Romans 9 is probably the one of the most referenced chapters by Calvinists and certainly has been used to convince many to accept the Calvinistic dogma, but does it really say what Calvinists think it says? Romans 9:15 For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion." Calvinistic interpretation: God saves some and not others. Another Perspective: God can and will show mercy to whomever He pleases (even dirty Gentiles who are not the seed of Abraham) and He is perfectly just in doing so! The Jews might protest because like the brother of the prodigal son and the labors in the field they are jealous that the Lord pays the rebel and the late comers with mercy giving them a party or a full days of wages. 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. Calvinistic Interpretation: Man's will and his works don't have any part of salvation. ONLY God's mercy is a factor. Another Perspective: It not of him who desires to work and run after the law (Jews), but of God who shows mercy (to those who pursue it as if it were by faith). Paul refers to this in his summary statements in verses 30-32 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. 32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. 17 For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth." 18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. Calvinistic Interpretation: God has mercy on the elect and He hardens the non-elect just like he did Pharaoh. Another Perspective: God used Pharaoh’s rebellion and sealed him in it, hardening his will to keep Israel captive so that the plagues could ALL be completed in order to accomplish His ultimate purpose in making his Glory known by foreshadowing the Passover. In the same way God used the Jews rebellion and sealed them in it, hardening their wills so that God's purpose could be accomplished in showing his glory and his mercy in the Passover of the Christ. So, at one time the Gentiles were in darkness but now God was showing them favor (mercy) while hardening those he once showed favor (the Jews). So this is not about the elect being shown mercy and the non-elect being hardened. It is about the Gentiles being shown mercy and the Jews being hardened. (NOTICE: the Jews are not hardened unto certain condemnation. Read chapter 11 and you will see that they are Hardened in order to make way for the Gentiles and once the Gentiles begin to come in they will provoke the hardened Jews to envy and some of them might be saved (vs 14). God has bound them all over to disobedience (both Jews and Gentiles) so that he may have mercy on them all (vs 32). 19 You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?" 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, "Why have you made me like this?" 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? Calvinistic Interpretation: A free will advocate might protest saying, "Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?" But Paul rebukes them for replying against God and teaches that God makes some people for being saved and others for being damned. Another Perspective: A Jew might protest saying, "Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will? But Paul rebukes them for replying against God and teaches that God makes some people from Israel, "the same lump of clay," for noble purposes such as Jacob who became the line of Judah and Paul who became an apostle, for no other reason than because God chose them for those purposes, but others from that same lump (the lump of Israel) may be used for common purposes, such as being hardened. 22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, Calvinistic Interpretation: God showed His wrath and power by being patient non-elect reprobates who were born as vessels of wrath and destruction. Another Perspective: God showed his wrath and made his power known by enduring the Jews with much longsuffering who were vessels of wrath that fitted themselves for destruction. 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? Calvinistic Interpretation: This was to make known the riches of His glory to his elect vessels of mercy who he had individually chosen and prepared for glory, not only from the Jews but also of the Gentiles. Another Perspective: This was to make known the riches of His glory to the Gentiles who were just then being revealed as God's vessels of mercy, whom He had chosen to save and glorify from the beginning of time, even us (those already in the church) who He has called, not only from the Jews but also of the Gentiles. Adam Clarke writes: The Jews were fitted for destruction long before; but the fittest time to destroy them was after he had prepared the believing Gentiles unto glory. The basic difference is that Calvinists apply these passages to individual elect and non-elect people. While others apply these passages to the two people groups being represented, Jews and Gentiles. I’m only asking that the Calvinists on this board honestly and objectively deal with another perspective and comment on why it’s not a viable interpretation. Personally, I believe Paul's concluding summary remarks reveal his intent: 30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law *of righteousness. 32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. What do you all think? Please limit your comments to this discussion on Romans 9 and try to keep things civil by only commenting about the doctrines and not others personally. Thank you.