Generally speaking the New Testament refers to three groups of people. The Remnant of Israel, the Hardened Jew, and the Gentile. Keeping that in mind I want to define each of these groups and have the Calvinists on this board answer a few questions: (1) The Remnant of Israel were Jews from God’s elect nation. In Salvation, 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. Questions for Calvinists to consider: What sets Paul and the other apostle apart from you, me and every other believer? Are verses that speak of his being “set apart from birth” and “effectually compelled” to preach common to all believers? If so, why does Paul refer to these unique attributes as authoritative signs of apostleship? Do we undermine apostolic authority by claiming that God has sovereignly elected and called us in the same manner as he did Paul, the divinely inspired apostle? Is proof that God sovereignly elects and calls divinely inspired messengers also proof that he elects and calls their audiences in that same manner? (2) The Hardened Jew: The rest of the Jews were temporarily hardened (Rom. 11:25). In Salvation, these are hardened for the purpose of grafting in the Gentiles and in turn arousing “envy” within them so that they too might believe (Rom. 11:11-14). If they believe in the message they can be grafted back in, if not they suffer the under the wrath of God just as the unbelieving Gentiles. So, salvation comes to these through faith in Christ IF God has “enabled” them to be grafted back in. (Rom. 11:23) The word “enabled” in John 6:65 then referrers to God’s removing His judicial hardening and not God’s overcoming their inborn nature of total depravity as Calvinists interpret it. Questions for Calvinists to consider: How does the biblical teaching of hardening fit with Total Depravity? Why would God hardened men who are born unable to see, hear, understand and believe the things of God already? Why does the Jesus speak of hiding the gospel in parables if indeed those he is hiding it from were born Total Depraved rendering them unable to believe it anyway? (3) The Gentiles were not hardened, as Calvinists seem to assert in their teachings of Total Depravity (in that they are not born deaf, blind and unable to respond to God's truth). “They will listen!” (Acts 28:28) They are the “foolish” ones that the scripture speaks of that will “accept what Israel rejects.” Gentile’s 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). During this time Paul and the other apostles were trying to convince the church that Gentiles were chosen of God and that this mystery was apart of God's plan from the beginning of time. Thus, Paul thanks God continually for their being chosen. (1 Thess. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13) Questions for Calvinists to consider: What would envy or jealousy have to do with bringing someone to saving grace if indeed man’s will is not a factor? Jealousy is a motivator of man’s will. Why would it be needed if men our brought to salvation by an effectual calling? Isn't it possible that when Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, speaks of his audiences being chosen that it's in reference to the major debate of that day which dealt with God's choice to ingraft the Gentile nation by allowing them entrance into His covenant, a place traditionally thought to be reserved only for Jews? I know this is a lot to go through, but it was these issues that pulled me away from the Calvinistic doctrine. I'm interested to know how you might deal with them.