Edward Dalcour & Acts 2.38 (II)

*Below we continue our exegetical refutations toward the efforts of Edward Dalcour to attack Oneness Pentecostals and deny biblical salvation as per the plain reading of Acts 2.38.  Dalcour’s original piece can be found HERE.  In this post we continue with direct quotations of Greek linguists who adamantly reject Dalcour’s “causal” eisegesis of the phrase rendered “for the forgiveness of sins” in Acts 2.38.  We hope you enjoy part II of this IV part series on Edward Dalcour & Acts 2.38!

*First, one will note in our continued list of scholars below that not a single one of them identify theologically as Oneness Pentecostal.  Hence they have no doctrinal agenda and are only stating the grammatical facts.  Again, we have left the CAPS just as they were sent to us:

1. Professor Tyler (Amherst College, Mass.):  “I shall translate Acts 2:38 liberally, thus:  ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in (or on) the name of Jesus Christ unto remission of sins.’  The preposition eis seems to denote the object and end of the two verbs which precede [it] in the imperative.  In other words, REMISSION OF SINS IS THE OBJECT AND END RESULT of repentance and baptism.”

2. Professor H.C. Cameron (Princeton College, NJ):  “The preposition eis in Acts 2:38 is evidently used in its final sense; and the phrase is clearly connected with metanoeesate kai baptistheeti (repent and be baptized), AS THE END TO WHICH REPENTANCE AND BAPTISM IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST LED.”

3.  Professor Packard (Yale College, Conn.):  “My own impression (to give it for what it is worth) is that I should translate it, if these words occurred in Plato, for instance, TO THE END OF REMISSION OF SINS, it would then make ‘aphesis hamartion’ AN OBJECT AIMED AT, OR A RESULT ATTAINED BY THE ACTS DENOTED BY THE VERBS.”

4. Professor Foster (Colby University, Maine):  “Without a special examination of the passage in connection with others in which like expressions occur, I should say that the word here has the force of ‘unto,’ ‘in order to,’ ‘for the sake of,’ INDICATING A RESULT TO BE ATTAINED.”

5. Professor D’Ooge (Ann Arbor University, Mich.):  “In reply to your inquiry, I would say that in my judgment the preposition eis, in the verse referred to (Acts 2:38), expresses THE RELATION OF AIM OR END IN VIEW, answering the question eis ti (for what?), and to be translated by ‘unto,’ ‘in order to,’ ‘for.’  This sense of eis, as you doubtless know, is recognized by Liddell & Scott for classical; and by Winder, for New Testament (Koine’) usage.”

6. Professor Flagg (Cornell University, NY):  “In answer to your inquiry about the force of the preposition eis in the passage of the New Testament to which you refer (Acts 2:38), I should say that IT DENOTED INTENTION OR PURPOSE, ‘with a view to,’ much as if it had been written, ‘SO AS TO OBTAIN REMISSION OF SINS’.”

7. Professor Proctor (Dartmouth College, NH):  “It is my opinion that eis is to be connected with both the predicates, and that IT DENOTES AN OBJECT OR END IN VIEW.”

8. Professor Harkness (Brown University, RI):  “In my opinion eis in Acts 2:38 DENOTES PURPOSE, and may be rendered in order to, or FOR THE PURPOSE OF SECURING, or, as in our English version, ‘for’.”

9. Professor T.D. Seymour (Yale College):  “I do not remember any passage in which eis could properly be translated ‘because of.’  I am not sure that I understand your second question; as I understand it, I should say that EIS IS NEVER RETROSPECTIVE, it always implies that the person or thing or act concerned is turned toward the thing which follows eis.”

10. Professor W.W. Goodwin (Harvard):  “In reply to your first question I must say that I cannot conceive of any expression in which eis would be properly translated ‘because of.’  To your second question I should say that I DO NOT SEE HOW EIS CAN EVER BE RETROSPECTIVE.”

11. Professor John H. Wheeler (University of Virginia):  “It seems to me in either language (i.e., Greek or English) THE REMISSION OF SINS IS SOMETHING TO WHICH THE ONE WHO IS BAPTIZED IS TO LOOK FORWARD – he is to be baptized AS A MEANS OF PROCURING THAT REMISSION.”

12. Professor Chas. F. Smith (Vanderbilt):  “I do not doubt that eis in Acts 2:38 means ‘unto’ and is prospective.”

13. Dr. Williams, translator of The Williams Testament affirms that this preposition (εἰς) used in Acts 2.38 “is always prospective.”

*Professional grammarians from Princeton, Yale, Harvard, Dartmouth, Ann Arbor and Cornell Universitiesbut still not convinced?  The following is a list of Greek linguists who commented on Acts 2.38 and the meaning of baptism “for (eis) the forgiveness of sins.”  Again, we point out that the following grammarians do not identify theologically as Oneness Pentecostal (nor CofC).  That is, they have no prior theological commitments or presuppositions to this end.  They are only affirming the actual grammatical data.  (For corroboration cf. their works.):

1. Winer, Greek scholar, Winer’s New Testament Grammar:  “the purpose and end in view.”

2.  J.W. Willmarth, Baptist scholar:  “unto, in order to.”

3. Hackett, Baptist scholar, referring to Acts 22.16, “states a result of baptism, answers ‘for the remission of sins’ in Acts 2.38, i.e., submit to the rite in order to forgiveness.”

