.

    We really are in agreement on a lot of issues.
     
  11. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    Scott,

    Fix your above post to make it readable.
     

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