When people are confronted with Calvinistic teaching their first and most difficult objection is typically something like this: "How can God rightly condemn mankind with eternity in hell for not fulfilling a requirement that they are not even given the ability to fulfill?" This is an objection to "Total Depravity." The belief that mankind does not have the ability to respond positively to the call of gospel message. I'm interested to discuss, in a civil manner, with Calvinists on this board how they biblically respond to this objection and defend this view of Total inability. I've read through the story of the fall, and many NT passages dealing with the results of the fall and I'm not able to find a verse that clearly teaches that mankind loses the ability to respond positively to God's message of reconciliation. Don't get me wrong. I affirm the doctrine of original sin, in that we are all born "fallen" and thus in need of a savior...I just take issue with the idea that the message God sent for the purpose of reconciling the world to himself is somehow insufficient to envoke a positive reply. Calvinists often turn to Rom 8:7: "the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. 8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God." I agree that we are born in a sinful state that is hostile to God's law and that as long as we remain under the control of that sin nature we cannot please God...in that we cannot ever complete the demands of the law (as this verse states). But does that say anything about the ability of a lost man to hear, believe and repent when confronted with the powerful Spirit wrought gospel? No. It only speaks of man's nature if left to himself. It says nothing of the ability of one to be reconciled by a divine message sent for the purpose of reconcilation. Are there any passages that do address this clearly?