4. Meyer “denotes object of baptism which is the remission of the guilt contracted in the state before μετάνοια.  Comp. Acts 22.16 and I Cor. 6.11.

5. Daniel Penick, professor of classical languages at the University of Texas:  “‘eis’ always looks forward and I know of no case in the New Testament where it looks back.”

6. C.B. Williams (Baptist):  “eis is always prospective.”  His translation: “that you may have your sins forgiven.”

7. J.P. Lange (Lutheran theologian): “eis shows the immediate purpose of baptism.”

8.  Hermann Olshausen:  “baptism is accompanied with the remission of sins.”

9. C.H. Morgan (Baptist), Dean of Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary:  “I do not know of any recognized Greek lexicon which gives to ‘eis’ the meaning of ‘because of’.”

10. W.R. Harper, Professor at Chicago University:  “unto, i.e., in order to secure.”

11. Seth J. Axtell (Baptist), Professor of Greek Literature:  “unto, for, in order to, with a view to, denotes the object or end toward which the action expressed by the predicate verbs was to be directed.”  (*Note:  What happened to Dalcour’s emphasis on “exegesis” in Acts 2.38?)

12. S.H. Butcher (Presbyterian), Professor of Greek:  “expresses the end toward which the action tends.”

13. I. Bywater, Professor of Greek:  “expresses the end or purpose to be attained: to the end that your sins may be remitted.”

14. H.C. Cameron, Professor of Greek:  “the end to which repentance and baptism in the name of Jesus Christ led.”

15. P. Doddridge (Congregationalist):  “in order to be forgiven of their sins.”

16. M.L. D’Ooge (Baptist), Professor of Greek:  “unto, in order to, for.”

17. K. Fullerton (Presbyterian), Professor of Greek and Hebrew:  “into or unto, the aim or end of baptism is remission of sins.”

18. G.S. Sale (Presbyterian), Professor of Greek:  result or purpose of baptism, to obtain remission of sins.”

19. C.F. Sitterly (Methodist), Professor of Greek and English Bible:  “reason or motive that should induce to repentance and baptism.”

20. Joseph Thayer (Congregationalist), Esteemed Professor of N.T. Criticism and Interpretation, translator of Grimm-Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon:  “unto the remission of your sins.”

21. R. Halley (Congregationalist), Classical Tutor at Highbury College and Principal of New College, St John’s Wood, London:  “future and prospective.”

22. A. Harkness (Baptist), Professor of Greek:  “denotes purpose, in order to, for the purpose of receiving.”

23. J.C. Proctor, Professor of Greek:  “denotes object or end in view.”

24. W. S. Tyler, Professor of Greek:  “denotes object and end of the two verbs.”

*To reemphasize, this list was extracted from professional linguists who were not Oneness believers (nor CofC) for the express purpose of ruling out any prejudice.  Of course, this well demonstrates that unbiased scholars understand that the Greek preposition used in Acts 2.38 (eis) looks forward and not backward to something (as in the “because of” dodge proffered by Trinitarians like Dalcour).

*Below is a list of 53 translations—combining hundreds of independent, professional linguists—none of whom have translated Acts 2.38 as “because your sins have already been forgiven” (as endorsed by Dalcour above):

