A fellow Baptist pastor in my area claims to be solidly Calvinist. "God is sovereign!" he claims repeatedly. "God elects in His sovereignty who will go to Heaven and who will suffer in Hell." (n.b. We don't disagree that God is sovereign. I just don't believe that prohibits Him in His sovereignty from granting His creation free will.) The same pastor frequently, in sermons, refers to "The God of second chances." Does anyone else find this an odd contradiction? If a Calvinist claims to believe in total depravity, unconditional election, and irresistable grace, how can that same person see God giving anyone any chances at all ... much less second chances? Yes, I know I'm throwing a match into the kindling here, but I'm deeply disturbed by this notion that God is not only a tyrant (sending people to Hell for His own good pleasure, without even giving them the ability to believe) but also a liar (Saying to us, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man ..." when in the Calvinist view, we have no choice whatsoever). In fact, I am actually convinced that most Calvinists (note: I said most) are guilty of trying too hard to find some elite secret in their reading of Scripture. Fact: Numerous passages offer salvation to whoever will believe (pisteuo). Not a single passage of Scripture states outright that this is not true. Not a single passage of Scripture says that "whole world" means "elect." Not a single passage says "elect" means God chooses and that our faith results from His choice. Oh, yes, I've read the arguments. You have to really massage the Scripture to make it mean what it just simply doesn't say. From the first book of the Bible to the last, God begs people to repent and turn to Him. If, in fact, it's not a matter of our choice, why then would He spend so much time urging us to choose Him? I believe that my pastor friend knows in the depth of his soul that his Calvinist interpretation doesn't truly match the God of Scripture. That's why -- in perhaps a moment of clarity -- he speaks of "The God of second chances."