Calvinism’s first blind spot is concerning there teachings under the doctrine called “Total Depravity” or better stated, “Total Inability.” They use analogies from scripture which speak of being “dead” or “enslaved” as support to prove that man’s will has been so corrupted, so “depraved” that it cannot in any way positively respond to the “general calling” of the gospel presentation or the “general calling” of the Holy Spirit which scripture clearly teaches is a “genuine universal calling” that goes out to all mankind. The real scriptural backing that Calvinism uses to support this theory is very convincing at first sight, because it does clearly teach that man cannot come to God without his first enabling them to come. Arminians don’t disagree with this, but the difference is that we believe the “general call” of the gospel along with the interpretive revelation of the Holy Spirit is sufficient to “enable” whosoever hears that call to respond in faith and repentance. The Calvinist insists that man is too corrupt, and cannot respond to any “offer” of salvation regardless of how genuine it might be laid out by the scriptures. Therefore, they contend that there must be a second more powerful calling than the first. An “effectual calling” that only comes to God’s “elect” and will most certainly and effectually lead them to faith and repentance. Where do they find support for this teaching of “Man’s Inability” and the “Effectual Calling” in the scriptures? It is there. Man’s inability and effectual calling are clearly taught in scripture, but Calvinist misapply them, taking passages that are intended for one purpose and applying them to another unrelated issue. Please let me explain: The blind spot for Calvinists is there inability to differentiate between scripture’s teachings concerning man’s fall (original sin) and it’s teachings concerning the hardening of Israel for the purpose of in grafting the Gentiles (as explained in Romans 9, 10 & 11). These teachings include passages such as: “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this and it is marvelous in our eyes; Therefore I [Jesus] tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you [speaking to Israel] and given to a people [Gentiles] who will produce fruit.” Matt. 21:42-43 “…You will be ever hearing but never understanding…this people’s heart has become calloused…otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them. Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!” Acts 28:25-28 “What Israel sought to earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect (refers to the Remnant in verse 6 who were Jews that were not hardened of which the apostles were the first fruits) The others were hardened, as it is written: ‘God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes so that they could not see and ears so that they could not hear, to this very day…because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious…I [Paul] make much of my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? If the part of the dough offered as fristfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy.…But they [Israel] were broken off because of their unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant [listen up Calvinists], but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God; sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. [ouch] And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. (Rom. 11:7-25) We can see from this passage that there are three groups of people: (1) Remnant – those chosen from among the Jews to carry out God’s plan of redemption, namely the apostles; (2) Hardened Israel – those given over to their depraved hearts, blinded by the callousness and unable to believe Christ because of the veiled message and active hardening (for a set time) of God for the purpose of in grafting the Gentiles. (3) Gentiles – those being grafted in through faith in the gospel message which is the power of God unto Salvation first to the Jew then to the Gentile. Each of these groups are very distinct in the scriptures and as readers we must be careful not to apply teachings concerning one of these groups to a universal Soteriology for all mankind. WHICH IS THE MISTAKE CALVINIST MAKE! If you were blind to the teachings concerning the “hardening” of Israel for the purpose of in grafting the Gentiles I could see how you would mistakenly misapply texts like those found in John chapter 6 to man’s total inability. It does say, “No one can come to me unless he is enabled by the Father.” That sounds like everyone is hardened doesn’t it. But what does that verse mean in the light of the teachings concerning Israel’s hardening? Who was Jesus’ audience in John 6? Israel: Hardened Israel and the Elect Remnant. Jews are questioning him about how to fulfill the works that God requires. He tells them that the work of God’s requiring is “to believe.” They go on to ask for signs and Jesus says to the Jews who, according to scripture are being hardened, “But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All that the father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” Who are “all that the father gives” to Jesus? The ones who have not been hardened. The ones who have been reserved from Israel for a divine purpose. The remnant or the apostles! How do I know for sure? Keep reading. Verse 64 goes on to say, “The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe. For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enable him…many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him…You do not want to leave too, do you? Jesus asked the Twelve…Have I not chosen you, the Twelve?” In the light of Israel’s hardening this passage in no way must mean that everyone is “chosen” in the same way that the “twelve” were “chosen.” They are the Remnant spoken of in Romans 11, which is not talking about Gentiles at all. When John 6 took place the message hadn’t been taken to the Gentiles yet. Peter hadn’t had his dream about allowing the Gentiles in and Paul, “the apostle to the Gentiles” had not yet been called. I can hear one of you thinking, “What? Is he saying that people are saved in different ways? That’s not possible!!!” We are all saved by Grace, which is accomplished in the propitiation of Christ on the cross. But God implements various methods of bringing salvation about in the lives of his people, as clearly seen in these passages. (1) The Remnant were Jews from God’s elect nation. In Salvation history, these were, “holy firstfruits” (Rom. 11:16) “set apart from birth;” the first fruits of grace; the first to be called by Christ; the first and only to be appointed as Apostles through a divine calling. These were the unique messengers who were authorized by the Sovereign decree of God to usher in the gospel of Grace through faith in Christ. Of which the nation of Israel was elected to do: provide the means of redemption to the world. (2) The rest of the Jews were hardened until the full number of Gentiles comes in (Rom. 11:25). In Salvation history, these are hardened for the purpose of grafting in the Gentiles and with the "hope" of "arousing envy” within them (Rom. 11:11-14). If they believe in the message they can be grafted back in. So salvation comes to these through faith in Christ IF God has “enabled” them to be grafted back in. (Rom. 11:23) (3) The Gentiles were not hardened as Calvinists seem to assert in their teachings of Total Depravity. “They will listen!” (Acts 28:28) They are the “foolish” ones that the scripture speaks of that will “accept what Israel rejects.” Gentiles belief and acceptance of the gospel through faith provokes envy in the hearts of the Jews. “I will make you envious by those who are not a nation; I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.” (Deut. 32:21/Rom.10:19) In summary, scriptures dealing with Jews in the Hardening and Effectually Calling process during his ministry on earth should not be applied to a doctrine of Salvation for all mankind. Here are some questions for Calvinists to consider: 1. The Remnant spoken of in Romans 11 are those chosen from among the Jews that avoid hardening, supernaturally received grace, and were revealed the mysteries of the Kingdom. How does scriptures treatment of the Remnant differ from its treatment of Hardened Israel and the Gentiles? Why? 2. Why doesn’t this apparent difference contradict Calvinism’s doctrine of Soteriology which assumes that all men are hardened in the same way as Israel was hardened in the first century; therefore insisting that all believers must be called with an irresistible calling as were the elect Remnant? 3. Why would Paul “hope to arouse” the Jews to “envy” in order to “save some of them” if Paul truly believed it is God’s “effectual call” that will ultimately lead to their salvation? Could it be that envy could be a motivator of man’s will? How many people are working long hours and building up debt, and striving with all their might to keep up with the Jones. Envy is a powerful motivator of man’s will! How does the Calvinist handle this obvious teaching that man’s will, affected by envy, can lead to salvation? 4. Where does scripture specifically link Gentiles “inability” to respond to the genuine universal call of the gospel? 5. Where does scripture specifically link “irresistible grace” or “effectual calling” to the Gentiles? Without these links Calvinism assumptions that “Total Inability”(hardening) and “Irresistible Grace”(effectual calling) apply to the salvation of all who are saved are completely unfounded. Therefore totally undercutting their entire foundation for Soterilogy. I await your answers. With Respect, Bro. Bill P.S. I realize this is a long post, but if you really want to debate the issues it requires that you deal with all of information and not just little cliché statements that we so flippantly bat back and forth, so please just take a few minutes and read through this. Thank you for you time.