1. American Bible Union Version:  unto the remission of your sins

2. Amplified NT:  for the forgiveness of your sins

3. Anderson:  In order to the remission of your sins

4. Authentic (Schomfield):  for the forgiveness of your sins

5. Authorized Version (KJV):  for the remission of sins

6. Berry’s Interlinear:  for remission of sins

7. Centenary Translation:  for the remission of sins

8. Challomer Rheims:  for the forgiveness of sins

9. Douay:  for the remission of sins

10. Emphasized Version:  into the remission of sins

11. Emphatic Diaglot:  for the remission of sins

12. English Revised:  unto the remission of sins

13. Englishman’s Greek NT:  for the remission of sins

14. Ferrar Fenton:  for the remission of sins

15. First German Bible:  for (in order to, unto) the forgiveness

16. French Translation:  in order to obtain the remission of sins

17. Geneva Bible:  for the remission of sins

18. German Translation (for, unto):  in order to forgiveness of sins

19. Good News for Modern Man:  in order to have your sins forgiven

20. Goodspeed:  in order to have your sins forgiven

21. Hackett (commentary):  in order to the forgiveness of sins

22. Haweis (1795AD):  for the remission of your sins

23. Indian Translation:  in order to the forgiveness of sins

24. Italian Translation:  into the remission of sins

25. Jerusalem Bible:  for the forgiveness of your sins

26. Knox:  to have your sins forgiven

27. Young’s Literal Translation:  to the remission of sins

28.  Living Bible:  for the forgiveness of sins

29. Living Oracles:  in order to the remission of sins

30. Macknights Translation:  in order to the remission of sins

31. Modern English:  for a release of your sins

32. Modern Speech:  with a view to the remission of sins

33. Moffatt:  for the remission of sins

34. H.B. Montgomery (1924):  for the remission of your sins

35. Moulton’s Modern Reader’s:  Unto remission of sins

36: New American Standard:  for the remission of your sins

37. New Catholic Version:  for the forgiveness of sins

38. New English Bible:  for the forgiveness of your sins

39. New International version:  for the forgiveness of your sins

40. New King James Version:  for the remission of sins

41. NT in the Basic English:  for the forgiveness of sins

42. Phillips Modern English:  so that you may have your sins forgiven

43. Revised Standard Version:  for the forgiveness of your sins

44. Rothermham:  unto the remission of your sins

45. Spanish Translation:  for the purpose of remission of your sins

46. Syriac Version:  for the remission of sins

47. Twentieth Century Translation:  for the forgiveness of your sins

48. Verkuyl (Burkeley Version):  for the remission of sins

49. Warrell’s Translation:  unto remission of your sins

50. Wesley’s Translation:  for the remission of sins

51. Weymouth:  for the remission of your sins

52. Williams:  that your sins may be forgiven

53. Wycliffe (1308):  into the remission of youre synnes

*Syntactically, the placement of the prepositional phrase translated “for the forgiveness of sins” appears after repentance and water baptism in Jesus name because the first two elements are the requirements of what man must “do” (v. 27) and the third element (the gift of the Holy Spirit) is a sovereign act of God.  That is, as with all of the covenants of God throughout history—if mankind obeys His commandments then God honors His promises.  This is often seen in “conditional clauses” where there is a protasis (“if” you do this…) and an apodosis (“then” the result will be this…).

*Since “eis” is found ca. 1,750 times in the NT and, as demonstrated above, the standard meaning of “for the purpose of” is well recognized—one must proceed with extreme caution before announcing that he has found an “exception” to the rule (cf., e.g., Granville Sharp’s Rule #6). 

*That is, one must have an overwhelmingly compelling case before thrusting aside literally hundreds of professional Greek linguists that emphatically demand this normative understanding of the prepositional phrase used in Acts 2.38.  After hundreds of years of intense scrutiny by professional Greek scholarsthat has not been accomplished and the clear force of Acts 2.38 stands as a stalwart sentinel safeguarding the biblical new birth so that its adherents can rest securely in eternal salvation. 

*Renowned Greek scholar and text-critic Dr. Daniel Wallace does not personally believe that baptism is required as a condition for the forgiveness of sins.  This is important to keep in mind inasmuch as Dr. Wallace is the author of the highly acclaimed work, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics (GGBB).  As seen in the following blog post, Dr. Wallace has a discussion of the so-called “causal” force of eis.  He rightly points out that studies have shown that “the linguistic evidence for a causal eis” falls short of proof.  He stingingly calls this misguided twisting of the Greek preposition an “ingenious solution” that “lacks conviction” (GGBB; pp. 370-371).

*In this vein, celebrated Baptist scholar, H.B. Hackett, renders the Greek phrase, eis aphesin hamartion in Acts 2:38, as “in order to (receive) the forgiveness of sins,” referencing Matthew 26.28 and Luke 3.3 as parallel texts (1879, 54).  As Hackett notes, the identical prepositional phrase in Matthew 26.28 is used by Jesus to declare:  “For this is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for (eis) forgiveness of sins” (εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν).

*Did Jesus pour out His Blood “because of” sins that were already forgiven?  Of course not.  Let us ask, does it matter whether or not we believe that Jesus shed His blood “to obtain” remission of sins, or if He died “because of” forgiveness already attained (i.e., prior to His cross-work)?  Is what one believes regarding the efficacious nature of Christ’s death important?  

*How can anyone possibly hold the viewpoint that parallel prepositional phrase-constructions do not equally communicate the same idea?  Such is a wholly illogical position.  How can any conscientious and sincere person disregard equivalent and inspired grammatical meanings that were designed to clearly explicate eternal salvation?  You would think people would fear God’s judgment bar and tremble at His word! 

*As one scholar suggested, underline the phrase “for the forgiveness of sins” in Acts 2.38 and in your margin make this notation:  See Matthew 26.28 — identical purpose phrase!  Indeed, we would be hard pressed to find a serious Greek scholar who would say otherwise regarding this prepositional phrase.  Why do you think there is not a single translation that renders these verses as “because of?”  They are too intellectually honest to do so—and Dalcour should take up their mantle if he desires biblical salvation!

*Stay tuned for part III of Edward Dalcour & Acts 2.38.  Thank you for reading!

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